Elite Season 3: Las Encinas Graduation nightmares!

It turns out the footage that was used to taunt us in the trailer fourteen days prior to the release of Season 3 was from episode 8 which was the season finale of the shorter season.

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We ended Season 2 with Polo (Alvaro Rico) returning to Las Encinas but began Season 3 with another murder mystery – his!   Despite his actions, we agreed with Polo and wanted things to “go back to normal”, at least where his lifelong friendship with Ander (Aron Piper) and Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau) were concerned, but there was just no coming back from the Season 1 murder of Marina and the conflicts that sent shockwaves through the tangled relationships of the rest of the cast were filled with tenuous moments.  We did see glimpses of a truce with Ander’s main storyline providing a reality check with some great one-on-one moments with Omar, Guzman and Polo.

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Carla (Ester Exposito) recanted her testimony after her father used emotional blackmail threatening to pin laundering and embezzling on her mother should the secrets Polo was trying to protect come out.

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It’s hard to imagine Polo and Valerio  (Jorge Lopez) together in a threesome with Cayetana (Georgina Amoros) after this scene.  It seems Cayetana fell into the same trap Carla did with Christian by trying to prolong the inevitable by bringing a third person into the bedroom.  For a while it worked, and her final scene closes on her mopping the hallway floors of Las Encinas.

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Carla goes all Desperate Housewives on us this season literally snorting her way through a business deal her father has brokered which she is forced to close.  A little hard to swallow considering how hard she worked to help cover up Marina’s murder for two seasons relentlessly to protect her family and interests, but Exposito .  Yes, she did develop   a conscience after Samuel setup a trap for her that she fell right into.   Luckily former overweight-nobody-now-abillionaire, Yeray (Leiti Sene), turns out to be a good guy and makes Carla the head of her parents’ empire as part of the deal while she prepares to study abroad leaving a trusted spy to man the fort – Vallerio!

Yeray was great character but a little underdeveloped.  So, if rumours are true that the cast will be completely replaced with a new batch of Elitists – why bother introducing new faces taking precious screen time away from those we’ve invested in for two seasons?

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We deliberately block out the fact Lu (Danna Paola)  & Valerio are half siblings and you can’t help but sympathise with the two brats as one of them ends up living in his car and the other throws a Valentine’s Day party to keep up with appearances after being disowned and tricks everyone into buying their own drinks in a genius move to throw everyone off the scent!

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We see a different side of Lu this season as the rug is pulled from under her and her father has decided to cut her off when she turns 18.  Paola brings out a softer side of Lu’s character we never saw, even in her relationship with Guzman.  Even her meltdown at Cayetana’s scamraiser dinner came across tough and mean-girly.

Nadia becomes an unlikely ally even after they compete for the university scholarship program Polo’s mothers have set up.   It was great to see Lucrecia come down to earth a bit while still maintaining that sassy edge she’s known for.

Another great moment is when Rebecca (Claudia Salas) is expelled after complaints from the Parent Teacher association when her mother is arrested on drug charges.  She makes a huge scene saying how its ok for murderers like Polo to roam the halls of Las Encinas but not for girls from the ghetto like her.  Her whole class sticks up for her many of whom she hardly had anything to do with all season too.

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Nadia (Mina El Hammani)  spends three quarters of the season in the orbit of a fellow Muslim suitor, Malick (Sergio Momo) , who turns out to be more suited for Omar (Omar Ayuso)  and just looking for a cover to appease his parents.  In one of her greatest moments of the season, Nadia stands up to her parents saying she is going to New York to study and be her own woman, they surprisingly admire and get where she’s coming from and let her go with their blessing.  She and Lu end up moving to New York to study at Colombia University and sharing the scholarship and the clash of personalities will be funny to watch if this story continues into Season 4!

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Piper and Ayuso have great on screen chemistry bringing about an authenticity and take to a kind of relationship that rarely gets such prominent airtime on the mainstream.

Each episode this season was named and honed in on each character this season.  If this really is a send-off it was great to have them have a moment in the sun.   In just eight episodes, Ander is diagnosed with Leukemia, goes for several rounds of chemotherapy and is in remission.   Surely they could have come up with something more creative for this superduo instead of having Omar cheat on him while battling cancer?  They got the ending right though as things finally clicked with Omar when he got to the airport with Nadia ready to start his new pride filled life in New York and he realised what we did from the beginning.  Leaving Ander made no sense.

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Guzman is one of the most complex characters on the show.  The alpha male of the bunch yet down to earth, a loyal friend to the end, but did he really just drug Polo to force a murder confession out of him?  Bernard makes this leader of the pack character so likeable – turning up to Ander’s side at chemotherapy, tender moments with Lu and taking on a job at Nadia’s grocery store to give her more time to study and prepare for that scholarship.  Closure with Polo is bittersweet after he witnesses his plummet and forgives him before he passes on.

The finale strays from the typical graduation day ceremonies we would have been conditioned to on Gossip Girl, Riverdale or Beverly Hills 90210 and turns it into a bittersweet celebration with half of our favorites forced to repeat their final year after they’ve been expelled two days before the end of the school year.

There’s an unspoken mutual understanding that occurs after Polo’s death in their defense of Lu.  The binding moment with the crew is when they all come together and conspire to protect Lu from a similar fate to Nano.  Each of them passing the murder weapon around marking the bottle neck / murder weapon with their  fingerprints to throw investigators off their scent and hiding incriminating witness accounts with smokescreens of their own.

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