It was when the stately nun grabbed a gun and proceeded to take out a room full of demon-infested priests that I knew Netflix’s Warrior Nun had finally figured out what kind of show it was — and that show was entertaining as hell.
Warrior Nun, the Netflix show about a young woman resurrected from the dead and imbued with superpowers by the halo of an angel to battle the forces of evil (yes, really), first premiered back in 2020. That first season was fine. It was watchable while you’re doing laundry or playing a video game, but with a first half so excruciatingly slow, I wasn’t about to suggest it to friends or family. The second season premiered on November 10th and is much more sure of itself.
It feels as if one of the more entertaining CW superhero shows had been filmed on location in Spain and took the time to choreograph and edit really vicious and entertaining fight scenes. That means the acting ranges from “this person could win an Oscar in 20 years” to “this person will make a career attending cons.” The characters are walking tropes with enough charm to keep you watching, and the pacing is so frenetic you’ll probably get annoyed that you never get to just hang out with these nuns for a filler episode. But the breeziness with which the second season of Warrior Nun moves through its plot is a welcome change from the first season and makes the show an easy and fun weekend binge.
But I should probably explain what Warrior Nun is about. The title is pretty clear, but like the show, it's not big on nuance. Warrior Nun follows Ava (Alba Baptista), a young woman who spent most of her life confined to a bed in an orphanage after a car accident killed her mom and left her paralyzed. In season 1, a nun of the Order of the Cruciform Sword hides the halo of an angel in Ava’s corpse, which ends up bringing Ava back to life and giving her superpowers. As the halo and the powers usually go to an OCS nun who then leads the rest of the order in their fight against demons, there’s a lot of friction between Ava, who’s excited to be walking and also, you know, alive, and the nuns who need her to become a warrior and a leader and a mature adult as quickly as possible.
Season 1 (spoilers!) ended with Ava accidentally freeing the original halo bearer, Adriel (William Miller), an angel who may or may not actually be a demon, and fleeing the Vatican as Adriel possesses everyone around him.
Season 2 finds Ava on the run with her best friend and crush, Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young), a nun from the Order of the Cruciform Sword who is particularly good in a fight. Beatrice is trying to train Ava while the other nuns plot a way to stop Adriel, who is creating a cult and preparing to, once again, fight the pope and the Vatican. When the mysterious new stranger Miguel (Jack Mullarkey) shows up and offers Ava a way to return to the fight, she has to figure out how far she’ll go and what kind of powers she can develop to lead the war against Adriel.
The show is shot in Spain, and it clearly shows. There are car chases on narrow cobblestone streets, fights in centuries-old castles and chapels, and breathtaking mountain views just randomly serve as the backdrop for casual conversations. While the majority of the show is in English, the characters never hesitate to speak Spanish, Italian, and even German when it makes sense. It all makes the show feel a little fancier than The CW and SyFy fair it might otherwise feel similar to.
But along with feeling fancier because of the locale, Warrior Nun just looks nice. Care seems to have been taken to light this show, and the action scenes are almost always impeccably shot and edited. It feels way more high budget than I would assume a schlocky show about nuns who fight demons would have.
After more than a decade of most fantasy shows like Warrior Nun being shot in Vancouver and filled with tons of recognizable Canadian actors, it's nice to have one filled with actors I’m more used to seeing in European art house films. It makes the show feel fresh and different. And that means that when the action does break out and nuns start doing fancy choreographed stunts and wirework, everything feels just a little more goofy and exciting.
I’ll warn you, the second season of Warrior Nun ends on a cliffhanger, and there’s no word on if Netflix will renew the show for a third season. But if you’re looking for an entertaining weekend diversion, or need to take a break from God of War Ragnarök, Warrior Nun is a great choice.
Warrior Nun is streaming on Netflix.