The Ending of 'Outer Banks' Season 2, Explained

Including that cliffhanger.

outer banks l to r chase stokes as john b and madelyn cline as sarah cameron in episode 210 of outer banks cr jackson lee davisnetflix © 2021

Spoilers for Outer Banks Season 2. The final episode of Outer Banks was a thrilling ride that capped off a very suspenseful season. After a wild amount of near-death experiences, the Pogues had to get their half-billion dollar treasure back from the Camerons and avoid the homicidal crew of a tanker ship. The heist didn't go the Pogues' way (does it ever?), leaving them stranded on a random island, unaware of a game-changing revelation that will change one of their lives forever. A revelation that we need to talk about now.

The only thing we knew going into the finale was that all of the Pogues would probably get out alive (the show has proven that it's really hard to kill a Pogue). Now that we know that they did get out alive, broke, and stranded, we can break down the end of this epic season. Follow me on this deep dive into the Season 2 finale.

Cleo becomes a Pogue!

It was pretty clear from Cleo's badass skills and her quick friendship with Sarah that the Nassau teen would show up again in Outer Banks. Luckily, after her partner Terrance disappeared in the Bahamas, Cleo landed a job on the same tanker that the Cameron family were using to escape to a private island with the Cross of Santo Domingo. After a run-in with Pope, where they fight and she attempts to out him as a stowaway, she reunites with John B. and hears that her girl Sarah is in trouble on the ship. Just like that, the Pogues have a new ally.

outer banks l to r rudy pankow as jj, madison bailey as kiara, carlacia grant as cleo, jonathan daviss as pope, chase stokes as john b and madelyn cline as sarah cameron in episode 210 of outer banks cr jackson lee davisnetflix © 2021


Cleo ends up playing a big part in the episode, leading the ship's crew away from the Pogues and helping them get the Cross. When everything goes south, she joins the Pogues in abandoning ship. After the six teens wash up on the deserted island, Cleo gets inducted into the Pogues by Pope, who teaches her the group handshake and everything. It's a sweet moment, which hints that Pope and Cleo may be the show's latest romance, now that Kiara has switched to Team JJ.

Ward's alive, and he and Rafe get away with the gold and the Cross!

The finale starts by explaining a huge twist: Ward's alive after faking his death in a ship explosion in episode six. He used a pretty un-complicated trick, escaping the explosion with some scuba gear he stashed before the very real explosion. Let's just apply Game of Thrones rules to Outer Banks from now on: no one's dead until we see a body.

The reveal shakes Sarah, who spends most of the episode fighting with her father and trying to escape the boat to get to John B. The prolonged fight gets intense, with a climax where Ward realizes his daughter has gone full Pogue and attempts filicide. Luckily John B saves Sarah, and though he gives Ward a severe beating, he decides to show mercy and not kill the show's Big Bad.

As for the Cross, just like last season's sunken treasure, the Pogues end up losing the Cross of Santo Domingo to the Camerons. Though they made a good go of it, getting the Cross hooked up to a crane and lined up above a lifeboat, they lose the chance to load the Cross while fighting off the crew and Rafe. Pope decides to drop the Cross into the sea rather than letting anyone else have his family heirloom. Unfortunately, Rafe gets super-strength from all the adrenaline, and he's able to grab the rope and hold on to the Cross, until the crew can help him pull it back onto the ship.

outer banks l to r carlacia grant as cleo, madison bailey as kiara and rudy pankow as jj in episode 210 of outer banks cr jackson lee davisnetflix © 2021


So the Camerons have the Cross and the sunken gold as the Pogues escape from their ship. In case you're afraid that they'll just stay on their private island speaking French for the rest of the series, the Big Bads will definitely be back. Before the finale ends, Rafe visits his wounded dad, and promises him that he'll bring Sarah back.

The Pogues are stranded on a deserted island!

After their escape, the Pogues wash up on a random island, sans treasure (but plus one member!). After lamenting the disappointing situation for a minute, John B rallies the group, saying that they have all they need: waves and a theoretical ability to scavenge food. The group couples up as JJ announces that they shall name the land Poguelandia. We even get a shot of the group laughing as they hang out around a fire (yay survival!).

Of course, not all is well in the Outer Banks. We see Kie's mom putting up posters, and the police holding a press conference that shows the town assumes the Pogues are missing or dead. Seeing that the Pogues can't stay on a deserted island forever, we're expecting them to make it back to the OBX if the show gets a next season. After all, there's something they have to know...

John B's dad is alive!

THE reveal of the finale comes in its last moments, when we see season 2's new villain, Limbrey, arrive at a house in Barbados. She was summoned there with a letter, regarding the shroud she's been looking for all season, and she's meeting a man who is described as "half dead, for a long time." When she finds the man, he says that he knows where the shroud is, and he'll help her on one condition: she has to help his son. And this man, is Big John Routledge.

The reappearance of John B's dad will shake up the entire series. Everything started with John B continuing his father's treasure hunt with the hope of avenging his death, so learning that his dead dad is actually alive will probably shake him up. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creators Shannon Burke and Josh Pate said that Big John's appearance will be "instrumental and maybe the spine" of the yet-to-be-announced third season.

"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 said.

So basically, we need the renewal now. Netflix, we can't offer treasure, but we can offer our hearts.

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.