The Apothecary Diaries – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Threat

Episode 4 of The Apothecary Diaries begins with Lihua’s female entourage scolding Maomao for bringing her low-class food. She reflects on why she’s in the presence of these women in the first place. After doing some poison check-ups for the Emperor, he tasks Maomao with looking after Lihua. Maomao’s surprised Lihua’s staff are treating her poorly since she’s serving her under imperial orders. Maomao discusses her task with Xiaolan and she assumes Lihua’s still suffering from the poison. 

Maomao visits the kitchen to help Lihua’s cooks whip up a dietary meal for Lihua to expel the poison in her body. However, she keeps getting rejected by Lihua’s servants because they deem her meals inadequate. Maomao acknowledges the meals they want to feed her but feels they’re too heavy for Lihua’s weakened stomach. Jinshi notices Maomao’s struggles and entices Lihua’s servants to let Maomao assist Lihua with her sickly problems. 

Maomao notices something on Lihua’s face and notices something off about her make-up. She approaches one of her servants and slaps one of them for their foolish actions. Maomao drags them aside and pours the make-up the woman used on Lihua on the servant. She reminds the woman that the make-up is poison and that she shouldn’t be using it on Lihua. Maomao orders the servant to wash their face and for the others to clean up the mess she made. 

While Maomao treats Lihua and guides Lihua’s ladies-in-waiting, she confirms the woman who hid the powder got put in confinement. As for the eunuch who recovered the powder, he was punished for flagellation. Lihua asks Maomao why she won’t let her die, and Maomao says she could simply stop eating. However, she knows Lihua continues eating her meals because she wants to live. Suddenly, the lady-in-waiting who got put in confinement tells Maomao she’s allowed to serve Lihua again. 

She asks Maomao to get rest and promises not to make the same mistake again. After two months, Lihua makes a decent recovery, finding the strength to walk again. Before Maomao leaves, Lihua asks her if she thinks she can give birth to children again. Maomao says she can try but can’t give her a solid answer. Lihua realizes the emperor doesn’t care for her as much as Gyokuyou but Maomao thinks she might have a chance still. 

Maomao whispers to Lihua, stating she should use her bodily charm to seduce the emperor. The episode closes with someone from the royal palace suffering from a curse. 

The Episode Review

It appears the emperor wanted Maomao to assist with Lihua’s treatment based on the cliffhanger we received in episode 3. Maomao showcases her excellency in treating her, leaving our female concubine in a great physical state and with some nifty knowledge that’ll help her win him over. This was a wonderful episode all-around and a nice change of pace like the previous chapter. 

Although we have Maomao dabbling into another poison-themed issue in episodes one and two, she adopts a more authoritarian personality in this chapter. While it was a bit overly dramatic for Maomao to slap the lady-in-waiting and dump poison on her, it shows how much Maomao cares for human life, regardless of her attachment to said people she’s entrusted with looking after. 

On top of giving Lihua compelling and humorous advice, the series continues to build upon Maomao’s character exceptionally. Moreover, the animation was as beautiful as the previous chapters. However, there were some noticeable hiccups within it. Sometimes, characters teleported on screen or had designs that seemed a bit jarring to observe. 

Thankfully, there were only a few instances where the visuals looked unfinished or strange. Overall, this was an enjoyable chapter to watch. It gives viewers another side of Maomao’s personality as she uses her apothecary knowledge to help others in the palace. I’m excited to see how she handles the next issue that awaits her in episode 4. 

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


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