Outer Banks Season 3 Review – more melodramatic mayhem for the teenage crowd

By Adam Lock
Published: February 22, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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Outer Banks Season 3 Review
Outer Banks Season 3 Promotional Image (Credit to Netflix)


Season three is more of the same silly soap opera shenanigans in dreamy, tropical settings. Outer Banks’ swashbuckling action sequences and surprisingly effective romances often elevate this teen drama into trashy, guilty pleasure territory, but overall it is a morally-grey melodrama that lacks any real depth.

Outer Banks is one of the company’s prized possessions, and Season 3 had much anticipation, especially on the back of breakout star Madelyn Cline’s memorable role in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. In short, Season 3 of Outer Banks was always going to be a success, regardless of the overall quality or any negative criticism that was aimed.

A teen-centric TV show starring scantily clad models hunting for buried treasure in sun-soaked locations, it’s not exactly a hard sell now. The Netflix original series from the Pate Brothers and Shannon Burke was destined to be a smash hit for the streaming giants.

Outer Banks Season 3 Review and Plot Summary

The series kick starts on a desert island with our gang of Pogues or Pogue-wannabes stranded in the Caribbean. It’s a fantasy setting for teenage treasure hunters.

Still, the dream is short-lived, as the resourceful adolescents are needed back on dry land, with more adventures to embark upon and plenty of messy teenage romance to endure before the year is out. John B (Chase Stokes) and the gang are soon hunting for the mythical city of El Dorado and its unimaginable riches.

But there are others in pursuit of this cursed fortune too. Kook rogue Rafe (Drew Starkey) has the cross and wants to expand the family business with further riches. Stereotypical bad guy Carlos Singh (Andy McQueen) will seemingly stop at nothing to claim his prize.

The ruthless crime boss takes Kie (Madison Bailey) and Rafe prisoner early on. The teens hold the key and the final puzzle piece, which may unlock the specific whereabouts of this city of gold. Along for the ride is back-from-the-dead dad number one: John B’s father, Big John (Charles Halford), who can translate these mystical artifacts.

And secondly, there’s Sarah’s father, Ward (Charles Esten), who wants to rebuild his empire back in the Outer Banks.

The adults get their allotted screen time, but this teen drama mainly focuses on our intrepid teen heroes instead. Sarah (Madelyn Cline) and John B must deal with the emotional anguish of reuniting with their fallen fathers, while Pope (Jonathan Daviss) grapples with his heritage and legacy.

Kie has parental problems of her own, and JJ (Rudy Pankow) is conflicted by his current standing in this world. There’s plenty of action, adventure, and relationship woes throughout, but the hunt for El Dorado takes center stage.

Is Outer Banks Season 3 good?

Outer Banks will no doubt please the fans of the series and its ever-growing teenage audience, but it won’t be winning over any naysayers any time soon. Season three continues to be over-the-top and implausible, peddling the same daytime drama storylines and surface-level acting.

All conflicts and dilemmas are quickly resolved, while separate plot points are lazily forced together to meet the narrative’s end goals.

There’s never a sense of danger, and the action can sometimes be somewhat predictable or repetitive. On top of this, there’s a worrying moral grey area as the characters tread into a murky territory and a life of crime as the journey intensifies, much like Netflix’s other hit teen series, The Recruit.

It’s not all doom and gloom; when the series works, it is a fun, silly, action-packed adventure. And the second half of the series is much improved. The romances may be cliched and predictable, but they are also surprisingly engaging; these are teens you can’t help but root for.

This is written for a teenage audience, and specific plot points will work wonders for that demographic.

It feels all too safe and familiar, a tone that seems to take precedence in Netflix’s enormous, ever-growing library of content as the riskier, more thought-provoking shows get canceled or pushed aside.

What did you think of Outer Banks season 3? Comment below.

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