This review will have minor spoilers for episode two of Marco Polo
OK, I know I said not to expect a per episode review, but I couldn’t help it. The first episode was great, and the second episode built upon itself, in some good ways and other not so good ways. This review will probably be much short than the previous, but with the longest review probably being the final one. But anyways, let’s delve into the review.
The episode starts out strong and continues forth with the same momentum. No major characters are introduced, though a minor character is introduced that deals almost entirely with Marco. The relationship between the two characters gives the audience the ability to see Marco interact with a character who, while a higher status than Marco, isn’t in the same leadership position as Kublai Khan and his family. Speaking of Kublai Khan, this episodes centers mainly around him, and is incredibly strong because of it. At this point in the show, he might just be the most fun character to watch. He’s complex and just so well acted.
The story follows mostly Kublai Khan and his struggle against his brother, who wants control. The conflict is bloody and seemingly settled in this episode, but no one can ever be sure. The acting between Kublai Khan and his brother is the biggest strength of the episode, showing a love/hate relationship with great emphasis on both aspect. Another story line involved the Chinese consort and her relationship with young daughter as well as she has problems with her brother’s leadership. She has a very interesting fighting scene where she is completely nude and killing quite a few people. Did she need to be naked? Hell no. The only thing I can take from this is that it will be a common point in most of the series. While I don’t mind nudity, I’d like for there to be a solid reason for it to be there. While one could argue that she stripped her robe in this to make fighting easier, it’s a weak defense at that. Well, at least she did actually kick ass in this scene.
I’d say the weakest part of the episode was the lack of Marco in it. Sure, he’s still the main character in the episode, but there was a lack of interesting story involved with him. When he was onscreen, it was more exciting to watch Kublai Khan and his struggles.
Consensus: Overall, it was a slightly weaker episode, with lots of development for Kublai Khan and minor developments for many of the other characters. 2 hours in and the feeling of this being a movie has not worn off, it’s still particularly strong and has the makings of being one of Netflix’s best shows.