Score: 8/10 (Spoilers!!)
The second season of Netflix’s Spanish original “Élite” was released on Sept. 6 and gave me all the raunchy drama I could ask, leaving me dreading the hiatus between now and the third season, which has been confirmed.
All the beloved characters from the first season are back to cause more trouble, each of their lives left changed after the murder of classmate Marina (María Pedraza) at the end of last season. The show, created by Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, does a great job delving into how her death and the unrightful arrest of accused Nano (Jaime Lorente) has deeply impacted everyone at their high school, Las Encinas.
Each season has a central mystery that unfolds as the season progresses. Season one was a murder, while the second season focuses on the disappearance of a classmate. I found the mystery of the latter less compelling than the former, but the intensity and drama was still craftily heightened with each episode until the final reveal.
Different from shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Riverdale” that seem to move on from death and crime quickly, we see the characters in “Élite” let their secrets and actions tear them up inside while carrying the trauma from the past season.
A show that focuses on highlighting economic imbalance could easily fall into the trap of “mean rich kids and lonely poor kids”, however “Élite” breaks away from these stereotypes having each character fleshed out and far more complicated than just their social status.
One of the best examples of this is Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau) who at first seems just like a typical popular rich boy, but is actually a loving brother and deeply protective to his friends. He does not even bat an eye at the fact that his two best friends, Ander (Arón Piper) and Polo (Álvaro Rico), are gay and bisexual. His casual acceptance of his friends is an incredibly progressive attitude that is refreshing in a character like himself.
The LGBTQ representation and diversity of the series is a welcome change to the typical teen drama genre, putting queer relationships and characters with muslim background at the forefront of the story. Ander and Omar’s (Omar Ayuso) relationship was one of the most notable parts of the first season and this season was no different. A Romeo and Julio story that is both well acted and has to do with more than just the boys’ sexuality.
In the first season neither Ander or Polo had any romantic interactions, which is something that is not always seen when two queer men are on a shown together. However, this season that is not the case as viewers see the two friends hook up while spending the night at their friend’s house. This was disappointing to me as I was so happy to see two queer men as simply platonic friends, though with Polo confessing to Marina’s murder and Ander and Omar’s relationship going strong, I have doubts the two will rekindle things any time soon.
A trio of new characters were introduced this season, adding more secrets to the pile that already surrounded the original characters. While these new characters are interesting and all have an impact on the plot, I worry that the show is juggling too many characters and plotlines. With murder, fights and relationship drama as staples to every episode, I would have liked to devote more time to the original characters without learning about the newer characters that I am not necessarily attached to.
Overall, the second season of “Élite” is steamier, cattier and more intense than its first season, but falls slightly flat in its stakes. With a fantastic script and a cast of talented young actors that push the show past being just another soap opera, the second season of “Élite” is well worth the watch. The writers push every character to the breaking point and end the season at a crucial moment that leaves viewers begging for more.