|Season 1, Episode 5|
The Fourth Step
"Hashshashin" is the fifth episode of the first season of Marco Polo. It is the fifth episode of the series overall. It was written by co-executive producer Patrick Macmanus and directed by executive producer Daniel Minahan.
In the middle of the night as Kublai plays a game of chess with Marco Polo , assassins make an attempt on his life by shooting darts. Guards run in but fail to kill the assassins. Hundred Eyes and Byamba come in and kill all the assassins but leave one alive to be questioned.
In a nighttime court session, it is revealed 3 assassins have nearly succeeded in killing the Khan, with his death a strong possibility. The War Assembly considers what to do. Hundred Eyes reveals those assassins were Hashshashin, an elite order trained by the legendary Old Man of the Mountain. Marco Polo reveals he knows where they may be found, having heard of their activities during his trade voyage. He is tasked by Prince Jingim to go and find the location of the order.
In XiangYang, Sidao reveals that their ambassadors were slaughtered when they tried to parlay with "barbarians". Sidao tells the Empress to consider war, having the support of the General.
Back in the court of the Khan, the financial minister speaks with Prince Jingim, casting doubts on the reliability and intentions of Marco.
Near the court of the khan, the assassin is visited in jail. Yusuf and Jingim come to see if they are able to extract information, torturing the prisoner. Jingim visits Marco's father Niccoli and his uncle in jail. There Jingim reveals he despises the Polo family and desires their expulsion, stating that Marco will soon fall.
As Marco and his friends travel, they travel on horseback "below the skyline". They enter a tavern near the mountains, seeking to trade precious gems in return for the location of the "Gatekeeper of Paradise". They sit down with one person. They try to ask who he is but, he does not tell much as Byamba sticks a knife to his leg. The person happens to be a middleman, not the assassin leader the party seeks.
Outside in the caverns, they discuss and consider. As night sets in, their guide hands Marco and Byamba an opium pipe, and instructs them to draw from it. Marco Polo hallucinates psychedelic dream where he is in a brothel at the center of affection. When he awakes, he discovers that his men, aside from Byamba, have disappeared. Beside them, sits the Old Man of the Mountain. He says the place they live in deals with only coin and anonymity and that names do not have any weight. The Old man reveals that the "hand who dropped the purse" is more closer to "home" than Xiangyang. The Old Man gives them a hand-drawn map of the Khan's chambers. A bag then is placed over Byamba and Marco's head and the two are lead out. Somewhere outside their territory, they discuss what they have learned. Marco reveals he may recognize the markings, and believes he knows the creator of the map. The information points to someone that is within the court of Kublai.
Back in the Khan's court, the assassin is tortured but did not reveal anything. The khan is revealed to have survived the assassination attempt, and limps. He welcomes back Marco and Byamba. the khan decides to spare the lives of the father and uncle, but at the cost of branding the two's hands with a burning tong. Marco silently leaves.
- The Hashashin (Arabic: حشّاشين) were a secret order of Nizari Ismailis, particularly those of Persia and Syria, that formed in the late 11th century. In time, the order began to pose a strong military threat to Sunni Seljuq authority within the Persian territories by capturing and inhabiting many mountain fortresses under the leadership of Hassan-i Sabbah. (Wikipedia: Ḥashshāshīn)
|Season One Episodes||edit|