Outer Banks Season 2 Ending Explained

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This article contains spoilers for Outer Banks season 2.

The Pogues are an island unto themselves in the season two finale of Outer Banks. And in case you thought the treasure hunt was over, the gang stumbles into another mystery while they work to prove John B’s innocence in the murder of Sheriff Peterkin.

Outer Banks’ sophomore season follows John B and Sarah, who after escaping the OBX in a storm following accusation that John B killed a cop, find themselves wanted in Nassau. The captain of the local crew who fished them out of the sea, Cpt. Terrance discovers there’s a $50k reward for John B, so John B and Sarah have to dodge their would-be bounty hunters, and the local law, while they figure out their next moves.

Back home, the rest of the town believes they are dead, and the Pogues do everything they can to clear John B’s name and make Ward pay. John B wants to steal his gold back from Ward, and his friends stumble onto a new treasure hunt while trying to get evidence to exonerate him.

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Let’s break down the finer points of the Outer Banks season 2 ending.

John B’s Dad is Alive!

Carla Limbrey is an heiress whose search for an ornate gold cross and the holy cloak it houses puts her in the path of the Pogues. In exchange for material evidence that could prove John B‘s innocence in the killing of Peterkin, Carla asks Pope for a key belonging to his family, thus revealing his connection to Denmark Tanney—the Freedman who used his amassed wealth to free other enslaved folks and who hid the gold in the first place.

Pope finds the key but relinquishes it under  threat of death. He eventually finds the gold cross as well, but loses that to Limbrey and Rafe when he goes into anaphylactic shock after being stung by wasps. Rafe ends up with the cross and Carla ends up with nothing… except she’s summoned to the Carribean, where she meets with none other than John B Senior. Alive. And offering to help her get what she wants if she helps his son. John B, and everyone in the OBX believes his father is dead, and that has been his biggest motivator in his struggle against Ward Cameron. Unlike Ward rising from the presumed dead, Big John’s reveal is actually a twist, and it could change the game in season three.

The Boat

After discovering his family’s legacy, and their connection to the gold, Pope has a personal stake in the treasure. He wants to go after Rafe to get the cross back, and follows him to a cargo ship. When Sarah’s stepmom drugs and abducts her, John B and the rest of the Pogues sneak onto the ship after them, to rescue Sarah, and steal back the cross.

Sarah wakes up on the ship, and discovers her dad—who she thought was dead—is still alive. After Rafe was finally arrested for killing Sheriff Peterkin, Ward filmed a confession to his and Rafe’s crimes, then faked his death by blowing up his boat. He then secretly arranged for the entire family to move to a private island with their ill-gotten gold on a clandestine trip, to escape their financial and legal woes.

John B, Pope, Kiara, and J.J. hide in a container on the ship,  until they find a way to get out. They coincidentally link up with Cleo—who helped them escape Nassau—and attempt a coup. They manage to subdue most of the crew for a while and almost get the cross off the boat, but the crew get free and they’re outnumbered 3-to-1 and unarmed, so they’re forced to bail . Pope would rather no one have the cross than the Camerons, and he uses the crane to throw it overboard. But Rafe manages to catch the rope it’s attached to and save it.

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When Sarah tries to escape on the lifeboat, Ward realizes she’s not on his side and he chokes her, nearly killing her. John B stops him, they fight,  and Ward falls backwards and hits his head, the same way Big John did when Ward “killed” him. John B Doesn’t throw Ward overboard though, he and Sarah just jump to the lifeboat to meet up with the rest of the Pogues and get away from the ship.

All Ward Does is Win

Outer Banks does not seem interested in wish fulfillment or any form of happy endings—at least not while there’s still some story left to tell. The villains of this story continue to win.

The Pogues found the treasure in season one and it was stolen by Ward who not only got away with the theft but framed John B for the murder of Sheriff Peterkin. John B And Sarah almost managed to steal the gold back in Nassau, with the help of Captain Terrance’s and his crew, but Sarah was shot by Rafe “accidentally” and the gold was seized back while Sarah was being treated.

When John B And Sarah get back to OBX, John is arrested for the murder and Ward attempts to have him killed in custody. Interim Sheriff Shoupe acts on the Pogues’ information, releasing John B and arresting Rafe, but Ward’s “last confession” is enough for them to let Rafe go. The Pogues help Pope find the cross, which Limbrey and Rafe steal out from under them, and Rafe ultimately ends up taking.

The Pogues barely make it off the cargo ship intact, and the Camerons have the gold and the cross. That puts Ward at… too many wins to count. Meanwhile the Pogues washed up on an apparently abandoned island where they’re happy to live the beach bum life for a bit. Eventually they’ll have to find their way home.

Now that we know Big John is alive, and that he may have Carla’s resources at his disposal, we may actually get to see Ward Cameron take an L.

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Outer Banks is a classic haves versus have nots tale, but it does not romanticize that dichotomy in any way. The haves are thriving and the have-nots are picking up scraps, and there is never a point where these opposite positions are treated as equal. Being rich in spirit, in friendship, in lived experience are treated as positives but never given the same weight or power as actually being rich. 

It’s a refreshingly grounded view, even if it can sometimes ruin the adventure because the losers just keep losing. Give us a crumb of a win, please. 

Outer Banks season 2 is available to stream on Netflix now.

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