Outer Banks season 1, episode 9 recap – what happened in “The Bell Tower”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 15, 2020 (Last updated: February 7, 2024)
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Outer Banks season 1, episode 9 - The Bell Tower - Netflix series


Outer Banks season 1, episode 9, “The Bell Tower” puts John B in a precarious position as he has to run away from authorities due to the events of the last episode.

This recap of Netflix series Outer Banks season 1, episode 9, “The Bell Tower” contains significant spoilers.

This series gets more and more action-packed and dramatic. The YA Netflix series has actually given us an ending worth watching. Outer Banks season 1, episode 9, “The Bell Tower” opens up with a dying Sheriff Susan Peterkin asking John B for help. Ward ruthlessly takes the radio off the Sheriff so she asks John B to run. John B runs off as Sarah distracts. Wade asks Rafe to take a hysterical Sarah home. Ward uses Peterkin’s radio to report that she has been hurt very badly and then uncuffs himself.

Ward loves to be corrupt — he feels invincible.

Meanwhile, a frustrated Pope starts wrecking things while hyperventilating — he has lost his scholarship and everything for nothing. JJ gives him some weed. John B shows up and they need a plan.

The police arrive and Ward pretends he was trying to resuscitate Peterkin. Deputy Shoupe helps out and demands that they transport the Sheriff to the hospital. Ward tells Shoupe that John B shot Peterkin.


John B is unaware of Ward’s lies and heads to the police station to tell them what happened. John B heads in and tells the receptionist that he knows who shot the Sheriff. On the radio, he hears his name as number 1 suspect — two cops approach so John B runs out.

READ: 10 TV Shows like Outer Banks

The Cameron household is panicking — Rafe tells Ward that Sarah has a big mouth and that he needs to shut her up. Rafe breaks down in tears and tells Ward that he was just protecting his father. Ward hugs Rafe and says he loves him. This scene was telling; all Rafe wanted was his father’s love and when he gets it, a lot of emotions run through him. Meanwhile, Shoupe orders a lockdown and puts a price on John B.

John B and co. are hiding away in a car. Meanwhile, Ward tells Sarah to pick a side, “Him or us,” before locking Sarah in her bedroom. Wheezie catches Ward locking her in and tells him that his actions are dysfunctional.

And then the reality of the situation becomes clear. Pope shows the crew the wanted poster; they ask John B to lay low. John B ends up at Kelce’s house and he catches John B, locking him in the bathroom.

At the halfway point of Outer Banks season 1, episode 9, “The Bell Tower”, Kiara, Pope and JJ go to the Cameron house to speak to Sarah. Pope is still freaking out that his future is destroyed and tells Kiara that he’s in love with her. Kiara is honest, telling Pope that it isn’t going to happen and that they don’t have time to talk about it. Pope cries, clearly heartbroken

Kiara shows Sarah the wanted poster through her bedroom window; Pope sets a fire outside to distract Ward but he suspects something so heads straight to her room to see her simply on her bed reading.

Topper is now outside the bathroom where John B is locked inside. John B tells Topper that Rafe shot the Sheriff but he doesn’t believe him. John B realises that Topper is bitter due to Sarah, so apologises to him; John B admits to having sex with Sarah and that he is in love with her. Topper claims John B doesn’t really love Sarah.

This guy is super weird as we’ve already established. He reminds me of a friend from my younger days who stole his girlfriend’s car when she broke up with him.

The police set up a perimeter around Kelce’s house — the police enters and Topper takes them to the bathroom. John B has escaped via the vent. While search parties head one way, John B goes to the abandoned church. Sarah finds him there and they embrace. Topper shows up and says he wants to speak to Sarah. Sarah tries calming down, claiming that Rafe, her brother, shot the Sheriff. Kelce and Rafe set the abandoned church on fire to “smoke them out” — not sure why they think they are highly skilled operatives. Sarah apologises to Topper but says it isn’t about him. Topper responds and says he will prove that he loves her more than John B.

Outer Banks season 1, episode 9, “The Bell Tower” ends with Topper leaving the abandoned church pretending to be John B — Shoupe arrests Topper as he thinks he has information. John B and Sarah run away in another direction.

This was a genuinely good penultimate episode.

Additional Notes

  • Rafe tries convincing himself that Susan was going to kill Ward.
  • Sarah tells Wheezie that John B is not a killer, she was there. She asks her to stay quiet.

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