After a painfully long wait thanks to the pandemic, the second season of Warrior Nun is finally almost here, and I’m hyped. I’ve been rewatching season one to prepare, and I’m finding it at least as good as I remember, if not better, and I’m realizing this is a story that appeals to me in a very personal way.
Minor spoilers for season one to follow.
In contrast to my raves, overall reception for the first season of Warrior Nun seem to have been a little lukewarm, with particular criticism given to the first half of the season, where Ava is simply learning to adjust to her new life after being confined to a hospital bed since childhood.
A lot of people felt this was a waste of time before getting to the inevitable demon-slaying, but for me, this was probably the best part of the show. I’m starting to think maybe this is because most people lack the life experience to fully appreciate this arc.
As a disabled person, I can feel Ava’s palpable joy as she finds herself able-bodied once more. Now, granted, my disability is primarily mental rather than physical (though it does have physical effects, which people usually ignore when talking about autism), but it still holds me back all the same. I may not have the same set of challenges as Ava, but I still identify with her plight.
My disability has robbed me of an incredible amount of experiences other people take for granted, but there have been moments over the years where I got to truly live in a way that I don’t normally, and in those moments I felt the same joy you see in Ava when she runs on the beach for the first time.
The writers and directors really seemed to get what moments like these are like. Everything about the way these scenes are shot captures the experience. Ava looking up at the stars and seeing them in incredible detail, the way she throws herself into every sensory experience.
Now, in her case she literally couldn’t feel a lot of these things prior to her transformation, but even in my case, I feel like I’ve had similar experiences. If you live most of your life trapped by disability, feeling like you’ve overcome it, even briefly, changes your entire view of reality. Colours shine brighter, food tastes better, you find yourself awestruck by the beauty of sights you see every day.
Once again I also have to give major credit to Alba Baptista for her incredible performance. The childlike joy she exudes in these scenes is palpable.
I imagine some people might prefer a character who manages to be the hero while still fully affected by their disability (a la Professor Xavier, for instance), and that could also be good to see, but for my part at least I still very much see Ava as a disabled person, even now that she can walk and run. She just has a very powerful assistive device in the form of an angel’s halo.
At any rate, for my part, I feel represented by Ava, and I think that’s a large part of why I’m so excited to finally see new episodes of Warrior Nun on the horizon.