Netflix’s Outer Banks is not your typical teen drama. Last season delivered loads of intrigue and flat-out woo-woo revelations following a hurricane that left loads of melodrama in its wake. There are family secrets and a hunt for gold and class warfare between different factions in an overall well-to-do community. There are Kooks and Pogues (with the former being the ritzy kids, and the latter being, well, a little less privileged), and the power was knocked out all season, which sounds miserable, but the mysteries won’t stop. And oh yes, there’s a lot of action to go with the soapiness of the characters’ dynamics that you might lose your footing while slipping towards that sunken treasure. If you thought the first season was preposterous in a guilty-pleasure sort of way, then stay tuned because things get stranger (and I’m not just saying that because two of the show’s stars, Chase Stokes and Madelyn Cline, have done some time in another Netflix show about teens, Stranger Things).
We’ve got — I mean, come on — an idyllic North Carolinian vacation hot-spot, where a bunch of teens are running around trying to party through the summer, and that includes a ringleader whose dad has been missing for several months. Natural disaster strikes, and then they’re trying to solve a National Treasure-esque mystery, and everyone wants a piece of this treasure to the point where seemingly random thugs are popping out of nowhere to, like, go after a freaking compass? It’s nuts already in Season 1. And I’ve got good news for you: Season 2 will steal your crackers.
Recall that the first season ended with a semi-cliffhanger back in April 2020. Fortunately, the production came together to deliver a season in a relatively short amount of time, given all the COVID delays that have plagued Hollywood. So, we can find out what happened after the two main characters were shown to have survived what looked like certain death due to a capsized boat. Every other principal character and the cops believe that the pair is dead. Only they’re not, and they managed to save themselves with a hunk of gold, and they ended up on a rescue boat bound for Nassau.
You know what that means, right? The intrigue is now going international this season.
Here’s where I must concede this: Outer Banks isn’t what could be considered a good show in terms of story and an absence of logical gaps. However, the show’s filled with charismatic characters and a mystery-thriller vibe that vaulted the series to the top of Netflix’s Top 10 list for multiple weeks. That’s because Outer Banks is like Dawson’s Creek and The O.C but with riveting stakes, and there’s the aforementioned ringleader (John B, played by Stokes), who’s like Young McConaughey-lite, the kind of guy who takes off shirts and never puts them back on and began the show with dreams of tasty waves.
(Naturally, John B shows up in the below still while wearing a t-shirt, just to f*ck with my head a bit.)
As viewers know, the desired waves were sidelined when John B. and his crew discovered a boat that sunk during the big storm, which contains a literal key to the first set of metaphorical doors that would, apparently, lead toward a treasure that’s big enough to set a lot of goons on their trail. Soon enough, the group was knee-deep in a heap of trouble that, somehow, likely involved John B’s dad. What followed was a surprising amount of adrenaline-fueled action with some obligatory romance between characters. It’s a teen soap, so it’s hard to avoid that last part, and besides, now fans are invested in the coupledoms. Smart move on the writers’ behalf.
The first season gave us rivalries and fights and murder and rivalries and betrayal and, somehow, these teens attempting to find $400 million, even though surely the goons will get them first. The most villain-y character, Ward, is truly evil not only because he’s a grown-up but because he’s got blood on his hands. He’s still around, but the show, in switching up the initial second-season location, raises the stakes and increases the intensity through which all of the characters start maneuvering for gold.
John and Sarah are now fugitives on the run in Nassau. They’ve gathered a few new allies, supposedly, but trusting anyone is difficult for a damn good reason. Their crew back at home mourns them, but — and this is not a spoiler — eventually, the group reunites for another mission, even though everyone still really wants to find that jackpot. What is wonderfully enjoyable about Season 2 is that these episodes feel like an espresso-fueled version of what already speedily happened; the ridiculousness stays consistent, in other words. The show’s doing the classic “upping the stakes” approach to a sophomore effort. There’s nothing new there, but it’s doing so in the same way that Fast and Furious cranks up feats with every successive season.
Does this mean that John B goes to, like space, or something? No, silly rabbit. But the chase scenes are more intense now, and things are literally exploding, and the pursuit of John B and his lady, Sarah, frequently feel like everyone’s after them. It’s a little absurd, in a way, like that scene where John Wick looks around and realizes that everyone’s been alerted of a bounty on his head, and he’s fair game. This is a convenient place to stress that Outer Banks Season 2 contains bits and pieces that resemble many mystery-thrillers you’ve seen before, on the small screen and large. The way it’s all packaged together, however, makes it slick enough that it’s irresistible to all ages. Don’t feel guilty if you feel a little too old for this show before you begin, because that bonkers mystery will keep you clicking.
Netflix’s ‘Outer Banks’ returns for Season 2 on July 30.