Warrior Nun – Season 1


Bad Habits

Main Cast: Alba Baptista, Toya Turner

Creator:  Simon Barry

I fully realize that the title Warrior Nun feels a little weird. It just isn’t a combination we expect. And yet it also manages to be compelling in a way that made me feel like I had to try the show. Come on! Nuns who are also warriors! Badass women fighting demons!  I couldn’t resist.

Warrior Nun is based on a comic book character. The show opens with a deceased Ava (Alba Baptista) being resurrected by the insertion of a divine halo into her back. Paralyzed in her first life and confined to an orphanage, Ava finds herself in a bizarre new world where not only can she walk, but she is also expected to join a secretive group called The Order of the Cruciform Nuns. The demon fighters!

Now Ava is thrilled at the second chance at life. She is also confused and frightened by the following: a weird, powerful religious thing in her back that gives her superpowers; a group of nuns who demand that she pledge herself to their cause; the demons that she can now see; several other groups of mysterious people intent on doing her harm; a cute boy. Not necessarily in that order, but this is an overwhelming time for a young, inexperienced woman.

Warrior Nun takes us on Ava’s journey. We learn about the Order, about the halo, and about the various factions that wish to control its power and the woman who bears it. But if we’re going to care about any of it we need to care about the women at the center. Ava is difficult, naïve, terrified, and determined to make the most of this second chance. Alba Baptista is a Portuguese-Brazilian actress with a flawless American accent who gives Ava a nice balance of stubbornness and vulnerability.   Complementing her character beautifully is Sister Mary (Toya Turner), an unconventional member of the Order who is dedicated to the cause but lacks the religious faith of the other members. The two form the core around which the action turns.

Other supporting roles of note include Lorena Andrea as Sister Lilith, who expected to be the next halo bearer and is not a fan of Ava; Joaquim de Almeida as a powerful Vatican Cardinal; and Thekla Reuten as a scientist who seeks to harness the power of the halo for her own endeavors. The politics surrounding the Order and the halo form the larger arc to the story and the one that will carry it forward into future seasons.

Warrior Nun was filmed in Spain and is quite beautiful in places. The choice of location also lends an air of authenticity (and antiquity) that fits well into the story. The action sequences in which the Order does battle are well choreographed and interesting, with decent special effects supporting the production.

My biggest complaint about Warrior Nun is that it gets weighed down in places by its Biblical roots.  Trying to balance an action series with complicated theological legend is tricky and sometimes the writers tip too far into exposition. Because they are still trying to keep the pace going, that exposition ends up fragmented and ultimately confusing by the end of the season. I look forward to some clearer insight in Season 2.

Overall I enjoyed Warrior Nun. It takes some time to warm up to the characters, but we get there. The action sequences are cartoonish enough not to be grotesque, and there are some bits of comic relief to lighten things up on occasion. There’s a lot going on so best to pay attention, and hopefully the murky bits get some clarity as we go forward.  

Warrior Nun is currently streaming on Netflix.

image courtesy of Netflix

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