I recently started watching Netflix’s Elite, at the recommendation of my best friend who has seen all of Elite so far. I have only made it to season 2 but I have a lot to say about the characters. My first impression of Elite was that it reminded me, format wise, of Quicksand another foreign Netflix Original about teens and a crime. Both shows have the same back and forth timeline formula however Quicksand is focused from 1 characters perspective and takes a more criminal justice viewpoint than Elite. Disclaimer, I am really enjoying Elite so far, I like the music choices, cinematography, and the plot and am watching it in English subtitles, so this is not intended to come across as negative towards the show it is merely my feelings about each character in season 1 with a little help from season 2. So… in no particular order here is my reasons why all the characters in Elite are bad people.
Marina starts off seeming like the nice character of the bunch, at least towards to scholarship kids having this rebellious facade before we realize, she really is not the good one. My first issue with Marina is her relationship with Nano. She begins the school year with adopting Samuel, becoming his friend, inviting him to events with her before meeting his brother Nano. Now, Marina can’t say she didn’t know Samuel was into her because, well, it was pretty clear. But, she still sleeps with Nano after their party, at least she wasn’t together with Samu at this point, but then she cheats on Samuel with Nano while they are together and attempts to run off with him. Keeping in mind, Marina hardly knew Nano at this point, she has had a few conversations with him and they slept together a few times, she was then willing to give up her family and her entire future to run away with Nano.
Now, I recognize a large part of the reason Marina almost leaves with Nano is because of the pregnancy, so lets talk about the pregnancy. Marina had already prior to the shows run time, gotten an STI off her previous boyfriend which she now has to live with and shows shame about in the beginning of the first season. So, it was irresponsible of her to sleep with Nano and not tell him she has HIV even if it is undetectable, but it also leads me to question how she could be so careless another time and either not make sure Nano used a condom, or control her contraception, or both in order for her to get pregnant. Yes, there is a chance they did everything right and she still got pregnant because contraception is never a sure thing but…. seems unlikely statistically to me.
We then have the issue of, why did Marina date Samu in the first place, if she wasn’t into him and was more into Nano the whole time there was no reason for her to date Samuel or sleep with him. Marina leads Samu on for most of the season which is poor of her. Marina has so much pent up anger towards her family that she tells her fathers big secret about the school he built collapsing to Samu, who went to that school and knows people who were affected by it. Telling him that it was entirely her fathers fault and he knows so and there are documents that prove it. She also allows him to record her saying that and she hardly knows him yet. It is understandable that she finds this hard to live with and that yes, telling the truth would have been the right thing to do but she then doesn’t tell the truth to the authorities and there is something to be said for family loyalty.
Marina threatens the teacher with outing the fact he accepted a bribe and then actually does out his bribe in order to cover up her substance use issues. Similarly, to cover up her substance use issues again she gives up Omar as a drug dealer, I’m sure he could have gone to jail for this, even so, he feels imprisoned in his own life and family. Marina gives Nano everything he needs to steal from Carla and her family, despite their previous friendship, despite Carla trying to be there for her and reconcile.
Now, I personally hate Nano’s character and have been told he doesn’t get better in the later seasons, and here’s all the reasons I can’t stand him. He is Samu’s older brother which realistically means he should be interested in protecting Samu but he doesn’t. Early in the season Nano is pissed about the rich in town and the fact that Marina’s father was to blame for the school collapse. He then makes Samu come with him to graffiti Marina and Guzman’s house, despite just getting out of jail and putting Samu in danger of being charged with something. Samu has a great opportunity with his scholarship to make something of himself and Nano jeopardizes that as fast as he can.
We also have to blame Nano for the whole thing with Marina in my opinion. As you’ll probably see I’m big on family loyalty. Nano knows from the first time he meets Marina that she is Samu’s friend. Before the party Samu tells Nano he likes Marina and wants to tell her that night, then, that same night, Nano uses Marina to get inside her house and has sex with her, the girl his brother likes. Then he doesn’t tell Samu, probably because he knows he shouldn’t have done it to Samu but hey. He then cheats with Marina while her and Samu are together which is just so not cool, where’s the brotherly love man. Samu flat out asks Nano, is the baby yours and he lies to Samu’s face instead of just coming clean then has Samu hear from someone else that it is actually his and he did sleep with Marina knowing Samu liked her.
Then he tries to convince Marina to keep the baby all while his big plan to support them is to blackmail her lifelong friends. He steals from Carla’s house. That’s it, that’s the whole point. He couldn’t get it together enough to pay back what he owed that he steals from some random family. And even then, he’s too greedy, he didn’t need to take all the watches, he didn’t need to stop to grab just that one last one that Carla’s dad had taken off. In turn, this greedyness is the reason Marina is killed. So, basically, although he is innocent in the sense that he didn’t kill Marina, I didn’t mind his character being in jail because he really irritated me.
3. Samuel (Samu)
Then we have Samu, I guess nice guys do finish last aye Samu. I’m sure, had many of the events that happened at the school not happened, Samu probably would have remained a really good guy but he makes some key mistakes. For instance, he outs Marina’s HIV to his friends – which in turn leads to the message he was sending on his phone to his friends being read aloud, outing her to the entire class. Kind of a dog move Samu. Then again, he gets pissed at Marina for not telling him who the father of her child is, jumps to huge conclusion that it’s their teacher then, instead of talking to her about it he tells everyone in their class that she’s pregnant. Like, what the hell Samu can you not keep any secrets to yourself? Samu also does try to get involved in the whole, blackmail Carla’s family thing, and really, for what? He didn’t want or need the money the same way Nano did, he just felt like hurting someone else, he knew it was the wrong thing to do but he did it anyway. Then he tries the whole kid detective thing out which is just annoying and just makes him rude to everyone he may suspect. Then he really does fuck with Carla for most of the second season which feels unnecessarily cruel.
Guzman is 100% just a bully. That’s pretty much it. He bullys Samu basically all the time, he bullied Pablo for giving his sister HIV, he tried to mess with Nadia for really, no reason. He didn’t know her, it was simply, shes new, shes on a scholarship and she’s Muslim and that kinda makes him a bad guy. Now Guzman tries to redeem himself many times through the season but it honestly just doesn’t take with him going to beat up Nano and all of them and him outing Omar to Nadia.
He also couldn’t just wait for Ander to feel comfortable coming out to him that he had to do it for him. Guzman also leads Lu on by sleeping with her and acting like a couple with her then dropping her then dating her simply because he’s messed up and grieving. He also cheats on Lu rather than just breaking up with her because he loves Nadia. He also just really messes with Polo’s head which impacts his relationship and all the other events to follow. But at least Guzman tries to be better sometimes. Although, Guzman, breaking up with the girlfriend you never loved for another woman after you cheat on her does not make you a hero, stop acting like Nadia’s hero because you finally let Lu go.
5. Lucrecia (Lu)
Lu is also just a bully, she says things just to hurt people, she blackmails people. She blackmailed a teacher to win a trophy that she didn’t really want that badly, she just didn’t want anyone else to get it. She even said that the scholarship meant nothing to her, she just wanted to be the best. Lu does however try to be a good friend to Guzman and Carla and simply wants Guzman to actually love her and reciprocate her feelings. But, that isn’t an excuse to be a typical mean girl. Let’s not even talk about the Valerio thing…I look forward to seeing where the writer take her character in the next few seasons.
I really like Ander’s character, he’s dealing with a lot of relatable issues like coming to terms with his sexuality, deciding who he is and who he wants to be and navigating parental pressure and expectations. However, Ander outs Omar to practically everyone, including Omar’s father (indirectly), without Omar’s knowledge or blessing which is strange as he had only just come out himself. Another thing is the Pablo incident, we hear several times that Guzman and his friends assault Pablo so he will leave the school and as revenge for giving Marina HIV, this is a pretty poor choice for Ander which he then makes a second time when going with Guzman to attack Nano. He also has no tact when speaking to Omar’s dad about the way he runs his family making him come across as really ignorant to what Omar’s situation actually is, which I guess isn’t a character flaw it is just ignorance which I hope we see him overcome and learn from. However, I don’t really see how he is going to learn from these mistakes because he gets away with it all pretty easily. Then we have the clear insensitivity towards Omar’s problems constantly, sure Ander is dealing with things too but Omar is finding his identity there’s no need to be so dismissive. Also, he does cover for Polo which is complicated, he is trying to help one friend at the expense of potentially Nano, Guzman and Marina and also is lying to everyone including when Carla confessed.
Polo is a confusing one, he starts off seeming simply a bit insecure before moving on to become a bit controlling of Carla and has a lot of issues about losing Carla whilst being confused about his sexuality and attraction to Christian. However, this leads him to attempt to have Christian sell himself to Polo in exchange for, well money, a career, a future which Christian does and then Polo turns around and doesn’t give Christian the incentive. This in itself is just not good, to prey on someone who is desperate for a way into a better lifestyle. On another note, I think it’s become clear I’m not letting go of the assaults on Pablo or Nano so that’s another strike against Polo. A more pressing one however is the obvious, Polo is the murderer. He murders Marina because he is angry and thinks he can threaten her to get the watch back for Carla, but he murders her. Polo made the choice to pick up the trophy and hit her, then he makes the choice to leave her and not help her while she bleeds out. This is the nail in Polo’s coffin. He also allows someone to sit in jail for his crime for months while maintaining being Guzman’s best friend. Polo should have come clean and the fact he didn’t and he had Carla and Christian and Ander lie for him makes him selfish. These are the reasons Polo is a bad guy. Some may say accident, he didn’t mean to kill her, some may say crime of passion, he was angry and she was saying things he didn’t want to hear, but for me, he still picked up the trophy and hit her, he didn’t need to do that and he could have decided not to.
Omar is a drug dealer, now I guess I get his reasoning and it doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person but it isn’t ideal. I know this one is a bit weak but I love Omar, I totally appreciate his struggles and why he makes his decisions. So I guess not everyone is a bad person but still, made a better title didn’t it? It also does a bit lead him to treating Ander not very well because he is struggling with a lot of things but yeah, I love Omar. Omar also isn’t that actively present in season 2 so there’s not much else to say.
Christian effectively seems to have no morals in season 1. He lets himself be bought as a sex object and a little pet for Polo and Carla. Christian allows himself to be bribed into being in a relationship with all of them, gets bribed into doing things he doesn’t want to do with Polo and bribed into letting his best friend who he has known for years, who he knows will likely be convicted just based on him having a criminal history, sit in jail. He also enters this relationship with Carla and Polo by trying to be the guy she cheats on her boyfriend with, all the while staying in the relationship intending to take Polo’s girlfriend. Most importantly, Christian knows who murdered a girl in his class, who murdered Nano and Marina’s baby, who murdered the girl Samu is in love with, and he says nothing. For months Christian has his fun with Carla and her money, then momentarily changes his mind and allows himself to be bought off again after the accident. Christian is just a guy mesmerized by money, power and privilege and that is his problem and it makes him incredibly selfish and without loyalty. Honestly, he kind of deserved to get hit by that car…
Nadia does seem to act like she’s better than the others at the school, that is one point I will agree with Lu on, she presents herself as better than everyone else there but realistically she isn’t. She gives up parts of her faith to fit in and for the advantages giving up those things might have. She is also very judgemental of the other character, particularly Marina which is sad as Marina actually is a friend to her. She drops Marina because of the HIV thing and just judges every choice Marina makes, but then drops to the level of everyone else when she finds out about the bribe and immediately outs Lu for bribing the teacher. She didn’t even have proof, or know it was true and he lost his job. Granted he took the bribe but he did the right thing in the end and was punished regardless. I just view Nadia as very judgemental despite her own shortfalls with lying to her parents and not respecting them, not really understanding Omar, the continual judgement towards her sister who she hasn’t seen in a long time. Then the rebellion against her family and her beliefs leading her to drink and dress differently and wear her hijab less. Now, I recognize that I can make no real comments on her beliefs as a non-muslim non-religious person, and she is able to make her own choices it just makes her seem hypocritical to judge others. However, I feel a lot of people would agree that her getting with Guzman while he was still with Lu is pretty poor form. So get off your moral high ground Nadia! I guess all of these don’t make her a bad person necessarily they just make her a bad friend and a judgemental person so far in the show.
For me, Carla also isn’t that bad, she definitely has her faults and uses Christian but he knows he is being used and they (Carla and Polo) sort of, compensate him, for being their toy. She does then also try to use him to steal the watch from Marina. What her real issue is is, she helps Polo cover up killing Marina. I understand that Polo means a lot to Carla and all but, she lets an innocent man sit in prison for her ex-boyfriends crime. She does also help her father cover up whatever it is that he needs to be covering up. Essentially, this is what makes Carla a bad person for me but one of the more interesting and more compelling characters. Her finally confessing does not remove the fact she did cover it up and I know she does flop back on her confession (whoops a season 3 spoiler for anyone who hasn’t seen).
To sum it all up, these characters are all young teenagers finding themselves and making mistakes along the way but, honestly, they make so many choices I can’t agree with and they majorly, don’t just affect themselves when they make these choices. The characters aren’t perfect but I guess that is part of the appeal, they aren’t expected to be perfect and they’re just being teenagers I guess. However, I wouldn’t say these are good role models by any means and all of the characters are very flawed (as we all are). I do however, wish there was more… ramifications… for outing the characters. Ander outed Omar to all of his friends and Omar didn’t really do anything or say anything, Guzman outed Omar to Nadia and just got away with it, Samu indirectly told everyone Marina had HIV and she wasn’t mad. These private things that need to and should be dealt with in a private way and in the way the person affected wishes weren’t. I feel like it isn’t okay to out people’s sexuality, in the words of Simon from ‘Love Simon’; “that’s supposed to be my thing. I’m supposed to be the one to decide when and where and who knows. You took that from me!“. I feel like this message should have been somewhere so those watching know that doing these things to people isn’t okay.
All that said, I look forward to making it through the rest of Elite and seeing where they take these characters and seeing more of the new editions I did not discuss here.