Netflix’s hit Spanish teen drama is back for another season of love triangles and plot twists. This time, the students of Las Encinas have a fresh start since the major storyline from the first three seasons has come to an end. Unfortunately, with that also followed the exit of some of the main characters, including Carla (Ester Expósito), Lu (Danna Paola), and Nadia (Mina El Hammani). In the new season, we are introduced to the new trio of Ari (Carla Díaz), Patrick (Manu Ríos), and Mencía (Martina Cariddi). As it turns out, the three of them are all children of the new school principal Benjamin (Diego Martín). In the second episode, we are also introduced to Prince Phillippe (Pol Granch), a French royalty who had to urgently transfer schools.
True to Elite’s signature narration style, the show alternates between flashforwards to yet another party that went awfully wrong and the present day. In the first episode, we find out that it is Ari who is the victim of a mystery this season and that she survived her incident. The season then slowly sets the scene for its final moments as tensions run high between all characters.
While Elite still nails its main components that make the show a commercial success, including adults playing extremely sexually active and reckless teenagers, the new season feels almost too formulaic to be enjoyed thoroughly. For instance, Ari appears to become a makeshift substitute for both Carla and Lu, as she is just as privileged, competitive, and prim. She also constantly strives for the approval of her father which is also a signature trope of the show. Ari does have a rebellious side to her which draws parallels between her character and Marina (María Pedraza) from the first season.
You might get where I am going with this. She is a perfect girl for Samuel (Itzan Escamilla). He even has to compete for her attention with his brother-like figure Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau) who is technically still in a long-distance relationship with Nadia. I have to say that yet another love triangle featuring Samuel with reshuffled plot tropes does not sound as exciting.
Ander (Arón Piper) and Omar (Omar Ayuso) deal with attention from Patrick that raises some issues for them and tests their relationship. Cayetana (Georgina Amorós) who is now not a student but a cleaner at Las Encinas gets her own twisted version of the Cinderella story as she catches the eye of the Prince. Her character’s arch, along with Rebeka’s, is actually one of the most impressive things about the season. Seeing her character grow makes you root for her more than ever before. Also, Amorós might be the only person who can pull of turtleneck scarves with any outfit, including an evening gown. Rebeka’s (Claudia Salas) main love interest of the season is Mencía.
Both have complicated relationships with their parents and a taste for highly inappropriate school attire (Mencía wears a literal harness under her white shirt and Rebe’s shirt is just a white fishnet over a dark-colored bra) in common. The two make for a cute couple that would make me come back to the series if it got picked up for another season.
Between all the characters and the tensions between them, the plot thickens. It also seems like the writers have added darker subplots just to keep the audience on their toes. It is understandable considering that it must be hard to keep coming up with ways for these teens to keep finding themselves in the middle of a crime scene (Riverdale writers should do an online course about this or something).
However, some of the larger themes of Elite still work, including the underlying class commentary on the division between less privileged students and their wealthy peers. In fact, the issue of class is at the core of the majority of storylines this season which grounds the show that otherwise could have gotten carried away with all the crime and sex (seriously, there are a lot of sex scenes this season).
Given where this season ends, it looks like Netflix might be planning to continue the story of students of Las Encinas and, even though it may not be nearly as entertaining as its first three seasons, I imagine many members of the audience will come back for more.
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