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Ranking Theories for Outer Banks Season Three

If the CW made The Goonies, it would be equal to Netflix’s Outer Banks. Imagine, if you will, The Goonies for a slightly older audience. The Goonies but the actors are all hot twenty-somethings. Sure, it’s ridiculous at times. Maybe I couldn’t help but laugh when John B (played by the 28-year-old Chase Stokes) announced that he was 16. Maybe I yelled “what!” at my TV every time a character miraculously survived a situation that should have killed them. But if you give this show a fair shot, accepting it’s ridiculousness as some form of teen camp, you’re going to get hooked. 

Feel free to tell that to any friends who try to scoff at you for enjoying and theorizing about this show. It’s about time they got on board. Season two was released at the end of July on Netflix and the wild fan theories and predictions for season three have already begun. Here is a look at some of the most popular examples that have been circulating the internet.

*Spoilers for Outer Banks seasons one and two*


The theory: Kiara has been there for JJ through all of his family drama and JJ has been there for hers. So it’s only natural they take their friendship to the next level, right?

Why I like it: I don’t. This comes in dead last for me. Do I see where people are coming from? Yes. They have some chemistry. Do I want it to happen even a little bit? No.

Why I don’t like it: First off, for whatever reason Pope is madly in love with Kiara and I’d like to think JJ has enough of an understanding of the bro-code to keep his distance. Is there some sort of rule like “no macking on Pogues that other Pogues have already macked on?”

Secondly, this would mean that Kiara (the only original female member of the group) would have had a romantic relationship with every other guy in the original group. If the show turns her into nothing more than a universal love interest that would kind of suck. 

Lastly, all she did this season was be pretty cruel to Pope and have a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of hiding (when you are trying to film someone discreetly you should not yell “MURDER!” at them at the top of your lungs, Kiara). So maybe JJ could do better.

Limbrey is someone’s mom

The theory: Carla Limbrey might connect to this story in a more personal way. She could be Sarah and Rafe’s mom. She mentions a “long and tortured” past with Ward that could indicate something more than business. She also tells Rafe that Renfield is “not one of us” after shooting him. Limbrey could also be John B’s mom. While we get a picture of John B’s alleged mother in season one (clearly a different woman), but there is also a photo of Limbrey in Big John’s study. A connection, even if it’s not maternal, might be there. Some are even speculating that she could be JJ’s mom.

Why I like it: When you think about it, there are not a lot of moms in this show. Pope’s and Kiara’s are the only ones we see. So there are lots of possibilities for how Limbrey might fit in. One of the showrunners hinted at exploring these “missing moms” in season three. Family dynamics have already been established as an important theme in the show. Perhaps Carla refusing to shut up about being a Limbrey will be more relevant than we realize…

Why I don’t like it: The evidence for each of these possibilities is circumstantial at best. The only argument I’ve heard for Limbrey being JJ’s mom is that they are both blonde. While I’m interested in the idea, until I see something more convincing, I will remain skeptical. 

Pope and Cleo get together

The theory: Pope and Cleo seemed to have some chemistry, or at least some nice banter in the last few episodes. Considering his “relationship” with Kiara in the past, do these two have a future?

Why I like it: I have previously stated my thoughts on Kiara this season, and I genuinely think Pope deserves better. Plus, Cleo has already proved herself to be a pretty cool character. So sure, why not!

Why I don’t like it: How old is Cleo? Carlacia Grant, who plays Cleo, is thirty. I guess I assumed that she was more of a real adult and not a high-school-age kid. But if the internet is adamant about this pairing, I’m sure I must be wrong, right? 

There just isn’t a lot to go off here, which is why I have it solidly in the middle. You could probably suggest almost any Cleo pairing and I’d be on board. Cleo and JJ? Sounds cute! Cleo and Kiara? I’m interested! Cleo and Rafe? Nevermind…

John B’s Bandana is the Shroud

The theory: This theory claims that John B’s bandana is actually the missing shroud from inside the cross. If you remember, John B got the bandana from his father and always wears it. Big John could have found the cross first and obtained the shroud, passing it on to his son. 

Why I like it: This would explain so much. Why John B was seemingly unbothered by an alligator bite. Why Sarah survived being shot by Rafe. Why John B only got a broken wrist after being shoved off a tower. I excused these instances as typical TV nonsense, but maybe the bandana’s involvement explains them better. 

Why I don’t like it: This would indicate a shift to the mystical, which makes me a little nervous. While the show hasn’t been particularly grounded thus far, a full jump into fantasy could either end well or horribly. It might look something like The Raiders of the Lost Ark, or more Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I’m not sure if it’s worth the risk. It might be better off staying as a cool theory. 

Big John really is dead

The theory: In a scene at the end of the season finale we saw Clara Limbrey meet with a very much alive Big John Routeldge. Upon rewatching the scene, many have noted that Limbrey looked healthier than she does in the rest of the show. Additionally, Big John is wearing the glasses that were found next to his alleged body on the island. So perhaps this scene is a flashback and Big John isn’t coming back. 

Why I like it: This is by no means the most outlandish theory or even the most interesting. But it does make a lot of sense and I didn’t think of it immediately. Despite the conclusive evidence we got in season one that Big John was dead, I assumed this scene meant he was coming back. If the theory is true, it would mean we get the excitement and possibility of the “he’s alive!” twist without the logistical nightmare. 

While I’m sure they could come up with something, writing around Big John’s skeleton on the island would be a tough task for the OBX writers. Once writers have to go back and change things that they made pretty explicit previously, things tend to get a little messy. 

I like this theory because of the direction it will keep the show on, but also because it could open the door to other flashback storylines! There is lots to explore with the older generation of characters and events that happened previous to the start of the show. And doing this through flashbacks could be really fun.

Why I don’t like it: I’m sure it would be sweet to see a Big John and John B reunion (which of course would not happen if Big John is truly dead), but the fact that this scene introduced it as a possibility only to not deliver is heartbreaking yet so impactful. I think this theory is simple, maybe even a little obvious, but important. That’s why it’s my favorite so far. 

Lucy Gibbs

Kenyon '23

Lucy is a junior at Kenyon college who is originally from the San Fransisco Bay Area. She is majoring in History and minoring in Art History. She loves spending time outdoors, watching baseball and football, painting, building things, and getting much too invested in TV and movies. Lucy also plays for one of Kenyon's ultimate frisbee teams.
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