Warning: If you have not watched season two of Netflix's Elite, do not proceed. Major spoilers ahead!
If you're as obsessed with Elite as we are, then you probably have a laundry list of questions you want answers to, especially after the nutty way season two ended. And we're not mincing words here, the finale was insane.
Netflix's buzzworthy Spanish-language teen soap, featuring twists, turns and red-hot hookups that would make even the Upper East Siders of Gossip Girl blush, closed out another riveting eight-episode ride -- the ramifications of Marina's season one death finally coming to an ugly resolution. Sort of. Everything built up to the finale when Carla (Ester Exposito), riddled with a guilty conscience after thinking Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) wasn't actually missing but was dead (a crazy plan successfully concocted by unlikely allies Samuel and Guzman to bring down the real masterminds), confessed everything she knew about who was ultimately responsible for Marina's death: her ex-boyfriend, Polo (Alvaro Rico).
But in classic Elite fashion, there was more to the story than that. During his interrogation, Polo didn't exactly come clean about his part in Marina's death. Instead, he deflected any and all attention away from himself to "the real killer." (Spoiler alert: He is the real killer!) Without actual physical evidence to convict him -- his new girlfriend, wannabe socialite Cayetana (Georgina Amoros) somehow knew where the murder weapon (a prized school trophy) was buried at the bottom of the lake and retrieved it for him -- the investigator was forced to let him go. And so, when Polo stepped back in the hallways of Las Encinas, his murder-y ways no longer a secret, everything changed. Is he the new villain?
A week after the new episodes dropped on Netflix, Elite co-creator Dario Madrona answered ET's biggest questions, submitted over email, about the juiciest twists of the season, including Polo's stunning finale move, those red-hot hookups (Nadia and Guzman!) and what this all means for the upcoming third season.
ET: The first season of Elite blew up when it dropped on Netflix last fall. How did the popularity of the show, as well as fans’ passionate responses to every twist and surprise, inform how you approached season two?
Dario Madrona: When the first season came out, we were already working on the second season, just in case we got renewed. We had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to go, so I don't think the reaction did really change much -- or anything at all -- about the season.
Season one was laser-focused on solving the mystery of Marina’s killer. Season two centered on Samuel’s disappearance, who, for a very brief moment, was believed to be dead. Did you ever actually consider killing Samuel off? If so, why did you decide not to?
From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to keep the flash-forward structure, but not do the exact same thing. A disappearance gave us different "toys" to play with, a wider range of scenes to do -- not only interrogations at the police station. Also, two dead teens in two seasons was a bit much! There's a fine line between "so many things happen in this show" and "what planet is this exactly set in." Hopefully, we stayed on the right side of that line.
With the way season two ends, it seems like everything is going to change at Las Encinas. Do you have a plan for what season three will be about -- perhaps a new mystery? Do you anticipate the show will have to evolve into something different next season?
There will definitely be a mystery in season three, and as it happens in season two, it will be somehow related to the events of the previous seasons. It's not like a new character is going to bring a new mystery every new season, a la Desperate Housewives (which worked really well for them, but it's not our show). We always try to bring something different every season, while at the same time giving our audience what they liked about the show in the same place. More of the same thing you liked, but different enough so you don't get bored. It's a tricky balancing act.
Next season will be the first time Polo’s classmates see him as a murderer. He’s already dealing with a guilty conscience and isn’t exactly the most stable. At this point, is Polo a redeemable character? Are you interested in a redemption arc for Polo in season three?
I'm not sure about redeemable, but we definitely want people to understand him. To put themselves in his shoes. He is someone who has done something awful and clearly has issues, but he also has a conscience and regrets, and most of the time is just a scared kid.
I've read tweets saying that maybe in the third season he will become a mega villain, but that is not how we operate. It is much more interesting for us to have all the characters inhabit this gray area where everybody is capable of the best and the worst. We do not think of our show in terms of heroes and villains... And everybody is a hero in their own story -- the one they tell themselves, anyway.
When Polo tells the investigator to look for the “real killer,” does he have an actual plan to “clear” his name or is Cayetana the one pulling the strings?
He is just stating facts. Nano (Jaime Lorente) has run away and for most people that is almost an admission of guilt. Polo is not an evil mastermind, neither is Cayetana. He is just using what he has available to try and prove his innocence. It's not that complicated. There is no murder weapon, Carla's dad is denying her story, there's not that much against him. And, he also has really expensive lawyers.
Are there any real feelings between Polo and Cayetana?
It may not be the most conventional love story, but there are definitely feelings involved. Cayetana has always wanted to be a princess. And next to Polo, she feels like one. He gives her the life she has always dreamt of. That can be a more powerful feeling than love at first sight. It's not that she loves him for his money, it's that she loves the life they can have together. When somebody turns you into whoever you always wanted to be, you definitely are enchanted by him.
Polo feels alone and suddenly he finds someone who tells him that nobody is who you think they are -- someone who also has big secrets, who is hiding who she is from the rest of the world, just as he is. And, someone who, when faced with the worst possible truth about him, does not run away but sticks with him and helps him. Probably in different circumstances, they would have not looked at each other twice, but here and now, the foundation for their love is stronger than it would be if they were just two people who have a crush on each other.
Due to their circumstances, Guzman (Miguel Bernardeau) and Samuel become unlikely allies by the end of the season. They're all each other has, which is nice in theory but not a lot to build an actual friendship on. What are you looking to explore with this unexpected friendship? Are they friends?
I don't think they are friends -- yet. They are allies. We definitely want to explore their relationship and the different ways they may face having Polo back in class.
As with a lot of relationships on Elite, Samuel and Carla’s started off more as a means to an end but turns out, they may actually care about each other. Was this romantic pairing a surprise to you as it was to fans?
When we were developing season two, we knew that Samuel was going to investigate who the real killer was. But he is not a cop and we didn't want to turn him into one. Everything he does, it's pretty low-key: He tries to steal a phone, records a private conversation, looks at old Instagram pictures from the day when Marina was killed.
But for us, the real thrill of the plot was the emotional part. What happens when two people who are toying with each other end up falling in love? And with good reason too. Both have suffered the consequences of Marina's death. Both feel like they have had to grow up too soon, too fast. Both feel a bit isolated from their friends, like nobody can truly understand them. And then they find each other and when they lock eyes, they immediately get what the other has been through.
It was still a risky proposition. The two characters never show any interest for each other in the first season. But as soon as we saw them rehearsing a scene together, we realized that they had off-the-charts chemistry.
After a season of dancing around each other, Guzman and Nadia (Mina El Hammani) finally did something about their mutual attraction this year, but the sex tape -- and Nadia’s family’s opposition -- squashed any chance of a real romance. What will it take for them to find their way back to each other?
Well, it's going to be very complicated because as in every good romance, there are a lot of things keeping them apart. They clearly love each other, but sometimes that is not enough. I guess you'll have to wait and see!
Elite isn’t afraid to go there when it comes to sex scenes -- Ander (Aron Piper) and Polo having sex while Guzman is passed out in the same bed, Lu (Danna Paolo) and Valerio’s (Jorge Lopez) incestuous hookups and Guzman and Nadia’s sex tape, for example. Where do you draw the line?
Believe it or not, we always draw the line at: Is this scene moving the story forward, or is it just a sex scene for the sake of just having sex on the show? Even the Polo-Ander scene is there to show us that Polo feels lonely, that Ander does not know if he is in a relationship or not, that they are both creating a bond now that Guzman is too busy mourning his sister and drowning his sorrows in alcohol and drugs. And in a way, it explains why Polo trusts Ander with the truth. On top of that, it's a very funny and sexy scene too!
Could the new investigation resurface questions about the information hidden in the watch, which was the original motive for Marina’s murder? Do you hope to revisit how the rich kids' parents are involved more directly?
Carla's father is definitely involved deeply, but I'm pretty sure the watch was destroyed as soon as Carla left it on his office table.
Do you have an endgame for the show? How much time do these characters realistically have left in high school? Could the show, ideally, carry on into their university and adult lives?
Seasons two and three take place during their last year of school. There are several ways in which the show could realistically go on, if Netflix orders more seasons!
Lastly, was there a storyline or scene you had to cut in season two?
We do cut a lot for time and pace, but I don't remember cutting a whole storyline. We did have two more scenes with Lu and Valerio's dad that explained their complicated relationship a bit more that we were sad we had to let go.
The first two seasons of Elite are streaming now on Netflix.
Paige Gawley contributed to this story.
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