Outer Banks needs to change things up for season 4
Outer Banks spoilers follow.
After losing the gold they've been pursuing for the past two seasons and fleeing the OBX, season three of Netflix's soapy teen drama Outer Banks picks up with our beloved Pogues washed up on an idyllic desert island they've aptly dubbed 'Poguelandia'.
It was a refreshing start to the third outing following an explosive season two, but it's not long (about 15 minutes in, to be precise) before the gang find themselves once again swept up in an intense race for the treasure – and the scales have been upped.
Ward (no, still not dead) and Rafe are hot on their heels, and there's a ruthless Caribbean Don out for the loot. The Royal Merchant and Cross of Santo Domingo, however, are now a thing of the past, because everyone has eyes on a much bigger prize: El Dorado, the lost city of gold.
It was a fun ride for the most part, don't get us wrong. But the formula is starting to wear thin and, with season 4 already in the works, the show is in desperate need of a shakeup.
Like the two seasons before it, the third chapter of Outer Banks was packed full with action, drama and, of course, treasure hunting. But unlike the two seasons before it, this latest instalment began to test our patience.
Every season raises the stakes by giving the Pogues an even bigger treasure to hunt, but there are only so many times we can watch them almost get to it before ultimately failing without there being some kind of repercussion.
Even characters in the show are starting to notice that their lives are stuck in the same old loop, as Pope quips at one point: "The streak continues."
It's staggering how many problems these teens run into over the span of an entire season while trying to get from one place to the next, whether it be vehicle trouble, a kidnapping here and there, fistfights or shootouts.
But they will always find a way around said problem (even if it means committing multiple felonies along the way) and come out on the other side without so much as a scratch or charge.
After a while, this cycle becomes exhausting and the threat level is reduced, giving viewers next to no interest in the game.
That's not to say we want any of the Pogues to be harmed, but if the show insists on giving us shootouts and explosions over character growth, the stakes must be high enough to keep things interesting.
Instead, it takes away from the charm of the first season, which hooked us on teen drama and a low-stakes treasure hunt alone. Season two may have leaned a bit more into the absurdity of it all, but it redeemed itself by further developing the characters and giving their respective storylines ample room to breathe.
Season three, however, simply lacked the space to develop any of the characters because new complications arose at every single turn.
The Pogues, and the chemistry between the actors who play them, are the show's greatest asset. So we're hoping the writers remember this moving into season four, and sacrifice at least some of the action for the grounded Pogue drama that made us fall in love with the show in the first place.
It's also time to switch up the formula and stop recycling scenarios and storylines, which means no more kidnappings, aimless car chases, almost getting the gold and dead dads who aren't actually dead.
Ward may have finally met his maker in the season three finale, but only after he escaped death's clutches not once, not twice, but three times! We also met John B's not-so-dead dad this season, because the chances of both his and Sarah's fathers faking their own deaths aren't that slim, apparently.
If season four tries to pull this stunt with JJ's dad, who was nowhere to be seen in the latest batch of episodes, we fear the show is a lost cause.
While the Pogues do eventually find El Dorado (their first win in three seasons!) and start living the Kook life, the final moments of the season three finale see an older man approach the teens and offer up yet another quest: to find the lost treasure of notorious pirate Blackbeard.
Given the Pogues' newfound wealth and resources, the search for Blackbeard's treasure could be a completely different ballgame – but only if this recycled formula that's been used for the last three seasons is turned on its head, and the unnecessary, drawn-out plots are scrapped.
Other Netflix shows, such as Riverdale, have had their strong seasons overshadowed by later, weaker ones. If Outer Banks doesn't want to go down that same road, then some big changes need to be made.
Outer Banks seasons 1-3 are available to watch on Netflix.
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