Elite: Season 1 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

The statue murder weapon at the bottom of a lake.
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While the inconsistency of many relationships might annoy you, the drama of Netflix’s Elite will keep you coming back for more.


Network
Netflix
Creator Carlos Montero, Darío Madrona
Noted Cast
Pablo Alberto Vargas
Samuel Itzan Escamilla
Guzmán Miguel Bernardeau
Marina María Pedraza
Nadia Mina El Hammani
Christian Miguel Herrán
Carla Ester Expósito
Polo Álvaro Rico
Nano Jaime Lorente
Lu Danna Paola
Ander Arón Piper
Omar Omar Ayuso
Yusef Abdelatif Hwidar

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Summary

After a construction company, Nunier, Inc, learns it is responsible for the roof of a high school collapsing, it decides to grant three of that school’s students a full ride to Las Encinas. Said school is made for the Elite’s of Spain’s upper class and thanks to a young man named Pablo, none of the elite students take to the new kids that well. Samuel, a waiter when not at school, finds himself picked on by a young man named Guzmán yet the crush of his younger sister Marina. Nadia, a Palestinian immigrant, and Muslim, is coerced to take off her hijab or risk expulsion. All because of the local population’s Islamophobia. Then there is Christian. Compared to Nadia and Samuel, Christian compensates for his lack of intelligence with his personality. One which rubs Guzmán the wrong way but picks up the attention of Carla.

Leading to the drama of the show. Carla has been with Polo since they first hit puberty but, to keep from cheating or leaving him, she brings Christian into their relationship. Something which Polo doesn’t like at first, but once they start having threesomes, he changes his mind. As for Samuel, he finds himself in a three-way as well but with his brother Nano, also finding himself capturing Marina’s time and affection. Thus leading to, upon the discovery of her being murdered, and pregnant, both being prime suspects.

As for Nadia? In time, Guzmán takes an interest in her, but only after he and Lu decide they are going to prove she isn’t such a goody two shoes by having Guzmán take her virginity. However, it never comes to that for he ends up having real feelings for her. Though, while Guzmán and Nadia has a “Will they or won’t they?” back and forth, the same doesn’t go for Guzmán’s best friend, Ander, and Nadia’s brother, Omar.

Those two, both not out of the closet when we meet them, are introduced by Christian while procuring drugs. Thanks to a gay app, they meet again and thus leads to them joining the everlasting back and forth of all the show’s couples. Which, paired with the question of, “Who killed Marina?” drives the show.

Highlights

How Invested You Get Into The Relationships

While, as noted below, a lot of the relationships will frustrate the hell out of you, you’ll also get hooked on them rather quickly. Even the ones which involve three people. Take, for example, the love triangle Guzmán has going. By the time the season is over, you’ll be rooting for Lu, despite her being an ass, as much as Nadia. For with Nadia, the beauty of her and Guzmán is you can tell she wants to trust him but because of what happened to her older sister May, she is scared.

Then, with him, he kind of falls for Nadia for the same reason Marina falls for Samuel and Nano – she is an outsider. Which comes with a certain appeal, you know. Unlike Lu, she isn’t stuck up, obsessed with material things, or has something to prove. Yet, this doesn’t mean Lu is a piece of poo on a stick now. Lu, while at first seemingly desperate because the d**k maybe bomb or because no one else wants her, really proves her loyalty and love for Guzmán. Making it so it’s hard to ship him with either one without going back and forth.

Same goes for the aforementioned Marina love triangle. Samuel is cute and innocent, though high-key annoying, and then there is bad boy Nano. Marina knows one is better for her than the other but then there comes those moments which she just wants someone who won’t fuddle about but take control. You know, someone who isn’t pensive about what’s he’s doing.

Bringing us to the third love triangle, because love triangles make for convenient storytelling, which has Polo, Carla, and Christian. Now, this one might be the most interesting of all because of the way it ramps up towards the latter half of the season. When it becomes clear Christian won’t just be Carla’s sex toy but Polo wants to have some fun as well. Making this the one threesome you want to see happen. Though, considering how things end with these three, you learn to like the new dynamic because the jump start it’ll mean for Christians dreams and goals. Much less his betrayal of his people for said dreams and goals.

Leaving Ander and Omar. Straight up, this is one of the few couples who aren’t in a three-way and they benefit from it so much. Though they have the same, frustrating, back and forth, break my heart then kiss me, nonsense everyone else have, it is hard to not root for them. Especially considering how much Omar is risking to be with this boy.

The Male Friendships On This Show

On this show, friendships between women don’t really exist. There are alliances, when two women hate the same person, but not necessarily friendships. The guys, on the other hand, they hang out with one another, fight with one another, and if you didn’t know better, you’d mistaken their brotherly love for something romantic. Take Omar and Samuel, for example. Being that we know Omar is gay, the way he looks at Samuel leads you to wonder if that is the look of a proud older brother type or, as Nadia makes it appear at first, maybe someone with a crush on Samuel.

The same goes for Ander, Guzmán, and Polo. While they all likely don’t have a thing for one another, Guzmán is so hurt by Ander keeping secrets, you’d think he was jealous. Maybe even trying to sabotage Ander and Omar to keep Ander to himself. Which isn’t the case but I’m sure someone still ships them anyway.

Nadia

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

Nadia deserves her own spotlight because she is the most developed character on this whole show. We get told what she wants to be when she is older, with the establishment of her faith we get internal and external conflict, and then there is her code-switching on top of that. All the while trying to be the good daughter yet not alienate these elite people who she’s unsure about. Not to forget, dealing with Guzmán who she wants to let herself just be with but between knowing about his bet, Lu’s threats, and what happened to her older sister, there is fear. The kind which, if she ever truly lets herself go, I can imagine a collective melting of viewers with the deepest of “Aws” that it would pop up on the Richter scale.

Low Points

The Murder Mystery & Nano’s Gangster Story-line

Taking note of all that happens above, Nano’s story-line dealing with owing gangsters money and who killed Marina became serious afterthoughts. If just because there was little to no development to them. Well, let me correct myself in saying, while there was writing done to make these story-lines integrated into the plot, you weren’t really made to care all that much.

Marina feeling her head after being hit by Polo.

Take the murder mystery, the path to learning who killed Marina (Polo) was not made to be this grand whodunit? Samuel pointed the finger at Nano, we didn’t get to see the build-up to her death until the last episode, and the interrogation scenes were trash. We got more interesting tidbits about Pablo, who barely gets seen having his ass whooped by Guzmán, than who may or may not have murdered Marina.

Then, when it comes to Nano owing money? It just seemed like a generic way to establish him as a bad boy. The kind who is only bad because of his circumstances vs. him just always looking for trouble. You know, because he grew up poor with a father who isn’t in the picture and a mom who seemingly had him very young.

On The Fence

Makeup To Break Up From Episode To Episode

Every other episode these characters have the kind of fight you’d think would lead to them just not talking to one another but then, the following episode, they are casually having conversations. Nadia learns that Lu and Guzmán were trying to play her yet the next episode she talks to Guzmán like he wasn’t going to have sex with her because of a bet. Samuel repeatedly takes away Marina’s ability to tell whoever she has HIV yet he still is seen as a viable boyfriend. Christian is accused of stealing from Carla yet he still messes around with Carla and Polo. I know teenagers can argue one day and get over things the next, but sometimes this show was plain old ridiculous.

The Handling of Its Muslim Characters

Yusef Shanaa (Abdelatif Hwidar)
Yusef Shanaa (Abdelatif Hwidar)

On one hand, the Islamophobia is necessary for it helps you understand how terrible Omar and Nadia are treated despite being harmless. Yet, taking note of how Yusef is, you also see the dark side of traditional values and how they conflict for your hopes and dreams for his kids. Creating a complex war between western values and traditional Palestinian, as well as Muslim, values. Something the show, generally, handles in a decent fashion but not without you having to pause sometimes.

Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)

The frustration of people having major tiffs then almost acting as if they didn’t happen is the main reason this is being labeled mixed. For it really does come to the point where it’s like, the show wants to be really dramatic, but it only has 8 episodes. So, with that in mind, it needs everyone to get over themselves rather quickly. Otherwise, it’ll never get to the audience learning who killed Marina. Which, in itself, is another reason this is labeled mixed because there will come a point where you won’t care. It’s just something you accept like how she acts about having HIV. It is what it is.

Yet, what will keep you going is, despite the back and forth of relationships, you will be so invested you’ll be willing to forgive a good portion of the nonsense. You may not get why Marina keeps forgiving Samuel for telling random people she has HIV, may not understand why the non-Elites keep forgiving the elites when they make their lives difficult. However, that won’t stop you rooting for your favorite pairing and wondering, after the events of the finale, what will happen in the already confirmed season 2.


Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Yes


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