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Stream It or Skip It?

Élite is one of Netflix’s most stealthily huge international shows. Set in a prestigious Spanish prep school, the show is a seedy soap opera full of steamy sex scenes and wild murder mysteries. Now in its sixth season, Élite faces its biggest challenge yet: outdoing the drama of past seasons all while juggling a cast of relative newbies. Yup, this is the first season of Élite without any of the original cast members…

Opening Shot: Iván (André Lamoglia) anxiously walks down a street at night. When he sees a car at the end of the street, he waves to it. Instead of picking up the teenager, the engine revs and the driver plows into the kid. Iván flies over the hood and roof, landing on the asphalt with a thump. The camera lingers on the teen’s face, revealing blood pooling from his head. Folks, we’ve got another potential Élite murder mystery to unravel by going back in time.

The Gist: Élite Season 6 takes place a few months after the wild ending of Season 5, which killed off series star Itzan Escamilla’s Samuel. We’re told that Samu’s friends are all gone, but the school is still a pressure cooker for the children of his “killer”: Ari (Carla Diaz), Patrick (Manu Ríos), and Mencia (Martina Cariddi). Party queen Isadora (Valentina Zenere) has quit drugs in the wake of her sexual assault, but her friends and family basically set her up to fail in her recovery. Her parents literally gift her a nightclub, feed her drugs, and imply she lied about her rape. Meanwhile, Patrick is struggling to believe that he and Iván are in a stable relationship. Naturally, this idyllic romance is wrecked by Iván’s dad, Cruz (Carloto Cotta), by episode’s end as the soccer star tries to hookup with Patrick again. Mencia finds herself drawn to a new influencer student Sara (Carmen Arrufat) who is famous for her relationship with picture perfect Raúl (Alex Pastrana). As it happens, Raúl is a controlling dom and Sara his (potentially unwilling??) sub. Another “new” kid Nico (Ander Puig) finds himself mostly welcomed by his classmates post-transition, but Ari keeps making transphobic comments towards him. This is made all the more awkward by the fact that Ari is attracted to Nico, who clearly has harbored a long unrequited crush on the prep school princess. Did I miss anything? Bilal (Adam Nourou) is back and working in Isadora’s new club/hotel/house along with new character Didac (Álvaro de Juana), the latter of whom is fired when he calls Isadora out on her bullshit (and suggests she lied about her assault? Woof!).

Once again, things are messy in the world of Élite.

Nico in Elite Season 6
Photo: Netflix

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? On the surface, Élite is a distinctly European twist on the private school soap opera genre perfected by the original Gossip Girl. However, it’s penchant for provocation — nude locker room scenes, NSFW hookups, and exploration of themes like addiction, sexual abuse, and trans rights — make it a worthy companion to HBO’s Euphoria.

Our Take: Élite Season 6 seems to have a lot of the ingredients that defined past seasons, but something is definitely different this time around. (And I don’t mean that no one from the show’s early glory days is still stalking the halls of Las Encinas.) There’s a distinct gloominess to the Élite Season 6 premiere. Not only do we know yet another teen winds up dead, but Isadora’s storyline is straight up devastating. Elsewhere, it’s clear that all is not well in new characters Sara and Raul’s relationship. Sara’s sorrowful stare at Raul’s attempt to loop Mencia in for a threesome is almost as haunting as her robotic offer to be his “toy.” No one is having fun in the Élite Season 6 premiere, which means I’m not sure if I’m having fun. Élite‘s supposed to be fun, right? Right?

Sex and Skin: While there are ton of make outs and barely there outfits, there are only two real nude or sex scenes. Early on in the episode, we watch as a nervous Nico decides to shower with the boys with his trunks still on. Butts are seen! Later, Sara offers up handcuffs to a masturbating Raúl so he won’t leave her out. He establishes control, but we don’t really see anything that suggests real passion.

Parting Shot: After a horrible scene where Isadora realizes her rapists are back in class with her and Iván learns that footage of his dad kissing his ex has gone viral, we cut back to the cold open. More blood pools from Iván’s head and whoever ran him over drives off.

Sleeper Star: Newbie Ander Puig is going to capture hearts and spark crushes as Nico. He’s cute, charming, and emotionally vulnerable…and yet totally bold enough to call Ari out on her transphobic bullshit.

Most Pilot-y Line: Given that we already know a lot of the characters in this world, the clunkiest introduction probably goes to the announcer who tells clubgoers at Isadora’s House: “We’re also honored to have the hottest couple that’s taking social media by storm: Saraul.Goals.” Okay, we get it. Sara and Raúl are hot on TikTok. Perhaps that’s why there’s a total emotional vacancy to their interactions.

Our Call: I kind of have to go with…Skip It. If you’re deeply invested in this soap opera and love sexy Spanish murder teens, watch it. However, the hedonistic joy of past seasons has been replaced by an icky feeling of dread. That — plus the fact that we don’t have a long history with any of the characters left — makes it a wee bit harder to root for new couples, old rivalries, and friendship to conquer all.

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