|Season 1, Episode 8|
The Scholar's Pen
When we last left Jia Sidao, he was a blood-splattered specter haunting the young Song emperor’s coronation. It seemed clear that he would take command of China, and indeed, he has. While Kublai Khan’s forces make their way to the Walled City, the Dowager Empress is kept under lock and key. Kaidu arrives at Kublai Khan’s camp and is reunited with Khutulun. She sheepishly tells her dad that Byamba, Kublai’s bastard, bested her in the wrestling ring and Kaidu is immediately worried that his “virgin” daughter had sex. She explains that her arrangement with Byamba serves Kaidu’s greater political purpose.
The Blue Princess’s possessive boyfriend bursts into her chambers and tells her that they have to leave together now. When she politely explains that she doesn’t want to do that, he gets all crazy and threatens her with a knife. Evidently, if they can’t live together, then he would prefer they were dead together. Kokachin’s servant, Za Bing, bursts in, beats up the boyfriend, and lets him know that "she’s just not that into you.” But then, the boyfriend stabs Za Bing in the back, and runs out Kokachin’s window. An arrow flies through his back and into his heart. Kokachin kills her old boyfriend and her last connection to her life before being the Blue Princess. A healer tells Empress Chabi that he will have to break all the bones in Ling Ling’s feet and reset them. She lets him. Meanwhile, Ahmad and Mei Lin are getting closer. He clearly has a thing for the disgraced courtesan and sees an opportunity in her. Later, he councils Chabi to use Ling as leverage over her mother much as Jia Sidao did. Later, while everyone is having fun at war, he and Mei Lin have a tense, yet weirdly flirtatious, conversation about their sad childhoods. She attempts to emotionally manipulate him, and he turns the tables and reveals that he could hurt her – or Ling – at anytime.
Kublai Khan decides to listen to Marco’s advice. They are going to strike the Walled City as soon as possible. He sends Yusuf to discuss “terms” with Jia Sidao, but it’s really a distraction and an opportunity for Yusuf (Amr Waked) to discover that Jia Sidao doesn’t know that Empress Chabi is still alive. Prince Jingim (Remy Hii) walks in on Khutulun and Byamba having sex in the Khan’s war tent. Marco gets called “Blond” by a Chinese prisoner hoping to get some food while in jail. Marco, ever the curious soul, gives him food and gets into a conversation with the guy. He says he will gladly be the Khan’s subject because Jia Sidao is “half the man” Kublai Khan is. Later, Kaidu finally meets with Byamba and ascertains that he has the strength and character to marry his daughter. Kublai Khan and Jia Sidao have a parlay where they do nothing but threaten each other and get under each other’s skin. When the talk ends, Kublai reveals that his wife is still alive, which is an obvious surprise to him. Jia Sidao knows that he has been betrayed by Jing Fei. When he returns to the Walled City, he removes her make up and monologues about loving her. She grabs a sword, “dances” with it, and then holds it to his throat. When Jia Sidao reveals that he knows she betrayed him, she stabs herself.
While teaching his Chinese prisoner pal how to play a dice game with bones, Marco decides that he likes the Khan and he likes living in the Imperial court during an exciting time. This kind of gained self knowledge should be great for Marco, but then Byamba tells him that Ahmad has convinced Jingim that Marco and his dad are plotting to kill Kublai Khan and when the battle starts, Marco should ride west towards home. As Marco deals with being rebuffed, he watches as the prisoners, including his friend, are dismembered and turned into a human blood stew. Marco begins to wonder if staying with the Khan is the right decision. He packs his things and begins to sneak away, when he finds Kokachin alone and crying. He comforts his beautiful Blue Princess, and tries to get her to go with him, but they begin having sex. She then reveals that she’s not actually royal, but Marco doesn’t care. He says her name is Kokachin and that he will protect the name, “Kokachin.”
We then see Kublai Khan struggling to tie his own belt. Empress Chabi sasses him. He starts to complain about how armor shrinks, how his soldiers will take arrows for him, and how so many of his people will die. Chabi gives him a pep talk and reminds him why they’re doing this: to unite Asia, and by extension, the world. The next day, the Mongols go to battle. Marco doesn’t leave, but rather fights with his Mongolian brothers. They push through the wall, but are caught in a trap. Marco Polo is blamed and Jingim wants him dead, but Byamba sticks up for him. The episode ends with Kublai Khan calling for a retreat.
- Starring cast member Pierfrancesco Favino (Niccolò Polo) is not credited and does not appear in this episode.
|Season One Episodes||edit|