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Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 5-6

This week on Alchemy of Souls, our hero faces disillusionment and doubt — and his assassin mentor’s tough-love attitude might not be enough to pull him out of the doldrums. However, as backstories collide and jealousies abound, it’s not long before they’re both thrown back into the action.

 

EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP

We begin by revisiting the worst day of Mu-deok’s life. As a child, she hid whilst her village burned. Now, we learn why: her father, a constellation recorder of Songrim, seemingly went berserk, and was cut down remorselessly by the four families. Why, remains to be seen. One thing’s clear: the man who offered power to the grieving toddler was our villain, Jin Mu.

In the present, our heroes arrive at Danhyanggok, only to find that it’s not quite the desolate wasteland Mu-deok knows and mourns. There’s a wood cabin and a well-stocked campsite, allowing Wook to indulge in cottagecore fantasies, rhapsodizing over the bath, the food… the fact that Mu-deok clearly brought him here to live a cozy domestic life with lots of children. (Cue murderglare.)

Later, whilst they sleep — Wook chivalrously roughing it on the floor — they receive a guest. It’s the humbly-clad man from the last episode and Gwigu in its new doggy host, bent on dispatching the soul-shifter within. Looming over Mu-deok, the man summons a deadly spike of energy. Yet, he changes his tune upon learning a great soul inhabits this body, noting that by all rights, she should be petrified and running rampant. Something makes her special.

No time to dwell: behind him stands Wook, sword aloft, defending his master! He’s absurdly outmatched; the stranger leaves him battered and mud-streaked — just when the poor guy got the chance to bathe, too.

Back at the cabin, our heroine dreams. In a magical haze, she comes face to face with the original Mu-deok. In the morning, she discovers Wook and the hitherto-belligerent stranger cheerfully sharing breakfast. Turns out she’s lost time: last night, she interrupted their fight, but has no recollection of seeing either of them.

The stranger waves this off — too blithely — and introduces himself as MASTER LEE (Im Chul-soo), a traveling herbalist. Master Lee lives up to his title: as he casually uses his vast powers to dry laundry, it’s clear he commands all three magical arts.

Wook, suddenly aware he could have been killed, sips his tea in mild horror — to Lee’s alarm. You’d have thought past experience would have cured him of drinking suspicious concoctions, but alas, no: he’s accidentally downed a pot of libido-lowering potion. Honestly, that one’s on Wook. There’s purpose to this: Lee’s training involves absolute chastity, and he’s willing to teach Wook. Mu-deok’s glee falls on deaf ears; Wook will do anything for magical mastery, but he won’t do that.

In Cheonbugwan, Jin checks the records for a particular star chart: a fake, replacing the one cast on Wook’s birthday, concealing how he was born under the King’s Star. He’s interrupted by Mu, who’s here to gloat about Songrim taking responsibility for Wook’s duel. However, Jin has the upper hand; the infiltrator in Songrim worked as a constellation-recorder, and his mages wait outside to investigate.

This would be fine by Mu, if not for the mouldering corpse in Cheonbugwan’s secret room. An occupational hazard of employing soul-shifters. He smuggles it away in a carriage, but not without pursuit from Yul and Dang-gu, who arrive just in time to discover an empty coffin and a piece of planted evidence: Wook’s lost spirit plaque. Nothing for it; the two must interrogate Wook in Danhyanggok — where there’s trouble in paradise.

Wook’s having a great time fishing with his new buddy Master Lee. Mu-deok sees this for what it is: avoidance. Her solution leaves a little to be desired, being as it’s to go full murder-mode and brandish a chopping knife in his face, calling him useless. Wook’s having none of it. He’s happy with his life here. If she’s not, she can leave. With a single, parting insult – coward – she takes him at his word and exits.

Meanwhile, the Jin family approach Wook’s housekeeper with an unexpected proposal of marriage to Cho-yeon. The Jins have a ridiculously powerful plaque at their disposal, allowing them to countermand the King’s orders. Wook’s would-be in-laws could save him from the upcoming duel.

Mu-deok has other concerns: spreading rumors of Wook’s mastery of Ryusu to psyche out Won. She soon encounters trouble, as Mu’s henchmen attempt to abduct her. It’s only by throwing herself on the mercy of the passing Prince — who recognises her as “Filthy Mu-deok” — that she escapes. Later, as Mu-deok doles out insincere flattery, Won is amused. Charmed, even. Playfully, he plies her with cup after cup of the cinnamon wine she clearly hates.

Outside, there’s considerable kerfuffle about a corpse. Wook and Master Lee, having returned in search of Mu-deok, witness the body from Cheonbugwan washed ashore. Wook flees to avoid the authorities, but Master Lee has other methods: summoning a rainbow as distraction, he absconds with the body. Like a cat dropping a dead bird on its owner’s doorstep, he greets his former student, Yeom, with a wheelbarrow full of corpse.

Wook, meanwhile, bundles a drunk Mu-deok back to Danhyanggok. They arrive in time to greet Dang-gu and Yul — the latter of whom has vivid memories of frolicking there with Naksu. The difference between the ruthless assassin and the current disheveled Mu-deok couldn’t be greater, but as she drunkenly slumps into his arms, Yul can’t take his eyes off her.

The next morning, Wook finds a sober Mu-deok staring up at a huge tree. It’s the tree in the story she told Wook — the one where she’s a bird’s egg, protected by him. As Naksu, she could climb it. But, to stand at the top with no foothold, one must master Chisu. Wook, well aware of what he’s promising, says that whilst he’s an unmotivated pupil, he is at least willing to take her to the top of this tree. They trade looks. It’s not much, but it’s enough.

If Episode 5 stars Wook’s dwindling motivation, Episode 6 is all about relationships, and we begin with insight into Yul and Mu-deok’s. As children, Yul was smitten, whereas Naksu had a family feud to consider, rejecting him utterly once she learned he was a Seo. Now, they bicker over breakfast, until Yul offers his — inept — help with the cooking, resulting in a snappish lesson in vegetable-chopping from Mu-deok. The results are surprisingly edible, and Dang-gu is quick to comment on how nicely they’re getting on. Almost like teacher and student…

This ignites burning jealousy in Wook, who berates his master for cheating on him — by teaching another pupil, that is! His blustered declaration that Mu-deok must be with – that is, uh, teach – only him is met with squinty-eyed disdain, although not outright rejection. Still, Wook’s patience is stretched to its limit when Yul, recalling Naksu’s fondness for the tallest tree in Danhyanggok, offers to help Mu-deok climb it. That’s their thing! Mu-deok wisely refuses; Wook can’t control his grin.

When Wook’s friends leave, his training begins. Mu-deok prioritizes survival: the only spell that’ll help him stand a chance against Won is Tansu: the ability to flick a water droplet with a blade as it explodes into energy. However, Mu-deok’s abrasive pedagogical methods (she mostly trains by way of insults) fail to inspire her insecurity-prone pupil. Plus, she’s distracted. She contemplates throwing Yul’s bird whistle into the fire. Doesn’t.

As for Wook, he’s struggling to the point of exhaustion with his uncontrollable arm. There’s a nerve-wracking near miss when he accidentally lashes out at Mu-deok, sword outstretched. Like Jin last time, she stands stock still; unlike last time, he diverts the blow. But the work’s taking its toll. Wook’s arm is red and infected from forcing his energy, and the rot could kill him.

Mu-deok tends to his injury, but Wook’s bitter — his master, he decides, doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. (Then again, would it really be Alchemy of Souls if Mu-deok didn’t put our hero in mortal peril once per episode?) The tension that’s been simmering boils over. Turns out what’s really bugging Wook is how he nearly hurt Mu-deok in training.

Flustered, Mu-deok protests he wasn’t fast enough to do damage. As rebuttal, Wook flicks her on the forehead. Her murderglare is back in full force when she grabs him by the lapel, and the atmosphere is beautifully charged as Wook — clearly no longer affected by the chastity tea — points out there are things he could teach her, too. His suave act falters when Mu-deok steps close, backing him into a chair. She leans in, suggestively… only to jab him in both eyes. This sort of thing is practically their love language.

Speaking of love, Cho-yeon’s preparing for a wedding, and it’s hard to say what delights her more: marrying Wook, or finally getting her mother to talk about something other than Cho-yeon’s missing sister. She’s permitted to take a yin-yang jade artifact from the seemingly limitless Jin family horde and use it to forge rings. However, as she carries it, a figurine magically moves, tripping her — and breaking the jade sphere. It’s unclear what caused this, but my money’s on the creepy mirror in the corner.

When the bridegroom hears the news of his own engagement from Master Lee, he’s understandably bemused. Mu-deok is outright hostile. As they head to the city, she issues an ultimatum: marry Cho-yeon, and she’s out. For now, she’ll wait for him at Chwiseonru.

There’s never a dull moment for Mu-deok: no sooner than she arrives, she’s unwillingly escorted to the palace. To compound matters, she’s mistaken for a gisaeng, and trussed up in finery to the point of unrecognizability. Won’s reason for summoning her, however, isn’t frivolous: he needs her to persuade Wook, whom he has no intention of killing, to marry Cho-yeon and use the Jin family’s power to call off the duel. Mu-deok’s too depressed by the prospect of Wook’s abandonment to engage in their usual repartee. Taking pity, Won offers her employment. Loyal to the last, Filthy Mu-deok refuses.

Wook is no less loyal. Despite Do-joo’s insistence, he’s determined not to marry. Why? Well, you see, there’s this girl who’s like a bird’s egg in a tree… Do-joo’s skepticism is drowned out by my delighted squeal.

Stumbling outside in her ungainly dress, Mu-deok’s accosted by Cho-yeon, who’s found a convenient target to blame for the broken jade. Having heard rumors of Wook’s beloved maid, she’s bent on implicating her rival. Although Mu-deok quickly susses out her ploy, she’s keen to avoid a suspicious Kil-joo lurking in the street, and follows meekly.

The next we hear of Mu-deok is a summons to Wook from the Jins. Apparently, his maid has escaped with the yin-yang jade. Of course, that’s not quite true. In Jinyowon, Mu-deok stands before the mirror, watching her own face smirk back at her. Incurably curious, she steps forward to touch… only to disappear beneath its surface.

This ending screams “HEAVY PLOT AHEAD!” and I’m excited. However, I love that these episodes dwell on the deepening character bonds. Although I’m firmly wedded to our OTP, Yul and Mu-deok’s relationship sheds complex light on Naksu’s backstory. Plus, I’m a sucker for her chemistry with Prince Won, whose expression of a man perpetually in the process of having his day ruined delights me. As for Cho-yeon, we’ve barely scratched the surface, but I adore her girly-girl pertness and endearingly selfish ways. Very much rooting for Dang-gu’s hopeless infatuation; I’m hopelessly infatuated right along with him.

Of course, my first love remains Mu-deok, and her wonderful plethora of expressions: some murderous, some vulnerable, most downright hilarious. As for Wook, his reluctant-hero shtick is catnip to me – he’s hopelessly relatable, although to catch all the nuances of his plunge into insecurity, these episodes benefit from a rewatch. Alchemy of Souls has one major problem, and it’s not a bad one to have: no matter how compelling its supporting cast, the best scenes will always be where our leads are together, doing the blisteringly hot thing where they bicker and test one another. I’m looking forward to seeing where we’re going, but most of all, I look forward to Wook and Mu-deok’s reunion.

 
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I didn’t anticipate liking this show so much. I adore the presumed OTP but also enjoy Mudeok’s interactions with Prince Wan. The actor playing Yul is a bit of a blank slate for me but he has a gorgeous voice so he will do. Jung Somin is a gem in this and fortunately for me, I love Lee Jaewook in this as I either love his role in a show or can’t stand it (when he is constantly being an arrogant, shouty, aggressive jerk like in Extraordinary You).

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The actor playing Yul is fine when he doesn't fondly think back to his times in the mountain with Naksu, which is when he turns bland

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I agree! I'm waiting for Yul to do something other than think about his first love like we get it okay?

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Agree!

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What's with the Yul slander? Yul seems like the only one to be doing anything between the 4 seasons. He's smart, collected and sensitive to his surroundings. He has been suspicous of Mudeok since day 1 and is on track to finding out that Naksu's soul shifted into her body. And not to mention that he can actually fight... people seem to be mad just because they want Wook and Naksu together, which is understandable, but to ignore all of Yul's characteristics outside of his romance with Naksu is not it

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Sorry if i seemed to be offensive! I'm not that interested in the loveline, like you mentioned he's smart hence I actually want to see more of that instead of the love aspect. I wanna see him fight more and figure out what's going on with those baddies! Not hating on him at all really

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oh no you're good, I didn't mean to make it sound personal as well 😂 I've just been seeing so many comments on dramacool episodes calling Yul a bland/boring character who's just a SL coming between the main couple that I feel like some of them are a bit too invested in the Uk/Naksu loveline versus the overarching complex story.

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Slander? LOL.

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sorry hahaha internet slang got the best of me

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Interesting how perspectives can be so different. I think the actor who is playing Yul has made him an interesting and sympathetic character. He is doing well using his eyes to communicate and does not over act. I think he is doing quite well, especially for a new actor.
As for Lee Jaewook. I think the writing in EY did him a disservice.

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this boy (yul) got only 1 expression throughout the series so far. haha

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This weeks installments was both enjoyable and not enjoyed. I hope the mirrorverse situation in Jinyowon will propel Mu-deok-Naksu storyline/situation. This chimera plot not moving is what I'm dissatisfied with in AoS.

Alchemy of Souls is really playing with it's actors. What a juxtapose of Master Heo bowing to a clearly younger Teacher Lee (Im Chul-soo), I just got lost in the laughter... Park Jin running around in diapers🙈😂 some decades ago and Lee patting Jin's back afterwards with Jin receiving the pat and grinning ear to ear...what a parody. I enjoyed the parody over and over thanks to the backward button. I don't know how much laughter they'd have shooting this in the behind the scenes but this is my highlight for this week in Alchemy of Souls.

I'm guessing Cho-yeon played dirty with her sisters disappearance. Not the villain kind of dirty, but the understudy kind of dirty.

I guess we are now having a love heptagon with Cho-yeon and Dang-gu in the mix, though I pray she notices Dang-gu before it's too late.

Just ramming on on the romance pairs. On the basis of soul(Naksu), there's a good glimmer of hope that they'll (Uk and Mudeok) be, but if it's body(Mudeok), this will be an asymptote love. I hope they tow the soul route when that arc materializes and save me the heartbreak if they know they won't pair Mudeok with Yul or CP Won.

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I'm guessing the soul/body love situation of Mu Deok/Naksu will put Jan Uk in the same spot as his father and his choice will be the one differentiating him as a great leader from his dad. I see this one definitely coming from afar.

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I can't help but see elements of Arthurian legend in this series. The magic perfume and rings that bind lovers thing just screams Tristan and Isolde to me, with a mistake by the messenget leading to the the love magic working on the wrong people.

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Wook's Cottagecore Fantasies is the spinoff home decorating/House-on-Wheels/Hyori's Homestay show I never knew I needed. Just imagine the weekly special guests!

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hahahhahaha omg yes - tvN overlords if you're reading this, make it happen!!

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I could watch the banter and hijinks all day 🤣

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I have no idea where this story is going…& I love that.

There’s a lot of beat changes within a single scene which is both hard to write, & certainly a challenge for actors to both understand the quick shifts in beat/tone and to act it out well - JSM & LJW do it so well in mastering the craft of acting, playing out the nuances with so much depth & subtle changes that forces me to rewatch each episode to catch it all. Ahh, such brilliant acting from the two.

I like how even though MD has lingering nostalgia & feelings for Yul, she is as rough & honest with him as she is with Wook…which leads me to wonder what MD in love will actually look like….(throwing finger hearts at Wook instead of knives?)

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@chungkingpineapples: Spot on! JSM & LJW really do justice to their craft of acting. And, I lime Danggu too. The actor playing that character is really charming.

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I love how Dang Gu cheers for the Mu-deok and Yul ship to the consternation of Wook. The actor really captures the shipping energy.

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"throwing finger hearts at Wook instead of knives" hahahaha this gave me a good giggle - she probably would, but with the same force that she threw that knife with 😂

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I think Naksu is a tsundere when it comes to love. For instance, Wook complained she was being too hard on him, and open by teaching Yul how to cook, but then she made up to Wook secretly giving him the entire pheasant, so subtle and smooth of her 😂

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Totally tsundere! I loved that scene, expressing care through the most well-known Asian love language - giving you food - especially the best parts of the meal. And Wook's touched reaction was also cute.

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Can't wait to see Go Won and Jang Wook's chemistry in next episode.
If they are not cousins, they can really be a best friend together.
I sincerely hope MuDeok's character will not involves in triangle/square love... can't remember Hong sisters drama which emphasized on one 🤔.

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You're Beautiful had a triangle (one that killed me), and I think My Girlfriend is Gumiho had one too, although kind of minor (if I'm remembering correctly). Same with Master's Sun and the horror that was Warm and Cozy.

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Go Won and Yul are cousins---Won's mother is from the Seo Clan. He did mention something along the lines they were close until Yul went to Songrim.

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Yes, on the maternal's side.
How hilarious when Mudeok managed to attract all the royal blood-related men with her charms 😅.

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Thank you, @alathe, for the weecap! I like the interactions between the three men-seasons. Though they are from different families, they grew up together and consider each other a brother.

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The show is beginning to divert from the main story. The training was too short and Uk arrogance is growing as more attention is paid to Mu-deok. Master Lee is the most interesting character because his skill surpasses all others but he roams like an outsider.

The palace politics is another muddy side channel. At some point, the Crown and mages battled for control with a separate truce between magic and state. The Jin clan seems to weld more power than the other three major houses ( and what of the 7 lower ones?) The Crown Prince seems to be an outlier, too. The dead king relied on Jang magic; the new king has it with his son and Jin Mu.

The biggest tangent is MD going missing under a Potter-like spell. The show hits on all cylinders when MD and Uk are together. And the marriage solution is a non-starter.

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Yul was swoony when he declined breakfast as not to burden Mu-deok, then offered to help and learn how to cook. He even lied to Jin when asked if he remembered anything else about Naksu. Their childhood connection would've made an epic love story.

I love Mu-deok's newfound relationship with Crown Prince Won. She speaks so freely to him. It was sweet how he looked out for Wook as he has no intention of killing him and offered to take in Mu-deok.

Were the Four Seasons not childhood friends? Cho-yeon calls them "young master" and Dang-gu calls her "lady." I wish the four of them spoke casually ("Wookie") and hope she doesn't end up with Dang-gu as a consolation prize whom she has no feelings for.

Master Lee is the funnest character. He's brave for bringing Gwigu to Songrim where someone from Jinyowon could catch him. I want him to be Naksu's master since Wook already has a master. Celibacy must be the fountain of youth.

Wook's pettiness toward Yul by telling him to drink the chaste tea was amusing. Thanks lots for the weecap, @alathe!

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I thought they were all childhood friends, but I can see how Cho-yeon may not have been that close with them. She wasn't the heir until her sister disappeared and she has a very present and strict parent who takes over her heir-training. I'm not sure if Mama Jin would have allowed them to get too casual with her. The boys seem to have little parental supervision.

Cho-yeon seems really naive, but I could see her and Dang-gu getting together once she grows up mentally and if the missing sister comes back to carry on the family legacy.

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This show isn't pulling it's SLS punches for me, every time either of them are reminiscing I’m entranced omg (Wook being like ‘wait what’s going on??? where is this sudden breeze coming from???’ is me). I think it’s extra magnetic because I’m a sucker for a tragic romance, so it’s even more heart tugging since technically Naksu as Yul knew her is dead and for Mudeok it’s all just a painful reminder of her even more painful past. Don’t come for me, I’m team Wook for endgame still but ah sweet and gentle Seo Yul with those glossy lips *sighs*. I absolutely love that it seems like the Crown Prince has been added to this hot mess of geometrical love where everyone is in love with everyone and most of them in love with Naksu/Mudeok (well on their way to). Jury is out (but also heavily not in favour of) on Spring right now though, she's a bit grating with her one track 'I want Wook' mind.

As for the rest of the plot that isn’t Gossip Girl-esque, interesting what they might be setting up in terms of who MD really is (seems like they could be hinting at her being the long lost daughter?) but also the hints that MD's soul is alive 'still' and an interesting twist about Naksu’s dad going a bit insane, I wonder who was behind that. I love that both the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ guys are matching each other in terms of strategy somewhat - flushing Jin Mu’s secret out and having Yul and Danggu spinderman-ing on the roof was smart play by Jin, but for a man so smart why on earth isn’t he realising he’s going to create his own worst enemy by continuing to ostracise Wook and keep him in the dark? But I can also see that Wook would be the type of idiot - uh passionate individual - who would jump straight first into the problem if he was told about it so I guess rock and a hard place it is indeed.

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What if Mudeok is never blind? Just her way of eyes covering to avoid bad spirit coming into her body? I remember something about Jinwoyon leader said about a talisman(?) that can prevent malicious spirit from escape Jinwoyon. Or Heo Yeom did something towards Bo Yeon, thus protecting her eyes from catch it. But, will Bo Yeon and Mudeok is the same person? Then, who is Naksu originally as she called the berserk mage as Father. Will he be part of Jin family? Did anyone catch his first name? I noticed the Queen is from Seo family.
The complex plot is coming tho...

Any other interesting theory out there, beanies?

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Wow! Wow!! Wow!!! I like your theorems.
Naksu's father was a Cheonbugwan high ranking official and head of the star readers at that time.
If Boyeon and Naksu is the same person, then the story only got more interesting with the love angle as it might cancel out the angst that comes from family class. And it explains why she(Mudeok) hasn't gone 'mad king' mode since the soul and body has a perfect balance of yin and yang.

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Ooh I love your theory!

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I think the Jin connection to original MuDeok has to be fairly strong. Didn't Mummy Jin say that no one not of their house could enter the storage room? (Even powerful Master Lee didn't go in but summoned the dog spirit from outside)
And some of the energy that should have been causing MuDeok/Naksu to run wild is not there according to Master Lee so it must be tied up somewhere. There is a reason she was pulled into the Jin family vault and why she can "see" both the Yin-Yang jade inside the box and also the other artefacts as soon as she crosses the threshold of the house...
It's actually the introduction of "her majesty" and her connection to our soul-swapping bad guys that I am waiting to see more fleshed out too. No way is he sending her "herbs for her health". There is something big going on there. And we are only just beginning to see the significance of the constellation recorders. I like seeing all these layers being pulled back like an onion.

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My biggest worry would be how the stories goes on from so many upfront hints. Will Hong sisters managed to navigate well until 30+ episodes without many fillers? Or what kind of cliffhanger left after 20 eps?
It has been a while since I invested in long sageuk drama since Six Flying Dragons. If the drama up to par, this year I definitely have a clear winner for a rewatch 😁!

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If it's common knowledge that only Jin family has access to Jinyowon, I wonder how everyone would react when they knew Mudeok had been to Jinyowon

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hot mess of geometrical love

I'm holding out for the first romantic icosahedron in kdrama history.

It seems a little too plot-logical that MD would be the long-lost older Jin daughter. How would the Jins and the other 4 Seasons not recognize her? I mean, facial expressions and body language are a huge part of individual manifestation and how we recognize other people - think about how you might have ever instantly known a friend or sibling from a distance based on their gait - and MD's body now has Naksu's soul driving it, but still, the face and figure can't be that different.

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In a very few cases, people metamorphose into a completely different structure, facial and body-wise.
It's been a few years since they've been searching for Bo-yeon, close to 10 years. 10 years is a wide gap that people not recognizing her anymore might be plausible. And I don't think she remembers anything about her life as a Jinyowon (that's if she's actually Bo-yeon) cause her memory is kinda altered. Had it been that she remembered, her actions would show that the moment she entered the Jinyowon sacred place but it was clearly a Naksu moment, not a Naksu-Mudeok moment.

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Sooooo good. How many boys will be in love with Mudeok by the time this is over? Even the crown prince is becoming besotted. 😆 Hong sisters are doing what they do best which is banter. And most of it in the FL to all the flower boys. I’m staying until that gets old.

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this show reminds me of a bunch of anime. in particular demon slayer, naruto and gintama. which is a huge compliment cuz I like all those animes

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Yes, I also get anime themes but it abruptly changes to Harry Potter features, then to martial arts, then back to anime features . . . the writers may not want to explain the attributes of mage power because they may not know. The energy source of the lake is a AoS take, the gate of energy inside a person is a Naruto concept; the love potion letter is a Potter feature, etc.

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Loved both episodes and looking forward to the next ^w^.

Loved Wook's jealousy and pettiness. Mu Deok a delight as usual in all her interactions. I'm normally not into SLS, and while I don't vibe Yul and Mu Deok, somehow I've liked their scenes together. Dan gu, you little adorable muffin you...I don't quite like Cho Yeon's character, but I have hope that she can be better. And prince Won/Wan, one of the best Crown Prince's I've come across. His naivitee makes me smile.

Based on the hints, I'm inclined to think that OG Mu Deok is the eldest daughter of the Jin clan. But since 10 years have passed they don't recognize her (?). This could also help explain why the alchemy of souls between Naksu and Mu Deok has behaved differently than the norm is because both of them were great mages, or people of pure hearts?

Perhaps OG Mu Deok and Naksu's soul will merge near the end?

There's just too many unknowns and I'm so along for the ride.

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Not my favorite episodes - 25% was taken up with non-starter Yul and Naksu.

"In a magical haze, she comes face to face with the original Mu-deok. " haha, original Mu-deok turned around to look at Natsu/Mudeok as if to say - Hi there! I've been here all along. (I'm sure that Mu-deok's soul is still in her body - keeping Natsu's soul on life-support)

"In Jinyowon, Mu-deok stands before the mirror, watching her own face smirk back at her" The mirror image didn't just smirk - she said: "So it is you. It has been a long time."

Only a JIN can open up the vault at Jinyowon.

As far as I'm concerned, this particular mystery is wrapped up - but there are 10 more behind it

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All aboard the Cho-yeon/Dang-gu ship! His infatuation with her is (so far) my favorite thing about her, but I love it enough to make me forgive her for being so annoyingly self-centered and waaaaaay ahead of herself with this marriage. And her warning to Dang-gu that he needs to make sure Uk reads the letter when there aren't other women around? My money is on some sort of spell that makes the reader fall in love, and I'm so ready for Mu-deok to be around to receive that (or some other totally random and perfectly hilarious mix up)! How did the Jin family get so much powerful stuff? Is that just their thing? Whatever, I'm here for it.

I think I can totally understand Uk's lack of motivation in these episodes, but sometimes I wish he would explore his reasons out loud just a bit more. He was just rejected (again) by his father figure and from what he considers his birthright, and told the man he always thought was his father isn't, and that's a big deal. It makes sense to me that hiding out in the woods fishing with a new eccentric friend would be more fun than having to train and facing all of that, but sometimes I have to remind myself that that's what he's going through, and his reluctance to train is very likely related to all that baggage. I'm sure some of it is also latent laziness and Uk being Uk, but he went through a lot to get here, you know? So to me his actions make more sense in the context of his recent emotional trauma.

I'm really interested in what happened the night Naksu's family was killed. I mean, she was warned to hide from her father, which is pretty chilling. I also wonder how the (gross, crappy, dying, original) king's death played out - did he not want to advertise what he had done? But then did he still expect "his" offspring to become the next ruler? Did his brother take it by force, or was the brother (and current king) the one who covered up the fact that Uk was born under the star? I'm guessing all these events are connected, and I'm looking forward to unraveling them more in the coming weeks.

Still totally loving this show! It is more fun than it has any right to be, and even Wan is growing on me despite at first being presented as the absolute worst kind of male.

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I agree with you that it would have been nice to have Wook's lack of motivation explained better. It was a weakness in writing that just made it feel like I couldn't quite understand Wook unless I thought back on all he has been through.

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Rewatching ep. 6: when the new concubine for the King goes by, a servant tells the Crown Prince, “A comet brushed past the Big Dipper on the day she was born” and he responds, “At this rate, he will summon every woman born with a strange horoscope.” Uh-oh, will MD/Naksu be at risk of royal baby-lust if it turns out her birth was high-ranking enough to qualify as concubine material? We don’t know what was in Naksu’s stars, but her father wouldn’t have shown her if it weren’t significant - especially since that seems to have happened the same day he went berserk and was killed. And yeah, this is conflating Naksu’s stars with MD’s possible lineage, but that’s all mixed up anyway. I think it’s going to turn out that MD, Naksu, and Wook were all born on April 1.

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Oh wow, I didn't consider this. I assumed that Naksu was slightly older than Uk, and that her dad became dangerous when Uk was born, but that might be the completely wrong timeline. Maybe that's just when her dad found out that the constellation record had been faked, and they are the same age. And now I realize that I only thought that in the first place because of the age gap between the actors who play the leads, which might not mean anything at all, or might mean that MD is slightly older but the other two could still be the same age. I hope we get more flashback details soon!

I think if MD does get caught up in the royal baby star lust, Wan will have some things to say about it, which could be kind of fantastic.

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Thanks @alathe! Another great recap and couple of episodes. JSM and LJW are killing it - just get together already, Uk and Mudeok, and spend your lives flirting with each other!

However, every time Im Chulsoo turns up on my screen, I get Vincenzo flashbacks and keep referring to him as Agent Ahn. The side-effects of doing too well in a previous role...

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I first saw him as the insurance agent in CLOY and everytime I see him, I want to tell him "Seri is alive!"

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Not important at all, but what is with Mu-deok's "-yoo" or "-yu" sentence endings? It's not a common ending I'm familiar with in the Korean language, but ma'am uses it A LOT. Now, I may have not been paying enough attention, but is this an overly formal thing because she's supposed to be a servant? Is it a dialect thing to help with her disguise?
I'm just finding it very distracting at this point, but if it is completely justified, then I'll be quiet. But was just wondering...

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I thought it may have been OG Mu-deok's accent, but since Nak-su went into her body, all words come out with that accent. Seems like it maybe this dialect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chungcheong_dialect
https://youtu.be/Sk5g1vR8qig?t=152 (a comment about the dialect)

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It's a dialect thing to help with her disguise. She drops it whenever she's with Wook. I find Mu-deok's satoori hilarious especially how she plays it up every time she's about to get caught by Jin Mu or his minions.

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Didn't realize that it drops when she's alone with Wook, since I thought she uses casual speech with Wook so the very distinct "yeo" doesn't show up as much. I also love how it's more played up the more she sucks up to people.

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But it's not just the "-yeo" ending. Every word is accented. She does use casual speech with Wook, but she talks in a regular 'Jung So-min' voice. She drops it whenever she's talking to herself too.

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Me too. Her satoori makes her special when she speak as Mudeok. Love JSM who is very natural and eloquent on speaking dialect.

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I find it funny

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I think it’s her country accent using ”yoo” for “yo” when speaking in honorifics (formal) Typically, it would be pronounced “yo.” When she is speaking as Uk’s master she goes to banmal and drops the formal speech, so the annoying “yoo” also drops. I’m not a native speaker, so I could be wrong.

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And the enjoyment continues into week 3! Thank you for the recap - it captures the excitement and appreciation for the drama and all it's fun touches. I'm enjoying a lot of the interactions and combos of characters - not just the ones between the OTP- which I always see as a good sign. And I liked how Jin and Yeom now know Nak-soo's identity as the rogue constellation recorder's daughter because Seo Yul shared info like how a normal person would, and they had put the into together.

I think it was sort of sad and great how much Wook enjoyed living the simple life. He learned a lot of life skills in the few days he was there than his entire life. But with the whole deal with Naksu and the duel...you can feel fate pulling him in a different direction.

The drama seems to be pointing to OG Mudeok as the missing Jin daughter, but 10 years isn't a long time ago and the mother doesn't seem to recognize Mu-deok's face. And if she was the heir before she went missing, the others in Songrim would have thought Mu-deok looked familiar. I wonder if there may have been several rounds of soul-swapping and now we don't know who has whose soul.

Just want to highlight my favorite comedic moment was when Lady Do-Joo was like she would get rid of Wook's hussy by paying her off with a pouch of money so that hussy would crack out of her egg and fly away! The actress did an amazing job with the wing-flapping.

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Lady Do-joo “flying” away was a hoot! So many random “lol, wtf” moments particularly in these last two episodes - Wook punching himself in the face, bowls wacking MD on the head, etc. Scenes you’d only see in fantasy shows, but I’m loving the humor!

And you brought up exactly what I was thinking: I’m very inclined to think MD is the Jin’s 1st daughter, but it’s only been 10 yrs & her own mother & sister can’t recognize her face? That doesn’t make logical sense…unless you’re right in that OG Mudeok also soul swapped…or got magical plastic surgery…

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We will know this week but.. did MD wander off by herself to the Jinyowon or did someone brought her there.. did Mama Jin had a hand in JBY disappearance or MD ending up Jinyowon? Why did she look guilty each time JBY is brought up? But she doesn't stop her husband from looking for her? Where is her husband really at right now?

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I loved the reference to the classic chaebol parent and envelope of money trope as well! :)

I wonder where the significance of Yeom recognising Mu Deok’s ear will come in. He seems to be the only person who has felt some kind of recognition…

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I super like the scenes where Mudeok refused the offers of Yul and CP. Hahaha.
She said she won't let "just anyone" help her climb the tree and that she won't let "just anyone" become her master.

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I'm kinda tired by Wook. He's acting like a child. Naksu spends her time to manipulate the fragile ego of Wook and the Crown Prince.

They burnt Naksu's body, so where is Mu-Deok's soul now? If she still exists and wants to recover her body, it will be complicated.

If she's the missing daughter, it could explain why Naksu's soul chose this body and why the body is not turning in stone, she's from a family of mages.

Cho-yeon is annoying. She doesn't care about Wook's wish to marry or not. She's to accuse a maid for breaking her jade becaue of her jealousy.

I like the past story between Yul and Naksu. Yul is the only character who seems to be sensitive to what is happening around him.

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I'm equally tired with Wook's nonchalant and indifferent disposition to his training. More tired because AoS tied Mudeok embodying Naksu in all entirety to him becoming her Lake Gyeongchangdo. His attitude is stunting her growth as Naksu.

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The fact he didn't learn to fight before is so stupid. I mean at this point, his fast growth will rest a lot on the fact that he was conceived by 2 men one of which is very powerful and the fact he was given a big source of energy.

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you just wrote my thoughts out. wook is starting to get frustrating with how he's in it one second and out of it next, it's getting frustrating to watch and I can't even enjoy the bickering scenes between him and naksu because of that.

I blame the writers because wook's original motivation to become a mage and learn how to fight was not compelling enough yet he seemed really determined to do so in the first few episodes. Then suddenly in ep 5 he's like nah actually i dont want to anymore after risking his AND naksu's life to get to this point. Mind you he was even learning faster than most people, yet he was thinking of giving up when naksu helped him this far? The character motivations dont add up.

At this point I'm enjoying the supporting characters a lot more, especially Naksu's interactions with the Yul and the Crown prince. Heck i'm even more choyeon and the jin family's story.

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Maybe instead of two souls in one body, there's somehow one soul that was shared between two bodies? Wook tells MD, “The blue marks [of a soul shifter] are barely visible. They were quite pretty.” Is Naksu’s soul becoming integrated with MD’s body so that she no longer has the energy gap of a soul-shifter? Were Naksu and MD somehow the same soul, and now they’re “remarried” - which is what the title in Korean says?

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I'm thinking the exact same thing too.

Other than Uk's King Star, the connection between Mudeok/Naksu/JBY and Uk may have been written in the stars too as he was the only person who noticed Mudeok's eyes and there's something very special about those eyes other than an abnormal location of the soul shifting mark

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"Don't cheat on me"
"Just anyone"
are gonna be the lines I am going to use to flirt here onwards🤣🤣🤣🤣
I'm loving Jang Uk and Mu Deok's subtle attraction for each other underneath their arguments. The drama feels like a mash up of all the best elements with reference to so many fantasy/magical stories/novels/dramas and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

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Finally the training sessions have started. I was already getting a wee bit impatient, especially with episode 5 I had the impression that it was dragging on a bit. Then with episode 6 the pace was right again.

It's a pity that the idea of the chastity potion was pushed aside so quickly. I would have loved to see Wook have to drink it. The resulting temporary consequences would certainly have been interesting.

I like that Wook never seems laughable or cowardly despite his apparent laziness, fastidiousness and lack of fighting skills.

By the way, the landscape scenes were once again dreamlike.

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I think they are trying to suggest that naksu is the lost sister ,the way things happened (the birds reacting, naksu feeling something) while she entered the Jin house

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This week was a lot of fun! But also too slow? I feel like nothing happened and if this is why they want 30+ episodes I'm worried I'll get tired by the time they reach 15. And the ending with the mirror--I hope it's not just a filler. That was more magic than I expected lol.

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Were did u read the 30 episodes,ive known till now of only 20 official said...Was it said somewere by some official source?

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Oh my @alathe I'm loving these recaps so much, this show is my current favorite so its great to read a recap be someone as in love with Mu-deok/Naksu and Jang Uk as I am.

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I'm so happy you're enjoying these recaps! :D Honestly, I am rooting harder for those two than I ever thought possible.

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Dang-gu and Cho-yeon are cute, but I hope their relationship doesn't become one in which Dang-gu loses his morals and self-respect for her *cough cough Jeo Pal-gye in Hwayugi cough*.
I like Naksu's personality, but I wish we had more insight which led to the fostering of her current temperament and mindset. I understand her Machiavellian ways, yet for someone who was--from what we see--more like a proud solo assassin, she is quite the social butterfly? Maybe it's due to her unmentioned training as a spy which taught her how to blend in, but for someone who worked and lived alone, and hid herself, she is sure good at sucking up to people. Naksu is really a puzzle.
I had my thoughts that Do-joo had the potentials of a possessive mother, still it was hilarious how she announced to Wook that she'll scare away his "lover" in the typical fashion of K-drama mothers-in-law.
I really hope the mirror arc is not a filler plot line to Wook's eventual duel with Go Won, and episodes 5 and 6 showed some tinklings of shortfalls in world building with the insertion of politics. .

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I predict that Mu deok will find the elder Jin sister in the mirror. I was confused when I first saw the mirror that the image was of Cho Yeon and I thought it was because they were identical or something, but then the last scene helped me understand. Also, for me, the introduction of a magic mirror was like a cup of strong coffee. The rest of the plot was getting too arcane and hard to parse, when suddenly the plot device from my favorite childhood book Through the Looking Glass shows up. Suddenly everything else came into focus and the plot got interesting! The whole "two souls in one body" problem is going to figure a lot in the question of who is Wook's real dad, too.

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Here are my two cents worth of predictions based on the comments from various sources:

1. Mudeok is the elder Jin daughter.

2. She may be blind or have predictive eyesight that requires her to cover her eyes.

3. If Mudeok is the elder Jin daughter, Buyeong, Uk may have a legitimate engagement to her. The mom mentioned that Choyeon wouldn't have had to marry for political reasons if the sister were around.

4. Eventually, Mudeok (Buyeong) and Naksu cannot share the same body. Who will survive? Who will Uk choose to end up with? Will we feel murderous ala Mr Queen?

5. Naksu's father went on a killing rampage for some reason; I think it was at Bitches Over Drama that said that he might have been trying to avoid the tragedy of someone in his household being the source of bloodshed - which eventually came to pass anyway since Naksu became an assassin to avenge his death by the hands of the four families, who were in all likelihood merely trying to stop his massacre. Classic Greek tragedy.

6. The soul shifter in the eunuch's body is not the former king, but Jin Mu's minion. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been so subservient after being chastised.

7. Hemp Master Lee reminds me of Hong Qigong or Zhou Botong in Jin Yong novels (The Condor Heroes 《射雕英雄传》, Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre 《倚天屠龙记》). Through sheer dumb luck and a dash of talent, the protagonists met and were taught coveted and esoteric martial arts skills by these eccentric masters.

8. Naksu also reminds me of the unconventional heroines (Huang Rong and Zhao Min) in the above two books. They think outside the box for solutions, and are often misunderstood for their unorthodox ways which get results.

9. Choyeon will likely end with Dang-gu. Poor boy's a smitten kitten - if Choyeon had been the protagonist, he would have been the self-sacrificing SML.

10. It doesn't matter if our modern sensibilities feel that Uk is Jang Gang's biological son. The lore of the story is souls can be switched, and if so, it makes for messy genealogy. Even in our world, a baby born of a surrogate would have to derive nutrients from her, even if she did not contribute the egg. Similarly, the king's essence, his soul, was in Jang Gang's body. Therefore, Uk is a fusion baby with 2 fathers. His fate would reflect the contributions of both. And yes, they did his mom dirty.

I'm really hoping that the plot doesn't fall off a cliff or get tediously repetitive. With 20 episodes this season and another 10 for next, I'm definitely worried the Hong sisters can't sustain the frenetic pace so far. Fingers crossed! 🤞🏼

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Everyone has seen Mu deoak. She can't be the elder sister or someone would have recognised her.

The trapped woman in the mirror in the other hand could be the missing sister.

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Think the sister went missing since a long time ago like when she was young...

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I think the woman in the mirror is the mirror's personnification who embodies the deep desires and wish of the person it reflects. If you have seen the teaser of episode 7, the Crown Prince and Yul are both entranced by their version of Mudeok, a friend and long lost first love respectively.

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I think this too. If the sister was trapped there, then it would have been easy to find her. The parents would have been like "let's check out the soul-trapping mirror and all the dangerous not-safe-for-kids magical artifacts that we have in the Jin storage cave".

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Sounds legit. I do wish that they'd used Go Yoon-jung, the actress playing Naksu, if it reflected Naksu's hidden desires though.

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Genuine question but from were is this 30 episodes info,is even official?

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I'm trying to remember - many of the web sites with episode numbers have been updated or edited since the show premiered. Early news reports said 20. Netflix's show info pop-up on my computer initially showed there would be 20 episodes, but at the same time Netflix on my TV said 30. Now they both say 20. I think MyDramaList also said 30 for a while - it now says 20. Wikipedia says "first season 20, second season in the writing stage" but that's also been edited and I don't recall what it said before. @lapislazulii found this article saying season/part 2 is in the works.

So, was the episode count "officially" changed to 30? Hard to tell. At a guess, the success of the planned first 20 (or even fewer) episodes will affect the ultimate length.

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See the comment string on Ep 1 at #6 where @sanduluk first mentioned it. Think it is officially "to be confirmed".

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The Jin heir would have to marry a guy who would be willing to marry into the matrilineal household and basically support the wife's position; he would ideally be someone who does not plan to continue his family name. Choyeon's mom originally allowed the engagement since Wook's energy gate was closed, which would likely disqualify him from being the next Gwanju and from being the head of the Jang family, so his goals can be to support Cho-yeon. Then she disallowed it when his energy gate was open since he would have his own goals and would likely lead the Jang family. Then she allowed it again when it seemed like the Jang clan plans to kick Wook out and using the Jin plaque to save him would put him in debt to the Jin family. I think any engagement will depend on whether the Jin family can benefit and whether Wook can give up the Jang family interests in favor of the Jin family.

Naksu's father's rampage is quite a mystery since he was killing everyone in the household violently. If he was trying to prevent a tragic fate, it would have made more sense to poison or burn everyone instead of stabbing. I think Jin Mu did something to him either because he thought the dad knew something and withheld it or because he was aiming to capture Nak-su. I don't think he's the type of guy to randomly pick up an orphan girl to raise.

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We were told that soul shifters become mad, uncontrollable, at a certain point. Naksu's dad may have been one - - - perhaps the Jin family has a long history of experimenting with them as Jin Mu has with the one he is harboring. I believe Master Lee was a soul shifter bounty hunter and he is the one who rescued and trained Naksu for apparent revenge against the mage family that turned her father into a monster.

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I'm pretty sure it's connected to the star when Wook was born announcing him as a future King.

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@chrysalidding: I love your analyses. You clever Beanie!

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@dncingemma Thank you! But it wasn't all me - it's gathered from various sources =p

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If Big is an indication, then let's prepare for the worst: the real Mu Deok will get married to Jang Uk.

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noooooooo......

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Wow nice summarizing here and your many references to the various wuxia lores.. yes I think the recent episode confirms that evil eunuch is just a minion.

Re: no.4 what if MD=JBY/Naksu are all part of the same soul just temporarily separated at birth? It is kind of Mr Queen but you got to see it a little differently like say, a hot mess magical version of BPD with two bodies then become one. My only gripe is that the storyline could potentially then become a Disney happily ever after where the poor girl finally reclaim her birthright and marry the most eligible bachelor in the land. The end.

Re: 5. I wish Naksu's dad's a victim. That would paint the 4 scions in a more complex light instead of a straight out protagonist.

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Oh man... if it's the split-soul scenario (why am I thinking horcruxes), that's gonna be crazy complicated for sure.

Yeah, the father may have been soul-switched or bewitched to massacre his family. That would definitely add in more shades of grey to everyone involved. But it'll be so boring if everything was schemed by Jin Mu. This guy seems to have cornered the smarmy a-hole roles in everything I've seen him in. Wonder if he's ever played a good guy... 🤣

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Yeah he di play in various dramas the good guy: Mad Dog,Catch the Ghost but like many he stands out more while playing bad guys

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I really enjoyed the first 4 episodes, but this week was awful.

Uk’s lack of respect for Mu-deok/Naksu is ruining the show for me. The way he behaved around her was like a moronic child. He has no respect for her even though she is the only reason he got his gate unblocked (something he could only dream about during his entire childhood). And now that he has access to his magic (because of her), he doesn’t fucking care and just bum around doing whatever.
I think a normal person would actually feel grateful towards Mu-deak/Naksu and give her some respect for helping him out and being so helpful. But no, he couldn’t care less. He just treat her like shit. It’s so stupid.

I’m also getting tired of how weak Mu-deak/Naksu is. I really hope they won’t keep her completely powerless for the whole show at this point.

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Are we watching the same drama here? 😅
Do you really think after all Wook went through his whole life, he can be normal and grateful like normal person do? Being a master have upside power; and yes in that era, talking like ungrateful person towards his servant seems normal for me. Not every master is kindly enough and gentle.

For what Wook potrayed in this drama, it was so align with him being in pains, angst, madness, upset, superior, even his stubborness towards his libido state 🤭... is everyone else not feeling what I felt? He is a great young actor that can really act (mind you that I never watch any of his previous work before apart from MoA).

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I’m also getting tired of how weak Mu-deok/Naksu is. I really hope they won’t keep her completely powerless for the whole show at this point.

If this stretches out a little longer, it will be so annoying. I won't quit AoS, and I'll equally be highly displeased with the show.
Uk's on and off behavior wrt his training isn't just because she's his maid, it also stems from the fact that he knows she is powerless at the moment and the highest she can do is threaten and glare at him. Were Naksu having access to even one-tenth of her powers, he would behave himself.

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You know the figure in the mirror. What if that is the sister, who was trapped there.

Cho-yeon is clearly jealous of her elder sister. It could be her doing.

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Mom would know, no?

How did they use the mirror in HP? I think Hong sisters will do the same. The preview hints at it because only 3 people go into the cave and we see the prince and yul's fantasy play out in the preview

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In HP the Mirror of Erised (desire backwards) would show the deepest desire of the looker's heart. The inscription also reads backwards, "I show not your face but your heart's desire". Nobody got sucked into the mirror in HP but it was used to procure the Philosopher's Stone.

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Wonder if Mu-deok is the missing daughter of Jin family…That would make things more complex and complicated…
Amazed if it’s even possible in their universe for a body to be inhabitated by 2 souls(that is why i think Naksu can’t use her powers as well)…
The fox/evil spirit in the mirror did recognize Mu-deok as i take she talked about the original one not Naksu…So it’s quite hightly possible she is the older dauther of the Jin family…
Just hope the show doesn’t go the usual drama route we’ll be told Naksu's Dad was the evil one and the 4 families even after killing him end up being good as they had to do it as a justification…
I'm really loving the trio of friends(Dang Gu is funny and endering) and even the Prince even when i wanna smack him,we can already see there is more to him that just a puppet...Quite curious if he will end up being the rulling king as i don't know about others but hope Jang Uk will continue to live free along our Naksu/Mu-deok rather than chained by a crown he never wanted....
Lastly Jang Uk is such a fun character,he is by far perfect but the little subtle gestures give such complexity and Lee Jaewook plays it so well(that's why it's important to have a leading man who can act)
I find it so funny and intresting how Jang Uk reacted right away when Dang Gu mentioned that Mu-deok is teaching Yul how to cook,that change at light speed along his constant mentions of betrayer and cheating,im quite sure in his mind even if he might not know he is intertwining stuff far more than a master-pupil relationship...

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I agree! I want the show to deal with people in power doing wrong. After all everyone is flawed.

However, the maid tells the little girl stay away from your father. If he comes for you don't go to him. WHY? To say that the father had lost it so the four families were justified in killing him?

I definitely don't want Uk to be tied to the throne :)

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Still so shady that we are given hints that her father saw the King's Star when Uk was born and after the tragedy happened with the 4 families at the center...

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Dang-gu’s mischievous, scheming expression is everything when he sees the breakfast prep and tells Wook, “Yul is cooking rice with Mu-deok!” With all of rice’s implications of deepening relationships and domestic bliss. I love Dang-gu. He wants his friends to be happy but he also wants to stir the pot and see what bubbles up.

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Oh I would love to learn more about the implications of cooking rice together! I didn’t know it could signify deepening relations.

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I am a little late to the discussion, but I had to chime in because I am enjoying this ride. The second best thing after finishing the new episodes is to come to your amusing recaps, @alathe.
These two episodes were my element for the romantic hyjinks, excuses me master and pupil hyjinks. But I am most curious about Mu Deok's new ability and why it appeared in connection to the Jin family. And is it Naksu or Mu Deok who is the cause? And when Mu Deok saw the original My Deok, what was that about?
I think that is what I am enjoying right now. I can sit back and enjoy the relationships without the plot getting in the way. It is just tantalizing enough that I am enjoying it though. I am really looking forward to the next two episodes.
Also, I am not one for SLS, but Yul breaks my heart. He and Naksu have that sweet first love going on. Without Wook, I would be rooting for them. But anyone who is breathing can see the "blistering hot thing" , to quote alathe, that they have between them in addition to a somehow-soothing-mutual knowing thing they have between them. I really hope all the marriage references--Master Lee calling them a married couple and Wook sharing his wish to marry--are foreshadowing and not the Hong Sisters mercilessly teasing.

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Lol!

I think it is teasing as the pair have too many obstacles ahead :)

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Aww, I'm really glad you're enjoying these recaps, @books7time!

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Dear @alathe
This review was thoughtful and very well written. Thank you.

I especially didn't realize that MD was distracted or that Uk might have been exhausted which is why he couldn't seem to control his sword again.

Your write up is funny :) I totally agree we are all waiting to see the leads bicker and bicker some more (and then do some tsundere style caring!)

But MD is a handful. She doesn't know how to lie low and keeps attracting attention. I wonder what will she do when she gets her power back? She is on her own if not for our Uk.

Needless to say that I am enjoying the show and am crossing my fingers that it keeps me entertained till the end :) I can barely wait for Saturday.

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Aww, thanks so much - glad you've been enjoying these recaps! :D

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This is the best drama on at the moment imo. Thank you beanies for all the theories, I think they are great. My own one is regarding Naksu's father. I was wondering if he went on the rampage due to Uks star chart being tampered with. Or at least that he knew too much about it and became a liability in some way. It doesn't explain everything, but might have played a part in his eventual demise.

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I love everyone's take on the recent episodes that I can resist jumping in!

My thoughts at the opening of ep 6 (or was it ep 5), the one where Naksu's dad brought her to work. I thought it's so cool that people can bring their kids to work in this universe. So glad this is a fantasy genre. I can so totally imagine history buffs kicking up a hissy fit if this is a sageuk.

At this point, I would hold out dismissing Uk as the childish, pampered boy or Mudeok being unbearably weak/ clumsy instead of bad ass Naksu (Go Yoon Jung's excellent bad ass look just makes things worse) . I think this story is about the growth in character. Now we're only seeing the gut reaction phase where characters come into contact with each other. Next will be how they assimilate/ digest that reaction to solidify their character/ relationship. I just find it very cute ever since Uk's heart is moved, probably for the first time in his young life, by Mudeok's tale of the lone bird egg and its mother bird, he just label what he feels for Mudeok as that. E.g. to Master Lee question on why he can accept his maid's demeanor, oh because she's a lonely bird egg. When he's worried about hurting her during the training, he's the mother bird who's worried her egg. Or why he can't marry Choyeon, he can't leave his lonely bird egg alone. I think he's still at that stage where there's warm feelings stirring but he hasn't really call it out as love just yet.

For Naksu, other than her physical weakness at the moment, I noticed that she's quite single track in her thinking. Yes, she's a tad surprised that she's floated into an unintended body or she doesn't really have a mark but she's so into recovering her former strength that she (and Jang Uk both) doesn't stop to wonder why/worry she hadn't go berserk yet. But probably that's the direction her character growth needs to go - to shed light on other aspects of human existence other than a spartan lifestyle of training to be powerful and take out her enemies.

I think there's something stirring in Mudeok/Naksu regarding Uk too. For an assassin who's super protective about her personal space (unless she's killing someone I guess), she allowed Uk to apply medication on her, hug her (under the falling autumn leaves) and showing her more vulnerable side while keeping him warm through the night (I believe statistically there're very little chance any warm blooded and more heterosexual oriented guy would not be moved in such situation. Also, the irony of the gag of keeping Uk warm through the night in the first episode!).

At the scene where Uk and Mudeok discussed his marriage on the boat, I do wonder, if Mudeok is only invested in Uk to regain her strength, nothing really changed if Uk were to marry someone else. I mean, yeah sure it will be a bit more troublesome and dramatic to sneak out to train every now and then. Uk did say that she can still remain as his maid and thus staying protected. And...

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Oh and the master don't cheat on me scene! Thanks to AoS that's the most original master/disciple conversation I've ever seen 🤣

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