The Apothecary Diaries – Season 1 Episode 17 Recap & Review

A Jaunt Around Town

Episode 17 of The Apothecary Diaries begins where we left off in the previous episode with Jinshi asking Maomao to apply makeup on his face. He interrogates Maomao about the type of makeup she uses to give herself fake freckles. Maomao shares her wisdom with Jinshi, and Jinshi says he wants to look like a completely different individual. 

Maomao says she can whip up the concoction overnight, and we cut to her doing so. She heads to Jinshi’s quarters in the morning, and we see Jinshi getting pampered by Suiren. Maomao gets a whiff of Jinshi’s fragrance and realizes he burned expensive incense, which will prohibit him from feeling like the average civilian. 

Maomao says she knows what rich and ordinary people smell like. She tells Gaoshun to fetch Jinshi clothes that haven’t been washed yet. Maomao applies some things to Jinshi’s hair to give it that commoner aesthetic. Gaoshun returns with a smelly batch of clothes and Maomao tells Jinshi to remove his clothes. 

Jinshi complies and Maomao observes his muscular build. She tells Suiren and Gaoshun to help her alter Jinshi’s build, making him appear obese. Maomao tries putting feminine makeup on Jinshi out of spite, but Jinshi turns out beautiful as a result. Maomao scraps that idea and applies makeup on Jinshi’s face to make him look like a grotesque and poor person. 

Maomao gives Jinshi an irritant to tamper with his vocals and provides him with cotton balls that’ll help him change his face’s shape. Before Maomao leaves to visit her homeland, Gaoshun tells her that Jinshi’s heading in her direction. He asks Maomao if she can accompany him to his destination so Jinshi doesn’t draw suspicion from others.

Maomao tries to deny the offer, but Suiren says she can provide Maomao with a disguise. During a carriage ride, Jinshi tells Maomao to refer to him as Jinka. Additionally, he complements Maomao on her fashionable appearance. Gaoshun leaves Jinshi and Maomao somewhere and the two decide to go for a quick stroll. 

During this walk, Jinshi tells Maomao he plans to visit a restaurant to meet an acquaintance of his. Meanwhile, we spot Basen observing the two from afar since Gaoshun hired him as Jinshi and Maomao’s bodyguard. Maomao shows interest in buying vegetables at a stand, but Jinshi says she can’t because people who wear fashionable attire don’t buy groceries. 

Maomao ponders about her father for a while, and Jinshi tells her he’s upset that she isn’t conversing with him. Maomao spots a chicken skewer place nearby and picks two skewers up for Jinshi and herself. While the two eat the chicken skewers, we cut to Gaoshun stumbling upon Suiren applying persimmon tannin to a suitcase.

Then, the two discuss toys briefly, with Suiren alluding to Maomao being Jinshi’s latest and favorite one. Gaoshun tells Suiren that Jinshi shouldn’t be able to remain attached to one possession for too long. Afterward, we return to following Jinshi and Maomao. Maomao’s rushing things and Jinshi feels like she wants to split ways with him sooner. 

Internally, that’s Maomao’s plan. Then, Jinshi brings up palace life to Maomao and argues that it’s better than having a life in the pleasure district. Maomao says palace life’s great, but she’s a bit worried about her adoptive father’s (Luomen’s) health. Jinshi’s taken aback by her response because he thought Maomao only cared about medicine and poison. 

Maomao informs Jinshi about Luomen’s apothecary expertise and Jinshi asks her if Luomen’s a eunuch. Maomao confirms that Luomen is a eunuch and received this title from Dowager, the former emperor’s mother because he chose to study abroad. Maomao spots the inn and restaurant Jinshi planned to visit and realizes why he wanted to wear a disguise. 

Jinshi questions Maomao for intel about the Verdigris House’s customers but Maomao says she can’t give him a thorough response due to confidentiality reasons. This entices Jinshi to ask Maomao how he can lower a courtesan’s value. Although this is a dreadful subject, Maomao informs Jinshi about the ways one can do so. 

Additionally, she gives Jinshi the run-down of the low and high-ranking courtesan lifestyle. Overall, Maomao states a courtesan’s value depends on their purity and argues impregnating a courtesan would reduce their purity levels to zero. Jinshi’s shocked by this information. The episode closes with a shot of the two looking at each other. 

The Episode Review

Despite not having a mystery to solve this week, this casual date-themed endeavor in The Apothecary Diaries was surprisingly thought-provoking. From its several discussions concerning toys, courtesans, and lifestyles, this episode will certainly get fans’ minds churning about the series’s unsolved dilemmas and future scenarios. 

Lakan was already a person fans should keep their eyes on, but this courtesan-value discussion makes him look more devious than before. As always, it’d be best for viewers to keep their eyes peeled whenever he shows up in this tale again. Thoughtful content aside, the episode had some endearing and amusing moments, too. 

Seeing Maomao analyze and critique Jinshi’s appearance will get some fans chuckling. Much like Carpaccio in a recent episode of Mashle: Magic and Muscles, Jinshi’s beauty is unmatched and impenetrable. Overall, this was a fun and surprisingly deep chapter of The Apothecary Diaries. Despite its simplistic premise, this chapter gave fans a nice mix of intrigue, comedy, and drama. Hopefully, it can continue delivering this stellar blend of content moving forward. 

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You can read our Season 1 Review of The Apothecary Diaries here!


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