A Hero’s Journey. Probably the most common trope in fiction. And yet, it is still a narrative art that speaks to us on many levels. ‘Warrior Nun’ brings another such tale of an unlikely hero, who eventually defies all odds to prove herself. And as archetypal as it may seem, the show’s contemporary take on the trope, its timely twists, and its spectacular world-building almost bring it in par with other similar classics that we can never get tired of. The comic book adaptation first creates a religious foundation and then intermingles it with slambang action and intriguing magical elements. However, despite having moments that completely surpass your expectations, ‘Warrior Nun’ is weighed down by its uneven pace, especially midway through its runtime, and its inconclusive ending.
Warrior Nun Recap
Alba Baptista plays the role of a quadriplegic teenage girl named Ava, who lives in an orphanage in Spain after her parents die in a car accident. At the orphanage, she dies because of unknown circumstances but later wakes up in a morgue with an angel’s halo embedded in her back. The nuns who witness this miracle are forced to take her under their wing while a war between heaven and hell starts to unfold. In the meantime, Ava sees this as a second chance to live her life.
After living a good part of her life all being lonely and paralyzed at an orphanage, she now tries to make the best of her second chance. As a result, she resists the responsibilities that the church forces on her. But with time, she, too, realizes that as much as she craves a normal life, only she can save the world from the ongoing crusade. With this, along with her fellow warrior nuns, Ava sets out to dig deeper into the secrets of the higher powers of their church. But little do they realize that they are not prepared for what lies ahead.
Warrior Nun Review
‘Warrior Nun’ is split into three major acts: the hero’s call to adventure, the hero’s resistance, and finally, the hero’s journey towards “atonement.” The series starts off really well with some gory action scenes and a very strong conflict revolving around setting the framework for the main character’s true purpose. But midway through its runtime, as it transitions to its second act, the show starts to run dry because of its redundant depiction of Ava’s resistance to her newfound abilities and responsibilities. During these moments, the clarity of its previously established purpose starts to dwindle, and the show starts losing itself in its coming-of-age subplots.
While the performances of its cast keep it afloat even during these dry spells, it’s the show’s uneven pacing that moves it further away from its primary conflict. From its opening scene itself, ‘Warrior Nun’ sets the stage with a very quick pace. But when it suddenly takes a step back in its second act and starts to overly rely on Ava’s teenage hijinks to drive its narrative, it truly suffers. To an extent, Alba Baptista saves it from going completely downhill with her grounded and likable depiction of her character. Even so, this mid runtime pause could be a big turn off for many viewers, especially considering that it’s a 10-episode season. Moreover, there’s also some forced comedy here that is presented as the inner monologues of the main character. For the most part, though, it misses more than it hits.
Fortunately, ‘Warrior Nun’ barely struggles to find its feet again in the third act. Its coming-of-age of narrative dissolves into nothingness, and its plot is flooded with jarring twists and revelations. Adding more heft to these is its undertone of philosophical themes that blur the lines between good and evil. The last few episodes never leave a dull moment. While Ava starts to find her way to her true calling, the series subtly turns all of its previous foreshadowings into red herrings. Replete with wall-to-wall action scenes and an equal amount of emotional depth, ‘Warrior Nun’ perfectly culminates its first two acts and leads you to its conclusion. And most viewers who’ll manage to stick around even after its monotonous halfway segment will very well accept its final moments as a perfect pay off.
Sadly, after all of this, ‘Warrior Nun’ only sets you up for a disappointing conclusion that leaves you with more questions than answers. Even so, as much as I despise Netflix’s typical approach of keeping a viewer in the lurch, I would still love to know what will happen in the next season. Sure, season one of ‘Warrior Nun’ is far from being perfect, and its ending is not something I was looking forward to. But it still manages to be good enough to acquire the attention of several viewers, who, like me, would look forward to its next season.
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