It’s been more than two years since the first season was released on Netflix, but Warrior Nun is back—and after that cliffhanger ending, there’s hell to pay. The first 10-episode season of the show concluded with a swift cut-to-black in the middle of the final battle between the titular Warrior Nun, her Order of the Cruciform Sword sisters, and the angel Adriel, who was just released from his imprisonment beneath the Vatican. Now, in its second season, the series finds its footing, offering a second outing that feels triumphant and poignant, while still capturing the fun spirit of its first.
Warrior Nun picks up two months after the battle at the Vatican, with Ava (Alba Baptista) and Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) in hiding from Adriel (William Miller), as his popularity and influence around the globe has risen in the time since he first revealed himself to the world. Adriel’s goal is to unite the world under his own religion, making himself the walking, talking savior among the commoners. Mother Superion (Sylvia De Fanti), Sister Camila (Olivia Delcán), and the OCS must reunite to take down this angel, and save the world from becoming a homogeneously brainwashed hellscape.
While Season 1 suffered from inconsistent pacing and its cliffhanger ending, Warrior Nun’s second season builds on all the successful aspects of the first season (like its well-rounded characters, intriguing lore, and badass fight sequences), while learning from the elements that didn’t quite work the first time around (Ava has considerably less voice-over work, for example—a point of heavy critique from Season 1). The weakest elements of this new season stem directly from its unresolved ending and subsequent time-jump, but the series handles the fallout with clumsy adequacy.
Instead of lingering too hard on that final battle, Season 2 pushes forward, creating a storyline that is simultaneously emotionally taxing and strikingly poignant, anchoring its lore-heavy concepts to the core relationships between the characters. In particular, the relationship between Ava and Beatrice is the emotional center of the second season, and the dynamic built between the two of them informs every single scene. It’s beautiful to watch as the theological and scientific storylines all tether back to the grounded and real connection between these two women, bound by duty and sacrifice. Even the series’ critiques of the Catholic Church rest on the shoulders of the characters and their relationship with their faith, channeled through Sister Lilith (Lorena Andrea), Camila, and Beatrice’s season-long arcs.
The questions posed of both its audience and the universe in this second season feel succinct and timely, questioning not only the so-called gods above, but those that walk among us—and what we lose when people fall in line around those influential figures. This second season ponders life after death, the god-like influencer, and the weight and burden of love and sacrifice, all within the vast scope of its sprawling lore. Without as much heavy-lifting to do at the beginning of the season by reentering this established world, the new episodes flow smoothly, allowing for a seamless incorporation of both new and old concepts into the later episodes—especially in regards to its interpretation of the crossroads of religion, science, and the world beyond our own.
The high-stakes action set-pieces in this season are stunning, and the balance between them and emotional character interaction is perfectly found in these 8 episodes (all of which were available for review). The performances that made Season 1 so successful are elevated further in this second season, with central players Baptista, Tonteri-Young, Andrea, De Fanti, and Delcán delivering heartfelt and moving performances. And, even though I have my fair share of complaints about the first season’s unresolved ending, the second season’s cliffhanger feels earned, allowing the series to keep the door open for future seasons without sacrificing the story they spent the past 8 episodes telling.
Warrior Nun’s return from hiatus is absolutely a triumph, but it is coming back to a much different Netflix than when it premiered in July of 2020. Since its premiere and renewal, Netflix has slashed various queer and women-led series, building itself a sprawling graveyard of shows centered around the stories of women, queer people, and people of color. In that way, Warrior Nun feels like an underdog in its second season premiere, but also a shining example of what could be if Netflix would simply give these series a chance. Despite the lukewarm critical reception for Season 1, Netflix renewed it anyway, which allowed Warrior Nun to learn and grow as a series, and come out the other side stronger than ever.
For fans of Warrior Nun’s freshman outing, this season is a welcome return to a world we know and love, and a love letter to the characters that captured so many in its first season. For those new to the series, Season 2’s release is the perfect opportunity to jump in, especially without the two year wait between seasons. Delivering striking action with a tasteful amount of sacrilege, Warrior Nun’s return is a quick binge absolutely worth your devotion.
Warrior Nun Season 2 premieres Thursday, November 10th on Netflix.
Anna Govert is an entertainment writer based in middle-of-nowhere Indiana. For any and all thoughts about TV, film, and the wonderful insanity of Riverdale, you can follow her @annagovert.
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