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Outer Banks Review

The new Netflix show, Outer Banks, has spread through the nation like a global pandemic. In this post, I will analyze the characters and plot of Outer Banks and provide my Final Word review. SPOILER WARNING.

What begins as a cliche summer teen drama, set in Outer Banks (North Carolina), takes a dramatic turn as a group of four friends: John B, JJ, Pope, and Kiara (known as the Pogues) encounter a sunken ship which contains the secret to finding the gold of the Royal Merchant. The Pogues must embark on this journey to find the gold while attempting to bridge the gap between the split community that they live in and avoiding snobby rich families who will stop at nothing to prove their superiority over the less fortunate.

One thing about this show that appealed to me was the wide variety of characters and what each character represents. We begin our character analysis with the girl that has stolen the hearts of teens around the world: Sarah Cameron. Sarah Cameron (played by Madeline Cline) is a member of one of the snobby rich families of Outer Banks. Sarah is continuously referred to as the "princess of Outer Banks" by the Pogues due to her attractiveness and popularity. At first, I assumed that Sarah's main influence on the show was to serve as an entitled beauty queen brat who had everything handed to her in life. As the show progressed, my opinion and admiration for her character only grew. Although she begins as the rich girl with commitment issues who is consumed with the constant need to be liked and appreciated by everyone, her deep empathy and care for others truly sets her apart from the other rich families. Sarah attempts to fill her void through the expansion of her bubble and falling for a boy, John B, who makes her forget about the spoiled and ungrateful community that she is surrounded by.

John B (played by Chase Stokes), the main protagonist of the show, is first introduced as a laid back surfer who spends his days drinking with his friends rather than attending school and make a better life for himself. It is not until his father's story is introduced that I could truly understand the appeal and meaning of John B's character. John B's character is conflicted through trying to balance his internal struggles of losing his father and proving his ability to live without a guardian, and attempting to stop at nothing to complete what his father started. Although I loved the twist of putting John B into a romantic relationship with his polar opposite (Sarah), I sometimes became annoyed with the dialog between these two sixteen year olds. In fact, his relationship with Sarah is more oriented towards infatuation rather than true love, like most teen shows.

The standout character of the show, in my opinion, is John B's best friend, JJ (played by Rudy Pankow who was originally cast as John B). JJ, like John B, spends most of his days smoking weed and drinking beer, but his story is extremely emotional and nearly brought tears to my eyes. It is not until mid way through the show that we find out that JJ's drug use is sprung from his upbringing: a drug addict, abusive father. The confrontations between JJ and his father is the most significant part of the show in my opinion. Watching JJ attempt stand up for himself not only encompasses the true struggle of having an abusive parent, but also shows true perseverance when hit with adversity.

Another favorite of mine is the highly intelligent Pope (played by Jonathan Daviss). Pope's growth as a character from the first episode to the last episode is astronomical. Pope is first introduced as a tightly wound nerd who is set apart from the other Pogues because of his love of learning and superior intelligence. As we begin to learn more about Pope, it is called into question whether Pope's drive for a scholarship is sprung from his personal goals or whether it is all to appeal to his parents dreams for him. In the last few episodes of the season, Pope's character grew on me as he began to become his true self by throwing away his scholarship and choosing to express his love to Kiara. I saw his attraction to her early on in the season and watching him overcome his fear by expressing his feelings for her cemented Pope as one of my favorite characters.

Although this may be met with major backlash, Kiara was probably my least favorite character in the show. Before you freak out and stop reading this review, let me explain! I do like how Kiara was one of the first people to burst her bubble and become friends with the Pogues, but I could not stand her clear flirtation with everyone in the group, immediately followed by her "Pogues don't mack on Pogues" justification when they try to make a move on her. Kiara is the clear definition of a flirt and I honestly do not think that she added anything to the show.

Final Word: If you are looking for a fun and dramatic show with many unexpected twists then Outer Banks is the show for you.


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