Alchemy of Souls – Season 2 Episode 4 Recap & Review

The Banquet

Episode 4 of Alchemy of Souls season 2 picks up where we left off, as Naksu recites Mu-Deok’s memory of when they exchanged the yin and yang jade stones. She comments how they’re bird eggs and uses Mu-Deok’s exact words. It would appear that these memories are nestled inside the stone but as she looks over at the stone tower, she ends up knocking it down and hurting herself as a result. Naksu hasn’t had any more “flashbacks” so Jang-Uk tells her to hold onto the stone, acting coldly toward her.

When Naksu leaves the area, she ends up despairing until she notices strange green fireflies swirling around her. She continues on, unaware that Jang-Uk happens to be watching from afar, and follows. He keeps a distance though as she’s taken back to Jinyowon.

Meanwhile, the Crown Prince amusingly has that tortoise back at his place. Following the incident with Naksu in the market, where she encouraged him to take the reptile home, he’s grown quite fond of him. He points out to his associate how Naksu thought he was a eunuch and forgives her rudeness, actually growing quite fond of the creature in an amusing segment.

Equally as amusing is an incident involving Park Jin. Bored in his retirement, he concocts up a devilish recipe for the trio of Seo Yul, Dang-Gu and Jang-Uk to try. It’s a rice cake… but one of them has been instilled with fish sauce. He claims this is a way of determining who is having a bad day. In reality, all three have honey, which is Park Jin’s personal lesson to prove to them that life is unpredictable and you choose your own destiny in this life.

Less amusing is a rumour that spreads thanks to an incident on a boat. Everyone is murdered and there appears to be a strange wraith atop the cabins. They believe that it’s Naksu, with the sailors rushing away shouting about her ghost. This inevitably spreads to Songrim, with the capital now in absolute uproar after all this.

The transport routes are all blocked up too, leaving the royal family to summon Jang-Uk and enlist his help to get rid of the spirit. Jang-Uk waves it away, believing it’ll die down on his own and getting involved is not going to dispel the problems in town. Jin-Mu has another opinion and convinces the King, standing by his side, that Jang-Uk’s inaction will cause more harm than anything else. As a result, Jang-Uk is forced into helping out. He passes the Crown Prince in the throne room, where the pair exchange a glance.

Interestingly, Naksu’s memories start to come back, in glimmers through flashes to season 1. She’s distracted by Yul though, who shows up and greets her. However, she can sense his illness and urges him to seek help. Yul tells her to let his foolishness go as friends, which she reluctantly does.

The Queen decides she wants to host a banquet outside the palace walls. Given girls are scared to leave their homes because of Naksu, she wants to try and lighten the mood and alleviate matters by holding a banquet outside, trying to make people not be so afraid to go outside. Among those invited is Naksu, lending Court Lady Kim the job of playing dresser, helping to pick out an outfit.

They’re not the only ones attending though, given Park Jin intends to show up. Kim encourages him to dress in his finest, and he agrees to do just that. Outside, Dang-Gu shows with a present for Cho-yeon, encouraging her to hand it over. Kim wants him to make a move himself.

Speaking of making a move, there’s drama that night at the banquet. When the Queen realizes that two from Jinyowon house have shown up, she sends Cho-yeon away despite being the true heir. That is, until Cho-yeon herself speaks her part and manages to remain there alongside her sister. It’s certainly touch and go for a while, but things take a turn for the better when Jang-Uk takes Naksu aside outside… and unveils his true intentions. It turns out this was all an elaborate bid to bring Naksu outside from within her, believing that she killed Mu-Deok and wanting to kill her. “Bu-yeon I’m sorry, but you will have to die now.” He says.

There’s an ulterior motive to this banquet though. Jin-Mu knows that Jang-Uk will use this as an opportunity to get the soul shifter and as such, he tells the Queen that when Naksu is killed, everyone in attendance will believe the Soul Shifter to be her. This would allow Jinyowon to fall into the royal family’s hands.

Well, when the fireworks explode overhead, the real Soul Shifter hits Naksu and knocks her out. The Queen immediately points out that the spirit is actually Naksu and it’s killed Bu-Yeon. However, it turns out this was just a decoy and in reality, the real Bu-Yeon is still alive, as we know given she was talking to Jang-Uk. They planted this Gwiseo as a way of protecting the banquet, with the spirit shifting back to Ho-Gyeong and Park Jin, who happen to be together.

Jang-Uk heads over and manages to kill the spirit that shows up, informing the royal family that he’s killed Naksu. Of course, he’s unaware that this is actually inside Bu-Yeon’s body. At the same time, Yul heads to greet So-Yi, wanting to know what’s inside his body that’s making him ill.

As the episode closes out, Jang-Uk begins crying while sitting alone in his study, with Naksu showing up and comforting him. Eventually the pair end up lying together. When he awakens, Jang-Uk finds himself staring at Naksu and as a result, the pair end up kissing!

The Episode Review

I wonder how Jang-Uk is going to react once he realizes that Bu-Yeon is actually Naksu. That moment is certainly coming and given we’ve only got a couple of weeks’ worth of episodes left, I’m sure it’s going to come sooner rather than later.

However, this episode does manage to instill a good amount of drama and romance into the fold, with the banquet involving the Queen working well to add something a bit different. The whole operation with the Gwiseo was nicely orchestrated, unlike last season’s bell summoning in the finale. Hopefully there won’t be any other surprises like that going forward!

Either way though, there’s a decent pace and a lot of drama to unpack this time, leaving everything wide open for the next set of episodes.

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


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16 thoughts on “Alchemy of Souls – Season 2 Episode 4 Recap & Review”

  1. I love the actress playing Naksu. To me it is all about the story. Those that stopped watching because of actress playing MD that is your choice, but I’ve enjoyed the first four episodes of part two. I like both actresses, but I’m watching for the story and I’m routing for Haley to save JU. I mean come on… As you can see her beauty is unmatched, but she isn’t the brightest. 😂😂

  2. Loved the first season. The second season looks really good also. It’s harder to follow when you have to read everything and try to watch what is happening at the same time. You miss a lot of what is happening in the series. Very disappointed that the first season had available in English audio but the second only just has subtitles in English. Really sad.

  3. I love the new Naksu. MD was annoyed to me. Anyway, JU will probably recognize Naksu when her eyes turn blue. At the time that she recovers her memory as Naksu, for a flash her eyes turned blue. Perhaps with full memory of Naksu, Uk would recognize his love again.

  4. I hate people who hate. If you hate anything, then just quit. Give the rest of us a chance to enjoy what you hate.

  5. Naksu?Mudoek would never be able live a peaceful life with Uk because of her past as assassin. Naksu returns in BY body gives her a clean new slate for a life of happiness with Uk. It also to prove that true love in another body still is true love. “For this life, and all other lives, I will only love you.” That is the theme. I agree 10 episodes is too short for the conclusion. Too rush. Still, I love Naksu, new and old. Naksu still is that daring, risk taker young woman. She always fights for herself and those she loves, then and now. Naksu with her mage power combines with priestess power will be unparallel. I wonder how Uk will be released from the power of the ice stone. Would Naksu with full memory acknowledge Lady Jin as her mother, after all, she is the reason that Naksu is alive?

  6. I agree I’m really hating the gaps and the direction they are taking. Everything feels rush and unauthentic. How did he just lose all his love and kiss someone else~ sure time went by, but there is no clear shift as to why this occurred. Also, no reason why Naksu original body had to come back other than to cover up because they saw her attack someone. Yet, that could have easily been adjusted. I miss Somin, there was chemistry and build there. The new lead has none with Janguk. Regardless to how many corny scenes they muster

  7. Same here Kat. It feels very inorganic to push bu-yeon and jang uk together when it’s clearly obvious that he isn’t over mudeok. It seems to me that they’re only forcing them together because they’re the main leads but besides that there’s no reason for him to like her. Like he carries around the jade still.Also this whole ‘knight in shining armour’ thing isn’t really my vibe. I feel like she only likes him because he’s the only male person who had showed her affection in three years and as far she she could remember he life. He’s the only person who freed her from the closed room and so she mistakes her gratitude for love, clinging to the one person who pities her in a sense? And can she not be so clingy. Like if she found about his previous relationship she should know just how much he loved and still loves mudeok So why get upset when he doesn’t show you the affection you desire. He told her from the beginning that this was purely contractual and that he’s just using her so why is she still getting her hopes up and being disappointed when he does what he said he would. Like you expect him to go in the forest for you when you chose to stay? Like yeah obviously he might be worried leaving her alone since she had no powers and it’s dangerous but she made that choice.Also bringing back so-i is so unnecessary to me like I don’t see how adding her character is necessary to the plot. If anything these few episodes have left me with lots of questions and no answers.

  8. Everyone got their own preferences.. no matter how much I loved Season 1 , I’m falling more towards the Season 2 as well.

    First is the change of persona, character of Naksu, her fragile version and especially her pretty face lol.. regardless, I love how ignorant and innocent she is as if she’s 3 years old instead of how much older she is in the story.. as she start having her own memories 3 years prior

    Second, the plot where it involves forced marriage, couple what so ever always works on me.. especially if it’s the kind where they just don’t remember (amnesia) kind of thing.. like perhaps childhood memories in some other dramas, but here, it’s more like removing painfuk memories to recreate a new Naksu

    Third, Jang Uk character do need more depth and better acting, but his acting in important moments is still acceptable enough for me.. would be better if they could tone down the Jang Uk comedic moment with Songrim previous master (I forgot his name)

    Forth, Yul character and the other bestfriend story line should be emphasize to create Mystery in Jang Uk’s storyline… especially since they’re going for Yul killing himself with the so called disease as he really missed the dead Naksu, and the what if moments when he found out she’s still alive.. and how the other bestfriend try his way to be the next grandmaster of Songrim, while also finding ways to get Cho Yeon’s love back instead of making him too pitiful in love.. why not make his character bravely chasing despite getting rejected many2 times then only comes his devastation of wanting to quit before the ex grandmaster taught him again to keep on going…

    So many improvement can be made but this new version can still stand up on it’s own..

    p/s I love Naksu interaction with the Crown Prince as well… will be the reason why he stayed as a good person in the end of the drama

  9. I can’t agree more with Sorina, I quit watching after episode 2, only reading recap here. Season 1 is a much higher level production than season 2. Not to mention, the whole marketing strategy they are using to ignore Somin and boost / exaggerate the chemistry between the new female lead and male lead, and the “beauty” of hers, really disgust me…. (the director didn’t even mention Somin’s name when he got his award on Alchemy of Souls Season 1, while Somin’s acting is the highlight of the show)…
    Hong sisters have written a masterpiece on Season 1, but failed horribly starting from Ep.20, as so many unreasonable happenings start to emerge from the storyline. Everything seems much more forced now. I don’t care how pretty the new actress is, the fluidity of the story should be the most important element in a show production.

  10. While I understand the disappointment with the absence of Jung So Min, I feel that some have forgotten that this is not the same character as in Season 1. She was Naksu/Mu Doek, with no indication of any “divine powers”. So far in Season 2, the character is Jin Bu Yeon (with divine powers and Naksu supposedly contained within the body but unable to manifest), and that person has been locked away for 3 years with no memories before that.

    In all honesty, I would have been far more disappointed if the Season 2 character was remotely close to the Season 1 character.

    Now, the interesting situation will be when the Naksu personality finally emerges. Will she have 3 years of memories of being imprisoned? Will she immediately establish the same rapport with Jang Uk?

  11. I actually love the new female lead, contrary to my earlier sentiments. The different face lends to the story line of the physical persona in Mudeok gone and taken over by a frailer Naksu version. The new female lead has nice facial expressions that are more refined and becoming and telling of the coming out of royalty which was well hidden before. I am enjoying the new episodes and have even rewatched them in the same day! Always a joy to see Uk and the Crown Prince. Love all support characters as well!

  12. Expected nothing less from Hong Sisters. They never really know what to do with their plots. Rushed. Irrelevant. No smooth continuity with lots of holes. Recycle plot. If season one they were using each other as master and student for personal gain, season two they are still using the same plot of using each other (priestess and one-who-takes-her-away-from-abusive-mom’s guy) for personal objectives.

    Where does Naksu cheeky, condescending and sarcastic attitude disappeared to? The facial expression? Gone with the memory? How very convenient.

  13. 100 percent agree Sorina. Not finding this wide-eyed clingy version of Naksu compelling and disappointed they are pushing them together before they’ve established a real connection and she’s regained her memories or Uk has any inkling of who she is. It might have been 3 years for them, but it doesn’t feel like that for us. Feels forced and a bit of a betrayal. I mean, he didn’t even go to the cliff or investigate in any way ..? That doesn’t feel right, either. Was worried I was the only one feeling that so thanks for the commiseration.

  14. Absolutely LOVED Alchemy of Souls season 1. The characters are so vibrant and rich and the story wonderfully woven into a plot that we all want to be a part of. And of course, the love story between Jang Uk and Mu-doek was gripping and heartwarming. Pure love and devotion and ultimate sacrifice for each other, a modern Romeo and Juliet story.
    But Season 2 crashed the house of cards. Episode 4 shows Jung Uk lying next and kissing the “wife” who barged into his life as a complete stranger (he does not know at this point she is Naksu, she is as I said just a complete stranger who asked to marry him). Wait? What? What happened to “you are the only one I will be wearing for the rest of my life?’. I guess it was all a sham, waiting for the next pretty lady to ask for affection and a kiss. I am outta here for this Season.

  15. Love the story line & love the subplots. A big mistake was in replacing your lead actress Jung So Min who was superb! The replacement actress is pretty, but she has very limited expression. Everyone else can act & has created great characters.

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