Episode 14 was pretty straight forward, so there wasn’t much to really break down, so this will be a short and sweet one.
The secret techniques Maomao had shared with Consort Lihua to give her a boost of confidence after her recovery ended up being so successful, that Lihua and Gyokuyou ended up petitioning Maomao to further educate them on more secret techniques to take their activities with the Emperor to the next level. (Though poor Lady Lishu though, she was not mentally prepared for it.) Naturally Maomao did what she could to keep her lessons under-wraps, of course that only piped Jinshi’s curiosity even further, by not-so-subtly attempting to eavesdrop on the lesson from the outside, silly boy. Maomao was able to make a pretty penny out of it though. Jokes on her for trying to raise the price further, only to be caught red-handed by sharp-eyed Suiren. Nothing slips past her when it comes about to Jinshi.
We did meet the new Pure Consort, Loulan. For most part it was rather uneventful, though the main standout is her particular taste in fashion. She isn’t really interested in interacting with the other consorts, and couldn’t care less about the lessons Maomao was giving, which shows she doesn’t have much interest in the Emperor either, giving the impression that she’s pretty much there just because she has to be.
The next case has emerged with a sudden explosion in the military area of the outer courts. The warehouse that exploded was filled with food, but it’s still being closely inspected given the incident took place within the palace grounds. While they are trying to find the culprit behind it, Maomao was able to piece together what triggered the explosion in the first place, thanks to her own experience of blowing out a room the Vergidis House. I expected nothing less of our mad scientist. The cause was the flour in the air, which ignited when a soldier had tried to sneak a smoke inside while on duty. Master Lihaku was also ignorant of just how explosion this can be, as he failed to heed Maomao warning and had to be dosed out with a bucket of water on a frosty winter day. Well, now he knows.
This was a comedic episode in a lot of ways up until the end, when the mood noticeably shifted. The running gag of Maomao being super excited about testing for poison had everyone going, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” to “VOMIT NOW”, shoving the emetic agent down her throat. I think the OP sequence part of it where we see it happening from afar was pretty funny too. Everyone knows this is just another fun activity for Maomao, but they also know how ridiculously dangerous it can be, which is why everyone feels the need to stop her when it’s not for official business.
I’d reckon the highlight of the episode for me were really the two wild expressions from Maomao, both of which Jinshi witnessed. The first one was absolutely hilarious, so funny I actually went back to replay it immediately after because it happened so fast! Bless whoever was responsible for drawing that scene, because that was pure art. Oh my gosh, looked as though it came straight out of a horror film or something! Poor Jinshi, to be looked upon like that. The second expression was Maomao blissfully thinking about her creepy medicine herb she got from Jinshi. Perhaps the most unexpected result was by seeing Maomao smiling at Jinishi and thoughtlessly saying, “welcome home”, it prompted him to smack his head repeatedly on the pillar. Couldn’t tell you if that was for self-control or because he thought he was hallucinating, or it struck him as so creepy, he wanted to forger it. Either way, it was hilarious.
The next case Maomao found herself upon was the ‘Seaweed Incident’, where Likan had shared a story with Gaoshun, who then sought Maomao to look deeper into it. While the culprit was exactly who you expected (the younger brother of the master who fell into a coma after eating the poisoned food), and it was Maomao who identified the cause of the master falling into a coma in the first place: The salted seaweed was poisonous. It came from the south, where even locals know that it’s not safe to eat. The one who purchased that (the younger brother) knew this, and gave it to his brother to eat.
And now Likan has yet another case for Maomao to pursue, this time asking through Jinshi to have her look into it.
Why Likan is getting Maomao to be the one to pursue these cases is still uncertain, but it’s not secret that he has been making himself a nuisance of a sorts to Jinshi ever since he bought Maomao out of the Verdigris House. He is the one Maomao really doesn’t want to come to face with, and she made no secret of that this week with the way she sought to tune out and convince herself it’s completely unrelated to her. Unfortunately for her, that’s not the case here.
Speaking of Likan, I think it goes without saying that he’s the type of character who knows how to get under everyone’s skin and strike unease. He was able to successfully bait Jinshi into opening the conversation about the courtesan that he deeply cares for, at the Vergidis House. She was said to be very good at go and shogi, and the only thing he could beat her in was shogi, but never in go, and never treated guests as customers. But it was far from a comfortable conversation, especially for Jinshi when Lakan talked about how he wanted to try and force himself on the courtesan, but because he couldn’t give up on her, he resorted to a dirty trick to reduce her value when a bidding war occurred between two rich clients who sought her hand. He didn’t share the rest however, only leaving Jinshi and the rest of the audience in suspense. Not a great one mind you.
With that said, both episodes were good, though I’d like to urge the viewers to exercise patience while we undergo these smaller mysteries. There’s always a purpose to them,and it’s best to keep a close eye on the details because they’ll become important later on. And I guess a small shout out to Basan who was introduced today. I can’t say much about him about just yet, so that’s why I’m decided to just refrain from talking about him this week.