Outer Banks showrunners break down that season 2 finale ending and tease season 3
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the season 2 finale of Outer Banks, now streaming on Netflix.
Welcome to Poguelandia, population six.
Outer Banks season 2 ended on a bittersweet note as the five original Pogues — John B (Chase Stokes), Sarah (Madelyn Cline), Kiara (Madison Bailey), JJ (Rudy Pankow), and Pope (Jonathan Daviss) — got stranded on a deserted island with the newest member of the group, Cleo (Carlacia Grant), officially joining the Pogues. They may not have recovered the stolen Royal Merchant gold, and they lost the gold cross to Rafe (Drew Starkey) and Ward (Charles Esten), and Pope and Kiara's parents have officially reported them as missing, and they have no food or way off the island or any idea of where they actually are. But at least they're all alive, together, and living the Pogue dream on their own island with no one trying to kill them or steal from them anymore! That's definitely progress.
What they don't know, however, is their season 2 nemesis Carla Limbrey (Elizabeth Mitchell) is busy making moves in Barbados, connecting with none other than John B's presumed-dead father Big John (Charles Halford) who is most definitely not dead despite what everyone has thought this entire time. Apparently, Big John wrote to Limbrey and summoned her to where he's been hiding out in Barbados, offering to help her find the magic healing ancient shroud she's looking for (which was not in the cross like she thought). But he'll only help her if she helps his son — John B. Will the Pogue's nemesis become their greatest ally? Now that's a juicy twist to keep fans guessing until Netflix renews Outer Banks for season 3.
EW got showrunners Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, and Shannon Burke to unpack all those season 2 finale cliffhangers and tease what it all means for a potential third season — and get excited because they promise a lot more Pogue romance is coming. So much for JJ's "no Pogue-on-Pogue mackin'!" rule.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Big John is alive! Did you always know you were going to end this season on that reveal?
JONAS PATE: We always knew it was a possibility and we have this card we can play. In the evolution of the season, it just became more apparent that we wanted to play it at the end of the season. It was always an idea lingering around and thematically, it sets up some stuff we want to explore in the third season.
JOSH PATE: The first season we shot different endings, because we weren't 100 percent sure, and we had some alts on this season too that we ended up not using. Sometimes you just don't know until you put it together and that's definitely part of our process, trial and error. We write more than we talk and then we trade pages back and forth and we'd say, "That was good," "That's a bad idea." So we would try different endings and we even shot alternate endings in both seasons and we picked the ones we felt were the best.
SHANNON BURKE: There was even a thought at some point, remember this guys? In episode two or three or four of this second season, we thought about having Big John appear then with Limbrey.
So how is this reveal going to shape season 3?
BURKE: I'm not sure if we should be talking about this yet.
JOSH: John B's relationship with his dad is a huge theme and having his dad back around and eventually they're going to meet back up and John B has to reconcile his idealized version of his dead dad with the reality of his alive dad. It gives us a lot of thematic father-son stuff to work with.
BURKE: It's going to be instrumental and maybe the spine [of season 3] basically. It's obviously a gigantic revelation that's going to power a huge part of the third season. I'm super interested to see how people are going to react or if they're even going to remember who he was! We're really having our fingers crossed the moment works and that people are excited.
And the Pogues are all together, stranded on this deserted island they've named Poguelandia. What can you tease about how that's going to go for them moving forward?
JOSH: Romance! [Laughs] That was one thing we really loved about season 1 that's less of an element of season 2 that we really want to get back to. That was the plan, kind of architecting the characters towards opening up some romances in season 3.
BURKE: In general, we were basically shot out of a canon in season 2. And we want to have a little more room for like our teen drama and teen romances in season 3, just as a general principle.
I was curious about that since the show went in a surprisingly different direction with the romance this season, especially with the Kiara-Pope-JJ dynamic.
JOSH: Teen romance and teen soap are a big part of the show. We wanted to explore the Ki-Pope relationship but obviously, we're aware of how the fans feel about JJ and Ki. We wanted to tease that for the third season. We didn't want to do it immediately, but we definitely want to do it just because that took us by surprise, like the audience's reaction to JJ and Kiara and rooting for that romance. So we were immediately open to it, because it seems like an interesting idea to explore but we kind of left it for season 3.
BURKE: We didn't want to just dismiss Pope and Kiara either, we had built up the whole thing and we wanted to let that play out.
The Pogues have now lost a fortune twice — first with the gold and then with the cross. How is that going to be affecting them into a new season, especially Pope?
BURKE: This is moving into spoiler territory, so let's just say TBD.
JOSH: They're not going to give up going after the gold, though!
BURKE: Yeah, they're not going to give up. They've been knocked down, and they are not knocked out.
JOSH: One thing we want to do is, you know how [author] Michael Crichton uses science? It's kind of how we use history to form the backstory of the cross and the gold, and then expanding that mythology. It has to become a bigger mystery across the series. And so the treasure hunt is going to expand, and the mythology around the treasure hunt is going to evolve and get deeper. We're pretty fired up about how that mythology is going to expand in season 3. We've been reading a lot of books, and we got some good things to hang it on.
BURKE: We like to even have just like a tiny bit to teach, a tiny bit of history or reflect something real. Like with [former slave and original owner of the gold] Denmark Tanney, to actually go back to the history of what happened to people. It's obviously a fun, teen show but we like to just lay in at least a tiny bit of history here or there.
JONAS: Denmark Tanney is based on the real story of Denmark Vesey. His story is slightly different but there are elements that are the same. It gives a little veneer of realism to the show. I like writing about it and learning about it. A lot of it came from shooting in Charleston, there's so much history there and we were going to so many cool locations and we were hearing so many stories. That was affecting us a lot in season 2, particularly, just shooting there. It exposed us to a lot of stuff, even though we kind of grew up there we still saw some new things when we were.
And then Rafe went on a really dark journey this season but he ended up not shooting at the Pogues as they escaped in the finale. Plus Ward seems to be in really bad shape after his fight with John B, so where are they heading into a new season?
BURKE: We have a pretty good idea what's going to happen but Ward's knocked down and so Rafe at least wants to take the reins and we'll see what happens. Drew just knocked it out of the park this year, he did a great job. We're just so fired up for him.
JOSH: It's hard to play the bad guy and Drew is such a good guy. [Laughs] We just kept throwing things at him and then he kept doing great with it.
All 10 episodes of Outer Banks season 2 are now streaming on Netflix.
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