A fine and fitting send-off for Netflix’s soapy Spanish melodrama, with plenty of what works and less of what doesn’t.
This recap of Elite Season 3 is spoiler-free. You can check out our thoughts on the previous season by clicking these words.
In the last year or so, no teen drama besides HBO’s stellar Euphoria has managed to capture the cultural consciousness in the same way as Netflix’s soapy Spanish melodrama Elite, which dropped its third but not final season today (rumours suggest a softly-rebooted fourth season, with a new cast and set of sexy mysteries.) Despite the fact that the up-and-down sophomore outing built to an unsatisfactory non-ending – or, indeed, perhaps because of that – the show has retained an enthusiastic audience who are eager for its particular blend of murder, sex, lies, and sass among the privileged private school kids whose zany antics have sustained the story thus far.
The secret to Elite Season 3, obvious ridiculousness notwithstanding, is that it’s able to introduce a new shocking crime, a laundry list of suspects and ever-changing internal dynamics, but balance them all atop what is otherwise a pretty diverse and wide-ranging exploration of classism, racism, and LGBTQ themes; the character line-up might be stocked with implausibly good-looking youngsters, but they’re cosmopolitan enough to keep the ups and downs of their lives and relationships interesting enough on their own terms, perhaps even without the grungy telenovela overlay.
But, of course, the overlay is there. With Polo (Álvaro Rico) free, at least for now, and endless drama still in store, the smart focus of Elite Season 3 on wrapping up the central mystery and the conflicts of various long-standing characters rather than introducing new players and plot threads ends up being what elevates this season above its predecessor. It works as its own thing but, perhaps more importantly, it works as an ending and a send-off for a show that, over the last couple of years, has become beloved.
The question now, then, is what form the show takes when – and if – it returns.