The Truth About Bu-Yeon
Episode 2 of Alchemy of Souls Season 2 starts with Jinyowon out desperate to try and find Bu-Yeon. Her boat has just disappeared, and that’s because she’s with Jang-Uk of course. She wants to be carried, but Jang-Uk is quick to point out how heavy she is and suggests she de-robe instead. No, not like that! But of course Bu-yeon immediately takes it that way.
Apparently this walking mystery box had no knowledge once she regained consciousness but all she knows is that she was ill and was tended to by her mother at the time. When Bu-Yeon woke up though she was already better. It’s certainly a strange occurrence but fret not, answers are coming!
Jang-Uk looks deep into her eyes and can’t see the mark of the Soul Shifters. Now, apparently he called her over from the river because he needs her great divine powers and believes she can sense the Ice Stone deep inside him.
As they pass the lake, trouble brews as one of the Soul Shifters possesses a lowly man out fishing. As he stalks toward Jang-Uk and Bu-Yeon, complete with serpent-like eyes, Jinyowon and Sangrin find themselves at an uneasy crossroads. The former wants to search for the missing bride, believing they’re inside the palace. Specifically they question whether Dang-Gu could have taken Bu-Yeon but Seo Yul vouches for him, given they’ve been together all night and have an alibi.
It’s here where the truth about Bu-Yeon being alive (really alive this time, not the decoy from last season) is unveiled and it certainly shocks everyone. However, it’s not as much of a shock as Jang-Uk, who heads back home and finds himself drinking with Bu-Yeon. That drinking soon turns to a big test, with Bu-yeon wanting him to solidify their marriage by drinking. Instead, he decides to challenge her, telling Bu-Yeon to turn off the Jinyowon lamp with her divine powers.
Bu-Yeon can’t do it, claiming that she’s lost her powers, much to Jang-Uk’s dismay. He tells her to leave. She shows off the bracelet, which happens to be a tracker for Jinyowon. She desperately pleads with Jang-Uk, telling him that when the guards come, she’s going to reveal that they got married overnight. She can sense there’s something between them and tells him that he clearly likes her too.
As Jang-Uk touches her wrist, he looks set to kiss it but instead, he breaks the thread and manages to knock the tracker out. He tells Bu-Yeon to leave, but before she does, Bu-Yeon tells him that she does have great divine powers . The person who treated her also told her that once she gets her memory back, she will also get her divine powers too.
Now, the body may be Bu-yeon’s, but we do get confirmation, finally, from Master Lee Cheol about what’s happening. It turns out the spirit inside Bu-yeon’s body is actually Naksu’s. Despite the blood of Jinyowon flowing through her, it’s Lee Cheol who’s embroiled deep in this mystery. Apparently, Jin Ho-Gyeong begged Lee Cheol to safe her life after finding her body at the bottom of Lake Gyeongcheondaeho.
A flashback confirms as much, with Bu-Yeon’s body not running wild. It would seem that Naksu didn’t take over her body using the alchemy of souls. In fact, her soul was actually what was locked up inside the body. Now, it would seem that Bu-Yeon’s soul was also inside too, hence why she said “Mother” to Ho-Gyeong. In order to keep her alive, Ho-Gyeong had to choose whether to save her daughter but let her live through Naksu’s soul or lose her completely. Ho-Gyeong chose the former, but of course this also meant losing Bu-yeon’s soul as a result.
Naksu’s soul is what’s inside, along with her memories, which Ho-Gyeong decided to imprison and lock up, playing out the façade that Bu-Yeon is still alive. However, if she regains her divine power then all that work will be destroyed, as Naksu’s memories will come flooding back- including her time with Jang-Uk. However, Ho-Gyeong is confident that she won’t even recognize him.
Meanwhile, the possessed man with strange serpent-like eyes shuffles past Naksu (we’ll call her Naksu from now on in these recaps!) and heads deeper into the palace. Naksu follows and eventually finds herself pulled into the bath, where the creature happens to be hiding. Jang-Uk shows though and immediately saves her, pulling Naksu out and making swift work of the Soul Shifter.
Jang-Uk also stays by Naksu’s side that night, making sure she’s okay. Funnily enough, he’s also made his mind up and has decided to marry her after all. When Naksu finds out, a hilarious encounter with Seo-Yul takes place, as the mix-up over their surnames is revealed. Seo-Yul looks in the woman’s eyes and notices familiarity, wondering whether they’ve met before. Of course, we know they have but Naksu is still plagued by memories of being Bu-Yeon and she shrugs it off.
When Bu-Yeon is eventually escorted out by the Jinyowon guards, Seo-Yul clutches his chest, clearly still suffering from pain in his chest. He’s keeping it secret and doesn’t want anyone to know. It’s worth keeping this in mind because the chances are it’s going to come up again in the future episodes!
Meanwhile, Jin Mu continues to scheme. Ho-Gyeong is cagey and answers his questions bluntly, swallowing hard when Jin Mu mentions that the Unanimous Assembly will suggest that Jinyowon’s relics and artifacts should be moved elsewhere to a different family. This is the consequence of her keeping everything secret within Jinyowon for the past 3 years, not to mention hiding Bu-Yeon.
Jin-Mu’s solution is to announce Naksu as the official heir, allowing her to inherent Jinyowon and keep things ticking over smoothly. When he leaves, Ho-Gyeong is left with a lot to think about. In fact, she projects this over to Naksu, telling her that now she’s been unveiled to the whole Kingdom, she needs to stay there to protect their family, especially as she doesn’t have any divine powers.
Cho-yeon struggles to listen to this, as she decides Naksu will need to stay imprisoned in her room again. When Ho-Gyeong notices the thread has gone from her wrist, she decides to stick Naksu in the back of the neck and thread her more intricately, determined not to let her go.
Interestingly, in her absence Jang-Uk notices that the divine lamp for Jinyowon has flickered out. This actually occurs while she’s walking to greet all the officials, introduced as the official heir of Jinyowon. As she steps up before everyone, calling herself Bo-Yeon and about to speak… something happens.
Jang-Uk makes a grand entrance, holding the divine lamp in his hand. He immediately reveals that Naksu is already married… to him! This sends everyone into surprised murmurs, as they realize that the pair shared a wedding drink the night before. Jang-Uk puts his arm around her and announces that he wants everyone’s blessings.
The Episode Review
Anyone else catch that sly smile from Jinmu there? I wonder what he has planned. Whatever it is, it’s not going to be good is it?
Alchemy of Souls does manage to explain this whole Naksu/Bu-Yeon situation which helps to clear up a lot of the issues. The explanation is decent enough to carry this one and it helps to usher in a new era with Jang-Uk, who wants to use her divine powers.
In terms of drama, this chapter does have a good chunk of it and Naksu has a decent amount of banter too with the amusing moments with Seo-Yul and Jang-Uk helping to add much-needed bites of levity in an otherwise pretty serious episode.
That’s a good thing though and with this mystery involving Naksu surprisingly explained quite early in this second part, it certainly fills one with hope that we’ll get more of that across the series without last minute plot devices like that bell thrown in like we did before.
There’s lot of promise for the future chapters and next week’s double bill should be a really intriguing watch!