It’s no easy feat to merge a steamy love triangle, class commentary, a literal treasure hunt and more than one murder into one cohesive story, but somehow, Outer Banks season 1 managed to defy the rules of television. It started off with a simple enough story: John B. (Chase Stokes), whose father mysteriously disappeared several months ago, is determined to complete his dad’s mission and find a massive stash of gold that’s reportedly hidden in an old shipwrecked boat. His three best friends — Kiara (Madison Bailey), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and JJ (Rudy Pankow) — are in on the scheme, too. But then John B. crosses paths with Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) and her affluent, but troubled family, and that’s when everything really starts to go off the rails.
Ahead of the season 1 finale, John B. not only learns that his father really is dead, but that Sarah’s dad, Ward (Charles Esten), murdered him. A cop makes an attempt to arrest Ward, but before she can, Sarah’s brother Rafe (Drew Starkey) shoots and kills her. Ward frames John B. for murder, and for the next two episodes, John B. is essentially on the run from an entire police force.
According to the show’s co-creators, season 2 is a “wild ride” that picks up right where season 1 ended. As you emotionally prepare yourself for even more angst, drama, and action, here’s where we left the Pogues and Kooks.
What happened to the gold in Outer Banks?
It’s impossible to explain the season’s final few minutes without a brief refresher on the treasure hunt at the centre of everything. After a season of searching for a treasure worth $400 million, John B. learns that Ward found the gold — and to make matters worse, the gold was the reason he killed John B.’s dad in the first place. Ward arranges to send the treasure to Nassau in the Bahamas, where his family has a house and does business.
The question of the gold is temporarily put on the backburner when Rafe kills Sheriff Peterkin (Adina Porter) and John B. becomes a sudden fugitive. But last we hear of it, the gold is still en route to the Bahamas.
Why are Sarah and John B. in the Bahamas?
As we’ve established, John B. is afraid for his life — and he comes to the conclusion that the safest thing for him to do is flee the country via a boat JJ stole from his dad. At the last second, he reunites with Sarah, and the two escape together in the midst of a major tropical storm. The weather is not conducive to boat travel; realistically, there is no way these kids (not to mention the boat) would survive these conditions. But, as Sarah says at one point, she would “rather die than be without” John B. It’s a lot.
Ward realises his daughter ran away with John B., and he attempts to contact them over the radio. He demands that John B. bring Sarah back, but these two aren’t turning around. Their boat capsizes, but in the last few minutes of the episode, we learn that the sheer power of their love helped them survive. (I mean, probably.) They’re able to catch the eye of someone on another boat, which is conveniently headed to Nassau — meaning that, by extension, John B. and Sarah are headed towards the gold. John B. 1, Ward 0.
What happened to Pope, Kiara, and JJ at the end of season 1?
Pope, Kiara, and JJ are all dealing with their own respective family problems by the end of the season. Pope’s dad isn’t too happy that his son decided to walk out in the middle of a scholarship interview to help his friends; Kiara’s mom isn’t happy that her daughter is braving a storm to find her friend who’s actively wanted by the police. JJ’s story is the saddest, though: When we last see his abusive dad, he’s drunk and passed out.
Although we know that John B. and Sarah make it out of the storm alive, the cops presume they’re dead — all they know is that the boat capsized. An officer tells Kiara, JJ, and Pope that their friends are gone, and Kiara and Pope tearfully reunite with their parents. In a sweet moment, Pope’s dad invites JJ, whose dad didn’t show, in for a hug.
Why does everyone think John B. is dead?
Yeah, I don’t know why this guy left his friends in the dark for so long. When the kind, Nassau-bound captain welcomes John B. and Sarah aboard, he specifically asks if they’d like to contact anyone. John B. says he doesn’t “really have anybody to call,” and even though he’s probably in shock from that near-death experience, it’s pretty cold. I mean, Pope only threw away his academic dream to help John B. reclaim the gold, but whatever.
What did Rafe do? And what does he owe Barry?
Rafe’s substance abuse problem escalates throughout the season, culminating in his ill-advised, impulsive decision to shoot Peterkin. In the finale, he breaks into his dealer Barry’s (Nicholas Cirillo) house, searching for coke and having an emotional meltdown. He reveals that he did something “really bad,” but Barry clearly doesn’t think much of this — until later, he and Rafe run into the Pogues, who reveal that Rafe did, in fact, shoot and kill someone. “I own you now,” Barry says. Rafe might have gotten away with murder, but there’s trouble on the horizon.
What is Ward after?
Nothing, at the end of the season. He thinks Sarah and John B. are dead and he thinks his gold is safe. But come on. Outer Banks’ biggest villain isn’t going anywhere, and John B. is prepared to fight back. “You killed my father and you framed me for a murder I didn’t commit,” he tells Ward over the radio, not long before the boat capsizes in the season 1 finale. “I swear to God, Ward, I will come back one day and take what’s mine. I’m coming for you. I’m coming for you.”
Unless, of course, Ward finds him alive, and in the Bahamas, first.