The Wayfarer
Season 1, Episode 1
The Wayfarer SS 001.jpg
Episode Information
Written By

John Fusco

Directed By

Joachim Rønning Espen Sandberg

Episode Navigation
The Wolf and the Deer

"The Wayfarer" is the first episode of the first season of Marco Polo. It was written by executive producer John Fusco and directed by executive producers Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg.


After three years crossing seas, deserts, and the Silk Road, a young Marco Polo finds himself a prisoner of the great Kublai Khan.


The Polo family comes across a village destroyed by the Mongols. As they prepare to leave, a Mongol scouting party takes them captive. They are lead to the palace of Kublai Khan, where they crawl on the floor to a few feet away from the emperor, kowtowing.

As Kublai questions them, he is dissatisfied at the answers given, banishing them. However, Marco's father gets Kublai to grant Marco service in the kingdom.

Marco's backstory

Suddently, the viewpoint shifts to Italy when Marco is a young man in Venice, Italy. He daily sits on the rooftops, wishing for a life on ships, traveling and trade. As the day ends, his uncle tells him about the Silk Road, a wonderous road that starts in China and ends in Venice. Marco wishes to travel with his father and uncle. 

The view shifts to Marco on the trail, reaching the Taklamakan desert in 1273. They take shelter during a massive sandstorm. They hunker down for the night, learning that the Three Sisters stars are used to go home. Marco learns that the destination, China, hosts the the emperor Kublai Khan, one of the most powerful people on Earth.

Back to modern day

Kublai Khan asks about Xiangyang, the sole holdout of the Song dynasty. His advisors say the empire is very strong, and can destroy. He wants his son to be good someday. Kublai is disappointed at the fact that his younger brother Ariq the Strong is very traditional, thinking Kublai is too assimilated. Despite this, he still considers sending an army. Kublai sends Prince Jingim to conquer Xiangyang. 

In the city of Xiangyang, the Empress is tending to the dying Emperor when the chancellor of the city notifies her that the Mongols are massing toward the city. Behind the back doors, the chancellor wonders if someone else can take the throne.

In the court of the court, Marco Polo is assigned to learn massive amount of skills in order assimilate. He is set up to learn writing, horseriding and fighting. He is to learn how to fight from Hundred Eyes, a blind monk who is extremely skilled in the Martial Arts.

Marco comes to the court, he learns that if someone steals a horse, he will pay back 9 horses. If no horses, children will be paid. If no children, then the person will be executed. Marco describes the land of Badakhshan, a region in southern Turkmenistan and northern Afghanistan. He does it well, earning him some respect. The khan grants him some freedom by attaching him to a tax collector as he makes his way to collect taxes. At night Marco gets some experience some of the life of the city when he sneaks out.

As he trains, Marco is repeatedly knocked down to learn.

That night, several things occur at once. Marco visits a brothel, where he gets seduced by various women. The Mongols ready an attack on the city. Hundred Eyes hones his skills by testing himself against a rattlesnake. The Mongol army attacks the village as the rattlesnake fails to attack Hundred Eyes and Marco Polo leaves the brothel.


Cast notes

  • Being the pilot, this episode is the first appearance of all starring cast members listed above.



Season One Episodes

The Wayfarer, The Wolf and the Deer, Feast, The Fourth Step, Hashshashin, White Moon, The Scholar's Pen, Rendering, Prisoners, The Heavenly and Primal

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