When the trailer for Elite season 3 dropped, one detail was certain: Polo (Álvaro Rico) would die. The Netflix series’ third season premiere, “Carla,” tries to play with our perceptions for a while, suggesting either Polo or Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) will be the subject of Elite’s 2020 murder mystery. But, the final shot of “Carla” confirms it — Polo Benavent is very dead.
Las Encinas’ most despised student — who killed Marina (María Pedraza) in season 1 — was stabbed in the chest and then fell off of a balcony in Elite’s version of real-life Madrid nightclub Teatro Barceló.
We don’t learn the true culprit for Polo’s murder until finale, “Polo.” The reveal is a tragic mirror image of the night Polo killed Marina.
Lu (Danna Paola) is the killer. However, the murder is not at all premeditated and instead unfolds through a mix of drunken abandon and suppressed heartache. Lu confronts Polo in the bathroom of Barceló in the first act of the finale. She has been drinking out of Champagne bottles for hours to cover up the hurt of losing her Benavent family-provided Columbia scholarship in “Nadia” and her parents' refusal to show up to her graduation.
In this moment, Polo could tell Lu that the scholarship his parents took away from her is reinstated, he has confessed to them about his crimes, and he plans to turn himself in to the police in the next few hours. In fact, Polo only went to the Barceló graduation party to personally tell Lu and Nadia (Mina El Hammani) — who also lost the Columbia scholarship that day — all of those facts.
Instead, Polo, upset that Lu threw a drink on him earlier in the night, verbally attacks her when she reminds him that his presence is “torturing” Guzmán (Miguel Bernardeau), the boy Lu loves in a very complicated way. “Mark my words, Polo, I’ll always protect the people I love,” Lu adds, holding the jagged neck of a champagne bottle to Polo's neck (the bottle broke amid Lu's boozy antics a few minutes earlier).
“Guzman doesn’t love you, Lu,” Polo shoots back. “Stop groveling for once in your fucking life.” This painful emotional jab starts off a barrage of insults from Polo, as he tells Lu that no one has ever loved her and that will never change, no matter how stylish or intelligent she is. “And that is why you’re alone,” Polo finishes. Infuriated by those words, Lu shoves Polo into a nearby bathroom wall, begging him to shut up. In her inebriated state, she forgets she is brandishing a bottle shard and it fatally pierces Polo's chest.
This is an almost exact flip of the events that led Polo to kill Marina in the season 1 finale, “Assilah.” During that scene, Polo approaches Marina to retrieve a watch she and boyfriend Nano (Jaime Lorente) stole from Carla (Ester Expósito), Polo's on-again, off-again girlfriend at the time. Polo is convinced that getting the watch from Marina will protect Carla. Marina asks Polo why he even cares about the drama (Polo asks Lu a similar question in the bathroom before his death). Marina then repeatedly reminds Polo that Carla doesn’t love him, and that, really, no one loves him. In a fit of rage, Polo picks up the academic statue Marina had just won and bludgeons her. Both Marina and Polo stare at each other in a state of blood-drenched shock.
In “Polo,” Polo and Lu share the exact same look of shock after the latter stabs the former. Polo can’t believe he is going to die, and Lu can’t believe she killed another person, particularly someone she considered a longtime friend before the events of the series. When Lu begins stammering that she “didn’t mean to” and is “sorry,” Polo earnestly responds, “I know.” Because, unlike almost anyone else they know, Polo intimately understands the remorse and confusion Lu is experiencing in that moment.
As with season 1, Carla steps in to cover up the accidental murder, this time hiding Polo’s killer rather than helping him conceal his own crime. Carla smuggles the murder weapon into a group meeting of all the Elite kids and then has each of them put their fingerprints on it. With everyone implicated, no one can truly be implicated. This detail is the biggest difference from how the Las Encinas kids handle the two biggest deaths in their lives: the first split them apart, the second brought them together.
The last time we see Lu in “Polo,” she is heading to New York with Nadia to start their lives at Columbia. After three seasons of horror, Lu has effectively gotten away with murder.
If Netflix renews Elite for a fourth season, don't expect to see this dark secret remain buried for long. The students of Las Encinas can barely keep their mouths shut for a day, let alone another eight episodes of television.