The latest “curse” comes courtesy of substances found in the trash, causing chemical burns and creating varicolored fire. Jinshi takes an interest in this case, calling MaoMao over to explain the chemical basis to him. If he’s got an eye on this, there’s probably more to it than a mere unfortunate accident during waste disposal.
The chemicals aren’t the only thing Jinshi’s got his eye on, taking more than a subtle interest in MaoMao, commenting on his concern for her wellbeing in private to his companions. His obliviousness to their grins is in such utter contrast to the normal sparkly ladies man he puts himself out to be and that he’s with people among whom he has no reason to put on the “act” with, points to a deeper interest in her, than even he himself may realize. His quip at the end, basically asking her to make him some of her secret mushrooms was kind of funny- nothing gets past him. Poor MaoMao can’t keep even her foraging treasures a secret from him.
As much as he pisses her off and can get kind of invasive, I think he and her work well as a team. They both notice the same problems happening around the court, both approach it logically and set about solving said problems, but from different standpoints. He from his court connections, more akin to traditional sleuthing, while she from a scientist’s standpoint, examining the scientific grounds.
Then, we have the big to-do of the palace, the yearly garden party with the four top ranking concubines and the emperor. MaoMao is obliged to come along, much to her dismay. While palace life can be irritating in some ways for MaoMao, it also is freeing in other ways when she finds the people around her welcoming towards her new ideas, like hand-sewn pockets for warmers. Even though I’m not the one doing the work, it still felt good to see MaoMao’s skills recognized and in demand, an acknowledgment of everything she’s learned and worked towards.
MaoMao gets a makeover for the big day, completely transformed into an elegant lady. It was kind of nice to see her in classy party form- it’s nice to get all snazzied up once in a while. Jinshi certainly liked what he saw. In the makeover process, it comes out that her freckles were actually, ironically, makeup. Her reasoning behind it, to avoid getting kidnapped and assaulted is pretty well thought out, though it also is pretty sad, hearing dangers she’s had to grow up with. Jinshi seems to realize that too, unmasking for a second from his usual glitz. While he feels guilty for buying her under those contexts, it is a little hypocritical if he feels guilty only for her, but not guilty about everyone else he’s bought or will continue to buy, given how common the practice was.
The meaning behind that hairpin needs no explaining- to us at least, though it’s a different story for MaoMao. It is interesting to see the subtle change in Jinshi, the barefaced Jinshi, so to speak, and how that might continue to change going forward, both in how we and MaoMao perceive him because of that and in his relationship with her. Frankly, I prefer him without all the sparkles and posturing, so if we see less of that, the better.
Something we haven’t seen much of yet are the other two of the four consorts, which it looks like we’ll be meeting at least one of them next week. I have a feeling this probably isn’t the end of the chemical burn case either- it got swept aside too quickly for it to be case closed.