‘Outer Banks’ Creators on Why Kiara Got Together With Pope, Not JJ

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(Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Season 2 of “Outer Banks.”)

The new season of OBX brings adventure in the Bahamas, new characters and mystery and a steamy romance between Kiara and Pope — despite persistent fans shipping Kiara and JJ.

“We saw some of the feedback from the fans about how everybody was cheering for Kiara and JJ to get together,” OBX co-creator Josh Pate, who co-created the series with brother Jonas Pate and Shannon Burke, told told TheWrap, “But that wasn’t where we left them in season one.”

Although Kiara rejected Pope in the show’s first season, landing him in the friend zone, but their relationship evolves in the second season, leaving any chances of Kiara coupling up with JJ in the dust.

The creators say they embraced “naturalism” to determine the characters’ romantic fates, rather than trying to force anyone into a ship. “Since the genre story is so heightened, we try to go more into naturalism with the romances where it wasn’t too over the top either way,” Josh said.

For Kiara, who struggles with her relationship with her family and solidifies her identity as a Pogue, that meant leaning into the trust she found with Pope at the end of the first season.

“We wanted to play out the hand we were dealt with,” Burke said. “We tried to feel like, what do we think is real between these characters, and move it forward organically where it felt like realistically what would have happened with those characters.”

The creators adopted the same approach to John B. and Sarah’s relationship, especially when Sarah’s grief over her father’s supposed death leads her back to her ex-boyfriend, Topper.

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“So early on their story was them getting together,” Josh said, “Once they’re together, we knew we wanted to have a wrinkle back with Topper. We leaned into the complications between that kind of original love triangle.”

“Complications” is an understatement for this relationship. The second season picks up after Sarah’s father, Ward, stole the Pogues’ treasure and tried to kill John B. — not to mention that John B. also suspects Ward of killing his late (or so we think) father.

So when John B. doesn’t seem too fazed by Ward’s supposed death, we get it. But Sarah, who grieves over her tumultuous relationship with her father, finds companionship with Topper, who understands her family’s struggle and has been “relentlessly kind” to her, according to the creators.

“John B. is going after Sarah’s father. She’s professed to be in John B.’s life, of course she’s on his side, but it’s complicated,” Jonas said, “We wanted to show… what that would feel like, to basically have your boyfriend and father at war with each other.”

“Outer Banks” season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.

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