‘Outer Banks’ Season 3: Ending, Explained – Is Big John Dead? Do The Pogues Find The Treasure Of El Dorado?


There is no greater curse than a successful formula that cannot evolve with time. “Outer Banks” Season 1 and Season 2 were excellent because of the detailed writing and the interplay of the treasure hunt with the personal relationships of the characters. It moved fast and slow according to the pulse of the story, making for a narrative that did not allow us to look away from the screen. That is what had us so excited for “Outer Banks” Season 3, so imagine our disappointment when we saw such a lot of nothing happen across ten episodes. When did this show venture so strongly into the survivalist genre? Where did the personality of the characters disappear, and so many of them became so unlikeable?

As we said in our review of Season 1 of “Outer Banks,” these kids have more guts than brains, but when did they turn entirely stupid? It’s been very hard to like Season 3, so hard that we gave up. It is a tired trope that the kids never rely on the police, despite having been treated right, and they just go on one wild goose chase after the other, only to lose every single time. The kids are always up against forces greater than them, but they don’t need to be if only they seek the right help. Not once have we understood why they don’t ask for it, even when the circumstances are such that they will be believed? We apologize if it is a little harsh, but this entire season felt like watching rabbits running around in a cage without any purpose. Let us see how that happens.

Spoilers Ahead

Return To The ‘Outer Banks’ From Poguelandia

Remember how, at the end of “Outer Banks” Season 2, the kids were stranded on an island that they named Poguelandia? The number one doubt we have had while watching the first three episodes is how the kids never felt the need to brush their teeth. Anyway, they spot a plane going over the island and call for help, which, luckily, the pilot notices. He takes them to the mainland when the kids sense that something is wrong with him. They think that he might have been sent by Ward Cameron, and they try to wrestle control of the plane from him. What did we say about their guts and brains?

The plane crashes in Barbados, and while trying to escape, Kie is the only one with enough of a conscience to try and help Portis, who is unconscious. But it backfires for her as she is kidnapped. She is taken to Carlos Singh’s house, where she finds Rafe, who was trying to sell the cross and thought Carlos was a prospective buyer. Carlos wants Denmark Tanny’s diary, as he believes that it leads to a far greater treasure than what has been uncovered so far. But neither Kie nor Rafe have it. Something we noticed is that the women in this series wear the most impractical outfits. We might still ignore that none of them seem to have heard of sunblock, but living in a beach town does not mean walking around in booty shorts the entire time. The styling department really failed to be more mindful, and it is made worse because even though the actors are in their 20s, they are portraying teenagers, literally minors. Coming back to the story, the ponies are trying and failing in their attempt to rescue Kiara, but she ends up rescuing herself after forming an unwilling partnership with Rafe. In fact, she even successfully steals his boat so that she and the ponies can get back to the Outer Banks. But just as they are about to leave, John B wants to go investigate a church. The rhythm of the bells he has been hearing reminds him of what his father used to call him during his childhood. He goes to investigate and finds Big John alive and well. John B is unable to make it back in time to leave with his friends, but he manages to call and tell them to keep going without him.

The Pogues head back, though there is a weird moment when JJ and Kie seem to get somewhat close, and that is witnessed by Pope. He tells JJ that he wouldn’t interfere, but the latter is strongly against pursuing what could have happened. As for John B., his father tells him that he can’t contact him to protect him. When he had been washed ashore, he had been kidnapped by Carlos Singh’s men, one of whom had died on the island. It is his bones that had been presumed to be Big John’s. Carlos Singh wanted Big John to investigate the location of the rest of the treasure, but the latter had escaped at the first opportunity. Let us just say that Big John and John B (they should have had different names) get the first half of an artifact called the “Signpost of Orinoco.” This is the first step towards El Dorado, and they need the second half to find the exact location of the mythical city. The father and son come back to the Outer Banks, but their adventure is far from over.

Big John and John B’s Adventure

Big John is an obsessed man, to the point that he has no qualms about putting John B in danger again and again. He doesn’t see him as his son but more as an accomplice to his quest. As for John B, he is struggling with his love for his dad when he watches him become an entirely new person who won’t stop at anything to get what he wants.

Big John and John B break into a museum from which they retrieve the second half of the signpost, and they find that it has a number of symbols that need translating for them to find the next step of their quest. Both of them make their way to meet Kelly Kepler, a former friend of Big John’s who could help them with their mission. But they discover that he has passed away, and only two people from their last expedition are left alive, one of them being Tommy Sowell. They find him, and before he can translate the entire thing for them, he is killed by Carlos Singh. He takes the signpost for himself and would have killed Big John, but he feigns that he is the only person who can translate the signpost. Carlos Singh takes him captive and lets him know that he has a week to translate it completely. If he is not able to do that within that time, Carlos will kill him. As for John B., he makes his way back to his friends to get their help in rescuing his father.

The Changed Life At Outer Banks

It is understandable that after everything the kids went through, life wouldn’t be the same for them. When Sarah goes to her house to get some clothes, she finds that Rafe is back in the Outer Banks. He has been sent there by Ward to sell the property and settle affairs. But in his absence, Ward decides to donate the cross, which is his way of “atoning” for his sins, not to mention the tax write-off it would provide. But Rafe is furious because he believes the cross is his. We see his point just by the way Sarah overheard the conversation. When she tells this to the rest of the pogues, they hatch a plan to steal the cross when it is in transit because it is Pope’s family legacy. Needless to say, their high-risk mission, for which they enlist Topper’s help by getting Sarah to flirt with him, fails because, unknown to them, Rafe already had the cross stolen by Barry. He did so to keep it in his possession and deflect blame, as no one would suspect that Rafael would ask Barry for help after everything he did. It is then that Rafe does the vilest and perhaps the stupidest thing we have ever seen anyone do. He melts down the cross and decides to sell the gold and gems separately.

Apart from the crime that it is to destroy a priceless heirloom, why did Rafe think it made sense even from an economic point of view? The cross’ value was beyond its gold and gems. It was an artifact of historical importance and proof that greater treasures existed. But Rafe was too blinded by his hatred to see that. With him getting the money he needs, Rafe decides to rebel against his father and start his own life on the Outer Banks, which forces Ward to come back to the island. Seeing what Rafe has done and understanding that he is positively unhinged, Ward decides to hand over control of his properties to Rose, leaving Rafe furious and with a plan to kill his father.

Rafe aside, probably the most interesting developments have been with the Pope. He finds that he will have to repeat a year due to all the classes he has missed. He is angry because he believes that he is just trying to do the right thing. Additionally, finding that he has lost the cross once again leaves him disheartened. He tries to get his life back on track anyway, with some encouragement from Cleo, but soon enough, he finds a letter written by Denmark Tanny to his daughter, who grew up on the Limbrey plantation. When he compares the letter to the picture Kie took in Carlos’ house, he understands that this is the key to translating it.

Before we talk about the next step of these kids’ adventures, let us take a look at everything going on with the girls. After the moment Kie and JJ had on the boat, things have been awkward. Both of them have feelings for each other, but JJ is dead against acting on them as he feels that he lacks a future, and he does not want to suck Kie into that life. Meanwhile, Kiara’s parents are trying to be more supportive and understanding, but they also want her to plan for her future. As for Sarah, who finds herself without anyone or anything to turn to, she spends a night with Topper in a vulnerable state. When she tells this to John B, he gets into a fight with Topper, even though the latter does not fight back. Topper’s mother wants to file charges against John B. and asks Sarah to testify. Knowing she can’t go against them, Sarah makes a few deals. She asks her father for a plane to go to South America so that they can rescue Big John. On the other hand, she asks Topper to wait a day before he files the charges so that John B can leave and never come back. She does not tell him that she will be leaving with him. That night, Sarah and John B reconcile, and Topper sees them together, which finally pushes him over the edge, and he sets John B’s house on fire.

Nothing is ever easy for these kids. With there being nothing they can do about the setback, they get ready to board the plane and leave for Orinoco. But Pope and Kie want to do the right thing and tell their parents beforehand this time. While Pope gets permission, Kie’s parents have her forcibly sent to a wilderness camp. JJ leaves to rescue her, believing he owes her. Meanwhile, Rafe has second thoughts about wanting his father dead, and he rushes to save him, but not before he is injured. Nevertheless, the whole scuffle alerts the police to Ward’s presence on the island. As for Topper, he confronts Sarah about how she takes advantage of him and, in a moment of spite, hints to John B that he is responsible for setting his house on fire. While leaving, Topper files charges against John B. so that he doesn’t get to leave. But things move differently as Ward rushes to the plane. He must leave immediately to avoid arrest, and despite their hesitance, the ponies decide to go with him to Orinoco, even though they have to leave Kie and JJ behind. Before take-off, Ward tells Topper that he forgives him for trying to hurt him and that the property in the Outer Banks now belongs to him. As the group leaves on the plane, Kie and JJ run away from the camp after confessing their love to each other.

‘Outer Banks’ Season 3: Ending Explained – How Did Big John Die? Do John B And His Friends Find El Dorado?

We don’t know whether the Pogues have the worst luck or the worst. When they land at their destination and set off to find Jose, they end up finding Big John himself and rescuing him. They show him Denmark Tanny’s letter that has the translation key, and now, despite safety being a priority, the adventure takes over. Sarah and John B escape upstream with Big John and, unfortunately, Ward, who is determined to join them on their quest to prove to his daughter that he is a changed man.

Meanwhile, Pope and Cleo reunite with JJ and Kiara and make their way to El Tesoro to find the rest of the group. John B., Big John, and Sarah go up the mountain for the next leg of the treasure hunt. They find the stone where they place the signpost. Big John figures out the location of El Dorado, but before he can tell John B and Sarah, they are ambushed by Carlos Singh, who has been led there by Ward in exchange for Sarah’s safety. Needless to say, the trio escapes, and the clues lead them to a cave, which they hypothesize must lead to El Dorado.

True to their suspicions, John B and Sarah find El Dorado while Bog John waits for them. However, as soon as the two come back from the waterway, Carlos holds them at gunpoint. He sees the gold they have brought back and realizes that they have indeed found El Dorado. Big John tells him that if he hurts the kids, he will throw that flare and cause the cave to collapse. When Carlos refuses to relent, that is exactly what Big John does, and he and the kids escape just in time. But their troubles never end, and they find Ward waiting outside with a gun, but he puts it down when Sarah tells him that he couldn’t do that to the people he loved. By that time, the rest of the ponies had reached there, as had Ryan, one of Carlos’ henchmen. When he tries to shoot Sarah, Ward gets in the way, and both of them plunge to their deaths. When taking an injured Big John to the mainland, he passes away from his injuries.

Back in the Outer Banks, the six of them (including Cleo) are hailed as heroes for solving a 500-year-old mystery. They are all moving on with their lives. Sarah and John B have a surf shop, JJ has brought a boat, Pope is going to school, and Kiara is saving turtles again. They are at the start of a beautiful life when a man approaches them with a notebook dated 1718, which is a captain’s logbook. The captain was Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, one of the most famous pirates in history. As John B said, he was his father’s son, and he wanted adventure and treasure, which means that this could be the start of another quest for all of them.

Final Words

The third season of the series came with its fair share of loopholes, and we would have paid them a lot more attention if the season had been more interesting than it was. The series peaked in Season 2 and has been downhill since. For some reason, this series reminded us of Andy McDermott’s novels. We had bought them hoping for a Dan Brownesque type of story but had discovered a Hollywood action script. We had not liked those books but watching “Outer Banks” made us think of those books if they had actually been written for the screen. Either way, despite a terrible season, the “Outer Banks” is still a superior product. Yet, we don’t want a fourth season. Every single part of the treasure has been discovered by the teens, and the ending just proves that it is actually the end. Still, if there is a Season 4, it would just be them running around again, placing themselves in danger like never before. But this time, these kids have money to their names, so maybe the stakes will be higher. Either way, it is better to end this at Season 3 instead of dragging it out to an unnecessary “Outer Banks” Season 4.

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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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