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Netflix 'Outer Banks' stars on 'high octane' Season 3 and JJ, Kiara romance

"You dive headfirst and you don't think, you just do. I feel like that's kind of the Outer Banks spirit," Madelyn Cline says about Outer Banks Season 3

There's no rest for the Pogues in Season 3 of the Netflix hit Outer Banks, starring Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline, Madison Bailey, Rudy Pankow and Jonathan Daviss, a season that even had its cast questioning how they were going to pull off all the action and drama.

“Getting the scripts for the season, just the action sequences I was like, ‘how are we going to do this? How are we pulling that off?” Drew Starkey who play Rafe, Sarah's (Cline) brother, told Yahoo Canada. “But we did it, it's really insane.”

“It's so high octane. It's like adrenaline rush the whole time. You feel it when you're reading the scripts. ... We get a new episode, we're all calling each other being like, ‘did you get to finish it? Did you read?' So our experience reading is hopefully the same for people watching it.”

“I think it's just kind of one of those things where you dive headfirst and you don't think, you just do,” Cline said about taking on the action of Season 3. “I feel like that's kind of the Outer Banks spirit."

"It's just like, don't think. If you're thinking about it you're already seven seconds too late.”

(L to R) Carlacia Grant as Cleo, Madison Bailey as Kiara, Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron, Chase Stokes as John B, Jonathan Daviss as Pope, Rudy Pankow as JJ in episode 309 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)
(L to R) Carlacia Grant as Cleo, Madison Bailey as Kiara, Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron, Chase Stokes as John B, Jonathan Daviss as Pope, Rudy Pankow as JJ in episode 309 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

What happens in Outer Banks Season 3?

Season 2 of Outer Banks left us with a chaotic boat heist after Sarah's father Ward (Charles Esten) kidnapped her, while everyone thought he was dead. The Pogues were hiding in a shipping container on the boat but were able to escape (with Sarah) to a remote island they called "Poguelandia." But Ward isn't the only seemingly dead person who returned to the story. At the end of Season 2, we also discover that John B's (Stokes) long-lost father is actually alive and in Barbados.

Season 3 picks up right where we left off, on Poguelandia, along with now honorary Pogue Cleo (Carlacia Grant), after she travelled with them from the boat at the end of Season 2.

“It was really exciting to see Cleo come through the ranks,” Carlacia Grant said. “I was really excited to see this Caribbean bad gal and her just coming to the States, and learning how to deal with all these variables.”

“Can't walk around with a knife on your chest. There are rules out here. … Continuing the friendships with all these lovely Pogues that she's met, it's really exciting to see how everything is going to play out with that.”

The Pogues are actually kind of thriving on this island, relaxing and fishing for food, but things change when they're able to get the attention of a seaplane flying by. While initially they believe they're getting saved, things take a turn when the Pogues realize the pilot didn't just randomly stop to save them, there was another motivation. It's from that point on that the Pogues are thrust back into this search for the treasure, but the situation becomes more critical.

"The stakes are higher for sure,” Austin North who plays Sarah's ex-boyfriend Topper said. “The action, adventure, the romance, everything about it, but also I think there's moments of normality.”

“I love that. Sarah comes and hangs out with the Kooks again and they have their bonfire and it’s kind of nostalgic to Season 1, which I think the show always needs because that way people can take a little breather while they're watching it and calm down because it is intense. I'm enjoying it myself, to be honest. It's a good show.”

(L to R) Charles Esten as Ward Cameron, Drew Starkey as Rafe in episode 301 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)
(L to R) Charles Esten as Ward Cameron, Drew Starkey as Rafe in episode 301 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Aside from the Pogues, Ward is on the mend in his mansion, after his injuries from the boat heist, and his son Rafe has taken the reins in Ward's sinister plans, which comes with its own set of challenges.

“This is a different relationship than we saw in Season 1, Rafe has kind of cast himself into an area of independence and freedom from his family now,” Starkey said.

“Working with Chip, Charles Esten, ... we talked about it recently, … it'd be nice to have just a moment where we have a scene where we just sit down and have breakfast and everything's OK. Instead, we're just in each other's faces just yelling at each other. But it's been incredible exploring it with him and excited to see where it goes for sure.”

Rudy Pankow as JJ, Madison Bailey as Kiara in episode 305 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)
Rudy Pankow as JJ, Madison Bailey as Kiara in episode 305 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

Kiara, JJ romance finally happens

One thing that's clear is that Outer Banks creators, Shannon Burke, Jonas Pate and Josh Pate, are listening to their audience. Fans have been shipping Kiara (Madison Bailey) and JJ (Rudy Pankow) for some time, and we finally get to see that relationship form in Season 3. What's evident about the evolution of this relationship is that Kiara and JJ still very much maintain their independence, while sparking a romance.

“I think it helps with both of these characters being super independent in and of themselves,” Bailey said. “If their relationship progresses for further seasons, I think you'll really see them get separate but together, and in that way, I think the appeal is that he doesn't ask of much from her, and vice versa.”

In Season 2, an element that fans really picked up on is how Pankow started to physically portray JJ's anxiety and stress by showing the free-spirited character clutch his chest on several occasion. In Season 3, the actor is really able to explore those feelings more, including when there's a threat to Kiara's safety.

“I think feeling that anxiety, feeling directionless, feeling hopeless, … the only thing the Pogues have to lose is hope,” Pankow said. “I know the slogan’s nothing to lose, but if they lose hope, then it's like, where do they go?”

“I think that's what JJ struggles with this season, with is having hope, being very confused.”

(L to R) Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron, Chase Stokes as John B in episode 304 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)
(L to R) Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron, Chase Stokes as John B in episode 304 of Outer Banks. (Jackson Lee Davis/Netflix)

A father's love

Of course, we can't talk about relationships in Outer Banks without mentioning Sarah (Madelyn Cline) and John B (Chase Stokes). Despite all the trauma and threats they've faced, nothing can be perfect all the time. So Season 3 introduces some friction in this relationship, while much of John B's storyline pivots to reconnecting with his father.

“I think diving into the relationship after John B has been put through so much because of the absence of his father was very interesting,” Stokes said. “I think there's a little bit of animosity, but also a lot of love and a lot of wanting to see his father in the ways that he has been envisioning him since his absence."

"So it was a challenging arc because I think as a young boy, looking up to your father and having that father figure is such a huge component in life. Does it live up to all the hype? And is Big John the person that he's sort of perceived him to be? ... We'll see.”

As Cline highlights, there's a general pattern of these characters really growing up and evolving in Season 3, including their relationships with friends, family and romantic partners.

“These characters are growing and they're changing, and these experiences that they've been through have shaped them and molded them, and changed their lives forever,” Cline said. “It's been a really special journey.”

“I was really, really excited to explore that with Sarah this season and do some emotional recall. At the end of the day, she's doing her best, she just wants to be a good person, given her family. To see where she came from, her past, her life that she's kind of left behind influence her, even in a positive way, has been my main goal. To see her grow and become independent.”

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 18: Chase Stokes, Madison Bailey, Rudy Pankow, Jonathan Daviss, Carlacia Grant, Drew Starkey, Austin North, Madelyn Cline Netflix's Poguelandia Outer Banks Fan Event at Huntington Beach on February 18, 2023. (Pooneh Ghana/Netflix)
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 18: Chase Stokes, Madison Bailey, Rudy Pankow, Jonathan Daviss, Carlacia Grant, Drew Starkey, Austin North, Madelyn Cline Netflix's Poguelandia Outer Banks Fan Event at Huntington Beach on February 18, 2023. (Pooneh Ghana/Netflix)

Outer Banks Season 4 is on the way

It was announced earlier this week that Outer Banks has been renewed for Season 4 and even before that big reveal, the show's stars highlighted how appreciative they are to be able to get a longer period of time to really sit with, create and develop their characters.

“I think that's the beauty of TV right now, as you have more time to sit with the characters and you have more airtime as well to really flesh out these arcs, and bring them to life in ways that in previous time, you may not have had,” Stokes said. “So they sort of become a part of you.”

“You start thinking about things in a different way. You look at things from the perspective of the character, and we're just really thankful to be able to tell long from stories like this, and to do it for 30 episodes with people that were at one point complete strangers, and now it's turned into a family.”

“When you're doing a long form show like this, you experience life while you're doing it,” Jonathan Daviss, who plays Pope, added. “So you might take a break in a season and then something happens to you where you're like, ‘Wow, I can't wait to use this experience, use what happened to me this month, when I go film.’”

“I feel like it resonates so much with the character, the story that we're trying to tell, when you get a chance to look at yourself and look at the show, and then take a break from it. And then really get to sit and meditate on these characters when you come back again. It's just a great experience.”