“Isaiah 30:20-21” has a singular focus that helps to flesh out two of the show’s key characters, as a bonding exercise becomes a public service.
This recap of Warrior Nun season 1, episode 6, “Isaiah 30:20-21”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Warrior Nun episode 6 begins with Ava missing, last seen phasing through a wall in terror and anguish after slaying a demon. Shotgun Mary is left roaming the streets looking for her, and she enlists a street artist to sketch Ava’s likeness so she can flash it to the locals. Eventually, she finds her, though Ava isn’t thankful for it. She insists she’s not going back, and Mary doesn’t think it’s a bad idea considering people seem to keep dying whenever she’s around. But Mary’s also injured, and tired, and the two eventually form an uneasy truce as Ava applies a tourniquet. “Uneasy” is the operative word here, though. When Mary catches up to Ava, who has stormed ahead and sat on a cliff edge, she kicks her off — those powers of healing are coming in useful.
In a cave, Mary shares some of her backstory. Her mother is in prison, serving a life sentence for killing her abusive father. Ava isn’t the only one with scars. Mary is also not a nun — she never took the vows, even though one of Father Vincent’s stipulations is that she observes them to a point. The Order gives Mary a family and a purpose, even though she exists slightly apart from it, her loyalty to Father Vincent rather than the Church. As she and Ava continue to disagree, they briefly come to blows, but a point is proven.
The next morning, the two discuss what might have happened to Lilith. They walk for miles, with Ava frequently propping Mary up. The camera takes in the two of them as tiny pinpricks in vast landscapes. They eventually arrive at a town where Mary knows some of the locals, Francisco and Delores, and their child. The OCS apparently spent some time here last year to deal with an “eruption” of evil. Ava is concerned about it, and Mary can’t provide any satisfying answers. When she calls Father Vincent, though, she learns some insider information — apparently, the Pope is dying, which gives Duretti motive to consolidate power, supporting Mary’s theory that Shannon’s death was an inside job.
As Ava spends more time with Mary in the town, she begins to see the value of the Order. Mary is beloved among the townsfolk; they believe they owe the Sisters everything, which in a sense they do. The local priest himself was among those possessed during the demon outbreak. Seeing first-hand how this place has been touched by evil, and good, brings the war between the Church and demons into starker focus for Ava; they’re not fanciful concepts anymore, but realities within which her own has become woven. She goes looking for a sign from God and falls asleep among the pews.
When Ava wakes up the next morning, Mary is gone and the town is quiet and still. She eventually finds everyone assembled to watch the sunrise over the mountains. “Is it a special sunrise?” Ava asks. “They’re all special,” Mateo replies, “There was a time when we thought we wouldn’t see another.” Warrior Nun episode 6 does a fine job of evoking the scarring among this quaint little place, and it shows us a very different side of Mary, who helps out in the kitchen and encourages Ava to do the same. But just as it seems as though these two might stay here forever, Ava spots a wraith demon trailing one of the restaurant patrons.
Ava’s ready to learn how to separate a wraith from its victim. But it’s a lesson that you can only learn on the job. Ava and Mary follow the man and confront him, and the demon takes control. Ava fights it off while Mary recites scripture; the lesson is learned, albeit messily. Giving Ava one more day in the town, and then the chance to go wherever she likes, Mary departs. She’s confident that Ava won’t stay away for long. I’m inclined to believe her.
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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.