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The Ending Of Warrior Nun Season 1 Explained

Contains spoilers for Warrior Nun season 1

The first season of Warrior Nun from series creator Simon Barry (Ghost WarsBad Blood) has finally dropped on Netflix, and the demon-fighting adaptation of Benn Dunn's cult hit comic, Warrior Nun Areala, doesn't disappoint. For fans of the source material, the streaming series is more "inspired by" Dunn's work than it is a rote adaptation. Instead of following Dunn's classic protagonist Sister Shannon Masters, Warrior Nun makes the bold choice to open with Shannon's death and a literal passing of the halo to a new character, Ava, played with understated charm by Portuguese actress Alba Baptista.

The comic series, from indie publisher Antarctic Press, launched back in 1994, and immediately ginned up Da Vinci Code levels of outrage for its irreverent depictions of the Catholic church and risqué take on the traditional nun's habit. The series principally concerns a fictional military arm of magical warrior nuns called the Order of the Cruciform Sword (OCS). The OCS was founded in 1066 at the height of the Crusades by the Valkyrie Auria who renounced paganism and adopted the Christian name Areala. Dunn's Shannon Masters is an avatar of Auria-Areala. 

Much of this lore is repurposed by Barry for Warrior Nun, though often in surprising ways. The show's complex mythology starts unfolding at an accelerated pace by season's end, culminating in an action-packed finale that pushes each of the show's three disparate plot threads to a satisfying climax without really resolving any of them. Here's a breakdown of everything that transpired in that apocalyptic final episode, appropriately entitled "Revelations 2:10."

Warrior Nun picks up the pace heading into the final episode

Series protagonist Ava is a paralyzed orphan living out her days in a pretty unpleasant-looking Spanish convent. On the very first episode of Warrior Nun, she dies under mysterious circumstances, and the nun who brings her body to receive last rites doesn't seem too broken up about it. Ava was apparently a challenging ward, and you get the sense that the nuns from the orphanage aren't exactly sorry to be unburdened by her care.

Shortly after Ava's body arrives at the Spanish monastery, a team of demon-slaying nuns from the OCS burst in carrying the mortally wounded body of their comrade: Shannon Masters (Melina Matthews). A band of hellspawn are hot on their tails, however, and the devils and demons soon penetrate the monastery's defenses. One of the non-sword-wielding nuns uses a diesel set of tongs to remove a glowing artifact from Shannon's back, which they refer to as "the Halo."

No surprise, the demons are after the Halo, and it's apparently of the utmost importance that they not get their hellacious claws on it. The nun evades capture and hides the Halo inside Ava's corpse. Ava is promptly resurrected by the artifact's insertion, and — guess what? She's no longer paralyzed. Not only that, but she seems to have acquired a pretty radical set of superpowers, including super strength and super healing. You can think of her like a Catholic Superman-Wolverine.

While the series opens with a real bang, the plot drags a bit in the middle of the season when focus shifts from the existential struggle between good and evil to a more mundane character story, as Ava rapidly explores the contours of her new life as a "normal" young woman. Thankfully, this slower storyline falls by the wayside by the time the season reaches its conclusion, and Ava finds herself smack dab in the middle of a centuries-long struggle of literally Biblical proportions.

Ava learns the origin of her powers on the season finale of Warrior Nun

Episode 10 opens with Ava still locked inside the tomb where she ended up at the end of episode 9. The rest of the OCS are on the outside looking in. She isn't alone down there, however. The entity Adriel (William Miller), who falsely presents himself as an angel, is inside the tomb with our revenant heroine, and he's got a story to tell. Adriel tells Ava that the Halo in her back was stolen from him by Areala (Guiomar Alonso) in 1066, and since then he's been on a millennial mission to get it back. Adriel claims that the church has kept him sealed away inside the tomb because they know he can't be defeated in the mortal world. This is a bit of a head-scratcher for Ava, who doesn't understand why the church wouldn't be all about a real-life angel that they could parade around in front of the Vatican, thus confirming their long-held beliefs. Adriel's response is cynical enough to have originated on an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.

According to Adriel, the church thrives on faith. They don't want to confirm their beliefs, because they have weaponized faith itself to achieve power and control over people. Without doubt, there can be no faith, which pretty much precludes dressing up an omnipotent angel and trotting him out for Mass.

Adriel then thrusts Ava into a flashback sequence in which she watches Areala's death and resurrection by Halo play out right in front of her eyes. Ava seems on the verge of turning over the Halo to Adriel at this point. He is an angel, after all — supposedly. The sacrifice might kill her, but it will also save the other OCS sisters waiting outside the tomb; self-sacrifice in this instance certainly feels like the Christian thing to do.

Adriel isn't who he says he is on the Warrior Nun season finale

Per Ava's vision, Adriel may have been the original source of the Halo, but he didn't bring it down from heaven. Through Areala's eyes, Ava sees Adriel emerging into a medieval battle from a demonic portal. He's followed by a demonic Tarask, which he quickly destroys using the Halo, which seems more like a crude armament in this context than some kind of holy artifact. Believing he must be a warrior of Christ, the Crusaders foolishly pledge themselves to Adriel after watching him vanquish the Tarask. Back inside the tomb, Ava confronts Adriel with this knowledge. Outed, the entity confesses that he is no kind of angel at all.

Adriel reaches inside Ava in an attempt to remove the Halo, but Ava fights him off just as Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young) and the other OCS Warrior Nuns blow up the walls of the tomb in a rescue attempt. The sisters pull Ava out of the rubble and attempt a tactical retreat, but Adriel is far from vanquished. They engage the boss demon in a well-choreographed fight sequence that stalls him just long enough for Ava to recharge the Halo and draw a Divinium sword. Adriel counters by summoning a score of demons to possess the bystanders, and the episode suddenly ends.

This isn't the only cliffhanger, either. In the B-story, Michael tells his tearful mother that his angel is coming back for him. Just as the boy appears on death's door, the Stargate-looking artifact back at Arq-Tech spontaneously turns on, generating some kind of portal. Michael rushes through and disappears, an act that Kristian (Peter De Jersey) refers to as "Divine will."

So where does this leave us? Despite the contrived cliffhangers, we actually learned quite a bit in this episode. Most importantly, we now know that Ava's powers have no Divine origin, and that the Halo in her back is actually some kind of demonic weapon carried up from Hell by Adriel. When and if season 2 reaches Netflix, we'll be eager to see if Ava's Divinium sword has what it takes to vanquish her demon — not to mention where the heck Michael ended up.