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'Outer Banks' Plot Twists That Shocked Us

Nov 18, 2023Nov 18, 2023

Every major streaming service is cashing in on the teen drama market, giving us more than plenty to binge. "Outer Banks" delivers something different and compelling that earned it the title of most-played streaming series in February.

"Outer Banks" is a show with no shortage of plot twists, determined to keep audiences on their toes. While some of the events are so ridiculous they make you roll your eyes, a few throughout the show's three seasons have caught us off guard. From people returning from the dead to characters switching sides, here are the most gasp-worthy plot twists in "Outer Banks" now streaming on Netflix.

Our introduction to the show's first mystery begins when the Pogues, our scrappy band of teen protagonists, find a shipwreck while boating. Among the wreckage are a hotel key and the compass that belonged to John B's (Chase Stokes) recently deceased father. The compass intrinsically links John B to the mystery and provides a strong motive for his persistence: His father wanted him to do this.

After the first several episodes of Season 1 detail the Pogues’ struggles to find the sunken treasure of the Royal Merchant, we’re disappointed with them. After quite a few misadventures to locate and inspect the ship, there's no gold. Of course, if it had been that easy, there would have been no show. The missing gold serves as the objective of an adventure that carries the plot well into Season 2.

When we first meet Ward Cameron (Charles Esten), he is John B's employer and Sarah's (Madelyn Cline) father, a respectable businessman and community member. He seems generous and lenient with his kids, even offering to take John B in to save him from foster care. So it comes as a pretty big shock when Ward turns on John B and tries to kill him, and we learn that Ward murdered John B's father.

In the first big surprise of Season 2, Pope (J.D.) meets Carla Limbrey (Elizabeth Mitchell) and learns the lost history of Denmark Tanny. The slave-owning Limbreys refused to let Denmark buy his wife and daughter's freedom and killed his wife when she tried to escape. The surviving daughter is Pope's ancestor, and Carla believes a vital key is in the possession of Pope's family. This big reveal provides Pope with a stronger incentive for the treasure hunt.

Was anyone expecting that explosion? After Rafe (Drew Starkey) shoots Sheriff Peterkin (Adina Porter) to save his father, he becomes a murder suspect. With the heat on Ward, after the Pogues see him kill the only witness, he decides to take the fall for Peterkin's murder and let Rafe walk free. Ward blows up his yacht with himself on it. Later, it's revealed as an elaborate stunt that allows him to escape.

All looks hopeless when Sarah's family kidnaps her and she and the treasure are on a cargo ship heading to the Caribbean. The Pogues stage a futile rescue mission, hiding in a cargo container on a ship full of armed guards. Tables turn, however, when they receive some unexpected help from an old friend, Cleo (Carlacia Grant), an enemy-turned-ally that John and Sarah met in the Bahamas.

In perhaps the biggest shocker of the show, Big John (Charles Halford) didn't die in the scuffle with Ward. The body found was someone else's, and Big John has been hiding from his enemies in Barbados the whole time. An even bigger surprise is that he isn't the heroic father figure that John B thought he was. Instead, the real Big John is a compulsive risk-taker, conniving and secretive, and values the treasure hunt more than his son. We should have figured this out after he allowed John B to be abandoned to the foster care system all those months ago.

In Season 3, Sarah finds herself in a rough place after losing her family and wealth, becoming homeless, and fighting with John B. She's excited to receive a text from her little sister to meet, but when she arrives, it's Ward waiting for her. Even more surprising is that he isn't there with an ulterior motive. Repentant about his actions, he gives her money and a place to stay and offers her his unconditional help, which the Pogues end up needing later.

In the final episode of Season 3, John B, Big John, and Sarah finally reach the treasure but get caught in a shoot-out. Big John is shot and dies later in the jungle, fulfilling his lifelong dream. Enigmatic to the end, Ward betrays the group's location to their enemies, but in his final act, he throws himself in front of Sarah, saving her life. While killing off two important characters in one stroke was pretty shocking, it was necessary to fully pass the torch to the Pogues in preparation for Season 4.