Ward Cameron as a character has always left us in two minds. We could never really understand if we wanted to hate him or feel bad for him. On one hand, it was really his actions that kicked off the entire events of “Outer Banks,” yet towards the end, he decided to give it all up for redemption for the very daughter he had tried to strangle. To be honest, we believe his character could have been written better, with more details. But since that was not the case, we will try to read between the lines and fill in the gaps as much as we can.
Initially, Ward Cameron was just Sarah’s dad and the guy John B worked for. His first notable moment was when he fired John B. after Topper told him that he might be stealing from him. The way he had approached it, it felt very strong and mature to us. He let John B say his piece, and while he seemed to understand the reason behind his actions, he was sure that he had to let him go for the principle. Ward was right, but looking back, we see the irony of it now. We have to confess that we like how Ward Cameron looks, which meant that we wanted him to be the good guy. When we saw him take out Big John’s compass after his daughter leaves with the map of the island in “Outer Banks” Season 1, we understood that he was shady, but we still hoped that maybe that would be explained away. However, the moment he tried to kill John B, we knew there would be no redemption for him. It was the first time we saw that he was a very desperate man. There was a madness in his eyes, one that made us think that he would go to any extent to protect himself.
Ward Cameron was easily one of the richest men on the island, so much so that Sarah was known as the “Kook princess,” and Rafe could afford expensive hobbies. He had homes in Barbados and a number of other places, along with a thriving business, or so we thought. From what we understood, the search for the treasure was a recent obsession of Ward. He was in debt for over a million dollars and needed money. But what we are not sure of is whether the debt was the driving force behind his actions. He could have easily sold one of his many homes and covered that kind of money. But he wanted the gold, whose present-day value was some $400 million, which he would split halfway with Big John. We don’t think Ward needed the money to cover his debt; he wanted it because he was greedy.
Though Ward was already richer than most people, $200 million is the kind of money that can catapult one into the top 1% of the 1%, and as they say, there is no limit to ambition. Designer clothes and a few homes spattered across the place could translate into a truly high-flying life in the richest cities of the world. But something changed when he accidentally killed Big John or at least thought he did. Ward Cameron had a lot to gain from the treasure, but even without it, he had a lot to lose. We don’t believe he was a killer, but he also didn’t care about the right thing if he had a lot to lose. We doubt he felt guilty about Big John because if he did, he might have stepped in to help John B much earlier instead of only taking him in when he knew he might have a clue about the treasure. As if the murder of Big John was not enough, he took it one step further by killing Scooter and the other guy, who had gone to investigate the wreck on Ward’s instructions, to cover his tracks.
Ward Cameron’s Love For His Family
We might have written him off as a greedy sociopath if not for the love of his family. Ward loved his children and would do anything for them. He was aware of his skewed moral compass, but he wanted his children to be different. While he did not have to worry about Sarah in this regard, Rafe never failed to give him a headache. When he caught his son trying to steal money from him, Ward was hurt and disappointed, but he dished out tough love the way it should have been. He covered Rafe’s debts to Barry and beat him up as a warning to stay away from his son. It might have also been payback for Barry burning Rafe’s hand, but the bottom line is he took care of his son’s safety. However, the lesson was far from over. He told his son to never return to his house because he wanted to teach him the value of money and for Rafe to find his own way in the world without his father. These are the kinds of things that made Ward such an upstanding citizen. The reason Sarah couldn’t initially believe that her father had killed Big John was that this was the kind of person she knew him to be. His greed and crimes were a hidden part of his life. But what set Ward apart from the other treasure hunters was that he did not consider his moral fallacies as necessary evils or the way of the world. He made sure that his children did not follow in his footsteps, which is why he treated Rafe the way he did. In fact, that is also why Sarah was his favorite child because she already had a strong moral compass to begin with, which later became the cause of friction between them.
Ward’s redeeming quality was his love for his family. Rafe killed Sheriff Peterkin, and it would have been the easiest thing in the world to let him take the fall for it by manipulating his already fragile state of mind. But Ward protected him and fought for him tooth and nail. In fact, it was to protect Rafe that he committed another murder, that of their pilot, Gavin. When Ward faked his own death, it was not just to escape the authorities but to protect Rafe and give his entire family a clean slate. He had the gold, and now he just needed his family. But he ruined any last hope of that when he tried to strangle Sarah on the boat. His daughter had felt genuine grief, the kind that didn’t care about his crimes when she thought he was dead in “Outer Banks,” Season 2. But when he attacked her the way he did, he erased a lot of her love with his own two hands. There is this thing about strangling: it is a slow process of killing someone, one where the determination to do the deed must persist for a certain period of time. You cannot blame that on just impulsive rage or an accident. Sarah knew that as much as her father loved her, she couldn’t have a relationship with him again. We don’t doubt that even Ward must have shocked himself that day. It was probably that deed that taught him that he did not care about money as much.
Does Ward Cameron’s Death Symbolize His Redemption?
Right from the beginning, Ward never cared about the Cross of Santo Domingo. He saw an opportunity to redeem himself when he decided to give it away. Rafe and Ward’s relationship tells us a lot about the latter. Ward always wanted the best for his children, and he was trying to do right by them in whichever capacity was possible given the circumstances. He had understood that Rafe needed help, and he might have gotten it for him if he had not been on the run. For the moment, he just tried to be supportive. When Rafe was blaming himself for the deal going wrong with Carlos Singh in “Outer Banks” Season 3, Ward reassured him by telling him about his own experiences. He even went as far as telling Rafe to handle the sale of their property in the Outer Banks as his way of showing his trust in him.
When Rafe tried to shoot him, as scared as Ward was, he told his son that he knew he wouldn’t be able to do it. Ward wasn’t being condescended here but showing his faith in the goodness of his son. When Rafe hired a person through Barry to do the deed, Ward knew it was him. Yet, as injured as he was, he took the time to tell his son that he forgave him and that he knew he was a good person because it is what we choose to do in the end that makes us who we are. Ward was not just reassuring Rafe but also himself. He wanted to believe he was a good person because he was giving away the cross and had told Sarah that he would give some of the gold to the ponies. He wanted to be a good person because he wanted a relationship with his daughter, and he had to forgive his son if he wanted his daughter to forgive him.
When he offered to go with them to El Dorado, for a second, we were suspicious that he was using the kids for his own greed, but as it turns out, he was protecting his daughter. Honestly, he placed them in greater danger by calling Carlos Singh, but that is the writer’s fault for not giving him a stronger reason for his actions. When he holds John B and Big John at gunpoint after they come out of the cave, Ward is a man who has completely given up. He can no longer have a relationship with his son after what he tried to do, and any chance with Sarah went right out the window when he got involved with Carlos Singh. His attempt to kill Big John had started his entire journey of crime, but now that he was alive and reunited with his son, he had everything that Ward had lost.
Ward was close to madness and ready to fire the gun when Sarah came in between. Everyone that Ward had killed till then, he could justify, no matter how weakly, as an accident or a necessity. But if he killed anyone now, it would be pure malice. When Sarah stepped in between them, she reaffirmed her faith in him, that he wouldn’t do it and that he wasn’t that kind of person. Sarah’s words were proof that, as much as she wanted her father to stay away from her, she acknowledged that he wasn’t an evil person. It was what Ward desperately wanted to believe, and it proved that he might still have a chance with his daughter. When Sarah was in danger of being shot, Ward saw a chance for his redemption. Any father would try to protect his daughter similarly, but there was a moment between him and Sarah right before he took the bullets. Sarah knew what Ward was intending, and she accepted it. Maybe she believed that it would mean that justice was served for everything he had done so far, or maybe she was scared of dying. Either way, Ward was ready to make the sacrifice. His death was the ultimate proof of his guilt and the love he had for his daughter.
When we discuss Ward Cameron from the “Outer Banks,” we don’t feel any sympathy for him. He was never at a disadvantage, and as much as Sarah stayed away from him, she never stepped out of line, as she might have lost respect, but the love still remained. Rafe did everything to gain the approval of his father and his family and to show he was worthy. Ward’s wife, Rose, was his biggest support, and we could tell that they genuinely loved each other. Ward Cameron doesn’t need sympathy. He played his part in the scheme of things, and he played it well. It can be argued that he had a hero’s death, the kind that would allow his daughter to not shy away from her love for him. We wish he had a better name, though, because “Ward” just feels off to us. To sum it up, we don’t love Ward, but we don’t hate him either. To think it could have all been avoided if he was just not trying to make more money more than 150 times his debt.