We Do Not Deserve Scorpia

We Do Not Deserve Scorpia

It’s one thing to understand a villain. It’s another to love them so much, you’d actually be cool with their evil plans succeeding—only because it would hurt your heart so much to see them in pain. Scorpia may be the right-clawed woman to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s main baddie, but she’s also the sweetest and softest marshmallow in Eternia, who deserves so much more.

Scorpia is one of the sweetest, kindest, and most loyal characters in Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, in a world practically overflowing with sweet, kind, and loyal people. Played by Lauren Ash, Scorpia is introduced in season one as Catra’s sidekick, and the only princess who had sided with the Horde (this changed later after Entrapta joined). This isn’t a “hostage” situation — she’s firmly on Hordak’s side, and has been ruthless toward Adora and her friends on multiple occasions. But that’s not all she is.

Scorpia is vicious but outgoing, violent yet compassionate. Above all: She’s a fierce friend. And the more we’ve gotten to know her through season two, the more amazing she’s become.

Much like Entrapta, Scorpia’s characterization in Netflix’s She-Ra is vastly improved from her predecessor. The original Scorpia was the evil ruler of the Crimson Waste. She lived inside a giant scorpion, absolutely hated Catra, and had a Staten Island knockoff accent that was so grating I could barely stand it (I don’t blame the voice actress, Linda Gary, as the whole characterisation was awful). Oh yeah, and did I mention Scorpia owned slaves?

This time around, things have changed quite a bit. Scorpia and her family still rule the Crimson Waste, but it was handed over to the Horde after Hordak “crash landed” in her kingdom. As a result, Scorpia lost control of the Black Garnet, her family’s runestone. She claims she has no access to its power, but I have a feeling that’s not always going to be the case — especially since we saw a distinctly Scorpia-shaped figure in Adora’s vision of a completed Princess Alliance. Plus, there’s no way Scorpia can be a part of the Horde forever. She’s too nice, and deserves so much better than how Catra treats her.

Apart from being quirky and gorgeous, but a bit clumsy, Scorpia’s main characteristic is that she’s fiercely loyal to Catra, who she considers her best friend (the second season also strongly suggests that Scorpia has romantic feelings for Catra, but that hasn’t been confirmed nor have they been reciprocated). Scorpia is willing to do anything for Catra. This includes inviting her to the Princess Prom so they can lay a trap on Adora and her friends, rescuing her on multiple occasions, trying to find out her favourite colour for a present, and even asking if they can play board games together.

Unfortunately, the relationship is very one-sided. Catra’s continued obsession with Adora shadows all of her other relationships…to the point where Catra’s treatment of Scorpia has started to come across as unhealthy. And what’s worse: There have even been times where Scorpia has seen it as her fault.

There’s a scene in the season two episode “White Out” where Scorpia has a tearful heart-to-heart with Sea Hawk, one of She-Ra’s sidekicks. Both of them, who are on opposite sides of the war, share something in common: They feel unappreciated by the people they care about the most. With tears building in her eyes, Scorpia lays out the most painful question a person can ask themselves in a moment like this: “Is there something wrong with us?” She and Sea Hawk later decide that there’s nothing wrong, that they’re both strong and confident people who deserve love. But still, seeing her blame herself for Catra’s actions was heartbreaking.

I’ve seen some criticism that Catra’s treatment of Scorpia borderlines on abusive, because she verbally berates Scorpia and repeatedly takes advantage of her friendship, only to occasionally “reward” her with platitudes (like when they shared a blanket at the end of “White Out”). This is a complicated subject, and one I don’t feel comfortable answering with any form of authority, because I think it depends on the person seeing it and how it makes them feel.

I do agree that their relationship is toxic and unsustainable and that there will come a time when Scorpia will need to push back against Catra’s actions that cause her pain. But given how they’re in the military, and Catra is the superior officer, I also wonder if we’d be as critical of Catra’s treatment of Scorpia if they were both men—considering female characters are usually expected to perform more emotional labour than male ones. It’s a tough question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Again, it’s about how it makes you feel, but whether She-Ra is attempting to make any kind of statement about their relationship remains unclear so far.

Regardless of how we feel about or interpret Catra’s behaviour toward Scorpia, I think we can all agree that Scorpia is a wonderful woman who deserves all the love and kindness in the world. I’ll admit that I’m curious to see what would happen if (and when) she spends more time with Adora and her friends. Scorpia has said she never felt like she could fit in with the other princesses, but Adora has definitely gotten the ball rolling in making positive changes.

Plus, it would give Scorpia a chance to interact with others who know how to communicate in healthy and positive ways. Internal fights in the rebellion usually don’t last long, because those princesses know how to talk it out.

Scorpia deserves friends who know how to put in the work. Hell, Scorpia deserves everything. And we do not deserve her.

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