Elite season 1, episode 3 recap: “Que le puede pasar a cualquiera”


Elite isn’t exactly a hard-hitting drama, but it is raising awareness and erasing stigma about an important topic. Here’s how the show deftly addresses HIV.

While Netflix’s Elite leans into plenty of teen drama clichés, there is one very notable way in which it stands out. Sixteen-year-old Marina (María Pedraza), the show’s co-lead who comes from a wealthy family, is HIV-positive.

It’s not a sensationalized plot point. It’s just a reality for Marina and for her family. As Marina notes, “que le puede pasar a cualquiera” (it can happen to anybody). Here’s how Elite has explored HIV and stigma in its first three episodes.

No es “una enfermada de probes”

We learn in episode one that Marina contracted HIV from Pablo, a scholarship student at their prep school Las Encinas. She insists that Pablo “did not mean to hurt” her, suggesting he was not aware of his positive status. Her protective brother Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau) firmly believes Pablo is at fault, while their mother Laura (Rocío Muñoz-Cobo) refuses to even talk about it.

In episode two, it’s hinted that drugs were involved, which lead me to deduce that Marina was infected by needle. As it turns out, my deduction was wrong. Drugs were involved, which is partially why Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau) is so against them. However, it’s revealed in episode three that drugs were not the source of Marina’s infection.

Read. Elite season 1, episode 2 recap: Todos llevamos máscaras. light

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From Ander (Áron Piper) and Guzmán’s perspective, Marina “was drugged and taken advantage of.” However, according to Marina, she and Pablo did smoke (pot presumably), but the sex was consensual.

When Guzmán confronts Marina for strip teasing and playing spin the bottle at a house party Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) throws, she fires back that HIV is not “una enfermada de probes” (“a disease of the poor”) and it could just as easily happen to him. She notes that Pablo liked to date rich girls, just like Guzmán. So who infected Pablo in the first place?

“Pues deberías saber algo”

Since Samuel failed to get the documents to blackmail Ventura (Ramón Esquinas) in episode two, Nano (Jamie Lorente) takes matters into his own hands. He makes a move on Marina, and she’s into it. He suggests they head to her place for some alone time, and she agrees.

Before they’re about to hook up, she asks whether he thinks she’s “the typical rich girl who’s had nothing bad happen to her.” He says yes. She reluctantly responds, “pues deberías saber algo.” (“There’s something you should know.”). But ultimately, not wanting to scare him off, she doesn’t tell him and sleeps with him anyway.

As it turns out, since she’s medicated, she can’t infect anyone, which she later reveals to Nano after he finds out about her status from Samuel.

“No sé qué decir.”

The day after the party, Samuel apologizes for getting drunk and accidentally throwing up on Marina. Unaware of what happened between her and Nano, Samuel assumes that’s why she’s avoiding him. Marina does like Samuel but doesn’t quite know what to make of her feelings.

Her instinct is to keep him at a distance. Taking his hand, she tells him she’s HIV-positive, knowing he probably won’t react well. Samuel is shell-shocked. All he can say is “no sé qué decir” (“I don’t know what to say”), and he then lets go of her hand. However, by the time he gets home, he’s feeling incredibly guilty and tells Nano what happened.

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Nano confronts Marina, but to her surprise, he’s not mad she didn’t tell him. He’s mad that she told Samuel to drive him away. Nano insists that it won’t work, and Samuel will only care about her more.

What do you think of Elite‘s handling of HIV and stigma? Let us know in the comments section below.