Last time, Marco Polo was to blame for walking Kublai Khan’s army into one of Sidao’s traps. With the Emperor ordering to retreat, “Prisoners” will get us to how everything rolled from that point and on.
The episode kicks off with the Khan shouting in rage and Marco Polo seen in a dark dungeon, like the one he started from. As the Latin stands in front of the Khan, everyone is mad at him and despite his honest, in combination with Byamba’s defense, the Khan isn’t really touched.
Sidao is seen playing with his insects once again, before he’s delivered the ashes of his beloved one. In addition to that, he’s also told that he’s respected and all now, but he still doesn’t like that he’s a Chancellor that can never be an Emperor himself.
Kublai’s wife pays a visit to Kokachin and gifts her some luxurious clothing, gifted to her by her husband’s mother. While making her intentions obvious, the matter of the explorer’s execution is brought up. Jingim is seen visiting Marco Polo at his dungeon and tells a story about the loneliness of hunting, only to compare it to death for the prisoner. However, the latter is still very proud to let him get under his skin so easily.
Sidao asks for the Empress’ support in his work and she doesn’t give it to him, as expected. However, soon as she mentions he will need the Emperor’s word to unify China and she will be close to him, he stages an accidental death for her. Meanwhile, Sifu is seen training hard before he offers to die next to Marco Polo, as he’s equally responsible for his doings, as his tutor. However, the Sire only gets angry and sends him away.
The Blue Princess tries on the Empress gift but quickly takes it off and throws it to the ground. When she attempts to seek justice for poor Marco, her protector tries to stop her before the guards do, as she is meant to stay in her quarters. The Empress has a chat with Mei Lin’s daughter and soon realizes she’s the child of Song’s late Emperor. Speaking with Ahmad, they only further look into how she and her mother could be useful, by fearing them.
In a spiritual talk with Hundred Eyes, Marco Polo ends up looking for something more valuable than his life to offer. In the meantime, Sidao reveals the news of the Empress’ death to her son, while also gifting him the strongest of his bugs. Kokachin is seen taking a bath, but has a hidden knife to hurt herself, aiming for her belly. Jingim is trying to make love to his wife but is too frustrated to do so, and even though she attempts a confidence boost, he’s still bothered.
Empress Chabi pays a visit to Mei Lin and takes her to see her daughter is alive. Despite revealing that the two of them won’t ever reunite, she promises to keep her safe as long as Sidao’s sister does as ordered when the time comes. With Khutulun and Byamba worried about their return home, Yusuf is summoned by Marco to be shown a carving of how to win the war. The explorer not only gives the Mongols the designs of a weapon to defeat the Walled City, but also reveals he stayed for the sake of the Blue Princess and the Khan’s kindness as well.
As Sidao trains the young Emperor in his command, the Khan is desperate and doesn’t even listen to Marco Polo’s plans, when Yusuf takes it to him. With his execution very well scheduled for dawn, we get a hint that Kokachin might be pregnant with his child.
Yusuf presents himself in front of Khan and confesses about conspiring against him, as the two men didn’t agree in terms of strategies. While pleading guilty, he also suggests that Marco Polo is so incredibly dedicated to him, that he should be the one to take his place and his plan should be followed. As Kublai does not wish to accept his confession, he seems to have gone so far into betraying the Emperor so that he has left him no choice.
As Yusuf takes the Latin’s place in prison and the latter is set free, Marco soon realizes the man was executed. Right before the curtains fall, that was an intense episode indeed and one that leads to an even greater finale for Marco Polo
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