Series review: “Outer Banks” season three


Credit: Hallie Luo

WSPN’s Jenny Shine and Hallie Luo review the new season of Netflix’s “Outer Banks.”

Jenny Shine and Hallie Luo

On Feb. 23, Netflix released the long-awaited third season of  “Outer Banks,” indulging fans after the cliffhanger ending of the previous jaw-dropping season. After the show’s debut in April 2020, fans fell in love with the Pogues vs. Kooks rivalry, captivated by the engaging characters who never seemed to get along. Viewers loved “Outer Banks” for its combination of teenage drama, adventure and relationships. But this season’s execution was disappointing.

The season starts somewhere in the Caribbean with main characters John B (Chase Stokes), Sarah (Madelyn Cline), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), Kiara (Madison Bailey), JJ (Rudy Pankow) and Cleo (Carlacia Grant) on the deserted island they named “Poguelandia,” which they ended the second season stranded on. By hunting for food and surviving with what they have, the Pogues made do with what is on the island for a month. After flagging down a fishing plane and getting a ride from the suspicious Portis, the teens find themselves in Barbados, where they realize their pilot wasn’t so friendly after all. The teens then get tangled up in the competitive search for Denmark Tanny’s, a historical figure on the island, diary along with the mystery of “El Dorado.”

A major miss of this season was the characters. Even though the main group consisted of the same actors from the previous seasons, we also met John B’s dad named Big John, Carlos Singh and several other adults involved in the mystery. While watching, we felt like we were seeing more of these money-hungry criminals than the Pogues, who we started the show for. We watched the show to experience spontaneous summers in the dead of freezing February, not to watch Big John abandon his son to go on little adventures.

The issue of Big John’s character seriously was the downfall of this season. Until the end of season two, we thought he was dead, so the reunion of John B and his father failed to spark any emotion for us because we never knew about their relationship in the first place. We’re happy for John B, but can we move on to the next scene already?

The relationships between the teens also changed. Looking back at the first season, John B, Sarah, JJ, Kiara and Pope all had a carefree mindset that made them the teens we wished we were. Running around with the Pogues seemed like the best feeling in the world to us, but this season, they just seemed like stupid teenagers making dumb decisions.

Additionally, the romance was fine at best. The break up of the cast’s celebrity couple, Madelyn Cline and Chase Stokes, translated to the on-screen relationship between Sarah Cameron and John B. The chemistry between the characters wasn’t even close to the unconditional affection they shared as “Vlad” and “Val” in seasons one and two.

The majority of the show felt poorly produced as well. Not only did we clearly see the stunt doubles of Kiara and Rafe Cameron (Drew Starkey) hop onto cars along with some questionable CGI crabs, but the whole mysterious “National Treasure” felt unrealistic and completely backward from the charm the show once had. How on earth did John B know the bells meant his father was alive? How did he raise fire from an underground lake or manage to find himself in a million completely avoidable situations? I guess we’ll never know. Half the plot was just the characters being held at gunpoint over and over.

It seemed as though the producers could have condensed the first five or so episodes of the season into only two episodes because of the repetitive scenes. The thrill and wonder of what would happen next in the story were completely missing. While some episodes, such as “Kitty Hawk,” were a blast, others were borderline skippable. The storyline felt like an endless loop of having to save someone from captivity, losing someone else in the process and then having to save another friend. Nowhere in any of the 10, 50-minute episodes did we see any sort of plot twist.

Our overall consensus of this season wasn’t that it was difficult to watch, but that it was just a significant letdown from the other seasons of “Outer Banks.” While it is still worth a try, the show’s switch of focus was disappointing. As of Feb. 2023, the show officially announced its renewal for a fourth season, and to say we hope it takes an upswing would be an understatement. There isn’t another show close to what “Outer Banks” brings to the table, and we would love to see season four strike gold.

Rating: 4.5/10