Review: Elite season five lacks the substance and flare of the show’s previous seasons

With weak storylines and poor character development, Elite’s fifth season falls short of expectation, despite having already been renewed for another season in October 2021.

Created by Carlos Montero and Darío Madrona, the Spanish drama-thriller follows students at the fictional elite school Las Encinas in Madrid, with each season centred around the murder of one of its characters. Previously the show has done well to balance the murder mystery plot with the dramatic relationships and friendships of its main characters, but season five appeared to focus more on the lives of the students over the suspense of uncovering (or in Elite style – covering up) of the crime.

Unsure of the creators’ intentions, the show’s structure change proved disappointing as weak storylines left the season lacking in substance. At the end of season four, we saw Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) and Rebé (Claudia Salas) help Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau) to hide Armando’s (Andrés Velencoso) body in the lake, and Phillipe (Pol Granch) send a recording to Elodie (Louvia Bachelier) admitting that he had assaulted her in some way hinting that these would form the main storylines for the fifth season. However, whilst Armando’s murder did feature throughout it did not receive as much attention as expected, and Phillipe’s sexual assault storyline was brushed over with the character seeing little consequence for his actions.

Alongside the failed attempt to shift focus, the show’s previous success with its various love triangles was muddied by this season’s messy entanglement between five of its characters. The storyline between Patrick (Manu Ríos) and Iván (André Lamoglia) proved intriguing at best, but the addition of Ari (Carla Díaz), Cruz (Carloto Cotta) and Samuel into the mix left the connection between the pairing overdramatised and a little too far-fetched.

A small saving grace came in the form of Isadora (Valentina Zenere) a DJ heiress from Ibiza whose introduction to the show proved that Elite can once again change your mind about a character within just one season. From insensitive and manipulative at the beginning to vulnerable and raw at the end, Isadora’s development was reminiscent to that of Lucrecia’s (Danna Paolo), whilst her friendship with Cayetana (Georgina Amorós) could prove to be the next enemy to best friends storyline similar to that of Lu and Nadia’s (Mina El Hammani) from the first three seasons.

Unfortunately, this did little to distract from the awful storylines for other characters such as Samuel whose martyrdom – after five seasons – has become tiresome and predictable, and Omar (Omar Ayuso) who had zero character development and proved annoying and pointless at times - (not to mention the confusing introduction of Bilal who appeared to serve no other purpose than to create a rift between the two).

As for the aesthetic of the show, which is usually a character in itself, in true Elite style, the show did feature two fabulous parties but with Benjamin’s (Diego Martín) introduction of stricter rules at school, the fashion was extremely lacking compared to previous seasons – removing even more of what previously made the show so attractive to its audience.

Overall, although Elite has been picked up for a sixth season, the gripping novelty of the show’s murder mystery turned teen drama structure has proven too much for its writers to maintain as season five lacks both the substance and flare of previous seasons.

Elite season five is now available to stream on Netflix.