Élite occasionally hints at more nuanced ideas with regard to class conflict. Rebeka belongs to new money and doesn't fit into the circles of the privileged at Las Encinas. Her mother's empire from trading drugs is not very different from corrupt building developers like Carla's father. Their wealth depends on exploiting the vulnerable. There's a memorable scene in the finale when Rebeka counters her mother who tells her that their money comes at a cost, saying, "The queen never pays the price. It's always the pawn." Yet these details, or attempts at statement making, are like sprinkles of oregano when the dish is stuffed with dollar bills.
While Élite's hook in Season 1 was the tantalizing whodunnit involving Marina's murder, most of its best moments had little to do with its central mystery. It was in the character interactions that the show transcended its trashy premise and found its soul. The impromptu party at Samuel's place where all the main characters get inebriated; the slow-burn romance of Nadia and Guzmán which managed to make a sequence featuring the two fully clothed in a swimming pool sensual; and the loving relationship between Omar, Nadia's gay brother, and his partner, Ander, all pointed to a show where connection, not conflict, was the glue holding it all together.
Season 2 has a number of these satisfying moments, but the levity, melancholy, and tenderness has all been lost under the haze of dark melodrama. The season's best moments involve the Shana siblings, Omar and Nadia. His newfound confidence and independence as a gay man after he is kicked out of home is one of the season's few hopeful spots. A scene where he and Lu trade compliments instead of barbs on a double-date is similarly winning. Guzmán and Nadia's scenes also continue to brim with genuine warmth, a pleasure in a show that can be acerbic. They also manage to share a memorable sex scene where, for a change, the woman is the one who is fully clothed. Sadly due to the diktats of drama television, the clock on their relationship is reset at the end of the season.
This season of Élite ends with a dramatic face-off in the hallways of Las Encinas, an anti-climactic cliffhanger, that sets up its already confirmed third season where character decisions will be driven and new allegiances formed with the hope of delivering their own justice for the murder of Marina. If that's the way things are headed, count me out. I couldn't help but wish all these characters were sharing a drink, or coming together to mourn their friend. Give me a teen show that leans into the wish-fulfilment not of wealth, but sweet companionship.