Elite: Season 1/ Episode 1 [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for the Netflix show Elite.
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The rich and poor intermingling, the plight of one Palestinian girl, someone HIV+, and boys trying to hide their homosexuality – OH THE DRAMA!


Network
Netflix
Creator Carlos Montero, Darío Madrona
Director(s) Ramón Salazar
Writer(s) Carlos Montero, Darío Madrona
Air Date 10/5/2018
Genre(s) Drama, Romance, Mystery
Good If You Like Teen Dramas

Murder Mysteries

Rich Kids Behaving Badly

 

Noted Actors
Guzmán Miguel Bernardeau
Marina María Pedraza
Nadia Mina El Hammani
Christian Miguel Herrán
Samuel Itzan Escamilla
Nano Jaime Lorente
Carla Ester Expósito
Polo Álvaro Rico
Ander Arón Piper
Omar Omar Ayuso
Lu Danna Paola

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The Introduction

Las Encinas
Las Encinas

Thanks to Guzmán and Marina’s family, who are in the construction business, Nadia, Christian, and Samuel lose their school. Not because of a purchase, mind you, but the roof collapsing. So, to save face, each one is given a scholarship to Las Encinas. The elite school isn’t foreign to poor kids with scholarships, but the last one they encountered seemingly gave Marina HIV so they are all pretty weary.

However, some get more attitude than others. Being that Samuel is a bit meek, a nice guy in general, outside of being called a waiter by Guzmán and his flunkies, he comes off clean. Nadia, on the other hand, with her being Palestinian and wearing a Hijab, she finds herself subject to the ire of Lu. Guzmán’s secret girlfriend, or f*** buddy who Nadia walks in on. Good thing too for when Guzmán threatens Samuel with expulsion, because of something Samuel’s delinquent brother Nano did, Nadia blackmailing him saves Samuel. However, in the process of blackmailing Guzmán, Nadia makes herself a bigger target.

Leaving Christian. Compared to Nadia and Samuel, Christian is the only one who you know, without guilt, there would be no way he’d enter the halls of Las Encincas, even to clean them. However, with the roof falling on him and causing 14 stitches, he was a priority to get into the school. Something which he takes full advantage of, or at least tries to. Though he has a thing for Carla, who seemingly has an arranged marriage with a boy named Polo, she gives him the time of day and some ass.

But, Christian’s true first friend is a closeted guy named Ander. A tennis star who, like his peers, would like someone to hang out with, f***, but he isn’t at liberty to be out in proud. Leading to him using a Grindr-esque app and coming across Omar. Someone who he has met through Christian introducing him as a drug dealer, and us also knowing him as Samuel’s friend and Nadia’s brother.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Who killed Marina and could it have dealt with her being HIV+?

Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs

Strange as it may seem to you, sometimes waiters get a seat at the table.
—Samuel

Highlights

Nadia

Nadia (Mina El Hammani)
Nadia (Mina El Hammani)

Mina El Hammani is clearly going to be the breakout of this show. Be it the fact she is playing a Palestinian Muslim, who loves and honors her culture, or is dealing with the issues Spanish society presents for upward mobility. Her storyline is the one to watch as she shows a penchant to adapting and eventually dominating where she is. Making the idea Guzmán and Lu taking her down a notch laughable and their attempt something to see. Especially if, fingers crossed, Nadia catches a whiff of the BS and lets them make fools of themselves as she wins that trip to the Ivy Leagues in America.

From The Good, To Neutral, To Wicked, There Is Nothing Not To Like

Even when it comes to petty villains like Lu and Guzmán, it is hard to not want to see how their storyline pans out. Something not a lot of shows can say for with Lu seeming a bit like a trope, as does Guzmán, you’d think they would just inspire eye rolls. However, it seems the show really knows how to match certain characters so that everyone can benefit and feed off one another’s energy or personality.

Take Samuel. At home, he has this loud mouth brother and mother who, well certainly seems to be the type of person in shows like this who’d give birth to such different children. And it is with Samuel being kind of dull, it makes him seem like a balancer to big personalities like Nano. It also works well for Marina as well for she has this poor little rich girl thing going, alongside having HIV, which makes the kindness of Samuel seem like a second chance for her. Something to help keep her faith in humanity. Though, as we see her talk, perhaps flirt, with Nano, upon checking on Samuel, maybe she might just decide she wants a bad boy vs. just a boy from the other side of the tracks.

Omar escorting his sister to an area she can meet up with Samuel and Christian.
Omar (Omar Ayuso): Nadia wants to go to the party.

And it goes on and on. Even for smaller characters like Polo and Omar. Polo trying to, I guess, let Carla be free so that she’ll come back to him in the night, it’s sad, yet add in Christian and it leaves you torn since Carla seems to be quite entertained by him. Now, whether she is entertained by means of thinking he is a clown or could make a good… whatever the word is for a male mistress, who knows? However, Polo watching, seemingly not to get his rocks off, makes for an eyebrow-raising relationship. One which seemingly has been in place for years.

Then with Omar, being that he is assumingly Muslim like his sister, a drug dealer, and a closeted homosexual, it makes his potential relationship with Ander interesting. To the point, as cute as Marina and Samuel might be, Ander and Omar might be able to steal their thunder.

On The Fence

The Murder Mystery

Considering everything that is going on, this murder mystery might be the straw that broke the camel’s back or buttercream frosting on top of the cake. It’s hard to say at this point. However, I must admit us knowing Marina is the one who died, that took away some of the interest. To me, a Big Little Lies approach, with whispers of who killed who, might have been more interesting. Because once you get a victim, so comes the search for a killer and this show has more than enough drama. So whether it can incorporate this without becoming a full-on soap opera, one can only hope.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This)

Marina impressed by Nano's outspokenness.
Marina (Maria Pedraza): You dares to shout what a lot of us think. Or at least I do.

Lord knows I love me a good teen drama and this is no exception. Even for characters you may not like, the writers smartly attached them to someone you do and the matching of wits brings a interest to all parties. Then for the more likable characters, they don’t get to rest on their charm. They all have a personal obstacle and people in their lives who not only force them to choose sides but show different pangs as they come of age. Leaving you gleeful this is on Netflix for that means no waiting week to week but getting to consume it all at once.

Hence the positive label. Elite, is the type of show which seems to combine all the best aspects of what we usually see on CW, FreeForm, even MTV at times. Young, attractive, characters who all have different demons they either wrestle with or embrace. All the while testing their abilities on their peers to see if they can impress, screw or even surmount them for supremacy.


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Negative Mixed Positive