‘Outer Banks’ Character John Routledge AKA Big John, Explained: What Happened To Him In Season 3?

Being a wanderer is intrinsic to being a treasure hunter, and John Routledge, aka Big John is both. The first two seasons of “Outer Banks” do not show his character much, but he is a very important part of this show. John has dedicated his entire life to finding the city of gold, El Dorado. There are some instances in the show that make him look like an irresponsible father, but his craze to find the gold is unmatched by anyone else in the entire series. Sometimes, the audience may feel that John cares more about the gold than his own son, who has to face the consequences of the actions of his father, and in some parts, that is true. But it is poetic that the reason behind Big John’s actions is his son, John B.


Growing up, John B has known life without his mother, and Big John’s attempt to provide his son with a better future compelled him further to seek El Dorado. Big John’s research began at a very young age, and he chose to find out more about the legendary myth, spending hours with his son while sharing everything that John B should know about. Gradually, Big John takes some drastic steps, trapping himself with gangsters and other greedy characters who clearly wish for his death. Even though Big John’s pursuit of El Dorado revolves around his son, it doesn’t really help John B.

One day, Big John didn’t return from his expedition, and in his absence, missed many important events of his son’s life. But he didn’t have a choice because he had attracted the attention of a Caribbean gangster, Carlos Singh. Believing him to be dead, John B embarks on a journey to seek the gold that his father always wanted. As for Big John, he decides to hide until things settle down, mainly to avoid sowing chaos in John B’s life. Big John never shared any details of his research, yet it captured the attention of Ward Cameron. Their conflict drove him to betray Big John and kill him by drowning him in the sea. But Big John doesn’t give up and survives the incident. Somehow, he makes his way to a deserted island and doesn’t expect to live anymore until Carlos rescues him. His interests lie in El Dorado, and he is ready to sacrifice anything to get his hands on the gold. Big John makes several enemies on his way to find the treasure, and the same thing happens to his son too.


Big John tries to escape, but Carlos holds him captive because he is the key to locating the gold. But Big John chooses to work for his son’s secure future. To fulfill his dreams, Big John had sacrificed a promising academic career. Throughout the entire series, we never understand Big John’s reason for neglecting his son. His dedication to his goals was quite inspiring, but it always affected his relationship with John B and his mother. Even though his wife didn’t stay back to support his dreams, their actions hurt John B the most.

In the first season, Big John left some clues for his son to find the gold, and since John B is the son of a treasure hunter, it didn’t take him long to figure out the true meaning behind his hints. Even so, it was difficult to understand Big John’s intentions. He wanted his son to live an unbothered life, but in the end, he was the one who dragged him into this. A bunch of 16-year-olds on the run from the cops is hardly ideal. As for Big John, he found his son with the help of Carla Limbrey, but everything comes with a price. John B makes a promise to Carla that he will surely find the shroud from the cross of Santo Domingo for her.


Big John didn’t face any difficulties in finding John B, but the scenes are too confusing. He attracts his son’s attention by invoking an old childhood memory of his, where he would ring a bell to call him home. Surprisingly, he focuses on the ringing bell even while fighting the bad guys. After they reunite, Big John’s mind is all about locating El Dorado while his son desperately waits to spend some time with him. They begin the search immediately, and after dealing with certain problems, Big John and John B find the other half of Gnomon, an ancient stone that will be used to locate El Dorado. Carlos has been chasing them all along, and in the end, Big John ends up getting caught by him, who takes him to Tres Locas. John B and his friends travel to Tres Locas and save Big John from Carlos.

Throughout the whole journey, his son goes through multiple problems, but Big John’s head is still wrapped around the treasure. Luckily, Big John endures all his injuries to find the gold, but once John B gets it, Big John can’t bear the pain and succumbs to his injuries. Eventually, season 3 of “Outer Banks” couldn’t deal with the sudden changes in the story, the mysterious El Dorado couldn’t match up to the myth, and their achievements weren’t as aspirational. The series should have depicted more of Big John’s relationship with his son. They really lost out on a chance to depict the life and mind of an eccentric treasure hunter. 


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Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya
Raschi Acharya is a Mass Media graduate and she is currently working and living in Mumbai. From a very young age, Raschi was heavily interested in reading and writing. She prefers to write everything that her mind nurtures her to do as shaping up her imagination is her forte!

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