After a harrowing finale, Outer Banks has returned for its sophomore season, and things are wilder than ever in the lives of our favorite island-dwelling, adventure-seeking, treasure-hunting Pogues.
When the first season of Outer Banks premiered last year, it drew viewers in easily with its dreamy coastal setting, an intriguing treasure hunt, and a foundation built on themes of friendship prevailing above all else. While this was already enough to entice a viewer like myself to tune in for a subsequent season, the final episode further locked in audiences with a cliffhanger … or two. The finale saw the gold (now in the hands of Ward) on its way to the Bahamas and John B and Sarah presumed dead after their boat capsized in the storm. But while their friends at home mourned them, the couple — miraculously still alive — managed to hitch a ride on a ship heading to none other than the Bahamas.
John B and Sarah’s unplanned Bahamas getaway was an interesting change of pace and scenery for season 2 to open with. And while it helped to expand the scope of the story, for me this brief interlude also served as a reminder of the show’s biggest strength — the dynamic of the Pogues and their friendship. Because of this, season 2 doesn’t quite hit its full stride until John B, Sarah, JJ, Kiara, and Pope are reunited. But when the moment hits, it’s absolutely worth the wait, brimming with the trademark energy and excitement that makes the show so captivating in the first place.
While this season is populated by a host of familiar faces, there are also some newcomers as well. We meet Carlacia Grant’s Cleo early on, a truly standout character that the series greatly benefits from. Meanwhile, taking a look at our returning cast, Drew Starkey dives deep into the twisted psyche of Rafe with his unhinged and unsettling portrayal of Sarah’s brother. Our cast of Pogues is fun as always, and while Chase Stokes’ John B remains the figurehead of the group, I enjoy that the show continues to dive into the personal lives and growth of the others as well. Rudy Pankow’s JJ was my choice standout Pogue this season, as his personality and antics were a particularly entertaining aspect of the narrative this time around.
Season 2 very much keeps the treasure hunt aspect of the series alive and well. And rather than following a straight “X marks the spot”-style path, the hunt branches out exponentially as the Pogues dive deeper into the mysteries and secrets that sunk to the bottom of the ocean with The Royal Merchant. What made the hunt for the gold in the first season so interesting in the first place was the Pogues’ knack for fearlessly looking into the face of danger and laughing about it along the way. This carries on into the second season, even more so now that they’ve gotten a taste for the thrill of the hunt. Breaking the law left and right, their method of operations is the definition of “don’t try this at home.” And it’s exactly the kind of heart-pumping, unbelievable story that audiences love to devour from the comfort of their couches at home.
Having already established its tendency for dramatics and far-fetched spectacles, season 2 of Outer Banks hits the ground running and takes viewers on what feels like a nonstop, wild ride through to the final episode. If you thought things couldn’t get more outrageous than the events that took place last season, think again and prepare to suspend your disbelief harder than ever. While I’d be remiss not to admit that some of the things that the Pogues get themselves into (and the decisions that they make along the way) are downright preposterous, Outer Banks is doing something right, because it’s impossible to look away once you’ve dipped your toes in. For some, much of the draw of the show is just that — knowing that John B and co.’s lives are hardly realistic, but revelling in the “what if?” factor of living life on the edge like the Pogues do. At the end of the day, Outer Banks is just plain fun to watch.
Although news of a third season has yet to be confirmed, season 2 makes sure to keep viewers on their toes by producing yet another gripping finale that begs to be continued. And while the status of the Pogues and the treasure in the final moments is something compelling enough on its own, the real punch comes in the very final moments before the credits begin to roll. It’s a scream-worthy moment, and I may not sleep again until I have answers.
Outer Banks season 2 will premiere on Netflix Friday, July 30.