Graphic by Christy Knudson
Seeing as I was rewatching Episode three in the kitchen while failing to make lava cake about 34 minutes ago (not that the two are connected), I can admit that this show is perfect for binging, rebinging, and obsessing over. It is extremely exciting and suspenseful and I liked that it lacked a sense of seriousness, it was still a risky adventure, but that sense of teenage fun is still a large factor.
Outerbanks is a new Netflix Original Series that was released on April 15 of this year, consisting of one ten episode season, each about an hour long. The plot follows teenagers living in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and more specifically, a high stakes treasure hunt involving 400 milllion in gold, murder, shoot outs, fist fights, many, many fist fights. John B. (Chase Stokes) leads his friends into the gunfire while trying to find closure about his dad’s disappearance.
If you’re a cinephile looking for a Netflix show that will move you with it’s cinematic beauty and meaningful symbolism, Outer Banks is not going to cut it, unless hot surfer boys and beach brawls are your idea of meaningful symbolism and beauty, then have at it because this is perfect for you.
I finished this show within about 28 hours, the suspense practically killing me by the end in the best way possible. However, this wasn’t the kind of show that you need to pay attention to the whole time, I went on my phone a lot while I watched it, and also baked (well tried to, those lava cakes were okay). If you wanted to, you could find enough in the show to visually watch it the whole time, but if you’re just binging it, multitasking for the win.
A major aspect of the plot is the social line that is drawn between the pogues (our main character group) who are the poor and working class, and the kooks, who are the rich spoiled brats of the Outer Banks. These two names were a bit overused throughout the show, especially in the first two episodes where main character John B. (Chase Stokes) provides narration. In the narration, I didn’t mind because I got that the screenwriters had to set the scene somehow, but when the characters continued to use the names over and over again, it got on my nerves. But it did succeed in making the intense social divide of the Outer Banks very clear.
The characters were well written. Each one had flaws and imperfections, but also positive traits and friendships worth getting jealous about. Among the pogues, stereotypes were nonexistent. The kooks were very stereotypical, however.
Kiara (Madison Bailey) was a bit too whiny for my taste, but I still loved her attitude and adventurous spirit. She was intensely loyal to her friends and exceeded the typical “girl” part I assumed she would play. She was just as capable as the boys she was friends with and a near perfect example of what feminism can look like in television.
JJ (Rudy Panko) was a bit too crazy, yet understandably with his background of poverty and abuse. He was lovable, goofy, very attractive, but also vulnerable, which doesn’t show up for typical male stereotypes. When he was in pain, he accepted comfort from his friends and his masculinity didn’t vanish when he cried, and his character grew throughout the season.
Pope (Johnathan Daviss) was a great character, smart and funny with a big future ahead of him, but I’m sad to say it, his character didn’t seem very needed until maybe the fifth or sixth episode. He was almost too loyal. When he ran out of his college interview to go tell his friends that he knew where the gold had been taken, I was really bothered because he threw away a big future for a chance at gold.
In the first few episodes, John B (Chase Stokes) is the most important character, a typical teen bad boy, not rotten bad, more like chance-taking, brave bad. If I had to choose a favorite character, it would be John B. He was compassionate, funny, and extremely motivated, in nearly an attractive way.
This leads us to his second romance (the first barely counts): Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline). At the beginning, she was such a typical white, rich, selfish girl but then we learn that she is really adventurous and ready to risk her rich life for John B, whom she falls for. This is what threw me about Sarah. She was overly attached to John B, most dependant in the season finale, “I’d rather die than live without you.” Don’t get me wrong, I loved their romance, but is that really necessary? It makes her a lot less complex and interesting if the only thing she cares about in the whole world is her boyfriend.
Overall, for a Netflix Original, this show was very desirable. It was very beachy and had murder, mayhem, adventure, and great characters. It hit all the points. Not a masterpiece, but really good nonetheless.