Allow us to explain a bit of chronology before we start discussing what we can expect from Season 4 of “Outer Banks.” First, we really liked Season 1 and Season 2 of “Outer Banks.” Then, before watching Season 3, we learned that the series had been renewed for a fourth season, and we were happy that there would be more of the story. Finally, we saw a lackluster “Outer Banks” Season 3 and started dreading the next season because we did not want to see something we liked to be further ruined.
The fact of the matter is that if we take a bird’s eye view of the entire three seasons, we find that it is just the kids running around everywhere and not being successful at anything. Yet, we did not mind because it was highly engaging, and isn’t that the point anyway? However, come Season 3 and we could see the fatigue of the formula set in. This also made way for a number of loopholes that, though ignorable, felt a little too much. Even though “Outer Banks” Season 4 has been announced, we felt that the ending of Season 3 was a neat one by itself. The Pogues had found the ultimate treasure, the golden city of El Dorado; justice had been served on multiple fronts; and they were living the full “Kook life.” What else was left to be desired? There was a hint of a new quest with a man talking to them about Blackbeard, but that might be an indication that the group’s adventures are far from over. But if there is going to be a Season 4, this might be their next mission after all. Let us see what we can expect from the Pogues in the coming season, should they be made.
Who Is Blackbeard, Aka Edward Teach?
The first time we heard about Blackbeard was probably in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” However, this time, taking a look at history tells us that he was a fearsome pirate who captained a ship he named “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” The origin of his nickname is obvious enough, but an interesting fact about him is that he wore slow burning matches on the sides of his face to frighten his enemies into submission. Reading about his history gives us the picture of a man who knows how to effectively use theatrics for his benefit. This also means that he had a knack for getting what he wanted by avoiding conflict and maybe even concocting elaborate ruses. Blackbeard dies in battle in 1718, the exact date that the notebook mentions, which the man brought for the Pogues to see. This, of course, means that there must be a hidden treasure that the kids need to find. Is it a treasure that Blackbeard has looted over the course of his travels, or was it something priceless he had discovered? If the ultimate discovery of the first three seasons was El Dorado, would the fourth season send them looking for Atlantis or, even better, the Holy Grail? We just need to wait and see.
Kie and JJ
This is a love story we were not ready for, and to be honest, we can’t make up our minds about it. Kie is an extremely privileged climate warrior, the kind that doesn’t understand how class differences are a contributor to the deterioration of nature. Her good intentions are not backed by sufficient research or adequate action. We also don’t know why she doesn’t like her fellow Kooks. She mentions a few times that she did not fit in with them, and there was the fight she had with Sarah back in the day, but from what we saw, she was treated just fine by the Kooks around her. So, we need to know a little bit more about her. As for JJ, he had given up on himself long ago. He did not have any money, to begin with, but he had an abusive father, so JJ literally had no one to turn to for love and security except what he got from his friends, and that is why he was always ready to risk it all for them.
JJ believed that he could not have a good future because of the disadvantages of his situation, and he might have been right. After all, that is why he avoided Kiara for so long. But now, in Season 4, he has money, stability, and security. He can be with Kiara, though he might have to work to win the confidence of her parents. JJ’s father might come back, knowing his son has money, and from what we have understood of JJ, he loves his father and cannot stop himself from taking care of him. We also suspect JJ would be different because his characteristic recklessness in the first three seasons came from the fact that he had nothing to lose. But when that is not the case anymore, he might be more cautious.
As for Kiara, she has been more or less reactive through the seasons without any strong arc of her own. Maybe we will see her rebuilding her relationship with her parents or, probably, see her fight for some real cause for climate change instead of just talking about it. Her relationship with JJ is also going to be interesting because they are both people who place friends above everything. How they will deal with having to manage other priorities remains to be seen.
Pope and Cleo
Instead of the sorry sob story of Sarah cheating on John B in season 3, the writers should have just explored Cleo’s character and her backstory. It is almost as if they introduced her with the purpose of making her a love interest for Pope. In fact, most of the women of the show have been written like that, as people who are just going where the wind takes them without any thought or dedication to their individual lives. It can be argued that Sarah is probably different, but it wasn’t because of her as a person but because of her positioning as Ward Cameron’s daughter.
Coming back to Cleo, she has an interesting and probably well-traveled past. Her history on the seas with Captain Tarrance might provide some clues on the Pogues’ next quest for Blackbeard’s treasure. Also, her relationship with the Pope is bound to be complicated. He is very clear about what he wants to do with his life, whereas Cleo has just tried to survive so far. The clash of these ideologies and lifestyles will cause some friction. As for Pope, he was personally interested in the treasure hunt because of its relevance to his family. “Outer Banks” Season 4 will have him questioning whether, when that is not the case, he still has a spirit of adventure or if he will work toward the traditional academic life that he has always wanted.
John B. and Sarah
John B had pretty much declared at the end of “Outer Banks” Season 3 that he was his “father’s son,” and he wanted adventure and treasure, just like him. He would be completely on board with looking for Blackbeard’s treasure, but with his group’s changing lives and loyalties, will he be able to keep the group together for what he wants to do? He has been called the leader of the group a few times, so now would be a test of that when everyone is not automatically on board with things because they are building a life of their own that they have to deal with. And who knows, despite his father’s obsession with El Dorado, he might have occasionally branched out into other treasures, and that could help them with their next quest.
When it comes to Sarah Cameron, she struggles to find her place between the Kooks and the Pogues. Impulsive charm is almost always backed by a ton of wealth. Let us suppose that Sarah wants no part of her father’s money. She will have to learn to manage what she has earned and become more responsible and organized with how she wants to live her life, things she has never thought of before. There might be some more trouble with Scooter because he seems to be her safe space every time she misses her old life. Sarah will undoubtedly accompany John B on his next adventure, but hopefully as a contributing ally and not just a romantic companion.
Should there be a fourth season, the first and most important thing we want from “Outer Banks,” is for the girls to have more practical outfits. They might be 25–30 years old, but they are still portraying teenagers and the series sexualizing them so blatantly is very uncomfortable, in addition to the fact that they don’t make sense. A beach town does not mean a wardrobe consisting exclusively of crop tops and booty shorts. The second thing we want to see is some intellectual work. The Pogues had most of the thinking done for them, and their major challenges just lay in the execution of things. We are not asking for it to follow the path of Dan Brown or “National Treasure,” but some more thinking, connecting the dots, or digging into history would be nice. There wasn’t enough of it so far.
Finally, we would like “Outer Banks” Season 4 to address the topic of class difference, which it has only flirted with so far. Throughout the seasons, it has been emphasized again and again that the Pogues and the kooks are different. But how is that affecting their everyday lives? We might especially get to see this through Kiara and Sarah, who have a foot in both worlds. The perspective of a privileged person is always different from that of a powerless one, even if they are doing the same thing. For example, Kiara is ready to risk it all because she has rich parents who can protect her. JJ is ready to risk it all because he has nothing to lose anyway. Treasure hunting means different things to both ends of the spectrum, and an exploration of this is needed.
Honestly, despite our disappointment in “Outer Banks” Season 3, we will watch Season 4, but unless it really pulls up its socks with the writing, it will just turn into another forgettable venture.