Get Ready — 'Elite' Season 2 is on Netflix

Is there a teen-drama-shaped hole in your TV viewing life? Look no further — Netflix’s Elite should be your new go-to to see rich kids at a private school behaving badly. If you haven’t seen it and love that concept, this show is a must-watch. At just eight episodes per season, Elite is one of the best (and most entertaining) takes I’ve ever seen on the teen murder mystery. Over 20 million households streamed the first season of the Spanish drama/thriller within a month of its October 2018 release, and now, season two is also available on Netflix.

What’s it all about?

Both seasons of Elite utilize the “flash forward,” where a situation is introduced in episode one and revisited throughout the season as the plot follows what occurred leading up to the incident. In season one, three working-class students are given scholarships to a prestigious private school for Spain’s wealthiest families, Las Encinas, after their school collapses, but their transition into the world of the elite is anything but smooth.

Lifestyles, secrets and jealousy collide as flash forwards reveal what the school year culminated into: the murder of one of the wealthy students, where everyone who knew the student is a suspect and has a motive to kill. The story alternates between the characters being interrogated by a detective (in the future) and showing their lives before the murder (in the past). Season two, while still focused on the initial killing, centers around a missing persons case. 

Elite is for anyone who delights in drama, strong ensemble casts and murder mysteries. Fans of shows like How to Get Away with Murder, Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars will recognize tropes and storytelling techniques in this show. If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t let the language barrier dissuade you — subtitles or the English audio option are your friends!

What are the best parts of the show?

I will fully admit that I’m obsessed with this show. Whenever my friends ask me for TV recommendations, my first question is: “Have you seen Elite?” I’ve seen all eight episodes of season one three times and watched season two in one short weekend. While Elite solidly fits into the teen drama category, its smart plot and writing sets it apart from others.

The mystery is expertly plotted, and the show is executed in a way that gives every character a motive for murder, so any of your favorites could be the killer. Across episodes (and seasons), the writing is smart, sharp and funny, with clever foreshadowing and clues that make you say “how did I miss that?” when you rewatch (and trust me, you’ll want to rewatch). 

Elite is also highly entertaining and bingeable. When I started the first season, I intended to watch one or two episodes and then do something else; before I knew it, I was four episodes deep and starting episode five. Most episodes end with a big revelation in the murder case that leave you clicking next episode before you even know what you’re doing.

One of the most entertaining aspects is trying to figure out who exactly is the murderer because it really could be anyone. Out of the numerous people I’ve watched it with, only one correctly guessed the killer (on episode two—I still don’t know how she did it). 

Personally, my favorite part of the show is the character relationships. Every character has a compelling storyline, but they really shine in their interpersonal relationships. There are sweeping and forbidden romances, contentious sibling relationships and a few storylines that will make your jaw drop. While you don’t believe for a second that any of these characters are actually 16 years old, it doesn’t matter because you’re too focused on the drama.

Another big positive for me is that it helped me improve my informal Spanish. When I watched season one, I couldn’t understand much without subtitles, but by season two, my comprehension without English captions had drastically improved. If you’re studying Spanish in school or are looking to pick up the language, this is a fun way to improve and learn.

How does season two compare?

*The following contains spoilers for Elite season one, but none for season two!*

I have to admit, when it comes to sequels and second seasons, I always have doubts. I’ve seen too many botched sequels that didn’t quite capture the magic of the original to fully trust them. I had high hopes, of course, for Elite season two, but I also had reservations. The wrong person was in jail for the murder, but was that enough to carry an entire season?

All of the doubts I had were erased after season two’s first episode. The eight-episode run was just as good as the first season, if not better. While season one emphasized shocking moments and maximum drama, season two is all about nuance and character relationships. There’s careful foreshadowing, plenty of double meaning and moments that will mean a lot to the show’s more dedicated viewers.

It focuses on grief, particularly on how Samuel and Guzmán cope after Marina’s murder, and how people move on after tragedy — but also what happens when they can’t. That doesn’t mean the season is without drama. My completely professional gauge of a show’s quality is how many times I have to pause it to scream or process what just happened, and at some points, it felt like I was pausing every five minutes. 

While I enjoyed every episode, highlights include episodes five (which followed the Halloween party) and eight (the season finale). The final plot twist of the season is one of the best unexpected-but-should-have-seen-it-coming moments I’ve ever seen, topping season one’s reveal of the murderer. Additionally, the quality of acting dramatically increased from the first to second season.

I’ll admit: I was not Samuel’s biggest fan in season one, but Itzan Escamilla absolutely killed it in season two. All the actors gave commendable performances, but some of my standouts were Miguel Bernardeau (Guzmán), Danna Paola (Lu), Esther Expósito (Carla) and Arón Piper (Ander).

Bernardeau had a tough job to do as Guzmán, who was very much out of control for several episodes, and did it perfectly, especially in the last three episodes where he had to express a wide range of emotions without saying a word. Paola, as in season one, is a joy to watch as Lu, a character I loved to hate, and Expósito, who was arguably the female lead this season, nailed every scene. Piper, too, gave emotional performances across episodes, and his scenes with Omar Ayuso shone. The biggest takeaway should be to give yourself a big chunk of time to watch season two — you won’t want to stop once you start. 

If you haven’t watched the show, there’s no time like the present to start, but if you’re like me and watched season two all too quickly, never fear — season three is already on the way.