Several new characters don’t do much to elevate Elite above its recent run of form, delivering even more predictable, played-out dynamics.
This review of Elite season 6 is spoiler-free.
Ever since it began in 2018, Netflix’s soapy Spanish teen-drama Elite has been best described as a guilty pleasure. As the years and seasons have gone on, though, the audience has been beginning to experience a lot less pleasure and a lot more guilt, as the tawdry plot continues to chart the same territory and strain plausibility to breaking point.
Elite season 6 attempts to shake things up with multiple new characters and their attendant storylines, but it can’t help but feel like more of the same. Long-time fans will recall that the fifth season ended with Benjamin being in prison for Samuel’s death. We pick things up there in the premiere, but only very briefly, as a new year at Las Encinas begins and we move onto more pressing matters, some new and some continuing.
Isadora (Valentina Zenere), for instance, is still out for revenge – legal or otherwise – after her rape last season, while Patrick (Manu Ríos) and Ivan (André Lamoglia) are attempting to continue their relationship in the midst of a complicated dynamic with Ivan’s father, Cruz (Carloto Cotta).
However, a lot of the drama revolves around some new characters. Nico (Ander Puig) is the show’s first transgender character, and through him, Elite attempts to raise trans issues and explore the trans experience to… let’s say mixed effect. In the early episodes, it particularly manifests in a tentative romantic relationship with Ari (Carla Diaz), but like most of the show’s attempts to tackle big, complex, hot-button topics, it tends to be very surface-level and heavy-handed.
The same can be said of an abuse storyline involving new characters Sara (Carmen Arrufat) and Raul (Alex Pastrana), social media influencers with a dark private life who embroil themselves in Isadora’s assault case and earn the attention of Mencia (Martina Cariddi). And Cruz being at the forefront of homophobia within sports and celebrity culture is a welcome and well-intentioned (not to mention timely, given the Qatar World Cup) but ultimately lacking subplot.
As with previous seasons, Elite season 6 is torn between wanting to be about things and also wanting to provide all the sex and scandal that fans expect, so it ends up feeling insincere most of the time. It constantly and often artlessly reminds us of what we’re seeing and what we’re supposed to think about it, trying to provide fairly predictable character and plot dynamics with additional meaning.
This is a tokenistic approach and doesn’t do much to distract from how played-out most of these matters feel by now. However, with such a young, social media-savvy cast, and an audience who are clearly ready and willing to lap all of this up, there’s no reason to imagine the show will be going anywhere any time soon.
You can stream Elite Season 6 exclusively on Netflix.