What’s Poppin?: Review of “Outer Banks” Season Three

Jasmine Judge, Business Manager

WARNING: The following story contains spoilers for “Outer Banks” Season Three

Just after the United States entered lockdown in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix released what became one of its most popular shows of all time. Following the lives of a group of teens— John B, JJ, Pope, Kiara and Sarah — in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, “Outer Banks” skyrocketed in popularity. Since then, it has been renewed for three more seasons and has generated a fan base of millions.

Season one focused on the main character John B Routledge, dealing with the disappearance of his father and the threat of placement into the foster care system. While simultaneously avoiding the police, he decides to pick up his father’s life work of finding the Royal Merchant shipwreck, which supposedly housed an abundance of Spanish gold.

Working with JJ, Pope and Kiara, the four manage to find the shipwreck off the coast of the Outer Banks. Yet, after going through the trouble of locating the ship at the bottom of the ocean, the gold was already discovered and removed from the wreck. After losing almost all hope, John B learns that the former owner of the Cameron family mansion was a former slave named Denmark Tanny, who bought his freedom and the plantation in gold— around the same time the Royal Merchant went down.

Narrowly escaping obstacles, such as overbearing parents, competing treasure hunters and local authorities, the pogues go on a quest to find the gold and manage to take a piece of it before Ward Cameron discovers their plans and claims the treasure for himself. Many twists and turns follow, but the season ends with the gold in the hands of Ward Cameron at his Bahamian home, and John B and Sarah seemingly dead after their ship gets lost in a storm.

Season two continues the storyline, with the pogues reuniting in search of a new treasure— the cross of Santo Domingo. Also once in the hands of Denmark Tanny, the search for the cross becomes personal when Pope discovers that he is a descendant of Tanny. However, once again, the pogues find the treasure and lose it to Ward and Rafe Cameron. They attempt to take back both the Royal Merchant gold and the cross by hijacking the cargo ship that the Camerons escaped on, but jump overboard to avoid capture and end up stranded on a Caribbean island in the Caribbean. 

Going into Season three, fans held lots of expectations for what would occur. Since the beginning, the fans always played a big part in the writing and development of the show. While many of their expectations were met in the new season, some felt that the show fell short in some areas.

Season three opened about a month later with the pogues still stranded on the island they named, “Poguelandia,” yet making the best out of the circumstances. They are soon found and rescued by a suspicious fisherman, who, as they assumed, worked for someone connected to the gold. While initially believing the fisherman was one of Ward’s agents, an entirely new antagonist was brought into the mix.

Carlos Singh, a Barbadian millionaire, captures not only Kiara but Rafe, who he lured with the possibility of a potential buyer for the cross of Santo Domingo. However, Singh is on the hunt for the biggest treasure yet: El Dorado, the city of gold. Again leading back to Denmark Tanny, he desires Tanny’s journal that the pogues had in possession in the previous two seasons. 

Kiara and Rafe manage to escape Singh, and Kiara takes Rafe’s boat, finds her friends and all finally return home to the Outer Banks. During all of this, John B reunites with his father, Big John, who, like Singh, is also on the hunt for El Dorado. The two make it a father-son mission to find the treasure together, and after three seasons, the gold is finally in the hands of the pogues.

Since the first season exploded in popularity, fans pushed for characters Kiara and JJ to become romantically involved. Fans crossed their fingers for them to get together in season two as they saw the characters forming a closer bond, but the writers held out. However, the fans were finally appeased in season three, with the two sharing a kiss in Episode nine after JJ saves Kiara from a wilderness therapy camp. Being one of the people who pushed for them to get together since season one, I was extremely happy to see the build-up of their relationship and see them finally end up together.

Amongst all the typical chaos that defines the show, fans felt that something was missing. While the main plot surrounds the treasure, people were discontented that so much screen time is focused on the hunt for gold, and not enough on the relationships between characters.

While the new season lacked some defining aspects from the previous season, seeing the characters back on-screen together and finally achieving their goal still made it very enjoyable. My only hope is that the writers feed the fans’ nostalgia in season four and bring back some of the “pogue life” energy from seasons one and two.