Surface Season 1 Episode 6 Review: The Myth of California

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Now that was a good hour of television.

I have been actively rooting for flashbacks for quite some time now, and Surface Season 1 Episode 6 delivered in every single way. This has always been not only the story of Sophie but also the story of Sophie and James.

Their journey to this specific moment in time is so crucial to understanding so much of what came before, and now that James has finally come clean, we have some answers, but there are still some unshaded areas to decipher as we head into the final two hours.

Looking Back - Surface Season 1 Episode 5

I hate to say I told you so, but I must say that learning that James wasn't the one who pushed Sophie off the ferry felt like a triumphant moment because the evidence was too grandiose to be true.

James isn't a perfect human being, not by a long shot, but a murderous madman? That mantle never seemed to suit him.

Morning After - Surface Season 1 Episode 5

Seeing how James and Sophie fell in love allowed us to see a new side of the pair, and it was interesting to see who they were when they were strangers to one another. While James was a bit opportunistic and shy, Sophie was bold and unabashed.

That first night they spent together may be one of the only times they were ever fully honest with one another.

It's easy to see how they fell for one another, especially from James' perspective, because he found this enigmatic light of a human who saw through his games and not only didn't judge him for it but embraced it. A night that started so terribly suddenly turned around with a bit of wine, dancing, and introspection.

For her part, it's always hard to get a full read of Sophie because it's hard to know who the real Sophie is. But we know that Sophie is constantly evolving, adapting, and fitting into whatever role is necessary in the moment.

And it's why it feels like that first night with James is the most authentic version of Sophie.

Life At The Beach - Surface Season 1 Episode 5

She's honest, understanding, and attracted to James, and he to her, and you can see their connection blossom right on the screen. While Sophie and Baden have this spark that you can feel, we've never gotten that from Sophie and James because of the state of their relationship.

But these flashbacks provide an opportunity to see it and feel the bubbling rush of emotions between the two. The flashbacks also allow us to see this relationship's inevitable breakdown.

We've learned enough about Sophie to know she was not a perfect person, and here we see that Sophie was a woman looking to get ahead. She was willing to slip on whatever mask was necessary to get what she wanted and, by proxy, get what James wanted.

And watching the way James falls more and more under her spell totally helps fill in some of the blanks we have in the present day.

James is borderline obsessed with Sophie. He's wildly in love with her, and you can see that in those early days, she was all about taking risks and getting James to as well, and their connection continued to blossom as they played so well off one another and started this life together that gave them both so much.

Poolside Moments - Surface Season 1 Episode 4

While James was so in love with her in an organic way, despite her flaws, it's still unclear what exactly Sophie was feeling.

I tend to believe that she found something with James that she wanted to keep, and when she admitted to Harrison that she wanted to be deserving of James, color me naive, but I believed her. That Sophie, who sat with her feet dangling in the pool overlooking the water, found someone she could be herself with.

And even if that morphed over the years, I believe it was always there at her core.

But perhaps someone like Sophie isn't meant for that kind of happily ever after.

The Ellis marriage may have officially imploded the night of that party, but let's face it, the marriage was never going to last with the two of them and their egos fighting for attention.

Bottoms Up - Surface Season 1 Episode 4

When James yelled at her and made her feel invaluable, the switch was activated, and there was no coming back. If we're to believe what we've heard about Sophie, that means she's a user and runner. She gets what she wants, soaks it in, and leaves when it suits her.

Seeing how things were with James, I'm less inclined to believe her relationship with Baden was more than just an excuse to slide into a new skin once again. She met him at a low point, and he made her feel desirable and needed, but was there ever a deeper connection?

This Sophie without her memories and this Baden may be a better match than before.

James's desperation to hang onto Sophie ultimately caused him a tremendous amount of heartache, and the stealing of the money was so blatant. Still, James was so determined to get his life back on track that he fell right into Sophie's trap.

Their confrontation on the dock was a long time coming, and it was necessary at that moment for James to stand up. Sophie has been calling the shots since they met, but when is it enough? James was so in love with a version of Sophie that she probably doesn't even recognize anymore, and at what point do you say enough?

Peering In - Surface Season 1 Episode 2

James had his lightbulb moment on the day of the accident, and he needed to walk away. The toxicity of that union was on another planet, and James was right to throw in the towel finally.

Of course, we knew that their story would continue, and once again, I'm left wondering why James cannot let Sophie go.

Sophie: You left me behind a long time ago, so don't act all surprised that I did the same to you.
James: We were trying to fix it, we were trying to get back on track.
Sophie: You can't just put the pieces back together, James. That's not how it works. You can't fix something that's already broken.

Should he have left her after the accident? No. But lying to somewhat protect her and to try and rebuild this life he was so desperate to hold into feels icky on many different levels. It makes sense now why he was so hellbent on keeping things from her because he wanted a do-over.

He wants to right the sins of the past and settle back into an ordinary life with the woman he loves, but all of it is unfair. It's such a fine line, and you can argue that James is doing this for Sophie's benefit in some ways, but it's not really his decision to make.

Lying to the police about the suicide attempt and the note was gross, and his continuing to keep her in the dark was misguided. But it now leaves them in this place where they have to decide what comes next and what that looks like.

Sophie Makes Moves - Surface Season 1 Episode 2

James may think this is his fresh start, but I feel it's only a matter of time before Sophie runs because it's a part of her DNA. Memories or no memories that inherent need to move on will always be inside you.

My only request before she bolts again is to FIND OUT WHO TRIED TO HAVE YOU KILLED. Somewhere along the line, we forgot that someone tried to kill Sophie, and we must make this a priority.

As soon as possible.

Everything Else You Need To Know

  • So James and Caroline weren't haven't an affair so much as they slept together that one night. It doesn't make it better, but I genuinely thought they were having a full-blown affair.
Desperate James - Surface Season 1 Episode 3
  • Harrison is so SHADY! I've been saying it for so long, but he's hated Sophie for the longest, and he's obsessed with James, and I would be taking a much closer look at him and his whereabouts on the day of the accident!
  • Sophie lies so effortlessly. I don't know how or why James would ever trust anything she said.

This was the best episode of the season, setting us up for a thrilling conclusion. History informs so much about the future, and now that Sophie is armed with all this information, it'll be interesting to see what she does next.

Jump into the comments and let me know where you think things are going next, and remember you can watch Surface online right now via TV Fanatic, so you're all caught up.

A Night Out - Surface Season 1 Episode 1

The Myth of California Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (44 Votes)

Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Surface Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Sophie: Look, some people are born into this life, right? Family money. Luck of the draw. Your friends, your co-workers, none of them worked as hard as you did to get here. They didn't need to, did they?
James: No, no.
Sophie: Do they deserve it any more than you? Or me?

Sophie: This place seemed like a fresh start. Like I could be anyone I wanted. I mean, that's the myth of California, isn't it? You are who you say you are. And if it doesn't work out here, then on to somewhere new.
James: So, who do you say you are?
Sophie: I haven't decided yet.
James: You know I got this weird feeling that, you could be anyone you wanted.