REVIEW | Netflix’s sleeper hit Warrior Nun S2 merges science and religion
Alba Baptista as Ava Silva in Warrior Nun.
After waking up in a morgue, an orphaned teenager finds she now possesses superpowers as the Halo-Bearer chosen for a secret sect of demon-hunting nuns.
Religious fanaticism is a dangerous element that has devastated nations and destroyed lives, and thematically perfect for a show about a secret order of military nuns fighting to protect the world from demonic influence. warrior nun was a sleeper hit when it first appeared on Netflix in 2020, following the adventures of the recently resurrected Ava, kept alive by an ancient sacred artifact, and her journey to find her place in the world. I didn’t initially expect much from the show other than some fun action choreography. Still, the show ended up being better than it had any right to be, filled with religious intrigue and lively characters that keep you hooked on this otherwise blasphemous story.
Unfortunately, it took a while to get to the second season due to Covid-19 delays, and some of the hype was lost during that long wait. This was evident by Netflix’s complete lack of marketing around the show – a feature that’s becoming all too familiar with the streaming giant. This, however, is never an indication of the quality of the show, and although the first season was more nuanced, warrior nun The second season still brings imaginative fight sequences, slow-burning character development, and religious politics as a new faith takes hold of the world’s beliefs.
We catch up with Ava a few months after she unknowingly unleashed the demon Adrial and had to flee to protect the Halo – the powerful artifact that gives her superpowers. Since then, the fake angel has started a religious cult that is rapidly gaining traction across the world, frustrating Ava as she hides out in Switzerland with Sister Beatrice. When his secret is revealed, they reunite with some of their other sisters in an effort to thwart Adrial’s plans and save the world from his quack tricks. In the meantime, Dr. Salvius is still trying to stabilize the portal so she can enter after her son.
Season two’s biggest hole, however, is the absence of Shotgun Mary, the gun-ho sister who helped make the show what it was. After the first season’s cliffhanger, I expected her to survive and make a comeback, but her fate was quickly sealed in the first episode, and the show moved forward pretty quickly. Her witty demeanor was badly missed, and it seems the writers underestimated how well her directness balanced the rigor and fun of the other sisters.
Fortunately, Alba Baptista has kept the show going as Ava and remains one of the most relatable characters, balancing fun with her serious duties as a warrior nun. Although I didn’t notice the chemistry with Sister Beatrice, played by Kristina Tonteri-Young, earlier in the series, here she enjoys a natural progression with a satisfying payoff, and both actors did a brilliant job. to create tension between themselves. While everyone on the show speaks English, most of the cast are European, hailing from Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands, and it’s clear there are a softer, more subtle touch to their performances than Hollywood stars, who can seem brash. and openly American. The show would have been too obnoxious with that kind of casting.
I wonder, though, if the show would have a wider audience if it didn’t lean so heavily on the young adult arena, which was less open in the first season. The action choreography was brilliant, enhanced by fast camera work and editing, and the Catholic Church’s reaction to Adrial’s growing influence was a fascinating thread, focusing in particular on why church members could turn to this new religion on a deeper spiritual level. “Imagine a god you can text” was a particularly poignant line and just one example of the many memorable writing moments. The supernatural elements were more of a sideshow of politics and elevated the plot to a point – before it devolved into a bit too much of a young adult drama.
Without being better than the first, warrior nun continues to bring new ideas to the genre of religious fantasy, fusing science with belief and a heartfelt debate around what constitutes faith. There’s more going on in this series than just the flash of the ninja nuns, and it’s a shame Netflix doesn’t see value in that.
Cast: Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Thekla Reuten, Sylvia De Fanti, Lorena Andrea, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Tristan Ulloa
Our rating: 3.5/5 stars
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: