Surface – Season 1 Episode 2 “Muscle Memory” Recap & Review

Muscle Memory

Episode 2 of Surface starts with Sophie continuing her therapy, this time turning her attention to hypnotherapy. She’s slipping back into old memories, trying to establish a baseline that she can work off to try and piece together the missing moments of her life. It’s all fragments at this point but she does remember a dark figure standing, seemingly watching her fall off the boat. Was Sophie pushed?

Sophie’s therapist, Hannah, believes this is just a manifestation of her subconscious and a way of trying to justify what she did. Sophie doesn’t see it that way. She’s becoming ever-more suspicious of her partner James. Her partner who, I may add, she’s been cheating on.

Anyway, Sophie decides to look into James’ history and, specifically, his trip to Portland he went on several months back. Apparently there’s no record of it on the work system, which only compounds Sophie’s concerns. So naturally, she tries to access the accounts to look into this further. Only…she’s locked out and can’t get in.

During dinner, Sophie probes James about her being locked out from their bank cards. James admits that after the accident he had to file for conservatorship. It’s a standard procedure for those suffering from memory loss and having attempted to commit suicide. James promises to try and figure something out though.

At therapy the next day, Hannah believes that she and James should get away and go on holiday. It could well be good for them, but instead of actually going with James, Sophie lies and decides she’ll go with Caroline instead.

Caroline and Sophie show up at the summer vacation house, where we learn the latter actually used to show up on her own quite a lot to help her think.

The house also overlooks a stable which holds numerous horses. So while Caroline deals with a business call, Sophie heads off riding a horse. In doing so though, she happens to flash to memories including whoever this Tess is. It seems to hint that she was in an accident of some kind. Eventually though, Sophie does come back to the house and reflects on what she’s been through.

Meanwhile, Baden continues to investigate on his own off the clock. He manages to get hold of a USB stick that apparently holds GPS coordinates and a litany of other details about “him”. And this is clearly about James, right?

Well, it sure seems that way, and as we cut across to James we see him checking the CCTV footage for the summer house. James also has serious work issues as it seems there are discrepancies with the finances. He’s called in to a big meeting in the morning to discuss this but he seems jittery and out of sorts.

Sophie continues to look into her husband, learning from Victoria at his work that this trip was allegedly in connection with the National Investment Partners forum. And guess where the summit was held? Portland. However, James doesn’t seem to be in the pictures. So where was he during this time?

When Sophie heads off to question Caroline, she notices her on the stairwell on the phone to James, warning that Sophie is remembering things and they need to get their story straight. So she runs outside to Baden, who encourages her to join him so he can tell her everything he knows.

The Episode Review

Hollywood morality strikes again. Now, I’m not saying James and Caroline are saints because they very clearly aren’t but Sophie doesn’t really have a high horse to stand on either. We know that she’s abrupt, a little bit rude, a compulsive liar and she’s cheated on her husband. But yet, she’s suspicious of her husband for a work trip that he doesn’t seem to have been on… and he’s the bad guy?

Of course, we’re not seeing the whole picture here but our protagonist is really unlikable and it’s mixed in with a cliched story arc we’ve seen so many times across numerous different mediums. Sharp Objects and Tabula Rasa are two that come to mind immediately and both of those are far superior to this.

However, the ending hints that we’re going to get some answers going forward, and that could well be the much-needed turning point to turn this show around. let’s hope it is because with 8 episodes and a cliched story, this could turn into a slog quickly.

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