Surface (Season 1), Episode 6 Recap and Ending Explained: In the 6th episode of Surface, the creators finally show Sophie confronting her past with the person she most suspected to be lying to her. While showing glimpses of the tumultuous relationship between Sophie and her husband James until the previous episode, the recent one deals largely with the disclosure of past occurrences and the way they’re connected with the embezzlement case in the present.
We encounter characters beyond how they were shown to be like until then. While being more focused on the revelation, there is very little intrigue built in this episode as the series had managed to, until then.
Surface (Season 1), Episode 6 Recap:
Episode 6, titled ‘The Myth of California’ starts right after the last scene from the previous episode. After a night of the intense head trip, Sophie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) returns to her place and confronts James (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) about the case based on her new knowledge. Since she learns about the money transfer to her (Tess’s) account, she further asks him about how it happened and to recount all the events leading to the present state, right from the beginning of their relationship.
James shares the incident of their first encounter, where he was having a meeting with a prospective client and Sophie was working as a waitress at the restaurant, they were having dinner. Since the meeting does not go well and the client leaves, she strikes up a conversation with James about the business proposal they were discussing. She further mentions how she appreciates those who dare to attempt something risky yet fulfilling. Since this attitude of hers impresses James, he goes on to ask her to have a drink with him and whether she would like to come back with him to the boss’s place.
He shows her around this expensive apartment with exorbitant items and mentions how it would be his soon. However, the showcase of lavishness does not impress Sophie. She sees through his actions for which he apologizes. Over the period, their romance blooms, and she is also introduced to James’s friends, Caroline (Ari Graynor) & Harrison (François Arnaud). While she mentions her difficult life in London and living as an independent woman throughout her life till then, over the period, she becomes more and more comfortable living the lavish lifestyle with James. She starts lying about his worth to the guests, in hopes to improve his status within the firm. She also manages to gain the trust of a wealthy investor with the same which helps James rise up the ranks.
Meanwhile, James gets a huge promotion, but Sophie keeps up with her efforts to go beyond. Later, we see them as a married couple in their newly purchased house – where James is seen having a discussion with an associate while Sophie speaks with one of her female guests. This guest expresses her envy towards envy toward Sophie and asks how it feels to be living in a place where you will eventually die in. That seems to trouble Sophie since this statement makes her think of the limiting nature of her existence. During this celebration, Harrison speaks with Sophie and confronts her about her relationship with James. He always assumed her to be conning James to gain his trust and to rise up to this life of lavishness.
Over the period, Sophie continues to amp James up in these gatherings and to win people over with this façade. During a celebration sometime later, she has an argument with him about her aspirations where James mentions how she needs to be satisfied with what they have already achieved. She then storms out and stands outside while leaving him on his own being congratulated by his associates. This happens to be the same bar outside which Sophie and Baden (Stephan James) meet for the first time. Troubled by her coming late back home, James questions her but does not get a clear answer. Over the period, he becomes increasingly anxious about the thought of losing her.
Surface (Season 1), Episode 6 Ending, Explained:
With his worries about losing Sophie, James ends up outside Caroline’s house and speaks with her about the same. She tries to console him and at that tender moment, they start passionately kissing one another. In realization of Sophie’s affair with Baden, he goes through a lustful affair of his own. When he returns the next day, Sophie asks him about his whereabouts from the night before. He mentions being with Caroline and that he cheated on Sophie with her. While that makes her angry, he mentions how he isn’t sorry for his actions and asks her to be open about what she is going through and not bottling up her thoughts and feelings – in order for them to connect and not get distant. He mentions how no matter what, he won’t walk away from her.
Later, Sophie brings a proposal for him where he can network with a new client. He considers her to be the party in that investment. After the transfer of money to her account for this transaction, James visits the office of the same investor, who abuses him for not going ahead with their deal. James gets confused about how this could have happened and understands the reason why the amount wasn’t processed is that he has been conned. When he gets back home, he tries to get an answer out of Sophie about this. He inquires her about her meeting with the investor where she lies about it.
Later, he also follows her to the bank and then confronts her on the day of her accident about the money. Sophie confesses to devising a getaway, she was planning this for a long time. Being heartbroken by this, he decides to return home and then finds her letter written by Sophie. He is then informed that Sophie is in the hospital and has tried to commit suicide. At the hospital, he learns about her long-term memory loss. Like what the doctor advises him, he decides to take it as a fresh start.
This episode highlights what Surface suffers the most from its cliche dialogues and lack of depth. The characters are two-dimensional and since the aspect of intrigue is wearing down, these weaker aspects are becoming more and more prominent. If not for the excellent performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw besides the cinematography, Surface has very little to keep you invested further. The mystery yet to be solved is about the root of the identity of ‘Tess’ and the glimpses of relationship she sees through her memories. Also, considering the nature of the series being more about Sophie’s bewilderment about the truth being fed to her, what James tells her during this episode can also be a well-orchestrated lie!