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.