‘Outer Banks’: Outlandish and unrealistic

(Graphic by Catherine Eldridge | Collegian Media Group)

The third season of “Outer Banks” was the talk of the town for weeks as everyone eagerly awaited its release. The show, which debuted in spring 2020, has the majority of Gen Z hooked on the slightly cringey teen drama. After Netflix finally released the 10-episode season on Feb. 23, it seems viewers have lukewarm things to say.

The show opens with a sloppy flashback sequence recapping the past two seasons. The odd filter coupled with the cheesy voice-over by Chase Stokes, who plays John B, didn’t give me high hopes for what was to come.

The Pogues, now castaways, are discovered on the remote island on which they’ve lived for the past month. They are picked up by Jimmy, a quirky character who lands his plane and offers to take all the Pogues back to the mainland, despite this putting his plane at risk due to its weight limit. The group discovers Jimmy has malicious intentions, and after a scuffle, the plane crashes into the ocean. The Pogues leave the unconscious pilot to drown, but Kiara saves him and is promptly captured and hauled away from her friends. After a series of dramatic rescue attempts and Kiara’s brave yacht robbery, the crew leaves John B, who has discovered his father is alive, to help his dad further the treasure hunt.

The plot splits at the end of the second episode. Sarah, JJ, Kiara, Pope, Cleo and the surprising addition of Topper pursue the Cross of Santo Domingo, which was discovered last season, while John B follows his dad and questions if his father has good intentions as Big John grasps at straws. 

The two plotlines feel disjointed. John B is hardly seen with the rest of the Pogues as they go after the cross, even though he’s been the ringleader of the group for the past two seasons. However, this does allow for characters like Pope and JJ to shine. Pope’s noble actions and motivations take center stage, and JJ’s troubled past comes to light.

The introduction of a new villain is potentially one of the worst decisions made this season. The long list of antagonists now includes Ward Cameron, Rafe, the entire population of Kooks and Carlos Singh and his posse of greedy treasure hunters. The conflict between Rafe, Ward Cameron and the Pogues should have been completely resolved before Carlos Singh was brought on the scene. However, he is a good character and will be interesting to follow if he shows up in the recently-announced season four.

What saves the show – besides Pope and JJ — is the stunning setting and camera work. The majestic shots of beaches, sunsets and marshes make the viewer feel immersed in the beauty of the Lowcountry.

The entire premise of Outer Banks is outlandish and unrealistic, but in the first two seasons this added to its charm. Outer Banks felt like an escape and an adventure, but this third season felt like filler so producers could renew the season yet again and string us along as we await a conclusion to this drawn-out treasure hunt. There are so many other possibilities for new seasons, and yet the production has decided to stick to one storyline throughout the entirety of the show’s life — to its detriment.