It took me a few months to get into Outer Banks. It wasn’t one of those shows that I thought I would like and after watching the first two episodes, I was sure it wasn’t a show for me. But I powered through the season, and honestly, I loved it and I feel like often we give up to fast on TV shows because of a lackluster episode or two.
The show left off with mass chaos. Did the storm consume John and Sarah? Will Ward pay for what he did? How will the three amigos (Pope, Kiara, JJ) move on without their friends? And what will happen to the gold?
Season Two drops tomorrow on the streaming platform
How the first season ended, I was concerned that they would try to slow down season two to match the tone of the first half of season one, but right out of the gate, they did the opposite. I was impressed with how fast-paced the first few episodes were that they had so much going on (not in a bad way) that you were consistently on the edge of your seat.
We had so many stories we needed to figure out what was going to happen. John’s on the run trying to clear his name, and Ward is trying to glue his family back together, all while everyone wants the gold. They didn’t leave any stone unturned picking up from season one to two.
I will break down what worked, didn’t and give my overall thoughts on the show.
Charles Esten as Ward: I, on the one hand, love the fact that he has become this unhinged madmen that is doing everything he can to save his son. BUT, yes, but how he does it is why I think he is a fantastic protagonist. With each decision he makes, he becomes more and more unlikable. The writers nail this character in developing one of the best protagonists we have seen in a long time on a show. Charles Esten should be talked about amongst the Emmy nominations next year because he is a perfect protagonist.
John B and Sarah: Everyone plays their part. John B and Sarah work because the pair have dynamic chemistry together on-screen. You root for the vessel of their love because John is that outcast while Sarah is the rich daughter who “shouldn’t” be with John. Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline are fantastic together.
Speak of Madelyn Cline. I can’t rave enough about her work on this show. She carries the emotional weight of everything within the role of Sarah. Sarah deals with this boy she loves while her father is trying to frame him for a murder he didn’t commit. Cline and Esten share some fantastic scenes throughout this show, and their relationship with each of these characters is the main reason why this show works so well.
The three amigos (JJ, Kiara, Pope): Yes, I gave them their nickname because I like it better.
We see some significant developments in each of these characters in season two. Pope is beginning to figure out his family’s heritage and how they played this big part in the gold, the cross, and so much more. Pope has moments in several different episodes, which are scene-stealers, while I still think they do him a little dirty, making him a ‘weakling’ in some of his fight sequences. However, I do believe his journey being the foundation of the treasure worked well.
JJ is one of my favorite side characters. He makes me laugh all the time. His character is somewhat of a nitwit, but also he comes through in the clutch with random moments of greatness. He was the MVP of episode 8 because he was not just funny, but he had some impactful scenes with his father.
Lastly, Kiara is the daredevil of the bunch as she consistently defies her parents to help the team out. I think of the three amigos; her story is probably the weakest because she doesn’t hold much weight compared to Pope or JJ. Although I don’t think the writing for her is terrible or anything, I believe she is a great side character within the world.
Comedic relief: There are little moments between the craziness that always makes this show that much better. I would never say this show is a comedy show or even close to it, but it has some great comedy relief. Most of the time, JJ leads the way with this and knocks it out of the park. He is the goofball of the group and the writers do a great job of showing that we can have some fun even amidst being in some chaos.
Direction/Camerawork: I am always impressed with the camera work. The writing has some unique shots written within it and how each of the directors elevates it with their camera work makes each scene that much more impactful. From the sewage scene in episode two to Sarah on the verge of death in episode three to the finale with a million different things going on, they raise the show’s stakes with their work.
Rafe: I wasn’t sure how I felt about Rafe taken over as that big-time villain, but he has done a great job attempting to fill the shoes. Of course, he isn’t as good as Ward and I don’t think he has to be, but Drew Starkey has quickly taken the role of Rafe and made him more and more hateable as each episode passes.
What didn’t work
The madness: I am okay with suspending disbelief while watching a TV show, but what makes these characters work is putting them in scenarios that make us care about the stakes. Several sequences felt so OVER THE TOP that you lose that emotional weight that they do an excellent job of building. I know they are trying to make it on this grander scale, but they could bring it down a few notches overall.
Limbrey: I couldn’t find myself attaching to her character at all. Her story is briefly expanded upon and she does have some good scenes that advance a lot of the story. However, I don’t think they did a good enough job going into more detail about her. ALTHOUGH, I do believe she is going to be pivotal in season three.
The finale: They do a good job of setting up season three with a few different scenarios, but the climax falls flat as a whole.
The season as a whole is fantastic. The stakes were at a high level throughout the majority of the season. The writers do a great job of making each episode intrigue part of the story. While at times I had issues with the over-the-top scenes, they still make them work. The intensity of the story is matched with brilliant camerawork and execution by the actors. I do wish I loved the finale more because this could have been a damn near-perfect season. I understand they have to set up a season three and they did that rather well, but they struggled to capitalize on a solid ENTIRE season by giving us a lackluster finale. With that being said, I am prepared for season three and I can’t wait to see what they do after that jaw-dropping reveal at the end.