The long-awaited third season of Netflix’s hit show Outer Banks made its debut on February 23.
Season 3 picks up where the previous season left off. The Pogues, John B (Chase Stokes), JJ (Rudy Pankow), Sarah (Madelyn Cline), Kiara (Madison Bailey), and Pope (Jonathan Daviss), along with the newest addition, Cleo (Carlacia Grant), have been stranded on a remote island in the Caribbean for a month. Despite no connection to the outside world, the Pogues are happy with how relaxed and carefree their new lifestyle is. However, they jump at the opportunity to leave the island as they see a plane, and the group heads to Barbados.
However, leaving the deserted island turns out to be worse than staying, as Kiara is kidnapped by the “lord” of the island, Carlos Singh (Andy McQueen). Singh explains that he desires to find El Dorado and that Denmark Tanny’s diary the Pogues have discovered while searching for the gold and a golden cross, is the key to him finding El Dorado (Tanny was the sole survivor of the ship that carried both the gold and cross). Kiara lies and says that she does not know about the diary. Singh decides to keep her at his heavily guarded mansion until she fesses up. Rafe Cameron (Drew Starkey), Sarah’s older brother and nemesis of the Pogues, is also locked up at Singh’s as he attempts to sell the cross to him.
The rest of the Pogues try to rescue Kiara, but their attempts are unsuccessful. The only way Kiara escapes is by taking matters into her own hands. Alongside Rafe, the two escape to his boat, but Kiara ditches him to find her friends.
Just as the Pogues are about to leave Barbados, a familiar chime of bells encourages John B to find out if his father, Big John (Charles Halford), is trying to call him, even though John B believed his father was killed by Ward Cameron (Charles Esten).
Big John and John B reunite, but the rest of the Pogues are forced to leave Barbados without them as Singh’s men chase them down. Big John explains that he has been living low in Barbados for most of the time he was missing and presumed dead. He has also been interested in finding El Dorado. Singh rescues him to encode the message to find the long-lost city, but Big John manages to escape Singh with part of the statue that hints at where El Dorado is.
The father and son duo go back to the Outer Banks simultaneously as the rest of the Pogues, and both groups wind up safe back on the island.
Unlike the other two seasons, the plot is choppy and split into multiple subplots. While John B and his father travel to Charleston, South Carolina, and other places to find the clues to El Dorado, Kiara faces going to wilderness therapy, JJ has a hard time dealing with his feelings, and Sarah is left with no one.
John B realizes that his father is not who he used to be. Big John is willing to kill, break-in, and steal to get to El Dorado, and he makes John B choose between finding the treasure with him or going back to the OBX with their pockets empty. John B reluctantly decides to stay with his dad, but he has to hide that he and his father found the clues successfully from his friends, which causes tension.
At the same time, Kiara, Cleo, Pope, JJ, and Sarah try in a last-ditch effort to get back the golden cross that belongs to Pope’s family by stealing it from a cargo train with the help of Topper (Austin North), Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. The group thinks they are successful, but the box is a decoy, and Rafe still possesses the cross. He even melts the cross to profit from it instead of letting Ward donate it to a museum.
As they return from Charleston, John B and Big John visit an old friend of Big John’s, who got him started on the hunt for the city. Big John’s friend is killed as he explains where exactly the city may be, and Singh’s men capture Big John and take him away to South America while John B makes a narrow escape. Singh tells Big John that he has a week to encode the hyrogliphics that reveal how to find El Dorado, or else he will be killed. With his father gone, John B is left to his own devices once more, and he confides in his friends and tells him about El Dorado and his father’s craze to get the treasure.
Using Ward’s plane, the Pogues go to South America to rescue Big John. However, Sarah, John B, and Big John get separated from the group and still head out to find El Dorado. Just as they’re about to encode the message finally, Singh catches up to them, with the help of Ward, and tells Big John to reveal the message. Big John does not say it, but he is shot in the stomach as he, Sarah, and John B escape.
The next day, the trio arrives at where the city of gold supposedly is. Still, Big John cannot go all the way there due to his wound, so John B and Sarah go off on their own and finally find El Dorado. They take as much gold as possible and return to find that Singh has caught up with them. However, Big John throws an explosive into the cave where Singh is, and he gets killed. John B, Sarah, and Big John meet up with JJ, Kiara, Pope, and Cleo, but just before they get away, another one of Singh’s men tries to intervene and get the gold from the Pogues. Just as he is about to shoot Sarah, Ward steps in front and dies, saving his daughter. On returning to the plane, Big John succumbs to his wounds, leaving John B fatherless again.
The plot skips ahead 18 months, and the Pogues are recognized for their accomplishments in finding El Dorado. Life ultimately seems excellent for the group, but the season ends with them getting another offer to investigate a manuscript from a captain’s log from Edward Teach, also dubbed Blackbeard. A couple of glances at each other imply that the Pogues are ready to tackle another adventure in season 4.
This season has been met with many mixed reviews. Some claim its the best season yet, while others say it is terrible.
The overall tone is much different when compared to the past two seasons. Season one is very lighthearted and relaxed, which many fans liked. Season two ramps in intensity, but season 3 is a 180-degree turn from the beginning. I don’t see season 3 as horrible, but it may feel like you’re watching two different shows when comparing the first and last seasons.
The Pogues are split up for most of the season, so there is definitely a lack of bonding that was seen in the past. For me, the Pogues being and working together was something I enjoyed, so the deficit of interactions was undoubtedly disappointing.
I personally believe Carlos Singh was a weak villain compared to the past antagonist, Ward Cameron. Ward fits in better in the plot due to his ties to the supposed death of Big John as well as being the father to one of the main characters, Sarah. Him being neutralized and replaced by the uninteresting outsider, Singh was a big flop.
Almost all fans can agree that Big John Routledge was too glorified in the past seasons to be too bad this season. He was pretty much a one-dimensional character whose only focus was finding El Dorado at the expense of everything else. Personally, I believe that Big John wasn’t given a fair chance at being viewed as a more dynamic character and fitting in better with the other characters in the show.
However, not all of season 3 was bad. After two seasons of waiting, fans were given the opportunity to see JJ and Kiara’s new romance, despite a slow burn for most of the episodes. In addition, Pope and Cleo begin a relationship.
The series has already been renewed for season 4, but there are questions heading into it. For starters, what happened in the 18 months between finding El Dorado and the Pogues being asked to start a new adventure? Will we be able to see anything that happened at that time? There have been hints towards the show being set up in a trilogy form, so if that is the case and season 4 marks the beginning of a new trilogy, will we get a season one-type vibe from it?
Despite the mixed reviews, I suggest watching Outer Banks and deciding for yourself: Was season 3 a flop?