Girls Save The World: Stargirl and Warrior Nun

The Heroines

Two young women on a hero’s journey, who come at it from almost opposite sides, attempting to meet in the middle. Let’s discuss.

Ava

The one who never asked for this
Image: Netflix

I can understand how someone might be… frustrated by Ava in Warrior Nun. She spends just enough time fleeing from her new destiny to become just a little annoying. After all, this is a show called Warrior Nun, and we all have a threshold for how long the titular Warrior Nun rejects her new role before we just want the show to get out of what seems to be first gear. Thankfully for us, Alba Baptista sells the hell out of Ava’s journey. Specifically, she sells the hell out of how good it feels for Ava, who’d been disabled since before puberty, to be able to use her whole body again, even before super-strength and instant healing come into play. Ava’s “things I can do with my legs that hadn’t been an option a couple of days ago” montage is simply delightful, as is the freeze-frame and narration as she realizes, a half-second late, that “swimming” isn’t technically on that list yet.

Ava’s a complete outsider to the world of the Cruciform Sword, demons and monsters and fighting with angel bones, so it makes sense that she doesn’t leap to the task. Still, she runs from the responsibilities of the halo maybe one episode longer than makes sense? Like, “I want to see the world with this cute boy, not fight demons with a bunch of heavily armed Catholic girls who aren’t much nicer than the nun who abused me” makes sense for a few episodes, but once it’s clear giant monsters will also never stop hunting her to get that halo, I don’t know, maybe it shouldn’t take one more episode to convince her to stop running and face what’s happened.

That said… the episode where Sister Mary does start to get through to her, the method she uses, and Ava’s decision of where to go next were all very interesting. Sure I wish she’d gotten there maybe one hour earlier. But if Ava was too slow to embrace her hero’s journey… is there such a thing as embracing it too fast?

I mean a little.

Stargirl

Image: CW

Now don’t get me wrong. Given the choice, I do prefer it when a superhero show gets the main character in costume fighting evil by the end of the pilot instead of having them, say, bum around New York shoeless and end up in a mental hospital without even having used their signature ability. So I’m not saying I didn’t want Courtney suiting up and blasting douchebags with a cosmic staff in the first hour. Halfway through the two-hour pilot, Court has a staff and a costume and Pat is reluctantly backing her up in a giant robot suit while trying to talk her out of superheroing…

Advice she does not care for, and in fact ignores with a focus and intensity that would be impressive if Pat weren’t making some good points?

The Cosmic Staff certainly does choose Court to be its new user, after a decade of lying idle, and I surely am glad that being frustrated about moving from LA to Nebraska, and also from her new school not having a gymnastics program, is all it takes for her to accept the offer. Yeah, gymnastics is big thing: Court bonds with the staff via an uneven bar routine, (it’s pretty cool), and her background gives her a very fluid, dynamic, fun to watch fight style.

But the ISA killed the Justice Society. Nearly the whole Justice Society. A couple (Pat included) made it out for a spell. But we’re talking Flash, Green Lantern, an all-powerful djinn named Thunderbolt, seasoned heroes who all fell in one night. Pat is very correct to worry that his step-daughter is going to be hurt or killed in her determined attempts to go after them… especially since he’s pretty sure her driving motivation to hunt, find, and bring down the ISA is the belief that Starman was his father, but trying to tell her that’s not true has about as much effect as trying to tell her taking on seasoned villains who’ve entrenched themselves into the town’s infrastructure is probably more than an inexperienced teenager can handle.

Courtney’s answer? We need several inexperienced teenagers!

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