I just saw that the Apothecary Diaries is slated for 24 episodes and I’m a little stoked, I won’t lie. I did have some trouble adapting to the…adaptation… but now I really look forward to every new episode and the fact that I will get to see so many of them makes me pretty happy!
I said once that I find the palace intrigue aspect of The Apothecary Diaries to be quite interesting. I stand by that. There’s something about the twisty politics of ancient empires that just fascinates me. But that doesn’t mean I find it, for lack of a better word, pleasant.
First, we find out that the Dowager empress was probably a child herself when she gave birth to the emperor. It’s an anime of course and you can’t always go by looks but she looked to be roughly the same age as her own son. And that happened a lot. But then there’s the entire upsetting story about the Virtuous Consort. Not only am I sort of uncomfortable about the idea of a son taking his father’s concubine for himself. Again, I know that happened a lot but it isn’t exactly fun to think about. But Maomao herself tells us that Lishu was 9 when the previous emperor passed away. And they decided to move on but that means she became a consort before that. If Maomao was shocked at the idea of a nine-year-old concubine, and who wouldn’t be, what would she think about a six-year-old one? Maybe even younger.
I think I know why this was put into the story. The very young consorts are probably historically accurate – sidenote, I tried to look up how young consorts were on average and instead, I found this article on what happened to consorts when they “got old” (I’m not sure what the cut-off age is for old) and it said that:
The imperial consorts were either executed by palace eunuchs or chose to commit suicide, normally by hanging themselves with a silk scarf or by taking poison.
and now I’m sad.
Anyways… I think they put the bit in about consort Lishu so that we still get that authentic history feel without condemning the character of the current emperor too much. He didn’t choose a child, his father did and he is just kindly letting her stay at the palace. That’s all. Nothing to see here.
I hope I didn’t depress you guys too much. Let’s go back to Maomao. Don’t you just love how twisted she can be? First threatened the other ladies-in-waiting with very convincing implied sexual assault and then just being ever so weird about poisons. But you know, even Maomao doesn’t mess with allergies. You got to be careful, that stuff just messes you up!
Our little Maomao became a veritable pin cushion this week. She was so popular that she’s getting hairpins left and right! Two of them are pretty clear but who was that young puppy officer? I like how the characters in this show are either calculating and conniving even if they’re good guys, like Maomao, Jinshi, and most of the consorts, or they’re sweet little innocent cinnamon buns like Gyokuyou’s ladies in waiting, Jinshi’s aid and now this new guy. He seems like he would be a good foil for Maomao. I hope they get to spend more time together. Wink wink, nudge cough!
However, the mystery isn’t solved, is it? Maomao figured out that Lisgu was probably the true target of the poison. That’s great and all but we still have a poisoner on the loose. At first, I thought it might be Lishu’s taster but after seeing how she reacted in the last part of the episode, I’m not so sure. She’s probably resentful of the consort and she might even have something to do with the attempted poisoning but I don’t think she’s the mastermind. Besides, she would have had to taste the poison herself had the dishes not been switched. I think she got caught in a different lie and that’s what she was worried about. But who did the poisoning? And why?