Alchemy of Souls – K-Drama Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Duel

Episode 4 of Alchemy of Souls starts in the past once more with Jang Gang forced to bear the truth. The King’s son is going to be born (which is Jang Uk of course) and it’s been written in the stars. It’s prophesied that the King’s son will be born when the star at the center of the Big Dipper reveals itself.

In the present, Mu-Deok speaks to Jang Uk, who’s dead-set on making his father regret banishing him. However, Uk is coming down with a fever, given he’s burning up. Mu-Deok believes this could be linked to his torrent of energy, and sets to work pouring cold water over him in the bath. Only, when she returns again, she finds the water freezing cold and Jang Uk now sitting at his desk, clenching his fists.

Mu-Deok encourages him to breathe slowly, demanding he fight off the cold that he’s feeling. If not, he could freeze to death. Mu-Deok even cuddles up to him in bed too, a way of keeping him warm. Uk though, tells her to take his torrent of energy if it’s too much for him to bear.

Meanwhile, Yul and Dang-Gu try in vain to convince Park Jin to take Uk back in again. He shrugs that off though and tells them to focus on the Soul Shifter case instead.

With a petrified body laid out in the watery recesses of the temple, Heo greets the boys and tells them that this is the alchemy of souls. Very few people have this power – two to be precise. In order to investigate this further, Yul and Dang-Gu are told to keep an eye on Cheonbugwan.

In he morning, Uk’s fever seems to have subsided enough for him to get back to training with Mu-Deok. He’s not able to unsheathe the mage’s sword just yet, which Mu-Deok claims is because he needs to master Ryusu first.

However, the Crown Prince arrives, wanting Jang Gang’s sword. Until a new Gwangju is appointed, he’s going to take it. Uk refuses though, which leads to the Prince challenging him to a duel over it.

They’re not the only ones en-route though. Yul, Dang-Gu and Cho-Yeon all have their own reasons for visiting Jang Uk. While they travel up to see them, the Crown Prince, Go Won, fights against Jang Uk. With Uk bested, just before Go Won strikes, Mu-Deok comes racing in and splashes the chamber pots all over the floor. However, in jumping back in surprise, he crosses the line and loses the duel.

Although he concedes, Go Won is livid that his clothes have been tainted and decides to punish Mu-Deok as a result. Jang Uk suddenly steps forward though to show Gang’s sword, which he’s managed to unsheathe, and slices Go Won’s sword in half. Jang Uk’s arm seems to have a mind of its own, courtesy of too much energy flowing into his arm, and begins slicing wildly at the Crown Prince.

Go-Won demands a proper fight but both sides have an awkward time deciding how to resolve this. As a result, Mu-Deok actually steps forward and drops to her knees, begging for forgiveness. She even suggests drinking the rest of the chamber pot water to atone for her sins. Thankfully it doesn’t come to that and the Crown Prince leaves without incident.

Jang Uk eventually returns to Songrim and unsheathes the sword before them all, showing his power. He’s mastered Ryusu in the blink of an eye and asks Park Jin for a second chance. Jang Uk needs more training but Park Jin notices the band on Uk’s arm and tells him to remove it. This is, of course, holding back his power.

Despite Dang-Gu telling him to stop, Park Jin demands he do this so he can see the boy hold his sword. And just like that, Jang Uk uncontrollably slices straight through the King’s shoulder.

When Park Jin learns that Uk fought with the Crown Prince, smashing the latter’s sword in the process, he’s shocked. Of course, Jin-Mu is there too and he intervenes, pointing out how dangerous this whole ordeal was and how it could have endangered the Prince. Although Park Jin manages to calm the situation, it’s definitely something balancing on a knife-edge.

In private, Park Jin speaks to Uk about his powers. With a binding bracelet keeping his power at bay, Park Jin admits that he’s truly impressed with his abilities. Uk also admits that the flogging actually helped his energy flow.

With a smile, Park Jin points out how quickly he picks up abilities and suggests he join their trade and learn about the business. Alternatively, he could team up with Heo and learn about the art of medicine.

Jang Uk kindly refuses his offer and tells his father he intends to become a mage to avenge his father, Jang Gang. Only… Park Jin squashes those dreams and tells him he’s the product of an illegitimate love affair. Jang Uk is shocked, crushed at this revelation, and decides not to train after all. Mu-Deok tries in vain to get through to him, but he shrugs it off and claims he’ll just sell her off if she continues this way.

At the same time, Jin-Mu continues to spin his web of deceit and danger, deciding that Jang Uk should be beheaded for his insolence. Mu-Deok suggests they should fight again to show what a fair fight this was, which Jin-mu decides is a good idea. He also claims they can’t be responsible for what happens should Uk die as a result of this.

When news of this spreads, Mu-Deok confronts Jang Uk and tells him if he stays he’s likely to lose his arm. So he decides to flee the secret room and escape.

Mu-Deok claims their destination is Sari Village but in reality, Uk and Mu-Deok are actually heading for Naksu’s hometown, Danhyanggok, to train. Jang Uk needs to be ready.

The duel is due to take place in the middle of the next month but if Uk doesn’t show up then he’ll be deprived his right to become the next Gwangju.

The Episode Review

Alchemy of Souls returns with another good episode, this time with the ties deepened and Uk’s magic just starting to show just how powerful he really is.

It’s clear that Jang Uk is a talented magic wielder and Mu-Deok is well aware of that too, intending to help him harness his true potential. I said last recap that these two will start training now and I’d imagine we’ll see that next week instead, especially with the way this chapter ended.

The duel between the Crown Prince and Jang Uk is a great touch and it helps to show just how naturally gifted Uk is and how this is his destiny. At the same time, alleviating the tension by using a chamber pot water and then arguing over who should be punished for this insolence, is a really nice way of breaking up the action.

Alchemy of Souls is certainly a good looking drama too but given the production team have built a 5 billion won set for this, it’s perhaps hardly surprising.

Interestingly, we see a bit more of Park Jin and his feelings toward Jang Uk here. We know he felt bad for the flogging last episode but had to do this as the leader. His chat this time around, contemplating whether just to give it all up and start a trading business with Uk is a great bit of dialogue and shows just how much he cares about the boy.

Either way, the ending leaves everything wide open for where this may go next, and judging by what we’ve seen, it should be quite the dramatic ordeal!

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You can read our full season review for Alchemy of Souls Season 1 here!


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5 thoughts on “Alchemy of Souls – K-Drama Episode 4 Recap & Review”

  1. First the above comment form KEI about the sword Wook used being his father’s and no Naksu’s is absolutely correct
    Kei bravo you pay attention when you watch your dramas; Good for you girl;

    Second; Im absolutely enjoying this drama : Alchemy of Souls; its been awhile since I was so pumped about any Drama; Last time was when I watched drama called ” Loving Never Forgetting ” I think 7 days is too long to wait until the new episodes are aired; I am really looking forward to the Episode when Jang Gang – UKs father returns – and meets his grown son for the first time;

  2. They just playing with viewers. 1st they introduce other actress as in Mudaok. Then replace her with so min and after part 1 again replace with other actress. From the beginning they showed So min that we can’t stop watching this drama and they suddenly announced of her removal from part2 . They try to tricks. From my suggestion please stop replacing lead actress again and again. We just find of So min from the starting and now they she won’t be in part2 makes me frustrating. If I get chance meet writter and director I’ll definitely slap them and put them in jail fu**ing bast**ds. Please respect lead actors and give up on changing actress which makes viewers frustrating. So i decided to drop this drama. Instead of this i started Anna,jinxed,why her, cafe minamdang and expecting Big mouth and Adams to release quickly. So suggest you to think before watch Alchemy series. Other drama much better than Alchemy of solus

  3. Hey Kei, thanks for commenting! You’re absolutely right, I do apologize! I’ve just gone in and corrected that now so it should read properly now. Apologies for any confusion there.

    -Greg W

  4. Hi! I’ve noticed that you said Wook used Naksu’s sword. Actually, it’s not Naksu’s but Jang Kang’s sword. Naksu’s sword was already given to Crown Prince Won after the “duel”, so the sword Wook used was his father’s. Same when he protected Mudeok from Crown Prince Won’s sword.

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