‘Surface’ Episode 6: Recap & Ending, Explained: What Happened Between Sophie & James Before The Accident?


Episode 6 of “Surface” finally reveals the entire extent of Sophie and James’ relationship prior to Sophie’s falling into the water and her subsequent memory loss. At the end of episode 5, we saw Sophie joining the pieces inside her head and arriving at James’ house, demanding that her husband be totally honest with her. This week’s episode now cleanly lays bare the past, as James sits down and reveals everything to his wife, and the narrative does not shift anywhere else.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Surface’ Episode 6 Recap And Ending

Visibly exhausted from keeping all the secrets from his wife for so long, and also from the long night, James sits his wife down to tell her the entire story of their past, as he had just promised to do. He begins at the very beginning, when the man was a junior associate at the venture capital firm and had gone to dinner with a potential client to discuss business. The client uninterestedly left, which highlights how amateur James still was at his job, but a certain waitress started to chat him up, showing interest in his profession and the pitch that he was making to the client. This waitress, Sophie, or Tess, as she was known back then, agrees to go home with James that very night, as a sort of impromptu date, as the man is quite blown away by the intelligence and charisma of the young woman. Sophie instantly takes notice of certain oddities in the exquisite and lavish house that James introduces as his own, to understand that the man is possibly putting up some pretense. She confronts James about it, and he admits that it is only his boss’ house, where he has been staying for the weekend, to take care of it. The two then discuss life and aspirations, as James tells her how a certain stigma against him works at his professional place because he did not attend an Ivy League college. When he asks about Sophie’s past, she gives him a vague account of how she hails from London but had a difficult life there since her mother passed away when she was young, and then she made her way to California to try and build a new life for herself. The two only grew closer from here on and started to date, as James found almost a new life and inspiration in Sophie. While he lacked confidence in his capabilities, Sophie could present him in such a hyped manner that would instantly make clients interested in him. This is how Sophie manages to get a renowned investor named Vince Hawkins to work with James, which instantly raises his reputation at his workplace.

Since then, Sophie kept charming clients and investors with praises of her boyfriend till James would walk in and secure the deals, which he celebrated as a joint success on both their parts. The man soon made a fair name for himself as a venture capitalist, and after a number of promotions at his firm, he bought the apartment that he currently lives in and asked Sophie to move in with him. Although Caroline and Sophie had liked each other from the get-go, Harrison was quite suspicious of her, perhaps rightly so. He tried telling James how he should once run a background check on the woman who just seemed to crop up out of nowhere in James’ life, but James simply warned him to never express such doubts about his soon-to-be wife ever again. Harrison then tried to confront Sophie about her potential lies, but the woman did not lose her calm confidence at all and instead turned the confrontation emotional. All seemed to go great for the couple, till James started to grow jealous of his wife’s ability to so easily and freely pitch ideas and deals to potential clients. While Sophie still wanted to help him on his path, saying that all the success was ultimately his own, James now wanted her to take a back seat while he drove his career forward. This gradually led to the couple having a fallout, till they stopped sharing things with each other and just lived their individual lives on their own. 

At a success party celebrating a grand milestone in James’ career, Sophie had a disagreement with him and left the place, only to return home even after James had returned. It was on this night that she had met Baden, and then subsequently started an affair with him. James had noticed his wife’s erratic behavior and, out of jealousy, had checked in on her via the security cameras at their vacation house in Marin, and found out about her affair. But before he confronted her, though, he went over to Caroline’s house to share the shock of having found out about Sophie’s cheating. Other than Caroline being one of James’ closest friends, the two had also dated in the past, and some sort of chemistry remained between the two, which even Sophie had spotted when she first met her. Caroline now tried to provide support to her close friend, and the two ended up getting intimate, which left James all the more guilty. When Sophie returned the next morning, the two had a confrontation, but she threw a bigger fit at James for having an affair with Caroline, but did not talk much about her own.

The two had then decided to stop their foolish acts and had restarted their relationship, trying to give each other the love and support that they had begun with, since Sophie had told him that she had ended her affair with Baden. After some months, Sophie brings in an interesting investment proposition, which she does not find too lucrative, but James agrees to immediately. A certain new tech startup was looking for an investment of $11.25 million, but only through a third-party as it was working under some terms of confidentiality. James agreed to invest the money through his wife as the third party, and had sent over the money to Sophie’s account, which was in the name of Tess Caldwell. However, he later found out that his investment had never reached the tech firm, and he was therefore short of the huge sum of money which he had taken out from his own firm. 

That night, both James and Sophie pretended to know nothing about the misplaced money, as James never brought it up but instead followed his wife the next day. He saw her go to the bank and then to the pier, where he finally confronted her. Despite Sophie’s claims that this plan of hers had nothing to do with her earlier affair with Baden, James tells her off for being a selfish person who used him to get his money and was now leaving the country with all of it. He had then walked away and returned home to find Sophie’s letter, which she had left for him, and had just then received news of her accident. He had rushed to the hospital and had done his best to get her back to health, but when the doctor told him about her long-term memory loss, he had decided to change the story about their past to have a fresh start. He presented Sophie’s letter to the police as a possible suicide note she had left behind, and he had tried his best to hide away all records of their troubled past.

At present, after hearing all of this, Sophie shows resentment at the kind of person she was, but James tries to console her, saying that they both did not really understand what their situation meant till they had lost each other. James apologizes for his attempt to wipe off all of Sophie’s life from existence and still professes his love for her. Sophie, too, heartbrokenly admits that she does not know whether she can fix their situation anymore, to which James promises to try to do so together with her.

How Does Episode 6 Change Our Understanding Of The Characters?

Before getting into anything else, though, it must be remembered that “Surface” thrives on presenting events from different perspectives. All that is revealed in “Surface” Episode 6 is, after all, what James tells Sophie, so it is entirely from the man’s perspective. Also, it is his account of things that happened, so there is a possibility of him leaving out certain things or even lying about them. Up till now, James had been presented as an evil-ish controlling husband who possibly wanted to harm his wife, but now his nature has completely turned around to be one who is ever-loving and always protective of Sophie. Rather, it seems now that he was the one being controlled and pushed around by the words and actions of his wife. The only taint that is still visible in James’ character is the fact that he suddenly wanted his wife to assume a smaller role than him after he got to a certain professional level. When Sophie started to help him out in the beginning, he kept mentioning how it was their shared success; Sophie would insist that it was actually his own individual success, though, and when this got to James’ head, it turned him blind to the support Sophie brought him. Nonetheless, he did not lose his love for her, at least in his own head, and kept trying to make his marriage work when both of them admitted to having affairs. He says that he forgave her and once again got warmed up to Sophie, but he did not expect her to steal the money and try to run off from her life, which James believes she did to elope with Baden. 

When James confronted Sophie on the pier deck just before she was about to board the ferry that would take her to the private airport, she kept saying that it was not because of her affair with Baden and that she had really ended the affair long ago, but the husband did not believe it. He also acknowledged the fact that had their own relationship been better, there would have been no affairs on both sides, which is evident from the fact that he tried to hide away all records of these things from Sophie after she lost her memory. His claim is that he desperately wanted to be with Sophie again and to undo all the mistakes both of them had made in their past, and when the doctor referred to her condition as a “fresh start,” James knew what he had to do. This sudden reversal of James’ character perhaps warrants all the more attention to the fact that it is he himself telling his story to his wife, and therefore, his account can obviously be questioned later on in the series.

Much like James, the character of Sophie also has a reversal, although hers is perhaps less steep than her husband’s. Through the various memory recovery methods and her own investigation into things, she was getting an idea that she might not have been the simplest of characters before her accident. This is all the more hammered in by the way she suddenly emerged in James’ life, first as an intelligent and sharp-eyed waitress, then quickly as a professional partner (that’s what James liked calling her when she was helping him acquire deals), and then even quicker as a lover and wife. She does not present any considerable proof or accounts of her past, other than her difficult life in London and her memories of her ailing mother. When Sophie first introduces herself to Vince Hawkins, she seems to know a lot about horses and horse racing, and when asked about it, she says that she used to work at the stable of an aristocratic family back in England. Although this clearly makes more sense to us as a somewhat true account of her life, as we have seen horses in the memory sequences with her as Tess and her lover, Sophie does not make any mention of this to James. 

It might be possible that Sophie kept some grave secrets from her husband even before her accident, and that she was probably even playing the role of a well-thought-out character. There was indeed an air of suspicion about the way she went about doing certain things; she insisted numerous times to her husband that all the success that was flying their way was his own, even though she was majorly helping him with them, which does seem a bit odd even if she was humility personified. Also, later on, when she presented James the proposal of the tech firm that enabled her to get the money that she was using to run away, Sophie knew exactly how to present it to her husband so that he would agree to invest in it. She kept saying how it was not really a worthwhile deal to look into and faked her own disinterest in it, and then when James asked to take a look, she had it ready for him. It is clear that Sophie had planned the entire thing very carefully. What remains to be seen is exactly why she did so.

What To Expect Next From ‘Surface’ Episode 7?

While Sophie and James are given some revelation with regards to the events of the past, Baden remains missing from the episode, and therefore we still do not know what role he might have exactly played in the past. It is to be noted, though, that he did not know Sophie would be at the pier that day, and Sophie, too, insisted that he had nothing to do with her plan. It is perhaps possible that Baden was just another piece that Sophie was using to get away with things that she did as Tess. The next two episodes of “Surface” will definitely throw light on this, and how these revelations are made is to be seen. Also, whether James is as innocent as he presents himself to be will be something to expect, although chances are probably less of another reversal of his character. The lover from Sophie’s past is intricately linked to her time in England, and her role will also be something to look out for in the remaining two episodes.

See More: ‘Surface’ Episode 7: Recap And Ending, Explained – What Happens When Sophie Shares Her Real Past With Baden?

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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