Review | Outer Banks season 3 is a fun flop

The highly anticipated third season of Netflix’s hit show “Outer Banks” that dropped on Feb. 23 may have flopped by prioritizing increasingly ridiculous plotlines over character development.




Stella Shipman, Arts Reporter

Having enjoyed the first two seasons of the Netflix show about teenagers skipping school to treasure hunt, I went into the third season of “Outer Banks” with excitement and an open mind. I came out of it convinced it is time for the Pogues’ quest to come to an end.

The second season of “Outer Banks” left off with our swashbuckling crew of Pogues sailing away from Ward Cameron’s ship and taking refuge on a nearby island. They escaped with their friend Sarah Cameron, but without the Cross of Santo Domingo, which remained on the ship in Ward and Rafe’s possession.

When the third season begins, the Pogues have been stranded on the island for about a month, surviving by spear fishing and gathering food from their jungle habitat. They have essentially made the island their home, christening it “Poguelandia.”

The opening of the show allows audiences to re-familiarize themselves with their favorite characters John B, JJ, Kie, Pope, Sarah, and the newest group addition, Cleo. But the Pogues’ island vacation is short-lived when they are rescued by a pilot.

From there, the show dives back into the action that fans have become so acquainted with. Though, instead of hunting for the cross of Santo Domingo, X suddenly marks a much more lucrative prize: the Golden City of El Dorado.

Though the search for it is fictionalized in the show, the city of El Dorado is real. According to myth, El Dorado is a city full of gold lost somewhere in South America, and explorers continue to search for it today.

In Outer Banks, one of those explorers is John B’s father Big John. After finding out his father is alive, John B joins him in his quest to find El Dorado. This unfailingly lands them in heaps of trouble on multiple occasions with the season’s new villain Carlos Singh.

The show sees the divergence of the Pogues into multiple storylines, including Pope and Cleo’s investigation into Tannyhill, Sarah’s crisis of identity, Kie and JJ’s social class conflicts, and John B’s pursuit of El Dorado with his father.

One thing about Pogues, though — they stick together. The group eventually reconnects to save Big John from a kidnapping and to search for El Dorado in South America.

Outer Banks is considered a fan favorite on Netflix and was already confirmed for a fourth season before the third even started streaming. However, Netflix might have jumped the gun.

The third season more than satisfies its standards for action and adventure. Between intense chase scenes, shootouts, and spontaneous international travel, it can be difficult to catch your breath. Maybe a little too difficult.

Outer Banks may have begun with an original approach to the explorer genre, but it has since devolved into the classic treasure-hunting tropes. There’s a big bad, Carlos Singh, a righteous hero, John B, and the seemingly unattainable treasure, El Dorado.

At least the Pogues we know and love haven’t changed, but they honestly could have used some character growth. Sarah is a perfect example. She walks the line between Kook and Pogue, and for the past two seasons now she has fallen back on the same old habits and then reached the same conclusion about where she belongs, except it never sticks.

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The blossoming of new relationships between Pogues offers the opportunity for character development, but the show squanders it by not spending enough time fleshing out those relationships.

Of course, there are exceptions. Cleo’s character brings a fresh perspective to the Pogues, and her tough exterior hides a vulnerability learned from a life alone. Ward also proves to be dynamic, struggling with feelings of guilt and self-preservation.

For any die-hard “OBX” fan, this fun and insane season probably hits a home run. But if audiences are more invested in clear storytelling and character growth rather than the chaotic energy of near-constant action and adventure sequences, then I’d recommend they look for treasure elsewhere.