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Warrior Nun - Season Two - Review: In The Next…

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In this era of television, shows have to come out of the gate swinging to capture an audience that will earn them a coveted renewal. Netflix's Warrior Nun did just that with its first season, so expectations for its second were exceptionally high. The problem with shows with spectacular first seasons is that the writers can only sometimes follow that up with an equally strong second season. That was certainly not the case for Warrior Nun, as this season held up to expectations and blew them out of the water. This season was tenfold better than its magnificent first, and that seemed impossible given how strong the series launched. With the skilled guidance and participation of series creator and showrunner Simon Barry, this season's writers gave fans everything they could have hoped for and more. The cast delivered spectacularly on their brilliant scripts. The cinematography was stunning, and the post-production CGI work that makes the world of this show pop gave a level of quality rarely seen on Netflix shows these days. This was an excellent example of every part of production working together to deliver a high-quality final product. Every person involved with this season of the show deserves high praise.

This season saw the return of almost the entire cast except for Toya Turner, whose character Mary presumably did not survive the Season 1 cliffhanger. While Turner was missed this season, it is clear why Mary had to be omitted. With two fewer episodes and so much story to pound through, they would have needed more time to give Mary fair screen time. While Vincent (Tristán Ulloa) told Lilith (Lorena Andrea) that Mary was lost, this is the sci-fi/fantasy genre where the lack of physical proof means the door is still open for a character to make a return. While that may not be in the cards for Mary, and we don't know Turner's feelings on the subject, there is always that smidge of hope that we haven't yet seen the actual end of Mary.

Mary's demise did serve as an early catalyst to push Lilith closer to Adriel (William Miller) and her ultimate fate as…well, nobody seems to be entirely sure what she is becoming. Still, whatever she is, she is immensely powerful. This was a terrific season for Andrea, who leaned fully into Lilith's transformation and really went full-on with each phase of Lilith's story. Given that Adriel was defeated in the season finale, albeit at an extremely steep price, that does leave the door open for a new big bad. Will Lilith fill that role? There was still a semblance of the nun we initially met as she did aid Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) in accepting what had to be done to save Ava (Alba Baptista) in the season finale. With her warning of a holy war to come, there is every probability she'll be on the opposite side from her former sisters, but will she be leading the charge or just a loyal general? Only time will tell, but Lilith isn't entirely lost just yet, so maybe there is still hope that her sisters will one day find a way to bring her back into the fold or that they will at least find some common ground.

Lilith's betrayal, Mary's loss, and Adriel's sinister attack on the OCS early on in the season left the original team down several members and scattered across the globe. This did allow for the introduction of Yasmine Amunet (Meena Rayann) to aid in filling a gap within the team. Even though she is very green and still needs training, she did play a crucial role this season. Rayann was a spectacular addition to the cast and the fact that Yasmine survived the season means that we will hopefully get to see this young nun grow and evolve much in the same way Camilla (Olivia Delcán) has. Speaking of Camilla, this was her season to shine, and Delcán embraced it and delivered on the spectacular character evolution the writers gave her character. We still got to see elements of that naive and innocent nun from the first season, but we also saw her as a fierce right-hand warrior to Mother Superion (Sylvia De Fanti) and a pivotal part of the fight against Adriel. This season cost her much of her innocence thanks to Adriel's infiltration of her mind, but she came out of the season stronger than ever. She is fully prepared to aid in training a new generation of OCS nuns.

We also got to see Mother Superion this season showing much more of her fierce no-nonsense warrior and nurturing side. We also got an incredible sequence from her past with a cameo from Ava's halo-bearing predecessor, Shannon (Melina Matthews), in Isaiah 40:31 (2x6). It allowed the audience as well as Ava to learn precisely how Mother Superion went from a halo bearer to the leader of the OCS. That is the same episode where Mother Superion was mortally wounded before being dying and being miraculously resurrected by Ava and the halo in Psalms 116:15 (2x7). That resurrection scene and her mentoring of Ava displayed her more maternal side. Seeing how her loss left everyone devastated showed just how important she is to the overall journey of Ava and the OCS sisters. She also played a pivotal role in Vincent's ultimate return to the side of good by choosing to spare his life in Corinthians 10:20-21 (2x4) despite how catastrophic his betrayal had proven. His actions allowed for Adriel's release and, subsequently, the birth of his First Born Cult he nearly took over the world with, so the fact she allowed him to live is a testament to her ability to judge people. She saw that there was still something good left in him. While the series has a central heart in Ava, Mother Superion is the central heart of the OCS and will undoubtedly be pivotal moving forward as the OCS aims to regroup from Adriel's wrath.

While Mother Superion was resurrected, not all characters this season were so lucky. Miguel, aka Michael (Jack Mullarkey), whom we last saw as a child in Season 1 as he disappeared into the Arc, is now a fully grown man thanks to the time dilation within the Arc. He came back with a purpose, which was to play a pivotal self-sacrificing role in the ultimate defeat of Adriel. This character could have easily been brought in as a new love interest for Ava. Yet, the writers brilliantly avoided that allowing the character to have his own much-deserved story arc while never really being an actual threat to the core love story of the series. Unlike Mary, we did see Michael's demise, and there doesn't seem like much of a way to come back from being blown to smithereens, but, again, this is the sci-fi/fantasy genre, so never say never. It was a brilliant touch that they allowed Michael a few episodes to reconnect with his mom, Jillian (Thekla Reuten). It would have been heartbreaking had she lost him a second time without closure. It will be interesting to see how willing she is to help the group in the future, given that her reason for everything, her son, has been irretrievably taken from her. Mullarkey was a great addition to this season, so if ever an opportunity for him to return would occur, it would be much welcomed.

Meeting an equally undeniable demise was Pope Duretti (Joaquim de Almeida) in Isaiah 40:31. Even though his intentions in the first season were always questionable, he did make big moves this season to try to end Adriel's sinister attempts to control the masses. While he failed, he did play an essential role in helping the nuns. His loss opens the door for a new Pope in a future season which could be an interesting circumstance, given that Mother Superion did have a good working relationship with Duretti. His loss could pose unknown problems for the OCS. This is one character we are unlikely ever to see brought back, but weirder things have happened in this genre so that they could surprise us all.

Onto the most anticipated and desperately hoped-for part of this season, the evolution of the love story between Ava and Beatrice. Feelings between them were strongly hinted at in the first season. Baptista and Tonteri-Young consistently made acting choices throughout the first season that showed what emotions may be lingering just under the surface for both women. It also helped that the two actresses were incredibly well cast opposite each other and brought terrific on-screen chemistry to their characters. The creative team also wasn't shy to push the subtext as potentially leading to more. The writers didn't disappoint with the hype as they leaned full-on into the next phase of the journey for these two characters.

It is said throughout the internet that Beatrice fell for Ava first, but Ava fell the hardest and that fan-based hypothesis seems to have been proven ten-fold this season. From the first moments of Galatians 6:4-5 (2x1), it was pretty apparent that in the two months separating the seasons, Ava's feelings for Beatrice had only grown. Ava goes above and beyond to protect Beatrice throughout the entire season, even though her love interest is more than capable of taking down a whole army of demon-possessed men all on her own, as highlighted spectacularly in the season finale. More than once, it was painfully obvious that Ava wanted to kiss Beatrice, the most prominent example being in Mark 10:45 (2x5) after the halo healed her from a grievous injury and she found herself coming to in Beatrice's arms. What ended in a heartfelt embrace, for Ava, was clearly meant to end in a kiss. Though Beatrice is a brilliant and observant woman, there is little doubt she knew what was happening. The problem with Beatrice is that she was subject to so much shame and ridicule in her younger life. She had a lot to work through in her own head before she was fully ready to accept the feelings and romantic connection everyone else had seen brewing. Only once she had done that could she fully accept and begin to embrace her deep feelings for Ava. The beauty of their story is that everyone can see the growing love between them, and not a single character shames them for it. In fact, Camilla even called Beatrice out on what was obviously transpiring and had firm but steadfast words for the nun that had an impact on allowing Beatrice to start finally dealing with the obvious. Camilla wants to see the two of them together but also ensures that Beatrice understands what she is getting into. The way Tonteri-Young depicted Beatrice's internal struggle with expressions and body language is a testament to how gifted a performer she is. The panic Beatrice showed when Camilla confronted her with deep truths was palpable.

As the season ended, Ava forced Beatrice into a literal dead end so that she could make her feelings undeniably known and try to protect the woman she deeply loves. The kiss that finally solidified them as a canon couple was spectacularly done. It was one of the best setups, well-lit, and cinematographically stunning first kisses to grace the sapphic world. This entire season was one great big showcase for Baptista and Tonteri-Young. Still, this final episode allowed them to dive deep into the emotional bond between the two characters and finally, without question, highlight their undeniable love for one another. Every tear shed throughout the episode felt real, which made the scenes of Ava slowly dying in Beatrice's arms and their ultimate separation at the end, sealed with precious declarations of "I love you", hit with an even harder impact. The quiver in the voice of each actress as they delivered the love declaration pulled at the heartstrings with the raw emotion they conveyed. Truly stunning performances all around for this powerhouse duo.

The season ended with the OCS in firm recovery mode, Yasmine a full-fledged sister, Vincent back with the OCS, Mother Superion still in charge with Camilla by her side, Beatrice leaving the OCS to make her own way in the world, and Ava lost to the Arc. But a pivotal scene showed the Warrior Nun's sword glow blue, indicating that the Warrior Nun may not be as lost to them as might have initially seemed when Beatrice had to release the dying Ava into the void. The cast of this series is exceptional, from top of the cast to bottom, but Baptista is as much the heart of the cast as Ava is the heart of the story. For them not to bring her back for a potential Season 3 would be a complete and utter travesty. Thanks to Michael and Lilith, we know that time works differently in the void of the Arc, but Ava essentially sacrificed herself so that Reya (Andrea Tivadar), who rules over Adriel's realm within the void, could survive. In truth, she did it for Beatrice and her sisters, but Reya did certainly benefit from Ava's actions. Ava is now in Reya's realm, so if the powerful deity seems fit to further repay the debt she now owes to Ava one would imagine Ava would ask for repayment by being sent back to be with Beatrice preferably not aged much more than when she left. Then again, we don't know much about Reya to know where she truly falls in the spectrum of good, evil, or somewhere in between. For the sake of getting Ava back to Beatrice and the sisters let's just all hope that Reya is an honorable deity who will see fit to reward Ava for all she has done to rid her of the Adriel problem. 

While this season was truly spectacular, the biggest problem is that it is on Netflix, which has become more known for canceling shows than renewing them. They have also consistently put minimal effort into promoting this series. The promotion for both seasons has fallen almost solely into the hands of the cast and creative team. Kudos to them because they have built the hype with extraordinarily little participation from Netflix. They also now have the added benefit of the hype that came with Ava and Beatrice becoming a canon couple in addition to just the general hype of how spectacular this season is. The problem is that it's hard to know if any of it will be enough to get this exceptional series a Season 3 renewal. It more than deserves it.

The series delivers high-quality episodes that really leave little to critique. Every person involved in this show knows their role, and they perform it brilliantly. If there is one thing to critique about this series, we need a shorter time between seasons. In the case of this season, Covid heavily impacted their filming schedule, and extra post-production time is necessary to deliver the high quality they are known for. Still, hopefully, we don't have to wait another two-plus years for this story to continue. First, Netflix has to issue the renewal we desperately want to happen. So, keep watching the show on Netflix and post about it on social media. Netflix may put little advertising effort into the show, but that could also benefit a renewal if they see the series hype continue even without their intervention. Then, perhaps, we will all get to avoid the grueling pain of another show in its prime canceled too soon. May we all see each other again "In the next…season."

Please use the comments to discuss your favorite parts of this season.

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