Outer Banks Season 3: So many characters, yet so few ideas 

by Libby Thornton

Seasons one and two of the popular Netflix series, “Outer Banks,” were filled with hilarious antics, high stakes treasure hunts and summer vibes. So what happened?

You know that time in the seventh grade when you went down a YouTube rabbit hole at midnight and ended up watching some historical documentary about ancient hidden treasures? You’d be interested in the moment and might stay up late watching, but the next day you would forget about it.

Well, John B’s dad, very creatively named Big John, did that, and then decided to make it his entire personality. Big John spends the entire show searching for the secret treasures of El Dorado and only wants help from his son in order to keep secrets from his friends. 

The problem is, Big John didn’t add anything to the story. Everything Big John contributed to the hunt for El Dorado could have easily been done by the Pogues, together, the way fans prefer.

It’s almost like the writers started season three, remembered they revealed that Big John was alive at the end of season two, and had no idea what to do with him. So, they awkwardly stuck him into the story and then decided to make the entire plot-twist of him being alive irrelevant.

But Big John’s character was not the only one the writers seemed not to know what to do with. 

Ward is all Zen in the beginning and then, randomly, the writers decide he needs to reenter his villain era late into the season.

Rafe does some drugs and makes some money, but ultimately just huffs and puffs in circles only to end up in basically the same position he started in.

Carla Limbrey, one of the driving forces of season two, and the one who found Big John, was given a dirty towel in one of the early episodes that “heals” her of her illnesses, giving the writers an easy way to never mention her again. 

So many characters and yet, not enough for them all to do.

Despite this, season three introduces a new villain, Carlos Singh, who really wants the El Dorado treasures and spends the entire season sending his men to hunt down both the Johns so they don’t get it before he does.

Honestly, I don’t remember his motivations other than he really likes gold and is a little competitive.

Even with all my frustrations, there were a few little moments throughout the episodes I enjoyed. The actors give great performances, and all their chemistry on screen is really entertaining. 

Some of my favorite scenes include Pope, with his hilarious bits and chemistry with Cleo, and JJ with his clumsy plans and back and forth with other characters like Kiara.

The best episode of the season, episode five, is one driven by Pope’s desire to save Denmark Tanny’s cross, the one that the Pogues spent season two tracking down. 

It’s fantastic because other than John B, who is off with his obsessive father, all the Pogues are together and on a heist. Their crazy plans and hilarious, panicked banter are what sold fans on the show back in 2020 and are very present in this episode. 

Sadly, that cannot be said for the rest of the show, which is the other one of this season’s biggest issues. It’s missing the OBX setting and all the characters together as a team.

Maybe we’ll get more of that in season four as Outer Banks turns into “Pogues of the Carribean,” and the crew is sent after all things Blackbeard. 

Ultimately, it is important for a show to get bigger and to expand on previous seasons, but by doing this it risks losing what originally made the show lovable in the first place. 

Outer Banks is hanging on to its original charm by a thread, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to reign itself in anytime soon, but hey, a girl can dream. 

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