The third season of Netflix’s beachy island escape “Outer Banks” isn’t inherently bad, but it definitely leaves much to be desired.
***Warning: Spoilers for season three ahead***
The season picks up where season two left off, with the Pogues stranded on a deserted island. However, this opportunity to show interesting character interactions and dive deeper into the effects the island had on the Pogues is soon squandered, with the six of them being picked up by a plane flown by Jimmy Portis, a pilot working for the show’s new villain, Carlos Singh.
This is where glaring issues within the series begin to pop up. Singh is on the hunt for the lost city of gold, El Dorado, feeding into the formula the series has begun to follow of finding out about treasure, looking for treasure, running into problems and finding the treasure without any regard for the past season’s treasure through a series of outrageous half-baked plans.
However, nothing shows this better than the final episode, where it has been eighteen months since the events of season three. Rather than addressing the events of the season and the fallout that would come with them, like Pope losing his scholarship, JJ getting evicted, Kiara not being able to return home after being sent to a wilderness camp and both Sarah and John B losing their fathers, it is all simply skipped in favor of a quick comment about how they’re all doing well with their newfound fortunes and recognition. There is nothing done to show what would happen after returning to the Outer Banks, or even how they got back in the first place.
Furthermore, the series falls victim to adding random elements for the shock factor and extra drama, taking away from the established storylines. We saw this at the tail end of season two, with John B’s father, Big John, coming back from the dead. While he did play a large part in the season, it feels as if he was added more for drama.
This was also apparent on smaller scales too, as seen in moments like Topper setting John B’s house on fire or Pope going to kill Rafe before being stopped by Cleo. While they both had a motivation, it seems as if going that far on both counts was more for the shock factor than for plot progression, as they are never spoken about again.
However, not everything on the show was all bad. The cinematography of the show remains quite good by the standards of a teen drama. The series does a great job at taking advantage of their island settings by using gorgeous wide shots of beautiful scenery. This is then mixed with shaky handheld cameras to showcase the chaos and poverty that dominates the lives of the Pogues, effectively conveying the themes of the series.
Furthermore, the series did effectively set up romantic relationships between the characters, specifically JJ and Kiara along with Pope and Cleo. JJ and Kiara have always had a natural chemistry and quickly became a favorite pairing among fans. So, it made sense for them to start a relationship this season.
On top of that, Cleo and Pope were beginning to become fan favorites and had a pretty solid arc, starting out as friends before Cleo moved in with the Heyward family, leading to a series of both cute and heart-wrenching moments, such as Cleo stopping Pope from shooting Rafe by making him realize what he had. All of these small moments led to a sweet kiss on top of a mountain, creating an effective close to their will-they-won’t-they relationship and thrusting them into a romantic one.
Overall though, the series had its moments, both good and bad. While the writing and plot progression felt lazy and formulaic in nature, other aspects of the show stayed good.
Outer Banks Season three is now streaming on Netflix.