Trippy visuals and some tense encounters even out this formulaic thriller that suffers from tonal issues and patches of terribly unrealistic dialogue. The characters may lack depth, but this series can still surprise.
This recap of the Apple TV+ series Surface season 1, episode 5, “It Comes in Waves,” contains spoilers.
Sophie is willing to try absolutely anything in the hopes of regaining her missing memories and in episode five she finally succumbs to the most drastic of options – hallucinogens. “It Comes in Waves” takes us on an intense head trip that reveals plenty of secrets from Sophie’s past and in the same breath muddies the waters even further as the distinction between good and evil blurs.
Surface season 1, episode 5 recap
Sat on the beach, Sophie’s childhood memories come flooding back to her as she ponders her mysterious mother. In the previous instalment her shrink Hannah told Sophie that her mother was suffering from a psychotic disorder. She informs Baden that this could be hereditary and complains about how sick she is of being treated like a crazy person. Everyone is judging her, labelling her and she’s starting to believe the rumors herself. Baden comforts Sophie, saying that this will soon all be over, James will be arrested tonight.
At the office, James is still under investigation and nervously paces the room. Colleague and best friend Harrison comes in to save the day though. He tells James that he’s been given a loan and the whole disaster is over. James is rightfully relieved, but Baden is hot on his case, in secret, utilizing the drug-addict Todd to his advantage. When James has left the building, presumably to celebrate avoiding any prison time, Todd enters his boss’ office and begins to extract the incriminating data from his computer. There’s a tense moment where Todd is caught in the act, but he manages to offset James’ secretary by spinning some lie about just being thirsty instead.
Baden retrieves the files from Todd, although they are entirely useless, containing nothing the cop really asked for. Worried of his impending arrest, Todd mentions a personal laptop that James takes home with him, this could be valuable. Baden must get his hands on this laptop, else James will walk away Scott free. Meanwhile, Hannah leaves a message for Sophie, who is concerned after she missed her first therapy session. As always the shrink harps on about being worried for Sophie’s safety and only wanting to protect her client.
It’s the night of Caroline’s gala and Sophie sports a revealing dress to James’ dismay. The controlling husband wants her to change outfit, but Sophie is her own woman again. She starts to pre-drink alcohol and pops a few little pills before the party, fully committing to this last ditch attempt to recover any viable memories. James is also concerned, highlighting that Sophie’s missed a therapy session, yet his worries go ignored as Sophie is about to descend into a hallucinatory rabbit hole, where she trips hard.
Through this subplot, the show is able to display some gorgeous visuals as Sophie embarks on her drug trip. She stares deeply into a painting and has visions that she is inside the artwork. Sophie has further hallucinations, seeing butterflies and vibrant colors wherever she goes. When she ditches the party and goes clubbing, she confuses a complete stranger for her ex-lover and has a meaningful discussion with this mysterious woman. She also has visions of the ex-lover with blood dripping down her forehead, which hints at a rather unfortunate end to this forgotten romance.
Whilst Sophie is having her head trip, Baden breaks into James’ home and tries to hack the laptop. The undercover policeman manages to learn James’ password and then extracts the all-important data. With all the files safely transferred there’s just time for Baden to goad his enemy. Sophie has gone missing, so he camps outside her house, where he encounters an equally anxious James. It isn’t long before James realizes that Baden is the man who was having an affair with Sophie and he threatens the rival alpha-male with a screwdriver. Baden infers that he is an officer and is very much aware of James’ laptop password. Does the wealthy entrepreneur now know he’s been hacked?
Sophie’s misadventures continue, with her chasing after a horse and then taking a dip in the sea. She wakes the next morning at the dock and shuffles back home. Replaying a message from Baden on the subway, it is revealed that James transferred 3.1 million dollars the day before Sophie’s accident into an account under the name of Tess (possibly Sophie’s real name). Is Sophie involved in this scam as well?
She trudges down her street in a daze and completely blanks both men, who patiently waited all night for the drugged up dame. Inside the house, Sophie asks if James has been covering for her all this time? James admits that he was, it would seem Sophie is just as involved in this scandal as James.
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