Elite Season 3

Photo by: Amorah Schultze

Amorah Schultze, Feature Editor

Spanish-produced Elite is back, hitting again with glamorized drug addiction, complicated love triangles, teenage angst at its finest, disgustingly wealthy students with too much free time on their hands, and of course, the tangentially connected suspense that ties the whole show together. Las Encinas, reeling from the revelation that Polo murdered Marina from Season 1, must contend with more drama and romances coming apart.

In case you don’t remember, the first season of Elite unraveled the mystery surrounding the troubled, rebellious Marina and her untimely death. Swapping perspectives between the snobby, condescending rich kids of Las Encinas and the poor scholar students that gained entry through their school’s collapse, the story is one which unabashedly indulges in forbidden love and the falsified glamor of teenage life. The second season follows a similar format, but with the added factor of rivalries and fall-outs after Marina’s death, and an attempt to draw out the true murderer through a strange love scheme between Samuel and Carla.

In Season 3, the set of ten alternating characters is added to by three more. Sadly, while each storyline individually is engaging, the fault of an expansive cast is the emotional scenes which dramas like Elite thrive off of fall flat. While there were a few that hit the mark, there simply isn’t enough time to expand on the faults of each member without compromising previously established personality traits or performing a perfunctory tear-fest to advance the plot.

The mystery itself, while incoherent in its murderer, provides a satisfying (if not predictable) conclusion which grasps at the themes hinted all throughout the show. The mystery is the most irrelevant it’s ever been, which meant the plot threads which tied unlikely characters together are gone, and conventional plot points are tacked on to provide a similar experience to the previous two seasons.

By far, the most complex character, Polo, is polished through the fine acting of Alvaro Rico. His character came out triumphant in a world of watered-down conflicts, and his relatable sense of alienation and struggle to confront the consequences for his actions provide a refreshing grey area for him.

But for all the previous character attachments, it’s hard to save a show too tangled in separate storylines. I’d be hard-pressed to call the added cast characters, they could’ve been cut out entirely. There is much meandering through a tiresome polygamous romance between Polo, Cayetana, and Valerio and not nearly enough time spent on the core romances.

The messy half-steps shoved in for Guzman and Nadia feel like a mistake, and their romance all but dissipates by the end of the season. Samuel and Carla are even more egregious, as they both seem to realize they are grasping for the straws of a hook-up that went on for way too long and promptly cut ties by the season’s end. The only relationship with scene developments is Omar and Ander. While there is a contrived resolution, it hit most steps to tug at the heartstrings.

Surprisingly, the friendships are what sticks most deep in the show. Particularly, Nadia and Lucretia’s long-lasting rivalry is put aside and the audience is treated to the wonderful alliance that I’ve been waiting for since they side-eyed each other in the halls of Las Encinas. Rebecca, the tacky drug princess herself, provides a surprising levity and heart to the show which made up for most of the romance disasters.

Finally, the music and visuals stay at peak quality. I’d like to pay tribute to CHVRCHES Forever, as that song hits the nostalgia harder that Polo did Marina. The on-point stylistic choices of each scene are thrilling to view, and I awaited each moment of excessive opulence, glow-in-the-dark sex scandals, and whimsical death scenes.

Overall, the show keeps its heart and appeal close at hand. But I found this was the weakest season due to less curated balance between mystery and characters. The unnecessary drama seems most in focus this season, and while remnants of the boisterous anger and sadness of Seasons 1 and 2 are present, there was something lacking. If you’re looking for that trashy, ludicrous teen drama, by all means, watch the next season. But anything else might be a stretch in the efforts of the story.