Spoilers are ahead for Outer Banks season 2. Netflix's hit teen drama Outer Banks is about the haves and have nots who live in the yes, you guessed it, Outer Banks. John B. Routledge (Chase Stokes) is the leader of the have nots, better known as the Pogues, who is determined to find the buried treasure his dad was searching for before he disappeared. So perhaps it shouldn't be all that surprising that the key to finding the riches leads him straight to Tanneyhill. But what is Tanneyhill on Outer Banks?
Well, it's the fanciest home on the barrier islands off of North Carolina and also where John B.'s adversary turned crush Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline) lives. The sprawling plantation home was founded by Denmark Tanney, a free man who bought the cotton plantation using gold.
Tanney's portrait hangs in Sarah's dad Ward's (Charles Esten) study, but she admits no one is quite sure where he came from. However, John B. realizes if Tanney paid for the land in gold that likely means he was a survivor of the Royal Merchant, a ship that sunk off the coast of the Outer Banks in the late 1800s with $400 million in British gold on it.
That was also the ship John B.'s dad Big John was after. He believed there were no known survivors from the accident and that the gold had likely gone down with the ship. But if Tanney was in possession of the gold, he is likely the key to finding out where it is now.
When Sarah's family moved into the home they donated Tanney's diary, almanac and papers to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's archives. In those papers, John B. finds a letter that Tanney wrote to his son the same day he was killed by lynching. The note, written in Gullah, the language of the African Americans who live in the Lowcountry, asks his son to harvest the wheat in parcel nine.
Tilling the field seems like a strange dying wish, but John B. realizes that it's code: Wheat is slang for British gold; it's the symbol embossed on the gold bars. Parcel nine on the Tanney plantation, which once covered most of the island, is where the gold is hidden. Now John B. and his friends just have to figure out where parcel 9 is.
Parcel 9 ends up being in the basement of a home owned by the OBX’s resident creepy old lady. It’s also where they find the gold that is ultimately stolen by Ward. By the first season finale, John B. is on the run for a murder he didn’t commit and the gold is on the move to the Bahamas. Knowing this, you may assume that Tanneyhill becomes less important in the new season of this twisty teen mystery. It’s true, early on in season 2 of Outer Banks, Tanneyhill takes a bit of a backseat, but Denmark Tanney is still the driving force behind solving the show’s mystery, which now involves a Pope family heirloom.
In season 2, Pope learns that he’s a descendent of Tanney and his family is in possession of a key that is well, the key to finding the Cross of Santo Domingo, a 7-foot gold cross that was a gift from New Spain to the Spanish king. The cross is not only worth billions of dollars, but is believed to contain “the most holy relic in all of Christendom, the Garment of the Savior,” which is said to cure any malady. The cross was on the Royal Merchant and when the boat went down it was assumed it went down with it, but, thanks to Tanney’s key, the Pogues learn that the cross is buried somewhere on the island just as the gold was.
To find the location of the cross, they need to first find the Island Room. Guess where this room happens to be? Yep, in Tanneyhill where peeling back the Island Room’s wallpaper reveals a mural of the island that includes an image of a church. It’s there that Pope finds the cross, built into the frame of the now broken-down house of worship.
Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones on the hunt for the cross. There’s Carla Limbrey (Elizabeth Mitchell), an heir of the Royal Merchant’s captain, who is looking to cure herself with the shroud. Unfortunately, that’s no longer in the cross, but does have a surprising connection to John B. In the end, it’s Sarah’s brother Rafe (Drew Starkey) who ends up with the heirloom that Pope knows is rightfully his.
After all the Kooks have taken from his family, he’s not willing to give it up without a fight. “This shit ain’t over,” Pope declares in the season 2 finale. In layman's terms, this means Netflix needs to hurry up and renew Outer Banks for season 3.
Update: This story was originally published on April 16, 2020.