Explainers

Netflix’s Elite Season 1 Ending, Explained

September 4, 2019
11 min read

Netflix is rife with teen dramas, and despite a great number of such shows available on the streaming service, it doesn’t feel overcrowded. In fact, with every new show, we get intriguing and unique stories that are not only interesting but also address current issues that plague teenagers. If you have binged on ‘13 Reasons Why’, ‘Riverdale’, ‘Pretty Little Liars’, ‘The Society’ and ‘The A-List’, then you should turn your attention towards Spanish drama, ‘Elite. It follows the story of three students who are sent to a school of rich kids and become a part of the drama that eventually leads to murder. If you haven’t yet seen the show, head over to Netflix, and come back after you have witnessed that jaw-dropping finale.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Summary of the Plot

After the roof of their school collapses, three students from middle-class families get the chance to become a part of the crowd of the most elite school in town. Samuel lives with his mother and his brother, Nano, who has recently been released on parole. He works at a café, and despite the great opportunity that the new school provides, he isn’t as excited about it as others. He knows that the three of them are completely alien to the atmosphere that the new school has, and no matter what they do, they will always be looked down upon by their rich peers. He is proven right on the very first day, but he also meets an exception. Marina is a rich kid, but she is unlike any other. She is sympathetic to how Samuel feels, and they soon become friends. Marina’s brother, Guzman, is not so happy about it and wants his sister to stay away from the poor kids, especially considering what happened the last time she fraternised with one of them. Guzman’s girlfriend, Lucrecia, is the queen bee of the school. She is beautiful and influential, as well as the best student in the class. She senses a threat to her position when Nadia joins them.

Nadia is one of the three kids who got a shot at having a good future. She is a bright student and doesn’t want this opportunity to go to waste. She comes from a conservative Muslim family and finds herself at conflict with the school management on the very first day. Moreover, her talent makes Lucrecia hatch a plot against her with the help of Guzman. The third student to enter the world of the elites is Christian. He, too, considers the school as an opportunity, but in a very different manner. Unlike Nadia, who wants to study hard and win a scholarship, he is here to make connections. He wants to befriend the rich kids and is ready to do whatever it takes to enter their good books. It is only then that he can exploit them to his own end. He becomes infatuated with Carla, who already has a boyfriend, Polo. The three of them enter an agreement which is mostly sexual. Another link between the two worlds develops in the form of a romance between Ander, the son of the principal of the school and Guzman’s best friend, and Omar, Nadia’s brother. Meanwhile, a love triangle appears between Marina, Nano and Samuel.

Running parallel to the shifting dynamics between these characters is a murder mystery. In the first episode, we discover that Marina has been killed. The cops interview all the students to try and get a picture of what could have happened that night. They grasp a faint idea of the situation and zero in on Nano as a suspect. But they are completely unaware of the details and while Nano is arrested the culprit walks right past them.

Who Are the Suspects?

When we first come to know that the victim is Marina, our first thought is why? She seems like a really nice girl, the nicest of all the rich douchebags of kids we have met. Why would anyone kill her? Over the course of eight episodes, the complete story unravels. We get a look into her personal relationships, and a picture begins to take shape. The first and most obvious suspects to emerge are Nano and Samuel. Despite knowing about Samuel’s attraction towards Marina, Nano sleeps with her. His primary motive was to enter her house and steal the money she had told Samuel about. He first asked Samuel to do it who was not only interrupted while doing it, but he also felt guilty about deceiving Marina.

Nano fails to get the money but develops feelings for her. As Samuel’s friendship with her turns romantic, Nano advises her to keep it that way. For a while, both of them succeed in keeping their feelings at bay while secretly pining for each other, the situation blows over when Marina’s pregnancy comes to light. Samuel feels betrayed but then accepts that whoever the father is, he was in her life before they were together. He tells her that it doesn’t matter to him who he is and will support him in whatever choice she makes. She decides to go for an abortion and is accompanied by Nano, who expresses the idea of raising a family someplace else. He talks about running away to Morocco, and start from scratch. Marina agrees to it.

Even while their plan is great, they know that it wouldn’t be possible without a decent sum of money. Lucky for them, an opportunity is right in their hands. Rollback to the beginning and we come to know that Marina’s father was one of the people responsible for the incident at Samuel’s old school. He was the contractor who built the place and used cheap material which eventually led to the collapse of the ceiling. Later in the season, he is arrested on the charges of corruption.

Before that happened, Marina had helped Nano in stealing some valuable watches that belonged to Carla’s father, in order to help him pay off the debt he owed to the friends he had made in prison. Unbeknownst to them, one of the watches held incriminating evidence, which could send Marina and Carla’s fathers to prison, for life. When Nano comes to know about it, he tries to extort them for money. At first, Marina tries to make him return the watch, but then gets in on it when they plan their escape. Carla realises that Marina had known about the watches as well as the combination to the safe in which they were kept. She suspects her and tries different ways to make her give it up. By the end of the season, she seems to be at the end of that line.

The only other person with enough grudge against Marina is Lucrecia. For the most part, she stays out of all the drama. Her only concern is to win the competition and repair the relationship with Guzman, who has grown very close to Nadia. She is willing to go to any length to secure that scholarship and even blackmails one of their teachers. Marina comes to know about it from Carla and uses it as leverage against the teacher when he catches her high on drugs. It circles back to Lucrecia and she gets angry with her. After some time, another incident leads the blackmail thing to the school principal. She fires the teacher and tells Lucrecia to sit out the exams. The one thing she wanted so badly is taken away from her. It looks like Nadia will win it, but her father takes her away even before she can give the exams. This brings her out of the race as well, and the school is left with the third option. Conveniently, that happens to be Marina. Now, Lucrecia is enraged, because not only has she ruined her life, she doesn’t even deserve the scholarship. But is she angry enough to kill Marina?

Elite Season 1 Ending: Who Killed Marina?

Of all the people who seemed like the easy choice, the culprit turns out to be a completely unsuspecting person. After Carla fails to convince Marina to give up the drive, she tells Christian to get it for her. When he too fails, Polo decides to do the job himself. By the end of the series, their relationship has deteriorated to the point that she breaks up with him and starts spending all her time with Christian. Polo wants her back and if retrieving the watch doesn’t do it, nothing will. Polo and Marina had hardly ever conversed with each other, which put him out of the circle of suspects. The only time we feel something shady is when Carla whispers in his ear that the cops suspect Nano.

What happened that night is this. Marina had been waiting by the poolside for Nano. She is visited by Samuel, who tells her not to give away her life for someone she barely knows. She would be throwing away the scholarship and the chance at a bright future in exchange for a life on the run with a parolee. He leaves disheartened, but by this time, she has begun to have second thoughts. She types a message telling Nano that she doesn’t want to go through with it, but is unable to send it. In the meantime, Samuel asks Guzman to intervene. He refuses, saying that he has had enough of her drama and she can do whatever she wants. Polo overhears this and goes to the pool to get the watch. In the attempt, he has a heated conversation with Marina who mocks him for trying so hard to impress a girl who doesn’t even care about him. In a fit of rage, he hits her head with a trophy. He runs away and finds Carla and Christian in the restroom. They help him clean up, he gets rid of the evidence and Carla whips up an alibi for him. When Nano finds Marina, she is holding on to her last breaths. When Samuel comes back, he sees Nano running away and Marina’s dead body lying there.

Elite Season 2: What to Expect?

The revelation of Polo as Marina’s killer is the biggest twist in the story. Why would a person who has nothing to do with her ever kill her? There is no motive, at least not a direct one, and this is what keeps him in the clear. Nano is the only one who seems to fit the bill, especially with Samuel’s statement. He is arrested, but the story doesn’t end there. First of all, the cops have no evidence or witness, except Samuel, against him. This shouldn’t keep him in jail for too long.

Moreover, while Samuel, in his anger, had put the blame on him, he knows that his brother isn’t a killer. In the second season of ‘Elite, we expect him to fight back, which will not be an easy task since there is no one on his side. Christian knows the truth, but he helped Polo and Carla. He wants to fit in with them, but he also doesn’t want his best friend to take the blame for it. The struggle of his conscience to do the right thing is another factor that will come into play. But even he is not the weakest link here. Polo himself could undo the cover-up. Just before Nano is arrested, he had been on his way to confess. Guzman is his best friend and he killed his sister. How can he face him for the rest of his life knowing what he has done? Even though Carla is holding him together, she makes it clear that they are not together. Will he finally break down and confess?

Despite the focus being on the murder mystery, there were a lot of other subplots that made ‘Elite’ an interesting watch. One of them was the coming out of Omar and Ander. What shape will their romance take? Also, will Nadia return to the school, and what will it mean for her and Guzman now that he is back with Lucrecia? With Marina’s death, the gap that had begun to shrink, between the rich and the poor, will become deeper. Will the truth come out, or will there be more blood?

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