A storm is brewing on the shores of Netflix’s Outer Banks season 2, metaphorically speaking, which means the adventure series’ teenage crew is back for a new season full of treasure hunting. Season 2 has them relocating to a new country after they were literally chased out of the OBX, which promises more harrowing hijinks and more shirtless swashbuckling.
In the season 1 finale of Outer Banks, head Pogue John B. (Chase Stokes) was on the verge of finding the buried gold that led to his dad’s demise — until he was falsely accused of murder. Now, he’s on a boat heading to the Bahamas with his girlfriend Sarah (Madelyn Cline), who just learned her dastardly dad Ward (Charles Esten) is the one behind it all. That’s a lot to take in, especially when you’re literally a fugitive in a foreign country. "Promise me you won't do anything stupid,” Sarah politely asks John B. in the season 2 premiere. No surprise, he and the rest of the Pogues do some things that would definitely be defined as dumb, but it just adds to the suspense of it all.
Each and every episode of season 2 is as knotty as they come, which is why we’re trying to make sense of all those twists and turns. With each recap we will also celebrate the MVP (Most Valuable Pogue), giving a well-deserved shout-out for whatever wild, ridiculous, resilient thing they do to stay one step ahead of their rivals, which still very much include the Kooks. So take a deep breath and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. It’s definitely going to be a bumpy ride.
Episode 1: “The Gold”
We begin with a beautifully wood-carved monument to John B., who is believed to have died. Of course, he hasn’t, but as he reminds us through voiceover, “Everyone you know will die.” What a bummer. As is watching the town pay their respects to Sheriff Peterkin (Adina Porter) who was killed by Sarah’s brother Rafe (Drew Starkey). A truth that only those on the tarmac that day know. John B. was one of them, which is why he’s being framed for Peterkin’s death by Ward and is now sailing the high seas with Sarah (also still alive). Got that?
There is a larger point to John B.’s philosophizing: Life being so short makes “everything meaningful. Everything’s just one time.” This doesn’t mean that Sarah wants to marry him though. Hello, he’s a teen with few prospects trapped on a steam ship going who knows where. And with a $50,000 reward out on him for killing a cop, he’s going to have to put those dreams of walking down the aisle on hold. Especially, once Terrence, the captain of this ship, realizes the precious cargo he has onboard. Well, had onboard. The two teens manage to escape the boat before the cops nab them, which begins an episode-long goose chase.
The two decide to hide in plain sight at a five-star hotel. Sarah is good at acting like a Karen on vacation, but John B. is more worried about clearing his name. But first, he wants to steal the gold from Ward, something Sarah and the rest of us all know is a bad idea. A not-so-bad idea is borrowing a phone to send his friends a quick text from beyond the grave. Good on John B. for knowing their numbers by heart and for texting “did you pimp my shortboard?” as proof of identity. P4L, man.
There are a lot of bad ideas in this episode. The worst being Rafe’s suggestion that they kill John B’s friends so that he can get away with murder. Though, JJ’s plan to kidnap Rafe at gunpoint is pretty terrible too. However, the worst might be John B’s attempted robbery on Ward’s Paradise Island home. Without the safe code he’s out of luck, as is Sarah, who, while looking for John B, gets kidnapped by Terrence. John B. offers the captain a piece of the original gold in exchange for her, but Terrence is greedy enough to want more, which is how John B. comes up with the plan to steal the gold with Terrence’s help.
Luckily, Pope comes up with a pretty good plan to help John B. clear his name: find a material witness. The plan is to talk to Ward’s pilot Gavin. Well, not so much talk but secretly record him with Pope’s iPhone. Planting his phone in Gavin’s car is way safer than JJ’s gun-based plan any day. Though I do admire JJ’s ability to play the third wheel to the burgeoning Kiara-Pope hookup.
Everyone is pulling off a bit of espionage. Though John B.'s playing-pretend game needs work. I didn’t believe for one second that he was a landscaper looking for his leaf blower, but luckily, the guards at Sarah’s place did. Thankfully, Gavin also got nervous after Kie’s call and he’s looking to renegotiate his deal with Ward. Gavin’s got the gun Rafe used to kill Peterkin, which gives him leverage. Enough to make Ward nervous that he won’t be able to make his great escape, which ends with him meeting the Swiss in Nassau so he can sell the gold.
It’s a risky plan, which is why his wife Rose (Caroline Arapoglou) wonders if they should just give Rafe up. That’s a hard no from Ward, who gets an alert that someone has entered Paradise Island. He knows someone’s on the property, just not that it’s Sarah, who is able to crack the safe’s code. It’s her birthday, which has her feeling some kind of way; a hint of how conflicted she is about everything that's happened.
Of course, just as John B, Sarah and Terrence start packing up the bars, the cops show up. Sarah knows there’s a boat outside, so while the cops check out the house, she goes to get the keys, but has to give them to Terrence. Despite his parkour skills, John B. gets caught by the estate’s security. With one call, Ward is about to realize the dead don’t always die.
Her give-no-fucks attitude has her taking on the establishment (i.e. Rafe and his dad) one graffiti tag at a time. She’s smoking weed, asking Pope to hookup, and putting her Pogue family above all else. Sure, it’s Pope’s multi-phase plan that will help save John B, but her Batman voice is the real key to it succeeding. No one’s saying Robert Pattinson has to worry about his job, but she is a master of the guilt trip. For that we stan.
Episode 2: “The Heist”
The jig is up for John B. His identity as the Paradise Island burglar is about to be revealed to Ward, but quick-thinking Sarah turns on the sprinklers causing the cop’s phone to get wet. As he scrambles to reconnect with Ward, Sarah walks out pretending to be “Val,” the Camerons’ housesitter. Of course, she knows Vlad, he fixes boats for the neighbors. The cops don’t buy it, which is why she shoots bug spray at them so she and John B can make a run for it. She really came in with a plan, didn’t she? But couldn’t John B. drive a little faster or is that cop a Terminator? Either way, Sarah and her donkey kick are calling the shots from now on, okay?
Pope is also calling the shots, thanks to his antique camcorder, which he hopes will catch Ward paying off Gavin. Unfortunately, they can’t hear the two guys, so there’s a lot of chatter as to what the two men are saying. Here’s the deal: Gavin’s mad, he’s not giving up the gun unless he gets his money. Gavin hits his head in a dust-up with Ward, who grabs the gun and is willing to walk away, but then Gavin says he’s not going to jail for Ward's “psychopath son." Ward turns around and shoots him execution-style. Pope catches it all on tape, but Gavin isn’t dead yet. He rushes Ward with his final breath, causing Ward to drop the gun. It ping-pongs off the construction into the flooded street where Ward tries to chase it down, only to see it go down the storm drain. This should be a good thing, but for some reason Kie decides to yell “murderer” at him. Now he knows someone saw him. Instead of looking for the gun, he’s looking for the heckler. In the pursuit, Pope drops the camera, damaging the tape, which brings them back to square one.
What I’d like to know is where Gavin’s body went. By the time interim Sheriff Shoupe gets to the scene, Gavin’s gone. The broken video and the illegal wiretapping doesn’t help the Pogues’ case that Ward is on a “random killing spree.” Though, he is. He managed to drag the body back to his house, where he’s now asking Rafe for help covering up a murder. You know, just a little father-son bonding.
To prove his love for his dad, Rafe is going to find the gun, but not if the Pogues find it first. JJ seems to understand how all the drains work on the island, but due to the pecker-climbing amoeba in the sewer, Kie is the one crawling through the muck. At the same time, Rafe is consulting with his drain guy/BFF Barry (Nicholas Cirillo), who suggests they flush out the drain in hopes the gun ends up near the ocean outlet. Just as they’re about to turn the water on, they hear Kie screaming and Rafe realizes he’s not the only one looking for the gun. Not one to care about human life, he decides to flush them out anyway. It’s only thanks to JJ and Pope’s superhuman strength that she gets out of there alive. Somehow she managed to grab the gun while she was down there, but Rafe’s already planning to say John B. stole the gun. Privilege really does offer protection in this town, doesn’t it?
Back in the Bahamas, John B and Sarah make a deal with Terrence. He knows that the gold exists, that it’s in a safe on the island, but it won’t be there for long. Her dad will have to move it, but with Terrence’s island connections, they could pilfer it before Ward even knows. Sarah is out for revenge: she wants to take down her dad for John B’s dad who, unlike everyone else in town, never feared Ward. She turns to her little sister Wheezie (Julia Antonelli) for help. The walls in the Ward house are thin and Rose hears her talking to someone, but that doesn’t stop Wheezie from hacking into her dad’s computer and getting the details of the private air freight company that plans to relocate the gold.
Sarah and the gang need to intercept the gold before it gets on a plane, which is all very Fast & Furious. Terrence’s right-hand woman Cleo (Carlacia Grant) is in charge of the distraction, but she’s also Sarah’s confidante, warning her of Terrence’s back-stabbing ways. Rose tries to warn Ward of Wheezie’s mysterious phone call, but he’s convinced all he needs to do is get to the island and they’re home free. Has he ever watched Outer Banks?
For those who have, we already know that Ward’s plan to use the gold, worth half a billion, to dig his family out of a financial hole is a little too good to be true. Cleo’s decoy kids manage to slow Ward down, but they don’t stop him. Ward ditches his security escort, but runs into Cleo and Terrence’s sinkhole diversion. They get them out of the car so that Sarah and John B. can drive off with the gold. Ward manages to see the robbers, who he recognizes as his not-dead-daughter Sarah. Did she really think a cloth mask and a baseball hat was going to cut it?
John B. raises his gun as Ward walks closer. Rafe also prepares for a shootout, but Cleo manages to get the gun out of Rafe’s hand so that they can keep going with their original plan. The weight of the gold is slowing the truck down and the security detail is starting to catch up to them, but John B. goes all Tokyo Drift on them to hide in a sugarcane field. They did it, but in the melee, Rafe’s gun went off. Sarah’s been shot and she’s bleeding really bad. It’s time to panic.
Having to crawl through excrement causing her to get “sewage in my lungs” to find the gun feels like a good reason to crown her two-time MVP in as many episodes, don’t you think?
Episode 3: “Prayers”
Bless John B. for knowing enough first aid to instruct Sarah to press down to stop the bleeding. They’ve got the gold, but they’ve got bigger problems that only Terrence’s secret doctor can solve. I love how they’re all best friends now: Cleo’s giving her girl Sarah some money, and they’ve bestowed a nickname on Terrence. Still, Sarah’s worried they might steal the gold—honestly, I am too. But John B. is worried about Sarah, so worried he drops his phone making it very hard to follow the GPS. It sure does make for an exciting opening scene though.
Pope is also being summoned by a rich family that was intrigued by his Royal Merchant story in his scholarship interview. He didn’t get the scholarship since, you know, he walked out midway through, but he’s told that getting in the good graces of this particular family could be beneficial to his future. The letter he receives has the wheat symbol on its wax seal, the same symbol that is on the bars of gold. Inside, it says in cursive, which, as JJ notes, isn’t always easy to read, that they have “material evidence that can exonerate” John B. This C. Limbrey character, who could be related to the captain of the Royal Merchant, wants Pope to come meet him alone so they can share what they know. Intriguing but also very sus.
Terrence and Cleo have loaded the gold onto their boat and are waiting for Sarah and John B, who might be a while since she’s recovering from a surgery that she may not wake up from. It’s touch and go there for a minute. Dr. “I don’t do heads” Marsh is ready to write her off. But somehow John B’s able to revive her with his love? We don’t need to get scientific, just know she makes it.
Ward is still questioning if it was really Sarah he saw, while Rafe admits he shot her — accidentally? He’s not sorry that he did, which is quite a statement. He thinks his dad is being foolish for believing she’s on their side. It’s the first time I’ve actually agreed with Rafe because he’s right, Sarah is out to get them. Not kill them, but certainly, foil their plans. Ward is back to telling the authorities that Sarah has been kidnapped and brainwashed by John B. My question is, does Ward actually believe that Sarah was brainwashed or is it just easier to believe that story than reckon with the truth?
Unfortunately, when Sarah and John B. get to the dock, they find out there’s been a shooting. They see the cops with the gold, and the cops see them. Another chase ensues, which ends with John B. hitting Cleo with his Volvo. She managed to jump overboard when the cops showed up, but she heard gunshots. We don’t know what happened to Terrence, but Ward now has his gold back. He’s happy to be flush with cash and also to know that Sarah’s likely okay since she isn’t in the hospital or morgue.
Rafe, on the other hand, is not doing well no matter how much steak Ward buys him. He’s having bad thoughts and is afraid he might do something terrible. One would argue, he already has, but he’s at his breaking point. Yet Ward isn’t listening, telling him to “man up.” In some ways, Sarah also wants John B. to man up and stop running. She wants to go back to OBX and clear his name and with Cleo’s help they make it to Charleston quicker than Kie, JJ, and Pope do. And when they do they’re sort of married, though, no one believes that ceremony would stand up in a maritime court of law.
MVP: John B.
We’ll never quite know how he brought Sarah back to life — Was it the haphazard CPR? The screaming? The chair throwing?— but whatever he did deserves an honorary doctorate from Johnny Hopkins.
Episode 4: “Homecoming”
Land ho! John B. and Sarah have made it to Charleston, where JJ, Pope, and Kie have also arrived to meet up with someone who is so rich and fancy they make OBX’s Kooks look like Pogues. It’s Ms. Carla Limbrey (Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell) who was looking to meet with Pope. “To finding the unfindable,” she toasts Pope, who, before entering the plantation house, spots the slave quarters. She was also looking for the gold, and knows they found it and then lost it to Ward. She adds that she has a “long and tortured history” with the Cameron patriarch. She funded his first development project and they were partners in the hunt for the Royal Merchant. Just like he did to John B.’s father, Ward double-crossed her.
She also knows that Rafe killed Peterkin thanks to a recording of Gavin saying so, but she won’t exonerate John B. unless she gets Denmark Tanney’s key. Tanney was a freedman who tried to buy the freedom of his wife and daughters, but Limbrey’s ancestors refused and hanged him for attempting to claim his wife’s remains. Carla is convinced that Pope’s family has the key, which will lead them to the real treasure at the Cross of Santo Domingo. To get it, she’s willing to kidnap him. Thankfully, JJ and Kie show up right on time to keep Pope from getting tazed by Carla’s henchman. But another chase ensues — this season is full of them.
Funny thing is, as JJ tries to drive away he nearly hits two people in the street: John B. and Sarah, who are being chased by the well-dressed man they just robbed. They recognize Pope’s dad’s truck, so they steal a pedicab to try and catch up. Their slow-motion reunion is pretty sweet, though, they really gotta keep moving so they don’t get caught by one, if not both, of the guys who are chasing them. LOL to John B. pedaling as fast as Carla’s henchman can run. Still, they are able to get away leading to a montage of good vibes that includes Sarah and Kie having some quality girl talk over chunks of watermelon and the guys ignoring all of JJ’s dating advice.
What can’t be ignored is Ward telling Rose what happened in Nassau; Sarah is alive, but she was shot by Rafe trying to steal the gold. It’s kind of bizarre that he’s not more interested in making sure she survived, but I guess his priorities are the gold. Rose’s priorities are not going to jail after lying for Rafe. The truth is, she’s known there was something wrong with Rafe since he was 10 and she’s not willing to take the fall for him. Is Ward willing to? Particularly when Rafe’s getting drunk at the local bar and talking about what it’s like to shoot a gun?
When Rafe finds out that John B. is alive and well in the OBX, he goes looking for another gun and finds an accomplice in Barry. (Sidenote: Party all you want, but why did all the Pogues go to buy beer? Especially the two who are supposed to be dead?) They show up to the house, but luckily, they slam their car door loud enough to tip John B. off. He, Sarah, and JJ end up hiding in a tree while the guys survey the place. It’s a good thing Rafe made too much of a scene to stick around, or things could have been bad. Sarah realizes that Rafe knowing where she is means her dad will soon know too. Ward’s going to have to choose between his kids, and she believes he will choose her. She wants two hours to go see him, something the others think is a straight-up bad idea. I’m torn, Ward is a liar, but I do think he’s got a soft spot for Sarah that could work in her favor.
When she goes back home, she tells Ward she’s going to testify against him so he should make Rafe turn himself in. He won’t do it, he knows that John B. didn’t kill Peterkin, but believes he’s the reason she’s dead. Ward’s logic is, if John B. wasn’t so greedy, none of this would have happened. Sarah is his favorite, that he admits, but he won’t choose between his daughter and his son. He still believes everything’s going to work out just fine. Oh, to be so blissfully ignorant.
The only thing Ward can do is call Shoupe, who follows Sarah back to The Cut. Now they’ve got to outrun the FBI despite the fact that Sarah can barely walk. John B. surrenders, but the largest officer decides he’s not going to let him go so easily. That one’s gonna hurt.
His plans are often the worst, but sometimes he manages to make sense. “Stupid things have good outcomes all the time,” is his philosophy and after all they’ve been through you can’t really argue with him, can you? He’s willing to put his life on the line for John B. that’s true Pogue-dom.
Episode 5: “The Darkest Hour”
John B. is as close to rock bottom as they come, but as his dad used to say, “You can always go lower.” So perhaps, him ending up in an orange jumpsuit is not as low as he’s yet to go. Though, that toilet situation is pretty dire. Not to mention, he’s been charged with murder of the first degree. If convicted, the max sentence is the death penalty. This might not be hell, but it’s pretty damn close.
Ward is out here playing innocent, when he’s an actual murderer, something Kiara announces outside the courthouse. Sheriff Shoupe is once again being called out for offering special treatment to the Kooks, but Kiara gets her mic drop moment when she tells Ward, “It’s not a coincidence that your daughter’s sitting with us.” That daughter plans to testify on the behalf of her kind-of husband, but she needs Wheezie’s help. She also knows that Rafe wasn’t home that day. Lord knows that’s a better idea than JJ’s plan to kidnap Shoupe.
Kiara is looking to her parents for help, they might be able to get John B. a lawyer. Her mom is not all that interested in helping these Pogue boys who seem to be bringing her daughter down. Definitely not the moment for Kiara to confirm that she and Pope slept together on the beach. When push comes to shove, she’s a Pogue and she always will be, despite her Kook upbringing. Something her mom is just never going to understand. Though Kie seems a little unsure of her night with Pope, who is looking to get Limbrey’s tape of Gavin admitting everything. He also wants more intel on the Tanney key. Turns out, Pope’s dad’s grandmother used to wear a similar looking key around her neck and it’s possible it’s still in her old apartment. This is where that illustration comes in handy. Pope realizes the pattern in the drawing Carla gave him is the same as his great-grandma’s ceiling. It’s there he finds a hole where she stored the key.
With Gavin being gone and Sarah testifying against her dad, it’s not looking good for Ward. Rose is most worried about losing their status, which is why she’s urging Ward to find someone, anyone to help them. Ward’s longshot plan is paying off a cop. I know Ward is rich, but him telling everyone about the murders he’s committed as a sympathy play seems like a bad strategy to me. As does not choosing Sarah in his battle of the kids. Even Ward admits that it’s Rafe who effed things up royally. Once again though, Rafe’s going to try and make it right by tricking Sarah into meeting him under the guise that he’s Wheezie. Also, Sarah, sweetie, maybe give a few more minutes between all those emergency texts?
Let’s all agree that there’s nothing worse than a rogue JJ rolling up to the jail with a toothpick in his mouth. His Operation Liberation plan begins with them pissing off the cops (check!) and then faking an appendicitis attack that leads to his cousin Ricky, the weed dealer/EMT, extracting him. It’s more Ferris Bueller’s Day Off than Shawshank Redemption. Yet, John B. is going with it, that’s how desperate he is. His friends are also desperate to save him, believing the Tanney key could be, well, the key to clearing his name. Though, it might also be the key to something else. The key features an inscripted message: “Path to the tomb is beyond the Island Room.”
Pope and Kie don’t know what or where the Island Room is. Nor do they know that JJ is in the midst of breaking John B. out of jail, only to be given a different patient. We also start to see the plan Ward put in place with the cop. She is letting another inmate free so he can take out John B. So basically, Ward paid to have him killed. That is truly cuckoo bananas — and that is saying something with this show. Oh, that is until Rafe tries to drown his sister in a small tub. Nothing seems to be going right until Sarah’s ex Topper (Austin North) shows up to save her from her demonic brother and somehow, at the same moment, John B. hears Sarah’s name and acquires super strength to fight off his humongous attacker. The power of love, I guess?
Turns out, Shoupe has been doing his detective work on the down low. He checked out the gun, which has Rafe’s fingerprints all over it. Now the OBX squad is ready to take Rafe down, pulling up to the Cameron house with backup. Gotta agree with JJ, this really was a doozy of a day.
She’s full of clever bon mots in this episode, from that sick burn on bad daddy Ward (“It’s not a coincidence that your daughter’s sitting with us.”) To straight-up nailing how the criminal justice system works: “Justice costs money.” To showing up in the nick of time to save JJ’s ass with some dangerous driving. Like Michael Jordan before her, Kie’s got a three-peat on her hands.
Episode 6: “My Druthers”
Ward’s boat getting an episode named after it is a clue to where this episode might be headed. But it begins with John B. having his charges dropped and getting his VW bus, Twinkie, back. Let’s just say the OBX is happy to see him. The only person he wants to see is Sarah, who hasn’t turned up since her scheduled meeting with Wheezie, who ended up being Rafe on a mission to kill his sister. Luckily, Topper showed up mid-drowning and that’s who she’s with now. Is it just me or is he giving off some subtle Misery vibes with that phone that allows him to track her? To be fair, he did think she was dead and he also might just be a nice guy, but in this town good deeds often come at a price.
At Tanneyhill, Ward’s stuff is being searched. Shoupe’s got a warrant so this is official business. They’re looking for Rafe, who’s been charged for murder in the second degree. If Ward cooperates, he might be shown compassion since they have proof he was lying this whole time. Rose is happy for him to sell out Rafe to save themselves, but Ward would rather get an attorney. Shoupe thinks they should have gotten a warrant for Ward too, and I agree. What stops him from blowing town? Shoupe’s partner is one step ahead, he plans to bug the house so when Ward talks to Rafe, they’ll catch it all on tape.
I’m all about catching that look John B. gives when he sees Topper sailing in with Sarah. Though, Topper’s pretend excitement over seeing John B. a free man might take the cake. Safe to say, there’s a lot of niceties being delivered through gritted teeth that lead to some hurt feelings. Maybe Sarah’s not ready to tell the world she’s sort-of married to a guy who was recently charged with murder? Can’t blame her there.
Kie and Pope are busy Googling the “Island Room” and they probably have to be quick since Limbrey’s henchman is roughing up Pope’s dad. Though, what Kie’s got on her mind is how weird their first time together was. She’s having second thoughts about ruining their friendship, something Pope was initially worried about. The friend zone is a hard place to be, though being in the dog house, the way Sarah is, is also not fun.
But back to Pope’s dad, who didn’t say a word about the key to Limbrey’s guy. However, since they no longer need to clear John B’s name, it’s worth figuring out how the key and the Cross of Santo Domingo are connected. The Cross was apparently an extravagant gift from New Spain to the Spanish king that was lost off the coast of Bermuda in 1829. It’s bigger than a full grown man so it shouldn’t be too hard to spot once they know where to look. Pope’s Mee-maw seems afraid of the key that was owned by Tanney and his wife Cecilia, who are Pope’s “great-grandfolks going way back.” She didn’t tell Pope and his dad to protect them and doesn’t want him to do anything stupid now. Good luck with that, especially now that JJ has a plan.
Limbrey soon bursts Pope’s bubble about finding the cross and splitting the money. She needs the key. A clue that she is being used by someone even more powerful? John B. switches the keys to get Limbrey to give them the tape. It’s all a good ruse, but Sarah seems a little unsure about using this tape to bring down her dad. Ward is trying to save his son by helping him flee, but no surprise, Rafe’s got other plans. He’s not going down alive, which is why he’s packing major heat. Rafe probably isn’t going to become the next David Attenborough with his “killing is nature” monologue. But Barry’s double cross is something to behold, especially when it leads into an all out shootout with the cops and then a slow boat chase through the swamp.
His arrest leads Rose to say they should hop in My Druthers and vamoose, but Ward thinks it’ll be okay. I got news for him, that tape from Limbrey is hella incriminating, down to Gavin stating, if he disappears, it’s Ward’s fault. Sarah is stuck in the middle of all of this. She knows her dad deserves what he gets, but he's still her dad. Kie is the only Pogue who seems to understand her dilemma, as does Topper, who gives her a courtesy call so she can say goodbye to him.
Ward is out on his boat screaming about how “a good captain goes down with his ship,” which is a frightening statement from a man in his state. In tears, he confesses to everything, saying it was all for his family. It’s Sarah that tries to stop him, but he goes and blows up the boat. John B. doesn’t even console her. Pretty cold.
That fake key plan? All JJ’s, which means he is capable of coming up with a master plan once every blue moon or so — or, to use a JJ-ism, “Even a blind pig finds an acorn sometimes.” Whether this is the only acorn or not, he still deserves his props for this one.
Episode 7: “The Bonfire”
Ward is gone, but he left a parting video message for his family. In the end, he says it was “his fear of going back, of losing everything he had” that made him go out with such a bang. He confesses to killing Big John, takes the fall for murdering Sheriff Peterkin so that Rafe can go free, and admits he shot and killed Gavin. While some might think he took the easy way out, Ward says he left this world knowing he let down his family. Sarah isn’t all that interested in making nice with her big bro who tried to kill her. I do believe that Rafe thought he was helping his dad by doing everything he did. I also think he needs to do more than apologize, he needs some serious help right now.
As does Sarah, who felt as if John B. looked “almost glad” after her dad took his own life. She thought after losing his own dad, he would understand how she’s feeling. He doesn’t though, which is why she takes off her wedding bandanna and leaves. When she said, “Some things are just not meant to be,” I felt that. I was really rooting for those crazy OBX kids. That she goes to Topper’s looking for a place to stay also kind of bums me out. Though, I don’t know where else she would go and I do think he’s trying to be nice with the whole invite to the annual bonfire. You know, the bonfire this episode is named for.
Limbrey knows they gave her the wrong key, and she’s running out of time, which is why she’s now in “whatever means necessary” mode. The Pogues are just trying to get through history when their teacher reveals he has access to the maritime museum’s archives, which includes Denmark Tanney’s diary. In it, he states that the cross was on The Royal Merchant.
In other interesting news, Limbrey’s henchman Ren is also her half-brother, which is why he wants to find the key, too. Her fortune will be his if he helps her. Ward left Rose hanging, too. She doesn’t know where the gold is nor the Swiss account it’s linked to. Ward’s company is in major debt, which means the Camerons might soon be slumming it with the Pogues. Usually, Rafe’s anger would just be destructive, but that punch through the wall has revealed another layer to the house.
Let’s guess it’s got something to do with Tanney, whose diary is getting the Pogues closer to answers. The cross was on the Royal Merchant, but it’s likely he didn’t hide it with the gold because it was too big. Again, they wonder, what is the Island Room? JJ believes that the bonfire is where they’ll get the best thinking done and obviously, the show just needs an excuse to get the Pogues and the Kooks together. Of course, when Sarah sees John B. talking to a girl she assumes he’s flirting, but in actuality he’s going on and on about wanting her back. Two drinks in, all Sarah is inadvertently starting an all-out Kooks vs. Pogues brawl that leads her to take a hard fall mere days after she nearly died from a gunshot wound. Remember that?!
Before they can even make sense of the bonfire battle, Ren is caught sneaking around John B.’s with his sharpshooter friends. It’s enough to get Pope to hand over the real key this time. Carla Limbrey then shows up at the Cameron house asking for the Island Room. When Sarah goes there the next morning she finds the wallpaper has been torn down to reveal a mural. That little smirk from Sarah proves she now knows the secret of her family’s house, too.
He manages to sum up the forlorn energy of this whole episode with one heartbreaking quote: “Love is five minutes of pleasure for a lifetime of pain.” Ah, youth.
Episode 8: “The Cross”
Cross of Santo Domingo fun facts, courtesy of Pope: It’s “the most holy relic in all of Christendom, the Garment of the Savior.” It seems as if there is a garment capable of healing the sick, which explains why Carla is so anxious to get her hands on it. Stealing it though might be the reason why The Royal Merchant sank; Tanney believed it was God’s scorn for stealing such a sacred item.
The mural that was revealed underneath the wallpaper in Sarah’s home is actually a map of the whole island. Tanney’s drawings match up with the images on the wall. The problem is, Sarah didn’t find the Island Room, it was like that when she got there. Wheezie says it was Carla and “her attack dog” who showed up to talk to Rafe about the church, the angels, and “getting across the sand flamingo” or Santo Domingo. It’s JJ who realizes the angel is actually a tree called the Angel Oak. (Fun fact: this is a real tree in Charleston that I’ve been to, not to brag.) They realize that the cross is buried at the foot of this tree and they’ve got to get there fast since Carla is already on her way.
Unfortunately, the tide is coming in and John B. has to book it in his VW bus to get through the swamp full of mama gators. Rafe has now teamed up with Carla to find the cross, but what they find is the casket of Cecile Tanney, Denmark’s wife. The true treasure Tanney wrote about wasn’t the cross, it was his wife. Aww. JJ soon realizes that Limbrey missed something, there is a spyglass hidden in the tree that features another inscription: “You’ve come this far. Do not falter. The cross is on the Freedman’s altar.” So turns out, the church was the place all along.
When John B’s bus gets caught in the swamp, Kie steals her dad’s truck so they can help tow it out. Dad guilt is a major part of this show so it’s only fitting that as JJ goes to tow out the bus, he’s met with his dad, who was released from jail for good behavior, only to beat up a pharmacist. Now he’s on a side quest to help his dad escape, leaving the car and possibly his friends to be taken by the tide. Kie is giving off some major Joey-Pacey vibes talking up her friend’s character, which leads JJ’s old man to apologize for being such a capital-B capital-D Bad Dad.
The other Pogues are fighting a monster of their own. Since we already heard about the gators, you know John B. is going to have to wrestle one. Seriously *chef’s kiss* with this moment of pure B-movie schlock. Though, this has got nothing on Jennifer Lopez’s Anaconda. Other ridiculous moments? Rose getting Amazon packages from the great beyond that go unexplained, but clearly will play a role later, right? And Rafe remembering the night he nearly drowned Sarah much differently that I do. He didn’t try to kill her, he was provoked by John B, who is like the boogeyman for the Kooks on this island.
Now back to the church, which is where the seven-foot-tall gold cross hides. It’s the spy glass that helps Pope spot it up in the rafters, a foundational part of the church, which is straight-up crumbling down. It’s why we should all be nervous about Pope climbing up there. Scarier is that glimpse of the sharpshooter aimed right at Sarah in the moments before Pope finds the cross hidden in the beams. But the real villain of this episode is those wasps (sorry, gator), which cause Pope to fall seconds before that heavy cross comes tumbling down on the Pogues.
He’s not always the sharpest knife in the drawer, even when he’s carrying the sharpest of knives, but he’s straight-up Sherlock Holmes in this episode where he cracks Tanney’s code, not once, but twice, and gives a sweet monologue about how the only family he has are the Pogues. That slow-clap was well-deserved.
Episode 9: “Trapped”
Pope did not tuck and roll and he’s paying the price for that. Thankfully, he isn’t squished by the huge gold cross, which narrowly misses him and his friends. At least they don’t have to worry about getting it down? They do have to figure out what to do next. JJ wants to melt it down for cash, but John B. thinks it should be in a museum. Getting it anywhere is tough; five of them can barely move it. It doesn’t help that Pope’s allergic to wasps and going into anaphylactic shock. Worst. Day. Ever.
To save him, Cousin Ricky is going to pump Pope full of ephedrine, a dose that luckily doesn’t stop his heart, but amps him up to get back that cross. Now, why would they have him drive, I wonder, as he totals Kie’s dad’s car? Worse, he watches Rafe and Ren, who were able to track Sarah via Topper’s phone, drive off with the cross they had to leave behind. Once again, the Limbrey’s have taken everything from Denmark Tanney. For Pope, this battle is personal, the Kooks have taken so much from him and his friends, he just wants what’s rightfully his. You gotta admire his chutzpah.
Rafe is truly Ward’s son, making sure he gets his cut of the cross deal, while Carla waxes poetic about the garment that will heal her. It sounds like baloney, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a miracle. She opens the cross with Tanney’s key, but inside are just a bunch of moths. Ren thinks he’s got the upper hand, but Carla shoots him before he can steal the cross. Carla underestimated Rafe though. She thought he would work for her, but he’s just as happy to steal the cross for himself.
Rose is trying to set sail for “bigger things,” but Rafe thinks the cross is enough to keep them out of the red. Before going on a “death mission” for the cross, John B. wants to talk to Sarah about their relationship. Weird timing, bro, but it’s nice to finally hear him apologize. Not nice enough to warrant Sarah forgiving him so easily, but YOLO. Sarah manages to get the key, but instead of speeding off, she checks the trunk where she finds the cross and Ren’s dead body. That decision leads Rafe to find her and lock her in the wine cellar. “Sometimes you have to make the hard choice,” he tells Rose, who is also not above drugging and kidnapping her stepdaughter. Now Rose is the one letting Rafe get away with murder — though, he didn’t actually murder Ren. (He sounds a bit like Tim Robinson with his excuses though.)
Pope is full on action star, riding Rafe’s truck for a showdown in the swamp where he leaves Ren’s body for the gators. Round three goes to Rafe, who leaves Pope there to also be eaten if it’s not for Kie, who even under the threat of being sent to boarding school, chooses to help her fellow Pogue in need.
Pope is on a mission to get that cross and comes up with a plan to cause an explosion on the dock and sneak into a storage container meant for the ship. Once they’re in, they can’t get out on their own. It’s a risky move, but “nothing to lose” is their motto. It seems as if this boat is full of stowaways since Ward Cameron is alive and setting sail for who knows where. Somehow, this show still finds ways to surprise me.
Who would believe that he’s a landscaper waiting for his yard associate to get back from planting flowers for the late Ward Cameron’s memorial? Well, thankfully the old man with the gun does. Seriously, it’s a masterclass in fake storytelling complete with a mention of “natural Viagra.” Bravo to being the real MVP with four titles.
Episode 10: “The Coastal Venture”
We’ve made it to the finale and so has Ward Cameron. A twist I didn’t see coming since I swore I saw him and his boat blow up in episode 6. Sarah isn’t interested in reuniting with her dear ol’ previously departed dad, who faked his death by putting on some scuba gear. He believes this was the only way he could keep his family together, but I have some logistical questions that will ultimately go unanswered.
Ward’s plan is to take his whole family to paradise to live happily ever after. It’s a far fetched idea since most of the Camerons can’t stand each other. But at least Sarah will be able to speak French there. So win-win? Among his truths, Wad throws in a lie, stating he gave John B. the cross so he could keep Sarah. Probably should have made sure Rafe hid the cross a little better if he was going to sell that trade. Worse, the shipmate was spying on Rafe as he bragged about the billion dollar cross. If we’ve learned anything this season, it’s that someone on a boat is always listening in. Keep this in mind anytime you take a cruise.
To be fair, Rafe did manage to guess correctly that the Pogues are on the ship right now. They’re locked in a storage container that bolts from the outside and they’re trying to come up with an escape plan. JJ reveals that the boat, which he worked on once, has a full-on arsenal incase of a pirate attack. While this is happening, Kie realizes there is a small window in the container that they might be able to crawl through. We also see that the Pogues do have some inadvertent backup on board: Cleo is back! Remember Cleo? (Sidenote: What happened to Terrence?)
But there’s no time to reminisce since Sarah finds a phone and tries to call the coast guard, but her loud talking gets the attention of the captain who isn’t interested in having any authorities on board. After all, there are a lot of hot goods on this boat including recently revived fugitive Ward Cameron. The captain’s log of the cross being cursed also can’t go unmentioned. Is it possible this boat will end up sinking like the Royal Merchant? This cross’ power!
Pope is looking to Cleo for compassion. She believes he’s just some stowaway, but he lets her know he’s there for his family’s cross and to save Sarah Cameron. A name drop that rings a bell for Cleo. It’s a small world, after all. There's also a small-ish crew on this ship, which is why Pope believes they have to strike before they hit land. Especially, after John B. reveals that Ward isn’t dead. Love how Kie guesses that scuba was how he survived as if that’s the only logical explanation? Also love how Cleo becomes an honorary Pogue by lying to the crew and coming up with a better plan. She pretends to have caught a stowaway (Pope), so that he can attack the captain.
Sarah is now in handcuffs after Ward decides he can’t trust her. Of course, he says this is her fault, not his. He really loves to play the guilt card. Sarah calls him out for doing everything for himself. “You are greedy,” she says before throwing down the worst of her name-calling. “And you are a murderer.” He goes berserk, not unlike Rafe has in the past, but she manages to lock him in a storage room. What we soon learn is there are a lot of doors on this ship. JJ and Kie manage to lock away the rest of the crew while Pope does his best Braveheart impression. Rafe goes all I Know What You Did Last Summer on John B. only to have his face burned by hot steam Freddy Krueger-style.
At this point, it is pure chaos. The captain has untied himself, Ward has been set free, and Pope is using a crane to lift the cross into the lifeboat that Sarah is currently trying to escape on before Ward comes to berate her for not “being one of us.” Like, give me a break with this guy. Soon he’s got his hands around her throat, choking her, yelling at her not to call him “dad” because she doesn’t mean it. John B. manages to get him off of her, but Ward isn’t going down without a fight. No one on this boat is, as we see when the captain manages to throw JJ off the boat only to have Kie jump in to save him.
In a moment of poetic justice, John B. inadvertently recreates the moment in which Ward beat up Big John. “This is all your fault,” he tells Ward, who he shows mercy to by not throwing him overboard. He didn’t get to say goodbye to his dad, and he doesn’t want that for the Cameron family. Progress for small John.
Pope is being shot at but he still has the piece of mind to drop the cross into the ocean figuring if he can’t have it, no one can. Unfortunately, Rafe grabs hold of the line, and everyone on board starts to pull it back up. It’s his now. JJ is brought back from the dead without CPR. Not the miracle Carla wanted, but I’ll take it. Another miracle might be Ward surviving that head injury. By not throwing him off the boat, John B. probably saved his life and now Rafe is on a mission to bring Sarah back into the fold so that he can finally get a kiss from daddy. He just makes me so sad that he wants to be just like his dad. Worse, that he doesn’t realize he is like his dad in all the wrong ways.
The Pogue crew has made it to a deserted beach without the cross and the gold. It looks like rock bottom, but as John B’s dad warned, you can always go lower, which is why John B’s trying to put a happy spin on their current state. After all, they have some tasty waves, Sarah’s going full Pogue and JJ’s coming up with Poguelandia flags featuring chickens in coconut bras and Crocs. It doesn’t sound all that bad. Until you realize, Kie’s parents and everyone else in the OBX thinks these teens are missing or worse, dead.
John B’s final stance on all of this comes courtesy of his dad paraphrasing Euripides: “The ocean washes away all that evil men do.” Unfortunately, the younger Rutledge disagrees, the ocean makes you remember — or maybe it just makes sure you don’t forget what you really want. For Carla it’s finding that miracle shroud. To do that she goes to a half-dead Big John in Barbados. Yes, he’s alive too. He knows where the shroud is and is willing to take her to it. She just has to help John B. Do what? Well, that’s for next season, now isn’t it?
His heroics in the finale are enough to bestow upon him this title, but this whole season was really about this nerdy kid coming into his own and learning who he really is: a descendant of Denmark Tanney. He also gives us hope for a third season with one glorious line: “This shit ain’t over.” Far from it, my friend, far from it.