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Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

With our favorite assassin trapped in a magical mirror with attitude, it’s up to her pupil to find a way back to her. Meanwhile, it’s hard to say what’s more dangerous for our hero: his upcoming duel, or his impending nuptials…

 

EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Lore drop time! Long ago, Daeho experienced a drought so extreme it dried up Lake Gyeongcheondaeho. When mages conducted a ritual to restore its energy, they discovered an ice stone: one that secreted powder used to fuel the alchemy of souls. A bloody war for its possession followed, ending in victory for the founder of Songrim. And, his pupil? None other than our resident centenarian Master Lee.

Back in the present, Won’s doing dignified, princely things, like thinking about Mu-deok, feeling guilty about Mu-deok, cursing Mu-deok’s ingratitude… To his surprise, when he looks up, the object of his obsession has appeared before him. However, her seductive manner — and newfound tolerance for cinnamon wine — persuades him that this cannot be the graceless maid he knows and longs for. Sure enough, when he rejects her, she disappears, leaving behind a crack in a nearby mirror.

Won’s not the only one left reeling next to broken glass in the wake of a longed-for visitor. Mirror Mu-deok’s found space in her calendar for Yul, too. This time, she gets a little further in her attempted seduction, pressing up close — but, recognizing her as inhuman, Yul shoves her back just before they can kiss.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Consequently, when Wook arrives to negotiate with JIN HO-GYEONG (Park Eun-hye) on the matter of his missing maid, he’s not the only one present to plead Mu-deok’s case; with Won and Yul as witnesses, the table’s pretty crowded. Cho-yeon sticks to her guns in labeling Mu-deok a thief. Wook, smelling about fifty dozen rats, asks permission to search for his miscreant employee — in Jinyowon, the family vault. This is reluctantly arranged, but given the danger of entering alone, Yul’s company is necessary. Won’s company, whilst less necessary, is also secured. Thus, the awkward three-person field trip consisting solely of Mu-deok’s admirers is underway.

Wook’s right on the money: Mu-deok did enter Jinyowon after dodging Cho-yeon’s supervision. But, what’s more, Jinyowon welcomed her. Although the doors only open for those of Jin heritage, they parted at her touch. Watching this, Cho-yeon, after weighing the risks (pros of rescue, Mu-deok could die; cons of rescue, her mother might be mad), had elected to keep shtum and seal the gates. No harm, no foul, as long as no one notices!

At first, the boys learn little other than the fact that Yul, like a reverse homing pigeon, loses all sense of direction when panicked. However, they soon discover the mirror. Alone, Wook listens as it smugly declares all human perception a lie, tempting him with an ideal vision of himself. Wook, being more a man of action than philosophy, throws a curtain over the mirror to shut it up.

Huddled sadly on the floor, surrounded by laughing reflections, Mu-deok hears her pupil calling. Solemnly, Wook promises her that if he becomes Gwanju, she’ll be his assistant – anything, as long as she stays. He understands how lost she felt at the news of his marriage. Without her, he feels lost too. He places a hand on the mirror. Slowly, from the inverse side, Mu-deok does the same.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

The mirror shakes. Relics rattle, calling, She is here! The blind girl! The ice stone. Under Mu-deok’s hand, the glass buckles and shatters in a burst of light. And none too soon! Just as Ho-gyeong decides she must seal the gate for safety’s sake, it opens by itself, revealing Wook — with Mu-deok on his back.

Afterwards, a series of tough conversations are had. Cho-yeon admits shamefacedly to her wrongdoing. A temporarily blinded Mu-deok thanks her cadre of admirers (and also Dang-gu) for their help. Jin and Do-joo squabble over Ho-gyeong’s decision to close the gate on Wook: sure, it was done out of duty, but, Do-joo fears, by that logic, Jin would sacrifice even her — which he does not deny, though he admits it would shatter his heart. Meanwhile, Jin and Wook remain estranged. Even as Wook begs for Jin to see him, really see him, all Jin can see is his continued recklessness.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Later, Wook, having decided to nuke his upcoming nuptials for Mu-deok’s sake, declares bravely to Ho-gyeong that he is not the legitimate son of Jang Gang. The death blow to the marriage is dealt when Jin Mu, an illegitimate son himself, approaches Ho-gyeong with an alternative: why not aim high, and marry Cho-yeon to Prince Won? Now there’s a pairing.

Meanwhile, Mu-deok’s identity is compromised on two fronts. Yul, after watching her play the bird flute, puts two and two and two together: the flute, the soul-shifting, and the mirror observing that he longs for the woman from Danhyanggok, all add up to the irrefutable conclusion that she is Naksu.

Kil-joo has come to a similar realization. None too pleased by Mu’s plans to soul-shift him into the body of a eunuch, he’s spotted the perfect opportunity for blackmail — and a body he’d prefer. Mu-deok is press-ganged by him into taking Wook to an abandoned temple, for reasons nefarious.

She almost goes through with it, too. Thankfully, Wook has taken it upon himself to clarify their relationship. By clarify, I mean he’s used the jade that was going to be his wedding ring to make two egg-shaped charms, symbolizing their undying loyalty as husband and — uh, sorry, master and pupil. This sweet gesture inspires Mu-deok to do the kind thing, which, given it’s her, means being cruel: she tells him she is leaving to rejoin her organization. She admits that she pushed him too far. He did his best. But, if they stay together, he will die.

Luckily, Wook’s not one to let the prospect of certain death get between him and his master — for him, that’s a regular Saturday! Also luckily, it happens to be raining. Therefore, when Mu-deok returns to Kil-joo alone, turns out, she and Wook concocted a scheme: while she distracts Kil-joo, he’ll turn the raindrops into deadly weapons via Tansu.

This works perfectly until Kil-joo whips out his Soul Ejector. In a maelstrom of magic, he initiates the alchemy of souls.

The spell can be seen from as far as Sejukwon. However, the light show is more impressive than effective, because someone’s here to intercede, and for once it’s not our favorite assassin. It’s the original Mu-deok, looking far more knowing than you’d expect of a helpless beggar girl. She pulls Wook close, just before his eyes — his own eyes, in his own body — snap open.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

… Only to see Mu-deok clutch Kil-joo’s body in grief, convinced it’s him. She rounds on Wook, declaring hopeless vengeance — whereupon Wook realizes just how much she cares. It takes a prolonged bout of anguished eye contact and a reiteration of the fact that he’s the only one allowed to get this close for Mu-deok to believe he’s safe… at which point, she hugs him, hard. And if our ruthless assassin sheds a tear or two, that’s between her and Wook’s shoulder.

Both have forgotten the cardinal rule of soul-shifting: never turn your back on a body. Kil-joo lunges for Wook, and the battle is on. Although weak, he catches Mu-deok off guard by revealing that her father was a soul-shifter like her. Stricken, Mu-deok fails to dodge his attack, collapsing to the floor under the weight of old childhood trauma and a newfound shoulder wound. Kil-joo retreats, and Wook, at Mu-deok’s urging, gives chase.

Others, alerted by the spell, search the temple — including Gwigu. Mu-deok drags herself away through the forest. Things get serious as she’s swept up in one of Yul’s attack spells. Fortunately, upon recognizing the now-unconscious maid, Yul scoops her up and takes her to safety. But, healing her isn’t as easy: Yul must secretly transfer the wound from her body to his hand.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Face obscured by a blue scarf, Kil-joo flees towards Cheonbugwan — but, changes his mind. Wook, observing from afar, follows him instead to the palace, where the real Danju must reside. However, Kil-joo’s stone skin and, well, unpleasant watery secretions raise alarm bells for the guards, who spring to attack. He makes mincemeat of them.

Now, Wook, whose near-death scrape has settled his energy to the point where his arm is under control, pulls off possibly the coolest move in the series so far. He leaps from a roof, deflects Kil-joo’s sword, snags his scarf, and wraps it around his own face, all in one elegant spin. (This will later set a new fashion trend throughout Daeho.) Kil-joo stands no chance against a second round of Tansu; he collapses, stiffening into stone.

Elsewhere, Jin has a misunderstanding to resolve with Do-joo. Things have been awkward since that one time he said he’d let her die if it meant protecting Songrim. What starts as an offer to let Do-joo slap him ends in Jin cradling her against his chest as he tenderly swears he doesn’t want to hurt her.

Meanwhile, Cho-yeon’s matrimonial woes worsen. In a move showing great short-term sensitivity and supreme lack of long-term foresight, Dang-gu arranged for the Jin betrothal gifts to be redirected to him. Now, Cho-yeon’s friends are convinced she’s engaged to Dang-gu. Ever chivalrous, Dang-gu confirms the rumor to save Cho-yeon face.

Reunited, Mu-deok and Wook stand by the cliffside from which Mu-deok once jumped. Still shaken by the revelation about her father, she asks Wook if he’ll take her here when she dies. Not, Wook decides, on his watch. He knows the real Danju is part of the palace. He knows, based on a loose-lipped comment from Kil-joo, that they have the ice stone — and that it can keep Mu-deok alive.

At this, we’re greeted with a glimpse of the real Danju. Who else but QUEEN SEO HA-SUN (Kang Kyung-hun) — master of glittery eyeshadow, and possessor of the world’s best impassive sneer?

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Still, our heroes remain in the dark. Their best hope lies in searching the palace — for which Wook must become a mage of great renown. Luckily, the long succession of near-death situations into which Mu-deok has pushed him seem to have paid off dividends! Keep doing that, Wook grins, and stay by my side. After a second, she smirks back. Once again, I put it to you that their love language constitutes nearly killing one another on purpose.

Two weeks on, Wook’s duel approaches! A loss means, at best, losing his claim as Gwanju — at worst, death. Out of what I can only interpret as an incorrigible flair for drama, Wook and Mu-deok arrive just as the match is about to be declared forfeit. And what an arrival! Wook stands proud and confident. Mu-deok follows at his shoulder, dressed to match him, with a snazzy new hairstyle to boot. They’re armed with a plan: jars of water dot the arena, which Mu-deok will spill, allowing Wook to use Tansu. Unbeknown to them, however, Mu has made a counter-move.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

The fight begins. Wook, heeding Mu-deok’s advice, stays on the defensive. It’s a rough ride, despite his improved swordsmanship: Won and his magnificently expressive eyebrows spare no mercy. When Mu-deok discovers all the water jars destroyed, she knows that something must be done. In a fit of desperate ingenuity, she slices open her palm, sending a droplet of blood spinning into the arena.

Wook leaps up and slices it with his sword, smacking out a wave of energy to instantly KO his opponent. As the audience exclaim in awe, the match is declared for him.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Mu recovers quickly. He accuses Wook of cheating, demanding to know where he learned Tansu. Wook stays true to his oath, saying nothing of Mu-deok. Things look grave, until a new voice vouches for him: Master Lee. Cleverly, he swears that he witnessed Wook train, with nobody but his maid present.

His word is enough for the families of Daeho. Each one offers Wook the right to join them — including Songrim. But Wook, in a thrilling display of fealty, turns publicly to Mu-deok, asking which he ought to pick.

Songrim, she replies. And so, it is settled.

Alchemy of Souls continues to delight me with its sly humor and tightly-plotted dramatics. These episodes were awash with tantalizing hints of what’s to come. Is the original Mu-deok Cho-yeon’s long-lost sister? Signs point to maybe. Still, I think we can go weirder. Could it be something about Mu-deok herself — something that links her to the ice stone — that makes magical barriers crumble before her? One thing’s for certain: I’m looking forward to our heroes finding newer, bigger, more bombastic ways to trust each other with their lives!

One thing I love about these episodes: the female characters are genuinely multifaceted. There’s Cho-yeon, who in any other story would have been the one-dimensional, bitchy rival: here, she’s a spoiled but frightened child with complex family trauma. There’s Do-joo, whose maternal tenderness is far from one-note: it’s a rare thing, displayed touchingly for Mu-deok as well as Wook, despite their shaky start. There’s Ho-gyeong, whose unswerving duty to her family renders her believably calculating. And then, there’s Ha-sun, who may well be the mastermind behind it all. We’re never encouraged to dislike them — just to revel in their complexity. Here’s to finding out what they do next!

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

 
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I wonder how I'm going to last live watching all the way to episode 20

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Honestly considering waiting and then binging it later lol

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I've always wanted to do this but being a twitter user makes me prone to spoilers and thats far worse for me 😭

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@mewcrazy if I wait then the spoilers spoil it for me and somehow I don’t end up completing the drama!

The news of the filming of the second season without the FL is already making me wonder about how the series will unfold and how much should I prepare for being let down!

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@noone I've seen that rumor, too, but I don't think it's necessary a sign of bad things to come. There are so many layers to this storytelling and I'm willing to believe that this direction, should it come to pass, will end up making for a better show overall. If it's handled well, and I think it will be. Fingers and toes crossed!

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Crossing my fingers! Right now the talk of the ice stone is making me a bit uneasy as it could then be a deux-machina to resurrect the dead while MD will be dead in the end :(

Just a conjecture and the non-imaginative path my brain can come up with :D

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To me, that development makes a lot of sense. We all loved Naksu's original actress when we saw her, but it's understandable that people have fallen for Jung So-min by now. Still, this is a show about a bunch of soul-swappers, and the FL is already in a borrowed body, so it makes sense that she wouldn't necessarily stay there through the whole series. I think it's a risky move, no doubt, but I think everything will depend on the specifics. It could be really great! (and I'm choosing to believe it will be until proven wrong, haha)

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@jls943 Right? I remember seeing the actress and thinking that it was a waste that she died so quickly. Everyone loves Jung So Min, as do I, but I would have liked to see more from the original Naksu. Since I haven't watched anything with her before and she was compelling, there seemed to be untapped potential with her. Though you're right, it depends how they do it and if it makes narrative sense. Since we're dealing with Alchemy, I'm choosing to believe that anything is possible, just as long as it isn't too convenient or hastily put in. Like maybe the ice stone can bring back the original body of a soul shifter when placed in the hands of an elder/founder or its maker, so the theory about who Mu Deok really is would come to fruition since we already know she's "a great soul."

My main fear is that they won't feel like the same character. I know who Mu Deok is, strong, spunky, brave, resourceful, fiercely proud and very analytical. If the other actress isn't convincing that their souls are the same, this will be my main problem. It brings to mind the drama Why Her? where the main male lead doesn't resemble himself in the past, not physically, emotionally or vibe-wise for no apparent reason. No trucks of doom or face transplants in sight They are literally two different characters and faces meant to be one person but making a poor case for the same. Too bad we can't blame alchemy for that odd decision lol

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@mewcrazy I totally agree. It definitely needs to make sense within the world they've built, so while lots of mysterious magical things could happen, there has to be a reasonable explanation based on the lore.

I also think it will be a really tricky acting job because she'll be playing the same character that we all love right now, so she won't get as much leeway to define the character in her own right. (Shows like Doctor Who get around this by totally reinventing the character every time they switch actors, so each actor has lots of freedom to play the character in a new way. But that is a decades-long show, and this one had better not be!) Also, Naksu is experiencing plenty of character growth over the course of the show as she develops these relationships, gets new information, and learns how to navigate the world without her powers, so the original actress won't just be able to play the character the exact same way she did before, because the character herself isn't the same. It's tricky, but it's not impossible. Here's hoping she's up for it!

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My issue isn’t with the actress (old or new), my concern is that resurrection of a person whose body is already burnt doesn’t bode well for the story (usually).
But two souls in one body isn’t good either! I want to trust the creators but… Hong sisters made a mess of Master’s sun after episode 11 (I think), so…

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@noone I hope they can both live, but that seems too convenient. I feel you, there's the desire for a happy ending that makes sense, totally understandable.

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It must be tough being a creator!

I would want to complicate the story and then make it not be very convenient but interesting. Yet all stories have to end and if the actress in the current season is not signed for season two chances are Naksu returns to her body (and there will have to be a body!! So, the creators now would have to give hokus pokus like body was never burnt or ice stone can do everything) and MD dies/disappears so her body is not needed for season 2.
I hope there is another way that I can’t see and the above is my conjecture. And I don’t know about happy ending — Naksu comes in season 2 so someone definitely gets a happy ending :D
But season 1 could be a big cliff hanger and sad. UK says we could both have died yet it is MD who collapses against him. CP’s dialogue in episode 9. But who cares about the end :) , we will be happy with a nice episode 11 that should have lots of MD and Uk together. 😀

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@noone Many apologies for not replying sooner, life has been hectic! I do think that the actress playing Naksu has signed on for season 2 and will be assuming a main role: https://mydramalist.com/733261-alchemy-of-souls-part-2

I'm thinking there'll be a huge loop-hole where the ice stone can do **anything** since its potential is untapped. Who knows? Either way I'll be sad to see Mu Deok go. I'm with you on the looming cliffhanger and pray that if it must happen, season 2 comes quickly. I really am not a fan of waiting lol 😅 Hope you're doing well and have a great day!

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I never understood why some people rewatch episodes while they wait for the next one to come out, but I think I'm starting to. Two seconds after the last episode finished I was annoyed that I had to wait SIX more days!

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It is the same reason people listen to a song more than once, read a book/comic more than once, watch a movie more than once.

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At least it's just a week in between. They might make us wait for Part 2 since they haven't started filming yet.

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Same, same. The agony of live watching 🥲

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I was like you until I read the rumours today. Jung So Min did not sign up for Part 2 and the OG Naksu actor will be the FL. This sucks for me because I got attached to JSM playing Mu Deok/Naksu and now I'm sure Hong Sisters are going to mess up the plot somehow 😔😔😔😔

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Nooooooooi

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Omo. Didn't like the idea of Part 2 at all but now we have FL swap too. I liked what we saw of GYJ but JSM totally fits in the role. That said, I want them to also go ahead eith the story they have in mind. Though, I may be less excited now.

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Damn those reporters! Why do they need to be such killjoys?? I'm praying part 2 is a prequel at best, in spite of enjoying Go Yun-jung's performance.

If the Hong Sisters are planning on resurrecting Naksu in her original form, I reckon it's due to the ice stone. I'm not sure but from what I gather about the introduction to the great strife from two centuries ago, the ice stone is the source behind the magical objects which are kept in Jinyowon. Seeing that they are "living", I wonder if a humanoid body could be crafted from the stone.

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same.
I'm always here for badass female characters but I think knowing that this part 2 is happening with naksu actress..... it kinda of takes away a bit of the excitement to watch the curret story unfold. I was looking forward to watch the how naksu soul and mudeok's original story would converge and the drama from it. even the romance itself... wook felt in love with this personality, that is naksu, but with mudeok's body. I liked naksu, but in this context. not as a living character anymore.

also.. if everyone else but JSM is staying for part 2, its not a prequel. this piece of news just gave the ending of everything, I'm bummed lol

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i wish i didn't trip across that article about part 2...

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I think if this was the plan since the beginning, they should have shot the whole thing at once, like one full drama of 30 episodes even if they're not going to broadcast the whole thing at once.

lowkey angry at this tbh lol

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You literally said what I feel but can’t define!!

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It clarifies the confusion about the series episode length (20 or 30 episodes) but creates more questions about why the filming was split into parts. For those who are playing Falling of the Rails Bingo, I'd place bets on episode 19 or 20.

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Tell me about it!

@emsel I so know what you mean!

I just want my cute couple on the screen, doing what they do best: bicker and be cute!

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mood - I wish I had the willpower to wait hahaha

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Me tooo! I get anxious while watching - nothing can happen to my otp or the crew!
Maybe i shud binge the last half so i can at least know if everyone is safe but that would mean staying of DB 😅

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We will make it, let's watch it every weekend. Sidenote at first I shipped the crown prince with mu doek, now I want him for myself 😉

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Haha!

That cracked me up @12345mee

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The wait is killing me!

I have been watching snippets on a loop.

Two more days and it is the weekend :)

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I'm officially hooked at this point. Can't wait for next week's episodes. And in the meanwhile I've been watching all of their BTS and any available interviews/games on Youtube (mostly of LJW lol).
But I'm really glad the show is moving at a steady pace. They always have new mysteries for us while they resolve the older ones.

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And yes that blue scarf move was smooth. Worthy of being a trend!

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Naksu Blue should be added to the Pantone 😁

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Weren't we feeling a little sorry for Yul when his four-seasons intro just showed him contemplatively cutting a few blades of grain? Now he lays flat a forest to find MD. He's also showed he can dissemble and lie with the best of them, is willing to take on others' pain to heal them, and seems better at detecting patterns than the mages whose job that is. He's starting to live up to the character description as highly intelligent, but the moral ambiguity makes him so much more interesting.

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I think what we actually saw in that four-seasons intro was a different Yul quality: restraint. The man just screams "repressed emotions" and "dutiful rule-follower" and I like that we're getting to see him making emotional decisions that could have real consequences. Something there behind his flawless skin.

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I feel like the four seasons intro was just public perception of the characters showing them as fully-formed mages. But really, these 4 mages are very human and very young and still have lots to learn.

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I really like your thinking! That's spot on with the restraint thing

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Yes yes yes!!! I have nothing more intelligent to add but you've summed up exactly what I was thinking!

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Sigh, I swore I'd stop trying to figure out the rules of this world and just relax. However I'm seriously puzzled as to why there was no big swooshy water stuff and general magical hubub when Naksu switched souls with Mu-deok? Is the blind beggar girl the vessel for the ice-rock thingy?
Now where did I put that blue scarf?

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There are columns of black smoke or powder shooting up into a fiery sky from the roof of the building where Naksu shifts souls with MD - first at about 18:30 in ep. 1. Park Jin knows to look for the blue mark of a soul shifter on Naksu's body. Then there's a more extended sequence of MD's and Naksu's experience, including the suspension in water, starting at about 25:30. Maybe the aurora borealis and dazzling fountain effect is what one sees from inside the alchemy event?

Eh, I should give up on trying to make sense of it, too, but that would require that I swap personalities/brains with someone (possibly a Hong sister). I wish I could turn off my automatic plot-logic tracker occasionally but it's always running in the background.

Uk looked fabulous in the blue scarf but I was mildly squicked out that it had just been wrapped around Gil-ju's rapidly decaying head.

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Ha! I had the same thought! I hope it was the other side of the scarf at least.

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Haha!

I was so in awe of the move that who had it around his neck first didn’t click my brain!

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My thought too 😆😆😆. The guy was drenching with water, right but how come the scarf looks fine on Wook? 🤣 But the scene was so swoony and Wook looks so badass!
The blue scarf is definitely beating the old trend of Goblin' red one at this moment 😁.

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I was totally thinking that too. Must have been slimy and smelly. *gag* Then again, he was right there next to Mu-deok offering to drink the poop water *double gag* during that confrontation with the prince. Maybe he's built up a tolerance, and this is less bad...?

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Anything for his beloved susunim... anything 😄

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Oh same here! I was going eeewww yuuucccckkckckkkkk! but those eyes of his over the top of the scarf made me forget it.

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IKR! It wasn't even swoony at all hahahaha.

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omg I thought the same about the scarf, glad I wasn't the only one HAHAH esp in this post COVID world him using that scarf had me going oh goD nO

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Yeah, I have questions, too. Was Naksu's father somebody else in his body? Or vice versa? Or is the idea supposed to be that, even if you only do a temporary swap, like the king and Uk's father, you are forever at risk of auto-fossilisation?

And what's the benefit of soul-shifting anyway? When Gil-joo is told he's going to be shifted into a eunuch his reaction is to want a better deal, not to run screaming. I mean, I get wanting to be Lee Jae Wook, but the downside is so glaringly obvious.

Also, were we told in the Episode 1 exposition gallop-through or some other time, what a danju is, whether real or fake? I felt that came out of nowhere but I probably missed something in a previous episode.

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Gil-Ju was already a soul-shifter, so being swapped into another body wouldn't change that fundamental problem, but I don't think we've been told why or how his soul was shifted in the first place. Maybe he was the kind who had been killed and then his soul was brought back into his body? And if that's the case, then maybe Naksu's father was also that kind of soul-shifter - in possession of his original soul, but on borrowed time and always at risk of running wild.

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Oh, I'd missed that he was already a soul-shifter. When Jin Mu had all those lackeys shot in an early episode he fed them some line about how things would be so much better for them after shifting - maybe back into their own bodies? It made zero sense to me at the time so I rationalised it as Mu just wanting to kill all the witnesses to his Naksu operation. The beginning of Ep 7 implies there's a reason to want to put souls back in their own dead bodies (other than, y'know, wanting to talk to grandma again), presumably to do with power.

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I've been trying to figure this out, specifically about Gil-Ju and broadly about what his condition implies for the rules of soul-shifting.* At the beginning of ep. 7, the voiceover says, “The power of the Soul Ejector was truly astonishing. One could bring the dead back to life by summoning back their souls. One could shift souls from one body to another. [We see a fighter dying, then revived in a column of black smoke but with the distinctive glittering eyes, rough skin, and flattened features of a soul-shifter.] One could even expel the soul of the living and steal their energy.” Gil-Ju up until now has looked feral, with corroded skin and glittering eyes. Near the end of ep. 7 when they’re inside the AoS, he suddenly looks normal - handsome, clear-skinned and clear-eyed, just like Wook. What we see inside the AoS is the soul, so I think the contrast to his decayed appearance and feverishly glittering eyes out in the real world makes it obvious that he was already a soul-shifter. If he succeeded in shifting into Wook’s body, it wouldn’t be his first soul-shift, but I can’t tell if there’s any indicator whether he had once been dead and his soul was returned to his own body (the way Jin-mu promised the lackeys before he had them slaughtered) or if he was already on his second body. I don’t think we have enough evidence yet to be sure that soul-shifting back into one’s own body creates a risk of petrification.

*Pause to acknowledge this is way more effort than it’s worth for any HongWorld “rules” they’ll just break next week.

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Yeah, we know that rules will be broken since Mu-deok has already done so (diverted Naksu's soul, blue in eyes instead of neck*, protected Uk from Gil-joo). I guess she's the reason to make the effort.

*I note that the blue mark is said to appear over the heart: the inhabitants of Daehu are thus not anatomically human, since the heart is just behind the collarbone.

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Gil Ju isn't explicitly implied that he is a soul shifter, but if a person dies, then according to AOS the soul can be shifted into another person's dead body and not into the same dead body. That's how that ghost which senses soul shifters occupied a dead dog's body.

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Based on this, I do not think Naksu's dad was in possession of his soul. Also a soul shifter runs wild only when the soul is still occupying another person's body and not its own. If we were to assume that a soul shifter would run wild even after returning to their original body then the dead King and Jang Gang should have gone rogue, which did not happen

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My gut feeling says that we still don’t have the full truth behind Naksu’s dad’s death and when it is revealed, it will be like Uk’s family against Naksu’s in a Romeo-Juliet kind of way :D

Just a conjecture but at this point anything is possible :D

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Auto fossilation? This speaks to my geologist brain but need more explanation.

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Petrification. Normally, being made into a fossil is something the environment does to a body, but here you do it yourself. I was just goofing around.

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Oh, and, 'Alluvial Fan' - I get it now.

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I didn’t think Gil Ju was already a soul shifter but him wanting to be Uk instead of a eunuch is probably cause the son of a noble family has more power and is better than having to continue serving that fake Danjo guy. I’m so bad w names!

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Yeah, that makes sense.

Aren't we (English-speakers) all bad with Korean names? The fact that there isn't a single universally agreed way to transliterate to Roman characters more or less guarantees that.

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I’m generally bad w names, korean makes it harder to remember. At least AoS doesn’t have two dozen ministers all dressed in the same robe & beard, plotting evil against the king. Which brings me to my next point, why didn’t anyone guess blue scarf might be Uk? the Guy wears blue ALL the time!

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The sad problem with translation. In the Chinese translation on Netflix, the bad guy basically said something to the effect of “you think my master is the top? There’s someone else behind it all, the master.” Blah blah blah.

And I think they also hinted that the person behind Naksu’s fathers temporary insanity was the MLS fathers dojng or he was invoked somehow no?

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Exactly! I think it will literally be Uk’s dad literally sacrificing Naksu’s dad, making it a real star-crossed lover’s story!

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It was hilarious when Nak Su said "this egg saved you. I walking you to your grave" and Ug wasn't even surprised. He's like "Mu Deok-i trying to kill me again? well, that's our love ritual. Wachu gonna do about it".

Nak Su (aka. Mu Deok-i), the woman that tries to kill Ug every episode, almost cried when she thought the alchemy of souls was effective and she was ready to fight that assassin for messing with her boy. That's true love y'all.

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Well, she did cry when she realized he didn't shift. Her first tears in the entire series.

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☺️☺️

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I thought the same thing when he didn't even blink after she told him she almost led him to his death HAHAHA he was like 'oh dang, well that wasn't very nice! anyways' 😂 its actually adorable that their little love language is based on MD/Naksu pushing Wook to the brink of death and him being like 😍 every time hAHHA

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This is good information if an illusion appears again or if someone shifts souls with them.
If a day passes and Nak Su didn't try to kill the guy, that ain't her 🤣
If Ug gets mad at her, that definitely ain't Ug 😅

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And the love language was missing in episode 9 @lapislazulii

Otokhe? What do I do now? How I wait for another week for the love language to be back?

:D

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Thank you for the recap. Who is lady Heo? Why queen Seo said about revenge for their (the queen and Jin Mu} family Choi? Is the queen related to Yul? he has the same last name Seo? What is the relationship between Jin Mu and the Queen? I thought he is the 1/2 brother of the Jin lady?

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1. Lady Heo is Master Heo's(Sejukwon's head) daughter.

2. My guess is the real Queen Seo has fallen prey to the Alchemy of Souls, and a Choi is inhabiting her body as we speak. Choi might be the maternal family of Jin Mu. Jin Mu was bestowed the Jin name despite the name only given only to those having Jin mother's, not Jin fathers.

3. Familial ties, yes. But I doubt this present queen soul is.

4. They share a bond with the Choi family. I guess the soul Queen is from the Choi family, of which is Jin Mu's mother is. He's Lady Jin Ho-gyeong's half brother by the father.

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1. Lady Heo is Master Heo's(Sejukwon's head) daughter.

Not here to quibble, but she is his grand-daughter.

And her servant is funny as hell (I first saw her on Sh**ting Stars)

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I'm worried that the grand daughter will try to marry wool!!remember the grandfather made wool promise one day he had to do something he asks him to do I really don't want anyone else with wook.

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Agree on the possibility of 2.

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Thank you for clarifying things.

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For all the perks of being a perfect student, Yul’s Pinocchio is misdirection when startled😂. You're unfair, AoS😂😂.
Park Jin and Madam Kim’s romance is just off the scales. He’s really dumb , a complete dolt when it comes to the affairs of the heart(thanks It’s Beautiful Now). Why do all the bright men have ridiculous weaknesses? By the way, his sincerity is really charming, and swoon worthy.

The drama gods answered my prayer when Mudeok actually engages in a powerful sword battle after 7 episodes of wishing.

The women in this drama are really pieces of work, big ones - The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Party of search by the BerMudeok Triangle 😆

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These episodes were off the chain! I LOVE so much about the story and its characters; everything is coming together beautifully.

Stray Observations:

🎀The detail about Yul having no sense of direction when overwhelmed had me in stitches! I LOVE the little ways that the show injects humor into otherwise tense scenes. At this rate, I will own this series in its entirety. Please, take my money.

🎀Not Park Jin laying down the moves on Maidservant Kim, my guy! He spread it on thick. Rooting for these two since they are so, so cute together.

🎀I love how everyone knew right away who the imposter was, no one can say Naksu doesn’t leave an impression.

🎀I felt such sadness for Naksu knowing how badly the fake Danju manipulated her. With her grief and rage exploited, she became a tool to achieve his selfish motives. I’m so glad that she has control now and hopefully they can use the ice stone to ground her so that she never petrifies.

🎀Um, my OTP having Ying-Yang bird eggs is iconic, prove me wrong.

🎀Also iconic, NAKSU BLUE!!!!! I want one. 💙

🎀I clocked Heo Yoon Ok and see a possible threat to Naksu and Jang Uk’s romance since she’ll undoubtedly join Cho Yeon, Yul and the Crown Prince in pining, but at this point it is yet another point on our very convoluted love map. Am I complaining? Absolutely not!

🎀That fight scene and the graphics of this show, i.e. the Alchemy of souls, are stunning. Everything is aesthetically pleasing. Speaking of pretty, my main guy had his PICK of mage houses to study at. I was right there with Naksu beaming with pride.

🎀All in all, I feel very satisfied. I’m not sure what the Queen's motive is by pulling the Danju strings in the shadows, but I’m eager to find out.

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Yes to all of this! Yul has seemed so competent and unflappable this whole time, but him wandering around after he'd had a fright was amazing!

And I LOVED that Dang-gu also bought a blue cloth! It was so perfect!

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I love how Naksu has fans among the common people even thought she's an assassin. Did she always have these fans or did Wook-mistaken-as-Naksu saving the people from the soulshifter remake her into a folk hero? I love how Park Jin was so irritated at her fame: "She can't be the only one who does Tansu! I can learn Tansu right now if I want to!" -- to which I side-eye. If it was so easy, wouldn't more mages master it?

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omg the pretty pink bows ahhh!!! so cute!

I also want a Naksu Blue scarf!! Someone said it last week I think but legit tvN if you were to ever come out with merch - literally I'm ready to give you all my money.

AESTHETICS ARE EVERYTHING YES!! From the fight sequences, the magic, and the PEOPLE, everyone and everything is just gorgeous omg

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That was such a pretty shade of blue. I'll definitely buy one in that shade. Also LJW looks so good in blue

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I will join the LJW admiration society :)

I love his cute pony with a blue/pink ribbon!

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You summed it all up there for me! This is topping the charts for me at the moment. Yul's habit of straying when he's discombobulated had me weak, he did the same in the market so Naksu has really gotten under his skin. I also love that he sees the non spoken communication going on between MD and Uk.
So much going on that I don't know how the pace will be maintained.

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@aoiffe Agreed! I also delight in the fact that every character seems to be using their thinking faculties. No one is mentally stalled or missing the most obvious details for the sake of dragging the story...well, except Uk's obvious deference to MD and her continual presence at almost all pivotal events. She’s hiding in plain sight. Meanwhile, I simultaneously cheer and wince when he shows her the respect due to a master because anyone paying attention will eventually put two and two together. As we've seen, most characters are paying attention, so this really does up the ante and raise the suspense. Give me more, please!

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I love that we keep getting opportunities for our leads to realize the depth of their commitment to one another. The three men with interest in MD all entered Jinyowon, but only Uk stayed at his own risk to make sure she got out – and the piggy back ride out with the light shining behind them was just perfect! And when he took her hand when she was blindfolded and she knew it was him right away, I died a little in a good way. Then, true to Naksu-form, she was literally about to turn around and betray him instantly, but his adorable bird eggs saved the day! I don’t really believe that she would have gone through with it in the end, but the gesture was so adorable and I loved how annoyed with herself she was for being swayed in his favor. Then there was reunion after she thought his soul had been swapped, which was better and more tender and revealing than I could have hoped for. And the chat on the cliff about Uk’s new goal to find the ice stone so he can save her from petrification – so weirdly sweet! And finally the long-anticipated duel, and how she did everything she could to make sure he had liquid to do tansu with, including cutting herself so that he could use her blood – trust them to make sure it was as dramatic as possible ;)

I’m so intrigued by Hemp Master Lee! He’s known something was up since the beginning, but he doesn’t seem to have the same baggage surrounding Naksu that others do, and he is ready to cover for her and Uk so that they can maintain their secret. We know that he’s incredibly old and powerful and probably has more first-hand knowledge of some of these dangerous objects and the ice stone than almost anyone else, but I don’t think I’ve seen enough to know what his motivations might be. The other character that I’m putting on my Most Interesting List is the original MD, who keeps showing up in unexpected places and being generally mysterious. I know there are lots of theories about her origins, but I’m not ready to commit to anything quite yet.

Meanwhile Yul is lying to protect Naksu/MD, Dang-gu is lying to give Cho-yeon a way to save face, Won is imagining that he sees MD when it’s definitely not her, and new Heo Yun-ok seems pretty impressed by Uk saving her from becoming a human husk. By my count, what we have here is a love heptagon (so far). I know that dramaland is no stranger to these things, but this has got to be among the most complex love shapes ever, right? I’m loving all of it, but if this keeps up, I’m going to have to brush up on my Greek prefixes!

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@jls943 I think Hemp Master Lee senses that Naksu's soul is not filled with malice and gunk like the other soul shifters. Part of me thinks he's watching to see how things play out, but he definitely saved the day by covering for Uk! It would have been more convincing that he was his master if Uk immediately bowed, and the delay in showing respect was definitely noted by the queen. I just want these babies protected at all costs! The episodes definitely flew by and now I'm here counting down the days until Saturday.

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He certainly is pretty masterful at sensing things, so I wouldn't put it past him. All he's said so far is that she's a great soul, and that was at least enough to get him interested in the first place. I wonder what the normal timeline for soul shifters to run rampant is? Obviously MD is past it, which is remarkable in itself, but Master Lee was also able to tell that, which is cool.

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Yes, most probably he met her before. As I recall, the blind mage was a Jinyowon leader (mentioned by Park Jin). So, the idea of Mudeok is part of Jin family is true then. Whether she is the missing daughter or not, I sincerely have no idea by far.

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When everyone was worried that Uk had fallen prey to some soul shifting shenanigans, Hemp Master Lee was confident that Uk was safe because *she (MD/Naksu/NakDeok?) wouldn’t let anything happen to him. I wish I knew whom exactly he was referring to!!

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"Love heptagon" 🤣 I'm starting to think my wish for a romantic icosahedron is not out of reach.

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I love how Wook and Naksu/Mu-deok reaffirm their trust time and time again. We can't just assume they can trust each other because they're the main characters or the OTP. The relationship has an end-goal and Naksu's got a lot more to lose and more to gain too, so there is one party who can be more shaken, but at the end of the day, they're consciously and subconsciously choosing to trust each other.

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I'm insanely game for the love heptagon HAHAHA it's so chaotic but I love them all (giving Choyeon the benefit of the doubt/hoping she'll become a better person down the line) and I'm sure enough about the mutual affection that our main OTP hold for each other that I can enjoy the heptagon madness with glee hehehehe

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Oohhh, I am so glad for this week episode. Jae Wook is so dope 😍! I was giggling seeing him going to the training entrance with those background music 😅.
So, Mudeok might be the reincarnation of SeoGyeong's partner or mage that helps to bring the rain 200 years ago.
The fact that Naksu didn't go berserk after shifting souls might be due to original Mudeok is one powerful mage. She is the first Jinyowon leader, hence she can open the magic door. The Ice Stone is the by-product from the magical rain itself. That is why the relics recognized the original source/ energy from Mudeok. The Alchemy of Soul performed by Naksu attracted more towards the original sources.

The Queen/ real Danju is still a huge mystery here. Who is Choi family? The Queen is from Seo family, right? This is another revenge stories related with Songrim? And why on earth we've been introduced to Heo's clan relative in the middle of the drama? Another geometry love to be introduce later? 🤦🏻‍♀️

The drama pace is really good so far and I love they are not prolonging some issues that needs to be clear instantly to prevent makjang storyline (Jang Wook's birth, Naksu father's dead stories, Yul realized true Naksu/ Mudeok identity). Of course there are still more to discover (or else we do not have 20 eps 😅) but eliminating instant misunderstanding is such a huge relief for me!

Good things Jang Wook can find another motivation that move up the story soon. The filler might be inserted for next week (based on preview) but can't wait for more Wookie action! I missed those bantering and funny reaction from our OTP and CP too!

P/S: I am also in agony for waiting Gummy' OST since eps 4😭

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The mage woman who made the hailstorm having the blindfold, like Mu-deok, and then not having this very important person not being talked about in the retelling (she was standing next to Seo Gyeong and I doubt Master Lee is the type of guy to ignore a woman's contribution) seem to indicate there's a connection. I suspect Master Lee suspects this connection. I think he would have met her in real life in his youth.

I love how the relics could talk - reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. Sort of cute, but then again, these are relics made with evil sorcery.

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Also the rain connection with how Naksu uses Tansu to flick the energy from water droplets.

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Oh wow. I haven't thought of this and it does click! I remember noting how the girl who rain-danced reminded me of the OG Mu-deok. Would explain the relics' jubilant lines. Naksu does have a special relationship with the lake and with water, even using Tansu as her signature spell.

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Since original Mu-deok is still floating around, do we need a new name for occupied Mu-deok so we can keep the three separate? Mu-natsu?

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Sounds like ancient, mythical food. Now I'm hungry 🤣

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When California's drought finishes drying up our lakes & reservoirs, will we find anything handy like a few ice stones? So far all we've come up with is a few bodies.

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They changed her hair finally!!!! I'm so happy hahahahha

Also Wook you smooth operator with your hand holding and 'loyalty' & "friendship" eggs 😂

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@lapislazulii lol right *wink* loyalty *wink* friendship 😏
Real talk though, I really appreciate that they have a foundation from which their romance can build, it isn't just insta-love and baseless declarations of affection. I'm going to enjoy the pay-off from this slow-burn.

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I agree wholeheartedly! The foundation has been really solidly and believably built, and as you say it's shown through actions rather than poetic declarations of affection, which is just fantastic. I also really like the fact that they're partners before anything else too, the whole 'I've got your back' and mutual trust & admiration is genuinely the best thing to build a potential relationship on 😍

I can't even handle them holding hands or staring at each other right now, idk how I'm going to handle any further slow-burn pay off down the line! Squealing just thinking about it omg

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I've been hooked since day-1. Gah. Almost daily rewatching until weekend arrives again.

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my only complaint about this drama is that I wish more female characters also had cool magical action scenes. the drama didn't give us, as far as I remember, any rule that only men can enter that training center anyway. when they announced the four-season kids, I thought arin's character would have some scenes like the guys. didn't expect another nuksu, but at least more action and less petty romantic storylines that we all know wont have any affect on our leading couple anyway.

but besides that, loving everything.

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Agreed, the magical academies seem to be a bit man-heavy from what we've seen, and I would love to see more ladies doing awesome mage stuff, more positive relationships amongst themselves, and less being made into love rivals 😒 Also agreed that apart from that, this drama is so engaging and refreshing, I am enjoying it so so much and can't wait to see moreeeeeeeee 🥳

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Like in Potter, I think each clan has its own mage specialty like constellation reading, casting spells, medicine, etc.

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So. Much. To. Unpack.

I’ll leave other smarter Beanies to comb thru the finer details of the plot b/c I just want to gush over the standout moments in this zippy, bibimap-fun variety of a drama:

At the end of ep 8, I absolutely adored Wook for asking Mudeok first for her opinion on which group he should join. His respect & acknowledgement of her during his peak & pivotal moment says so much about his feelings & relationship with her.

That moment in ep 7 when all three men visit MD after she became temporarily blind was adorable & showed how much each of their relationships w/ MD has grown. But most of all, I loved how Wook signaled his presence to her by grasping her hand. He wasn’t being possessive or defensive - he was simply being there right by her side like he said he always would. *I melt…*

I like the character of Yul, especially now w/ his conflict of interest after discovering MD’s real identity. (As upright as he is, I don’t think he was joking when he said he might let MD die the next time.) Buuut, I do wish the actor playing Yul brought his A-game to the plate. The scene on the bridge where he realizes MD’s real identity felt…flat. (I know he’s stoic, but he showed a lot more emotion when he realized he accidentally hurt MD in the bamboo forest so it’s not like he’s incapable of emoting.) I can’t wait to see the choices Yul makes though & to see if he’ll be swayed!

(Minor) Gripes:
I understand that MD’s training of Wook is limited due to her physical powers being stunted, but they seemed to have glossed over a lot of Wook’s training by only having her explain a few phrases of instruction or doing it mostly offscreen. Not a huge problem, but less time spent on Cho-yeon whining & more on what the training actually consists of would’ve made for a tighter script.

It could just be me, but what a clunky way of introducing a new character (Wook’s new love interest?) while Wook is supposedly in a rush to catch the villain. That was a head scratcher & the first time where I thought the quick beat change & tonal shift didn’t quite hit the mark.

JSM mentioned in an interview that this drama is like a comic book & it’s such an apt description as the story is unfolding very much like what’d you read in an adventure novel. Part 1 of the book would be ep 1-4, Part 2: ep 5-8, & now as Wook enters Songrim, we’re entering into Part 3 w/ each part consisting of a mini-story arc beginning w/ the set up, on to the climax, & then the denouement. (Odd number episodes always being lighter & comedic-filled than the even number ones.) I’d say it’s a pretty smart way to organize your script for a longer 20 ep drama like this without having things drag out too much.

Alright, now where can I get myself a trendy blue scarf too?

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I also loved that moment of Wook asking Mu-Deok for her opinion of whom to join. You can also see that Mu-Deok weighs the decision carefully before answering. And after he announced the decision, he looks back at Mu-deok, where she gives a proud smile and an approving nod instead of her usual smirk. He may be getting a Song-rim master, but his true master is Mu-deok! And it also warms my heart since Wook was always getting reprimands and disapproving looks from all the other mages.

The whole arcs thing and levelling up reminds me of the Avatar series, even with the whole using blood as water.

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But most of all, I loved how Wook signaled his presence to her by grasping her hand. He wasn’t being possessive or defensive - he was simply being there right by her side like he said he always would. *I melt…*

Wook is definitely marking his territory tho 😅. If those 2 leads didn't realized it, poor them for having a crush and hope about her. But, they can be friends all-together, simply support each other for better reason.

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Thanks for mentioning about the dramas resemblance to a comic book which now makes me see the drama in a whole new light.

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Hope the new potential new MD love rival is just accidental clunkiness and not deliberate. Tbh i find parkjin/ kim dojoo and adding master lee into the mix clunky too. Screentime could have focused more on the other aspects of the fantasy world so that they don't have to intro a 2nd season to fit it in.

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I wasn't seeing Lady Heo as a love interest (unless it's one sided from her side) more that she can 'unmask' Uk as the person who fought the soul shifter as she is the only person who saw him fight it sans scarf...

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8 exciting episodes in a row! This is on the more ambitious side of kdrama storytelling, so I'm rooting for it.

Earlier in the series Wook said he would "make Songrim beg to take me!". It pretty much came true, thanks to Mu-deok! Just a few weeks ago, he was an outcast. Jang Kang wanted him to lay low, but now he's like the most famous guy. I love how he asked Mu-deok which offer he should choose. The others would probably see it as a rhetorical question since he would likely choose Song-rim since he was pretty much raised there, but he was asking for his master's opinion and permission.

I love how Yul notices the Wook and Mu-deok bond and how smoothly the two collude with each other.

And I love how they squeezed in the rom-com fake engagement trope and the stereotypical "hypothetical-question-that-your-gf-asks-you-that-is-a-trap" (she doesn't want your truthful, practical answer!)

My only struggle is trying to get the various levels straight and what they can accomplish:
Jipsu: this is harnessing energy and have a lot of energy inside you. Also being able to chop wood with your hand.
Ryusu: emitting and using the harnessed energy.
Chisu: Being able to control that energy; also allows you to get to the top of the tree without branches. Maybe walk on water. Few mages have mastered this. Yul has mastered this. So has Naksu. And you need it if you want to learn Tansu properly instead of the shortcut Wook is using.

...somewhere between Chisu and Hwansu...being able to dry your clothes super fast? Or maybe this should be Hwansu (speaking from someone who sometimes find laundry still damp in places after 50 minutes in the dryer)

Hwansu: godlike power to change elements. So far, Seo-gyeong and one other person (mysterious mage lady in the flashback?) are the only known ones to have mastered it. And you need it if you want to do alchemy of souls without needing the Soul Ejector.

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Thank you for explaining the levels as you understand them. It makes sense to me! And if your dryer isn’t drying clothes as well, make sure you check anywhere lint can build up. That can decrease efficiency (and be a fire hazard as well).

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Nice! You are doing the work which the drama should gave explained to us in an opening montage like in episode 7.

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I need a chart of the different spells and who can do what... orz

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This was a fun recap! Great job @alathe

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We’ve caught up! What a great set of episodes. Someone said this last episode reminded them of a Harry Potter scene. I agree! Which house will he choose? 10 points for Gryffindor! 😆 I’m quite enjoying this show and hope the Hong sisters don’t let it derail. I like all the flower boys—one for each season, right? Haha. And the girls have some agency which is nice. I hope to see more sword fighting scenes. The one between the prince and wook was quite good! On to next week!

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Must admit, when Wook asked Mu Deok to choose for him , I yelled out “Hufflepuff!” And then just laughed and laughed. But wouldn’t everyone assembled there think it was super sketchy that he’d consult his maid on such an important question?

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hAHHAHA true, no one batted an eyelid either at her giving him a droplet of her blood to do tansu with. At this point after all the antics (the poisoning, throwing dirty water, running away together etc.) it's probably spread far and wide, the fact that Wook and his 'maid' are attached at the hip and have a 'quirky' relationship 😂

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I think you could also see his question as a somewhat rhetorical one. Like, they already knew which one he would pick, and she was almost just giving folks a preview of his answer - a deferential choosing the choice he had already made. But we (and a growing number of characters!) know different ;)

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Oh @alathe, I neglected to thank you for a brilliant and speedy recap. We all just react to a drama but you are next level parsing the plot (as we know it,eh?).
Onward through the fog!!!

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ditto! Having watched the episode, the recap really captures the action and emotional moments. And the selection of screenshots alathe chose too are on-point and beautiful! Thank you!

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The recaps are so fun to read. Thanks for the great work @alathe

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I made the mistake of reading it at work and had to tamper down my laughter. Totally loved the wit!

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@Alluvial_fan, @ar, @wapz, @parkchuna is still an Errant - aww, thank you so much! You're all incredibly sweet, and these comments made my day. :D

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I started watching this show for the heck of it but I am thoroughly enjoying it atm. Its fun and interesting.
At first I wondered what the deal is with Uk's bio dad being an issue. Biologically, Jang Gang is still his father despite the King possessing his body at the time of conception. For the sake of the drama I let that logic go, then I did start enjoying the show more. Its important to the story with the King's star and all so let it be.
@alathe is quite right in the complexity of the female characters. They are no damsel in distress and I am here for it.
But out of all the characters, I have a soft spot for the Crown Prince and I think he will turn to the good side later on.
Now on to another worry, I hope they give more hints on the real identity of Mu Deok. Is she the ice ball that came to life? I thought at first she is Bu Yeon but I found it weird that Cho Yeon and her mother do not recognize her at all. Even if they have not seen the eldest daughter for several years, I am sure they would still recognize her, right? But since MD opened Jinyowon, it means she has Jin blood, right? It could not be Naksu otherwise they wouldve mentioned it if her mother is a Jin. So MD must be some real powerful being to help Uk repel that alchemy of souls. And Bu Yeon is supposedly powerful on her own. So i am most interested to see that storyline progress.
Then lastly, Naksu and Uk bickering is always fun to watch. I do enjoy them but I also worry for them since Naksu cannot inhabit MD's body indefinitely, right? What would happen to Naksu then? I think this line of thought is stopping me from fully shipping them. Since we all know Naksu and Yul's star crossed crush storyline.

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I think for me, I just needed to realize that according to their traditions and understanding, the soul father is the true father. Since that's what they believe, it doesn't really matter who the "biological" father is - assuming that genetics/meiosis/fertilization etc. happen the same way in their universe as in ours. That's sort of where I ended up, if that helps at all.

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That makes sense. I didnt think of it that way. So what you said help.

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I could watch Mudeok/Naksu and her band of admirers alllll day 😍 on the other hand the Songrim guy and chief maid are so cringey together 😂
I felt the whole explanation with Naksu’s dad n Danjo was done very conveniently but as someone who usually has little patience w sageuk/fantasy i like the simplicity of it. But we have a long way to reach 20episodes so i hope our writers will have more in store for us.

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@alathe: Thank you for this wonderful recap. I love your turns of phrase including the use of Yiddish ‘shtum’. That is one of my favourite words!

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‘Shtum’ just cracked me up 😁

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Haha, @DancingEmma, @bbstil - it's one of my favourite words too! I'm super glad you enjoyed the recap. :D

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I swear I posted a comment thanking @alathe for this entertaining and informative recap that I give 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 for snark factor! I was cracking up the whole time! Looking forward to more of her recaps.

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I'm grinning wildly right now, @bbstl - thank you so much! Delighted to be a provider of snark. :D

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At the end of episode 7, I was almost hoping that Mu-deok and Wook's souls would be accidentally swapped. That would certainly have been fun. Especially since I miss the little squabbles between the two.

I liked the episode with the magic mirror. I would have preferred a few cuts in the following one, but the duel was exciting again.

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There are more questions than answers for now.

Mu-Deok real idendity is one of them. Her soul is still in the limbs?
The ice stone whereabouts question is interesting, Master Lee seemed to know that the ice stone wasn't destroyed, but is it really in the Palace? If it's the case, why the voices said the ice stone was in the Jin family cave like if it was Mu-Deok's body.

For now, I found the "love" bond between Wook and Mu-Deok forced. I think they tried to introduce it too soon and it's not natural. For a drama with 30 episodes, they had time to build their love story.

I don't like how Wook can fight like this when he didn't learn to fight in the first place.... But now, he can control his power and can fight against the Crown Prince who learnt since he was a child. Shouldn't he have worn another color for his clothes during the duel? Because it looked a lot like the guy who used tansu and killed the zombie (the scarf move was pretty cool), so if nobody makes the connection between the fact he needed only one blood drop to win thanks to tansu and was wearing blue...

I didn't like he asked Mu-Deok for his next move in front of everyone. He already was lucky that Master Lee came and said he was with him during the training, but again, people should have doubts about Mu-Deok after the poisonning, the fact she always with him, she could enter in the Jin's cave, etc.

I still find funny how they never film the back of Lee Jae-Wook's head because his haircut looks good only on the front side :p

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Other than the color, I was perplexed that the baddies didn't recognize Wook as "Naksu in blue" because of his use of tansu, oh well gotta save the revelation of Wook's being the Batman of Daeho for a more dramatic moment ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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The fact he was running in the whole town without mask before...

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That's where Lady Heo will come in I think. She has seen Uks face and will spill the beans when she sees him again...

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We are definitely not see eye-to-eye about Wook's hair. I do see his back of his head and the curls looks so good on him. That what makes him having a different vibe compared to his previous work. I had booked a hair salon for my hubby to have the same perm/ curl for upcoming wedding invitation 😅.
By far, this is best apprerance in overall (saw some of his haircut previous in YT channel). He and Seung Ho are literally damn hot with long hair 😍.

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They barely show the back of his head, they show the sides.

I found it pretty when you see the sides but from behind it's a big mess between the ponytail, the ribbon and the curls.

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Hemp Master Lee has me intrigued at the moment. I'd love to understand his take on things. He wasn't fazed by the soul shifter going after Uk as he knew MD would protect him. It would lead me to believe he knew the original incarnation of MD.