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The Ending Of Outer Banks Season 3 Explained

Netflix's "Outer Banks" is the perfect storm of treasure hunting with a dash of teen drama. The series takes place in a small community in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where there's a clash brewing between the working-class Pogues and the wealthy elite Kooks. The series introduces the teenage Pogues: John B (Chase Stokes), Pope (J.D.), JJ (Rudy Pankow), and Kiara (Madison Bailey) — a Kook that's turned to Pogue life. However, as all good teen dramas go, John B falls for the enemy — a Kook named Sarah (Madelyn Cline). And to make matters worse, it turns out that her dad is partially responsible for the disappearance (and perhaps murder) of John B's father, as they were working together to find a priceless lost treasure — the cross of Santo Domingo. The Pogues decide to take up the treasure hunt in John B's father's name but are in a race against the clock as Sarah's father Ward (Charles Esten) and her brother Rafe (Drew Starkey) are hunting it as well.

Season 2 leaves the Pogues in trouble as they've lost the cross to Ward and Rafe and are stranded on a small, deserted island with their new friend Cleo (Carlacia Grant). Season 3 starts out by raising the stakes even higher, as the moment the Pogues are able to escape the island they face their greatest challenge yet — finding the lost city of gold, El Dorado. Plus, surprise! John B's father isn't dead or missing, he's been on the hunt for El Dorado this whole time. He reunites with John B and the Pogues to hunt down this new treasure before the dangerous and mysterious Carlos Singh (Andy McQueen) beats them to it. The game is on.

Season 3 brings up many questions about where each character's journey ends. Luckily, we're here to sort everything out, including if Netflix's treasure-hunting series is returning for another season. As we're discussing major plot points for Season 3 of "Outer Banks," this is your official spoiler warning.

How do the Pogues escape the island?

"Outer Banks" Season 2 sees the Pogues come head-to-head with Ward and Rafe Cameron on a shipping boat named the Coastal Venture. The Camerons have the cross and are holding Sarah hostage as Ward is intent on bringing his family back together once more. Unfortunately for him, the Pogues aren't likely to back down and have stowed away on the boat, hoping to rescue Sarah and steal the cross from the Cameron family. And as it is with most of their plans, things don't go well for the Pogues, as they're chased off the boat and watch as the Camerons sail off with the cross. At least they manage to rescue Sarah in the process.

The Pogues end up stranded for a month on a small island that they name Poguelandia. JJ and Kiara (also known as Kie) seem perfectly content to remain on the island forever, arguing that they have nothing tying them back to the Outer Banks. However, that dream of a modern-day "Gilligan's Island" shatters once a plane flies past them and notices a fire set by Pope and Cleo.

The plane brings the Pogues to Barbados, where Kie gets captured by Carlos Singh — a ruthless man obsessed with finding El Dorado. He knows that the cross is tied to the lost city of gold and wants Kie to help him find it, as the Pogues are the ones that found the cross in the first place. In fact, he hired the pilot to find the kids, as he figured they were deserted somewhere. He tells Kie that the cross and El Dorado are tied together with the diary from the ship the Royal Merchant, and it was that diary that the Pogues used to find the cross.

What happens to Rafe and Ward Cameron?

Ward Cameron takes the blame for shooting and killing a police officer so that his son won't go to jail. Then he fakes his own death and takes his entire family to a new island to start over. However, Season 3 gives audiences a different perspective on Ward as he's haunted by how he treated his daughter Sarah.

On the flip side, we have Rafe. He's always been jealous of Sarah's relationship with their father, as he believes that she's Ward's favorite child. And with Ward laying low and out of the way, Rafe takes this opportunity to try and take over the family business and become the new man of the household. He tells his father that he no longer needs him, and even goes as far trying to have him murdered. For a moment, it seems Rafe will do whatever it takes to get out from under his father's shadow. However, Rafe changes his mind at the last minute and saves his father. And before the police catch Ward (who they all thought was dead) Rafe places him on a plane with the Pogues who are heading to find El Dorado.

On the plane, Ward learns of the Pogues' plan and decides to take matters into his own hands by betraying John B and his father Big John to Singh in exchange for his daughter's safety. However, as you might imagine, things get out of hand, and Ward sacrifices himself to save Sarah from being killed. Meanwhile, Rafe is left alone on the Outer Banks. The last thing he says is that the Pogues had better keep his father safe. Something tells us that he's not going to be happy when he discovers that his dad died protecting Sarah.

How did John B's father survive?

The finale of "Outer Banks" Season 2 has many cliffhangers to keep viewers hooked. The first and most obvious is that the Pogues are now stranded on their island, Poguelandia, without the cross. Another major moment is the reveal that John B's father Big John (Charles Halford) is alive. Big John was thought to have been killed by Ward Cameron when they were working together to find the Royal Merchant — a ship that carried the cross of Santo Domingo. However, the two get into an argument that results in Ward pushing and injuring Big John. As he's on the ground and bleeding from a cut on the back of his head, Ward pushes his body into the ocean and drives away, believing Big John to be dead. Luckily, that's not the case.

Big John survives on an island for a while and leaves messages behind for his son, hoping that he'll follow in his footsteps to find the treasure. Eventually, he's found and captured by Singh's men, just as the Pogues are at the beginning of Season 3. During this time, Singh forces Big John to work for him to uncover the secrets that the Royal Merchant has about El Dorado. Eventually, Big John escapes Singh's compound and begins working with Carla Limbery (Elizabeth Mitchell), a woman obsessed with a shroud that's rumored to have accompanied the cross of Santo Domingo. Legend has it that the shroud is meant to have magical healing abilities for anyone who touches it. Limbrey keeps Big John hidden, but he eventually tells her that the only way he'll continue to help is if she allows him to find his son. She does and the two are reunited.

What happens to Limbrey?

Introduced in Season 2, Carla Limbrey is set up to be a major antagonist against the Pogues, however her story just sort of stops midway through Season 3.

Limbrey and her brother spend most of Season 2 searching for the cross of Santo Domingo in the hopes of finding a magical cure for her illness. Limbrey walks with two crutches, and while it's never directly stated what's wrong with her, it's heavily implied that her illness is incurable. She's so driven to find the magical shroud that goes with the cross that she ends up killing her brother during her quest, as he is nothing but disposable to her.

Season 2 ends with the revelation that Big John is alive and being held by Limbrey ... or so we thought. In actuality, it's Singh who holds Big John captive, and Limbrey who helps him find his son. Once she believes that Big John and John B have found the shroud, she tracks them down and forces them to come to her. They give her a cloth and call it the shroud and that's that. We never see her again. She walks away with it, leaving her crutches behind her. So, was it magical? We'll leave that up to you, but all signs point to no. 

It's possible that Mitchell's notable absence from Season 3 of "Outer Banks" is due to a scheduling conflict, as she portrays Mrs. Clause in the 2022 miniseries "The Santa Clauses."

Do Kiara's parents forgive her?

Kie's parents are not a fan of their daughter's friendship with the Pogues. As she's technically a Kook and comes from a privileged background, her parents think that the Pogues are bringing her down. Things really come to a head for Kie at the end of Season 2 when she runs away with the Pogues to find the cross after her parents have threatened to send her away. This results in Kie being stranded on an island for a month, with her parents not knowing what happened to her.

Once the Pogues return to the Outer Banks, their families are overjoyed to see them ... at least, that's true for Pogues who still have family left. However, things soon get tense once more between Kie and her parents, as they want to keep her away from her friends, specifically JJ. They start bringing up the idea of sending her away and finally make good on their promise, as they send her off to a wilderness camp. Once she's there, Kie gets locked away "for her own good." Luckily, JJ discovers what's happened and learns the location of the camp. He breaks her out and the two make a run for it, leaving the Outer Banks behind so that they can go to South America and help the rest of the Pogues find El Dorado.

By the end of Season 3, Kie's parents can be seen looking proud of their daughter as she and the Pogues are honored for finding the lost city of gold, El Dorado. Perhaps this means that all is forgiven because she ended up being correct to chase after the treasure. Perhaps Kie's parents don't think the Pogues are so bad now that they have a bunch of gold? It's unclear. For now, it seems as though all is forgiven.

What happens between Kiara and JJ?

Before Sarah and Cleo join the Pogues, it's just John B, Pope, JJ, and Kie. And there was a time when each of the boys had feelings for Kie, but never acted on those feelings. However, Season 1 sees a bit of a love triangle form between Sarah, John B, and Kie, with John B ending up with Sarah. Season 2 sees Kie and Pope having a brief relationship which she opts to end in order to retain their friendship. And Season 3 brings JJ and Kie's relationship to the forefront, with them admitting that they love each other.

Not only are JJ and Kie a couple that has been shipped by fans from day one, but they're also one of the couples that go through some of the most ups and downs in Season 3. JJ can't help but feel as though he's not good enough for Kie, especially since her family is so rich and he's essentially a homeless thief with no family. Her own father makes it evident how much he disproves her friendship with JJ, ultimately stating that he's not good enough for her. Plus, there's the whole matter of Pope and Kie. Once Pope sees that a romantic relationship is developing between JJ and Kie, he understandably gets jealous. And JJ worries that it might damage his friendship with Pope. Luckily, the couple is able to smooth these issues over, and by the end of Season 3, they are together.

JJ actor Rudy Pankow has even stated that he thinks the characters should end up together, so it makes sense that the writers are seemingly making Kie and JJ an endgame couple for audiences to root for. 

What happens between Pope and Cleo?

A big reason that Pope is able to let go of his feelings for Kie and be okay with her and JJ getting together is thanks to his relationship with Cleo. Cleo is first introduced in Season 2 when she's working with a cargo ship captain named Terrance (Terence Rosemore). Initially, she's meant to capture John B, as Terrence has done the same with Sarah. However, Cleo changes her mind and helps the two escape by distracting the police so they can get away on Ward's boat. But that's not the last time they see Cleo, as she arrives again in the Season 2 finale on Ward's cargo ship to help the Pogues. Right off the bat, she and Pope have hilarious banter, as she keeps him on his toes and is a breath of fresh air that helps the somewhat chaotic group of friends.

After the Pogues get stranded on the island, Cleo grows closer to Pope. She even lives with his family when they return to the Outer Banks. She develops a cute bond with his parents, resulting in them letting Pope chase after El Dorado, providing that Cleo is there to keep him safe.

When Cleo learns of Pope's feelings for Kie, she shares with him that she also had her heart broken by someone. This bonds them even closer, with both realizing that they might have romantic feelings for each other rather than just friendship. Once Cleo makes this known, Pope is pleasantly surprised, and the two share a kiss.

What happens to the cross of Santo Domingo?

The cross of Santo Domingo is the ultimate treasure in Seasons 1 and 2 of "Outer Banks." It's a priceless historical artifact that is part of Pope's family history. Unfortunately for the Pogues, they lose the cross to Ward and Rafe in the Season 2 finale. Once the friends return home to the Outer Banks, Sarah discovers that her brother Rafe is also back home and attempting to sell the cross. The Pogues come up with a plan to try and steal the cross before he gets the chance but they end up stealing a fake one, much to the dismay of Pope.

Rafe sets the Pogues up to fail, as he's already brought the cross to the Outer Banks and decides to melt it down into gold bars that he can easily move around to sell. This devastates Pope, as he wanted to share the historical importance of free slaves owning such a rare and priceless piece. He realizes that people like Rafe will always win and decides to take matters into his own hands, hoping to attack Rafe for what he's done. Luckily, Cleo finds and stops him from doing anything he might regret down the line. Rafe has gotten away with selling pieces of the cross ... at least for now.

Do John B and Sarah end up together?

Sarah and John B have gone through their ups and downs in the past three seasons. First, they had to admit their feelings for each other and work past the mistrust of one being a Kook and the other a Pogue. Once they finally build that trust, they have to overcome the drama surrounding their fathers Ward and Big John. And by the end of Season 2, things are slightly rocky between the two, and this uncertainty carries on into Season 3. Once John B discovers that his father is alive, he begins keeping secrets from Sarah, as his father doesn't trust her — after all she is the daughter of the man that tried to kill him.

This causes a rift between the two as Sarah realizes that she has no family, no home, and no money without John B. She ends up spending time with her old friends and boyfriend Topper (Austin North). Sarah is reminded of how easy things were before John B came into her life. And in a moment of weakness, she kisses Topper. When Sarah tells John B what happened, he breaks up with her. Luckily, this doesn't last, as John B realizes that he and the Pogues need her, and they end up back together once more.

During their time in South America hunting for El Dorado, John B constantly defends Sarah to his father, saying that he loves and trusts her. In fact, if it wasn't for Sarah, John B and Big John never would have found the lost city of gold.

Do the Pogues find El Dorado?

Everything the Pogues have been chasing after leads them to South America to find El Dorado. It takes the group of friends a while to arrive, as John B, Pope, Cleo, and Sarah all take her father's private plane with a wounded Ward tagging along. JJ and Kie end up taking a longer route as he must first rescue her from the wilderness camp that her parents send her to. Once he does, they catch a flight with a local drug dealer, promising him some gold in return.

As is always the case on "Outer Banks," the Pogues continue to get separated during their quest. John B, Sarah, and their fathers set out ahead, with Pope, Cleo, JJ, and Kie following closely behind them. Once Ward betrays the group to Singh in order to protect his daughter, Singh and his men open fire and Big John gets shot. Eventually, Ward sacrifices himself for Sarah and dies. Sarah and John B continue on their own, with Sarah discovering a cave with some water that she deducts must go deeper. John B follows her instincts and they eventually come across the gold. The two collect as much as they can and leave the cave, only to find Singh there with a gun. A wounded Big John blows the cave up to protect his son. Unfortunately, this causes a cave-in which results in the path to El Dorado being lost and Big John losing his life from his wounds. 

On the plus side, Singh dies from the cave-in and the Pogues get the gold collected by Sarah and John B.

Will there be a Season 4?

Season 3 ends 18 months following the events in El Dorado. The Pogues are being honored on the Outer Banks for discovering the lost city of gold, and it's revealed what's happened to each of the characters since: Pope is back in school, JJ bought a charter boat, Kie is saving turtles, and John B owns a surf shop with Sarah.

During their celebration, a man approaches them asking for their help to uncover a new treasure surrounding the famous pirate Blackbeard. The series ends with an excited John B ready for the Pogues to embark on a new adventure. And while the show could end there, showrunners Jonas Pate, Josh Pate, and Shannon Burke shared with Variety that Season 4 has already been approved by Netflix. The showrunners are excited to explore how the dynamic will unfold between the friends, especially after the time jump and their recent winnings of gold. Plus, there's also the question of how Rafe feels about the death of his father and his newly rich sister.

Kie actress Madison Bailey tells People Magazine that a new treasure hunt is a "fresh start" for the show as they "can really go anywhere" with this "clean slate." She believes that the story from the first three seasons has all been wrapped up, so it's time for a new adventure.