The following contains spoilers for Warrior Nun.
The conclusion of Netflix’s Warrior Nun launches its viewers directly off a cliff, and we’re left hanging until (an as of yet unannounced) season 2. The explosive finale leaves things off with more questions than answers. But here are some attempts at answers anyway.
In the beginning of the season, Ava (Alba Baptista) is resurrected by a halo that heals her paraplegia and gives her superpowers. But with great power comes great responsibility, as she’s expected to take on the mantle of Warrior Nun —and fight demons— for the Order of the Cruciform Sword (OCS). After spending the majority of the season running away from the duties that were thrust upon her, she ultimately decides to use her power to stop the cycle of “girls being used, abused, and tossed away by powerful men.” In the penultimate episode, Ava and her allies, Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young), Sister Camile (Olivia Declán), Shotgun Mary (Toya Turner), Father Vincent (Tristán Ulloa), and Lilith (Lorena Andrea), infiltrate the catacombs underneath the Vatican to find the tomb of the angel Adriel (William Miller) —original owner of the halo— to destroy his bones and stop demons from coming to this world.
When Ava enters the supposed tomb, she finds Adriel alive. He immediately spins a tale of being tricked and stolen from, which almost convinces Ava to return the halo to him. But when he touches her, she experiences an Avatar-state like reliving of Areala’s past, likely fueled by the halo, which shows Adriel appearing out of nowhere, with halo in tow, and a Tarask demon hot on his tail.
Adriel pretends to be an angel, and uses the halo to revive Areala (Guiomar Alonso), and convince the Knights Templar to fight for him against “the devils.” He forges his armor, shield, and the Cruciform sword from the melted-down remains of a Tarask —the source of Divinium. Areala knows he’s neither man nor angel, but doesn’t immediately expose him for fear of having the halo, and her life, taken away. Ava, like Areala, sees through Adriel’s bullshit, so he drops the pretense and tries to rip the halo out of Ava’s body.
Previously, scientist Jillian Salvius (Thekla Reuten) saved her son, Michael (Lope Haydn Evans), by infusing his blood with Divinium she harvested from Adriel’s armor. Unbeknownst to her, this created a connection between Michael and the armor’s original owner, which allowed Adriel to manipulate her by way of her son. She builds a portal to take Michael to a world where “death doesn’t exist,” or so she believes. When Adriel tries to yank the halo from Ava’s body, the portal opens, and Michael travels through it alone. The portal closes when Ava manages to push Adriel away, suggesting the halo is a key.
Throughout the season, Mary investigates the death of the previous Warrior Nun, Sister Shannon, and when it becomes clear Shannon was targeted, the evidence points to Cardinal Duretti (Joaquim de Almeda). Duretti’s guilt seems apparent, as he attempts to seize control over the halo, and undermine Father Vincent, including bringing his own coven into the OCS to replace Mary, Beatrice, Camila, and Lilith. When Ava and the team are infiltrating the Vatican, Mother Superion (Sylvia De Fanti) confronts now-Pope Duretti about the bones, and Shannon’s murder. But he has no idea what she’s talking about. Turns out, Father Vincent pulled the long con. He convinced everyone that Duretti killed Shannon to gain power, which Duretti played into by reigning in the OCS and ascending to the papacy, all the while he was responsible. He manipulated the OCS to free Adriel and return the halo to him.
The sisters have to quickly get over the fact that they’ve been played and go fisticuffs with Adriel. Lilith —who came back from… somewhere, with powers of her own— briefly overpowers him, but he survives a point-blank arrow to the head. When Ava shows up with the halo recharged, ready to fight with the Cruciform sword, Adriel summons non-corporeal Wraith demons to possess nearby civilians. The women all prepare to fight. Mary, true to her name, goes in guns blazing. And in the most disrespectful cliffhanger I’ve seen in a long time, the screen fades to black as Mary is overrun by the possessed. We don’t see what happens to her, or the others.
What we know is this. Adriel is not an angel. He stole the halo and escaped to this world, and the Tarask want it back. He lied to the Knights Templar about being an angel, so they would fight the Tarask for him, and the Order of the Cruciform Sword was built around that lie. Adriel has kept up with the outside world through his connection to his Divinium artifacts, and used his connection to Michael Salvius to influence Jillian to build him an interdimensional portal, for which the halo is likely a key. What we don’t know is what the portal is for and who the halo belongs to.
Mayhaps the halo belongs to the OG fallen angel, Lucifer, himself. The Tarask could be demons, sent from hell to retrieve the halo for the dark lord. Or, maybe the halo belongs to another entity, an angelic one, which might mean the Tarask are not categorically evil. Lilith’s conversation with Adriel before fists start flying suggests her newfound powers come from the Tarask, or from their world, which makes the question of whether they are good or evil difficult to answer. Lilith’s comic book counterpart is half-angel, half-demon, so it is equally plausible that her powers — and the Tarasks— are angelic in nature.
We’ll have to wait for a second season to learn more about Adriel, Lilith, and the Tarask. And to discover what Lilith has become, and where Michael has gone, and what the portal is for. We’re left with the knowledge that Adriel and Father Vincent are The Bad Guys. The OCS is founded on lies, but their mission —ridding the world of demons— remains the same. The real fight has just begun, and we hope Warrior Nun gets the chance to show us in a second season.