The Pogues may not have much in the way of wealth, but when it comes to staying alive, no one on Kildare Island has a better track record. Over Outer Banks’ first two seasons, John B (Chase Stokes), Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline), and their pals have found themselves in countless jams, some easy to navigate — at this point, they run from the police for sport — and others far more dangerous, as when Sarah’s scheming father Ward (Charles Esten) hires an assassin to take out John B (after framing him for murder, no less).
But no matter how close the teens of OBX come to meeting their end, they always find a way out: A plan comes together at the last second, someone else swoops in to save the day, or they summon superhuman strength and defeat their attackers. Sometimes, it’s all three.
You’d think that cheating death even once would encourage the Pogues to hang up their bandanas for good, but these kids have zero common sense and even worse judgment. In Season 3, the teens find themselves in their most precarious situation yet as they face off with a ruthless Caribbean Don willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on the Royal Merchant treasure. Eventually, their luck will run out — it’s just a question of whether that will come before or after striking it rich.
With so much happening in every episode, these near-death experiences begin to blend together, becoming a continuous loop of chase sequences and shootouts. Consider this a refresher on the first two seasons of Outer Banks, as seen through the nine lives of its teenage treasure hunters.
Season 1, Episode 5, “Midsummers”
As John B and Sarah have gotten closer — hell, they even got “married” in Season 2 — Topper (Austin North), Sarah’s ex-boyfriend, has taken more of a backseat, but it’s important to remember just how awful the King of the Kooks was in the first few episodes. After her adventure in Chapel Hill with John B, Sarah debates whether to break up with Topper, but he makes the decision easier by being a misogynistic d-bag and following her and John B to their meeting spot at the top of a rickety old lookout tower. After some pushing and shoving, the wood buckles, and John B goes flying through the air, landing with a thud 40 feet below. In the final minutes of “Midsummers,” John B wakes up in the hospital to discover that he has a concussion and a broken wrist — and a new girlfriend. Way to salvage the day, John B.
Season 1, Episode 6, “Parcel 9”
Compared to Season 2’s globe-hopping and complicated, Cross of Santo Domingo-fueled drama, finding buried treasure beneath a random elderly woman’s home seems almost quaint. But the Pogues aren’t able to enjoy this moment of relative simplicity because the aforementioned elderly woman, who’s rumored to have killed her husband with an ax, hears the commotion and goes after them with a shotgun (and a fire poker, but this is less of a threat). Luckily, the woman has gone blind and struggles to hit her targets, which soon becomes a common occurrence in the teen drama. As Pope (Jonathan Daviss) remarks as the crew is desperately fleeing the woman’s home, “Why are we always getting shot at?!”
Season 1, Episode 8, “The Runway”
The Devil works hard, but Ward Cameron works harder. For seven episodes, Ward successfully avoids the consequences of his shady actions, but his house of cards threatens to collapse when John B realizes he’s involved in the treasure hunt (and later, in his father’s disappearance). Armed with a grappling hook, Ward chases John B around his boat — which is conveniently parked in the middle of the ocean — but the savvy teen fights back after discovering a crossbow. Both take a beating as they battle it out, but somehow, John B manages to get a jet ski in the water and drives off, bringing his first confrontation with Outer Banks’ big bad to a close.
Season 1, Episode 10, “The Phantom”
The Outer Banks Season 1 finale will terrify anyone who’s seen Poseidon. A storm’s rolling in, but John B and Sarah are determined to flee Kildare and head to Mexico by boat, huge swells and driving rain be damned. The dire conditions prompt a Romeo and Juliet moment from Sarah, who declares, “I’d rather die than be without you.”
Seconds later, Mother Nature puts that promise to the test by unleashing a massive wave, pushing the boat fully upright, and then flipping it backwards into the water. The Pogues and the authorities assume John B and Sarah are dead, but next we see them, they’re wearing life jackets and clinging to the boat (despite not wearing life jackets when the wave hit). But not only are they alive: John B also hung onto the gold, which they use to flag down a passing boat. Next stop, the Bahamas.
Season 2, Episode 2, “The Heist”
After killing Sheriff Peterkin (Adina Porter) at the end of Season 1, Sarah’s brother Rafe (Drew Starkey) takes a page out of Kendall Roy’s book and spends the bulk of Season 2 trying to prove his worth to his father. His first attempt comes in “The Heist,” when he sets out to find (and destroy) the gun that proves he shot Peterkin. But the Pogues are also on the hunt for the gun, which they believe will exonerate John B, and the two desperate parties eventually cross paths in the island’s sewer system. (Viewers may recall that the gun fell into the storm drain during an altercation between Ward and his pilot Gavin, played by Adam Vernier.)
Despite JJ’s (Rudy Pankow) general love of all things gross, it’s Kiara (Madison Bailey) who finds herself in the sewer; up above, Rafe and his friend Barry (Nicholas Cirillo) plan to flush out the gun and grab it from a drain by the ocean. When they hear Kiara screaming to her friends, they realize she’s in the sewer, but Rafe chooses to proceed with the scheme, ignoring Barry’s warnings about “more dead bodies showing up” around town. As water begins to flood the sewers, Kie fights to keep her head above water, and JJ and Pope scramble to remove the street-level drain cover. The two succeed at the last minute, and after catching her breath, Kie, like John B before her, pulls something extraordinary out of her pocket: the gun. That Pogue luck strikes again!
Season 2, Episode 3, “Prayers”
“Prayers” is an apt title for this episode, because divine intervention is probably the only way Sarah survives a gunshot wound tended to by a man who is “not a doctor,” but a “service provider.” The not-a-doctor performs surgery on Sarah in his unsterile attic, but after briefly waking up, she flatlines, and the doctor pronounces her dead. But this is Outer Banks, where no one is ever truly dead, and John B’s last-ditch efforts to revive her pay off. As John B cries over her motionless body, Sarah’s monitor suddenly begins beeping, and her vitals stabilize. Within hours, she’s up and moving, demanding that they resume their efforts to get the gold back. Apparently, the only thing more powerful than John B’s love is Sarah’s desire to put one over on her dad.
Season 2, Episode 5, “The Darkest Hour”
In “The Darkest Hour,” not one, but two Pogues stare down death at the same time. Despite his friends’ efforts to clear his name, John B returns to the Outer Banks a wanted man, and he’s forced to turn himself in when Ward and the FBI come calling. Sensing an opportunity to handle his John B problem, once and for all, Ward pays a cop to free another inmate, who chokes out the teen on Ward’s behalf.
Meanwhile, Rafe poses as his sister Weezy (Julia Antonelli) and organizes a meeting with Sarah at the docks. Still in full Succession mode, Rafe corners Sarah and holds her down in a nearby tub of water, claiming that she would do the same to him.
The episode intercuts these two encounters in a harrowing scene, flashing between John B and Sarah as each comes closer to being rendered unconscious. But for the first time, Topper does the right thing, appearing out of nowhere and hitting Rafe on the back of the head with a pole. As he yells Sarah’s name, a switch seems to flip in John B, who uses his last bit of strength to escape his attacker’s grip. The other inmate still seems to have the upper hand, but he inexplicably backs off, instead issuing an ominous warning: “I’ll be back for you.”
Season 2, Episode 9, “Trapped”
While the other Pogues seem to face down death at every turn, Pope largely avoids any serious bodily harm — until the penultimate episode of Season 2. The crew’s search for the Cross of Santo Domingo, a valuable relic that was on the Royal Merchant when it sank, brings them to a Freedman’s church, where they find the seven-foot-tall antiquity hidden in the rafters. The only problem? Those old wood beams are also home to a huge wasp’s nest, and Pope happens to be allergic to bees. As the group struggles to carry the cross into the car, Pope goes into anaphylaxis, and they rush him to JJ’s cousin Ricky (Ian Gregg), an EMT and weed dealer, who gives him a life-saving shot of epinephrine.
By Outer Banks standards, Pope’s near-death experience is resolved relatively quickly, but it might have the most hilarious effect. Because Ricky gave him 10 times the normal dose of epinephrine, Pope jolts awake, more determined to get the cross back than ever before. Pope is typically the most cautious of the group, so watching him race to the church like a coked-out NASCAR driver is a fun change of pace — even if his exuberance results in him totaling Kiara’s dad’s truck.
Season 2, Episode 10, “The Coastal Venture”
Of all Outer Banks’ ridiculous near-death encounters, the Season 2 finale brawl aboard the Coastal Venture may be its most unbelievable. With the Pogues off saving Pope’s life, Rafe sneaks into the church and steals the cross, delivering it to a container ship bound for the Caribbean. John B, Pope, Kie, and JJ manage to find their way on board — Sarah is also there, having been drugged and kidnapped by her brother and stepmother Rose (Caroline Arapoglou) — but no one is prepared for who they see next: Ward, who was believed to have died in a boat explosion in Episode 6, “My Druthers.” (Who says these teens are the only ones with nine lives?)
What follows is a nearly hour-long fight scene, in which crewmember Cleo (Carlacia Grant), who previously helped John B and Sarah in the Bahamas, helps Pope attack the ship’s captain; Sarah confronts her father, calling him a “murderer” and locking him in a storage room; Rafe and John B engage in hand-to-hand combat; and Pope uses the ship’s crane to move the cross onto an escape dinghy. But this time, their efforts are less successful. JJ’s confrontation with a machete-wielding crewmember ends with him hitting his head on the metal railing and landing in the water (think Tanya in The White Lotus), while Pope is forced to abandon his cross rescue mission when Ward’s men begin firing at him.
And yet, even as the crewmembers shoot dozens of bullets in their direction, the Pogues manage to make it out alive. The group gathers in the dinghy and drives away, JJ miraculously resuscitated and the rest of them unharmed.
Season 2 ends with the group stranded on a desert island, united by the obstacles they’ve faced. They may be totally alone, with no hope of rescue in sight, but at least in “Poguelandia,” there are no maniacal brothers or for-hire killers threatening their lives. That’s got to count for something.
Outer Banks Season 3 premieres February 23 on Netflix. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.
TOPICS: Outer Banks, Netflix, Carlacia Grant, Charles Esten, Chase Stokes, Drew Starkey, Jonathan Daviss, Madelyn Cline, Madison Bailey, Rudy Pankow