The Apothecary Diaries returned on November 12th with Episode 6, continuing the grand garden party at the royal palace. We learn a lot about the rivalries among the ladies-in-waiting in addition to the twisted, complicated ancestral history of the imperial family. Maomao also encounters a problem while taste-testing for Lady Gyokuyou.
The Garden Party
In the first half of The Apothecary Diaries episode 6, we are presented with an abundance of information that includes the astonishing history of the imperial family, focusing on how young girls are to become mothers at shocking ages. Additionally, Maomao witnesses the intense disgust between the groups of ladies-in-waiting — each concubine’s group of servants loathing the other.
Lady Liyue’s own servants mock Maomao, as they don’t even recognize her in party garb and make-up. Maomao’s subtle yet powerful retaliation against Liyue’s ladies, accompanied by her sly grin, makes them horrified to realize that they just insulted Maomao to her face. This scene reminds us that messing with Maomao can come with some serious consequences.
Maomao assumes her usual position of taste-testing food for poison, once again relishing the opportunity to try dishes of such high class. Fish, vegetables, and soups are brought to her one by one as usual for careful inspection. We’re reminded how utterly insane Maomao is for wishing to eat poison, referencing the tingling sensation that happens when one eats a poisonous puffer fish. This is the masochistic trait Maomao has that sets her apart from any other taste-tester — she is brave and accustomed to the effects of poison.
While taste-testing, Maomao notices Lady Lishu, the emperor’s least favorite consort, grimacing while attempting to eat fish. Earlier in the episode we learned that Lady Lishu may be a picky eater, but we soon learn about the real reason she’s hesitant to eat fish.
After swallowing a small spoonful of soup, Maomao notices it has indeed been poisoned, sending the party into chaos as they realize someone is trying to poison Lady Gyokuyou. Maomao, while used to dealing with poison, knows she must immediately vomit up this soup before it starts to have a negative effect on her body, so she swiftly leaves the party. Jinshi takes notice of this and follows her with the intention to take her to the infirmary. We see here that Jinshi is really starting to obviously care about the safety of Maomao.
This scenario has no-doubtedly raised many questions, the most obvious being who is behind this poisoned food. Maomao asks Jinshi for Lady Lishu and her food taster’s presence. Maomao calls out Lishu’s food tester for feeding her Lady fish, which Maomao correctly guessed the young consort was allergic to. However, this seems unrelated to the attempted poisoning of Lady Gyokuyou until Maomao reveals that Lady Lishu and Gyokuyou had their dishes swapped.
It is clear that someone is out to hurt Lady Lishu, and I’m sure more of this and the mysterious wooden tablets from the previous episode will be a focal point of episode seven. Jinshi seems to believe the two scenarios are connected, and I find myself having even more anticipation than I expected for the next episode.
The Apothecary Diaries continues to bring us unbelievably well-paced episodes that seem to end too quickly — making the wait for the next episode feel too long! We’ll have to wait until November 19th to experience the colorful scenes, dazzling music, and engaging plot points the show has thrown at us without fail each and every week. It’s also at this point in the series I find myself incredibly thankful that the anime will run for at least 24 episodes. What do you think we’ll find out about the garden party in episode seven? Feel free to comment below.
Images via Crunchyroll
©Natsu Hyuga, Shufunutomo / “Kusuriya no Hitorigoto” Production Committee