Outer Banks
The hit Netflix series takes place on the North Carolina coast, part of the Outer Banks. (Image via Google Images)

Neftlix’s ‘Outer Banks’ Explores Class Division and Redemption

The hit series provides a fascinating look into a group of teenagers navigating their own adventures off the North Carolina coast.

Screens x
Outer Banks
The hit Netflix series takes place on the North Carolina coast, part of the Outer Banks. (Image via Google Images)

The hit series provides a fascinating look into a group of teenagers navigating their own adventures off the North Carolina coast.

I am not here to talk about how every girl is now swooning over boys who dress like John B. Netflix recently released a binge worthy show titled “Outer Banks,” centering around this troubled teen. I will say that it was very refreshing to see new faces. Even though they have some experience under their belts, none of them are the Noah Centineo’s of Netflix.

A basic summary of “Outer Banks” would be: A group of teenagers go on a hunt for missing treasure. Sound familiar? It should if you’ve ever watched “The Goonies.” The plots sound almost identical and that’s one of the reasons why Chase Stokes, who plays John B., first turned down the offer. In an interview with “Chicks in the Office,” Stokes said he initially declined because he didn’t want to remake an iconic movie that can stand on its own.

There will be spoilers ahead so read at your own discretion. You’ve been warned.

The show revolves around a bunch of teenagers, and similar to a lot of small towns, there are cliques. On one hand you have the Pogues who are from the south side of the island. The working class of the town. Then you have the Kooks, which consist of the privileged, preppy kids and their insanely rich families. They obviously despise one another and refuse to be friends.

One of the things I enjoyed most about “Outer Banks” was the reality of the characters. The Pogues are a group of kids who work and even steal to survive and for some kids, that’s their life. JJ comes from a single parent household. His dad is a gambler, drunk, pill popper and, to top it off, abusive. Despite his troubles at home, JJ is an incredible friend. Everyone needs a friend like JJ. He’s a little reckless but he speaks his mind and despite the neglect from his father he values the concept of friendship. His friends are his family. When Pope was arrested JJ lied and told the deputy it was him. Pope had too much to lose compared to JJ. How many of you have a friend that’s willing to go to jail for you?

John B. is a kid who’s ducking and dodging his case worker — and, jail for that matter — because he’s a minor living on his own. His father disappeared at sea and was pronounced dead for over nine months. He lied and said his uncle was his guardian when he hasn’t seen his uncle in years. Ever since he decided he was going to find the missing gold his father gave his life for, nothing was ever the same. John B. was nearly killed. Twice. Once for loving the enemy and another for finding the treasure his father died for.

There’s Pope who is the one and only black kid in the group, but hey, we love diversity. Throughout the whole season he obsessed over his interview for a scholarship that he ditched in the end to save John B. Then there’s Kie or Kiara who lives the life of a Kook, but doesn’t belong. She hates the entire lifestyle of a Kook and doesn’t want to be associated with them.

In the first episode of “Outer Banks,” after a vicious storm that leaves the island dark, the Pogues ventured into the marsh and stumbled upon a sunken boat. This was where their hunt began. They found a key that led them to a motel with a safe containing money. A lot of money. While going through the room they had to grip and hug the ledge of a window because Deputy Shoupe and his partner came knocking on the door; they opened the safe and took the money out of it. So, already in the first episode, there’s dirty cops. 

Every group has a set of rules and one of the most important rules is no dating other Pogues — which was a huge issue throughout the entire season. John B. had feelings for Kie, but he also liked and later loved Sarah who is Kie’s best friend turned archenemy. John B. loved both of them dearly and tried to include Sarah in the hunt, but Kie refused to do anything with Sarah. The boys trick both of them to get on a boat and leave them stranded until they made up, which they did. Shortly after, Pope liked Kie, but she rejected him, which I thought was rude. Pope was genuine and then what really made me mad was when she started to care for him. And got mad when he didn’t care.

When looking at the lives of the Kooks, Sarah seemed like a carefree girl who was tired of the Kook lifestyle. She wanted some excitement in her life before the Kook life consumed her, which is where John B. came in. She has a younger sister, who might I add, can’t hold water if her life depended on it. She can keep a secret just as easy as she can tell one. A messy little sister, but aren’t they all?

Topper is another preppy, spoiled and privileged beach boy who fell in love with Sarah. He has anger and control issues like any other teen, but to the point of killing someone? I don’t think that’s a common trait. In Episode 4, “Spy Games,” Topper and his mother realize the boat sunk and she said it was his fault, “because it usually is.” She assumed that after he turned 16, he’d take on more responsibilities, which made me feel bad for him because what exactly can you do at 16? Legally, he’s not even an adult; there’s not much he can do other than go to school.

Rafe is Sarah’s older brother. He has a serious drug problem and owes a dealer money, but is saved with daddy’s money. After his dad cleared his debt he was kicked out of the house, which he didn’t handle well. Rafe is also one of Topper’s best friends. You get to see the start of Rafe’s downfall, addiction and withdrawal at the golf course with Pope. While Pope was delivering groceries for his dad he ran into Rafe and Topper. In the first episode, Topper was close to drowning John B. and JJ pulled a gun on him to make him stop. Out for revenge, Rafe and Topper nearly beat Pope to death with a golf club.

The problem I had with Rafe was his age. Why are you 20 years old and hanging out with teenagers? He’s not a minor. Pope could’ve sent him to jail if he wanted to. That’s the immature behavior his dad was talking about.

I feel like Episode 3 of “Outer Banks,” “The Forbidden Zone,” was where things started to get a little strange. Sarah and John B.’s friendship heats up and I knew it wasn’t going to turn out well especially after kissing Kie. Also, two men who were also searching for the missing boat turned up dead. Sheriff Peterkin was acting suspicious especially when it came to how they were killed. She ends up taking John B.’s compass, which was the missing key needed to find the Royal Merchant, the site of the missing treasure.

Guess who ended up with the compass? Sarah’s father. The king of the Kooks, Ward Cameron. In the beginning he came off as a caring father who wanted the best for his children. After all he came from the land of the Pogues. He didn’t come from wealth like the others and that’s what made him different.

All that went out the window when he suspected John B. found the missing gold. The rich man greed came out of him. He was looking for the gold the entire season. He killed the guys from the marsh and John B.’s dad. He gave himself away on the fishing trip he planned for the both of them. That same day, the Pogues were supposed to go and collect the gold, which wasn’t on the ship, but buried into the side of a well. After John B. escapes from the man that saved him from his case worker, Ward races to the sheriff to lie and say John B. tried to kill him.

While law enforcement is running around looking for John B., Ward grabs the gold and books a flight to the Bahamas with Sarah. His plan was cut short when John B. drives his van onto the runway and stops them from taking off.

The finale of “Outer Banks” is where everything goes left. Sarah helps John B. hide from law enforcement, which only worked for a day or so. Sarah goes to the State Bureau of Investigation to tell them the truth about her brother, who shot the sheriff, and her father who stole the gold, murdered John B.’s father and is framing John B. Before she could even say anything, guess who showed up? Her father. He portrayed Sarah as crazy and dismissed them from talking to her.

The Pogues get John B. a boat to escape to Mexico with Sarah. Except, Sarah doesn’t show at the dock. He finds the Bonnie to his Clyde (minus the killing) at the end of the dock and they creep by the entire sheriff’s department and SBI for a clean break away during the storm.

They would’ve gotten away with it if the power didn’t turn back on. The storm from the beginning of the season cut all power from the OBX, but the Kooks had enough money for generators. Unfortunately, the south side didn’t. Just before the storm got worse, all the power in the OBX came back on revealing their getaway boat in the ocean.

John B. and Sarah were committed to getting away by any means necessary, even if it meant going directly into the storm. Law enforcement didn’t follow them, but they knew how bad the storm was and how it was only going to get worse from there. When they reached the docks, their only assumption was that they died.

The morning after the storm, John B. and Sarah woke up on top of their flipped boat stranded in the middle of nowhere. There wasn’t a marsh or lighthouse in sight. In the distance they saw a cargo boat in hopes that their minuscule screams would help. Finally, John B. realizes he had the gold in his pocket and with the light from the sun they were able to get their attention.

John B. escapes jail with his lover and boards a cargo boat planning to get off at the next port and start over. One could only guess the destination. Nassau, Bahamas, where the stolen gold was sent to.

Hopefully, with a Season 2 of “Outer Banks,” the Pogues find out they’re alive and come home with the gold.

Writer Profile

Kayla Johnson

Bradley University

I am currently a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology. I want to be a published author and a sports photographer one day.

Leave a Reply