Surface season 1, episode 3 recap – “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”

By Adam Lock
Published: July 29, 2022
View all


The show struggles to sustain its mysterious tone and stumbles with stilted dialogue, yet there are still plenty of twists and turns from this thriller to keep you occupied.

This recap of the Apple TV+ series Surface season 1, episode 3, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” contains spoilers.

Read the season 1 review of Surface.

In the third of episode of Surface, Sophie must rethink the entire case when James’ motives seem unclear. She continues to investigate her own murky past and attempts to decipher more cryptic clues that present themselves to her. The series is starting to buckle under the weight of its many mysteries though, unsure whether it can sustain this suspense for an entire season’s long run. The show dips slightly in quality, but still offers more twists and a consistent look.

Surface season 1, episode 3 recap

Thomas Baden (Stephan James) plays a much larger role in “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”, offering his findings to Sophie. The paperwork proves that James bought a plane ticket to Portland the day before Sophie’s accident, but never took the flight as he can’t be found on the flight’s manifest. GPS records show that he was only half a mile away from the pier the day of Sophie’s attempted suicide too. He’s been building a case, but still lacks any solid proof. Sophie believes that James’ motive could be her affair with Baden, as they quickly discover they weren’t that careful in concealing the sinful act.

The highly suspicious James continues to fall apart, trying to hack her laptop account and drinking heavily. At work, his department are under investigation for the disappearance of millions within the firm and all reasoning points towards Sophie’s husband. He avoids an interview that day and works late that night, attempting to finalize a last-minute loan. The loan is denied though due to him taking out a second mortgage on both his properties and James starts to visibly crack.

Sophie finds a burner phone in one of her many handbags and sees a rolling screen of text messages from Baden. She heads to the local precinct to talk further with Baden, but the police officer on the desk states that he wasn’t assigned to her case and they have no official record of Baden ever being an officer. Sophie fears she has been conned, Baden isn’t who he says he is. Suddenly, Baden shows up, revealing that he is an undercover cop, working narcotics. He proves his credentials and explains why he lied to her all along.

Baden and Sophie go for a drink, where he opens up about their previous relationship. It was quite serious after all. He retells how they met and Sophie is shocked by her own impulsive nature. She wants to revisit this spark and sleeps with the undercover cop. He decides to accelerate the case and takes his findings to his boss. The boss is of course uninterested in this entirely separate case, telling Baden to end the relationship and the investigation for good. Something tells me Baden won’t be following these orders.

Caroline turns up at Sophie’s house and admits to having had an affair with James. This twist doesn’t seem that surprising, as both individuals have been awkwardly robotic towards Sophie, clearly hiding their own web of lies. She explains how they didn’t talk for months and Caroline blames herself for not being there for Sophie in her time of need. Sophie called her the morning of the accident and Caroline ignored it. Sophie asks to hear this voice message and the vague call teases further clues. The message states that James walked off and she felt like she was going crazy, asking for Caroline’s help. Caroline leaves and Sophie replays the message again.

The ending

That night, James and Sophie attend a work mixer. James fears embezzlement charges and tries to strike a fresh deal with a client. Baden contacts Sophie then shows up unannounced to Sophie’s horror. She has new evidence placing James at the pier, which Baden wants to capitalize on. But Sophie fears this was a mistake. James is introduced to Baden and seems to genuinely not know the man. Sophie pulls apart the motive, believing the affair couldn’t be the reason for the attempted murder, either that or James is a great actor.

During the party, Sophie is informed of the embezzlement investigation and hits on a new motive. James may have wanted to get rid of Sophie because she knew about his theft. Meanwhile, a coked up James admits to his work colleague that it is all his fault. He took a risk and squandered the firm’s finances. James’ world is rapidly falling apart and his wife may bury him yet. She tells Baden the updated news and the two kiss. Sophie has chosen the undercover cop and seems adamant at taking her husband down.

What do you think of the Apple TV+ series Surface season 1, episode 3? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Apple TV+.

Apple TV+, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
View all