Outer Banks has taken Netflix by storm with the release of its third season in 2023, captivating audiences with its blend of teen drama and mystery. The show takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where this Netflix series delves into the captivating conflict between the Pogues and the Kooks, two groups of teenagers divided by stark class differences.
While Outer Banks may not be a character-driven drama, its rich and versatile characters are an integral part of what makes the show so compelling to watch. Of course, spoiler warning if you haven’t watched seasons 1-3 of this show.
Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline)
Sarah Cameron is often referred to as the “Princess of the Kooks.” However, her rebellious streak frequently leads her to mix with the Pogues, setting the stage for a forbidden romance, particularly with her boyfriend, John B, a member of Progues. She’s basically the embodiment of the classic trope good girl gone bad.
Sarah’s transformation from a privileged “Kook” to a member of the Pogues adds layers to her character’s personality and ideals. Her spunky personality continually surprises her fellow Pogues, and her involvement in the central romantic arc and her position between the two worlds creates emotionally charged moments throughout the series.
John B (Chase Stokes)
At the heart of the Pogues, John B stands as the charismatic ringleader of the group. His tumultuous love story with Sarah Cameron, which evolves into a deep relationship, is mostly the central focus and conflict of the series.
Despite being the show’s protagonist, John B, at times, appears one-dimensional compared to the other characters. He remains relatively unchanged despite the extraordinary circumstances he faces. At times, he may appear aloof and driven by his hero complex, a trait shared by many main characters of this type of media. Nonetheless, his unwavering positivity and resilience are the adhesive that binds the Pogues together.
Pope emerges as the intellectual character within the Pogues and he serves as the voice of reason within the group, making him a less flamboyant character compared to the other Pogues’ members. His unwavering loyalty, intelligence, and good-hearted nature make him a valuable member of the team. As the most stable character, Pope’s growth and interactions with others provide more depth to his personality. That’s why most fans are happy to see that the guy’s happy with Cleo.
Kiara (Madison Bailey)
Kiara is the daughter of a successful restaurant owner but chooses to associate with the Pogues, despite her Kook background. Her character adds complexity and depth to the class conflict between the Kook and Pogues.
Kiara is the epitome of the cool girl-type character. Her motivation is rooted in her unwavering love for her friends, making her fierce, intelligent, compassionate, and refreshingly authentic among the other characters in the show. Kiara’s willingness to speak her mind and her indifference to material wealth are what make her the most endearing member of the Pogues.
Rafe Cameron (Drew Starkey)
Rafe is a character plagued by his anger and drug addiction, making his actions very dangerous and unpredictable most of the time. He is the older brother of Wheezie and Sarah.
Rafe emerges as the show’s antagonist, driven by his intense emotions and a desire to prove himself to his father. While his actions can be immoral, they are consistent with his skewed logic and reasoning. Rafe’s character also exhibits moments of self-improvement by trying his best to get off his drug addiction and showing regret for his actions.
JJ (Rudy Pankow)
JJ serves as the adventurous best friend of John B. He is known for his unwavering loyalty and struggles stemming from past abuse from his father. Despite facing adversity and tragedy, JJ maintains his upbeat personality while also offering comic relief within the group.
Topper (Austin North)
Topper is Sarah’s ex-boyfriend and another Kook who harbors resentment toward the Pogues.
Topper initially comes across as the prep-school elitist, but he does display some redeeming qualities. This is seen when he shows care for Sarah and his friends, as well as his emotional support for her after their breakup, hinting that Topper has a compassionate side with the people he cares about. However, his snobbery and prejudice against the Pogues makes it hard for fans to like him every time he shows up on screen.
Big John (Charles Halford)
Big John, John B’s father, was believed to be dead throughout the series until a shocking revelation in the season 2 finale. His return gave us an epic adventure for the father-son duo during the third season of the show.
Cleo (Carlacia Grant)
Cleo is a new addition to the Pogues during season two, and in season three we get to see a new side of her as she falls in love with Pope.
Cleo’s debut on the show was nothing short of a whirlwind, brandishing her knife skills in her very first episode. While she possesses the essence of a true Pogue, her character remains somewhat in the shadows when compared to the main cast in season 2. Despite her initial reservations, she becomes close friends with Pope.
Ward Cameron (Charles Esten)
Ward Cameron is the wealthy father of Sarah, Wheezie, and Rafe, residing in the wealthy Figure Eight area of the Outer Banks. Ward is the original antagonist of the series, portraying a complex character with dark and sinister motives.
His love for his children is questionable, leaving viewers uncertain whether it’s genuine or driven by manipulation and self-interest. Ward’s wealth and power are realistic, but his ability to stay ahead in the game keeps the audience both despising and understanding him through the eyes of his daughter, Sarah.
With a cast as talented as this, Outer Banks Season 3 gave us an unforgettable adventure filled with twists, turns, and, of course, treasure hunting. It’s clear that the captivating performances and well-thought-out story arcs will continue to draw us audiences into the story of Outer Banks, and hopefully release a season 4 soon.