Outer Banks season 1, episode 4 recap – what happened in “Spy Games”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 15, 2020 (Last updated: March 3, 2023)
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Outer Banks season 1, episode 4 - Spy Games


Outer Banks season 1, episode 4, “Spy Games” is a filler episode but it’s surprisingly the better of the previous three.

This recap of Netflix series Outer Banks season 1, episode 4, “Spy Games” contains significant spoilers.

Outer Banks season 1, episode 4, “Spy Games” kind of takes a slight step back from all the cat and mouse and separates the characters a little. It opens up with John B and co realizing there is nothing on the Royal Merchant, which is a little deflating due to their efforts. When John B returns home, the social workers turn up with a cop and tells him it is time to be processed for a foster carer. As they drive away, John B distracts them and rides off on a bike and recruits Sarah’s help — she drives them both away; he’s hurt himself on the bike.

So this is a chance for these two finally get close despite the Pogues vs Kooks dynamic. She rubs alcohol on his wound. It’s any excuse for him to be topless at this point. Anyway, he finds a portrait in her bedroom of the sole survivor of the Royal Merchant and he asks her for help to get to the archives — she offers to help him but states it will be her last mission, starting this strange role-play situation.

In order to get to the archives, John B and Sarah need to get off the island. As they have no tickets for the tug boat, they sneak on with sailor jackets and hide in the engine basement, where temperatures are high and it is claustrophobic. Another opportunity for John B to take his shirt off.

In terms of the other characters, Rafe and Topper are on to Pope, suspecting he sank Topper’s boat. Pope tells Kiara that “s*** “might go down tonight” at the outdoor cinema.

Predictably, Sarah and John B play truth or dare on the tug boat, but they just make it a game of truth. The game ends up with them both discussing their upbringings and their fathers, bringing them closer. When they reach land, they go shopping so that they can continue roleplaying for their mission to get the archives. They dress each other up at a clothes store, flirting and giving each other aliases — the sexual tension between them is abundantly obvious. John B asks Sarah why she offered to help “for real” — Sarah confesses that she’s young and she already knows what the rest of her life looks like. She wants to get out of the bubblewrap temporarily.

READ: 10 TV Shows like Outer Banks

At the midway point of Outer Banks season 1, episode 4, “Spy Games”, Rafe and Topper confront Pope and JJ and they have a brawl at the side of the outside cinema. As Topper starts choking Pope, Kiara sets fire to the movie screen to distract them. Topper almost choked Pope to death. Topper is 100% going to kill someone by the end of this season; he loves choking people.

The police find out it is Pope that sunk the boat — Topper’s mother tells the police to press charges. It’s clear this is harsh but she let her upper-class arrogance get the better of her.

Sarah and John B continue roleplaying and they enter a town hall to check out the archives. Sarah asks John B the reasons why he is doing this. John B tells Sarah that he is on a treasure hunt. She can tell that he is being serious. John B believes the sole survivor of the Royal Merchant knew the location of the gold so they need to look at the archives. Sarah and John B look through the archives and John B finds a letter to translate.

On the way back on the tug boat, Sarah and John B talk about their day. They have clearly enjoyed each other’s company. John B asks what it is going to be like when they get back and Sarah suggests that nothing changes, but the elephant in the room is the “bubble” she referenced and her boyfriend Topper. Sarah admits she had a great day.

Meanwhile, the police arrest Pope, but JJ takes the blame and claims he sunk the boat — JJ is arrested instead.

Outer Banks season 1, episode 4, “Spy Games” closes with Sarah and John B returning to the island; it’s predictable raining buckets on them so it’s obvious how it is going to end. They both agree to return to normal and stop the roleplaying; Sarah walks off in the rain and John B tells her to come back — “I’ve just had the best day of my life”; he continues to say that he does not care anymore and that he cannot pretend that this isn’t real. Sarah walks up to John B and kisses him. Sarah then tells him it is a small island so they have to be careful

Well, this escalated quickly and it can only end in tears.

Additional Notes

  • Topper’s mother blames him for one of his boats sinking. The one that Pope took the plug out of.
  • JJ gave Pope a gun for protection.
  • The men who were chasing John B and co were killed by sharks. The police don’t think it is a shark attack but they think it is murder. The police suspect John B.

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