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Why Ava's Arc In Warrior Nun Season 1 Had Netflix Viewers So Divided

In June of 2022, Netflix announced a second season of "Warrior Nun," a supernatural drama about nuns who protect the Earth from demons. At the heart of its story is a 19-year-old girl named Ava Silva (Alba Baptista).

Upon the series' opening, Ava is quadriplegic and living in an orphanage under the care of an abusive Catholic nun named Sister Frances (Frances Tomelty). She dies at the orphanage, but ends up coming back to life when a surgeon working for the show's titular warrior nuns places a powerful artifact called the Halo into her dead body. Not only does the Halo revive Ava, but it grants her the abilities to freely move her limbs, see demons, and wield various superpowers.

After attaining the Halo, Ava immediately becomes important to The Order of the Cruciform Sword (OCS), as the group of warrior nuns is officially known. Amidst their ranks, she meets characters like Sister Beatrice (Kristina Tonteri-Young), in whom Ava seems to have some romantic interest. Fans, as it turns out, have strongly shipped Ava and Beatrice in response to their scenes together.

Before accepting her role in the OCS and getting to know Beatrice, however, Ava actively questions her newfound lot in life, which fans have praised and criticized in equal measure.

Some Warrior Nun fans appreciate Ava's reluctant heroism

Following the conclusion of "Warrior Nun" Season 1, user solelikebang started a thread on the "Warrior Nun" subreddit celebrating the fact that Ava doesn't immediately join The Order of the Cruciform Sword when asked, and instead attempts to live life on her own terms. Viewers obviously know that Ava will end up fighting demons with her new superpowers, so this hesitancy and the fact that she eventually overcomes it deepen her character, they argued.

"Totally agree," replied user amrosi in the thread's most-upvoted comment. "No one in their right mind would just up and agree to be a nun(!) and fighter(!) just because some people said so." A number of other commenters likewise shared the viewpoint of the original post, praising some other specifics of her story arc, like the fact that she has more agency than a typical main character forced into a heroic role.

In an interview with Decider, showrunner Simon Barry emphasized the importance of Ava feeling relatable to viewers. "We wanted her to impact every scene she was in, because of the way she was and the way she was raised. Her world view, things like that. That way, the audience was kind of on the journey with her and could participate in the story, instead of just observing it," he said.

Some fans, however, shared an opposite view of this part of Ava's story, finding her reluctance uncompelling or off-putting.

Some Warrior Nun fans find Ava's character arc to be flawed

While the prevailing sentiment in solelikebang's Reddit thread is appreciation for Ava's initial unwillingness to join The Order of the Cruciform Sword, a number of commenters argued against the original post's proposition, outright criticizing Ava's character arc.

For instance, user feistyguava argued that Ava's reasoning for turning down the warrior nuns feels shallow, especially compared to the notion that she might want to avoid a group of nuns that remind her of her problematic Catholic upbringing, which goes unacknowledged. User DarkChen argued this as well, in addition to noting that Ava seems to give different reasons at different times when explaining her reluctance.

User Tanel88, meanwhile, simply replied, "I'm so tired of the reluctant hero trope. Sure it was understandable in the beginning but once you learn that some trans-dimensional being is after you I would stick with the nuns for the best chance of survival."

In an interview with Fade to Her, Alba Baptista said of Ava, "Wherever she goes, everyone sees and recognizes her light. But she goes as quickly as she has come, never settling for one place, for there is always something new to discover."

In effect, then, Baptista seems to be explaining what some viewers have described as a lack of consistent motivation. By her account, Ava is simply a wanderer by nature, hence her hesitance not just to join the OCS but limit her freedom with ties to any single organization.