Warning: This article contains spoilers about the season 2 finale of Outer Banks.
At this point, there’s no other explanation for how John B (Chase Stokes), Sarah (Madelyn Cline), JJ (Rudy Pankow), Kiara (Madison Bailey), Pope (Jonathan Daviss), and new Pogue member Cleo (Carlacia Grant) keep on surviving these life-and-death situations. Back in season 1, John B fell from a tower, landed on his back, and walked away with only a broken wrist. But in season 2 (now streaming on Netflix), almost every Pogue escaped a brush with death with little to no consequences. Sarah was shot and literally died early in the season, only to miraculously come back to life and participate in a high-speed chase moments later. She was also attacked by her brother Rafe (Drew Starkey), who tried to drown her. Kiara almost drowned in a storm drain. Pope almost died from getting stung by a ton of bees — turns out he’s super allergic! John B got attacked by an alligator and was almost choked to death in prison. JJ almost died in the finale after suffering a head injury and landing face-first in the ocean. And they’ve all been shot at more times than you can count.
But somehow, all the Pogues are still alive and well — albeit stranded together on a deserted island — by the end of season 2. And watching the gang survive all those near-death experiences, EW decided to find out once and for all whether the Pogues are superheroes or just really, really lucky. “That definitely is a conversation, like geez, how do we always make it through this?” series star Pankow tells EW. “At the same time, it really creates for an amazing fun ride, and you can’t ask for a more action-packed fun show to be a part of.”
Stokes thinks the Pogues definitely have a little superhero potential in them. “It’s funny, we’ve joked about the Pogues teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Star-Lord helping the Pogues,” he tells EW with a laugh. “It’s pretty crazy, obviously we’re playing in a fictional world, so you mess with that a little bit. But these kids are relentless. It’s like they get punched in the face and 90 percent of people would be like, ‘I’m going to take four days off of work to recuperate from this,’ but the Pogues are like just going to rub some dirt on it and put a little salt in our cut and keep moving forward.”
But Stokes is quick to point out that while “these are definitely the kids you don’t want to mess with,” they’re not exactly skilled in fighting back against their many, many attackers.
“We were joking about it literally only two nights ago, the Pogues tend to lose more than they win,” he says. “Thankfully, John B gets the one win against Ward [Charles Esten] at the end of the season but beyond that, they’re just little scrappy kids who always find themselves in crazy situations, so I don’t know how well they would do with being superheroes or diving into a Marvel Cinematic Universe. Superheroes tend to always somehow, someway win the fight, and the Pogues just find a way to get enough punches in to survive and then get out of there as quickly as humanly possible. Maybe there’s a world where the Pogues find a way to start winning more and they get a call from Mr. Stark and the Avengers at some point.”
When thinking about everything Sarah’s gone through physically over the course of two seasons, Cline is constantly impressed with how her onscreen character continues to get back up and never give up. “If I’m ever faced with the situations that Sarah has been faced with, I probably would not have made it out of the boat crash from the hurricane in season 1,” she tells EW with a laugh. “But Sarah, on the other hand, clearly has nine lives, and so do the rest of the Pogues. It’s funny because our writers like to say, ‘You can’t kill a Pogue,’ and our showrunner Jonas Pate loves to say, ‘Don’t not believe in the magic.’ That’s how I see it.”
That’s why Cline loves to see these teens thrive no matter what’s thrown at them, regardless of how realistic it may seem. “It’s this really wonderful universe that we get to live in where these kids are just incredibly brave and really can do anything,” she says. “I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say they’re like superheroes, but they’re exceedingly brave and kind of indestructible.”
Bailey is of the same mindset, saying she trusts the Pogues to persevere no matter what’s thrown at them. “When you’re a kid, you think that you’re invincible, and we exude every part of that,” she tells EW. “I say in this season, ‘We’ve all officially joined the ‘I have nothing to lose’ club. What could go wrong? We’ll be fine,’ that’s what crosses their minds all the time.”
Bailey also laughs at just how close Kiara came to dying this season when she was in a flooded storm drain. “It wasn’t my favorite day of filming, I can tell you that!” she says. “I’m kind of claustrophobic, so climbing into and crawling through that tube was not amazing. I had to overcome that quickly. But it was okay because after I got out of the water, they had a little hot tub for me to get in between takes, and it made it all worth it.”
But Pankow has a different opinion on the matter. He thinks it’s time for Outer Banks to explain exactly why the Pogues can’t be killed. “I wouldn’t be surprised if all of a sudden they threw in something supernatural, like because they touched the Cross [of Santo Domingo] they have these superpowers to heal them up,” he tells EW. “It’s an intense storyline and for normal teenagers to get shot, to get almost drowned, to then get knocked out into the ocean, and then marooned on an abandoned island and still be alive, I know it’s hard to believe but I think it’s going to get to a certain point where they’re either going to have to say they have superpowers or we’re going to be like, ‘Guys let’s not go and kill ourselves,’ because I think that’s what we’re building up to if we don’t chill out.”
And while Daviss doesn’t think of the Pogues as supernatural or superheroes, he does believe they’re a different kind of larger-than-life hero. “I’d say it’s like The Fast and the Furious without cars,” he says. “The Pogues can survive anything. I compare it to Indiana Jones where you just watch Indiana Jones get beat up for like two hours straight and by the end of it you’re like, ‘Yeah, he’s the hero.’ That’s how the Pogues are, you watch them get utterly beat up for 10 episodes but at the end, you’re like, ‘They’re the heroes.’ The Pogues have that grittiness of the treasure hunter, Indiana Jones energy and you want to see how crazy these teenagers are going to get — and it’s safe to say every year will get crazier.”
With every impossible save, the Pogues (and fans) cheer as the characters escape another life-or-death situation. But someone who is most definitely not cheering at their penchant for daring survival? That’d be Rafe, the guy responsible for killing his sister after shooting her and then trying to kill her again by drowning her at the docks. “Of course, they are modern-day superheroes, it truly is superhuman at times,” Starkey says of how his onscreen nemeses constantly evade death and injury. “It for sure builds the frustration for Rafe of not being able to stop them. They somehow always get away.”
Constantly failing to stop the Pogues from messing up his plans drives Rafe further down a dark path in season 2. “Even more so than superheroes, they’re escape artists and they’re able to just survive. It’s just extremely frustrating,” he says with a laugh. “It’s the Scooby-Doo thing, ‘Darn it, I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids.’ These kids keep popping back up. They will not die!”
EW got the Outer Banks showrunners to settle the superhero debate once and for all… and according to them, no, the Pogues are not indestructible. But they sure aren’t normal teenagers either! “We don’t want to push it that far but it’s not that fun to play like medical stuff forever,” Josh Pate tells EW with a laugh. “So we probably exaggerate their healing powers, for sure. It’s just to make it entertaining.”
But the question has been asked so much that it’s become something of a joke between the cast and showrunners. “Believe me, there was a running joke on set between Maddy Cline and me, because she gets shot in the second episode and had to play the wound for the rest of the season,” Jonas Pate tells EW. “Sometimes she would forget and we’d remind her and we’d just keep going back and forth but it’s a funny thing. The one that Chase still teases me about is when we threw him off the tower in season 1 and he walked away from that basically with a broken hand.”
As for how John B walked away from an alligator attack in season 2? “Josh and Shannon [Burke] have wanted to put an alligator in this thing for two seasons and I held them off for the first season,” Jonas admits with a laugh. “But they finally got me.”
If the Pogues can survive all of this in season 2, there’s no telling what they’ll be able to escape next. Let’s just hope Outer Banks gets renewed for a third season so we can all find out just how far their superheroic skills can stretch.