Welcome back. Coming off the season two premiere, Outer Banks has managed to really up the stakes. But how well can the series build upon its first season without falling into a common sequel trap of going so big that you lose what made the original special?
For some reason the Fast & Furious franchise was able to blow past this trap and send Ludacris to space in a rocket car or whatever, but that’s one of the few exceptions to this rule. For Outer Banks, the risk is taking your sexy island hoodlums on a treasure hunt and transforming them into unkillable Nathan Drakes with weapons training and martial arts expertise. You’ll see what I mean with these next two episodes.
Let’s get started.
With John B held at gunpoint, a unit of security guards prepare to livestream his arrest to Sarah’s dad, Ward, back in America. Sarah brilliantly thwarts this effort by activating the vacation home’s sprinkler system, damaging the phone. She then sprays an innocent security guard in the eyes with a canister of industrial pesticide, blinding him forever.
But we have no time to worry about the unbeautiful people. Sarah and John B escape, feeling zero remorse about all the lives they have ruined.
Meanwhile back in America, Pope and the gang surveil Ward as he meets up with the pilot who has threatened to blackmail him. Pope has a handheld video camera, which the show attempts to lampshade by having the other characters remark on how outdated his tech is.
As a viewer, this doesn’t really work for me for several reasons. First, I don’t think the youths have nostalgia for crappy digital video cameras from the 2000s. There’s an Instagram filter for that.
Also, Pope touts the incredible zoom capability of the camera, but he’s filming at night in the rain with an old, consumer-grade camera. If the show really wanted to win folks over with throwback technology, they would have had Pope secretly record someone with a Talkboy or a Yak Bak 2.
Ward murders the pilot after he threatens to reveal that his son, Rafe, murdered the sheriff. This happens while Pope and friends deliver important exposition about what is happening in the dimly lit scene. Also, the video camera is drenched in rain at this point. They totally need to soak it in a bag of rice before turning it on.
Kiara shouts “murderer” for no reason, and Ward pursues them. The already ruined camera spills to the muddy ground. The tape is exposed to the elements, and it’s going to be rurnt. The episode has focused way too much on the reality of this AV equipment. The camera has a more fleshed-out backstory than most of its costars.
Hoping back to the Bahamas, Sarah and John B return to the smuggler’s hideout with a proposal. They’ll all do a heist (I love a heist) and split the gold stolen $10 million a piece. Yes! Get in! We are heisting.
Back in the (un)United States of America (That’s right, social commentary. Take that, sheeple), Pope and the gang try to inform the police that Ward just murdered a man. Of course, the new sheriff is in Ward’s pocket and hesitant to believe the allegations. But also, all questions could be resolved when authorities ask the pilot’s wife, “Where is your husband?”
“Well, he received a phone call that sent him into a panic. He fled our home and was never heard of again.”
Yeah, that might draw some scrutiny.
Ward, now having gotten a taste of murder, returns home and asks his crazy-ass son to help dispose of a body. The whole scene has this energy:
Anyway, they do father-son field day relay and carry the pilot’s body to the boat. Remember, there is no greater shame for a pilot than to be buried at sea. Similarly, the worst funeral for a scuba diver is to have their ashes blasted into space from a canon like Hunter S. Thompson.
Back near the scene of Ward’s crime, Kiara searches the drainage lines for the murder weapon Ward discarded. Suddenly the sewer lines are flooded, and she is trapped.
This would be a good moment to tease Kiara drowning for a cliffhanger, but Pope and JJ manage to rip up a manhole cover so she can escape the sewer. And she has Ward’s gun. They have the murder weapon, which proves… that they have the murder weapon. I mean, even the game Clue requires you to find more than the murder weapon. I’m not totally sure how they connect this to Ward killing the pilot, but whatever. It made for some exciting sequences.
Rafe and his dad, having bonded over disposing of a corpse, agree to fly to the Bahamas to get the gold and exchange it with some Swedes or something. It’s good that he brought Rafe along because all high-stakes negotiations need an unhinged teenager pumping their fist and teeming with hormones. That’s why the aged-up Little Rascals were flown in for the Yalta Conference.
Suddenly, this show turns into Sicario. John B and the smuggler crew have their child lookouts spot the jeeps carrying the gold and run interference. The fierce child army manages to disable the paramilitary vehicles, save for the one containing Rafe and his dad.
As they attempt to escape with the gold, Ward and Rafe rightly freak out completely when they see the most threatening thing imaginable: a group of guys with machetes and a wheelbarrow. The machetes are one thing, but it’s the addition of that damn wheelbarrow that communicates something truly vicious is about to happen and it involves a second location.
Their armed guards dispatched by the Knothole Gang, Rafe and Ward are on their own and quickly captured by the smugglers. John B and Sarah commandeer the jeep with the gold, but she’s spotted. Her father now knows that she’s alive, but in all the fracas, Sarah was shot.
Quick, plug the bullet hole with gold!
I feel like we are missing some scenes here because suddenly the smugglers and John B and Sarah are like family now. They provide John B with the location of a doctor and some gold to use as payment.
For a moment as John B speeds to the doctor’s office, I think this is one of the most intense driving sequences I’ve seen on TV. Then I realize I am watching this at 1.5X speed.
We soon arrive (.5 times faster than we normally would) at the home of the doctor, who immediately shouts, “It’s not her head, is it? I don’t do heads.” This seems like a reasonable policy for a crime doctor.
Sarah flatlines, but John B refuses to let her die. A single tear cascades from John B’s face and rolls down to the bullet wound, healing it miraculously. Not really, but that’s basically what went down. They borrow the doc’s car and speed off to the docks to meet the smugglers. They are unkillable international thieves, but also in high school.
Meanwhile, Rafe and his dad wait in a Bahama police station. It is apparently the best police station in the world because their crack cyber crimes division has obtained a tourist photo, clicked the “ENHANCE” button twice, and found John B and Sarah standing in the background.
Rafe coldly tells his father he’s glad he shot Sarah. He continues to run headlong into madness. By the end of this season, Rafe is going to be trying to poison the town’s water supply and laughing diabolically as he hangs from the ladder of a helicopter.
John B and Sarah arrive at the docks to find the authorities have intercepted the gold. Following another epic car chase, they reunite with one of the smugglers who managed to escape arrest. The smuggler leads John B and Sarah to an escape vessel, and they set their sights for America.
Back at Hill Valley High, Pope receives a letter from a mysterious benefactor. It’s at this moment that JJ reveals he cannot read cursive.
Anyway, the benefactor claims to have evidence that will exonerate John B. The gang will have to travel to Charleston that night to meet what may be a descendant of the ship captain who originally possessed all the gold.
Kiara calls the mysterious invitation to Charleston “hella suss,” which is one of the show’s more clumsily shoehorned pieces of hip, young slang. It’s always awkward when an older, unhip person tries to write dialogue for young, cool characters. Sometimes in life you just have to stop trying to keep up with the kids.
And I disagree with Kiara here. I know Charleston is bricks away, but I’m cised about this jont. I mean, come on Kiara. On who is this suss? On who? Like, I’m not wellin here. On my mother. I stamp. I stamp.
Out on the open sea, John B and Sarah spot land, just as Pope and the gang reach Charleston. Wait. Everyone’s all in the same place? At the same time? I forget how small the ocean can be.
Well, kismet, I guess. What a turn of events. This is great because all this globe hopping was becoming taxing. It was starting to feel like watching a Marvel movie.
See you for episodes four and five. We’re nearing the hump.