Ava begins her training in the Order in “Ephesians 6:11”, but she quickly discovers that the responsibilities of the Halo-Bearer might not be for her.
This recap of Warrior Nun season 1, episode 3, “Ephesians 6:11”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Warrior Nun episode 3 opens much like the previous installment did, with Ava waking up. But the circumstances aren’t as cheerful this time. Lilith and Beatrice stand nearby, debating whether or not they should just remove the Halo and risk killing her (you can guess who takes which stance.) But the Halo seems to have a mind of its own — or at least a mind tied intimately to Ava’s. Reacting to her emotions, it raises her off the bed Exorcist-style, and when she drops back down she phases through the bed, like the clothing store’s wall, and hits the ground with a thud. I think it’s time for some exposition.
Areala of Cordoba, Father Vincent explains, was one of the fiercest warriors the world has ever known. She was an orphan from humble beginnings who found… Liam Neeson? No, God, retorts no-nonsense Father Vincent, who makes Ava read on as flashbacks to the First Crusade let us in on Areala’s conquest, grievous injury, and salvation by the angel Adriel, who gave up his Halo to save her. We finally get a name for this secretive sect of martial nuns: the Order of the Cruciform Sword, devout women who have devoted their lives to fighting an ancient evil. That evil includes the Tarask, which she met in the previous episode, and the wraith demons, the hazy, smoky meddlers she has been spotting everywhere. That’s because the Halo affords her the power of sight, the ability to hunt and kill them.
Ava isn’t looking for a commitment after only just getting her life back. She suggests taking the weekend and coming back on Monday, which is hilarious when you think about it. She’s a danger to herself and everyone else, so can’t be allowed to leave — a prisoner once again, but at least she’s wearing an energy-dampening osmium vest now, to throw the Tarask off the scent. Father Vincent offers to teach her what the Halo can do, and how to control its power.
Shotgun Mary, meanwhile, lives up to her name by interrogating the mercenary she kidnapped in the last episode at gunpoint. He was hired by Arq-Tech, but they’re not behind rigging the crate to explode; whatever item was supposed to be inside, they wanted it. Perhaps, since there was only one casualty, Sister Shannon was the target after all, and events went exactly as intended. Tossing the merc a pistol, Mary lets him pick up the weapon to justify blasting him with one of her trademark shotguns.
Jillian and Kristian go over the security footage from the break-in, debating whether the Church or the teenage imposters were responsible. They see Ava interacting with the Divinium artifact, which prompts Kristian to remember the Order of the Cruciform Sword. You can add Arq-Tech to the list of people and things who’re currently looking for Ava.
Father Vincent believes that Ava was chosen by the Halo itself, or by God, and tells Cardinal Duretti as much. He’s willing to give the Order a chance to train the girl up a bit and see what’s what, a task to be overseen by Mother Superion, a woman described by Ava’s internal narration as a “boss b*tch”, who helpfully provides us with even more information about the Halo. It works as an amplifier for natural abilities, but all Warrior Nuns have talents that are unique to them; levitation might be Ava’s. With the Halo, psychological and physical are intertwined, which fittingly means that Ava’s mental state is integral to her training. That early training goes quite well, all things considered; she spars with Lilith, of course, but can’t seem to be hit or hurt by her. Alba Baptista is wonderfully charismatic in this scene.
Under Father Vincent, Ava continues to learn about Areala and the Order; he hopes she’ll see something of herself in the story, but the main similarity she identifies is that both she and Areala were violated by an object and told that this was their life now, against their will. But she tentatively makes a deal with Vincent that she’ll stick around for a bit, although her narration reveals that “a bit” translates to, “literally until any other option presents itself.”
Meanwhile, JC and his crew find another unoccupied house to stay in — but it isn’t as unoccupied as they think. Jillian is already there, and she’s interested in getting in touch with Ava. She gives them all her private number at the press of a button and expects to be notified if Ava tries to contact them.
Ava’s training continues. Along with her, we learn the relationship between the Halo and Divinium. The metal reacts to the artifact’s presence and becomes stronger, hardier; the Halo-Bearer, with her sight, directs the Sister nuns to attack the demons they can’t see. But a Divinium sword is double-edged. It’s the only material that can harm a Warrior Nun, and it can’t be phased through. In a staged test, Lilith fakes a demon invasion to gauge Ava’s reaction; she tries to flee and ends up getting stuck in a wall. Mother Superion gives her a really hard time about her history; apparently, her file from the orphanage reveals that she died from a drug overdose. She killed herself because, Superion theorizes, she’s a coward. This greatly upsets Ava and incenses Father Vincent, who takes great issue with Superion’s idea that Ava is “a sinner, an aberration, a cancer”. I’ve been called worse things, but not so many at once.
Ava is insistent that she didn’t kill herself. For twelve years she felt nothing beneath her chest — why would she need pain medication? Beatrice assumes that Ava has had “less than ideal” experiences with those who have taken vows, which seems like an understatement. There’s a strong bond forming here.
But it’s not strong enough. After returning to the books at Father Vincent’s insistence, Ava finally finds something in Areala’s story that she can relate to — her death, and never being ready or prepared for responsibility. At her first opportunity, she flees, leaving behind a note that simply reads, “I want to live.”
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.