The Apothecary Diaries – Season 1 Episode 21 Recap & Review

How To Buy Out A Contract

Episode 21 of The Apothecary Diaries begins with Maomao visiting Guen (The Quack Doctor). Maomao entices Guen to help her tidy up the pharmacy. The two take a break and eat. Maomao finds it strange that Guen serves food on paper but is impressed that the paper’s strong enough to hold the food. Guen says he and his family used to make a fortune selling this paper.

However, due to the previous emperor’s mother’s tree-cutting ban, things went downhill for Guen’s family’s business. Maomao leaves and returns the following day to help Guen clean. Guen presents Maomao with documents and tells her that his family won’t be the palace purveyor anymore. Maomao understands how that can be disappointing news for Guen’s family.

Maomao examines the document’s material and realizes it’s lacking in the strength department. Maomao asks Guen to elaborate on his family’s unchanged papermaking process. Guen says it’s the same as normal papermaking, but his family has a unique ingredient-crushing and glue-crafting process that he can’t elaborate on because it’s a secret. 

Maomao whips up some Arrowroot Gruel for Guen to try. After giving Guen some tips and wisdom, he tells Maomao that he’ll be contacting his sister soon. Maomao leaves and someone informs her that Lihaku wants to meet with her about something. Lihaku asks Maomao how much it’d cost to buy out a courtesan. 

Realizing this is about Pairin, Maomao informs Lihaku that it’s possible a wealthy merchant or a high-ranking official. Moreover, Maomao reflects on her relationship with Pairin and how Pairin treated Maomao like she was her daughter. Maomao asks Lihaku how much money he makes because he’ll need at least 10,000 silver in cash to buy out Pairin. 

Lihaku’s baffled by this news and asks Maomao how likely it’d be for Pairin to turn down his offer. Maomao asks Lihaku to strip to his undergarments because she wants to see if Lihaku has a body type that’ll appeal to Pairin. Before Lihaku removes his final layer of clothing, Jinshi walks in on them and is baffled by what’s taking place. 

Jinshi interrogates Maomao about her interaction with Lihaku. Maomao tells Jinshi she was getting a “good look” at Lihaku, aggravating Jinshi further. While Jinshi is sulking over Maomao’s remarks, he asks her for her opinion on Lihaku’s appearance. Maomao responds and Jinshi’s surprised she can identify people’s personalities by their appearances alone. 

After that, we cut to Lihaku performing sit-ups in his room. He feels he’s wasting time and would rather find ways to buy out Pairin. Then, Jinshi summons Lihaku to a meeting. He offers Lihaku 20,000 silver and says he can use it to buy out Pairin. Then, Jinshi and Lihaku chat about Lihaku’s past and how he achieved what he’s attained (so far). 

Lihaku values Jinshi’s praise toward him and appreciates the offer. However, he’d rather put in the word to buy out Pairin than accept someone’s money and use said person’s cash to buy her out. Jinshi leaves and tells Gaoshun he has nothing to worry about after all. Meanwhile, Lihaku contemplates what he can do to win Pairin over. 

He plans to write her and show off at the next training regime. After a brief montage focusing on Lihaku and Pairin, we cut to Maomao in her room. She’s thinking about the scenario that took place a while back involving a past courtesan buyer. Then, we shift to a man walking up to Lakan and informing him about a meeting that’s taking place soon. 

The episode closes with Lakan mentioning “blue roses.” 

The Episode Review

Although fans will find Lakan’s “blue roses” remark intriguing, many will adore this chapter for Jinshi and Maomao’s amazing chemistry. Jinshi’s jealous antics continue to be a riot on screen alongside Maomao’s unawareness of his feelings toward her. Nonetheless, the Lihaku segment will certainly be the talk of the town for this episode, which isn’t a bad thing. 

Considering Lihaku’s been reserved as the info-dump character, it’s refreshing to have a chapter where he’s not performing said action. Additionally, Jinshi’s discussion with Lihaku gave fans some insight into Lihaku’s past, which is great to see. While it wasn’t anything too major, fans will get a kick out of what this episode delivers. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable chapter of The Apothecary Diaries. This one felt more comedic than prior chapters but offers the show’s mystery enthusiasts a breadcrumb to ponder over until next week’s chapter airs. With a couple of episodes to go, it’ll be fascinating to witness how this anime’s first season concludes. 

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


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