emotional roller coasters

The 16 Stages of Watching Outer Banks Season 3

By season three, you should know the drill with Outer Banks: You’re going to go through a lot of emotions. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

It’s time to pledge your allegiance to Poguelandia, friends, because Netflix’s teen drama-adventure series Outer Banks is back. Season two left John B and his scrappy group of pals — better known as the Pogues — stranded on a deserted island in the Caribbean after once again being bested by the evil Ward Cameron and his son Rafe during an attempt to get back the gold the Camerons stole from them in season one, which was a real Kook move, if you ask me. Ward and Rafe also happen to be honorary Pogue Sarah’s father and brother and, fun fact, both have tried to murder her at least once so far. That’s Outer Banks for ya! It’s a wild, unpredictable, treasure-hunting-filled ride full of almost murder, full murder, precious, precious gold, alligator wrestling, so many instances in which main characters should die but somehow survive, and a made-up class-warfare-based rivalry between groups called the Pogues and the Kooks. Its ridiculousness is part of its addictive charm.

As those who’ve already made it through seasons one and two can attest, one does not watch Outer Banks, one experiences Outer Banks. It is an emotional roller coaster, to say the absolute least. Lucky for you, you don’t have to get on that roller coaster alone. Instead, we’ve once again put together this handy guide to help you navigate all the emotions you’ll encounter on this latest whirlwind, angst-filled adventure with the Pogues — one that sees them headed toward the lost city of El Dorado. You read that right! So what, exactly, will you be feeling during Outer Banks season three?

[Warning: Deep spoilers for Outer Banks season three lie ahead.]

Simultaneously Prepared and Unprepared

Wondering how to prepare for a plane crash and Kiara getting abducted in the first 22 minutes of the season? You can’t, so don’t bother trying. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

The only way to be prepared for the experience of Outer Banks is to know that you are mostly unprepared for the experience of Outer Banks. You may be anticipating some of what’s to come, but there is no way you can anticipate it all, and real OBX fans are at peace with that. Things you can prepare for: insane voice-over trying to make Pogues versus Kooks a thing, like “From the beginning, it was always Kooks and Pogues” (like, from the beginning of time, John B, or …?), or that this show wants us to believe that a bunch of teens could not just survive but thrive on a desert island for almost six weeks even though their time on Poguelandia mainly consisted of them cliff diving into rocky ocean water. Things you cannot prepare for: the fact that they’d be involved in a plane crash outside of Barbados and Kiara would be abducted by a treasure-hunting fanatic within the first 22 minutes. Prepared for: the rest of the Pogues to go along with JJ’s rescue plan even though his plans are consistently terrible. Unprepared for: the Pogues to get chased by killer dogs. See what I mean? It’s a give and a take, this Pogue Life. I mean, I think it is; I’m still mostly unclear on what constitutes “Pogue Life” aside from hating Kooks and maybe not showering for weeks at a time.


Got questions? Shhh — we don’t ask questions in Outer Banks. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

You really have to pick your battles when it comes to what you’re going to let bother you in regards to suspension of disbelief and Outer Banks, and it is too damn early in the season for thoughts like, These dumb teens are really going to outsmart and outrun literally dozens of armed men? and That’s the accent our villain is going with? and also Oh, so John B, who thinks his dad is dead enough to have that little Viking funeral for him, hears church bells in what is BARELY a distinct pattern and immediately thinks it must be his dad, alive, here in Barbados? He’s not wrong, but still, that’s a fucking leap. And you’re definitely not going to say anything when, in an effort to explain his theory to Sarah, John B tries to describe the bells his dad used to signal him home as a kid using these exact words, “ding, ding, ding-ding,” and then Sarah is like, “Yes, John B, go see if that’s your dead dad even though we found Kiara and a boat to take us home and have a very limited window before the treasure-hunting fanatic sics his army on us.” Nope, to begin to poke holes and ask questions now would be to burn this whole operation to the ground, and, friends, we have the gold of El Dorado to find. El Dorado! Yep, it’s best to let the plot of Outer Banks wash over you like a cool summer breeze.

Concerned for the Youths, Always and Forever

I’m concerned for these two. Photo: JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

Another season of OBX, another season of me fretting over the youths. I’m concerned for Pope, who is still angsting over Kiara even though he had six weeks on an island to realize that she’s just not that into you, dude, and also, Cleo is right there. I’m concerned for JJ, who is clearly in love with Kie, but when she wants to have a real convo about their feelings, he retreats, tells her that they could never work, and screams at her that she’s a Kook — the highest of insults — before running off to cry on a dock, as sad fisherpeople do. I’m concerned for Kie, who still thinks her parents are the bad guys for … being upset that their daughter is hanging out with a group of people who have nearly gotten her killed multiple times. I’m concerned that the girl youths do not own one uncropped shirt. I’m concerned for Rafe, who is smacking himself in the head, and that is the truest sign of a psycho. I’m concerned for Rafe even more when Ward wakes from his coma in Guadeloupe and wants to send Rafe back to the Outer Banks, sell all their property, and gift the cross of Santo Domingo to a museum to atone for almost murdering his own daughter, all things that are sure to set off this li’l sociopath. I’m concerned that no one is going to school?

But mostly, I’m concerned about John B. This sweet dummy still believes his bandana marriage to Sarah is legit. Oh, and also, within the first few days of getting his dad back, Big John almost gets his son killed trying to get a statue that should lead them to El Dorado, murders two people right in front of him to get back Denmark Tanny’s diary, and forces him to try and rob an old lady so that they can break into a museum for more El Dorado clues. That stuff is bad, but honestly, the bandana-marriage thing really worries me the most.

Quite Stressed, to Be Honest

The youths have decided to stage a train heist to steal back the eight-foot gold cross from Ward, so you get where I’m coming from.


How I feel trying to figure out what is going on. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

Okay, it’s around this point when I finally have to start asking some questions. And by “some questions,” I mean, “Wait, what?” We go through this wild and admittedly exciting train heist — the teens are riding the rails and hauling out crates that might have priceless relics on them and tossing them in the back of trucks and engaging in high-speed chases from the police, and then JJ almost dies when he and his motorbike go crashing through the cement wall of an overpass — only to learn that the crate is full of junk. Rafe already stole the cross so he could melt down that priceless relic to feed his daddy issues, err, sorry, to make money. The whole thing was for nothing! A dead end! So I ask you, wait, what?

But that’s not the only questionable thing going on: Big John gets called in by our old creepy pal Carla Limbrey, who is still waiting for him to bring her the healing shroud she was on the hunt for all last season. Remember the shroud was supposed to be inside the cross? Remember she killed her brother? Anyhoo, everyone knows it’s a hoax except for Carla, so Big John and John B show up at her place and hand her a “shroud,” and she rubs it all over her face, and suddenly she doesn’t need her crutches! She’s been healed, she says! I guess this just means she was psychosomatic this whole time, or just psycho, but not much is said about it, and the Johns go on their way. Now, you might be like, Carla Limbrey was a major villain last season, surely she’ll pop up again at some point in the season. Spoiler: She does not. So again, I ask with my whole heart and soul: wait, what?

Like I’m Home Again

The sign makes a good point. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

Fire up the Chantal Kreviazuk (or Randy Newman, if that’s your thing), because it feels like home to me, babes! This is comfortable, familiar Outer Banks shenanigans right here: We’ve got Pope almost murdering Rafe because he melted his family’s heirloom. We’ve got Ward returning to the OBX to fuck some shit up (finally!). We’ve got poisonous darts taking out people? We’ve got John B’s dad being abducted by Carlos Singh and taken to Venezuela. Then, while Rafe is talked into putting a hit on Ward by Barry the Drug Dealer, Sarah has time to go to a party with Topper! Sarah hooks up with Topper! Topper thinks they’re in love? John B beats the shit out of Topper in front of the entire town. Pope and Cleo find the translation key to the statue that will lead them to El Dorado, if you still care about that. And we’ve got John B and JJ getting into business with a local drug smuggler named Barracuda Mike in order to get a flight down to South America, but that plan is stopped short when John B gets carted off to jail for what he did to Topper. See? Doesn’t that feel so normal and good?

Like I’ve Had It Up to Here With the Youths

These youths need to get a grip. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

“Born a Kook. Became a Pogue. So which am I really? Kook or Pogue? Honestly, at this point, I don’t even know myself.” Yeah, no shit, Sarah, that’s why you’re waxing poetically about it to yourself in voice-over. I swear to fucking God with these youths.

Wait, I’m Back Into It Now

That petty little bitch Topper burns down John B’s house! To the ground! While all the Pogues are in it! They get out, but you know what I mean. Honestly, Sarah does Topper dirty by making it seem like she wants to be with him if only he’d drop the charges against John B, so I get why he’s mad, but “burn a house down” mad? Whew, baby, we’re getting into it now. Oh, also, Sarah makes a deal with the devil (her dad) to use his private plane to get to the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela in order to save Big John, AND Rafe decides that the friendly waitress he’s sleeping with (you in danger, girl!) is right: He is “different” than the other Kooks, and decides he does not want his dad murdered! He gets to Ward’s hideout just in time to help his dad kill the hit man. Father and son may have healed some wounds — Ward doesn’t care that Rafe wanted him dead! — but Ward now has a grievous injury. Like I said, we’re getting into it!!


We’re going for it now, babes! Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

Everybody’s supposed to meet up at the airstrip after the non-orphans tell their parents they’re going to Venezuela to save Big John from some evil treasure hunters and also maybe find the lost city of El Dorado, but Kiara doesn’t show — and that’s because Kiara has been taken. Taken by employees of a wilderness therapy camp set up by her parents, that is. I’d ask, “Who has the time?” but this show does. This show has the time!

There are points along each Outer Banks season where you’re like, I love this show so much, and this season, for me, that point is when they crammed in a “JJ rescues Kiara from the wilderness camp for delinquents her parents shipped her off to and then they finally kiss” story line while everybody else is trying to get to El Dorado. The audacity of this show! Plus, Rafe and a bloodied Ward appear at the airstrip because Ward was spotted by a local and he needs to use the plane to get out of town. None of the Pogues are happy about this, but what other choice do they have? Ward swears he is a changed man and won’t do anything to hurt them, but he’s tried to kill several of them, so forgive them if they don’t believe the guy. And yet, they get on the plane. JJ and Kie rely on the help of Barracuda Mike to get their own flight. Everyone is headed to Venezuela. This is living!


Would it kill these youths to throw on a sweater or some sunscreen? Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

I know the Pogues have much bigger things to worry about now that John B and Sarah are on a boat with both of their dads (awkward since Ward has tried to kill all three other passengers!), split up from their friends, and are being chased by Singh and his henchmen, but, wow, all I can think about is the incredible amount of bug bites everyone is going to get with so little clothing on and if anyone packed sunblock. I told you earlier I was concerned for the youths, and there are a lot of levels to that.

Exhilarated Again!

I’ve moved on from the sunblock because, holy hell, there are some major happenings as we tumble toward season three’s conclusion: Big John, John B, and Sarah translate the directions to El Dorado just as they realize Ward has sold them out to Carlos Singh, but also Ward tries to get a redemption arc when there’s a shoot-out, and also Big John almost lets Singh kill John B so he doesn’t have to give up the location of the gold? The parents on this show are wild. I guess I’m burying the lede here because John B, Sarah, and Big John wind up finding El Dorado. Those goofs really did it. It’s inside a cave, in case you were wondering. But just as John B and Sarah return from gathering their first load of gold, Singh is there still being a pretty half-assed villain. Big John blows him up with a stick of dynamite. Also, Pope and Cleo finally realize they have feelings for each other and they make out a little! P4L, baby! This ride never ends!

Moved, Emotionally Speaking

Feeling moved because “They finally found El Dorado!” isn’t an emotion. Photo: JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

Not to be too soft or whatever, but the scene outside the now blown-up cave in which John B and Sarah tell Big John about how beautiful El Dorado is and show him the gold and they’re all teary-eyed because everything they’ve worked for and believed in and in some cases — I won’t name names — murdered for has paid off moved me straight to tears. Maybe it’s because a weepy “We did it, John B” is how I, too, feel once I make it to the end of a full season of Outer Banks.


“Machetes?!” is the only way to describe how you’ll feel when the other Pogues bum-rush Ward after he goes full Rafe (lunatic) on John B, Sarah, and Big John, since Big John has what Ward’s always wanted (gold, a child who loves him, etc.). The Pogues have chutzpah, that’s for sure, but machetes?! Do we actually think any one of them will stab Ward with a machete? Have any of them ever used a machete? Bless their hearts!

Absolutely Gutted

Well, I guess it was only a matter of time before Outer Banks would have us (me) sobbing. Listen, I know both Ward and Big John are murderers and on average, terrible parents, but watching both John B and Sarah have to bury their dads (Ward goes over a cliff saving Sarah and Big John succumbs to a Singh-provided gunshot wound) is gutting. They’re just kids!!


No, I really cried a lot over the death montage.


They definitely have another season in them. Photo: /JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

Just when you’re like, Okay, we wrapped up the Royal Merchant/El Dorado plot and our best villain is dead, maybe I’m done with Outer Banks, we find the kids 18 months later being celebrated for their huge discovery, moving forward with their lives, and still sticking it to Topper when a mysterious man arrives to request their help … to track down Blackbeard’s treasure. Season four is a pirate treasure hunt?! Babes, you may be done with Outer Banks, but Outer Banks is not done with you!!!

The 16 Stages of Watching Outer Banks Season 3