In the first season of Netflix’s Outer Banks, one of the biggest mysteries was the fate of Big John (Charles Halford), the dad of the show’s protagonist, John B (Chase Stokes). Early on, we learned that Big John went missing and was presumed shipwrecked and dead, but John B kept chasing his ghost as part of a gold hunt that his dad started in Kildare, North Carolina.
While there was some hope that the old man was alive, ultimately his fate was confirmed, so let’s break down Big John’s tragic ending and why he was killed.
What Was Big John Up To in Outer Banks?
John B had a fight with his dad, who was obsessed with the Royal Merchant, a ship that sunk in the 1800s with British gold. That was the last time John saw his dad, as Big John went out to sea, promising he’d be back with something big. That never happened, but months later, as John B and his crew — the poor kids known as Pogues — found a sunken boat after a storm in the first episode, things changed drastically.
In the safe, they unearthed a compass with the word “Redfield” inscribed in it. This was dad’s compass, and it led him on a journey involving maps, cryptic estates and the region’s connections to a freed slave named Denmark Tanny. John felt that if he couldn’t find his dad, at least he could discover the treasure the man laid down so many clues towards.
Who Killed Big John?
Unfortunately, John B’s adventures were plagued by a couple gangsters, who shockingly enough ended up dead. John B himself got damaged and was taken in by Ward, one of the rich guys on the island who showed a strong interest in him after John started dating his daughter, Sarah. It seemed like Ward was looking at John B as a successor since his own son, Rafe, was going off the rocks.
But when they went out sailing, it broke down as Ward indicated that he knew John B had found the gold. The teen tried keeping it secret but Ward overheard him and Sarah discussing the find. The big revelation came that Ward actually got the compass back from the sheriff after John B’s arrest, and he also murdered the gangsters. Ward slipped up on the yacht, mentioning how John B needed him to transport the load after the “Redfield” clue, and at this point a brawl erupted. Ward tried to kill John B, but the teen sped off on a jetski to find answers as he could tell Ward was the culprit who killed his father.
Why Was Big John Targeted?
John B got to Lana’s house on the mainland as past clues connected her husband, Scooter, to Big John. She admitted that Ward came over in despair a while back and flashbacks showed that when Big John found the gold, he tried to change the terms of the deal with Ward. Ward offered resources but Big John did all the work, so he wanted to give him 20 percent, not 50 like agreed.
Ward lost it, and in the scuffle Big John hit his head and was bleeding out. Ward tossed him overboard as he thought he was dead, but Big John ended up on a key. There, he set up camp but died of dehydration and starvation, as well as from his injuries. He inscribed “Redfield” in the compass, however, hoping it’d find its way to his son who could discern the location. Scooter, who became Ward’s new partner, actually went out in the storm in the first episode and his ship was the one that John B’s team found.
Scooter died getting back to the mainland after finding Big John’s corpse and the compass. Lana spilled everything as John B knew there was a connection. He saw the gangsters accosting her after Scooter’s death, as they were trying to screw Ward over, thus providing the key John B needed. When he saw the incident, he just thought Scooter drowning in the storm meant he was dealing drugs with these guys, but little did he know, it would be the first domino in revealing the dark truth about his dad.
Season 2 of Netflix’s teen thriller Outer Banks will be available via the streaming service on July 30.
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