The Big Duel
Episode 8 of Alchemy of Souls starts with the sky turning a fiery red as the alchemy of souls looks set to take place. Kil-Joo conjures his powers, with particles dissolving around him, reaching for the sky. Jang-Uk looks set to follow… until a blindfolded Mu-Deok manages to hold his hand and bring him back.
Jang-Uk gasps, awakening to find himself on the ground and with no blue mark on his chest. His soul has not shifted. So what the heck happened? Well, Kil-Joo’s soul appears to still be in the same body.
Mu-Deok frantically shakes Kil-Joo, believing Jang-Uk is inside him until she learns the truth. Looking deep in Jang-Uk’s eyes, she realizes his soul hasn’t shifted. Only…something is different. The Soul Ejector has helped surge his energy and he no longer needs the bracelet to hold back his powers.
As for Kil-Joo, his skin turns grey but just before he passes, he reveals to Mu-Deok that her father, Cho-Chung, was also a soul shifter. He’s the one who killed his family, having run wild back then and murdered them all.
The true Danju is out there and apparently it’s not Jin-Mu. Before revealing exactly who it is, Kil-Joo scampers away after smashing into Mu-Deok’s shoulder, causing her cut to turn black with poison.
After the reveal with her father, Mu-Deok rushes through the woods to escape. Only, Yul is there and he manages to catch up with her, noticing the blood across her chest. Yul uses his magic to try and heal her up.
As for Jang-Uk, he heads through town but in doing so, there’s a mix-up with Young Lady Heo. She believes Jang-Uk is following her, until he clears that sticky situation right up. Kil-Joo breaks up the party though and ends up fighting with Jang-Uk. The latter gets the upper-hand though.
When Jin-Mu finds out what’s happened, he’s livid. He orders his mages to track down Kil-joo. They’re not the only ones after him though.
Jang-Uk follows Kil-Joo, attempting to find the real Danju he mentioned earlier in the episode. Kil-Joo staggers along to the Royal Temple and looks set to do some real damage… until Jang-Uk jumps in. He uses the Tansu technique, knocking his foe to his knees. “Is the real Danju inside?” He asks. Kil-Joo though, doesn’t answer. Instead, he ends up petrifying and dying outright.
In the morning, Park-Jin and the others show up before the palace steps to see the face of the foe that’s tried thwarting them. Park Jin challenges Jin-Mu when he notices it’s Kil-Joo, and begins to question exactly what the mage is doing.
Meanwhile, Jang-Uk heads out into the woods and after getting his bracelet back, which Yul found earlier in the episode, tracks down Mu-Deok. Yul comments how Yul has managed to master his abilities and marvels at how he’s unscathed too.
At the same time, Dang-Gu tries to comfort Cho-Yeon, pointing out that not many people know about the botched wedding. Only, two people show and immediately ask about the marriage. So naturally, Dang-Gu changes tact and admits that he and Cho-Yeon are the ones marrying.
Speaking of misunderstandings, with the townsfolk convinced that Naksu is dead, they begin selling blue cloths commemorating her life.
All of this comes secondary though to the main drama at play here. The big duel between the Crown Prince and Jang-Uk goes ahead just as it was scheduled. This time, Jang-Uk is clever and uses the advice Mu-Deok instilled upon him. With Mu-Deok’s help, he uses Tansu and knocks the Crown Prince down. Jang-Uk wins the duel.
Jin-Mu is livid and demands to know who taught him the Tansu technique. Jang-Uk tries to hold his ground, refusing to let up on who actually trained him. Only, Park Jin jumps in as well and demands to know.
Thankfully, Jang-Uk doesn’t oust Mu-Deok, as Hemp Master Lee appears at the front door and takes responsibility. Jin-Mu soon changes his tact, under instructions from Jin Ho-Gyeong, who requests Jang-Uk be brought to them. However, he’s given alternate options of being in Songrim or the other houses.
Asking Mu-Deok, she suggests he join Songrim – which is exactly what he does.
The Episode Review
With the duel a success and Jang-Uk proving himself worthy, Hemp Master Lee’s interjection helps to keep Mu-Deok hidden and working with Jang=Uk in private. Seeing our protagonist master Tansu moves him one step closer to achieving his goals, but it also moves him closer to danger too. Jin-Mu is growing more suspicious by the day and it would appear it’s only a matter of time before he realizes Naksu is operating alongside Jang-Uk.
Alongside that though, the series has done a great job fleshing out its supporting characters and seeing more drama involving Yul Dang-Gu and the others is certainly welcome. This helps to give the show more depth, and the series is definitely all the stronger for it.
The unique fantasy elements in this K-drama are unlike much else in the K space and the ending certainly hints that next week we’re in for quite the dramatic affair. Roll on the next episode!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|