Updated: Jan 11
Warrior Nun Season 2 dropped on Netflix on November 10th, 2022 after two very long years of patience from the series’ most dedicated fans. Despite remarkably non-existent Netflix promotion, hard core fans spread the season 2 trailer far and wide, which pushed the show firmly onto Netflix’s Global Top 10 English TV list for three weeks after its release. The first season even made an appearance on the list!
Unsurprisingly, the second season was released to thunderous applause from old fans and new fans alike, and, by all accounts, seems to be universally liked with a 100% Critics Score on Rotten Tomatoes and an incredible 99% Audience Score from over 8,000 reviewers. And, as an old fan amongst the crowd that eagerly awaited any word of season 2’s release, I can honestly say that I am in complete agreement with the consensus. The second season of this show was incredible from start to finish.
Unfortunately, I have to add that Netflix cancelled the series a month after the season 2 release, which has sparked a hopeful and expansive campaign by fans and much of the cast and crew, including series creator Simon Barry, to get the series renewed or picked up by another network. As of the time of writing, about three weeks after Simon’s Barry’s cancellation announcement on twitter, the fan-made petition to save Warrior Nun has over 105,000 signatures and the hashtag #SaveWarriorNun has been tweeted over 5.8 million times!
(Note: there were many typos during these tweet storms, so the number of related tweets is significantly higher than 5.8 million, but alas, autocorrect has failed us again.)
So, after all of that background, I am excited to finally dive into my Warrior Nun Season 2 review! (Spoilers ahead!)
Season 2 Overview: Warrior Nun is a triumph for the fantasy/action genre
Season 2 of Warrior Nun, to the initial upset of many, did not pick up directly after the massive season 1 cliffhanger. Instead, the season starts us off two months later with the members of the OCS scattered across Europe and in hiding. Ava and Beatrice are in Switzerland, living out a major roommate AU as Ava trains and prepares to face Adriel, Camila and Mother Superion are in Spain, hiding out in a secret OCS post in a convent, Lilith is hunting down Father Vincent in Portugal as she falls more and more into her new demon ways (minus the white season 1 finale wig, thank Bisexual Jesus), and Mary is missing.
Meanwhile, Jillian Salvius is a (beautifully) disheveled mess as she desperately searches for ways to bring her son back from wherever the Arc leads, Christian Shaffer is running ArqTech in her absence, funneling funds into a large construction project for Adriel and his cult, Pope Duretti is feeling his dubiously-earned power as Pope slipping from his grasp while Adriel’s power grows in his campaign to convince the world that he is an Angel sent to save them from a series of deadly plagues.
And finally, we’re introduced to two new characters! First is Miguel, a mysterious stranger in the Alps who attempts to recruit Ava (and Beatrice, since they’re attached at the hip) into his group of underground rebels as they fight Adriel’s followers and expose his secrets. The second character is Yasmine Amunet, a ray of sunshine Coptic Nun who is on a mission to locate the Warrior Nun to aid her in her fight against Adriel.
All of this tees us up for an epic season that features some of the best fight sequences I’ve seen in a while, remarkable cinematography that feels like it belongs on the big screen in a top-tier film festival, incredible performances from a refreshingly international cast, and a story that has viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.
This series has taken what could have been an overly campy series about a bunch of nuns fighting demons and turned it into a powerful drama, a kickass action series, and an exciting sci fi/fantasy adventure that contains echoes of an evolved take on the Buffy genre of storytelling.
Where this show really triumphs is in how well it seems to know itself. Unlike shows of the past with 20+ episode runs, these seasons are short - just 10 episodes for the first season and 8 episodes for the second - and leave very little room for filler. Every scene is important for character development, plot development, or world building, and it's very much felt as the action amps up from episode to episode.
Let’s break it down a little more, because I have plenty to say and someone has to impose boundaries in this review or I will never stop.
This season, a lot of the big questions were answered. Here a few of the highlights:
What happened to Mary?
Unfortunately, Vincent reveals to Lilith that Mary did not survive her defeat in the season 1 finale. This was a devastating blow to a lot of fans, as Mary was by far a fan favourite character, and, though this season was phenomenal, Toya Turner’s absence was felt in every episode.
Simon Barry revealed in an interview with ScreenRant that Toya Turner was unable to make filming for the second season due to personal reasons, which has given fans a touch of hope that, if the show is picked up for a third season, she might be able to make a miraculous return. But who is to say?
What's up with Adriel?
One of the delights of this season was getting to see William Miller lean into his role as Adriel, giving us insight into who he is and what he wants. We discover that Adriel is from a realm where a mysterious god-like being named Reya rules. According to him, she’s a tyrant, and everything he’s done on Earth has been in an effort to capture Reya and trap her, including stealing the halo from her, hiding it from her tarasks (oh yeah, there’s that new detail!) in Areala, and his mission to form a cult in his name and seize power on Earth.
What happened to Michael?
Last we saw Michael, he was a young boy who vanished into a portal that he helped his mother create by relaying his communications with Adriel. Well, remember that new character Miguel? Turns out that’s Michael, but all grown up! This was a big surprise to some, and not a surprise at all to others, given his name and the fact that Jack Mullarkey was cast so well that he looks like a CSI-esque render of what little Michael would look like as an adult.
Apparently, the “other side,” as they call it, experiences time very differently. Where maybe a couple of weeks max had passed on Earth by the time Adult!Michael reappeared to start building his teensy rebellion, nearly fifteen years had passed for him as Kid!Michael while on the “other side.” He does reunite with his mother, Jillian, and gives her an overview of what happened to him on the other side. To summarize, he was alone, and then he wasn't, saved by what he describes as wandering Angels who took him to a shining city. This is presumably where Reya healed him and set out training him for his return to Earth.
Sadly, this story ends in tragedy. Michael's return was as a weapon on Reyla's behalf. He helped Reya to convince Ava that the only way to defeat Adriel was for Ava to use the halo to detonate the divinium in Michael's body, essentially turning him into a deadly bomb. In the end, he dies before the bomb is activated when Lilith rips his heart out before Ava's eyes. Still, Ava manages to complete his mission, blowing up his body and wounding Adriel. Unfortunately, this was not enough to kill Adriel, but Ava was able to think of a backup plan before succumbing to her own wounds, defeating Adriel for both her and Michael.
What's up with Father Vincent?
This one was only partially answered, as we didn’t really get much by way of his reasonings for joining Adriel and betraying the OCS beyond his pursuit of a "better world," but we did see that his faith was not as strong as he thought it was. By the end of the season, he has seen Adriel to be nothing more than a fallible being with great power and rejoins Ava and the OCS in the finale to defeat him.
Questions unanswered and new questions
Unsurprisingly, this season left us with more questions than it answered. Here are some of the ones I had hoped to see answered, and some of the new ones that popped up along the way:
What's up with the halo?
The halo’s origins remain impressively unclear in season 2. We know that Adriel stole it from Reya and hid it on Earth, and we now know that the tarasks were sent by Reya to retrieve it. What we don’t know is how it works and whether it was made by Reya or simply in her possession. We also don’t know what would really happen to Ava if the halo was removed.
Is Reya good or bad?
This question is probably an oversimplification, but the second season introduced the audience to Reya as the being who healed Michael, and then went on to reveal that she also sent him back to Earth as a soldier whose sole mission was to die as a suicide bomber alongside Ava in their battle against Adriel. Sus, if you ask me. Do not trust. I need answers, Simon Barry.
What's going on with Lilith?
So we did get some answers about this, like the fact that Adriel told Lilith that she had Reya’s blood flowing through her. Considering the tarasks are, we are lead to think, Reya’s creations, it tracks that Lilith is becoming some version of a tarask, or like a cousin to the tarask. But, as we see this season, her transformation leaves her with a completely different vibe than everyone’s favourite, Carl the tarask (it’s a fan thing). So what’s up with that? She has wings now, some sort of scale-like texture to much of her skin, and she’s now able to see demons. Interesting. Tell me more.
What's up with demons?
This season, we see Adriel wield the demons like tools, using them to possess his followers, fight his battles, retrieve Reya from the “other side,” and just generally chilling with them at his compound. What’s unclear is whether the demons are of his creation, beings of some sort that work alongside him, or something else entirely. What’s also unclear at the end of the season is whether demons will remain on Earth after Adriel’s fall in the finale. If not, what purpose will the OCS serve without their presence?
So... is Ava bisexual Jesus?
The fandom has taken to this name very quickly since the release of season 2, and it’s very fitting considering Ava’s arc throughout the season with the walking on water thing, the crown of thorns thing, the revived from death thing, and the heartbreaking sacrifice for the world thing that we saw in the finale. What isn’t fully answered is whether Ava’s role in all of this is purely coincidental or if there are higher powers at work in her life than she realizes? Did the halo choose her? Can it even choose people? Or if they had kept it in the backs of all those dead former Warrior Nuns, would it have revived them from death too? So. Many. Questions.
The part where I praise everyone involved in this show
I just needed to add a section to express how well made this production is. Despite its small budget, this show pulls out some of the most striking visuals and performances available on Netflix today. The shots, filmed on a Sony Venice with Cooke lenses (according to Simon Barry) by cinematographers Chris LaVasseur and Imanol Nabel, are stunning, from the quiet dramatic scenes to the epic battles against evil. Everyone on the production deserves accolades for the look and feel of this show. (Note: Check out my presently ongoing thread on twitter of some of these amazing shots.) The VFX team, The Embassy Visual Effects, also did phenomenal work on a show that often leans heavily on VFX to bring the magic of this world to life. From the glowing sword to the composite scenic backgrounds and the gory healing effects throughout the series, this team has pulled off miracles in every episode. My personal favourite this season was the crown of thorns!
Finally, the writers, the crew, the stunt team, and the cast. The first season was excellent, but this season felt like it was made to beat season 1 in every single way. The stunts were bigger, the actors were more involved, and the blood absolutely rained. It was awesome! And this only served to further accentuate the quiet, more dramatic scenes, highlighting the incredible performances from every member of this cast, which was lead remarkably by Alba Baptista, whose captivating performances just get better and better every time she appears on screen in a new project.
Just all around an incredible season of television, and a gorgeous series. So… let’s #SaveWarriorNun, already.
The Few Things I’m Unsure About
Okay, before we go on, I think I should probably mention the very few things in this season that didn’t make the “I love this” list.
Lilith & Adriel
The romance between Lilith and Adriel was a bit hard to swallow for me and a lot of die-hard fans. I don’t so much have issues with Lilith turning against the OCS, it’s honestly very within character despite where we left off in season 1, and gives her more space to grow and change outside of the sisterhood, but the Adriel x Lilith kiss? Not a fan. Though I can see why the writers may have gone this route, possibly hoping to give more strength to their quick bond, it felt a little flat and one dimensional for both characters, who are far from one dimensional and flat. The good news is that the season spent literally one scene actually showing their dark romance, conveniently covering the kiss with one of Lilith’s cool new wings. So I can’t complain too much.
Ava's character interactions
Ava’s arc this season was beautiful and heartbreaking, as much of it involved her feeling duty-bound to protect her newfound family at all costs, even if the costs include her own life. So it was a little disheartening to see that she shared so few one-on-one scenes with characters that weren’t Beatrice, her love interest, and Michael, her bomb buddy from the other side. I would have liked to see more scenes with Ava and Camila the most. They've had very little one-on-one time to actually bond and it's become the most frustrating part of the series for me. Clearly they have a bond, but we aren't really privy to seeing how it formed and what their interactions are like.
We did get some very solid scenes with Ava and Mother Superion, which I adored, but what a missed opportunity it was to not have Ava and Jillian Salvius bond over Ava’s love for ArqTech’s former handicap-aid projects. I would love to have seen a scene of two of them just… talking about science, life, and what it's like to meet your heroes. And finally, with the introduction of Yasmine, played adorably by Meena Rayann, I would have loved to see a one-on-one scene with her and Ava. They both have similar golden retriever-esque energy and I think they’d get along swimmingly. It would also be immensely interesting to see someone who doesn’t know her full story get to know Ava as the Warrior Nun, not the girl who came back from the dead when she accidentally received the halo. Overall, I understand that pacing had to be very tight for this 8 episode season, but these are interactions that I feel would’ve made the final moments of the season that much more impactful. After all, Ava loves her friends enough to die for them.
Finally, Avatrice, Avatrice, Avatrice
If you’re reading this on this site, you’re probably mainly here because you’re an Avatrice shipper like every other warm blooded gay, ace, and ally who has seen this show. As you should be, this ship has everything! I’ll admit, going into season 2, I wasn't hopeful for any sort of conclusive Avatrice romance. I figured we’d get a few gay panic moments, some big Beatrice feelings reveal at the end of the season that would have taken Ava completely by surprise, and a few “I’ll protect you!” moments for fun. Crumbs, if you will. But what we got? A whole feast. Ava and Beatrice’s slow burn from season 1 to season 2 was masterfully done and something that every writer of romance should take note of. Every interaction between them, every single scene, is layered with subtle (then not so subtle) hints at their growing bond in a way that feels both deliberate and completely natural. In season 2, they’re often seen sharing glances, reaching for each other, holding hands, and comforting each other with small smiles and gentle touches, all of which works to build this beautiful foundation of trust between these two women. They spend the first two episodes in what is essentially a roommates AU in Switzerland and then jump right into angst-heavy, “please don’t leave me” dramatic scenes as Beatrice clings to Ava’s bloody body. Honestly, most of this season felt like it was right out of fanfiction in the best possible way, even up to the big kiss and the dying love confession in the finale.
Alba Baptista and Kristina Tonteri-Young have incredible on screen chemistry and it comes across with every little glance their characters share, making this gentle love story just feel... right. They didn’t have the oft-used oversexualized lesbian trope, or the poor communication trope, or the “we can’t be together” trope... they just were. They fell in love, and they saved the world, and they gave up everything to show each other the depths of that love, and that is what makes this ship so incredibly poignant to its fans. It was treated like the type of epic soft romance that is usually only reserved for well written straight ships. And that? That’s something new for many in the Sapphic community. And the best part? Neither of them died!
Okay, time to wrap this novel up. The show as a whole is incredible, but the second season is surely where it shines the most. This is a season of television that no one should miss. If you’ve made it this far in the review, you’ve probably already seen and loved the show, but, if you’re not already a fan, then please consider streaming seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix, sharing the show with your friends (who have their own accounts, because analytics), signing the petition, and tweeting about the show using the hashtag #SaveWarriorNun (check your spelling before you tweet!).
It would be a dream come true to see these incredible characters on our screens again. Not just for the groundbreaking Sapphic romance, but for the art, the story, this incredible cast, and the epic fight scenes. This is a cast and crew that deserves to see this story reach a proper conclusion.