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'Marco Polo' fan recap: 'Measure Against the Linchpin'

Season 2 | Episode 3 | “Measure Against the Linchpin” | Aired Jul 1, 2016

Throughout the first season, Marco Polo never held back or played it safe when it came to disturbing plot points and actions by the main characters. Where some shows would shy away, Marco Polo used shocking moments of nudity and violence to display the ruthlessness of the culture.

Even the first two episodes of the second season were filled with uncomfortable, unusual, and downright weird moments. The third episode of the second season, “Measure Against the Linchpin” took Marco Polo to a whole new level of ruthlessness and brutality. It was enough to make even most steadfast fans of Marco Polo question whether the events of the episode were necessary.

“Measure Against the Linchpin” opens with the Lotus standing in a crowd of people looking up at something. As the camera angle changes, the boy emperor’s body appears, hanging from a wall with the crowd looking on.

Following the young boy’s murder at the end of the second episode, it appears that Kublai Khan took Ahmad’s advice and chose to parade the boy emperor in South China as a symbol not to test the Khans’ strength. Unfortunately, the boy emperor’s murder and the lack of respect for his body causes riots in the streets of Southern China, which is predictable, but the opposite of what Kublai wanted to happen.

The boy emperor’s murder and the display of his body isn’t even the most brutal part of the episode. Later, the empress challenges the Blue Princess to do her “duty” and do what it takes to give Prince Jingim an heir as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that begins with the Blue Princess eating what appears to be a baby calf with her bare hands to help her become pregnant. This scene was probably the grossest of the series so far. And, it only got more brutal and heartbreaking for the Blue Princess.

At the end of the episode, the empress forces one of the stablemen to rape the Blue Princess while the empress holds her down. It’s incredibly difficult to watch. Obviously, the empress is trying to give Jingim an heir, but I don’t fully understand why this is her plan or the best course of action. We’ll have to see whether this brutality and treatment of one of the strongest female characters in the series was necessary. It’s too early to tell at this point.

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On the milder side of this episode, Marco and Kublai take a hike to help Kublai decide what to do about Kaidu. On their walk, they are attacked by a lone wolf (literally, a wolf), and Marco saves Kublai’s life — despite Marco’s anger and struggle with Kublai killing the boy emperor. Kublai rewards Marco by making him a member of his inner circle.

Prince Jingim and Ahmad are sent to recruit followers for Kublai, but on their return journey, Khutulun (Kaidu’s daughter) and Kaidu’s son ambush and attack Jingim and Ahmad, killing their horses and most likely breaking Ahmad’s leg in the process. We all know Kublai will be forced to retaliate, and it will not be a good look in the eye’s of Kublai’s followers.

The most interesting part of the episode occurs when Lotus and Mei Lin make a pact of sorts to take their revenge on Kublai when the time is right. We still don’t fully know what the Lotus is capable of, but it seems like she had the power to bring change to Marco Polo.

Will “Measure Against the Linchpin” be an outlier when it comes to violence and uncomfortable scenes throughout the rest of the season? For better or worse, it doesn’t appear so. All signs are pointing to a major showdown between Kaidu and Kublai, but that’s only going to happen if Lotus, Mei Lin, and Ahmad don’t get their chance to kill Kublai first.

Bryce Olin is a FanSided contributor and an editor at Netflix Life.
All 10 episodes of
Marco Polo season 2 are available on Netflix now.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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