Outer Banks Season Three: Another Boring Treasure Hunt

A review of Outer Banks season three.


@obx on Instagram

The much-anticipated third season of the popular Netflix show Outer Banks was released on February 23, and unfortunately, it did not live up to many viewers’ expectations.

Bella Gallus, Managing Editor

Note: There are spoilers for OBX season three in the following article.

Mid-pandemic, it was relieving to watch teenagers embark on thrilling yet low-stakes adventures, fight off social stereotypes, and go on treasure hunts, with messy love triangles and friendships that proved to be stronger than anything. Outer Banks (OBX), a Netflix Original TV Series, did just that in its first season which premiered in April 2020.
At its core, OBX was a TV show set in the Outer Banks, North Carolina, with the “ideal mix of teen drama and adventure epic” according to a culture writer for ELLE magazine Lauren Puckett-Pope. But with the release of its third season in February, viewers were overwhelmed with constant kidnapping, intense shoot-outs, crazed fathers, and the fact that the characters spent barely any time in OBX before running off on another treasure hunt.
The season opened with the main characters John B. (Chase Stokes), Kiara (Madison Bailey), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), JJ (Rudy Pankow), Sarah (Madelyn Cline), and Cleo (Carlacia Grant) on a deserted island, which they named “Poguelandia.” As Joy Udinsky (‘24), said, “one of my least favorite parts was when they were in Poguelandia for five minutes” and then the man that rescued them was actually just kidnapping them again. The characters lasted less than 15 minutes before getting into trouble. This theme continued for the rest of the season.
The episodes were filled with constant complications for anything the characters tried to achieve. Kiara ends up kidnapped by yet another villain, Carlos Singh (Andy Mcqueen), and is held captive with Sarah’s psychopathic brother Rafe (Drew Starkey); shoot-outs happen at least every five minutes, JJ helps Kiara escape a wilderness camp, and the “Pogues,” (what the group calls themselves) are always running from Singh, the police, or their parents. With the introduction of Big John (Charles Halford), John B.’s father, a widely hated character, we even see a momentary break-up between John B. and Sarah. As Paul Tassi, a writer for Forbes, put it, “it’s getting frankly a little exhausting that the series refuses to let its cast members ever, ever win for more than two seconds.”
The storyline is jam-packed and incredibly far-fetched. Season two of the show was already starting to over-emphasize the treasure hunt for the Cross of Santo Domingo. Lauren Puckett-Pope wrote, “the show can’t seem to decide what actually matters,” however as “the second season sunk much further into the ludicrous” it still “redeemed itself slightly by expanding its focus to characters like Pope, Kiara, and JJ.”
Similarly, in season three, it seems like the only thing holding the storyline together was the brief moments of love and friendship the characters shared. Whether that was John B. and Sarah making up, Cleo and Pope’s brief kiss, or JJ and Kiara finally getting together, these moments managed to hold together the plot. Joy explained that her third favorite moment was when JJ and Kiara ended up together because “they were perfect.”
But these moments were only mere minutes. CT Jones, a culture writer for the Rolling Stone, noted that the writers sacrificed “nearly all of the show’s original charm to keep its already unbelievable treasure hunt theme going just a little while longer.” This treasure hunt theme, carried over from season two, was overdone and just too absurd.
In the search for the lost city, they have to find a man named “Jose,” in Tres Rocas. Throughout their search for “Jose,” they manage to miraculously locate Big John who is being held captive at Singh’s house, reconnect with JJ and Kiara, and then go on the run again, ending up separated once again. Why are the characters always separated all the time?
While separated from the rest of the “Pogues” Sarah, John B., and Big John discover El Dorado. OBX did not do El Dorado justice. Even when Sarah and John B. finally discover El Dorado, it is not a city; it’s simply a pillar of gold. OBX did not deliver and the focus on the hunt for the lost city of gold, “El Dorado,” has been done, a lot. When searching “El Dorado” on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), 75+ titles came up; so, for it to be the main focus of the season and be so poorly executed is embarrassing.
And of course, the season ends with yet another shoot-out. A stand-off between Singh and Big John, and John B. and Sarah, who just returned from El Dorado occurs. In the end Ward (Charles Esten) Sarah’s father, Singh, and Big John both end up dead. But of course, every show must end with a cliffhanger.
After giving the characters only seconds to mourn the deaths of everyone, we skip 18 months ahead, when they are honored for the discovery of El Dorado and all is well. At the ceremony, a stranger approaches the kids and asks them to aid him in searching for the pirate Blackbeard’s treasure. It seems like for season four, which it has already been renewed for, the writers are not going to abandon this “treasure hunters for hire” idea.
Season three did not live up to the expectations, and it seems like season four is going to continue to pull away from the core of OBX, the friendships, love, and unique thrill.