Warrior Nun is one of those shows that manages to summarise what it is about in the title alone. The opening scenes quickly establish the main character, Ava, dead on a slab. Her voiceover breaks the fourth wall a little, introducing us to her very contemporary character.
Soon a small group of Warrior Nuns burst in, carrying their wounded leader. And a minute later, all hell breaks loose as their attackers arrive.
As the leader dies, a nun extracts a glowing hoop from the leader’s back and to keep it hidden, embeds it in Ava’s back. Soon Ava is on her feet and wandering through town trying to figure out why she is alive.
The high concept opening certainly grabs attention. Sadly, for me, the first three episodes spent far too long on the coming of age themes with Ava trying to make friends with a group of young, good-looking types who squat in rich exiles homes. Yet that was important for Ava actively spends a lot of time denying that she has been “chosen”.
We learn that the golden hoop is an angel’s halo, and the “Order of the Cruciform Sword” has been protecting it for centuries. The series picks up a few episodes in as we see the warrior nuns in action against each other and various demons.
While some have likened the show to Buffy, I found it similar in many ways to Orphan Black, as the central performances really keep you hooked through the sometimes-confusing fantasy sci-fi storyline.
Alba Baptista is brilliant as Ava, and while it is a long time coming, it’s great to see her transition from reluctant teen to accepting her new status. Baptista was auditioned in Ireland as part of an international casting process and impressed the producers – and you can see that she is the magnetic centre of this show.
The rest of the main cast are great too, Toya Turner as the tough-talking Shotgun Mary , Kristina Tonteri-Young as the devout fighter Sister Beatrice. Lorena Andrea is great is the obsessive Sister Lilith and Olivia Delcán as the eager Sister Camilla. Of the elder cast members, Tristán Ulloa is the reliable Father Vincent and Sylvia De Fanti is the strict Mother Superior. The world of science is represented by Thekla Reuten as Salvius with Peter De Jersey as Shaefer. Joaquim de Almeida is great as Cardinal Duretti.
COMIC BOOK ORIGINS
Based on the American comic-book WARRIOR NUN AREALA, a manga-style book first published in the 1990s from Ben Dunn, and developed for TV by Simon Barry (Continuum, Van Helsing), the series boasts some great action and wonderful scenery and locations from across Andalusia in Spain.
Just when you are trying to wrap your head around the reveals in the last episode, the show ends leaving major cliff-hangers. You get the feeling that they could easily explore these characters further, especially Beatrice with her self-identity, and Camilla who surely has a lot of growth ahead.
Content warning for f-bombs and stylised bloody violence.
If you are in any doubt, watch the trailer, which fairly captures the taste of the series. If you can forgive the awful pun at the end, you will be keen to see season two. The show is trending in the USA, UK, India, Brazil, The Netherlands and more so hopes are high that the nuns will return.