“Elite” Season 4 Review: The Most Boring Installment Yet

elite season 4 review
Benjamin and his three kids in Elite season 4 (Image: Screengrab)

Frankly, I would have sat down to type out a review for Elite season 4 earlier if it hadn’t been so boring.

This review of Elite season 4 contains major spoilers. Consider yourself warned.

The promo materials for the fourth season of Elite made it very clear the upcoming series was bringing along a lot of changes. A number of OG characters were being written out with new ones were being introduced. And while it’s fun to bring in new faces to a show, it doesn’t always work for every story.

I think one of the biggest missteps the creative team made was not realizing what the fandom wanted. From what I can tell, fans aren’t that interested in the high school setting. They’re invested in certain characters. And writing those fan-favorite characters off will motivate certain viewers to stop watching.

Even The CW’s Riverdale saw sense and decided to do a time skip to keep the same OG cast and follow them be outside a high school setting. I mean, Archie and his crew eventually found themselves back at the school as adults. But at least, aging them up offered some new potential to explore. The same went for Glee, with the creatives allowing the characters to grow older.

I do feel Elite should have gone a similar route. The writers should have allowed the characters to age out of high school and then brought them back to Las Encinas as young adults. Such a decision would have kept fan-favorite characters around and also offered more stories to be explored (avenues you can’t really get into when your cast of characters isn’t even in their 20s yet).

But alas, Elite season 4 decided to opt for the “revolving door”, where past characters are written off in favor of new ones. The fourth season introduces us to a new principal named Benjamin and his three kids Ari, Patrick, and Mencia. Benjamin becoming the principal means Ander’s mom gets fired. Benjamin’s also into making sure the school follows a strict set of rules. He’s also not a fan of scholarship students like Omar and Samu being there without putting in the required academic effort. Immediately, the new students are given the cold shoulder from our familiar cast (Guzman, Omar, Ander, Samu, Rebe, and Cayetana) because they don’t like how Benjamin’s running things. A young prince also starts attending the school, but I’ll get to him in a bit.

I would have been okay with Ari, Patrick, and Mencia if they were written as actual characters. However, it’s quite apparent that they are nothing more than plot devices. The existence of all three characters (more so with Ari and Patrick) revolves around causing trouble for our familiar cast.

Ari ends up catching the interest of Guzman and Samu. Immediately, both Guzman and Samu (who became close friends over the course of the past three seasons) forget about their friendship and compete with each other to see who will win Ari’s affection. And yes, big surprise, Guzman and Nadia breakup because the writers wanted to allow Guzman to pursue Ari without cheating on Nadia.

Things get even more complicated when Ari begins to sleep with both Guzman and Samu (without them knowing) and becomes unable to decide whom to actually be with. I laughed when she said she loved them both. In a sense, if Guzman and Samu were even a bit queer, a trio could have worked. But oh well. I guess more power to Ari for being honest about her feelings at least.

Mencia’s created to bring forth the major mystery in Elite season 4 which opens with a beaten up Ari being saved by the police after basically drowning in the lake during a New Year’s Eve party. Now, while Mencia and Ari are linked to the main mystery, Partick’s got nothing going on for him.

Patrick’s sole purpose involves being the “third person” in Omar and Ander’s relationship. And not only Patrick, but even Omar and Ander (Omander) don’t have anything going on for them as far as the main narrative is concerned. In my review of the third season of Elite, I talked about how the writers seemed unsure about what to do with Omar and Ander. Well, the trend continues in the fourth season. Omar, Ander, and Patrick are so far removed from the main storyline that nothing would change if you wrote out all three of them. (I’m all ears if someone thinks otherwise. So, please let me know if I’m wrong because I replayed certain events in my mind and everything happened the way it’s supposed to without those three being involved.)

Every scene with said three queer characters has to do with trying to deal with their feelings for each other. The entire thing is quite messy and not in a fun way. Similar to Guzman and Samu, the relationship development Omander got in the previous seasons is thrown out of the window the moment Patrick appears.

I’m quite disappointed by how the writers handled Omar. With Nadia off in another country to pursue her education, I thought the latest season would explore Omar’s dynamics with his conservative Muslim parents after that they seem to have accepted him being queer in the third season. However, it was as if Omar’s parents didn’t even exist anymore. From what I can remember, he never mentioned them once, which was a bit odd considering Omar and Nadia’s parents have been part of the previous seasons.

Instead of taking time to allow Omar to explore who he is as a young man and mending his relationship with his parents, Elite season 4 was all about Omar and Ander continuing in the toxic cycle they call a relationship.

Frankly, at this point, I don’t want Omar and Ander to get back together. Omar deserves someone far better than Ander.

The show didn’t even spend time with Ander helping his mother process her being fired as the principal when Benjamin appeared.

There was quite a lot the show could have focused on, moments that could have helped flesh out Omar and Ander as characters, but instead, it was all about hooking up with Patrick and causing more drama.

As for Patrick, I couldn’t bring myself to care about him or his sisters. All three came across as spoiled rich kids who acted out when things didn’t go their way.

Talking about spoiled kids, allow me to share my opinions about Prince Phillipe. I mean, the only major concern I had about Phillipe is the costume department making him wear pants so tight that you could kind of see a lot of what the actor had going on down there even if you didn’t want to. There were moments where I felt sorry for the actor and found myself thinking, “He needs to let them breathe!”

Phillipe’s another rich kid who has never learned how to accept a “No” from someone. He has trouble making new friends. He begins a relationship with Cayetana. Oh! And, apparently, he sexually assaulted another girl but his family covered the whole thing up because he’s royalty.

So, basically, I got another character I couldn’t make myself feel sorry for. From what I could remember, he does end up reaching out to the girl he abused and admits to his behavior (during the finale). I have no idea if that storyline will be picked up though. Also, I’m so not here for a storyline featuring such a character going on a redemption tour and expecting everyone to forgive him because he didn’t know any better.  

Coming to the major mystery, involving a murder, the way everything played out had more to do with plot convenience than making actual sense. Ari shouldn’t have confronted Armando on her own in the first place, but she did because of the plot. There was no reason for Guzman to run after Armando on his own and end up killing him, but he did because of… you guessed it!… the plot.

Sigh! Such a mess.

And with Guzman dumping Armando’s body in the water with Samu and Rebe’s help, let’s see if his murder plays a role in Elite season 5 (yes, the show has already been renewed), or if it will be forgotten because the writers had Guzman and Ander go on a road trip together at the end of series.

At first, I felt I was being too harsh on Elite season 4 (I tend to do that when reviewing stuff, especially media I like and want to do better in terms of quality), but it turns out, I’m not the only one. As of writing this review, the Audience Score for the fourth season over on Rotten Tomatoes is 45%. For comparison, the Audience Score for season 3 is 90% with seasons 2 and 1 coming in the high 80% range.

Having gone through certain tweets from the fandom, it’s clear that a number of fans feel Elite season 4 let them down. While there’s always been messy relationship drama in this series, the fourth season prioritized messy relationship drama over already established character development. Also, the main plot’s quite thin, with a considerable portion of fans realizing how the show padded episode runtime by adding in a gratuitous amount of sexually intimate scenes.  

Again, Elite doesn’t hesitate from showing characters getting it on with each other. However, I think you can tell when an intimate scene is added for a reason or just to distract you from the poor writing.

Said to premiere sometime in 2022, let’s see what Elite season 5 offers and whether or not the writing team will take into consideration the complaints and opinions from the fandom regarding the subpar fourth season.

All eight episodes of Elite season 4 (approximately 50 minutes each) were released on Netflix on June 18, 2021.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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5 thoughts on ““Elite” Season 4 Review: The Most Boring Installment Yet

  1. “Frankly, at this point, I don’t want Omar and Ander to get back together. Omar deserves someone far better than Ander.”

    Exactly. His total purpose for the past 3 seasons, was all about being with Ander. Even with him being with that other guy in season 3, that was still due to him trying to move on from Ander after he dumped him.

    I also think that Ander had way too much say and control in their relationship, to the point that Omar (and some members of the audience) refused to see how he was manipulated by Ander to get involved with Patrick.

    I think that Ander used the situation with Patrick, in order to try and end things with Omar, because after he recovered from his cancer diagnosis, he wanted to experience life and that meant being able to explore dating and sex with someone else, who was not Omar.

    In the upcoming 5th season, I hope that with Ander off on his road trip with Guzman, that the writers focus on Omar finding out who he is, without Ander being his purpose. I would love to see him dating someone else, but I fear that the show won’t explore that, because the audience wouldn’t want to see him with anyone else but Ander.

  2. Honestly this has been the worst season and I think I am not interested to watch the fifth season if they still be adamant about ignoring the old characters and moving on without giving them a proper closure. Audience gets attached to the story and the characters both and invest in the characters journeys throughout the series. Despite deciding to move on to a new story line with keeping the Las Encinas touch we were expecting something brilliant but neither did the actors nor did the cast did a satisfying job in writing, shaping and enacting these new characters. Elite has not always been only about mystery but the dynamics revolving around the teenagers handling their relationships and though in season four the makers had a great opportunity of exploring the relationship dynamics more and better with the teenagers grown up but they were adamant about introducing the new order and ruin the viewers interest. The show didn’t handle Guzman and Nadia’s long distance relation skillfully. Something which was shown to be much more than just a high school fling is abruptly ended with Guzman moving past the potential love of his life surprisingly very fast to win Ari, another spoiled brat with the writers completely ignoring the beautiful friendship they developed between Samuel and Guzman. They could have done a lot better with Guzman and Nadia if they have decided not to throw out the old characters like this. Then comes Omander, another big disappointment in season four. Their so called relationship resonated with Carla and Polo’s false claims of loving each other more than anything. After this disappointing season of one of my most loved series I am waiting for some good and refreshing season of Never have I ever, Sex education and You.

  3. could not agree more with your review, and the other commenters, The show literally overrode the logic of deep relationships to facilitate sex scenes (esp WTF at Nadia and Guzman breaking up, and him having such a rebound GF who is literally just the annoying aspects of Lu without the good ones lol). the show esp season 3 was so deep, with so many layers of themes (challenging concepts of feminism through the liberation of Nadia and meanwhile ironically Carla was the one who was so oppressed and used; white collar vs blue collar crime eg through rebe/samu’s family vs guzmans and carlas; sexuality and the intersectional nature of it e.g. polo and his sexual fluidity, omar and the effects of his cultural/religious identity; the way sickness can affect a family and relationship dynamics eg ander and omar; I even like how it showed the process of Omar isolating himself due to not being accepted by his family, and that promoting a toxic relationship and lack of identity/autonomy ..this is such a real and underrepresented isue… it was seriously so many relevant themes, I can’t even count them!), and I also liked how there was an arc of plots with the students, and one with the adults. This season took out all these gems that made Elite unique. It’s so disappointing.

  4. Its sad how the writers have ruined the romance the audience felt with the old characters. Writing off Carla, Lu, Nadia is just killing the whole theme of the show, I was watching Elite to see how interesting the old characters were and how beautifully the actors have performed their part. the new series is a mess, it is a complicated plot and story line. Honestly, the new show has ruined my memories from the last 3rd season, how beautiful were Omander as couple, Guzman-Nadia, Sam-Carlo, it took three seasons for these character to bloom and they erased them to bring in new faces. SAD. Bring back the old characters !

  5. Unfortunately the writers won’t be able to take anything into consideration because season 5 is already finished filming. A very piss poor decision because now they won’t be able to make the changes people have been asking unless they do another round of short stories or add in an epilogue. And i’m not sure Netflix will be willing to take the risk considering the shockingly low amount of views and all the bad reviews

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