Man Maomao is so popular, but Lady Gyokuyou isn’t going to be too happy about that. She gave Maomao the necklace to stake her claim that she is her person, and yet one after another Maomao got three more trinkets, one each from Jinshi, a friendly official Lihaku (freaking hilarious and adorable with a good heart- the way he was standing on his tip-toes man, as though he wasn’t tall enough already hahaha!), and finally Lady Lihua, who I completely understand why she would give Maomao her hairpin.
The Garden Party as expected had everyone freezing their asses off, the point one would wonder why they’d even even bother carrying out the activity in such chilly weather, and choosing not to set up tents like Maomao suggests would have been a great idea, because surely that’d make everyone more comfortable, including the main attendees. But it is what it is.
This time we were introduced to a few characters we’ve yet to meet until now, such as the young Empress Dowager, The Virtious Concert Lishu and Jinshu’s practice partner Lihaku we briefly met in the last episode. They also briefly mentioned the Emperor’s younger brother, who is said to be a sickly individual who rarely makes an appearance.
The writers did us all a favour of leaving out the details of just how young the Empress Dowager was when she gave birth to the Emperor. However they did reveal that Lishu became the Virtuous Consort at the age of nine, and then the chilly fact that the Empress Dowager had entered before her, making her even younger– eek! So it doesn’t take much mental math to figure out why she looked so young, revealing the unspoken disturbing fact that the former Emperor actively sought for under-aged consorts. It’s no wonder Maomao was so disgusted. It’s not something easy to stomach when you first read/hear about it, and doesn’t make it any easier hearing it again. Though for quick reassurance and disclaimer, as far as I know from based on what I remember from what I’ve read, the current Emperor’s is nothing like the former, and I sure hope that remained the case for everyone’s sake.
As for Lady Lishu, while Maomao was tasting for poison, she ended up seeing Lady Lishu forcing herself to eat a fish she was clearly uncomfortable with eating while her lady-in-waiting sat behind her with a malicious smirk on her face. Man these ladies are something else sometimes, especially how the lack of foresight of how their actions could very well kill the very consort they are serving. Her food-tester knew very well that Lady Lishu couldn’t eat Mackerel, which is why she swapped the dish. However it appears she was ignorant of the potential consequences of forcing Lishu to eat something she’s allergic to. Maomao had to lay it thick with a warning (though subtly so without exposing her), making it clear that the woman’s actions could result killing Lishu.
That certainly threw out all that cockiness she held towards consort Lishu, but we’ll have to see if her behaviour improves at all given that the other thing Maomao noticed, is that the Lishu was not appropriately dressed. And given the ladies-in-waiting behaviour, they were likely the ones who picked the color to make Lishu look like an inconsiderate fool. Should they continue their antics, they are bound to be Maomao’s next target of spooking into submission as she certainly has her ways of putting Lihua’s arrogant ladies-in-waiting in their place. Goodness, she sure put that obnoxious one who tried to use her family power to make Maomao submit by using a scary tactic that would surely scare anyone. But as usual it is always a pleasure to see Maomao put these petty brats in their place.
Disgusting history and petty ladies-in-waiting aside, it was hilarious how everyone was enamoured by Maomao’s expression when she ate the food, making one wonder just how delicious it must be– only to learn it’s in-fact poisoned. It was a hilarious juxtapose that completely had them mislead, because she was the only one who was having fun waiting to see if there’s poison, while every other taster was rightfully terrified and stressed out that this might be the next unfortunate victim. Heck even after she identified poison in Lady Gyokuyou’s dish, because of the face she was making, they didn’t believe her at first and one of the ministers tried it anyways and freaking collapsed. It was bad enough that even Maomao needed to make sure she at the very least rinsed her mouth out, and later upon Jinshi’s instance to make sure she threw it all up to ensure it was out of her system. Still, Maomao is the crazy one for asking for the rest of the soup just so she could eat the rest and feel the poisonous effects of one’s body.
With that said, Maomao made a point that she prefers seeing this side of Jinshi over his usual sparkly mask– something I think we can all agree on. She feels like he looks younger and acts more befitting of what she presumes his age to be. But poor guy, she already got a misunderstanding that the pin he’s wearing belongs to someone else who had given it to him.
And finally, quick note: While I did really like that piano track in the previous episode, this time I felt like it wasn’t really quite the right fit when they used it, It was just so jarring and clashed with the vibe of the scene when when you have Maomao saying crazy and comedic things like asking for the rest of the poisoned soup. Unfortunately they clashed too much, and I honestly thought the music was going to have an abrupt cut-off when Maomao said that, and perhaps it would have fit better if they had done that instead.