Surface – Season 1 Episode 3 “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” Recap & Review

New Person, Same Old Mistakes

Episode 3 of Surface starts with Sophie questioning Baden about their affair. He deflects that though and brings up the evidence he’s found thus far. According to Baden, James bought a plane ticket a day before the accident but the plane manifest doesn’t see him on there. Furthermore, GPS records on his car hint that he was half a mile from the pier.

Sophie wants to arrest James for lying about his alibi, but without hard proof then there’s not much they can go on. However, Baden believes it could be linked to their affair. He and Sophie had been seeing each other for several months bur Sophie got reckless toward the end and made it more obvious they were sleeping together. Could it be that James was aware of their affair and wanted to kill Sophie as revenge?

While they mull over their options, Baden brings up the burner phone she apparently has, as Sophie leaves and heads home, desperate to find it. And she eventually does, inside a yellow bag.

When she switches the phone back on, numerous messages from the pair flash up, with Sophie clearly into this affair and using every moment she could to have some alone time.

Anyway, James is no saint in this either, given he’s checking up on Sophie constantly, trying to log in to her computer and even bringing her wine up in the bathroom while she’s in the bath. James eventually leaves her to it after a rather uncomfortable chat, although he does briefly touch on the conversation he had with Caroline about her memories coming back.

In the morning, James heads off to work where he learns there’s an internal investigation about to get underway. The investigator is MacKenzie Isen and she’s looking for unaccounted money in the business. Given James’ sketchy attitude toward this, it wouldn’t surprise me if we learn he’s the one responsible.

Meanwhile, Sophie heads off to the police station looking to speak to Baden. It turns out Baden was never assigned to her case, it was actually an officer called Linda Johnson. According to him, there’s no one by that name working at the SFPD.

Baden eventually catches up to Sophie outside and points out that he’s working undercover in narcotics. The guy on the desk was just keeping up pretences and protecting his identity. Although Baden also lied about his job, Sophie goes all-in on trusting the man she was having an affair with.

According to Baden, Sophie hadn’t been happy for a long time and it seems that’s the reason for their affair. Sophie also tries to justify her actions, claiming her life is hollow.

Sophie heads home and finds Caroline waiting for her. She admits to missing out a part of the story from the past. Apparently Sophie and James were going through a rough time and Caroline ended up sleeping with James. Sophie’s memory loss and accident felt like a “second chance” for everyone.

Sophie also apparently rang her that morning at the pier and left a voice message. This message doesn’t really say very much other than that she was with James and he walked off.

That night, Sophie attends a work party with James but takes some time to go and message Baden, informing him that James was at the pier that night. As for James, he’s super stressed about the finances. Baden just happens to show up at the bar, where he puts on a persona and pretends that he’s working “with Cyprus”. The thing is, James doesn’t know who Baden is, meaning he had no idea about their affair after all.

After drinking himself into a stupor, Harrison catches up with James who’s crying and a mess upstairs. He asks about the investigation, where James points out that he “found an opportunity” but unfortunately he’s been screwed over. He tried to replace the money but now everything is going to come tumbling out in the messiest way possible.

Sophie also learns about the missing money through Baden and believes James may have tried to kill her because of this. Sophie is dead-set on her story that she didn’t commit suicide. And then decides, while talking to Baden, to lean forward and kiss him, cheating on her husband again.

The Episode Review

Shock, horror, the missing money is all James’ fault. Who would have guessed it? Well, anyone paying attention to the show I guess. The problem is, Surface tries to present these mysteries like they’re genuinely a mystery but this is a thriller with absolutely no thrills. We’re clinging to the events of what transpired at the pier and right now, it’s seeming likely that James is a red herring. At a guess, I think Baden is the one who pushed her.

The story plays out at such a pedestrian pace though and even Gugu Mbatha-Raw looks bored in some of these scenes. The fact that we’re supposed to sympathize with this woman who has cheated on her husband, while everyone else is basically lying and out for themselves too, makes it hard to really get behind any one of these deceitful characters.

It doesn’t help that the premise is so cliched and even on AppleTV we have Lisey’s Story, Shining Girls and Losing Alice that tackle this exact same memory loss premise. And Surface is by far the weakest of the bunch.

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