‘Outer Banks’ Season 1: Recap & Ending – What Happened To John B’s Father? What To Expect From Season 2?


One of the perks of our job is that we are obliged to give a chance to a movie or a series that would have put us off by its two-sentence description alone. It has led us to discover some true gems, some of which are equal parts nostalgic and engaging. “Outer Banks” is one such show. Netflix describes this show as a treasure hunt that is linked to the protagonist’s father’s disappearance. Believe us when we say we wouldn’t have cared about this show despite its popularity. We didn’t care about it even after the first episode, but things get interesting from the second episode onwards. It is the story of a group of teenagers who have more guts than brains, but still, there is a charm to the series that appeals to our millennial senses. It wasn’t about moving at a fast pace and fitting as much of the narrative in as little space as possible.

“Outer Banks” Season 1 really took the time to develop its characters and their relationships, along with the central plot. It has been so long since we have seen actors really make the character their own. Chase Stokes had the magnetism that one would expect from the leader of a group, and Madelyn Cline was so believable as the rebellious rich princess. In fact, even the supporting cast, especially Austin North, who plays Topper, adds so much to the script. Good writing coming together with good actors is nothing short of magic on screen, and we are glad we were able to witness that with “Outer Banks.” With the third season on the horizon, let us take a look at everything that happened in the first season.

Spoilers Ahead

How Do The Pogues Start Their Treasure Hunt?

The island named “Outer Banks” is broadly divided into two groups called the Pogues and the Kooks, aka the wealthy and the poor. John B., J.J., Pope, and Kiara (Kie) are the Pogues, even though Kiara is actually a Kook. John B’s father has been missing for nine months, and he is on the verge of being taken away by social services and placed in a foster home, which is delayed due to a storm. While out in the water one day, they come across a submerged boat, and since the kids cannot differentiate between trouble and adventure, they decide to see what is in the boat and if they can get any valuable items.

For the time being, they find a motel key in the wreck and decide to investigate it further. However, when they are at the motel, they almost get into trouble when the police show up, and they have to hide. They see that the police find a lot of cash in the guy’s room. The kids hypothesize that there must be valuable items or drugs in the wreck, and that could help them a great deal. Hence, they steal some scuba gear from Cameron Ward’s ship, who is John B’s employer. Unfortunately, they just found a backpack in the wreck. When John is returning the gear, Sarah spots him, but she promises not to tell her father about this. However, Wheezie, who is Sarah’s sister, witnesses the entire interaction, and she rats her out to Topper, who is Sarah’s boyfriend. We find the name as funny as we find his character to be endearing and complicated, though he is somewhat problematic. He is a jealous guy, and when Wheezie tells him about John, he tells Cameron, which gets the kid fired. John blames Sarah, but she later clarifies that she wasn’t the one to tell her father.

Meanwhile, the Pogues find John’s father’s compass in the bag and find “Redfield” written on it. John’s father disappeared when he was on a treasure hunt. The “Royal Merchant” was a ship that sank in the ocean over a hundred years ago while carrying $400 million worth of gold. John thinks his father left him clues about the treasure, and there might be some merit to his beliefs since two goons have constantly been following the children ever since they decided to investigate the shipwreck. The search for Redfield takes John and his friends to a lighthouse, where the caretaker gives them a clue as to where the Royal Merchant could be. Throughout this time, the group is constantly being chased by men. John figures out a way to combat that. He hands over the compass to the sheriff, but not before figuring out the clue. His dad was referring to his ancestor’s grave, and that is where John finds an envelope that contains the next clue.

The Pogues indeed end up finding the Royal Merchant, but the tragedy of the matter is that it does not contain any gold. Dejected, they decide to move on from their wild goose chase, but it is not as easy for John. The social services have come to take him into foster care, so he makes a run for it. He meets Sarah when he is hiding from them, so she takes him to her place, where he comes to know about Denmark Tanny, a previous slave who had brought his freedom and huge swatches of Tannyhill with gold. John figures out that he was the sole survivor of the Royal Merchant; hence, he must have had the gold. Sarah tells him that his documents and writings are in the state archives at Chapel Hill and offers to take him there since she is looking for an adventure of her own. Sarah and John’s trip is successful, and they end up getting a letter from Denmark that he wrote and brings back to the mainland to have translated. But the day the two teenagers have spent together makes it clear that they have feelings for each other, and they decide to act on them.

The Treasure Hunt Is Getting Serious

While John is obsessed with finding the treasure, his group is having troubles of their own. JJ had pointed a gun at Topper, so Rafe tried to avenge his friend by beating up Pope. JJ and Pope take revenge by sabotaging Topper’s parents’ boat, and when he is found out, JJ takes the entire blame so as not to hinder Pope’s chances at his scholarship. But JJ’s father is an abusive man, and he beats up JJ, telling him to arrange the $30,000 for the damages. Having had enough, JJ finally decides to run away.

When John gets the letter translated, he comes to know that the gold is buried in a certain spot on the island, and he asks Sarah to bring the map to him. John’s friends are against her involvement in the group, especially Kiara, not to mention that Topper is catching on that something is going on between Sarah and John. He follows her when she goes to meet him, and in the ensuing confrontation, John has an accident where he falls from a height. Luckily, he was not seriously harmed. In a surprising turn of events, Sarah’s father, Cameron, offers to be John’s legal guardian to protect him. That is a great proposition for John, but we see that Cameron has the compass of John’s father, which means that he knows more than he is letting on.

John narrows down the location of the gold, which turns out to be buried in the home of a woman suspected of killing her family with an axe. The teenagers risk it nonetheless and find the gold, retrieving one bar before escaping from Mrs. Crain, who had started firing at them. They melt the bar of gold and try to pawn it off for money, but the dealer tries to rob them. She is working with Barry, who is Rafe’s drug dealer and is the one who tries to steal from the kids. However, they get the better of him, but J.J. takes it too far when he steals $25,000 from him, despite his friends’ protests. When he takes it to his father, Luke looks happy, but he doesn’t plan on using the money for J.J.’s restitution. This causes the father and son to get into a fight with J.J. finally getting the best of him and letting him know that he isn’t scared of him anymore. He takes the money and spends it on some of the most frivolous things, which angers Pope and Kiara, but when they see the bruises on his body, they understand what must have happened and rush to hug their friend. There is a time to let bygones be bygones and forgive some foolish and impulsive mistakes because it is more important to let the person heal from the sentiment behind them.

‘Outer Banks’ Season 1: Ending Explained – What Happened To John B’s Father?

Cameron overhears John B. and Sarah talking and figures out that they have discovered the location of the gold. He invites John to go fishing and lets him know that he will need an adult for the rest of the process after the discovery. However, a slip of the tongue lets John know that Cameron was involved with his father in his final days and may know something about his disappearance. Understanding the danger he is in, Cameron tries to attack John, who barely escapes with his life. Once he is on the mainland, he asks Lana what she knows, and she reveals that John B’s father and Cameron were on the treasure hunt together, but when the former tried to renegotiate their terms, they got into a scuffle that had left Big John fatally injured and Cameron threw him into the sea. However, Big John wasn’t dead. He had crawled to the shore and carved the clue on his compass for his son to eventually find, which is how the situation had gotten so far.

Furious, John B tries to tell Sarah the truth, but she is confused as she doesn’t believe that her father could do such a thing. The Camerons are leaving for the Bahamas the next day, and Pope figures out that they are taking the gold with them. He runs out of his interview, putting his entire life at stake to tell his friends that. At the runway, Sarah understands that something is wrong, but her father forces her into the plane. Seeing that she is being forced to go, in the act of reckless courage, John parks his bus in front of the plane, forcing Cameron to stop. They get down, and right when it looks like something might turn out to be in John B’s favor, the officer, Susan Peterkin, comes to arrest Cameron after having figured out everything and is shot down by Rafe. Rafe was told by Cameron to leave his house after he discovered his son was trying to steal from him to settle his debt with his dealer, Barry. Cameron had taken care of that but hadn’t accepted Rafe back into the family. This act by Rafe was for his father’s approval.

While John escapes with his friends, Cameron takes the opportunity to blame him for the death of Susan Peterkin. The entire island is now chasing John, but the biggest source of frustration for them, especially Pope, is that the plane with the gold takes off to the Bahamas. Everyone tries to tell the authorities the truth of the matter, but the situation is such that it just doesn’t happen. Some people come to know regardless, like Topper, who helps John and Sarah, and also Barry, who decides to use this information to blackmail Rafe in the future. One officer also hears Sarah’s side of the story, but before he can get a proper statement, she runs away. We will only discover his true loyalties in “Outer Banks” Season 2.

Knowing that there is no way they can tell the truth to the authorities, John B decides to escape. J.J. gets him a boat, and they stock it up with enough money and food. At the last minute, Sarah joins him, and they leave. But it is not smooth sailing, literally because there is a storm coming. The boat is considered lost at sea, but luckily, John and Sarah are alive. They are found by another ship and crew the next day, who promise to let them tag along with them. It turns out that they are going to Nassau, Bahamas. The two of them are going towards the gold after all, and their hunt for it will continue in “Outer Banks” Season 2.

See More: ‘Outer Banks’ Season 2: Recap And Ending: Everything You Need To Know Before Watching Season 3

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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