When its first season was released in 2020, “Outer Banks” proved to be an action-packed, extremely binge-worthy show. For young adult audiences, following a group of four teenagers on a treasure hunt around their coastal hometown was exciting. But by the show’s third season, which premiered last month, the plot has become tired and unoriginal. After all, viewers can only handle so many scenes of actors that are too old to be playing high schoolers running around from one near-death experience to the other.
“Outer Banks” focuses on a main friend group of “Pogues” — a term used to refer to Outer Banks locals. John B (Chase Stokes), Kiara (Madison Bailey), Pope (Jonathan Daviss) and JJ (Rudy Pankow) engage in shenanigans alongside former “kooks” — the term for wealthy vacationers in the Outer Banks — Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) and Cleo (Carlacia Grant). Together, they run away from local police, uncover clues that will lead them to the “El Dorado” treasure and outwit their ever-growing number of competitors.
The show’s third season begins right where the last one left off: the Pogues are stranded on a deserted island, upset to have lost the cross of Santo Domingo — the treasure they were hunting in season two — to Sarah’s dad, Ward Cameron (Charles Esten). After being double crossed by their rescuer, the Pogues must wander around the world in search of newer, bigger loot.
This new hunt leads the group from Barbados back to the Outer Banks and then to South America. On their journey, some of the Pogues find themselves reunited with long-lost family members, while others are admitted into institutions for troubled teenagers. And all of them are constantly running for their lives.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Cline said that "there was this energy to (season three) that the other two didn't quite have and I think it showed." It didn’t.
But season three certainly seems to have more chases and escapes than its two predecessors. But how many epic chases constitute too many? The Pogues have multiple close-calls driving away from their enemies in both John B’s van and Sarah’s ex-boyfriend’s borrowed pickup truck. At one point, John B even escapes on a jet-ski.
It’s not until the last two episodes, when the Pogues reach the banks of the Orinoco River in South America, that anything of substance really happens in the show. There, John B and Sarah find “El Dorado” and mourn the loss of some of their unlucky companions.
The only big difference between season three and its predecessors is that the Pogues finally find — and keep — their precious treasure. This is more than can be said for the audience, who waited years for a new season of Outer Banks only to find that the best part of the show was the scenery. And no matter how beautiful the beaches and open sea were, they certainly weren’t worth the 10-episode commitment.