Over at decider.com, Meghan O'Keefe wrote about Netflix's Marco Polo.
Game of Thrones gets a lot of flak from critics for its use of sex and nudity and violence to propel its storylines. To be fair, the show’s entire meandering plot is sparked when little Bran Stark stumbles upon twins Jaime and Cersei Lannister doing it “doggy style” in a tower.Bonus points for working in Game of Thrones. Too bad she never gets Flowers in the Attic in there.
Still, Netflix‘s Marco Polo might have just made Game of Thrones look like the moral equivalent of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood*. In a series of flashbacks, we discover exactly why Ahmad (Mahesh Jadu) is so hellbent on destroying his adoptive father Kublai Khan (Benedict Wong) — and it’s extremely disturbing.Yes, yes, of course it has to be disturbing.
What follows is considered a spoiler, so if you're watching the show and you're not caught up to Season 2, Episode 5, you are warned.
We discover that years ago Ahmad took a break from courtly life to see the world and meet the commonfolk. It was kind of a medieval version of a gap year. During his time hanging with paupers and making street urchins laugh, Ahmad encountered a small little brothel. A few beautiful women were offered to him, but he had an instant connection to a beguiling beauty whose skin tone matched his own. The two have a sexy, hot, passionate encounter and when he wakes, it’s confirmed that they come from the same tribe. She wound up as a whore in the middle of nowhere because the Khan didn’t think she was good enough for his own private harem. The prostitute is sweet to Ahmad and mentions how she likes taking care of him. Things take a turn for the creepy when she starts to hum Ahmad’s mother’s lullaby.
Sounds like Genetic Sexual Attraction was at play when he picked her.
Yes, Ahmad slept with his mother.
And then, he murdered her.Of course he did. "Sex workers" often have to be punished in media, and most television shows associate consanguineous sex with tragedy or disaster, even though most such situations are nothing like that, whether they are one night stands, flings, or ongoing spousal relationships. So many times, the worst thing such lovers face is the prejudice of others.
We look forward to more sympathetic and positive portrayals.