There’s nothing like coming home after a while away. Maomao’s body language this week was a triumph in expressing that feeling: she was restless and open in the carriage, she was excited to meet the mistress of Verdigris House, and she was more relaxed than most nothing we ever saw when she finally entered the house. Compare the scene of her lying on the spacious, luxurious bed at Gyokuyou’s house to the scene of curling up under the thin blanket at her father’s house – her expression is so much softer and the way she hugs herself in it makes how much clearer that is. she is homesick. Sure, Jinshi and Lihaku get fun moments with their poses and gestures, but they pale in comparison to seeing Maomao back to where she’s truly happy and comfortable.
Not that Jinshi would be pleased to see that, judging by his expression when he learned that Maomao had been out of the inner palace for three days. She seems to have become his happy place, and her (temporary) departure tells him two very unwanted things: she took the first opportunity to be asked to leave and she received a hairpin from another man. Whether or not he has romantic feelings for her isn’t even really the question here, although I’d say it at least looks a bit like him. (On the other hand, she feels safe saying that no one, for anyone.) Maomao became the respite he needed for the rest of his life, at least part of it. That number was revealed to be a performance this week. The super-powered Jinshi seems to be a front he puts up to maintain order in the palace, much to Gaoshun’s exasperation, and Maomao’s unpredictability may be the first truly interesting thing he encounters after a long time.
His outward demeanor may not be the only thing Jinshi is hiding. His red and yellow hairpin, which we can look closely at for a long time, seems to risk revealing some important truths about him, according to Gaoshun, who is not pleased because Jinshi forgot to take it off. Maomao had noted that the older man sat in a very prominent position at the party, and there were a few other small hints that Jinshi might be more than just a pretty administrator. It wasn’t that Maomao was only interested in learning; she may spare him a passing thought as she leaves the palace, and it’s not necessarily a flattering thought.
That seems certain to amuse Gyokuyou, who has a wicked sense of humor, or would be tickled watching the world burn. Although we don’t yet know much about the other concubines, it seems clear why the emperor was particularly attracted to her—in addition to her large breasts, she had an active and gifted mind. sees the world the way she wants, which in this case is in a humorous light. Lihua and Lishu both take things much more seriously, one because of her personality and the other because of her youth and unusual circumstances. And judging by the way Lishu’s maids treated her, just spending time in her booth could be tiring, even if the emperor didn’t like his maids’ ample breasts. As Maomao pointed out to Gaoshun, the poisoning was just a symptom of how she was treated by her ladies: Lishu’s uncoordinated outfit and her ladies’ reactions for both her presence and the reprimands from Ah-duo’s women speak of a clear resentment. in Lishu’s family. Maomao theorized that it was because Lishu was in the inner palace of both father and son, and that was possible. But it seems there is something more interesting behind their behavior. Do they resent serving a younger woman? Was she chosen instead of them? Is she the least favored of the consorts and that offends them? Or was there a deeper political issue—after all, ladies-in-waiting were often (if not always) high-ranking ladies, and perhaps the rise of the Lishu family came at the expense of one of Which of them? Their anger seems to be limited to Lishu, though it doesn’t necessarily help the question of who poisoned Gyokuyou’s soup.
But that was a problem that Maomao could wait a few days to resolve. She’s home, she’s given Lihaku a better turn than he probably deserves (though the mistress has decided to make sure it doesn’t end well for him ), and now she can rest.
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