Episode 6 of ‘Surface’ TV show explained through interviews with writers and cast – The Hollywood Reporter
[The following story contains spoilers from the sixth episode of Surface‘s first season, “The Myth of California.”]
From the start of Apple TV+’s psychological thriller SurfaceOliver Jackson-Cohen’s James saw his wife’s near-death experience as a chance for the two of them to get a second chance at their relationship and move past their past mistakes.
But with Sophie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) realizing at the end of episode five that she was the one James was covering up with the missing money he was trying to recover and that she might be the bad guy, Sophie and James’ fresh start is over.
“Things like that open the floodgates for James to realize there’s no hiding behind an idealized version anymore,” showrunner Veronica West said. The Hollywood Reporter. “There are no second chances, it’s a fairy tale.”
With this discovery, episode six opens up what viewers think they know about the characters and motivations at the center of the drama. As the current timeline takes place in the living room of their lavish townhouse, James tells Sophie how they met and fell in love early in their relationship until he started to get jealous of her and that things go downhill at the start of his affair. with Baden by Stephan James. It also reveals how a mysterious investment led her to take the money and what happened between them before she got on the boat.
As for deciding which parts of James and Sophie’s story to show, West, who co-wrote the episode with Raven Jackson, says they focused on “the moments that meant the most to James and were like things of the relationship that were so crucial”. but also things in the relationship that Sophie could have misinterpreted, like why she was with Baden in the first place.
James’ explanation, West says, reframes some of the key choices and discoveries Sophie made “not just with James’ side of the story, but a fuller side of the story once he lets himself in.” to be honest not just about her actions and feelings, but her past actions and feelings, at least what she was willing to share with him.
But the new information revealed in episode six doesn’t necessarily contradict what Sophie and viewers learned in previous episodes.
“Nobody is who you think they are when this show starts,” West says. “Every character and the people you’re suspicious of, we wanted to make sure everyone felt very real and had real character motivations and once we got to revealing the truth and the different truths of each, everything that happened before that moment still made sense. You can’t just try to make someone look like a bad guy because it’s good for the story. Telling an episode from this particular character’s point of view, he had to do a 180, put a mirror on everything that had happened before to explain to you why this person was acting the way they were, even if it was for reasons that we didn’t expect it.
James telling Sophie about their relationship, says West, was inspired by the Netflix documentary tell me who i amwith Surfacelarger concept inspired by the 1961 French film Last year in Marienbad.
With James, what might have seemed like controlling behavior in previous episodes of the series was that he was trying to help Sophie.
“That protection for her,” West says, “came from a deep, albeit potentially misguided, love.”
She adds: “And finally seeing the same story from his point of view allowed us to really feel how he felt about Sophie and understand that while he did some really questionable things, from where they were really driven, that they all really stemmed from that idealized version of her that he had fallen in love with so long ago, which is why it was essential to start this episode with the purer version of the two and see that he arrived with a pure heart and it may actually be Sophie’s fault that things started to go wrong.
When asked what initially attracted James to Sophie, Jackson-Cohen replied THR“There’s such a strength that he admires and a kind of ferocity in the way she sees the world that James is probably a lot more afraid of the world than she is. I think it’s that fierceness that she has and her view of the world that anything is possible.She is kind of her confidence and her rock.
Jackson-Cohen says he learned about James’ story shortly after he became involved with the project.
“I think the first thing they sent me was a bible to explain the whole arc of the show. And that in itself was pretty compelling to read. It was great to see then how the scripts would come out,” he said. “But I knew from the start where everything was going, where James was going, what the twists were. I feel like you couldn’t go into something like this blind, the performance would be all over the place. We had to kind of ground him.
At the end of the eight-episode first season, West teases that viewers will know “everybody’s truth except Sophie’s.”
“She’s the one who still has the mysteries, and I deliberately put some things in, even into the DNA of the pilot itself, so that this show can answer all the mysteries of the first season and still have some legs. and move on,” West says, adding one of the lingering questions with Sophie. “Sophie’s Briton: she came to America; she lied to everyone about her past. What was she running from? There had to be those nuggets in there for the story to have a chance to move forward beyond this season.