Sunken treasure leads to adventure on the dramatic Netflix hit

Outer BanksNetflixThe action-packed adventure Outer Banks first hit Netflix at a time when viewers most needed an escape from reality. One month into the global pandemic, with many avid bingers having already devoured the absurdist pop culture phenomenon Tiger King, this frantic hunt for a sunken treasure, a sort of Outsiders-meets-Goonies, was the perfect wild ride to continue distracting us from a real-life nightmare.

Set in the coastal town of Outer Banks, North Carolina, where the stark divide between the wealthy summer residents known as the Kooks and the working-class locals called the Pogues colours the social landscape, the series centres on perpetually shirtless John B (Chase Stokes), a Pogue whose father mysteriously disappears right after supposedly locating about half a billion dollars worth of gold that, according to local lore, had sunk to the bottom of the sea. Convinced that the gold is still theirs to recover, John B and his trusted group of friends—surfer dude from a troubled background JJ (Rudy Pankow); Kie (Madison Bailey), wealthy daughter of a local entrepreneur who has chosen to identify with the Pogues; and brains of the gang, Pope (Jonathan Daviss)—start following the intricate clues that will take them to their boon.

Outer BanksNetflixAs with all the best treasure hunts, the path to the coffer meanders through obstacles, false starts and incompetent law enforcement chasing them every step of the way. And what action-adventure would be complete without love across the social divide? When John B falls for Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline), known as the princess of the Kooks, the two are faced with obstacles ranging from her Pogue-despising friends to a father (Charles Esten) with his own nefarious agenda. Those opposing their romance seem to get their wish when—spoiler—the lovebirds are presumed dead after their boat capsizes in a tropical storm.

But, like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet, not even death itself can keep these two apart. The viewer, of course, knows that John B and Sarah—incredibly—end up rescued by a cargo ship carrying the gold to the Bahamas. And that is where the highly anticipated second season takes off, with new sexy locations, new villains and lots and lots of near-miss arrests.

Outer BanksNetflixAdding more roadblocks to their path this season is Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell, who joins the series as the mysterious and extremely wealthy Carla Limbrey. “I think of her as someone whose belief in her superiority is so firmly entrenched that she operates from a place of entitlement and great hubris,” says Mitchell. “She’s a nasty piece of work. She thinks she’s a good guy, and I found her fascinating, but finding a way to like her for me was really hard because I’m a big fan of approaching all things with curiosity and a willingness to learn, and I would say that Limbrey is exactly the opposite of that.”

From the Pogues’ perspective, this woman is not there to aid their cause. “Suffice to say that we’re all after the same thing,” says Mitchell. “Limbrey has her own, important-to-her reasons for what she’s going after. Let’s just say she doesn’t value the Pogues’ lives the way that she should. She is a worthy adversary, for sure.”

Mitchell is no stranger to portraying the villain, but the character created by Josh and Jonas Pate felt like a step outside of the actress’s comfort zone. “I went crazy with this character and I had an absolute blast,” says Mitchell. “Jonas would always laugh. He’d be like, ‘God, you’re just willing to do kind of anything aren’t you?’ I decided early on that this was going to be one of those ‘throwing it at the wall’ things, because it is a really big character and it’s going to be super fun to see how that plays out. If it’s the worst thing ever, that’s going to be kind of wonderful. If it’s a really fun watch, that’s also going to be kind of wonderful.”

Outer BanksNetflixLike the rest of us, Mitchell found herself sucked in by the breakneck pace of the plot and the sultry drama, which only escalates in season two. “I was so drawn in by these kids and I fell into the love story. Their characters remain really fun to watch. I think that that’s a credit to the show creators, because they’ve managed to keep, a loving, passionate relationship and keep it intriguing, which on television is challenging,” says Mitchell, who was quite taken with her colleagues on screen and off. “These guys were so welcoming, so funny, so irreverent in their comedy and I found them to be just joyous to work with. They’re so happy to be there, they absolutely appreciate what they’re doing. They’re really a lovely group of actors, and I was nuts about them.”

Outer Banks streams Fridays on Netflix