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Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Our hero has finally made it as a mage of Songrim! But, success comes at the price of separation from his beloved master. Amid numerous admirers jostling for priority, our leads must determine where their hearts truly lie.

 

EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

We begin with Wook achieving the goal of a lifetime. Elated, he bows and swears to uphold Songrim’s rules. Even Mu-deok wears her pride on her sleeve: it takes markedly less cajoling than usual for her to admit that her pupil looks handsome in his new robes. Afterwards, in time-honored student tradition, Wook plans an all-out celebratory bash-up, where the only agenda is getting stupendously drunk.

Elsewhere, the mood is less jubilant. Mu and Ha-sun meet at Daeho’s most popular date destination: that one bit of the lake where they toss dead soul-shifters. Knowing that Wook was born under the King’s Star, they bemoan his acceptance into Songrim. We learn that Jang Gang apparently sealed the ice stone owing to moral qualms, reinforced by a flashback of him wailing over a petrified corpse. Ten years ago, however, Ha-sun’s faction retrieved the stone, using a young blind mage to locate it: JIN BU-YEON, Cho-yeon’s lost sister.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

It’s tempting to think that’s Mu-deok. But this show teases. We move to a boat carrying another blind woman (Seo Hye-won) with a ribbon around her eyes. Looks prove deceiving: turns out, she’s not only a thief, but fully sighted. Her blindfold carries a flower insignia – an accoutrement we later learn she took from her friend, Mu-deok, for whom she’s now searching. Twist upon twist!

Back at Chwiseonreu, where Wook’s people are partying, Mu-deok stumbles upon a tipsy Yul. Much like a thoughtful Yul, a concerned Yul, and a Yul suffering terrible panic, this Yul is outwardly composed. Inwardly, he’s a disaster. He solemnly informs Mu-deok that he’s lost, and gone astray. Mu-deok, initially missing the metaphorical heft of this comment, takes his hand to guide him. He reminds her of all the times she’s confessed her love for him, which surprises her before she remembers that yes, she did indeed do that. Even as she breaks out her usual hapless servant act, he plucks a nearby flower and tucks it into her hair as a token of gratitude — while Mu-deok is left fearing he really means it.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Romantic woes abound. Do-joo is frustrated by Jin’s defense of how he tried to woo Do-hwa. You can hardly blame her: his “courtship” apparently consisted of wordless pining, and the absolute conviction that one can convey love via telepathy. Resenting how unclear his feelings are for her, in a fit of relatable frustration, she kicks her shoe into the pond. As she reaches for it, she overbalances… but, this is dramaland, where there’s no shortage of handsome men to catch you when you fall.

The man in question is Master Lee — self-confessed party pooper, and habitual drinker of chastity tea! He’s been drinking less lately, and tries to persuade himself that’s the only reason he gets flustered upon sweeping Do-joo into his arms.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

At the party, panic sets in when Prince Won arrives uninvited. However, he’s only there to offer Wook an expensive drink and teeth-clenched congratulations — albeit after a tense stare-down. (Oh, the eyebrows!)

Won later confesses to Mu-deok that it was only for her sake he refrained from tearing the place down in anger. Jin’s not the only one with a skewed view of courtship: he informs her that the next time she interferes between him and Wook, he’ll kill her. Then, he grins like a smitten teenager when he learns she still carries the perfume satchet he gave her. To be fair, this is exactly Mu-deok’s style of affection; even as she refuses to rescind her loyalty to Wook, she asks after his injury.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Across the city, Cho-yeon’s father returns home, accompanied by a blind woman, adding to this episode’s growing roster of red herrings. Ho-gyeong is agitated: could this be her lost daughter? Nope: Jinyowon’s gate is motionless under her hand, and the poor woman is dismissed with little other than a fare home. Distraught, Ho-gyeong broods over her daughter’s portrait, remembering Bu-yeon’s uncanny ability to sense energy. She examines the blindfold she gave her — one decorated with the same flower as Mu-deok’s old accessory.

Later, an alcohol-stupefied Wook is carried to Songrim’s gate. With his newly-reissued spirit plaque, entry presents no difficulty. However, Mu-deok is denied. Songrim’s rules prohibit personal servants. Meanwhile, Wook cannot leave until he completes basic training. Anguished, Mu-deok can only watch as her pupil is torn away from her.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Wook is tended to by HEO YUN-OK (Hong Seo-hui), heir to Sejukwon, who has carried a serious torch for him ever since he rescued her from a rampaging Kil-joo.

Meanwhile, stubbornly perched by the gate in the pouring rain, Mu-deok is greeted by Yul, who has brought her an umbrella: he knew she’d refuse to leave. But, even semi-conscious, it is Mu-deok for whom Wook calls. And by now, we know Mu-deok’s patterns; when she huddles like a drenched cat in the rain and mutters about murdering Wook, what she really means is she misses him very much.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Next morning, Wook is determined to reach Mu-deok. He appeals to Jin, who won’t hear it. He promptly complains to Do-joo instead, moaning ostentatiously about Songrim’s regulations, with the air of a child expecting his guardian to write a stern letter to the teachers. No dice. Do-joo insists that Mu-deok is happier without him.

Elsewhere, Mu-deok despairs as Do-joo returns, alight with hope that Wook and Yun-ok are in love. Still, according to her, Wook only has eyes for a woman he described as a bird’s egg in a tree. Mu-deok, cradling the egg-shaped charm Wook made for her, knows that this can only be one person.

The trouble with metaphors is that they’re anyone’s game. Do-joo is convinced the “bird’s egg” will hatch into an egret, sophisticated enough to suit Yun-ok. Mu-deok snaps caustically that it could become a vicious eagle — one that will fly away. The crux of the matter is, whilst Wook and Mu-deok may love one another, Mu-deok can’t let that compromise her freedom.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

At Songrim, Wook masters basic training in virtually the time it takes to deliver a cheeky grin. Being rejected by twelve masters has its benefits! But, when he confidently demands a visit home, Jin stops him in his tracks: his final task is to read a book written by Songrim’s founder, Seo Gyeong. The catch? Its pages are blank. Reading them requires about a year of magical focus. Privately to Yeom, Jin confirms what we might have suspected: he has no intention of teaching Wook. He’s just stalling for time till Jang Gang comes home. It’s the cruelest blow in a series of cruel blows.

Joke’s on Jin, though; Wook’s resourceful. If they won’t let him out, he’ll just leave. This is awfully hard on Yun-ok, who visits just in time to watch the object of her affections exit via the window. Again. Still, she’s good enough to cover for him, shutting the door and pretending they’re in uninterruptible conversation — for four whole hours.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Back home, Mu-deok is delighted to hear that a man from Songrim is expecting her — only to find Yul. He’s here to, uh… retrieve his umbrella! Oh, it broke? Well, in that case, he’s here to let her buy him a new one! Despite this being the most awkwardly stalled errand known to man, there’s room for a tender moment as Mu-deok worries about the leg Yul broke long ago in Danhyanggok. Still, it’s clear where her loyalties lie when she stops to buy Wook’s favorite sweets for Yul to deliver. Why? He gets cranky without snacks!

Down the street, the not-so-blind thief from the last episode is caught stealing trinkets. She leads her pursuers on a merry chase, gleefully overturning chicken crates as she flees. (I like this newcomer — she’s got panache!) Unexpectedly, she spots Mu-deok, who, to her surprise, shows nary a hint of recognition — or any sign of her former blindness. No time for questions: she’s cornered by a team of thugs who recognize her as SO-YI. It looks like the jig is up — until her attackers are swept aside by a mage valiantly wielding an umbrella: Yul! So-yi accepts Yul’s improvised weapon as a walking stick, and goes on her way.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Alas, her luck is short-lived. She’s swiftly abducted by an unseen figure, dropping the umbrella as she goes. Her abductor? None other than Jin Mu, who has plans to take down Ho-gyeong…

Wook arrives home, only to face disappointment — Mu-deok’s out. But, she’s discovered a way into Songrim: there’s a leaflet advertising for servants. When she learns Wook’s back, she races as fast as she can — to find he’s already left. Still, all is not lost; she catches him returning by boat. Breathless, she calls out to him from the bridge. She throws the leaflet out to him, promising to reach him soon. Watch their faces light up in sight of one another: I defy you to tell me that’s not what love looks like!

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

As the 125th Songrim interviewee, Mu-deok’s got more competition than she bargained for. Do-joo decides that’s nothing a little bribery won’t fix. Unfortunately, the maidservant (cameo by comedian-actress Kim Hyun-sook) to whom she gifts an expensive scarf rats her out to Jin, whereupon things get nasty. He reprimands Do-joo for abusing their friendship. Amid tears, Do-joo snaps back that they need no longer be close. In the culmination of two episodes’ worth of failing to use his words, Jin attempts an apology… only to plod through it so slowly she’s already left.

Meanwhile, Master Lee, as enigmatically helpful as ever, visits Wook. He lets him on to a secret: the blank book is actually a love letter. Seo Gyeong was writing to a blind woman, intending her to read it with her heart. If Wook discovers the first word, the rest will follow.

As Master Lee leaves, he encounters Do-joo, who thanks him profusely for his help the other night. Yeom watches in disbelief as his ascetic, plainly-dressed master accepts a pink silk scarf as a token, whilst stuttering bashfully in the face of Do-joo’s — well, everything. Honestly, I’m beginning to think Master Lee’s chastity tea is just sugar water.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

The Songrim servant contest begins! Mu-deok must compete against hundreds of hopefuls, beginning with a written exam on all things domestic. At Songrim, Yul, Dang-gu, and a visiting Won put their heads together over a copy of the test, pooling their logic (and, perhaps more significantly, Won’s attendant’s laundry expertise) to achieve what they are adorably positive must be a perfect score. Won, revealing that beneath his grumpy exterior lies a heart of — well, of confused longing for Mu-deok — helps smuggle the answers to her.

As Mu-deok aces category after category, Wook works equally hard to facilitate their reunion. The book is a love letter; it must be addressed to its recipient. Although his next encounter with Jin is as fraught with trauma as ever, it provides the last piece of the puzzle: Seo Gyeong knew a blind woman named Jin Seol-ran, the future founder of Jinyowon. As Mu-deok embarks upon her final challenge, Wook watches the text bloom before his eyes.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Mu-deok’s last test is a race — and it’s painful. Staggering under the massive jar on her back, she slows, nearly toppling. She misses the effortless athleticism of the body she lost. But, she also remembers her efforts to stop Wook from giving up — telling him he must do something, no matter how damning the circumstances. And so, she sprints. With tremendous effort, she breaks past the runner ahead of her, beating him to the finish line by a hair — before passing out.

I’m a blubbering mess by the time Wook and Mu-deok reunite. Sitting close, they discuss the letter Wook deciphered. Mu-deok can’t understand the reasoning. An invisible letter that was probably never sent? It’s cowardly. Amused, Wook agrees: Seo Gyeong should have delivered the letter like Mu-deok did. With the air of a man playing his trump card, he produces the leaflet she threw. If a letter delivers your feelings, he reasons, it counts. Mu-deok has the look of a woman utterly caught. Wook continues — what he read was, I will do anything to be able to see you. So, he’s going to reply.

Mu-deok braces herself, afraid. But all Wook does is return the leaflet. I missed you too, he says.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

Whew! Folks, this is the slow burn to end all slow burns, and I am wild with anticipation. It’s clear Wook and Mu-deok understand the depth of their own feelings, and are even beginning to understand each other’s — obliviousness isn’t the issue. Still, for all that Mu-deok fears fitting her life around a partner (blood feuds are a solitary business), she and Wook are already halfway there. I can’t stop thinking about the plain delight they both show upon seeing each other — how easily they fit together, and how hard they try for one another. Every episode, they are drawn into a deeper understanding of one another.

Communication was this week’s theme, with most of our supporting cast failing to get their message across. Jin, especially, resembles an invisible love letter, never sent. He’ll demonstrate his feelings for Do-joo a million ways before suffering to voice them, and he’ll do anything for Wook besides offer an explanation. Yul can only truly call out to Mu-deok via vague allusions to a past she can’t be sure he knows is hers. Meanwhile, Master Lee can’t even stutter out a sentence in front of Do-joo! Eventually, all this miscommunication will unravel — for now, I can’t wait to see how complicated it gets.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 9-10

 
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Park Jin is going to get dumped…twice. But who might he lose to? Master Lee of the chaste herbs😂. Between Park Jin vs Master Lee, let the battle begin. An adult love triangle? Dang! This show’s just getting better at checking boxes I didn’t know I needed.
But a greater award goes to Madame Kim for making this grown men consider womenfolk.

I knew it when I said said Park Jin offering him Songrim studentship was sketchy.

Heo Yun-ok🙄, please be a better tangential character instead of shaking the romance waters.

I think the most intense scene was Seo Yul confessing his feelings for Naksu. It was so real. His restraint as he spoke was very endearing, but at the same time conveyed this feeling of uncertainty and fear of having lost her already but still trying with a glimmer of hope. In that very moment, I wanted her to be Yul’s woman but it is clear her heart isn’t swayed and I kind of hurt for him. The umbrella scene just broke me more. This second male lead is going to hurt real bad.

If Mudeok is Jinyowon’s Buyeon which is crystal clear already with all evidence pointing to her, then the whole of Daeho has the most powerful mage coming their way once Naksu finds a way to let her energy seep through Buyeon. Since Buyeon is clearly more powerful than Naksu, a combo of Buyeon energy + Naksu energy + Naksu swordsmanship – all in one - will shake all of them up, even Danju Queen. And that could be why she isn’t soul shifting, and also why Gil-ju’s alchemy failed – She (Buyeon) has energy powerful enough to counter the stone. Buyeon’s energy surpasses Naksu’s.

And what mischief is shrouded in Mudeok's smile in the picture at the end of the recap ^^?

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"Park Jin is going to get dumped…twice. But who might he lose to? Master Lee of the chaste herbs😂."

🤣🤣🤣I am screaming at that love triangle but I'm ready for it. Park Jin is a mess, how can anyone be so slow? I feel bad for him becaus

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That's two triangles I'm very invested in here - thiers and Uk-Yul-Mudeok.
The romances here in AoS are very tight written by the way, and necessary.

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Yes, all the triangles make sense and are also a great comic relief

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There’s a very funny review on YouTube featuring the love triangle of Handmaiden Kim/park Jin/master Lee. I can’t get the Titanic imagery out of my head now… https://youtu.be/EbxhIV9sMRw

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Agreed. Can't wait for Mudeok realized that she is indeed Buyeon and becoming a great mage with Naksu's skills.
I am hoping for Heo Yun-Ok can be someone that helps Wook in growth rather than involving in-terms of romantic notes. Why can't all females characters become great like those F4 team (minus CheoYeon but add CP)? I need them to not just be a filler, but rather be something important and creating their own arc of story.
My irk now goes towards So-i as she seems wicked and might be dangerous to Mudeok once she is involved with JinMu and Queen. Cross-fingers that she will not be that bad villant and be humane as much as possible 😅

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Agreed. Can't wait for Mudeok realized that she is indeed Buyeon and becoming a great mage with Naksu's skills.

Likeeeeeeeee!
She is a great mage already, lesser than Jin Seolran but worthy of mention. Although blind, she discovered where Jang Gang sealed the ice stone, something the big bads have searched for for 10 years. Naksu would be an upgrade, not a better upgrade, but the addition of fighting skills which Buyeon lacks which ups the perks.

On a side note, Jinyowon (Jin) seems to be the strongest but unexplored of the four seasons and most likely equals to Seo.

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With all the reveals, I'm starting to get more interested in Mu Deok. No wonder the question of JSM playing or not playing in Season 2 would indeed be a spoiler(, but it is not like fans can't already theorize it)

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"I am hoping for Heo Yun-Ok can be someone that helps Wook in growth rather than involving in-terms of romantic notes."

Me too, there are already more than enough love lines.

As for So-I, I have a bad feeling 😩

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Re BuYeon and Naksu powers merging, I would love to see that happen. That will definitely make the most sense why she soul shifter to her instead of the other servant girl. They have to pause the otp romance and see some more movement on Naksu and BY storyline. They are the key to stopping Jin Mu and Danju.

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I just want to see Naksu kick ass again. She is amazing and its sad to see her relegated to bratty Uk's love interest only.

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This, I am hoping next episodes will go back to that. Uk indeed is unlikeable in these episodes as he continues to behave like a spoiled brat.

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That pink scarf sealed the deal for me with the Lee-Jin-Kim triangle😂😂😂 Whoever thought of using that color should be given a raise!

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Park Jin is in danger of losing another love. And he has no one smoothing the way. I'm sure Master Heo will be on the Master Lee+Kim Do-joo ship. Luckily, it looks like Kim Do-joo only has eyes for Park Jin. I can't wait until Park Jin finds out that he has competition and that he can't be sitting around doing nothing.

Speaking of Master Lee, isn't he like at least 140+ years old? Kim Do-joo is a little too young for him... Then again, anyone alive is too young for him.

The Bu-yeon and Naksu combo is so powerful. I wonder what the constellation records said on their births. If we're buying that astrology is real in the Daeho world, then these girls have an amazing destiny.

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I wonder if the stars showed there were actually twins, with one spirited away at birth.

How is Park Jin the leader of Songrim when he's so dumb? I kept thinking we'd see that he's smart and just has blind spots about Wook and Do-joo, but it's starting to look like the blanks I was trying to fill in are just ... blank.

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Park Jin is competent. Very competent to head Songrim. He brought down Naksu. Let us just say he paid the price of being competent and intelligent by being dumb with respect to the matters of the heart. I guess that unlike Jang Gang, he can't everything.
And if it helps, I've encountered people like Park Jin IRL. It's a realistic portrayal.

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So true on the realistic portrayal. People like him exist irl.

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Most highly intellectual guys are like him, tbh. High in IQ, low in EQ. 😩😆

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Being intelligent does not apply in all aspect of life. There are ppl who are book smart but not so smart in matters of the heart.

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"If Mudeok is Jinyowon’s Buyeon which is crystal clear already with all evidence pointing to her, then the whole of Daeho has the most powerful mage coming their way once Naksu finds a way to let her energy seep through Buyeon. Since Buyeon is clearly more powerful than Naksu, a combo of Buyeon energy + Naksu energy + Naksu swordsmanship – all in one - will shake all of them up, even Danju Queen. And that could be why she isn’t soul shifting, and also why Gil-ju’s alchemy failed – She (Buyeon) has energy powerful enough to counter the stone. Buyeon’s energy surpasses Naksu’s."

Ooh I like this. Looking forward to her realization that the gyeongchondaeho that she's been seeking has been residing in her all along but I bet Uk's a key somehow.

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Curious if Buyeon/Mudeok soul/energy merged together with bit of the ice stone before she was tossed in that lake and that's how she suvived it back then and why she is special now...Even the artifacts call her ice stone...Now,did she loose her memory after that near death experience or why didn't she try to find her way back home even after 10 years...Is she still the human Buyeon anymore?
Quite curious how they will tie this important and complex points...

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So my theory is that Naksu will be revived in her original body. I'm thinking Buyeon is in her real body which is Mudeok, that is, she never died. Maybe she was too powerful to be killed just by anyone?

If that is the case, who will end up with whom? Wook could end up with Naksu and Yul can end up with Buyeon/Mudeok. On the other hand, Wook could also end up with Buyeon/Mudeok as well. I think there could be a childhood connection there too. And then Yul ends up with Naksu.

Looking forward to finding out!

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Naksu's body was burnt so I don't think so.
Unfortunately I think one of our guys will end up alone

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True but my understanding of that ice stone is that it can revive someone too. Remember how Wook pushed back on sorcery and magic and said that sorcery could be used for good too? I think this the ability of the ice stone (sorcery) to revive someone is what he was referring to and isn't getting Naksu back her energy the whole goal of their mutual relationship?

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This.

I hope (and halfway expect) that S1 ends with the triumphant reconstitution of Naksu's body, while Mu-deok goes back to being the powerful missing sister or whoever.

Then S2 might have lots of action & swordplay as they deal with grudges over Naksu's past as an assassin and the associated body count.

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This plot would indeed be a fantasy for a fantasy story😅😅

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Naksu regaining her original body is my prediction for end of part 1 also. It makes the most sense to me in light of the casting decisions that have been circulating recently. As for part 2, it's still so early to speculate, but I wouldn't be surprised if we don't get all of the King's star/royal succession stuff figured out and resolved before then.

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My conjecture is:
MD might not get lots of action but Naksu will when she is resurrected.
I think MD will definitely die but Naksu will be resurrected and revenge could indeed be a theme in season 2.

I don’t like the use of deux-machina that resurrects a burnt body (sounds too convenient). I don’t like that Naksu ( I like Naksu in MD’s body) doesn’t pay for getting into someone’s body for revenge purposes (her loss of physical strength could be considered a price she pays but MD’s body is paying as she is not working to make her body strong) and that she is definitely an assassin. So she can’t be without malice! I like that UK and Naksu both are imperfect.

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Oh yeah, I forgot about the ice stone

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It also seems that the ice stone could be used to craft an object like the mystical relics in Jinyowon, so maybe Naksu's body could be recrafted (this is a bit too alchemy)?

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Haa, you connect the missing link that I missed.
Perhaps that what Jang Gang did to Naksu's father. He must be killed by someone in palace when he charted the star during April 1st event (perhaps the Queen), but then JG use the Ice Stone to revive him but he went berserk. That's why JG was crying upon seeing Cho Chung's body.

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@laeteey

True but season 2 with Naksu actress being the lead means she will be resurrected.
I so wish I didn’t know this!

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I didn't know about the season 2 casting 😅

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One way this romance amongst the young blood doesn't descend into dirty party is if Cho-yeon falls for Dang-gu. I think she's noticed that he is devoted to her, but she doesn't share the same sentiment, at least not yet. Neither do I want her to fall for him in a fail-safe manner(Incase Uk doesn't work out) cause it'll hurt Dang-gu, but I know he'll be thankful for getting... crumbs. I hope not.

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Based on casting news, it seems like Naksu will be going back to her original body (apparently Jung So Min hasn’t signed on to be in Season 2 though all of the other main cast did).

I think Wook will end up with Naksu in her original body. I’m not sure if Boyeon/Mudeok will end up with anyone (I’m guessing an arranged marriage…maybe with Yul or the Crown Prince who will no longer be the Crown Prince with Wook fulfilling that prophesy).

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I just can't see why Wook would choose Buyeon childhood conection be damned,it will negate all the story tilll then as we clearly see he fells in love with Naksu...
If he truly does better for Naksu to dump him and be with Yul or explore the world and be the best woman mage as his love would have been shallow

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This. The person who both Wook and Yul like is Naksu in Mu-deok's body, and I hope that any reshuffling of the pieces would just creep them out.

I think that with Mu-deok the Hong sisters are in danger of painting themselves into a corner from which there's no way out with honour: what fate for her soul is now satisfactory? We may end up with an Oh My Ghost or Mr Queen situation.

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That would be an epic fail once again as that wouldn't be the women he fell and loved nor share his journey... Buyeon is a stranger and would be so seriously wrong to say in the end he loved her when he doesn't even know nor shared anything all 20 or more episodes.

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I love everything about this drama and I'm totally here for the bromance between those 4.

I hope the Crown Prince remains this loveable please! He also needs to find love 😆.

Seo Yul 🥺, I just want to hug him. That fake blind girl needs to back off, she smells like so much trouble.

Jang Uk and Mu-Doek have great chemistry but I'm not yet all into the ship 😅. I like their dynamic and the way it's slow burn

I don't know how I feel about Heo's granddaughter and this new love triangle. She seems like a sweet girl.

There's love everywhere in this drama 😂, even Dang-gu and lady Jin are seemingly getting along.

I think it's pretty safe to say that Mu-Doek is the eldest daughter of the Jin family, which also explains how she got into their secret room

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I know I'm so worried that we are heading for the CP to have to do something terrible. Setting up a bromance and his crush on MD and then absolutely shattering us later on. I guess I'm sort of okay with that happening? But then I require a redemptive arc for him so we can regain some of those amazing relationships.

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I found these episodes were too long.

I have issues with Mu-Deok character. I don't like how Naksu is disapearing, I don't recognize the badass assassin from the beginning. I like Jung So-Min as an actress but not in this role. She lacks the dangerousness that her character should exude, be careful, on her toes.

I don't buy the love story yet. They're cute but the fact that Wook's priorities always are about Mu-Deok and not his duty make me frustrating.

If they add one character every 2 episodes, it will become hard to follow...

My favourite scene was the 3 mages solving the test. They're funny together.

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Paragraph 2 and 3. You get my frustration perfectly with AoS. Where is the Master. It's subtly turning into a romance story instead of a what we had in the beginning.

I hope it doesn't stop you from enjoying the show.

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No, in my mind, it's a light and entertaining show. Because I'm not really invested in the characters, I don't really have any expectations for them or the story.

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I think this drama is romance first before the action though viewers were first attracted to it due to the action.

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I miss the assassin that can not assassinate. I really prefer the OTP not to end up together. Its ruining MD as a character.

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I enjoy the romance between any character they are throwing at me, but thinking of the complexity involving soul and real body, I too prefer the OTP to be buddies, but nope we are heading down towards heartbreaks and tears

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The heartbreak can be delivered even if they r bffs. I feel romance is unnecessary in their relationship. Master and Pupil is strong enough imo.

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You shared my sentiment here. I am also wishing that Mudeok/ Buyeon not end up with anyone. She might have a bigger role in Daeho itself, and shouldn't be bound with love and marriage that much. Having a feeling towards someone close to you is normal but her character can be greater for better storyline.

I wish they accelerate more on Buyeon/ Mudeok revelation and gave much impact on "HwanHon" things... we need more magic!

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Yes! I want to know more about BY and what she can do. Also how her and Naksu's powers can be merged to destroy the baddies.

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Please tell me what does HwanHon mean?

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It means return of someone's soul after death.

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Second you here. I'm okay with throwing romance into the mix as long as they keep the integrity of the characters. So in this case this should lead to an angsty type end where Naksu will eventually choose her independence over a partner cramping her style and I'm actually all for this type of romance.

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That's exactly how I see it to some extent.

The plot of the last two episodes would have fit well into a single episode.
But whenever I'm about to digress a little, the series manages to captivate me again. This time it was the test for the servants. Of course, the cheat sheet, delivered by the crown prince, was the highlight.

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I agree.

A few sequences in episode 9 seemed frivolous. For example did we need the welcome to infirmary for the grand daughter while everyone was celebrating UK sequence?

I enjoyed episode 10 and those three working together and then the cheating sequence — kiss in the air! I am looking forward to Saturday :)

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I miss Naksu, the bad-ass master, too. She has devolved into a love sick character here and so is Uk though je remained to be a love - sick spoiled brat. I hope they get back to the storyline of them becoming a powerful pair to save Daeho from the villains.

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Same, I'm still not sold on the Uk x Naksu love line. They're absolutely great to watch together as Master x pupil but at this point, we still havent seen why Naksu would romantically fall for Uk yet when he has consistently disappointed her time by time. Her main motivation to get into songrim is because -in her words - she has " come too far to give up" on getting her powers back.

The whole romance feels very forced and I even feel like the story would be better if their relationship remained platonic.

The writing of Uk's character is also in my opinion very weak. There's no defining trait of him that makes him easy to root for or help us get invested in the character. Sure he's cheeky, with some childish antics that can be endearing but other than that, it's not like he's consistently determined/hardworking/smart, instead he comes off as whiny and it almost feels like he got everything handed to him by Mudeok and people around him.

idk I hope Naksu gets her powers back soon because im excited to see her fight and become the central part of the story - maybe at that point the chemistry between the leads would be better and the love line would make more sense once Naksu is no longer held back by her lack of powers.

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Disclaimer: I am totally sold on it haha, but here is my take on a couple of points you brought up.

As I see it, Naksu and Uk started off with a desperate partnership because they were both in a position where no one else would ever help them. But slowly they've come to care about each other in a way that goes beyond their dependence on one another and shared goals, though they still do have those things. I think these episodes were really helpful for them to find out exactly what those feelings look like for each of them. I think Uk has been disappointing to Naksu at times, but he's also come through for her in big ways that she didn't even know she needed, and allowed her to push him to his limits even at significant risk to himself. Naksu tells herself a lot of things, but I wonder how many of them are rationalizing her own actions with reasons that seem more palatable to her.

I really love Uk's character. He is flirty and cavalier and reckless and young, and willing to do almost anything (except the tea haha) to become a mage which has been his dream his whole life. But he also carries with him these deep rejections of his father and father figure, and his brash and spoiled exterior hides a person who has never felt like he was allowed into the places he really belonged. He's had to watch the other Four Seasons grow up and achieve mastery of the skills he longs for, and I can understand his lack of motivation with all of his previous 12 masters when he knew that no matter what they taught him, it wouldn't get him accepted into Songrim. He can be quite lazy, but when properly motivated, he works really hard and I think is naturally intelligent. In the first episode he talks about doing the tasks his master set for him for long hours, he trained hard to master tansu in time for the duel with the CP, he breezed through the first set of books this week because he'd already covered all of that in his previous training, and he still worked hard to figure out the poem/love letter even when he knew that Naksu was on her way to him. Yes, he's been incredibly lucky, but he has also taken some really intense risks, and they've paid off.

In my mind this period of Uk gaining power while Naksu is weak was/is really necessary to their story together. Can you imagine them being a balanced pair when Uk was just barely starting to learn mage skills and Naksu was already totally amazing? I don't think it would work. But now when she regains her powers, they will be such an unstoppable force (provided they can agree on goals). I anticipate plenty of angst when that day comes but I'm looking forward to all of it!

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This is a brilliant summary of Wook's character and how he and MD/Naksu have developed their relationship. *applause*

I suspect some disagreement arises out of whether we like or don't like a character as a 'person' - which is completely normal, we've all experienced disliking someone 'just because,' and is also a credit to the writers and actor for creating and embodying that person convincingly. I think Wook is written in shorthand, just well enough for Lee Jae-wook to fill in the rest and make him a vivid character, but I admit I'm probably doing some of the mental work required to be convinced by him because I find the character so charming.

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Totally agree! Also agree that LJW is filling in a good bit of this character, and I definitely think that is a strength of the writing (and casting). If you get the person you want in the role, you can hand them the reins a little bit more and still have a fantastic and fleshed-out character. Buuuut I'm also biased because I'm a fan, and I can see how others would find him more annoying than I do.

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👏!!! 💯! This is how I see their relationship as well - they’ve both pushed each other to grow in new ways.

True, Uk really disappointed Naksu right after Park Jin’s revelation about Do Hwa’s “affair” and he gave up for a while, but other than that, he’s consistently surprised her by his willingness to put himself in harm’s way to protect her whilst she’s in MD’s “weak” body. He stood in front of her when sapsali was looking for a soul shifter, he broke sapsali’s vessel and faced the consequences, he took responsibility for the missing spirit plaque, he offered to drink from the chamber pot in her place, he made sure she was treated properly after she was tortured for poisoning him, the list goes on! I too think that he oftentimes uses his immaturity and foolhardiness as a front to hide his feelings of being rejected and ostracised for reasons he can’t understand and certainly was not responsible for. In many ways, he is probably most similar to Master Lee - they both have a mischievous streak that makes them interesting as characters. Is he annoying and childish at times - absolutely! But he’s also all these other things, which makes him a more layered and faceted character than most male leads.

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Alchemy of souls is now 10 episodes into the story and Mu-deok is still completely powerless. What is even worse is that she is also completely lacking in agency and seemingly only exist to please Jang Uk. I can’t think of a single thing she have done deliberately, that have lead to her growing in power/magic (agency). What kind of team of lunatics spends 10 episodes and have zero character growth for the main character...but then simultaneously have the love interest constantly improving and kicking ass all over the place? Don’t they realize that we can compare the two and clearly see the stark imbalance?

I don’t even like Jang Uk that much. But he would still make a much better protagonist than the pathetic wreck that is Mu-deok. Ask yourself, what have Mu-deok done to earn being the main character? So far, it’s a big fat nothing.

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I don't think the main character has to always be a flashy character nor do I think she's pathetic. She doesn't have Naksu's powers and she is a servant. I think she's doing fine with what she's given - which is no powers - by excelling as a servant (even though Naksu likely would not have had that experience) and in culling and developing strategic relationships with everyone to survive and further Wook's goals. I mean what can she do in her situation?

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@Kennedy Perfect response & exactly what I was thinking.

MD ascension's to power and return her to original state is completely tied to Jang Wook since he is meant to be her source of energy, so it makes complete sense to me that she would want to tie herself to the hip with JW & push him to the highest success.
There is literally nothing much she can do herself since as MD, she's a simple, normal human being with absolutely no magic powers. BUT, in case you missed it, she's really adept at using her brains and as Kennedy well puts it "culling and developing strategic relationships with everyone to survive."

"I can’t think of a single thing she have done deliberately, that have lead to her growing in power/magic (agency)" - You must've sadly been fast forwarding through most of the show :( Just because she's using her brains more instead of sorcery and fighting doesn't make her any less resourceful or witty of a character...just my two cents.

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@Chungking Pineapples If by “adept at using her brain” you mean she can be cute and charming when she is accidentally dropped into a dangerous situation (by the writer, without any agency from her). I actually agree with that. She can be cute and funny. If her role on the show was to be the comedic relief, she would be well cast for that role.

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I do think that the focus is not on her journey as an individual but on UK’s journey or on them together.

I did wonder why doesn’t Naksu/MD try some tricks on their own body to build up energy as she knows that Danju can get her killed/picked anytime so some self defence practice would be great.

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A character can gain agency through more than just physical powers, and Mu-deok has gained agency. She's learned everything she thought was true about her past was a lie. She learned she'd been manipulated and robbed of her agency her whole life. And there's one person in her life (Wook) that has pledged to help her get it back. Yes, she cares about him, but every step of the way she's made it clear that she will never give up on herself. She's learning a new way to navigate the world now that she isn't as physically powerful and has to depend on others. I don't even think she realizes it, but the girl has friends now. A support system. And more and more, she has the truth. So when she gets her powers back, she'll be truly unstoppable in a way she wasn't before.

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Yes yes yes to all of this. (And very well said!)

I also think Mu-deok and Uk's relationship is not one in which either of them is sacrificing their identity for the other one. They still have priorities that are separate, they've just also come to care about the other person and that person's priorities as well. I think Mu-deok has come a seriously long way from when we first met her, and just because she has fewer people that she needs to send murderous glances at right now doesn't mean things will stay that way for long. I'm glad this emotionally isolated person has already had so much growth and gained so much agency.

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I think what I’ve really enjoyed about Naksu’s arc is that she’s growing in ways that she was never able to when she was isolated by Jin Mu and trained to be an assassin.

She already knew how to survive, to fight and to kill (albeit she’s no longer in a body that allows those skills to be used to their full extent). She was singleminded and able to cut off her nascent relationship with Yul in service of her greater purpose (revenge). But now, because of her physical limitations, she’s forced to learn to trust, to act out of love/consideration/caring rather than revenge, to communicate honestly, to get to know her own feelings, etc.

She seems to resist this change in herself a bit, but I think we may see her in a position where she’ll ultimately have to choose which aspects of herself she wants to keep. I’m excited to see that!

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Interesting take. I look forward to her choices too :)

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Yes! I think at some point lots of our characters will have to make difficult decisions. We already saw it a little bit when Yul lied about what he knew about Naksu, and I can see the CP also being put in a position where he'll have to make a difficult choice between loyalty to his family and friendship/cooperation with the mages. They are setting up so many dilemmas for these characters, certainly not least of which is what Naksu will do if her goals and Uk's goals are ever out of alignment. And it wouldn't be interesting if that were going to be an easy decision for her, so I'm really pleased with how the whole thing has been set up.

I think Naksu thought of herself as having "arrived" at the beginning of the story. That she was basically at her peak, and that if she had more to learn, it was just technique. But now she's much more aware that she had been deceived all along and that this outside world isn't what she was led to believe it would be. It's much more complex, and she's becoming much more complex in response to it.

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@jls943 - YESSSS! So perfectly articulated!!

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When exactly did Uk (wook) pledge to give her agency? For all he knows she stole the body she currently inhabits from it’s rightful owner. But for some reason he doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with it. At least Yul seem somewhat troubled by her (naksu) being a soul shifter in another person’s body. Uk just seem to be a selfish guy who is using her for his own convenience (as a teacher and for romance). Where are you seeing this imaginary helpful and honorable person who have promised to give her back what she deserve?

Also, the fact she learned about her past being a lie. That was accidental. An assassin just pooped up and tried to kill her and she had to be saved by Uk. It was pure luck that the assassin decided to tell her the truth when he was dying. There was no real agency in that.

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Their entire deal is that he will gain power and use it to return her to power. Their entire relationship is about how they're two lonely people who finally have someone to depend on. It's been very explicitly stated in dialogue and through action. It;'s literally the entire premise of the show.

And how it learning about her past an accident? Gilju didn't tell her accidentally. He told her to crush her spirit. Jokes on him it didn't work. And immediately afterwards Uk followed him so he could find out where the real Danju is. And why did he do that? To help Mu-deok.

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I don't think folks are saying she gained agency because she actively forced Gil-ju to tell her the truth, but when he did, he unknowingly gave her more power because now she's more informed and can make better decisions about whom to trust and what should be done.

Also, yes, Uk can be selfish and spoiled (I think that's part of his charm), but he has pitched multiple ideas to Naksu about how they can stay together no matter what happens because they rely on one another. And there was that whole scene at the edge of the lake when he promised her he wouldn't let her run wild or turn to stone - that's definitely not selfish behavior.

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LOL @TLF I think you will be the kind of fan critiquing the show until the end. I guess the slow pace in the recent episode frustrated some people. I'm sure it will pick up at some point. From what little we know today Naksu will gain her agency at the end since she will be back as lead in S2.

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I absolutely agree. I think this idea of agency is an interesting one in this show actually.
In the past, Naksu had a great deal of ability and power. However, she was also completely ignorant of her real situation. Every decision and sacrifice she made, cutting herself off from every friend or person, every life she took perhaps, was in service to a group of people who were consistently lying to and manipulating her to their own ends to gain their own power. She thought she was devoting her life and all her strength to revenge on the mages who killed her father and all her family. She has recently learned that all her choices (ie agency) were used to actually help the people who destroyed her father. Kil-ju actually put it very well- both she and her father were used and discarded as tools. So on the surface she was strong and making lots of decisions, but on a deeper level, her lack of information and her isolation from reality meant that her choices were stolen from her or at least completely warped.
Now she is physically weak and magically stunted but she is gaining information. (I really dislike the idea that people who don't seem to have a lot of abilities in life, perhaps due to impairments like physical weakness or blindness or due to economic/social barriers like being a servant in a very hierarchical society or very poor, then don't have agency. I think that is untrue, they have more limitations, they have fewer options, it doesn't mean they don't have *agency*. I think we have to be careful about confusing abilities/power with agency.
Anyway, I think she has to figure out a new motivation for sure. Her whole life's purpose and and all the blood on her hands was revealed to be serving the horrible people who destroyed everything she loved. That's not an easy mental transformation to make. But I do think there is another motivation already driving her: she is terrified of running insane as a soul-shifter. Look at her face every time she sees one of those petrified corpses. She never intended to be in another body this long. She is utterly trapped since her original body was burned. Now she and Uk know that the Ice Stone is in the palace somewhere and the true mastermind is there too. Not only can the Ice Stone save her from going insane (she and Uk don't know that something is already protecting her from running amok. Master Lee is the only one who knows that.) but the real person who should be her target if she still wants revenge is in the palace. She has no organisation at her back, little to no physical or magical strength, and she doesn't know who the real mastermind is. She and Uk are trying to get access to the palace via his mage status. That is their next step and they are both working to get there.
Plus, all this manual labour as a servant has actually increased her strength. It's not glamourous but she never would have been able to do that water run when she first switched bodies.

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Thanks. That is an awesome analysis.

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+1 on this. Interesting character growth happens when people get weaker, not stronger.

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You should read her narration about her and Wook being desperate in surviving, given their current conditions. She is far from pathetic...what she needs is her pupil to become stronger as soon as possible or another luck for getting herself become powerful mage again ( that is why the Buyeon story needs to appear soon).

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Objectively, she is working hard at becoming stronger, by developing her steppingstone (Wook) and making sure he doesn't veer off-course. And Wook is, as she mentioned, extraordinarily lucky. The other way to skip the steppingstone step would be to live in the soul-shifter graveyard lake or maybe travel around the world via old-school modes of transportation in search of masters who may be able divulge some secret method.

She doesn't have the mage powers and can't flick energy to take down people, but she's got a brain and even some brute strength. I'm guessing once we all find out that the body is Bu-yeon's and has been capable of using magic, that could change. Now Mu-deok is just a muggle.

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I think the issue is that we haven’t had a lot of insight into MD’s motivations after her crying bout in the jungle.

In the sense, now that she has been told (and she believes) that the mages are not responsible for her dad’s death what is motivating her to her old body/strength?

Also, I do believe there have been hints that she thinks she is pathetic and is not as capable as she would like to be to help Uk (she said it in episode 2– I can’t help him open his energy gate as I don’t have my energy).

Mage or no, I wish the creators would do something about her journey too. Right it is about UK’s journey (I am not complaining — I can’t watch 20-30 hours of these two bickering and I would be overjoyed. I missed them so much in episode 9). She needs some boosting and happiness. The girl has had it tough!

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I agree with that. Addressing the core motivation of MD should have been the focus of the show. Instead they just destroyed it and moved on like it didn't happen.

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I agree. I miss the badass Naksu, the fearsome assassin. I like MD and JU but it is so uncharacteristic of a young mage grown up alone in wilderness with that much talent and training.

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I agree at your first comment. I wonder why Mudeok is not doing anything to regain her powers? Honestly when the preview for episode 9 showed up I was like why does Mudeok look like she was suddenly "head over heels" (i can't think of the right term) for Uk to the point that she will follow him because she doesn't want to be separated with him. But upon watching both episode 9 and 10 I'm still happy because I still like where it was going. I'm here for Mudeoks chemistry with the 3 leads that I think she was really the main reason why I was watching this show.

I'm just confused why you have watched all these 10 episodes when as you said you don't like the main leads Uk (that much) and Mudeok? At this point maybe you should just drop this drama and watch something else?

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I’m obviously watching the show because I like the show. Haha. At this point I’m not liking it as much as I did at first. But I’m not ready to give up on it completely.

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I am all for the love triangle brewing between Master Lee and Songrim Leader Jin for Maidservant Kim. I love all Master Lee's smitten face whenever Maidservant Kim is around. I do not mind Jin being dumped again. Master Heo is right about him, he is frustratingly dense and slow. I dont know when he will learn but it better be fast. 100 year old Master Lee is in the picture.

The new ladies are getting my attention, Heo Yun Ok and So Yi. I feel bad for Yun Ok's unrequited love and wish her all the happiness.

My fave has got to be Crown Prince, Dang Gu and Yul helping Mu Deok behind the scenes. Together answering the quiz for MD is the cutest but I want to know if she used those info to pass the test. It would be funny if she passed on her own. And their "perfect" test paper is not so perfect after all. 🤣🤣

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If Master Lee is really 100 years old? Does he really need the chastity tea??

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Good question. He said it helps him with his magic. Avoid distractions and all that.

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In a show where I accept all sorts of fantastical things, I had trouble figuring out how MD would be able to check the cheatsheet or pass off the "perfect" answer sheet as her own (with all the folds) without getting caught!

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I wouldve loved to have seen her try. CP and his loyal attendant can be her diversion as she tries to sneak a peek.

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But I also feel like one of the other test-takers would rat her out. < 4% acceptance rate. That's harder to get into than Harvard! I felt bad for the guy who came in 6th. He was soooo close.

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Not if they knew she is in kahoots with the CP. 🤣 they would fear for their life.

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If it is up to me, I will hire the 6th person 😅.

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I noticed that she was the only female to make it after that grueling race with the giant water pot. I would think after this kind of exercise, she’d be getting back a lot of strength for Naksu to use.

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@bbstl There was another woman who won the race aside from her...

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We saw her hide it. We didn't see her even try to read it, so I guess she didn't look and won on her own merits, which is more satisfying anyway. I'm with the "guys were overthinking" camp.

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I prefer that too. It is def more satisfying.

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I like this take. Those three were really not the people I’d rely on for help to ace a servants’ exam!!😅

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You are absolutely right. These priviledged men would know nothing about being a servant. But it was still cute seeing them attempt to help her the best way they know how.

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But it's why they asked the eunuch for the questions they didn't know. Being the eunuch serving the Crown Prince, I'm pretty sure he knows what he's doing :p

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@kurama Your comment made me think that the servants’ exam was a nice touch on the writers’ part - it highlights the often unacknowledged hard work and intelligence of those who aren’t mages or royalty!

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Thank you for pointing out the fact the writers included a whole bunch about the abilities and knowledge of servants. (When the CP suggested that if clothes get ink on them you just throw them away I burst out laughing.) The mages and royalty also have large areas of ignorance (kinda like when Yul was a useless cook in the ravine)
They have been in a certain power position in their society all their lives but they have also been taken care of by an army of servants all their lives. I am glad we are getting a little nod to that via Mu-deok's duties and the servants' test. They have to know and do a lot and they are certainly not nameless ignorant automatons. Audiences tend to view them that way just like royalty does...

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I'm a bit confused (but in a good way) by all the new female characters and wondering where the show is going with them. The WTf cousin from Business Proposal is fun to watch as So-yi.

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So-I 's scenes were short, but the actor playing that role made a great impression in such a short time. It did not realize she was the cousin from BP until I read the comments in some site. Seo Hye Won is fast rising in everyone's favorite list.

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First time I saw So-yi .. I scream: that the WTF OMG cousin girl from Business Proposal!! :D

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I really don't mind if the entire series is going to be 80% filler because throughout the 1 hr+ episode, I am not questioning the plot or analysing the characters motive and after each episode I am left feeling happy and not clouded with real world problems, which I personally think is what dramas should aim to achieve. As mentioned in my fan-wall I am going to go with the flow and let myself be entertained. I will cross (worry) the bridge (possible derailment) when I come to it.

@alathe BTW great recap! Reading it gave as much joy as watching the show👍

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Oh good, episodes where we can take a breather from the action & get some comedy as we watch as all the relationships blossom - ep 9, in particular, shows that distance does make the heart grow fonder & solidifies the leads' feelings for one another beyond master & pupil. Every bit of family background info doled out only makes the eventual angst between the two leads that much stronger, doesn't it?

MD sure isn’t giving an inch when it comes to Yul, ha. I’m actually starting to feel bad for Yul & absolutely can’t wait til he reveals to MD that he knows of her real identity…but that might take another few eps since that dude is just so damn righteous. (He would be a guy you’d trust to follow the “bros before hoes” rule til the day he dies.) But I hope you go astray soon, Yul! Go, go, go - & learn not to give away pricey umbrellas to other girls so easily!

Ah, Crown Prince~ In any other drama, you'd be the ML w/ your tsundere character! Did anyone else sense some foreshadowing when MD said (paraphrasing) "I would not resent you even if I died by your sword?" when the background music turned all sombre....In fact, I think ep 9 had alot of foreshadowing & lines that will be referenced again in ltr episodes. (I, for one, think MD will cave & buy those expensive pine sweet biscuits for Yul later!)

I do think these episodes show that this drama lives and breathes through the interactions and tiki-taka between Wook & MD. Without them together, there is indeed a bit of magic & spark lost :(

To address the elephant in the room (not to incite arguments but merely to express some grumblings):

Switching or replacing out actors in subsequent seasons is common practice in Western dramas, but it isn't right to compare apples to oranges especially in a rare case like this where body switching is also part of the plot, so to hear rumors of JSM being replaced is a punch to the stomach. We will never know if JSM was notified there would be a S2 when she initially signed onto the role, so assuming she didn’t know (& the rumors are true), it would be a major disservice to both her & GYJ. The latter is now taking heat since she has huge shoes to fill & JSM has already secured a spot in our hearts as the one & only Mudeok AND Naksu.

Unless the Hong sisters have an extremely logical & tight script planned out for S2 (highly doubtful), it will be a really hard pill to swallow for writing out JSM’s role. Plus, S2 is only 10 eps & GYS is given a shorter period to build chemistry w/ all the male counterparts & there will surely be countless comparisons…so no, even Shakespeare couldn't pull off a switch like this & make me buy into this.

Whichever media outlet decided to release this rumor now sure had some major beef w/ the production with its ill timing when S1 isn't even halfway finished & this news has riled up viewers. Or were they thinking some news is better than no news?…Either way, they had better compensated JSM well for her playing 3...

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roles!

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I'm mad that the media outlet released that. And it's not like the production can defend itself since explaining what will happen will lead to spoilers and this is a drama where there can be a dozen different endings. I wonder if season 2 would be a spin-off or sequel (Naksu gets reincarnated!) rather than part of the main story.

I'm worried about the ending, since Naksu was/is an assassin. Given that she worked for Jin Mu, she may have killed a bunch of innocent people. The drama may feel like she has to pay for her crimes via a heroic death. The Hong sisters have killed off the main characters for realism before.

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More like killed main characters for despair😑

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Please tell more… which main characters?

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All the main characters who were on Team Rebel in Hong Gil Dong (which many probably won't watch now that Kang Ji Hwan was found guilty of rape). Hong Gil Dong was a robin-hood sort of character. I think the rebels helped the prince get on the throne. Once he was on the throne, then came the clash of ideals - prince wants to maintain status quo and Team Hong Gil Dong wanted drastic reforms (stuff that was suspiciously like democracy). It ended up with the prince killing all the rebels in order to preserve royal authority.

The ending wasn't that bad with the theme that even though the person is dead, Hong Gil-dong's dream lives on (i.e. present day being a democracy, etc). And the death scene was filmed beautifully.

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I'm actually okay with the killing of main leads as long as it's logical or creates so much angst that it makes the series that much more impactful; but like you said, with the Hong sisters, there could be a million different unpredictable endings in store for us!

There is alot of outcry over in Korean forums and comments too regarding the rumor of replacement (they're also screaming for a happy ending, ha), so again, we can only hope the Hong sisters aren't shooting themselves in the foot and give us, at the very least, a gripping and memorable rest of S1! *crossing fingers & toes*

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Yes, me too. 100% agreed!
I rather watch much powerful angst, full of tears, super tragic dead with heart-wrenchful sobbering as long as it falls in logical sense.
It makes me hype even more than happy, fluffy ending itself 😅.

My doubt is always with Hong Sister's consistency for keep up a good, flawless script from beginning to the end 😪😔.

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You said it! #metoo

Hong sisters and their ends!!! Master’s Sun was my first drama and I had so much fun until episode 11 or was it 12!

I want fun all the way till the end. I like our cast and fun/good drama is possible. Please deliver.

#fingers 🤞🏾

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I feel like that doubt is with any script in kdramaland. Kdramas tend to lose energy in the last quarter. A drama that is more than 4 episodes and that is good from beginning to end is incredibly rare. Even 2521, which had lots of accolades, generated a lot of outrage and lead to so much commentary on what went wrong.

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In my view, the series was always set up for a 20/10 split because of Netflix. I think Netflix and the production company want to develop a "franchise" series and this story has many Potter, anime and marital arts elements to become one that could grind out series and spinoffs for years. But that goes against past Korean drama storytelling of a self contained and conclusion to the story.

Part 2 recently started shooting. I suspect that it will focus on revenge for MD's demise.

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Ugh I hope netflix doesn't have them doing that. I would be disappointed if they are written by someone other than the Hong sisters and would be bitter that commitments to additional seasons and spinoffs would prevent them from working on anything new. I like the stories they end up exploring.

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@welh if the series was always set as 20-10 then why did they burn Naksu’s body. You can resurrect the dead but not when there is no body unless a human becomes a creator (and not from the womb way).

I don’t have a problem with the number of episodes or division. I am just worried that with the choices made will the creators be able to convince me that they followed the demands of the story and were not doing a shoddy job of bringing things together.

I deliberately chose “me” and not the audience as I believe drama and it’s review is pretty subjective :)

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The ice stone is the Deus Ex Machina, a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object.

And the split must signify a hard turn in the story for the writers, such as Uk turning from normal mage into a renegade/outlaw to avenge or join Naksu.

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IDK I don't really see this becoming a franchise series. I kind of believe the PD when he said that they couldn't fit everything in 20 episodes. The Hong Sisters get too caught up in banter and hijinks and can't get to the freaking point.

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I just wanted to say you are not wrong in talking about actor replacement here because it involves a main character that is very much relevant to the story and you are pointing it out in the recap of the said story.

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Did anyone else sense some foreshadowing when MD said (paraphrasing) "I would not resent you even if I died by your sword?" when the background music turned all sombre.

Oh yes, that struck me, too. I could foresee a scene where the CP is forced (by mistaken identity, treachery, her self-sacrifice, or some other plot device) to kill MD/Naksu in front of Wook, who then duels him for vengeance and the crown. At this point I think odds are greater than even that MD/Naksu and Wook will not end up together, at least in this world. It's all getting very Hong-ish.

Drama rules require that these two mostly fun and lighthearted episodes be followed by massive angst and tragedy next week.

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I agree! There is some foreshadowing :)

The story of the Big leader and the blind lady from 200 years ago is not happy. The statement that CP will kill MD and MD accepting it… it did sound like a prediction.

I keep wondering what is a red herring and what will come to be!

I have been wondering about the final battle and people who will die. Then again the drama goes everywhere so I don’t know… coz a part of me says the “old man” from the infirmary might soon ask for Uk to fulfill his promise and marry his granddaughter.

To be honest, I felt that episode 9 was a filler as I longed for UK and MD interactions. I was like that spoilt child who spent their entire pocket money on a film where the OTP went missing. I like CP and Yul but nothing like the crazy pair trying out their love language (of MD trying to get Uk killed) :D

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I also sensed the forshadowings coming our way !
Also it’s so obvious Master Heo will ask Jang Uk to marry his granddaughter…

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Despite our little break from all-out action, I had plenty of other things to keep my mind occupied this week, and I’m still fully on board the AoS train.

1. Okay, theory #1: Bu-yeon and MD switched souls at some point previously, and then Naksu also entered the body of the original MD, displacing her soul (which still seems to be in there). So then that means that fake-blind girl (So-i I think) is Bu-yeon’s body, but has the original MD’s soul inside it. But this doesn’t really explain why our MD(Naksu) can open the Jinyowon gate, so theory #2 is that the whole thing is less complex and that original MD is actually just Bu-yeon in disguise, as others have suggested. What do other folks think about this?

2. We got a pretty good explanation for the blindness changing depending on the soul – if Bu-yeon’s blindness is an expression of her energy and power, then it would follow her soul through its various body-swaps, and a new soul inhabiting that body wouldn’t be afflicted.

3. The boys on Team MD are one of my favorite things about this drama. It was just amazing when they realized they were all interested in the test questions because they wanted MD to succeed and then worked together to come up with the answers! I was torn between thinking that they must be waaaay overthinking some of the questions and thinking that they were actually on to something. I guess they did okay!

4. Two points of our love heptagon have fractured off and are doing their own thing now (which I’m super here for – love Dang-gu and Cho-yeon together), but I think we’ve added a new point in mysterious So-i, who is understandably smitten with Yul after he heroically saved her… from people who were after her for pretty legitimate reasons haha! So we’re still at love hexagon. And! We’ve now added a second love triangle to our delightfully complex relationships, and watching Master Lee swoon over everything Kim Do-joo does was the thing I didn’t know I needed, but now cannot live without (the music when she broke the thread with her teeth? I was dying!).

5. I was also dying (but more in a deep, wistful sighing way) when they were talking about love letters at the end. I love that Uk interpreted MD’s “letter” correctly, and that she was reprimanding herself for not bracing before being that close to him. Same, girl, same.

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#1 My original thought that both Naksu and Bu-yeon's souls are in MD's body along with the hidden ice stone. That is why as a soul shifter she does not turn into a monster or have the mark and can open the Jin's secret room.

But the introduction of So-Yi's past with MD creates more problems. SY resembles BY who we assume is blind. Can BY be using SY name as an alias? If MD's soul was transferred transferred into SY/BY, is the ice stone still inside SY/BY who can now see but not have mage powers? Did BY soul shift so she would not return to Jin family house? But MD does not seem to have the memories of BY. And is that why SY is looking for MD to transfer back?

The "science" of soul shifting is still incomplete. There is no rule that more than one soul can inhabit a body. Naksu clearly retained her memories in MD's body. If BY's soul is also in MD, would not Naksu sense those memories as well?

The idea that BY and Naksu are in MD and MD and the ice stone are in SY so they have to reunite in order to get back to normal makes some sense.

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I completely failed to consider that the Jinyowon gate could be responding to Bu-yeon's latent spirit hiding out behind the scenes in MD's body. But I think she is sufficiently under the radar that Naksu doesn't have access to her memories, at least under normal circumstances.

I'm not sure about the ice stone being inside a person. Wasn't the implication from last week (when the fleeing soul shifter went to the palace to be saved from running wild and petrification) that the ice stone was in the palace, and presumably in the hands of the queen? I could have missed something here, but that's what I thought.

Jin Mu seems pretty sure that Bu-yeon is dead, but if she soul-shifted just before she died with the help of the ice stone, maybe she could maintain her home in the new body without the side effects. And that might help explain why Naksu hasn't run wild yet either, and why she doesn't have the mark.

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Sounds super complicated to me :(

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Oh the love letter! I squealed and am still squealing silently… every time I think about the last scene!

>sigh<

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I agree with theory 2 because, there was a painting of BY in her mother's room which looks like MD. Perhaps the Jin family did not recognize their daughter because the current MD is not blind; also, the rich and powerful rarely see the servant. They would never expect their privilege daughter as servant.

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i'm just dreading the Mu Deok changeover or whatever it is going to be....

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Tell me about it!

One one hand I just want Saturday to come but on the other I don’t trust the creators with the last few episodes!

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but there are TEN more episodes, so we are at the halfway point.......

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I'm on the opposite side of this, I'm looking forward to seeing Naksu in her original body again being the powerful mage that she is. And throughout the story so far, I've always kept in mind that this is Go Youn Jung's Naksu inside Jung So Min's Mu-Deok so it's not so much a bother for me. And if Naksu were to stay in Mu-Deok's body, I feel like there'd be some ethical questions if any romance happens.

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Go Yoon Jung**!

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i can't figure out where "mu deok" is going to go, and who is he attracted to, naksu or mu deok........ i'll just wait and see....

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