What the heck went wrong?
After spending the first four episodes digging away at an exciting new mystery, introducing various new characters and conflicts, Elite Season 4 imploded, culminating in a finale that failed to live up to the hype.
When I wrote my review for Elite Season 4, I had watched the first four episodes, but after watching the rest, it’s hard to be excited about the future of the series.
We’ll start with the mystery. It had all the ingredients to succeed, but it was a big disaster when all was said and done.
Ari’s survival made this a compelling hook because of the possibilities surrounding who could be responsible for the attack.
Armando was the safe and easy option, and it would have worked much better had it been a little more exciting. We didn’t see Armando interrogated by the police because Guzman had killed him.
Part of the beauty of Elite is when we see the characters interviewed about what they were up to on the night of the crime, allowing us to put the pieces together to come up with theories.
How were we supposed to put together a character being responsible that had very little to do with the overall arc of the season?
With Guzman and Ander leaving, I’m sure the writers could have constructed a much more believable conclusion.
I believe the bigger story about New Year’s Eve events will be how the characters deal with what happened when the school returns after winter break.
Ari was one of the best new additions to the show because she was a complicated young woman that genuinely didn’t know what she wanted in life.
She liked the idea of being with Guzman, but she was more attracted to Samuel. Hey, these things happen, but her telling both boys she wanted to be with them would have landed much better had there been more exposition in the episodes leading up to the reveal.
This love triangle only served to drive a wedge between Samuel and Guzman when all was said and done. Guzman, in particular, had three seasons of character development flushed down the drain for a lackluster storyline.
The way Guzman told Nadia he would wait for her until they could reunite, only for him to relentlessly pursue the new girl, was a downright character assassination.
Are we to believe he was using Ari to take his mind off of Nadia? There was something so pure about Guzman and Nadia, but the end of their relationship seemed thrown in as a way to move on from them.
There’s a high chance Guzman and Nadia will reunite, and we will learn of it in passing as the other characters speak about it. That’s about the only way to make sense of this.
Guzman and Samuel worked on being friends for so long, especially after all the death and destruction surrounding them, so it was weird to have them duke it out over a girl.
They’re bonded forever after hiding Armando’s corpse, but did we really need a love triangle to get to the next reveal?
We’ll speak more about Armando in a little, but will this body ever be found with Guzman leaving? Bodies don’t stay away on a show like Elite for long.
I wouldn’t be surprised if someone started messaging the trio to tell them they know what they did on New Year’s Eve.
It seems like a plot that will return at some point to bite them down the line, but without Guzman on the show, will it even be worthwhile?
Let’s move on to Ander, another character who exited the series in the season finale. His relationship with Omar was unhealthy.
They truly worked as a couple during the show’s first season, but their relationship was tested one too many times to believe they could end on good terms.
We need to remember that these characters are teenagers, and it’s rare for a relationship that begun in school to stand the test of time.
There was so much back and forth with Ander and Omar that I wanted them to bring their relationship to a definite end so they could stop terrorizing one another.
His cancer diagnosis understandably changed Ander’s outlook on life. He and Omar ultimately wanted very different things, but Patrick shouldn’t have been used to make them realize it.
Patrick’s attitude sucked. He wanted to connect with people with his own rules, not giving a crap about what was right and wrong.
He and Ander connected due to their mutual brush with death, but Patrick was more of a lost soul than anything else.
His actions were problematic, but there was a change in him when Omar looked out for him when he collapsed in the club. It made me think the season would end with Omar and Patrick in a relationship, and to be honest, it would have been comical to see the smug look wiped off Ander’s face.
Looking ahead to Elite Season 5, we need to get some meaningful character development for Patrick instead of him just doing what he wants.
As for his sister, Mencia, the escort arc started relatively well, but it became so convoluted that I wanted it to be over by the season’s midway point.
Nothing good was ever going to come from accepting a hotel room from Armando. He was always going to want more.
Mencia had deeply rooted issues because she felt like she was to blame for her mother’s death and almost her brother’s death.
It would have been more satisfying to see her confront those issues instead of masking them with such a controversial plot twist.
Her relationship with Rebe started strong, but it flamed out by the end of the season due to countless hurdles thrown their way.
Elite has never been the best show on TV, but the fourth season zeroed in too much on the relationship drama of the characters.
It was hard to pick out the positives with countless love triangles, poor plot progression, and a mystery that ended terribly.
Cayetana remained the main attraction, but she was so far away from the other characters that it felt like nobody even talked to her.
Despite being the janitor, Cayetana had a bond with many of the other characters, and that should have been nurtured to show that they are all still friends.
If the Short Stories proved anything, it was that Cayetana still has friends at Las Encinas.
Philippe was a Prince, so it was inevitable she would find a way to make her way into his orbit, and it’s likely she genuinely thought being a Prince would be people living the high life.
It was heartbreaking to have her bubble burst after realizing just how much of a piece of work he actually was, but at least she told him where to go in the end.
Philippe’s mother clearly liked the idea of him dating Cayetana, a girl who comes from nothing, because of what it would do for Phillippe’s image.
He was an abuser, and he should have been exposed as much. He was the worst character this season because he was so poorly developed.
It was a sensitive subject for the show to tackle, and I can’t shake the feeling that it felt more exploitative than informative.
My concern is that Phillippe gets a redemption arc on Elite Season 5 that puts him close to Cayetana again, and her character deserves better.
Hopefully, the publicity surrounding Ari’s attack will result in the likes soaring on the article because that should give Caye a payout to move onto something else.
As flawed a character as Ari was, at least she went out of her way to make sure Caye knew what type of person Phillippe was.
And in the end, it seemed like there was a bond brewing between the two teenagers.
We already know Elite Season 5 introduces two new characters to fill the void left by Ander and Guzman, but the show really needs to develop the longer-serving characters first.
Rebe became a glorified side character with only one emotion throughout Elite Season 4. That’s not the right way to treat one of the better characters.
Ari, Mencia, and Patrick got a lot of decent material to work with in the earlier episodes of the season, but it all fell apart quickly.
They need to be reintroduced in a way that allows them to connect with the audience, and maybe a little bit less of them would not be a bad thing.
This season, Samuel was given a personality, so hopefully, his storyline reaches a satisfying conclusion on Elite Season 5.
As for the next big mystery, it needs to be scaled back dramatically. It can’t be another murder or kidnapping.
It has to be cleverly plotted and more believable.
What are your thoughts on Elite Season 4? What do you think didn’t work? What did you like?
Hit the comments below.
Stream the first four seasons on Netflix.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.