Spoilers for Outer Banks ahead.
After ten episodes of intrigue, the final moments of Netflix’s latest teen drama, Outer Banks more than delivered on its sun-soaked promise. When we meet the two warring factions at the center of the series—the wealthy Kooks and working class Pogues—they’re seemingly connected only by the region where they live. It’s not until they happen upon mysterious treasure on a sunken ship that their lives fully intersect.
The tenth episode, titled “The Phantom,” wraps up the season’s two biggest questions. First, where is the $400 million treasure, and second, who is behind the absence of John B’s (Chase Stokes) father? Of course, both mysteries are tied to one another, as revealed in the panic-inducing final episode. Although a second season hasn’t been confirmed yet, it hasn’t stopped us from wondering how this finale sets up a potential season 2. Below, we break down the key moments from the ending of Outer Banks.
John B. discovers that Ward Cameron located the treasure—and is responsible for his father’s presumed death.
An act of charity in the penultimate episode leads to the unmasking of Ward (Charles Esten), Sarah’s (Madelyn Cline) father, as one of the show’s villains. John B is an orphan—his father disappeared and his mother split when he was a child—and when social services discovers this, Ward offers to become John B’s legal guardian. Though he’s grateful to escape the foster care system at first, things quickly turn when John B takes a fishing trip with Ward.
Ward offers to help John B locate the treasure, but ends up attacking him during a tense interaction. John B escapes, but Ward sends the Royal Merchant gold, which he stored in a house in town, on a private plane headed for the Bahamas. It comes to light that Ward and Big John, the missing father of John B, had searched for the loot together. But it’s implied that Ward decided to kill him and keep all the findings for himself.
When John B tries to stop Ward from sending the treasure overseas, Sheriff Peterkin (Adina Porter) shows up on the scene to question Ward. But before she has the chance, Rafe (Drew Starkey), Ward’s son and Sarah’s brother, fatally shoots her. Episode 9, “The Bell Tower” ends with the gold secured on the plane as it takes off for the Bahamas. And Ward has officially framed John B. for Peterkin’s murder.
The Pogues help John B and Sarah flee the Outer Banks.
The finale begins with sirens, as John B and Sarah attempt to run from the federal and local police on their tail. When the Pogues get wind of the couple’s trouble, they step up and offer help. However, the teens go on quite the crime spree leading up to John B and Sarah’s escape.
JJ (Rudy Pankow) jeopardizes his fragile relationship with his father by stealing a boat from him. Pope (Jonathan Daviss) endangers his dreams of a scholarship when he steals gas from his dad’s dock and gets violent with Rafe. Kiara (Madison Bailey) makes off with food from her dad’s restaurant for the star-crossed lovers. Then there’s the big offense: Aiding and abetting the escape of a fugitive murder suspect. Alas, John B and Sarah flee the island, but not before alerting the FBI to Ward’s involvement in the death of John B’s father.
John B and Sarah survive a tropical storm.
The final 10 minutes of Outer Banks‘s first season dangle the lives of our coastal Romeo and Juliet before our eyes. The couple quickly ditch their plans to sail to Mexico but are caught up in a storm that capsizes their boat. Their friends presume them dead, but they’re saved by a ship crew who tells them their vessel is conveniently headed for Nassau in the Bahamas. Naturally, the couple makes plans to get justice—and rich—in the Caribbean.
Questions still abound for a potential second season.
Although our central couple has literally sailed off into the sunset, this is no tidy ending. Several queries remain heading into season 2: Will Ward and Rafe have to answer for their murders? Is John B’s father even dead or simply lost at sea—in the Bahamas, perhaps? And how will the town ever recover from this tragic summer and resume its regularly scheduled beachside programming? Until filming begins on a new installment, these answers will be just as buried as that elusive treasure.