‘Surface’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Why Did Sophie Jump From The Boat? What To Expect From Season 2?


Apple TV’s psychological thriller drama “Surface” finally comes to an end with quite a few questions answered and some still kept away for a potential second season. Episode 7 ended with the death of police officer Baden, and James seemed to have been the one to call the shots against him, but Episode 8 has a few revelations of its own. From a narrative standpoint, the season finale is perhaps better shaped than some of the earlier episodes that were simply all over the place, but it still lacks any satisfying end to the drama that might keep audiences interested in a second season.

Spoilers Ahead

‘Surface’ Episode 8: Recap And Ending

Three weeks after Baden’s death, Sophie is clearly yet to get over the murder of her lover, as she goes to the police officer’s house during her routine morning run and weeps uncontrollably on the streets. Returning home, she finds James with a certain SFPD inspector named Sager. The inspector says that he is investigating his colleague’s untimely death and wanted to talk to the couple because Baden was seen having an altercation with them in public a few hours before he was shot. Sophie tells him about her real relationship with Baden, to which Sager acknowledges that they knew of their affair and then asks to talk to the woman alone. He then reveals some more to Sophie about her accident—although Sophie had herself jumped into the water, the only eyewitness to the incident had told Sager that the woman was extremely calm and determined before her jump. To the police inspector, it seemed almost as if Sophie had been waiting for a specific spot to make her jump, as if her intention was not really to kill herself, and he then asked Sophie to try to trace her past. After the couple is left alone, Sophie hides away from James everything new that she has learned, just like she has been hiding her true feelings for the last few weeks. While spending time alone at the house, she takes a bath, submerging herself into a tub full of water, which brings back some more of her memories, as she remembers seeing the propeller of the boat underwater after her ill-fated jump. But nothing more is revealed at the time, and she is next seen packing away a few of her clothes and shoes, wanting to donate them because she feels it is unnecessary to have so much.

When James sees her doing this, Sophie warms up to him and promises him that they would surely come out of this together, on the other side of all this trouble. She is once again seen to make amends to her relationships, but this time there seems to be somewhat of a finality to them. Sophie meets with Hannah and thanks her for helping her throughout the process. Later that evening, the couple attends a party, where Sophie meets Caroline and thanks her too for her unwavering love and support for her. Caroline does feel like Sophie is bidding her farewell, and even asks her best friend why she is telling all of this to her now, but Sophie avoids answering truthfully. The protagonist then also meets Harrison and gives him a reality check about how he is actually a terrible human being, always meddling in James’ life and making it worse, who then actually believes himself to be good. Harrison tries making some claims about how being bad runs in Sophie’s blood, hinting that he knows something about her past, but the man is shut out by Sophie’s quick replies. The next morning, Sophie and James’ relationship finally seems to have improved, as she lovingly asks if she could borrow his car, and the husband readily agrees. Sophie is then seen packing her backpack with her driving license and other identification and driving up near the Golden Gate Bridge, parking the car there, and going on a run.

James receives an emergency call from the police at his office next, as he is informed that his wife has most possibly committed suicide. Upon reaching the place, he learns that Sophie’s sweatshirt, watch, and backpack with her ID inside were found on the bridge, from where she possibly jumped to her death. The police officer on the scene asks James if his wife has had suicidal tendencies before, and he is bound to accept that she has. James returns home to find a note left behind for him, just like Sophie had done some months back. In it, Sophie explains how she had ended her life, and in turn, their relationship because of how an innocent man, Baden, had been killed because of them. Everyone, including Caroline and the therapist Hannah, is convinced that Sophie has killed herself, as they remember her essentially bidding them farewell the last time they met. Harrison, too tries to console the grieving James, but the latter now has had enough of his apparent best friend, who always brings unnecessary complications into his life. James reveals how he understood it was Harrison who had gotten Baden killed, but tried to protect his friend from his wife by pretending that he himself might have had something to do with it. James knew that Sophie would protect him but would definitely inform the police if she found out that it was Harrison who was responsible for her lover’s death. A broken-down James then calls Caroline to his house for some support, but Caroline also leaves the man, saying that she, too, has to move on with her life. Before going away, though, she thanks James for paying back the loan of $3.1 million, saying that it was enough, and she would now want to be away from him. It is this unexpected information that once again rejuvenates James to find his apparently dead wife, for he had never made this transaction to Caroline.

Going over to the bank the next day, James learns that no account in the name of Tess Caldwell exists. He realizes that Sophie must have closed the account and withdrawn all the money, which she had transferred over to Caroline to pay off James’ debt. The husband immediately understands that there is something graver in the works than it seems, and he returns home to try and get access to Sophie’s iPad. This time, he sees that Sophie herself has left him a clue about the password, and when he finally enters the account, he sees that his wife has left him a pre-recorded video as well. In it, Sophie blames James for lying to her after her memory loss, and also for Baden’s death. She had predicted that everyone around James would leave him, and she suggests that the man deserved it because of how he was. In the video, Sophie also reveals that she had finally learned about where she always wanted to run away to, and now wanted only to know why she wanted to do so.

Sophie’s side of things is now shown, as she remembered the frenzied moments after the accident while relaxing in her bathtub and decided to look at the clothes she had been wearing at the time. Inside her dress, she found a small blue key that had been carefully hidden away, and going over to the pier, around the same place where she had jumped, she saw a storage house with the same name on it as that on the key. She realized that she had rented a storage space before her accident, and opening it up now, she finds a single duffel bag. Inside this bag were stacks of dollar notes, her passport with her name mentioned as Tess Caldwell, and a phone that had only one saved contact, that of Eliza Huntley. At the same time that James watches the video she left behind, Sophie is seen at Heathrow airport and then outside on the streets of London. James leaves a voicemail to his wife, saying that he won’t let Sophie go so easily, as he genuinely loves her and promises to find her again. Meanwhile, Sophie tracks Eliza Huntley down, and she is revealed to be the same woman from Sophie’s memories. Eliza recognizes her old friend and lover, Sophie, or Tess, and confronts her about why she has returned, and “Surface” season 1 draws to a cliffhanger ending.

Why Had Sophie Jumped Into The Water? What Was Sophie’s Real Identity?

By the end of “Surface,” it becomes clear that Sophie had actually jumped from the boat to carve an escape from her erstwhile situation, which is actually less boring than the proposition that she had wanted to kill herself. It seems that the mysterious woman had indeed stolen money from her husband’s firm to escape the life that she was living, but unlike her previous idea that she was going away to the private airport, the truth was that she was actually faking her own death to then make her escape. While flying away from the country via the private airport would have required Sophie to have had a team (or at least one other individual) to help her, the woman was actually alone and all by herself from the very beginning. She wanted to jump off at the exact spot, swim to the shore, reach the storage house and retrieve her British passport and the money. However, a real accident seemed to have taken place after her jump, as Sophie was pulled in towards the boat’s propeller underwater. She probably could not move away from the boat, and the witness’ quick reactions made the coast guard rescue her and take her to the hospital. At present, months later after this incident, when she found the money hidden in the storage space, she decided to dissolve her bank account and return the large balance to Caroline. It is established by the end that Sophie really did not like her husband James, and the reason she gives for this is that she believes him to be a manipulative man who fed her a false story after her accident to benefit his situation. But, Sophie had perhaps also developed a real liking and respect for Caroline, and the money she returned was perhaps her way of ensuring that Caroline would finally leave the toxic presence of James.

Although a fair idea of what happened in Sophie’s immediate past is revealed, who she was before meeting James, and how and why she had even reached the USA in the first place, are things still left tucked away by the show. It is evident that Sophie, or Tess, had spent most of her life in England, and her passport (most possibly her original passport) mentioned her place of residence as being in London as well. It was here that she met and then started a romantic relationship with Eliza Huntley, but everything between that and her meeting James remains a mystery. Sophie herself is unaware of what had happened during this time, for she has genuinely lost her memory, and it is now that she finds a way to truly uncover the truth about who she really was. As she tells James through the video, she had finally understood where she was trying to escape to, London, and the only question that remained was why she wanted to get there. It is to find out this next question that she goes over to London to track Eliza down, and leaves James alone in the process. But James still remains adamant about proving his love for her, about keeping up with the promise of seeing each other on the other side that they had made to each other. What he does not know, though, is that the other side is literally on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

What To Expect From ‘Surface’ Season 2?

The way “Surface” ends its first season, it is clear that the creators definitely want to pose an interesting second season in sight, which would answer the remaining questions. The most important question, of course, is ‘what Sophie’s real identity is’ and also ‘who Eliza is.’ The follow-up questions would be why Sophie had left for the US and what her real past was like in England. James would also obviously go on his quest to find Sophie, and how he goes about doing so would be interesting as well. The fact that Sophie had blamed all of her American life’s struggles on James did seem a bit sudden and harsh on her part. Could it be that she did so only to ensure that James would look for her? Now it remains to be seen whether the show is extended for a second season, but given the reception it has received so far, I wonder how many would actually turn up to watch it. Truth be said, “Surface” has hardly anything to watch in it other than a few scenes of commendable visual splendor.

“Surface” is a 2022 Drama Thriller series created by Veronica West.

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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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