Elite season 3, episode 8 recap: Polo

Photo: Elite: Season 2.. Image Courtesy Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix
Photo: Elite: Season 2.. Image Courtesy Manuel Fernandez-Valdes/Netflix /

In the finale of Elite’s third season, the murderer is revealed—and everything we thought we knew about the events of this season is about to change.

Everybody in this season of Elite has a reason to hate—and kill—Polo. So, why has he come to the graduation day after-party? Is he a sucker for punishment? Or are his reasons more altruistic?

One can never tell with Polo, who has vacillated between prideful, selfish, enraged, caring, and positively demonic through these three seasons of Elite.

But at the end of this night, Polo is dead, and his former friends, lovers, and classmates are all suspects. As finales go, this one was nothing short of dramatic, but also deeply moving. We recap the events of the episode for viewers.

The preamble to a Murder

Throughout this season of Elite, we have seen snippets of what happened at the club the night Polo died. We know the core group of characters wasn’t happy to see him there, and now we see in detail how every one of them interacted with him.

Polo tries to speak with Lucrecia, who is still incensed about losing the scholarship she shared with Nadia. Polo’s mothers, and the sponsors of the scholarship, had rescinded their offer when Lucrecia and Nadia took a stand against the unfair dismissal of their friends in the penultimate episode of the season.

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But Polo had managed to convince his mothers to change their mind—he was going to tell Lucrecia the good news personally, but Lucrecia was having none of it. Already drunk and distraught, she throws her drink in Polo’s face, oblivious to the people watching her.

When Polo tries to get a napkin from Omar to clean himself up, he gets no sympathy, and no napkin either—but Omar does tell him to get out of the club. It’s only when Ander asks Omar for the napkin that Polo gets to clean himself up.

Once Polo leaves, Samuel—who has been staring daggers at him all evening—grabs a knife from the counter and goes after Polo. Fortunately, Guzmán catches him before he does anything to harm himself.

Then Guzmán goes to Polo and warns him to watch his back. Polo, devastated following a failed attempt at getting the trophy—the weapon he had used to murder Marina—from Cayetana, knows he’s not wanted, but he still needs a moment with his old friend.

When Guzmán asks Polo why he’s bothered to come to the club, Polo acknowledges the pain he has caused and how he just wanted one moment of joy from telling Lucrecia and Nadia about the scholarship.

He then tells Guzmán that he plans to confess to Marina’s murder the next day and asks Guzmán one question—when he’s out of jail, will Guzmán forgive him? Standing a hair’s breadth barely from Polo’s face, Guzmán sneers, ‘Never.’ That’s all Polo has to hear to know exactly how little he matters to those around him.

Anatomy of a Crime

The broken bottle—and the potential murder weapon—happened by accident. Valerio ordered it, but Lucrecia grabbed it to take a swig before Nadia stopped her from drinking too much. That’s when a fellow party-goer bumps into them, and the bottle falls to the floor and shatters—the neck of the bottle rolls away, and when Guzmán tries to grab it, someone kicks it away.

Meanwhile, Polo tries to dry off in the restroom when he is accosted by Lucrecia—broken bottle in hand. She lays into him about all the pain he has left in his wake—how he took Marina away from them, made Carla keep his secret, and then Ander, and especially how he’s ruined Guzmán’s happiness. He’s hurt people she loves, and she won’t rest till he has no happiness.

Polo, in his infinite wisdom, decides to lash back at Lucrecia. He tells her that nobody loves her—that being the richest and smartest girl in school means nothing because she isn’t surrounded by friends, but sycophants.

I mean, when a woman comes at you with a broken bottle, should you really be mocking her? This was never going to end well, and we know it doesn’t.

The more Polo pushes against Lucrecia, the more she bears down on him till there’s nothing between them but the bottle, dangling from Polo’s chest. Lucrecia is horrified. It’s an accident, but she can already see it will be a fatal one.

Clutching his bleeding chest, Polo knows he’s done for, but accepts it is an accident. He tries to get as far away from Lucrecia as possible and makes his way to the glass enclosure that has been cracking for weeks. The heavy blood loss and shock make Polo lose balance, causing him to crash through the glass.

Guzmán is among the first to see who’s fallen, and he races to Polo’s side. Minutes ago, Guzmán told Polo he would never forgive him for Marina’s murder. Now, as he clutches his bleeding, dying friend, Guzmán has a change of heart. He forgives Polo and gives one of his oldest friends the peace of dying with that knowledge.

Lucrecia is shaking—it may have been an accident, but a man is dead, and it’s her fault. But her friends rally around her—even if Cayetana doesn’t agree. They need a plan of action if they are to throw suspicion of Lucrecia.

Samuel has a plan—obscure Lucrecia’s fingerprints on the bottle by adding more. Everyone volunteers to touch the bottle, but when it’s Nadia’s turn, Guzmán tries to stop her. It could cost her the scholarship—this makes Lucrecia even more upset. But Nadia won’t do this without Lucrecia—she grabs the bottle.

But Rebeca knows there’s one more print that’s needed—Polo’s, to make it look like a suicide. She takes Cayetana to Polo’s body—expertly getting her past the bouncers in charge of the crime scene. Cayetana says a tearful goodbye and puts the bottle in Polo’s hand, accidentally cutting herself in the process—that explains her bleeding hand.

That isn’t the end of it, though—people saw Lucrecia go into the restroom with the bottle. So, Valerio suggests they name someone else. Ander agrees—they should all name different people to throw the Inspector off.

Of course, Ander—who has been on a deathwish since his cancer diagnosis—then suggests to Omar that he will take the blame. But there’s no need to do that if everyone plays their part right.

When the students are interviewed, they each name someone different. But Lucrecia has trouble keeping it together—she could derail this whole plan and destroy her life.

Just when the Inspector is getting suspicious, Lucrecia finds the strength to save herself—she is shaking because she and her friends are faced with another death and no answers so soon after Marina’s. She blames the Inspector for doing a terrible job and leading to their suffering—something Samuel has been saying all through this season of Elite. They’re not wrong.

The Aftermath

The lack of evidence, the conflicting witness reports, and the arrival of Marina’s murder weapon, all convince the Inspector that Polo’s death was a suicide, albeit a very violent one. Marina’s murder is solved, and Nano’s name is cleared—though he isn’t going to be coming back here any time soon.

Carla and Samuel had wanted to be together, but Rebeca reminds Carla that Samuel is far too infatuated with her for them to have a healthy relationship. Carla has taken over the wineries from her father, but she’d rather study abroad. In her place, Valerio will be taking over PR activities for the business.

Though Polo’s mothers offer Cayetana the opportunity to go to college abroad, she’s ready to accept her living circumstances and attend a public school instead.

Nadia, Lucrecia, Malick, and Omar head to New York. Lucrecia’s parents have disowned her, but Nadia’s family has made her one of their own. Though Nadia will be far away, Guzmán is ready to wait for her, and Nadia promises she will be back for him.

Malick plans to set up a life with Omar, but Omar is no longer sure. On that fateful night, Ander confessed to Omar how he’d made up the story of being with a fellow patient to push Omar away. Now Omar isn’t sure what to do, but he knows he still cares about Ander.

Life in New York can wait—Omar needs to be by Ander’s side, no matter how many chemo sessions they have to get through. When Ander finally gets to speak, he tells Omar that he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore—Ander is in remission.

As the new school year begins, a few familiar faces appear—Guzmán and Samuel are repeating the year after being wrongfully expelled, as is Rebeca, who is out of the drug business and has convinced her mother to join her. Omar didn’t graduate either because his grades were awful, but fortunately, he is joined by Ander, who didn’t give his exams because of his illness.

They head to their classroom on new adventures as a familiar face mops the floor around them—Cayetana. Things have changed, but some have remained the same.

Final Thoughts

Season 3 of Elite was as gripping as one would expect, but also very soulful and moving. With Ander’s illness and Polo’s guilt, there was plenty of pathos alongside the suspense and drama.

Polo’s arc was unexpectedly compelling—for the show to spend time making him a sympathetic villain shows the strength of the writing. One actually felt saddened by his death, but it was the best ending for such a divisive character.

Lucrecia and Nadia really grew this season—thanks to the lack of romance in their arcs. Their friendship was a highlight and showed how powerful the bonds between women can be.

Though most of the characters have been written out of the show, we still have a fascinating core group that could keep Elite going. However, if Netflix were to end the show now, it would still work as a self-contained story beginning with a murder committed by Polo and ending with his murder.

The soundtrack was fantastic—as it has been throughout this show. I foresee many a Spotify playlist being created.

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Elite is so much more than the sexy Spanish drama it purports to be—the pacing, the writing, and the characterizations are a study of great storytelling. One of the best that Netflix has to offer and a joy to watch.