City on Fire is the 95th episode of Desperate Housewives.
Julie Mayer returns to Wisteria Lane to introduce her boyfriend Lloyd to Susan. Susan disapproves of Lloyd due to the steep age difference between him and Julie, while Julie approves of Jackson. Susan becomes even more concerned when she learns Julie's boyfriend has been married three times. Susan is surprised to see he has a diamond ring and plans on surprising Julie with a proposal. She exposes Lloyd's plans, ruining the surprise. However Julie rejects his proposal, revealing that she does not ever intend to get married. Susan confronts Julie after the incident, and Julie confesses that she feels that marriage is a joke after witnessing Susan's two marriages fail.
Lynette learns from Preston about Porter's plans to leave Fairview with Anne, due to her being pregnant. Lynette makes her way to Anne's house where she confronts her about her pregnancy. Unfortunately Anne's husband Warren Schilling overhears and asks Lynette to leave. As Lynette remembers what Porter said to her about Anne's husband's violent nature, she makes her way back to the house where a bloody Anne is on the floor after a bashing by her husband. In an attempt to save Anne, Lynette throws a candlestick at Anne's husband and tells him to back off. The husband leaves the kitchen and Lynette attends to Anne who thanks Lynette for coming to her side. Porter is furious about Anne being injured, and he goes to the club to initiate a fight with Warren, which is prevented by Lynette.
Gaby is unhappy when she finds Virginia visiting her family again and reminds Carlos that his job has been regained and they are no longer in need of her. Carlos then reveals to Gaby that Virginia has left the Solises her fortune in her will, which prompts Gaby to get onto Virginia's good side. As Gaby is leaving to go to the club, Virginia drops by to fetch her with her limousine and later insists Gaby's daughters attend a private school. Furious at being told how to raise her kids, Gaby rejects Virginia's offers. Despite the argument between them, Gaby later helps Virginia out of the burning club.
Sandra Birch, a reporter, hopes to expose the truth about Bree's imperfections and learns about Orson being in jail, Bree's first husband Rex being involved in S&M and her failure as a mother. After Sandra accuses Bree of writing her cookbook to make her seem a like a high power to other housewives, Bree argues that the book is to encourage women to feel that they can get one thing right, "even if it is just a casserole". Sandra asks why Bree didn't just tell her this in the first place because it is an angle she can work with.
There is a big fire at a club where the men's garage band is playing in Battle of the Bands. One of the other bands competing is known as Cold Splash (played by the members of the Canadian indie rock band Tokyo Police Club). Most residents of Wisteria Lane will be present. Earlier that day, Dr. Heller asks whether Dave is in Fairview, and Dave assures him that everything is fine. Dr. Heller then comes to the club and after confronting Dave again, sits down and realizes that Dave's target is in the band. He demands to speak to Dave, threatening to call the police. Dave agrees and takes him to the storage room, ultimately killing his doctor by choking him to death, and lights a fire to cover up his act. While the band is playing, Edie notices the fire and everyone begins to quickly exit the nightclub. However, they discover the emergency exit is locked, so Dave helps everyone escape by breaking the window with a bar stool. Mike goes to the bathroom to find Jackson, who noticed the fire and escaped earlier. When Dave realizes that Mike is still in the club, he runs back in and saves him. Dave emerges as the hero bringing Mike out of the fire after Mike went to look for Jackson. When Mike is unconscious on the gurney, he tells Mike to "Hang in there. I'm not done with you yet". Anne's husband Warren, who is the owner of the burned down nightclub, blames Porter. Six people are killed in the fire, with one more later dying in the hospital.
- This episode averaged in 16.84 million viewers.
- This is the third special disaster episode of the show.
- Although credited, Penny Scavo (Kendall Applegate) does not appear in this episode.
- The title is taken from a song written by Stephen Sondheim for the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
- Julie Mayer (Andrea Bowen) returns as a guest star for the first time since departing the principal cast.
- On October 14, 2008, Gale Harold was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. His character, Jackson, plays a pivotal role in the fifth season's eighth episode "City on Fire", which finds several Wisteria Lane residents trapped inside a nightclub fire. Marc Cherry said Harold had been filming scenes all week for the episode and had been scheduled to be on set Tuesday, the day of the accident. Cherry said they would await the actor's prognosis before deciding how to proceed, but that at least some changes would have to be made: "We know we're going to rewrite one scene," he said.
- This episode overtook the season four episode "Something's Coming" as the most expensive episode to shoot and took 13 days to shoot instead of the usual 9 days allotted to shoot an episode due to fire safety regulations.
- When Dave Williams answers his cell phone, viewers can clearly see he is using a phone from Sprint. When Karen McCluskey and Roberta Simonds track his phone calls, they mention that he uses a company called "Teleshore". This is when they notice he is contacting Dr. Heller. Although he may be using Teleshore for his landline phone service, he makes the calls to Dr. Heller on his cell phone.
- The song Lloyd uses for his proposal to Julie is Booby Sherman's Julie Do You Love Me.
- It is illegal to lock an emergency exit. Warren should have been arrested. He could have faced serious jail time.