Linnea Mayo ’26
After two years of waiting, the highly anticipated third season of Netflix’s show “Outer Banks,” finally dropped on February 23rd. The series follows the “Pogues,” a group of teens in Kildare Island, North Carolina, on an arduous hunt for long-lost treasure.
The season starts with the beloved Pogues—John B, Sarah, JJ, Kiara, Pope and Cleo—stranded on an island in the Caribbean they claim as Poguelandia. However, this isolation isn’t as consequential as expected, as the group are quickly rescued and become part of another high-stakes treasure hunting adventure.
The premise of this season is the search for the Golden City of El Dorado, the third and final part of the hunt for gold the characters have been on since season one. Compared to prior seasons, there is a larger divide between the Pogues and more diverse plotlines that don’t merge until the end. These plotlines include John B and his father Big John’s quest to El Dorado, Sarah struggling with her identity as both a Pogue and a Kook, Cleo and Pope’s research of Tannyhill, and JJ and Kiera’s complicated relationship and class conflict.
The treasure hunting plotline leads to repetitive story arcs that got harder to sit through as the season progressed. With so much going on, the individual plots became difficult to follow. It also became exhausting watching the Pogues lose time and time again, especially when they’re constantly separated. The collective group chemistry is the show’s greatest strength, and what many fans, including myself, love most about the series.
Additionally, Outer Banks 3 introduces a new antagonist named Carlos Singh. Singh is a Caribbean treasure hunter who believes it is his destiny to complete the quest of El Dorado, and throughout the series manages to kidnap Rafe, Kiara and eventually Big John. However, his briefly-mentioned motives and lack of personal connection to the characters make him much less interesting than the previous villain, Ward Cameron. In season three we see Ward and his son, Rafe, continue to be a compelling duo as they navigate their interesting and complicated dynamic.
What disappointed me most was the return of John B’s father, Big John, who at the end of season two was revealed to be alive. Considering his death was the premise behind John B’s search for the Royal Merchant in season one, his resurrection felt unnecessary. The show focused heavily on the story of this son and father duo, and their treasure hunt dragged on. I struggled to stay entertained or interested by this plotline and was disappointed to see John B split from the rest of the group for the majority of the 10 episodes. I was further irritated by the fact that Big John was not a very likable character, and I often questioned where his morals stood as he continually put his son at risk for the gold.
On the contrary, one of my favorite parts of this season was the romance that emerged between JJ and Kiara and Pope and Cleo. As a hardcore JJ and Kiara shipper, I was beyond excited to see their relationship finally blossom. I also enjoyed watching Pope and Cleo’s budding romance open up new sides to both characters. Unfortunately, these relationships were overshadowed by the hectic treasure hunt, which left little time to flesh them out. I hope to see these relationships developed further next season.
Luckily, the chemistry and charm between the Pogues continued to shine through and, amidst poor writing, kept me rooting for them to succeed. Their comedic interactions, constant rebellious attempts to help their fellow Pogues, and various twists and turns are what continue to keep Outer Banks afloat. I truly didn’t know how the characters were going to get themselves out of certain situations, which made the stakes of season three higher than ever before.
The show has already been confirmed for a fourth season, and I’m curious to see what is left for this series. The ending of season three felt like the start of a new and unrelated saga that leans into the core of Outer Banks: adventure drama. Hopefully, the new season will come with more character development and fleshed-out storylines. As a die-hard Outer Banks fan, I must admit that the series will always have a grip on me. Despite my heavy criticism, I’m excited to see where the rest of the story goes.