Look, the world is literally on fire and some of us are more than a little behind on watching like, any of the water cooler de jour shows. I still haven’t seen The Old Guard yet. My crowning achievement in August was actually making my way through the second season of The Umbrella Academy. (I still desperately need Emmy Raver-Lampman to get her own show already, dammit.)
In between power outages, orange skies, and COVID, time gets a little funky. So really, it’s a feat in and of itself that I managed to binge-watch Warrior Nun over Labor Day weekend at all. But now that I binged it, I need to TALK about it, which lead to the discovery that despite Warrior Nun being one of the most-watched shows on Netflix’s platform, I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t seen it. (At least I got to skip that whole “will it be renewed or not?” stress!)
To that end, and so I can entice more people to talk about this dumbass show with me on our Community discord, here are five reasons you ought to binge Warrior Nun this weekend. Spoilers ahead.
One giant reason you also need to side-eye the hell out of it.
Ava Silva (Alba Baptista) starts the show as a young woman who has been a quadriplegic for years, cooped up in an orphanage with abusive caretakers and little companionship beyond a 10-year-old boy who was her roommate.
Then said abusive nun murdered her.
Then another nun shoved a magical artifact into her back, which brought her back to life where she could magically move about again.
Then more nuns forcibly take away her new life by drugging her, kidnapping her, trying to literally kill her, beating her, calling her selfish, etc. As each interaction unfolded my head kept tilting sideways until I was worried about breaking my neck.
The show doesn’t really completely resolve this treatment or address it as it should be, and I am really gonna need to see some kind of resolution to that in season 2. (Outside of Lilith who is literally demon shish-kebabed and dragged to hell. She managed to apologize after she got back.)
1. Ava is a glorious dumbass
Wait, Kori, you just got done defending Ava! I did, and I stand by that. However, Ava is also a little shit in her own right and just. such. a. disaster. A sarcastic, dumbass, disaster.
I want more lady heroes, well, I want more lady heroes period, but I especially want to see flawed but ultimately heroic lady heroes. And I have a soft spot for the heroic dumbass trope.
This is not in reference to Ava’s lack of worldly knowledge being cooped up in the orphanage. No, this is in reference to this little dumbass’ gloriously foul mouth, love of terrible puns, inappropriate humor, and not-so-hidden want of a family.
I love this little disaster baby who can flip from this:
2. Shotgun Mary
Everything about Shotgun Mary (Toya Turner) is a delight. First, props for casting a dark-skinned Black actress for such a major role. Shotgun Mary is, perhaps, the best-developed character of season one, and she is richly complex.
She grieves desperately for the previous halo bearer’s death, while still finding the immense willpower to protect this new baby dumbass from both herself and her fellow OCS sisters. Mary isn’t a nun herself, which makes her all the more compelling. She doesn’t HAVE to follow the code the others do, instead, she’s developed a strong moral compass all her own.
One that in the middle of some of her darkest grief has her moving one step at a time to risk her life to protect Ava from Lilith and other monsters. It’s Mary who finally, freely, gives Ava a choice in her life, after filling in answers and perspective for her. It’s Mary who shoulders the loss of Shannon by deciding to both avenge her murder, and make sure the next halo bearer is kept safe.
And it’s Mary who has to put up with Ava the Dumbass the most. I can almost forgive her for literally yeeting Ava’s ass off a cliff. Mary could easily be the main protagonist if they ever want to give her a spin-off, though I would miss her being the semi-responsible older sister for this group of idiots.
3. Lady Lilith of the Glass Cheekbones
Besides having cheekbone structure to die for, Lilith (Lorena Andrea) does a tremendous amount of growing as a character this season. We first see her as ruthless, bitter, and literally willing to murder an innocent woman just to get a glowing circle that her family has impressed on her is basically her birthright. (Gee, sound like Cheryl much?)
Only for her to seemingly give her life for that woman at the last moment, to where she takes a magical mushroom ride down to hell and magically teleports back up mostly healed.
With retractable claws, nifty teleportation powers, and prematurely graying hair.
The first time Lilith sees Ava post-shish-kebabing we see a totally different person. Yes, the the rougher edges are still there, but this is a humbled woman who is openly vulnerable, genuinely apologizing. That’s growth.
Also, she just murder throats Sister Crimson, so. Bonus points.
4. “Accidental” Ship Launching
Do I particularly think Warrior Nun set out to launch an epic femslash ship? For much of the first season, Ava is running amok with a seemingly nice lad called JC who promptly peaces out to never be seen again (after the aforementioned Lilith-kebabing.)
But then Warrior Nun had to go and reveal in a very well-done and heartfelt scene that Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) is in fact, kryptonite to wlw everywhere. That is to say, she’s an emotionally-repressed lesbian.
Beatrice confesses that she was taught to hate that part of herself. Indeed we realize her parents shipped her off to boarding school to try and “fix” her, and by Beatrice’s own admission her pain was what caused her to join the warrior nuns. But then Ava, my glorious baby dumbass, just had to go and respond to that pain by telling her not to hate who she was. In fact:
So not only did we drop character kryptonite on wlw viewers, we also gave them one of their favorite shipping tropes of all time: golden (dumbass) retriever character meets emotionally constipated woman.
And then, THEN the show had to follow up with Beatrice joining in on the pun-making with Ava, promising her that she (fine, and the other sisters) would never leave Ava no matter what, and sprinkled in moments like this.
Worse, Beatrice is terrifyingly capable and efficient. This leads to another favorite trope: Lady Kick-your-ass and Lady Dumbass. (Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey, Korrasami)
This is how ships (it might not have started completely that way, but they totally knew they were onto something by the end of the season) start folks. I don’t blame the “Avatrice” shippers one bit for taking a look at this and saying “sign me up!”.
5. It’s a found family affair!… of idiots
I love a found family story. Found family stories make my world go round. The first season was definitely rocky in places and I am certainly expecting a more evened out season two (hi, Umbrella Academy!) whenever we finally get it.
But I also dearly, dearly love dumbasses. And this show is full of dumbasses, maybe not on the same level as Ava, but lord are they a bunch of idiots and I adore them. Warrior Nun is at its best when it focuses on this growing sisterhood (and Mary’s eternal “done-ness” with everyone), and I need more of this next season.
Right after they escape that demon horde trying to kill them.
Bonus Reason: Sister Camila
Y’all, Sister Camila (Olivia Delcán) is a perfect, precious bean who can do no wrong and I will cut anyone who tries to say otherwise.
Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!