Waters on Outer Banks: Is this the end for Salt Life Hamlet? 

Episodes 8, 9, and the Finale

click to enlarge “You aren’t just a man. You’re a man with a van. If you got a van, we could be men with ven.”

Netflix screenshot

“You aren’t just a man. You’re a man with a van. If you got a van, we could be men with ven.”

Hey everybody. Let’s wrap up this season of Outer Banks before Netflix hijacks everyone’s attention by having the Stranger Things kids compete in a bakeoff with Joe Exotic.

When last we left off, John B was about to be murdered by his girlfriend’s father aboard a yacht. I imagine this is a common occurrence for John B. Only this time the paternal rage is due to lost treasure, rather than John B texting pics of his John P to someone’s daughter.

John B escapes via jet ski, and Sarah’s dad carries out a self-inflicted harpoon wound. I have to say, I really enjoy that the show just decided to do away with all pretense and have Sarah’s dad simply attempt to murder the person he adopted a couple of days ago. Like that wouldn’t be the most suspicious criminal act this man could commit. He’d be better off dressing in the skin of John B’s dead dad and trying to convince John B to lead him to the treasure.

Entering a flashback within a flashback like we’re watching Inception, we learn that Sarah’s dad was working with John B’s dad to find the lost gold. John B’s dad was killed following a dispute over how to split the treasure. This is how I’d like to die — separated by several layers from the main narrative.
click to enlarge When you’ve been quarantined together for too long. - NETFLIX SCREENSHOT
  • Netflix screenshot
  • When you’ve been quarantined together for too long.
Sarah’s dad frames John B for a harpoon attack and jet ski theft. This is likely John B’s third strike for those exact crimes.

Facing murder charges, John B grabs a gun and confronts Sarah in her home at night. Shockingly, she refuses to believe that her father is a killer, even though she was told such by an armed teenager she barely knows as he dragged her from her bedroom.
Returning to his house, John B places a photo of his father into what looks like a tiny wrestling ring, lights it on fire, and sets it adrift — the traditional funeral for Viking hillbillies.
click to enlarge Yep, a little, tiny wrestling ring that he must have made by hand. - NETFLIX SCREENSHOT
  • Netflix screenshot
  • Yep, a little, tiny wrestling ring that he must have made by hand.
Wait. A son, depressed over the death of his father, discovers that his new paternal figure is the murderer. That same young man then turns against his love, who happens to be the daughter of his father’s killer. I’ll be damned. They just turned John B into Hamlet. A Salt Life Hamlet.

The most touching moment of this episode, and maybe this entire season, comes as Pope prepares to enter his scholarship interview. Although they are at odds with one another, Pope’s father straightens his son’s tie and reminds him of the importance of this opportunity. It’s a chance for a better life. Obviously, Pope flees mid-interview to help John B — a golden retriever who ruins everyone’s lives.

By this point, Sarah’s dad has discovered the gold and is planning to fly to the Bahamas in order to hide away his riches. Pope learns from his father that he will need to extend the runway for Sarah’s dad’s private plane due a heavy cargo load, which Pope surmises to be from the gold.

Pope relays this info to his friends, and it’s time for a heist. Except it’s not. Because this is a show about teens. And as my mother told me, those lust demons will make you do crazy things.

Sensing that Sarah is aboard, John B manages to outrun the plane in his 50-year-old van and stop the craft from taking off.

Suddenly, the sheriff arrives to arrest Sarah’s dad. Swerve. But even more suddenly, a strung-out Rafe shoots the sheriff to win his father’s approval.

click to enlarge Narrator: “He does not.” - NETFLIX SCREENSHOT
  • Netflix screenshot
  • Narrator: “He does not.”

Episode 9

Our penultimate episode begins with the sheriff bleeding out while John B manages to make his escape. Kidnapped by her coked-out brother, Sarah tries to pull a Lady Bird and duck-and-roll from a moving vehicle. She soon discovers that she isn’t in a Greta Gerwig movie and has to play a damsel in distress.

John B goes to the police station to report the sheriff’s murder, only to realize that he is the prime suspect. Cornered by deputies, he flees and is not immediately riddled with bullets. Crazy how that happens.

So then we get this part where Sarah is locked in her room and she has to fill her sister in on the plot. The most bizarre part of this show is that none of the characters are aware of what is happening in their community. Literally everyone alive today is so plugged into what’s going on that Sarah’s sister having to ask questions to propel the plot means that none of the writers are familiar with a teenager.

Sarah’s younger sister would have already learned a TikToc dance explaining that a sad-ass Rafe shot the sheriff before the medics were notified. An APB would have gone out for an eboy before Sarah even made her way back home.

Anyway, John B gets trapped in a house belonging to one of Topper’s friends because we need a scene with those two to happen in a little bit. Separated by a laundry-room door, Topper and John B debate their feelings for Sarah. And perhaps the very nature of love. Surprisingly, Topper learns that John B and Sarah have had intercourse, yet Topper does not follow through with the teachings he picked up from the seduction community and congratulate his fellow bro on “the notch.”
click to enlarge “Well, well, well, how the turntables…” - NETFLIX SCREENSHOT
  • Netflix screenshot
  • “Well, well, well, how the turntables…”
John B manages to escape through a vent in the laundry room. Rafe establishes a search party made up of young Jimmy Buffett fans who lack the attention span for Phish. Fortunately, Sarah locates John B first in the abandoned church tower where he took her in a previous episode.

But wait. Suddenly, a wild Topper appears. After yet another discussion of love — involving an intense focus on grand gestures and not simply patience and empathy — Topper distracts the police as John B and Sarah flee the church. We are now in the Endgame.

THE FINALE

We begin without a break in the action as John B and Sarah hide out in an empty beach house that her stepmother has on the market. They fall asleep in each other’s arms as Sarah calms John B with their escape plans that involve her operating a sandwich shop in Mexico.

No idea where this sandwich thing came from. Maybe the floor of the editor’s bay is piled with footage of Sarah describing a good grilled cheese, but up to this point, I don’t even think we’ve seen her eat. Also, is wealthy, elite, plantation heiress Sarah really the person to predict the sandwich tastes of her hypothetical clientele in Mexico? No. 1 on that menu is going to end up being called “The Mayonnaise.”

With our main characters on the lam, special agents arrive by helicopter to track down public enemy No. 1, John B. This be-sandaled criminal mastermind must be brought to justice.

Sarah informs the special agent that her brother, sigh, shot the sheriff (Damn you, Robert Marley!).

Sarah’s dad arrives and attempts to convince the authorities that his daughter is bipolar. While this is happening, Sarah manages to knee a SWAT team member in the balls and escape from a heavily fortified police base on foot. I’m sure this small teen crotching an officer’s sensitive testicles and easily evading authorities won’t completely undermine the drama of upcoming escape scenes.

In an attempt to ratchet up the tension, the writers have a strung-out Rafe and his drug dealer join forces to find John B and KICK HIS ASS. The only thing is, Rafe was already searching for John B, in addition to the platoon of trained investigators. The addition of the drug dealer doesn’t really increase the stakes significantly. But whatever. This way incorporates more dirt bikes into the plot, so I am all for it.

Pope and the rest of the team are confronted by Rafe and his coke-addled sidekick, but quickly dispatch them in time to bid John B farewell as he escapes on a stolen speedboat. Pope nearly strangles Rafe to death, transitioning from college hopeful to attempted murderer. The show celebrates this character evolution because of, well, friendship, I guess.
click to enlarge Everything is ruined, but at least John B has… well nothing actually. - NETFLIX SCREENSHOT
  • Netflix screenshot
  • Everything is ruined, but at least John B has… well nothing actually.
Pope, Kiara, and JJ — all their lives pretty much ruined by John B — celebrate togetherness. They embrace, with nothing to show for all their sacrifice. Oh, and Pope and Kiara kiss because there is nothing women like more than watching someone nearly strangle another person to death with an extension cord.

As John B races down the coast, he spots Sarah running along a dock toward him. They reunite, tying up that narrative thread in the tidiest of bows. There wasn’t even a plot point tied to this. She just ran down a dock that John B happened to be approaching. That’s cool.

For logistical reasons I can’t understand, John B’s escape route takes their boat right past the police staging area. You know how small the ocean can be.

Suddenly, with another violent storm approaching, full power is restored to the town of Outer Banks and the lighthouse spots John B’s escape vessel. Like a teenage Dexter, John B drives directly into the storm to escape. My prayers that he becomes a lumberjack with a fake beard.

The special agent places Sarah’s dad on the radio, pleading with John B to bring his daughter home. In earshot of everyone, John B announces the many crimes of Sarah’s father and promises to return for revenge.

John B and Sarah embrace as they disappear into the storm. I hope there is a door big enough for the two of them to survive at sea and reclaim the Heart of the Ocean.
But before credits roll, we see John B and Sarah clutching the remains of their boat. Since the ocean is very small and accommodating — Nature’s Airbnb — Sarah and John B are immediately spotted by a ship heading to the exact location where Sarah’s dad is hiding the stolen gold.
click to enlarge The sea is a lenient mistress. - NETFLIX SCREENSHOT
  • Netflix screenshot
  • The sea is a lenient mistress.
If only Odysseus had John B aboard his ship, they would have made it home before his dog got old and all those suitors were horning in on his wife.

That’s all folks! Thanks for following along. Hoping these recaps have distracted you from what feels like the end of the world. Just remember there will be a next time.

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