Three Years Later
Episode 1 of Alchemy of Souls Season 2 starts with suppliers arriving to bring liquor for Jinyowon’s ritual rites. It’s been 3 years since we followed our characters and Cho-yeon is looking as beautiful as ever. She mesmerises one of the traders who decides to drink his liquor. Cho-yeon is famous in these parts, but then so too is the legend of Naksu, whom we know fell into the lake…but we also saw her saved so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that.
Unfortunately, the trio walk right into a massacre, one enacted by our new soul-shifter hunter Jang-Uk. It’s a nice way of re-introducing our protagonist, and he’s certainly grown his skills since the last time we saw him. Jang-Uk effortlessly shrugs off attacks from a soul shifter who shows up, and the trio watch from afar in awe as he bests the man.
Afterwards, the trio show off a charm they have to protect them from Naksu, but of course it just brings back painful memories of the past for Jang-Uk. Given we know how that story ended up, Jang-Uk finds himself haunted by the ghosts of the past.
The bustling streets of Daeho are looking as beautiful as ever but it hides ugliness in plain sight. Park Dang-Gu, the current leader of Songrim, chases a soul shifter that heads into Jinyowon but the ladies there won’t let him in. Sine we last saw them, they’ve got a strict no-entry policy and that even extends to Cho-Yeon too, whom we know was originally romantically linked with him.
Cho-yeon gives him the cold shoulder, encouraging Dang-Gu to stay feeling guilty about what happened to her father However, Jang-Uk seizes the opportunity to suddenly sneak in, causing her to grow frazzled. She quickly shuts the gates, leaving Dang-Gu outside and Jang-Uk in the unlikely presence of a trapped priestess in the dungeon, after killing the Soul Shifter outside of course. However, he ends up using the sword and his powers in the process.
Inside the room, Bu-Yeon is kept under her mother’s control, having been found 3 years prior, and intent on using her to birth a child with great divine powers. Until then, she’s not able to leave. Jang-Uk makes sure to delay her escape by three days, giving Bu-Yeon a route out courtesy of throwing plates at the wall and wedging them in.
Still, it’s pretty horrible to listen to as Jin Ho-Gyeong cares more about her lineage and claim to power than anything else.
Over at Songrim, Dang-Gu has clearly settled into the role of leader wonderfully. He may not be the best spellcaster, but he is a fine businessman and as such is helping the Kingdom tick over. When it comes to Park Jin though, he’s busy cooking up food and tending to his garden, with Kim by his side. Unfortunately he uses way too much garlic in his kimchi and subjects his family to a pretty horrible meal as a result!
Jang-Uk is not there though and he finds himself drinking alone. He’s not on his own for long though, as the Crown Prince arrives and immediately tries his alcohol, shocked at how strong it is. He also laments how Jang-Uk looks down at him and likens him to an annoying splinter in the finger. Jang-Uk shrugs it off and largely ignores the Crown Prince, telling him he’ll return when he’s killed another Soul Shifter.
Bu-Yeon escapes but she knows she’s on borrowed time, given she’ll be found soon. In the precious moments she has, Bu-Yeon intends to try and find the person she’s supposed to be betrothed to at the palace. There are four different men at Daeho Palace. There’s either Dang-Gu, the Crown Prince, Seo Yul or Jang Uk. She’s betrothed to one of these and believes it’s supposed to be Seo Yul and as such, ignores him and avoids the guy as best she can.
Bu-Yeon decides to confront Jang-Uk personally, asking him to be her betrothed. After all, he has no love lost for Jinyowon either and even reveals her true identity to him as well. Bu-Yeon tells him she’ll wait for him on the night of her wedding.
“Forget it,” Jang-Uk replies and walks away, just as the Jinyowon guards arrive and take her away.
Bu-Yeon is down-heartened but is taken on her carriage, desperately waiting for her groom (Jang-Uk) to arrive and take her away. He doesn’t show, as Bu-Yeon heads en-route to her real husband, we learn that this is not Seo Yul but in fact the cousin of General Seo of Seoho Fortress. The guy lost his parents early and has no one to rely on. She’s assured that he’ll do well but Cho-Yeon is quiet as she listens to her mother.
Bu-yeon drops her petal in the river and she’s transported across to Jang-Uk, who helps her out and decides that she’ll be of use to him. She flings her arms around him and hugs the guy tightly. Jang-Uk awkwardly stands, unsure how to react.
The Episode Review
Alchemy of Souls is back and the drama gets off to a decent start here, reintroducing all of our characters and cutting forward 3 years too. The decision to showcase this by changing perspectives to those traders is an ingenious move and one that actually works surprisingly well to ease us back into the world.
Jung So-Min is a definite miss here though portraying Mu-Deok and that lack of energy is definitely felt. However, Bu-Yeon is a new mystery box, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see something along the lines of Naksu’s soul inside Bu-Yeon, explaining why she’s so familiar with her bouncy energy.
Of course, that’s before even mentioning the instance of Mu-Deok carried out the lake last time and we still don’t know what happened. I’m sure we’ll find out later on down then line but with only 10 episodes to play with this season, the writers need to get a move on if we’re going to get some solid answers.