“Outer Banks” Review

Erin Green, Newspaper Editor-in-Chief

With everyone stuck at home, there’s no better time for Netflix to drop a crazy new original series to get the world talking about something other than the pandemic. And “Outer Banks” has done just that. I decided to see what all the hype was about, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. It may have had a few too-over-the-top moments, but overall it was an exciting watch that kept me longing for more.

The plot of “Outer Banks” is new, creative, messy, constantly changing, and sort of outlandish. But I think that’s why everyone likes it so much. It’s about John B., a poor sixteen-year-old boy left to fend for himself with the meager help of his fellow “Pogue” friends after his father’s disappearance at sea months prior. That story alone could make for a good show, but the writers didn’t stop there. John B. discovers the reason his father left for sea in the first place was that he was looking for the Royal Merchant, 400 million dollars worth of gold that’s been hidden somewhere in the Outer Banks for years. So now it’s up to John B. and his best friends to find the stolen treasure, become filthy rich, and leave the Pogue life behind. The only problem is there’s a lot of other people after the exact same thing, and some will do anything–including kill–to make sure they’re the ones who get it. Not only is John B. the target of half-the-town, but he’s also caught up in the midst of a violent feud between the Pogues and the Kooks, a.k.a. poor kids versus the rich kids. There’s a lot of twists and turns, some of which I found to be unnecessary, but at least as a viewer, you never know what to expect. I think the wild turn-of-events is something everyone should see for themselves, so I’ll refrain from spoiling every detail. 

The device that keeps any good plot moving is an interesting set of characters, and that’s definitely something “Outer Banks” brought to the table. I could go on and on about each person, but the ones with the most notable arcs are JJ, Pope, and John B.. JJ, my favorite, is probably the most well-rounded character of the show. At the beginning of the series, he’s irrational, impulsive, obnoxious, and just overall annoying. But after learning about WHY he is the way he is, his decisions started to make a lot more sense. At first he appears to be selfish, but when he proves his loyalty to his friends, he’s cemented as anything but. Next, we have Pope, who to me, began the season as the most likable member of the Pogues. He’s smart, kind, and easily influenced into making bad decisions by his friends. Although he’s the least reckless character in the beginning, he slowly starts to descend into someone destructive as the episodes go by. This doesn’t make me enjoy him any less, though, because I understand the intent behind his choices. Then there’s John B., the leading man who’s inherently good all the way through. Although his motives may shift as he learns new information along the way, one thing never changes about John B.: his desire for justice. That fact alone makes him the perfect protagonist.

And finally, my personal favorite aspect of the series that makes it all worth watching is the admirable dynamic of the “Pogues”. Everyone loves John B.’s charisma, loyalty, and heart, but the ones who truly steal the show are his exceptional set of friends. If you were to look up ride-or-die in the dictionary, a picture of Kiara, JJ, and Pope would surely be there. The way they constantly go out of their way to save and support one another is so sweet to watch. When Pope is about to get arrested for tanking Topper’s family boat, JJ takes the fall for him. And when that results in JJ going off the deep-end after reaching a breaking point from his father’s abuse, Kie and Pope are there to make him feel better. And lastly, when John B. needs his friends most at the end of the season, the gang comes through for him and safely keeps him out of harm’s way. Without all the trouble caused by John B., Kiara, JJ, and Pope, “pogue-style”, the show would evoke little to no emotion out of me. But it was this dysfunctional, hilarious, selfless friendship that made the message of “Outer Banks” actually believable.

I finished all 10 episodes in only a matter of days and enjoyed every last second, so I definitely recommend “Outer Banks”. If you like mystery and coming-of-age, this is the show for you. There’s already talk of season two, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for John B. in the coming episodes.