The Final Fight
Episode 14 of Alchemy of Souls starts with Jang-Uk facing his toughest challenge yet – Seo Yul. Before that spicy duel though, Jin-Mu quizzes the Crown Prince over Uk’s skills. The Prince conversationally reveals that Uk always has his maid by his side. As far as he’s concerned, Uk isn’t being taught spells by anyone. But could that be enough for Jin-Mu to suspect her?
Uk is someone who could bring chaos to the world if his power is not kept under control, and that’s something Park Jin is concerned by. However, for now we see Uk’s incredible power and talent has allowed him to learn Chisu and catch the fabled golden fish, just as Hemp Lee said.
Now, the circumstances around Cha Beom stepping down stem from the Crown Prince himself. He’s dead-set on whoever Uk’s opponent is, they must defeat him. With rhe pressure so high, the mage steps aside and decides to let Yul get involved – especially with the prize of Mu-Deok on the line.
Yul is well positioned to benefit from this, and having given the Crown Prince his word, we catch up to the moments from last episode.
Yul and Jang-Uk square off, with Uk much improved after mastering the Chisu technique. The duel goes back and forth, with goosebump-inducing orchestral music in the background. Honestly, it’s like a boss fight in a Final Fantasy game at this point.
Anyway, instead of a world-ending summon spell, Yul knocks down Jang-Uk and watches as he flies across the floor. Although he loses, mastering Chisu has dwarfed the achievement of winning the duel. At least for now anyway. Of course, this also means that Mu-Deok now serves Yul, rather than Jang-Uk.
With Jang-Uk recovering, Yeom is delighted to see the level that the young student has managed to achieve. At the same time, Mu-Deok learns the terms for Yul’s duel. Although she’s serving him now, she’s still allowed to visit Jang-Uk at any time. Not only that, but Yul also has her promise to help him when the time comes for him to leave for Seoho Fortress.
Meanwhile, the love triangle with Park-Jin, Hemp Master Lee and Maidservant Kim continues, as Park-Jin realizes exactly who is trying to win the woman over.
Park Jin is shocked, and has to hold onto the chair when Jang-Uk hopes that Kim marries a loving man. He’s also going to root for Lee and Kim to get together… which certainly shocks Park Jin. The latter soon susses out the shoes and realizes that Lee and Kim have been meeting for quite a while now. “He must have been the one who gave her the wildflowers too,” He says sadly, and walks away.
Jang-Uk and Dang-Gu arrive to see Mu-Deok, concerned that she may not be getting along okay with her new master. Looking up though, he notices Mu-Deok and Yul together, with the latter brandishing a new bird whistle. He watches with despair as the two bond.
Meanwhile, King Go Soon decides to invite Hemp Master Lee to his chambers, intending to ease his worries about whether there’s a Soul Shifter nearby.
Speaking of nearby, over at Jinyowon, Jin Ho-Gyeong remains dead-set on finding her long lost daughter. But despite so many people showing up, Cho-Yeon is starting to lose faith. Unfortunately, Cho-yeon lets her guard down outside and she ends up pricked by Jin Woo-Tak, who clearly has a nefarious scheme in mind.
Park Jin continues to grow suspicious of Mu-Deok ad in the end, tasks Sang-Ho with looking into her background. Given the details around Jang-Uk meeting Mu-Deok are hazy, he wants to get to the bottom of this once and for all.
However, they’re not the only ones on the hunt. It turns out several loansharks are on the hunt for So-I too, given the debt she owes. But as we know, she’s with Jin-Mu at Cheonbugwan and she watches, in horror, as the two women she conned from the boat are brought out…and fed to a Soul Shifter in hiding.
As the bodies petrify and turn black, Jin-Mu uses this as a lesson to keep her in line – and get rid of anyone who may recognize So-I.
In the wake of this, there’s some pretty funny drama involving Mu-Deok and the Crown Prince. Earlier in the episode, he challenges Mu-Deok’s dedication to Uk and throws the jade stone in a pool outside. She keeps a poker face until later on when she fishes it out in the middle of the night.
When Mu-Deok re-joins the Crown Prince here, the pair verbally spar over the importance of this stone. In the end, Mu-Deok keeps hold of it and refuses to give it back.
Just then, a couple of mages arrive and start to berate her. The Crown Prince offers up a trinket that will stop anyone from badmouthing her before she leaves. Noticing ink on one of the men’s shoulders, he gives him some advice about using white rice to get rid of it. That is, of course, a throwback to the Songrim exam!
Anyway, after a touch of jealousy, Jang-Uk throws Mu-Deok completely off-guard and kisses her, deciding to go for the “pretty woman” after all. Mu-Deok ends up running off after, but she does show the jade stone to him, seemingly solidifying their feelings for one another.
Mu-Deok soon runs into Park-Jin though, who questions her history, including lying about being blind. She manages to hold her own in the face of strong questioning, with Mu-Deok’s guardian standing by her side. He encourages Mu-Deok to head by the Ferry Inn. Before he goes, he mentions So-I arriving, which throws Mu-Deok off her game.
Mu-Deok thinks this over when she shows up at Ferry Inn, where she finds a man on the floor with his throat slit. Unfortunately, Park Jin appears just after and immediately believes she’s the one responsible.
Meanwhile, Master Lee Cheol arrives before Go Soon, accompanied by Yeol, Dang-Gu and Jang-Uk, where he tells them all he can recognize Soul Shifters… and he’s the Shifter. Jang-Uk realizes, with horror, that he knew Mu-Deok was a shifter from the very beginning.
The Episode Review
What a cliffhanger to leave everything hanging in the balance! Alchemy of Souls comes to an agonizing end here as we’re going to have to wait an entire week before finding out what happens next.
In the meantime though, this fantastical drama has done a great job keeping the magic and the political intrigue going over the weeks and this double bill is no exception. In a way, this chapter is very much like a proverbial deep breath, keeping us poised and ready for next week where things are likely to take a pretty drastic turn.
Either way though, Alchemy of Souls has been a great watch and this episode manages to build some great ties between the Crown Prince and Mu-Deok, whilst simultaneously progressing the potential romance for Jang-Uk and Mu-Deok. The kiss was certainly unexpected and it made for one of the better moments of the entire show.
These two have had quite the ride thus far and it seems like the perceived triangle involving the Crown Prince is just there to develop the latter’s character. In reality, the vibe between Jang-Uk and Mu-Deok is giving off the intent that the writers are going all-in on this romance now. The pair have great chemistry on screen and with a second season already greenlit, it would seem like we’ve got plenty more twists and turns in their romance to come.
Everything is left hanging in the balance here though and next week’s episode is not to be missed!