Well I went on a Netflix “binge” and watched season 2 of Marco Polo and wasn’t disappointed. The season starts with Marco Polo tracking down the child emperor of the Song dynasty who he finds and delivers to the Khan. After a little debate the Khan kills the child emperor causing some riots by Chinese patriots that are upset with the sight of their emperor hanging by his neck from the gates of the capital city.
The focus has shifted primarily to the drama and dynamic of Kublai Khan’s court and once again Benedict Wong’s performance as Kublai remains the true heart and center of the series. The series occupies itself with a challenge by one of the Khan’s relatives bringing a challenge to his rule by trying to hold a vote of the Mongol chiefs to elect “The Khan of Khans.”
The most noteworthy newcomer this year is Michelle Yeoh’s Lotus (Of Crouching Tiger-Hidden Dragon fame) she is a fierce and fighting part of the Song Dynasty’s underground rebellion and a character who figures heavily into the backstory of Tom Wu’s Hundred Eyes. As Lotus, she takes on just about everyone in her singular, savage crusade.
In season 2 it seems that Marco is moved from the inner circle of the Khan’s court to just a “regular” courtier. But in the end he saves the Khan from the Christian armies who have come to wipe out the Mongol empire. Setting Polo up for a bigger role if there is another season.
An interesting surprise was to see Gabriel Byrne make an appearance as the Pope who is the force behind the crusading knights sent to eradicate the barbarian empire. The Pope has been working with Polo’s banished and estranged father Nicolo to achieve this goal.
There are quite a few more sub-plots that arise throughout the 10 episodes but would take quite a bit of text to discuss. Season 2 is again filled with great scenery and costumes that were seen in season 1. There is also more sex season 2 than in its predecessor. All in all I was not disappointed and hope Netflix invests in a third season.