This episode had a lot of secrets being unpacked, some fully out in the open, and others we simply got out first peek into. So let’s start with Maomao’s frigid relationship with her birth parents, and the full reveal that Lakan is in-fact her birth father.

Maomao’s mother lost her high status as a courtesan after she had gotten pregnant with Maomao. They didn’t dive into why Lakan hadn’t showed up all that time just yet (but they will shortly), but still made the point that for the past decade he has been trying hard at the very least to get in contact with them. However as Maomao’s mother has succumbed to syphilis, a terrible disease she came into contact with while servicing a customer during Vergiris dark days, she’s been (graciously) quarantined to the annex. And since she never got properly treated before the disease went out of control, her body has deteriated to the point she had even lost her nose (which they covered up with her hair), and her memories are in shreds. As such Lakan has no idea what has become of her.

But it was because Lakan never showed up after she got pregnant, that she directed her frustration and anger towards baby Maomao, and cut her pinky, a trauma that still haunts Maomao to this day.

As for Maomao’s case: Regardless of the Lakan’s efforts to bring her under his care, the problem is that Maomao does not reciprocate that will, and wants absolutely nothing to with him. Everyone knows that, and so they help Maomao avoid him when she can when he shows up at the Verdigris House. However it’s much more difficult to avoid him when they both work in the outter palace. Lakan has been being a nuisance to Jinshi because he had beaten him to the punch, but still makes it clear that he and Maomao will meet one way or another, and even had Jinshi serve as the messenger. But after seeing a look at could kill, Jinshi recognizes unless Maomao changes her mind, she will make sure to continue to avoid him, and reassured her he’ll turn him down on her behalf. Though if I may add as side note: They made that glare transition happen SO FAST that I couldn’t actually see it the first time. I had to rewind and slow it down to properly catch it, but yeah no wonder it spooked Jinshi, because he didn’t realize until now that she was capable of making that face, nor that he ever want to see her make it again.

Bearing that in mind, it’s an understatement as to why Maomao doesn’t perceive Lakan and her mother  to be her parents, and she refuses to acknowledge them as such. Maomao likens her mother to the woman who bore her, and nothing further. The saddest part however was that this whole mess ended up warping her perspective of ‘love’, to the point she believes she isn’t capable to ‘love’ anyone, nor can she understand it, thus claims to have left it behind in the womb. However that isn’t to say she’s incapable of loving someone. While Maomao can’t identify it with herself, we the audience can see through her actions that she at the very least loves her adoptive father Luomen. She worries about him being left alone, always looking to help him maintain business because she knows that he isn’t’ not business savy as he needs to be to survive. There are also her sisters of the Verdigris House. They are a combination of motherly-sister figures, all who care for her as if she’s one of their own, and in return she cares about them dearly. There’s also granny who put up with Maomao’s mischief with her experiments! Not every place was about to put up with her blowing up a room, she probably would’ve been kicked out altogether and bared from entering apart from doing deliveries or treatment. In any case, this is Maomao’s true family. The ones who have poured their love and care for her, helping her grow up into this bright young woman she is together.

In the end, both Maomao and Jinshi ended up having something about them revealed about each other that they didn’t want the other to know. Maomao didn’t want anyone to know she is Lakan’s daughter, and Jinshi doesn’t want to see the day when Maomao learns the truth of his status. He knows the minute she does, their already fragile relationship could fall into shambles– especially since she’s of a mind of working for him rather than with him.

Although Maomao has made the efforts not to think too hard about the mysteries that shroud Jinshi, she has been slowly connecting the dots to the fact Jinshi bears an important role. She has noticed the recent preparations are for the upcoming Ritual Ceramony, one she previously thought eunchs had no part in. That means purifying his body with incense, baths and eating vegitarian meals. Additionally as of the late, there’s been more and more hints pointing Jinsh is not your typical eunch in the rear palace. And today Lakan finally called Jinshi out on being of a higher status, something he (if he had a choice) really didn’t want revealed, much less to Maomao for as long as he could help it.

This was also why when Suiren picked up on the awkwardness between Maomao and Jinshi, as well of seeing Maomao was not grounded like she usual is, she decided to have a talk with her. Suiren knows very well that Maomao is very conscious about her social standing, and how she makes the effort to not overstep her bounds, and stay humble in presence of higher class. However Suiren wanted Maomao to understand that despite their differences in status, at the root of their being, they are all the same. That’s why she sees how Maomao mayy find herslef expirencing regrets of sabatoging opportunities if she keeps herself fixed to that mindset.

And finally but not least: Suirei, goodness– this woman is suspicious as hell. She is definitely wary of Maomao considering her wealth of knowledge for plants and medicine. But she has revealed something that had Maomao immediately intrigued: She’ll working on growing a medicine resurrect someone. For that, she will soon be planting morning glories. While that certainly rings alarm bells for the rest of us watching, Maomao on the other-hand seem to completely overlook that because she’s far too interested in the very concept of medicine being able to do such a thing, and wants to know everything about it!


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Vance

    Well, I called it. Lakan is indeed Maomao’s biological father, which was obvious given the easiest way to reduce a courtesan’s value is to get her pregnant. He gave Maomao’s mom syphylis and didn’t have the goodwill to have a doctor give her a check-up until maybe Luomen came to the pleasure district after he was dismissed from his role. Something tells me there might have been more to Luomen’s dismissal than what has been revealed so far. Maybe Lakan deliberately got Luomen dismissed so that he could send Luomen to the pleasure district. I’m probably overthinking it though ’cause if Lakan had sent Luomen to look after Maomao, he’d probably visit Luomen directly instead of the Verdigris House unless the arrangement with Luomen and the Verdigris House is special and the Verdigris House simply permits Luomen to look after her on behalf of it. Lakan also directly insinuates that Jinshi is the Emperor’s son, which confirms Maomao’s speculation from earlier.

    Most people in this show who dislike Maomao do so because of her commoner background, so I’m assuming this is also the reason Suirei dislikes her. Either that or she dislikes Maomao because Maomao is more famous than she is for her skills.

    1. Eva

      I’ll just clear up right now, Lakan was not the one to give her syphilis (at least the novel has never indicated such). It was suggested she had caught it after she had given birth to Maomao when she already had lost her status and had to serve customers that were not necessarily healthy. I can’t say anything further, but I’d recommend not to jump to conclusions just yet.

  2. Merlin

    As Suiren pointed out, Maomao has a certain fixation on status, and seems to view nobles in a generally negative light. She also did her best to avoid attracting the attention of said nobles even in good ways. I’d say we now have an explanation why. Her mother attracted the eye of a noble who proceeded to ruin her because he couldn’t keep her, by inflicting Maomao upon her. She grew up knowing her mother did not love her because of her suffering which Lakan is responsible for. And then Lakan shows up again, seven years after her birth, looking to take her? And doesn’t give up for ten years running, now? I’m honestly very afraid of what he wants with her, to persist for so long. Then she gets sold off to the rear palace and comes to the attention of people in high places, bringing her closer to Lakan’s proximity. Not great.

    Also small wonder she, alone, had an adverse reaction to Jinshi’s charms, seeing what happened when her mother fell for a charming noble.

    As for Suirei, they gave her a very off-kilter vibe with the soundtrack. Considering her demeanor and appearance are somewhat similar to Maomao’s own, and how she can keep a hill of herbs right next to Lakan’s domain, I am wondering if she is actually Maomao’s half-sister or something like that.

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