Interview with Writer, Cast – The Hollywood Reporter

[The following story contains spoilers from the first season of Apple TV+’s Surface, including the season one finale, “See You on the Other Side.”]

The first season of Apple TV+ Surface ends on a cliffhanger, with Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s main character, Sophie, embracing her past identity as Tess Caldwell and returning to the UK in search of Millie Brady’s Eliza, whose bloody face haunts Sophie.

While Apple hasn’t renewed the psychological thriller yet, showrunner Veronica West said that in thinking of an ending for the first season, she wanted to find a way for the series to move forward.

“There had to be at least one more chapter in Sophie’s past, and that’s why at the end of the pilot, you hear the name Tess for the first time and those memories of Millie Brady’s character keep surfacing. , and the reason they do it is because it was one of the most traumatic things that ever happened to Sophie,” West recounts. The Hollywood Reporter. “In the real science of how this stuff works, the most traumatic memories can come to the surface first, even if they’re older. They have this analogy that a sled digs grooves in the snow the further it goes over and over, the deeper those grooves get, and if someone had thought about that traumatic moment or something defining in their life many times before the hurt happened, those grooves would be the deepest and those memories would somehow come back So having this idea of ​​this subtext and Sophie’s past haunting her through these memories of this woman, we knew we had to build that into the DNA of the show from the start to make it feel like an organic next chapter, if we were going to be lucky enough to make one, where this show would go next.

She adds: “For me, what is most interesting is what made Sophie this person. If the first season is about who she really was, what she really did, that she was kind of the bad guy in a lot of ways, what was she running from across that ocean? Why did she start her life over? What are those resurfacing memories of her deeper past and her childhood, and how did she become the person we knew in the first season?

West isn’t the only one planning a potential second season. Talk to THR at Surfacein New York earlier this summer, Brady said she knows more about Eliza than viewers saw.

“A lot of the stuff we find out about Eliza hopefully comes later if we do a season two,” she said. “There was enough for me to have the basics of the character. But what I enjoyed a lot is the fact that there is a lot of the character of Eliza that is also a mystery to me.

Returning to her life as Tess in the UK, Sophie appears to fake her own death, running across the Golden Gate Bridge before disappearing and leaving her belongings behind. While Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s James initially denies that his wife is really gone for good, he discovers that Tess Caldwell’s bank account has been wiped clean and finds video indicating she is still alive.

As to when and what motivated Sophie to leave her life in San Francisco, as Sophie and James still grapple with the death of Baden (Stephan James), but also try to make a fresh start while Sophie wants to examine his own secrets, West points to James’ actions as a big part of the blame.

“Baden’s death and believing that James is responsible for it [plays a part in what Sophie does,]West says. “But also realizing through episode six, the flashback episode, that he had really created this false reality for her, and if he hadn’t, if he had told her the truth when she woke up that day none of this probably would have happened Baden would probably still be alive as if she wouldn’t have been searching for answers and feeling as grounded as she does was, and that the story would have taken a totally different direction. So it’s Machiavellian in a way, but what she’s doing to James, I think, has a real emotional purpose for her in handing him a mirror and [asking him] how does it feel.

Who was ultimately responsible for Baden’s death remains somewhat unclear, but James heavily implicates Harrison (Francois Arnaud) in a heated argument.

And Arnaud previously said THR to Surface first that he was intrigued by his character’s journey.

“It’s interesting to explore how far good people step into bad territory,” Arnaud said of his character, who he called “deeply superficial” and “determined” to avoid “self-deprecation.” scrutiny and exploration and is willing to go to great lengths to protect his friendship with James, but he’s also just an action guy who should think more before he acts but won’t.

Although many of the characters from the first season seem isolated at the end of the last episode, West says they could still return in a possible season two.

“[Sophie] definitely leaves a tsunami as a result of his actions, so people won’t let sleeping dogs lie,” she says. “Even though Sophie has other plans, I think there’s definitely a possibility that some of the people we love from season one will return.”

While Sophie seems resolute at the end of the first season that she jumped off the ferry, and video footage appears to confirm this, West says Sophie’s mentality when she got off the boat will remain a mystery.

“There was a crossroads reached in terms of what happened on the ferry that day. I always believed she would never remember what she was thinking when she jumped off,” says- “She’ll never remember how she felt and we get as much information as we can about that moment – we see video footage of it, we hear eyewitness accounts, but you’ll never know exactly what it was. her intention. Was she jumping to end her life or start a new one? In a way, I always felt like it didn’t really matter because what matters now , that’s what she chooses to do in the present, and even though she had the idea for this past storyline, her choice to do this thing in the present really doubles up on the premise of the show and shows how how much she has grown as a character and what she might be capable of in the future.

After Surface began with an apparent suicide attempt, Sophie found herself in season one wondering if she had a history of mental illness, and West says the show will continue to explore her psyche.

“At the end of the day, the show is very much a psychological thriller. And in that genre, we can’t really shy away from exploring the really dark recesses of people’s minds,” she says. “Sophie’s story speaks always about who she really is and how she really felt about herself and the people around her. Those are the mysteries that the show unravels, so I think holding that mirror up to her and allowing her to ask these really tough questions about herself and asking tough questions about her DNA, her family history, those are things that will continue to turmoil in her story and pushes her to find more answers.