Surface – Season 1 Episode 1 “Ictus” Recap & Review


Episode 1 of Surface starts with Sophie trying to piece her life together again after a horrific accident. She doesn’t remember anything that happened and is suffering from panic attacks. Her therapist believes she should try neurofeedback, which is a new form of therapy.

Now, the story goes that Sophie jumped off a bridge and tried to kill herself. But if she has a perfect family and a good job…why would she do that?

Compounding these niggling issues further is the way Sophie’s interpreting things in her life. Everything just feels… off. She doesn’t vibe with her friends, her clothes are alien to her and a strange guy at a bar happens to be watching her. This man eventually confronts her, claiming that her husband, James, isn’t being wholly truthful and implores them to talk in private.

We later learn that this strange man is Officer Thomas Baden and he drops a matchstick box in her purse with an address. Ignoring that for now, Sophie heads back to work and checks out her file on the computer. There, she reads that she had no prior history of mental illness and was brought in with multiple fractures.

Sophie was also put in an induced coma to control the swelling. It’s clearly a horrific ordeal and no wonder Sophie doesn’t remember it. However, there’s also another part of this file that hints toward possible domestic violence too.

When James leaves on a work trip, Sophie quizzes Caroline (her friend) over the cause of her broken arm. Apparently Sophie slipped and fell outside Chanel. But Sophie is not so sure. So what really happened?

Well, the clue may well lie with Officer Baden. He was assigned to her case and is the one who wrote the report about the domestic violence.

Sophie’s neurofeedback sessions go ahead, where she sees slivers of memories from the incident. Her therapist warns that she can’t trust her fractured memories, and according to her, Sophie could well have been hurt and unhappy a long time ago. At least, that’s what her suicide note says anyway.

That night, Sophie attempts to log into her laptop. It’s an Apple laptop by the way, if you hadn’t guessed from the camera hovering over “Apple password ID” twice so far this episode.

Anyway, Sophie is the one who holds the secrets here, given she eventually logs in and notices a video of her and Baden together. Sophie was clearly having an affair on her husband.

Out for a run, Sophie ends up falling into mystery drama cliché territory. She finds a coastguard who just so happens to be heading off the pier at the exact moment she runs up. Not only that, but she also has a photographic memory of Sophie and what happened to her. Apparently Sophie was saying back then that a man pushed her from a boat and that her name is Tess. What is going on?

The Episode Review

AppleTV Originals tend to fall into two categories at the moment. Brilliant, absorbing TV and mediocre slogs. Surface is – so far at least – tumbling into the latter. The actual premise is so cliched and been done a million times in a litany of different genres and fields. The whole memory loss plot needs strong characters or a hook to really reel you in and Surface doesn’t have that.

Furthermore, some of the writing is sloppy which is quite surprising given Veronica West is the writer here. She has a pretty good track record with these sort of projects. But then the idea that a random coastguard just remembers every little detail of Sophie’s case and she just so happens to pass this person out of everyone in the city is all kinds of contrivance central.

With 3 episodes releasing today, hopefully we’ll get some answers to some of the drama being shown. So far though, Surface doesn’t make the best first impression.

Next Episode

Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!


  • (2.5)

Leave a comment