284

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

Finally, our heroes face each other without pretense. However, there are complications: when you’re a hero who battles soul-shifters, it’s hard to justify falling in love with one. One thing’s for sure — this finale will be as emotional as it is intense.

 

EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

Wook and Naksu face one another knowingly for the first time. What, Naksu asks, will Wook do now? The answer is, pull her near on instinct, hiding her telltale eyes. After all, they both still agree: only Wook is allowed to get this close.

It’s important, because Wook’s brought company — the crown prince! My unwavering faith in his skeptical eyebrows was not misplaced! The truth is delightful: Won’s been moonlighting as a double agent for Songrim. It seems Naksu’s not the only one allowed to get close to Wook — Won’s spent days sidling up to his touchy ally, making overtures of not-quite-unrequited broship. (Brovertures?) It’s like one of those feel-good news stories where a laborador cuddles up to a tiger. What triggered this dramatic shift in loyalties? Mu was nasty to Won’s turtle. Now, prince and turtle joyously reunite.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

There’s time for a stolen conversation, as Won reminisces about Naksu — to Naksu herself. Once, he yearned to possess her. He’s ashamed of that. Smiling, the woman he knows as Bu-yeon tells him that Naksu would be content to hear it. Still, she wouldn’t want him to be in pain for long.

Afterwards, Wook and Naksu are alone. Wook begins. He’s facing a battle: an archetypal clash between good and evil. He knows exactly where he ought to aim his sword. But — what if he did absolutely nothing at all? What if, instead, he stayed here with her? Naksu, ever resolute, hardly hesitates. Whatever the justification, however deeply they might long for one another — such a course of action would be wrong.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final) Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

How did Won and Wook infiltrate Gwido in the first place? They have Jin Bu-yeon to thank — the real one. As Master Lee reminds Ho-gyeong, Bu-yeon’s infant life was saved by the ice stone, an artifact originally created to save Jin Seol-ran. It’s as he suspected. Bu-yeon is Seol-ran, returned from the dead to protect the ice stone.

Back in Daeho, Mu gives a smirky speech before his soul-shifting cult. Suddenly, several things happen at once. Won tells him that championing the powerless is not weak. Not at all. Yul comes crashing into Cheonbugwan, troops at his shoulder. Wook strides out of a fiery portal. And Mu’s followers vanish as if into oblivion. Alone and trembling, Mu faces Wook — who reveals he is using the ice stone to battle 78 soul-shifters across dimensions. Multi-tasking at its coolest! Wook makes no bones about it: Mu’s a jerk of epic proportions. However, he’s not here for revenge.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final) Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

He’s here to calmly gesture for Mu to walk away — straight into the path of someone whose revenge has been a long time coming. The woman Mu recognizes as Bu-yeon gestures towards what resembles an ice stone. Take it, she says. I’ll make it yours. All greed and no questions, Mu seizes the stone, allowing her to bind it to his body. Then, he twitches. Stumbles. The ice stone is empty — and, like a soul-shifter gone wild, it’ll devour his energy whole. Naksu watches, calm. She intends to waste away here too.

But an ex-assassin’s repentance is nothing in the face of a very determined turtle. As Naksu sits by the shore, her crafty, four-legged friend sends one last gift: the Jinyowon plaque. It seems her path lies in Daeho after all.

At Jeongjingak, Wook reverts to an old pattern. He sits. He drinks. He mourns. All the while, wraiths swarm. Yul, however, is determined to avert this melancholy end. Too much has been withheld from Wook and Naksu by those insistent on making choices for them. He’s decided to break the cycle and share some hard truths. To Naksu, he reveals that Mu was behind her rampage three years ago — it was not her will. To Wook, he warns that Naksu’s soul is destined to fade. But our heroes are insistent: this changes nothing. Naksu can’t let herself admit she has the right to live. Wook can’t bring himself to believe he deserves to be happy.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

The Unanimous Assembly gathers for our heroine’s announcement. She has returned, she declares, from Gwido with proof of her spiritual prowess. The Assembly are thrilled — like Mu, they see in her the perfect murder weapon. Bu-yeon, they decide, must use her powers to rip the ice stone from Wook’s body. However, when it’s Wook’s turn to stand before the Assembly, he’s beautifully indifferent to this. All he cares about is what Naksu said next. According to her, Wook has committed a grave crime. Last night, he spared a soul-shifter by feigning ignorance. This can’t stand. He must confirm the shifter’s existence — and watch it wither away. And so Wook, alive with sudden hope, turns his back on the Assembly to seek the only person whose commands he ever saw reason to follow.

Underneath the tree in Danhyanggok, our heroes reunite. Here, Wook finally greets Naksu by her rightful title: my merciless master. I’m not your master anymore, insists Naksu. I let you go. And yet — as ever, the only thing Wook does is move closer. He wraps her into a desperate hug. Slowly, she hugs him back, and soon, all is reverence and tenderness. Later, by candlelight, he kisses her eyelids, then her lips — and, heartbreakingly fervent, she kisses him back.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

But in Gwido, tensions are boiling. The queen, accompanied by the relentlessly slimy Yoon-oh, break into the prison to prise the location of the last soul ejector out of Mu. Little do they know, it’s in the queen’s own body. Plunging his hand between the queen’s ribs, Mu grasps the key to his continued survival. He smashes the soul ejector on the ground. Later, Yoon-oh emerges from Gwido: hair plastered into a very familiar style, lips curled into an even more familiar smirk. Mu is in a new body — and very much alive.

Meanwhile, our heroes try to cram as much happiness as possible into the hours remaining. At Naksu’s demand, Wook carries her bridal style over a stream — correcting the deep trauma of not being carried on her wedding night. They pick chestnuts for dinner. They fondly reminisce about that one time Naksu threw a knife at Wook. It’s only when they return to the Danhyanggok hut — the same hut of Wook’s bathtub-centric cottagecore fantasies all those episodes ago! — that Naksu reveals she didn’t return alone. After two seasons of the most chaotic decisions imaginable, Master Lee’s moral compass has finally swung in our protagonists’ favor. He’s not here to part them. He’s here to marry them.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final) Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

Our hero and heroine kneel — the latter resplendent in a flower crown I choose to believe she ordered Wook to weave for her. Naksu has gone by many names. Today, she chooses the one her parents gave her — the one by which I will be referring to her from now on — Cho Yeong. Wook and Yeong. Light and shadow. Perhaps their marriage was fate. With solemn certainty, Wook drinks his last suspicious beverage of the series. No, not chastity tea. A wedding drink. Later, the two finally ascend the Danhyanggok tree. When her last memory returns and she begins to fade, Yeong tells Wook she will warn him: fingers interlaced with his, like a promise. Her last love letter.

Disaster strikes sooner, not later. Wook wakes to find Yeong inside a magical barrier — or rather, Bu-yeon. She reveals a vision of an intractable future. The fire bird awakened. Daeho aflame. When Yeong comes back to herself, she knows it is for the last time. She hands Wook her jade charm, lacing their fingers together. Perhaps fate was against them after all. Still, says Wook, they recognized each other at first sight. They chose to love each other. And now, there is only one reply that Yeong can breathe, before she vanishes completely. I love you.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

In Daeho’s throne room, Mu rallies his newfound allies: the Unanimous Assembly and the king. All are sworn to the cause of awakening the fire bird, founding a new, immortal elite on the backs of the bodies they’ll steal. Things very rapidly spiral out of control. Won is imprisoned, his royal plaque confiscated. Mu and his allies march on Jinyowon. Catching Ho-gyeong by the throat, Mu forces Cho-yeon to open the vault, tearing the fire bird’s egg from its confines. Ho-gyeong, collapsing, orders her daughter to run. She urges Do-joo, who was caught up in the catastrophe, to hoist her into Jinyowon, where she’ll strive to restrain the escaping relics.

Jin arrives in time to see his nightmare scenario come to life: Jinyowon gaping open like a chasm, with the love of his life trapped inside. However, it is he who hesitates — and Do-joo, tears streaming down her face, who orders him to close the door. In utter despair, he does what must be done.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final) Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

Mu extends a sneering hand. Join the Unanimous Assembly, he says. Save your wife. Jin’s face falls flat as Daeho’s supposed great and good pledge to drown the world in flames. He unsheathes his sword. Ferocious, he plunges into battle, cutting down mages on all sides — but it’s not enough. He stops short as Mu plunges a sword into his back. Fallen and bleeding, Jin uses the last of his strength to place Do-joo’s wedding ring on his finger.

Wook returns, heavy with grief, to a threefold funeral. Incredibly — he brings hope. Jin, Do-joo and Ho-gyeong still live; the awakened Bu-yeon used her powers to transport them to safety. Now, it’s down to those who remain to save the world from burning. Luckily, he’s got a plan — and it’s classic Wook. Why waste energy delaying the inevitable? Don’t work hard — work smart! If the fire bird’s release is destined, then they’d best set about releasing it — and mitigate the damage.

Cho-yeon will oversee the destruction of all bird statues in Lake Gyeongcheondaeho. Dang-gu will fight. And Won will seize control of Cheongbugwan’s army. How? Using Wook’s royal plaque. After all, the limit of Wook’s ambitions was always climbing the peak of the world with Yeong. Daeho needs a king who — well, actually cares. And so Won enters the throne room, backed to the hilt by troops. It’s a gorgeous moment when he faces his father. He doesn’t order him to step down. He kindly suggests it.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final) Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

The Unanimous Assembly gather, preparing for the fire bird to stir — only to reel back as it explodes into flame. Behind them is Wook. With a gesture, the entire courtyard sets alight. Wook regards his enemies calmly. This, he says, is the world they wanted: where the strong wield even greater power. The Unanimous Assembly die screaming — but Mu, in his last moment, laughs. Either way, all leave nothing but charred corpses.

In the constellation room at Cheonbugwan, a newly-blindfolded Bu-yeon stands. Before her is Wook’s constellation plate. Wook waits on the ice of Lake Gyeongcheondaeho, where Naksu once fought Jin. With a tremendous burst of power, Bu-yeon calls forth the fire bird. It shrieks across the sky, setting tracts of land aflame. Wook jumps to meet it, and in a blaze of CGI wondrousness, slashes it backwards into a pillar of ice. With one last magical arrow, it bursts into nothing.

Bu-yeon looks on, satisfied — and collapses. Within her, Yeong hangs suspended, eyes opening. Bu-yeon smiles. The light who saved the world needs his shadow.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

One year later, Do-joo and Jin are happy in their country house, cradling twins. Nope, not theirs… and not our heroes’ either… Cho-yeon and Dang-gu’s! Still, with Do-joo’s unexpected queasiness, perhaps it’s only a matter of time. Yul, meanwhile, has returned to his first love: study. He’s running Jeongjingak on strictly meritocratic principles: anyone with magical aptitude may apply. As for Won, King of Daeho? He’s on a strict training regimen, courtesy of his teacher, Master Lee. No, it doesn’t involve chastity tea. Stop asking. He plans to marry soon, don’t you know!

But the most satisfying ending of all is that of our leads. With all the time in the world to squabble, flirt, and defy death together, they’ve become the stuff of folk tales. With her vast spiritual powers, Yeong has no intention of taking up the sword. After all, she has a hero of legend at her command. The two have embarked on a quest to chase down the lost relics of Jinyowon: Yeong tracks them, with Wook as her sword. Today, she’s found him a cat to rescue. An elephant-sized cat. Wook unsheathes his sword. Yeong’s eyes flash. And folks? That’s a wrap.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final) Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

In case it wasn’t obvious, I adore the glimpse we’re given of Wook and Yeong’s final dynamic: sword and strategist, an inseparable pair. I know there’ll be debate about whether we should have seen Yeong pick up a sword. To my mind? That’s just not who she is anymore. She isn’t a fighter; she’s a general. She plots, finds clever solutions, and dreams up ways to challenge Wook. It’s no coincidence that her powers involve vision — seeing the unexpected has always been her strength. I do wish she’d been more active pre-epilogue — not necessarily fighting, but making choices. Still, I love how Wook never cared about becoming a leader, or even a hero; it was a case of choosing action over inaction for Yeong’s sake.

As for the series as a whole? It was special in so many ways. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop thinking about Wook and Yeong; they’ll be a yardstick for any future romantic drama I see. Daeho and its characters are so vivid, and the world so vast — it makes me smile to think of our heroes exploring it together in the epilogue. And honestly? I’ll take any more content. Spin-off about Won’s epic quest to recover his lost turtle? Sign me up. Prequel exploring the doomed love between Jin Seol-ran and Seo Gyeong? I’m in. Sequel about the weird hinted romance between Yul and Yun-ok seemingly, for some reason? I… might give that one a miss. Let’s be real, though, I’m probably on board. It’s been such a beautiful journey, recapping this glorious, madcap, all-consuming series, and right now all I want to do is watch it all again.

Alchemy of Souls 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

284

Required fields are marked *

Sorry for the delay, Beanies! We’ve had some technical errors that are now resolved.

20
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was worth the wait! Thank you, @alathe 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Absolutely! Thanks @alathe for such a beautiful recap (for entire series!). Had as much fun ready as watching the show 😊

I’m off to rewatching it from beginning to end again. And this will be in my recurring drama rewatch list of all time (just as coffee prince, goong, be melo, prison playbook and a couple more!). Also I’m relieved finally Hong sisters decided not to kill of any beloved characters - it was 10 years the making after eun si kyung but I’ll take it 💜

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

*reading

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Not a thing, thanks for the update and space to discuss!

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

HAPPY ENDING HAPPY ENDING HAPPY ENDING HAPPY FOR ALL
*forgets all plot holes, etc.*
THEY’RE ACTUALLY ALL HAPPY AND ALIVE AND LIVING THEIR BEST LIVES
The older generation redeemed themselves for me. The owners of the empty coffin boxes, when faced with power to save themselves or their loved ones vs. saving the world and dying for it, chose to not be a hypocrite. Tears were shed for those marvelous actors, and I’m so glad they were saved.
And our marvelous beautiful OTP. Who knows if you still have the ice stone or are technically still a soul shifter. Live together happily to the fullest, have a beautiful baby daughter, continue to be the best fighting couple there is, and may you forever enjoy the view from the top of the tree together. You have sacrificed so much, and are now part of lore and legend yourself. I love what Jang Uk told the crown Prince: that view and company is better than anything money, power, prestige, even royalty can buy.
Thanks for the journey. I’m so glad the tragic ending of season 1 meant we had the happiest of endings for season 2. Thank you cast, crew, director, and even the Hong sisters. This was a beautiful fantasy world that I’m glad we don’t live in, but was honored to get a glimpse of.

17
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yay for the HAPPY ENDING! After several disappointing endings, I got the kind of closure I want from Alchemy of Souls 2! Thank you writer-nim!

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

YES – it's amazing how I feel like all plot holes can be forgiven because I got to see our OTP happy. That payoff covers a multitude of sins.

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow! It has come to an end. This one managed to both piss me off and equally had the ingredient that left me wanting to have one thing - the desire to have the knowledge of how it ended. I just had to see where everyone was at the time it ended.

Satisfying arcs
- Jin Mu disposing CP Won's turtle being the reason for Won turning his back indefinitely at Mu. I would eyeroll at any other reason for his backtrack but I will never question this one. Something grand need not be the reason why his alliance changed. It can also be something simple.
- CP Won personally dethroning his father.
- Jang Uk lending his royal power to CP Won after the King stripped Won of his.

Won and Jang Uk are the perfect balance and example of the King(and by extension the Royal Family) and the position used the checkmate the activities of the Royal Family. They would both work in rhyming tandem, not missing a step or stride by a millimeter.

- Dang-gu in some action at last.
- Park Jin vs Unanimous Assembly*The King. I knew he wouldn't survive so it was a bittersweet satisfying arc. Park Jin is good at what he does best, and what he puts his mind on.
- Park Jin and Kim Yeon becoming expecting parents. Keep on making those 👶👶👶ies. I wanted a wedding but I'll take this one as it is, anything for my favorite couple of the series.
- Queen Seo meeting her very end. In retrospect, her greed was her undoing at the beginning, and it stayed to once again be her undoing at the end.

A few scenarios from part 1 played out that brought back the nostalgia, panic and tears:
- The situationship that necessitated Park Jin to seal Jinyowon with Kim Do-joo in there. Did you really have to do that? I would have left AoS as an unsatisfactory viewer if Kim Yeon and Park Jin didn't get married. Kim Yeon telling him it was okay and both their voiceovers hit a sore spot.
- Jang Uk finishing off the firebird with Park Jin's signature arrow move. I wasn't expecting this but I most certainly was grateful for it, a perfect 'something I didn't know I needed'.

I don't know who I should be more disappointed in, the King or the Unanimous Assembly. For a set of people instituted in place to checkmate the powers of the King and Cheonbugwan whenever they go overboard now joining hands together to wreck evil...SMH. It is only right that they went out of existence through the channel of thier wanton greed and selfishness.

13
43
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sequel about the weird hinted romance between Yul and Yun-ok seemingly, for some reason? I… might give that one a miss.
I'll watch any other except this one. Kindly change Yun-ok. Create an alternate universe where So-i survives and I'll watch it.

14
19
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ditto. Yul & So-i 😍

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL! You are still adamant about shipping those two eh?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

What do you think😜

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Create an alternate universe where So-i survives and I'll watch it."

Let me tell you, I didn't really like her that much - if I lived in Daeho, we wouldn't hang out. But I hated her death, always wanted to see her redemption arc end with her and Yul together. He likes 'bad' girls (Naksu as an example) after all.

The doctor chick was just irritating throughout. I have already deleted her from the story in my head, anyway.

Given Yul's new meritocratic tendency... maybe have him recruit some lovely young lady with underlying magical abilities, and fall in love with her while she's training. Kind of a sweetened and lightened reverse version of the Jang Uk-Naksu storyline.

9
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

So-yi was never a good match for Yul at a fundamental moral level. Remember, we saw her torturing a gambling addict's brother to get him to turn over the family's money. While she's somewhat a tragic figure, she also did so many bad things in her life that death while trying to save him was really the only narratively adequate redemption for her. I'm glad they didn't force him into a romance at the end; managing his unrequited feelings for Naksu (and probably the PTSD they all share) by throwing himself into work feels much more appropriate to his character.

15
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, tis a fitting end for him. That Cho Yeong and Yura are working together with synergy is itself a beautiful redemptive arc -- sometimes we don't get the one we love in the way we desire them, but to be able to love and hold them in a different way -- as work partners and comrades for a common cause or passion -- "is enough". (to be said in that "Love, Actually" placard way)

On that note, So-Yi has a much richer character redemptive arc than Lady Heo. (I guess commensurable in part to the depths of redemption their characters require too)

5

I love your idea of Yul pairing off with a talented 'padiwan'. ;) A great reason to return to Daeho!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@jerrykuvira Was their romance hinted at? I thought the flowers came from a rando with a broken arm that she treated? Please correct me if I missed something!

1
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

I didn't even see it at all. I was almost not paying attention whenever Yun-ok was on screen in the finale episodes.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Their romance wasn't hinted at. It's just as you said. Just to add, the mage telling Master Heo was comparing the young man's handsomeness to Seo Yul.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ah, I see. Thank you!

0

I doubt it was Yul himself that was the hinted suitor - someone please correct me if I'm wrong but I don’t remember him ever having a broken arm, and the junior doctor told Heo Yeom it’s someone “as handsome as” Yul. Since they all know Yul very well, that seems like unnecessary obfuscation. Her lack of medical ethics in continuing to try to date patients is intact, though. 🙄

9
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Pretty sure home-girl burned her copy of the Hipocratic Oath. 😂

7

*hippocratic 😭

0

Master Heo wanted her to be the next Queen but was told she had an unnamed suitor-patient that she fixed a broken arm.

2

I had the same take. There's no real indication it's Yul. If we'd seen his arm in a cast or something, sure, but that didn't happen. All we know is the guy is as good-looking as Yul so I'm not sure where people got that it *is* Yul (unless I missed something in the Korean?).

4

NOPE. That scary theory was wholly and vehemently debunked. lol

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It’s not Yul, it’s a random broken arm guy.

MEANWHILE I want Prince Won to end up with the lady who ran the gisaeng house. Partly because I like the actress, and partly because Won isn’t crafty enough and needs someone street smart to have his back. Helps that they both have the same soft spot for Naksu and Wook.

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought she met a guy who was either as handsome as Yul or handsomer than him. I was disappointed when they didn't show this handsome guy. When presented with an opportunity to show handsome men - take it! (Also disappointed we never got to see Yul's dad, who in my mind, is a really hot guy. Would he have idol-looks like Lee Dong Wook or someone scruffy-sexy, like Son Suk-ku?).

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Park Jin fighting the Unanimous Assembly was the most badass, emotional and poignant scene for me in the finale. His ‘death’ was painful yet he ‘died’ with honour. Which is why I got pissed that I got tricked just like from a typical MCU film

17
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'd be more pained if he died and it was final. Like final final. At the point of his death, I was willing to accept any duex ex machina as long as it brought him and Kim Yeon back to life.
So if you ask me, I do not mind the trick at all. Instead, I'd be scarred if the trick never occurred. You don't know how much I was praying that Master Lee interferes somehow when it all went going down. Except he interfered when everything had went down totally.

9
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha fair enough, the scene got me so emotional that the sudden rescue blindsided me. I guess I went in with such low expectations for a happy ending (especially after season one’s cliffhanger) that everyone getting a happy fluffy ending weirded me out

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm so happy they are alive at the end, but I wish we'd gotten to see the rescue. The scene at the end of ep 9 with the coffins was just in there for dramatic effect - they did not have confirmation that any of those three were actually dead, so I felt misled a little.

8

Same as @jerrykuvira I'm willing to accept any divine intervention to have Park Jin and Kim Dojo alive.
It was painful but satisfying to see the hypothetical dilemma come true. And it's justified bliss to have them saved in extremis.

10
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree, what mattered to me and gave impact was the choice all three made to give their lives.
And Bu-Yeon/Naksu being the one to pull out her mother Lady Jin and mother-figure Kim Do-joo while Master Lee can get to Park Jin and save his life just felt fitting. You'd think people in this world would be very cautious about deciding people are dead without having a body... even with a body you have to be careful.
I did NOT enjoy how they chose to edit together some scenes in the last episode. The flow could definitely be better and I would have loved to see the rescue scenes as @jls943 mentioned. Just a couple minutes to give a real heroine scene especially to Bu-Yeon flexing those divine powers would have been great (but perhaps just not in budget? Saved all their pennies for Fire Bird scenes?)

11
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think they just ran out of time honestly. But I think they could have pulled it off with some careful editing, and if they showed the rescue, they could have gotten rid of the fake funeral scene, which might have given them a little more flexibility.

6

I was a little confused about the fake funeral since episode 10 - which is also the finale- would presumably air 24 hours after episode 9. Do we need that big of a cliffhanger/shocking scenes to keep people tuned in? As ecstatic as I am that Kim Do joo and Park Jin lived, I was initially pretty angry at being tricked like that.

4

Tbh, I was so flabbergasted that Ep9 ended with a mass funeral with three family crests on display, I really felt my giseya leave me and had to walk to the kitchen for a stiid drink.

So, I can totally live with a fake out. The relief at not having those three die just far outweighs any outrage at being played

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Apparently the actors were asked in interviews which was their favorite line in the series.

The actor playing Park Jin pointed to this speech too, and that iconic line about evil never stopping to do what it wants, yet why is virtue required to prove itself over and over again?

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That was such an iconic line! Damn.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Quoting jerrykuvira: "I don't know who I should be more disappointed in, the King or the Unanimous Assembly."

Yes, they all failed to rise to the nobility their positions required of them. I wasn't surprised by the king acting the way he did, though. We knew from Season 1—when he oh-so-casually suggested that they kill Mudeok to test if the ice stone is real and can resurrect the dead— that the king was scum.

Honestly, how Prince Won managed to turn out as upright as he is when he had that king as his father, that queen as his stepmother, and Jin Mu as his master . . . let's just say that his moral core is more unshakable than many give him credit for.

13
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

He does have an arrogant streak and when he first arrived on the scene I really didn't like him. His ego can be so fragile, which I imagine comes with the territory of being CP to a certain extent. I quickly warmed up to him though, and I think we can probably thank the eunuchs for his solid upbringing. Let's be honest his parents probably did very little to raise him (thanks goodness!).

10
reply

Required fields are marked *

CP Won is one of the many a few perfect attestation that growing up amidst the wrong kinds of people and a terrible atmosphere doesn't imply we turn out like them. One can choose the right course and stay on it.

8
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

On that note, we can say the same about Jang UK and Cho Yeong too.

Though the latter would arguably have the most drastic, extreme and arduous "return of the soul" journey arc; and that clawing back from the edge of moral darkness to light again.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The CP turning out as well as he did is another of the show's demonstrations of the power of making the right choices.

9
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I enjoyed that Won almost seemed irritated at his own habit of gravitating towards the good guys. He had a perfectly solid path to follow, and all of these people plotting in ways that didn’t impact him (though I also think the King totally intended to soul-hop into Won’s body the minute he could). But he couldn’t resist LIKING the good guys and wanting to be affiliated with them, so in the long run even though it was effortful and annoying he does end up on team righteous due to his niggling sense of right and wrong.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Jang Uk finishing off the firebird with Park Jin's signature arrow move.

And the shaft of the magical arrow was etched with the constellation design of Jang Gang's sword that had been taken away from Wook along with his right to become the next Gwanju. Another return of what was rightfully his.

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@elinor: Yes, such a nice touch. Some fan commented it was really neat that he reclaimed his father's heraldry and inheritance even before the King asked him to return as the Gwanju again.

@jerrykuvira: I also love that circularity, and visual bookending to the start and end of both seasons. It also draws a beautiful parallel to Naksu as the Fire Bird symbol of sorts (a phoenix that will rise again).

True enough, the next scene we see JSR drop into the alchemic pool, and Cho Yeong arise in resurrection.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I understand the prince reason about turning against Jun Mu because of the turtle. Pet is an extension of the owner. BY was kind to the turtle always. BY and Prince Go shares their friendship through the turtle. Uk warms the water for the turtle on the behalf of BY. To discard the turtle is to show that Jin Mu never truly cares for the prince.

6
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Jin Mu definitely waaaay overstepped his bounds. He wanted to control even what pet the Crown Prince has? What's next? The color of his underwear? The length of his fingernails? He did it to show he's in charge. Gotta get rid of people like that.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

No, he wants to control even the way our CP draws his magnificent eyebrows.

Now THAT, should cause a mutiny. LOL

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, I'm just glad he set it loose rather than sending it to the kitchen to make soup.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really liked the finale and am so happy that Uk and Yeong got their happy ending! They really deserved the best after everything they went through, the season 1 finale was so devastating that I’m so relieved it wasn’t the case here. Though I’m totally upset about the fakeout death of Kim Dojoo and Park Jin, I’m so happy they’re alive but I shed so many unnecessary tears.

Although I really would’ve liked to see Naksu pick up a sword at the end, I think it more or so comes from the fact that I felt like she was sidelined in the finale and hated how we didn’t really get to see much of her until the end.

All in all, the ending could’ve been worse so I’m content with how things have ended and loved the ending scene of Uk and Yeong working together at the end to find each relic. This dynamic is what I love most about the pairing.

Also a side note, the actor who plays Yoon Oh perfectly encapsulates Jinmu’s mannerisms, I was so shocked to how alike they sounded. Also laughing at how Jinmu changed his hairstyle and applied eyeliner in his new body 😂

22
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

I know! I was like, "Wow, Jin Mu was really in love with his look because he recreated it in his new body EXACTLY." That actor did such a good Jin Mu impression!

17
reply

Required fields are marked *

I laughed too at the scene where he appeared from the portal. This fellow brought all his beauty essentials into Gwido alright.

18
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Now I'm just imagining Jinmu doing the 10 step skin care routine after a long day of scheming. I wonder if he ever bumps into Lady Jin when buying eyeliner?

Side note: I'm disappointed they never addressed where/how Lady Jin gets her extremely modern nail art done. It was one of the show's better mysteries.

14
reply

Required fields are marked *

OMG exactly lol

I was like, woah smoky kohl-lined eyes? Serious?

This must be the upgraded iOS pathway of that last soul ejector dipped in original Choi mage blood lol

On second thoughts, maybe tis a Jin family thingy

7
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dramatic eyeliner is definitely the Jin family signature. I'm sure Master Lee has an explaination for how Jin Buyeon escaped this signature, unlike her imposter last season...

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Explanation*
😭

0

I guess the makeup artists decided the cakey foundation was distraction enough.

4

It reminded me of the W: two worlds villain hahaha

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL! I couldn't tell if he like did his makeup right on the other side of the portal (with no mirror! impressed!) or if his soul just comes with eyeliner. Sort of like how sight or non-sight comes with the soul.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You're putting ideas in my head there. I can totally see black comedy potential here.

You know how we always I.D. Naksu through her multiple personas by that unique blue light blooming in her eyes like flowers?

Perhaps the way we can track if Jin Mu's soul has shifted (in sequels lol) is if they look suspiciously like Ji Sung wannabes with these smoldering Gothic eye-lined look. 🤣

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@alathe thank you so much for the recap! I definitely need a refresher of what I just saw, especially since most of it made no sense to my tiny little brain

anyway my Unpopular Opinion of the day:
Park Jin should’ve died/ remained dead

14
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, that would've worked, too. The three of them remaining dead would've made sense and given us a bittersweet ending, but not less satisfying.

6
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

At least one of them should’ve died, of the three.

Oh, and also, the little sister opened the door! What the hell?! Major security flaw in only letting family open that door is if the coddled younger daughter has apparently never gone through the thought experiment of “what happens if hostages are taken”. Also if you open the door and the entire world burns your mom is still going to die. So…

I’m just saying she crumpled like a leaf. Useless and weak-willed right to the end, kiddo.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

THANKS for saying what I was thinking in my head!

That was a major sore point for me in the whole finale. Way more than all the other purported controversies fans quibble over (sexism, weak FL etc.)

I was frankly shocked, then disgusted, then just outright furious.

That is your ONE mission as a Jin. You don't ever open the door. EVER. You defend the vault to death, or die trying.

IF you did open the door, you should have immediately shut it back, imprisoning all the villains inside, call for Songrim emergency backup, and then work your magic from outside to get your relics to kill the folks in there (ok, call me amoral but if the whole world's survival is in the balance, what's a 20-men body count?)

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

"That is your ONE mission as a Jin. You don't ever open the door. EVER. You defend the vault to death, or die trying."

She did more to defend her father than protect the world. The excuse: she was raised as an errand girl and never a potential clan leader :( A wasted character, really. She had potential, but simply used as a plot device to give our leads their heroic moments.

5

I wanted them to either remain dead, or for the fakeout to be less misleading. Like, we could have seen Bu-yeon/Seol-ran swoop in to save Jinyowon and that could have been our first confirmation that she had taken over the body. In the end I'm happy they are all alive and well, but I would have understood if they had remained dead also. It would have been a fitting passing of the torch to the younger generation in some ways.

9
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

No, they can't die! Especially not our Park-Kim couple who hasn't even got a wedding yet.

Fans will be rioting LOL

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

You're right. The show's been stingy with showing us BY's powers. We're almost always told, not shown.

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I want a spin off focused on CP (now King) searching for his future queen while raising pet racoon or owl. I would watch 16 eps of that.

15
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol. I suddenly got a picture of a palace full of animals, and the queen will be the Daeho version of a Disney princess (aka someone surrounded by animals)

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Turtles rule!!!

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha i’d like to see Yeong interview the potential Queen!

9
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's a spin off I can be on par with.
I'd love to see him have a lot of blind dates, and end up with Ju Wol who knows everything happening in the country.

13
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, yes, Ju Wol is totally the best current choice!

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ju-Wol yaaassss! And she can quash the rumor that the King is drinking the chasti-tea

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Evil genius you! Totally something I would like to see in S3 or some AoS Expanded Universe spinoff

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

bro yes

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

A possible scenario in Daeho Expanded Universe sequel:

1) Cho Yeong shortlists her Queen consort list

2) She sets a final surprise test -- can you imagine the Queen-selection equivalent of "turn this lantern off and I will bride-snatch you"?

3) A girl steps up to the task and returns with....you GUESSED it -- our Black Turtle (last seen swimming off the Bahama beaches of Gwuido Prison)

4) That move decisively wins the heart of King Go Won (who has always had a special palace room in his heart for that smart and cute turtle)

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Whew! I'm super happy, and so relieved we got that ending! Now I can gush and nitpick with a happy heart:

Wow, Seo Yoon Oh's (actor Do Sang Woo) transformation into Jin Mu was astounding! Even his voice changed! I hope he gets bigger roles in his next shows. Looking forward to his future work!

So Master Lee hid the fact that Naksu was about to disappear because he was worried about Jang Uk having to make the decision to save Naksu's soul and eliminate Bu Yeon's, but it seems it never even crossed Uk's mind. It just isn't in his character to abuse his power. I'm so glad Yul respected and trusted Uk enough to let him know and decide his next steps for himself, as any mature adult should. It seems Yul's more mature than Master Lee in that aspect, and it's so fitting that he's the bringer of truth to our leads.

I kinda guessed before that JBY was manipulating circumstances for her own objectives, but I didn't think she would be a reincarnation of Jin Seolran. Pretty clever! I just wish the show had at least mentioned in S1 that Jinyowon was built because of the firebird. It's significance would've made more impact story-wise.

What baffled me a bit was Naksu's decision to not look for the Jinyowon Plaque and disappear in Gwido. That's too unlike the Mudeok who stubbornly sat in the rain outside the Seongrim gate. Good thing the turtle gave her the plaque, spurring her to get out of there and give Uk a way to go to her (that's very Mudeok-ish, btw. She can spin any circumstance to her advantage). Anyway, I just thought it would've been more in character for her to be stubborn about looking for the plaque in the first place.

The fake deaths were a scam!! I'm happy they're alive, but still. I'm miffed at the fakeout. Give me back my tears! (Park Jin and Maidservant Kim were phenomenally heartbreaking.)

But again, I'm just nitpicking. I'm sooo happy I'm coming out of this story with my heart full, and the freedom to watch the show again and again without trepidation. It's easily my fave show ever!!!

Soooo... Could the hunt for the escaped relics be our Season 3?!!!

14
13
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is how I feel too. There were things that I didn't like, definitely, but overall it was a story that I so overwhelmingly loved that they don't really diminish it for me. I'm so excited to rewatch!

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol, a spin-off focused on our OTP recapturing the escaped relics would be like the Friday the 13th TV series, and I would totally watch that with you.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh wow you're right! I swear I watched that show when I was a kid, but I don't remember much about it, except that it was scary. Lol

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v68GGLs5Ygo
Hilarious video summary of the finale - must watch!

And yes, "give me back my tears!" someone said they lost precious body salts because of it lol

I LURVE how Cho Yeong deliberately exposed that Jang Uk failed to hunt down the last soul-shifter because he "feigned ignorance", thus forcing his hand (and giving him the well justified excuse to come to her). His jade shimmered and he rushed to her side.

That was an unexpected variation of S1 story beat when she used her jade egg to force Jang Uk to fight the 10 duels. Hence, his first words upon greeting her were: "My merciless master." Naksu would always hold this man in her thrall lol.

5
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was frustrated that the jade eggs were never used for their ostensible primary purpose in Part 1, but props to the show for setting up expectations about them and then subverting them over and over, including their best and highest use in Part 1 being when inactive at the bottom of a pond. Part 2 more than made up for that. “I no longer have amnesia but I’m still pretending to have amnesia” is my favorite stage of any amnesia trope; after he answered the glowing egg summons, he couldn’t pretend with her anymore.

Twitter tells me he said "my poisonous master" - an even better callback to all the poisoning references in Part 1.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL - interesting take on the highest use of the jade egg as lying at the bottom of the pond! Can you elaborate why?

I liked how it was comically used for everything else except its purported purpose in S1 🤣(the most Machiavellian expediency being Uk using it as a GPS-SOS distress call for CP Won to get them out of a very hairy situation.)

Agree with you: S2 uses the jade eggs masterfully, with great subversions.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Loool at the video, brilliant! Someone tell her the prince isn't the queen's biological son. He must have a strong intelligent saint for a mom to offset the king's shortcomings (to put it nicely!).

I already rewatched eps 9 and 10, and this time it was too funny when Jang Uk said they're not dead. I was like, what the heck were you doing standing there for 5mins watching everybody crying their eyes out?!

Jang Uk wrapped around Naksu's fingers -- so fitting of a strategist. He's the sharpest sword in her arsenal.

2
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Go watch all their AoS video summaries (S1-S2) totally side-splitting 🤣🤣

"Jang Uk wrapped around Naksu's fingers" - absolutely. Just watch the last 5 mins of Ep 10 lol

As mentioned in my earlier comment:
Jang Uk may be the strongest man in Daeho summoning all elements with his Ice Stone powers. But why would Bu-Yeon need the Ice Stone, when she can summon Uk? ;)

And in a faraway land, a man who loves you slays giants and fell wraiths for you. He returns, laying their heads at your feet as war spoils.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Beautiful!

Spot on as usual ✨

0

"Jang Uk wrapped around Naksu's fingers" because the Jin clan can control ice stone relics.

2

@welh640 oooh another layer! Both Jin and Choi in BY's blood.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

My impression was the Choi clan had lesser powers than mages since they were kicked out of high society so they resorted to shamanism and sorcery instead of controlling water and nature.

1

@welh640 at the beginning of S1 ep19, Jin Mu explains that BY's immense powers were from both families, and that the first to perform AoS was mage Choi

0

It will probably take a decade to have another magical drama like this. It reminded me of Avatar the last airbender.
The Jang- Uk- crown prince bromance will forever be the best.

I'm going to take a hiatus from Korean drama until something good comes up with comedy, action and adventure!

13
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I usually don't watch Chinese shows, but this one is the exception and it was wonderful (if you can just get over the childish voice of the heroine: she becomes very mature and strong going on)
Love between Fairy and Devil. It's on Netflix and on Viki too.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Will check it out! Thanks

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Im gonna miss this otp. I miss Yeong bossiness and i will definitely miss Jang Uk loving his Naksu, Mudeok, Jin Bu Yeon and Yeong fiercely. Even tho he already regret making promise taking her on top of that tall tree for eternity 🤣. Im imaginating how Uk will deal with his plan to have only Yeong mini-me in his household, in my mind 😍

So, thank you lee jaewook, go youn jung and jung so min for making this epic love beautiful and hurtful at the same time.

6
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really enjoyed this ride for sure! It was not without bumps to my logic and bruises to my heart but overall, I am both satisfied and pleased with many of the points that this show seemed to me to be making. My fav things from how they wrapped this up (I choose to focus on the positive):
- I did not have a problem with how Naksu was portrayed in this last part of the story. The actress' choices allowed us to see how our heroine Yeong would have been both without her childhood trauma and with it. I could see the switch in vocal tone and mannerisms once her memory returned. And I found it charming that Uk fell in love with both versions.
- Master Lee seemed to me to be fairly consistent, someone really struggling to see the best course of action when so many could end up dead. After seeing that Naksu was not on the brink of petrification and murderous madness, he waited to see what Naksu would choose to become which is more than most characters were willing to give her. Even though he was really worried about it. He didn't speak or interfere much in this section of the show for fear that he would awaken memories or disturb the balance that was keeping people alive and conflict at bay. Because he doesn't have a solution and he doesn't entirely fathom Bu-Yeon/Seol-ran's plan.
- Finally get some answers to what Bu-Yeon intended this whole time, even if she couldn't foresee all of it. I makes sense to make that the soul of Seol-ran had been waiting in that ice-stone for a couple hundred years, waiting to see if she could stop her vision of the apocalypse from coming to pass. She was reborn (who knows how much she understood as a child) and ended up bringing the end of the world closer (which is always what happens to people who are trying avert fate....) She grabbed Naksu because she wanted to hide in the Shadow, sneak closer to court and try again. She knew that she needed the King's Star to have a chance of stopping the Fire Bird. And once she was done with her mission, she let go of her very long life and faded away, leaving Yeong to animate the powerful priestess heiress of the Jin. She knew and trusted Yeong with that power.
- Lady Jin, Park Jin and Kim Do-joo all willing to give their lives to save the world! To me it doesn't matter that they didn't actually die, they made their choice and offered their lives to do what was right and would protect people. I love that Lady Jin now accepts that both the great Seol-ran and Naksu/Yeong are keeping her daughter alive in a way and she is grateful for that.
- I adore Yul more and more and agree with him entirely that truth needs to be told. Hiding things does not generally help and both Uk and Naksu deserve to know the truth and make informed decisions about what to do with their time. And also Yul trusts them which I love. Yul is the best and it makes sense he goes back to become a Master teacher (please let him have a better love story; in my head I am giving him...

12
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

in my head I am giving him one worthy of the man) I also found it perfect that both Uk and Naksu gave him the same exact answer. They really are each other's mirror in many ways.
- I was so glad that my confidence in Won was accurate. His lines and attitude were too pointedly layered for him to be a selfish dupe still. He faced up to his shameful actions of the past and grew again. He is a worthy king of Daeho.
- I am glad Naksu got to decide what punishment to inflict on Jin Mu and I do think she picked a fitting one (even though it got messed up).
Part of me was happy to see our spineless Queen and slimy cousin Seo become victims of the exact same process that they were happy to inflict upon others. It was fitting. But I was also really shouting at the screen "Jin Mu, just die already!!" (I also thought he really has to change his hair and eye-makeup game if he doesnt' want to be recognized. But it was clear he had no fear of being recognised.)
- How much of Jin Mu's awfulness is deeply rooted in his hatred of his sister and all of Jinyowon? I think that is at the base of who he is and he really doesn't care at all if the world burns. Uk actually does care but I think Jin Mu took some twisted glee in thinking he had turned Uk into someone like himself, powerful person destroying to have more power.
- The theme of choosing what kind of world we want to live in really struck a chord with me. Can we stand the world really being a place where some people are deemed of less worth and fair game to be used and discarded by the powerful? It is wholly and utterly wrong. There were lots of grey areas of choices in this story (do you stop all soul-shifters because they are monsters waiting to happen?) but that one is totally clear and our heroes chose accordingly and at great personal cost.
- Yeong/Bu-Yeon (which I will still call since she will live on as that person) is now alone in that body and no longer has to worry about being a soul-shifter or in tension with two souls. She has found her home and her purpose and it doesn't bother me that it isn't with the sword. She didn't chose to become a sword mage because she wanted it, but because she needed revenge. Now she can chose more freely. And Uk will stay alive with the Ice Stone in him while his Shadow protects him from the Darkness that is attracted to the light and power inside him. He will have relief from the isolation and torment while also using that power in order to protect the world. After all the temptation and difficult questions, Uk has repeatedly chosen to use power he gains in a good way.

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

"But I was also really shouting at the screen "Jin Mu, just die already!!" (I also thought he really has to change his hair and eye-makeup game if he doesnt' want to be recognized. But it was clear he had no fear of being recognised.)"

OMG - this made me LOL.
and yes, he is like some roach who refuses to just crawl away and d-i-e.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I watched both episodes two days after they were released. Last night, I could only finish ep 9 and cried myself to sleep thinking Dojoo, Park Jin and Lady Jin had died. But after finishing the last episode (omg they really had me in the first half), my heart feels a myriad of ways.
The last episode did have its cons but the best moments overwhelm any flaws I can think of.
I started out S2 hating Jin Ho-gyeong but seeing her ready to sacrifice her life, I can no longer hold on to that grudge. It's evident that all she wanted was to protect her family and safeguard Jinyowon.
I absolutely love love love the sheer amount of foreshadowing, the trolley problem dialogue between Jin & Dojoo always felt so ominous but to see it happen was gut-wrenching. Same for the golden plaque that Wook was given only to be handed over to Go Won. I really loved how his character evolved during the course of this season. Shin Seung-ho (and his eyebrows of course) was an absolute star.
Seo Yul didn't have much presence in the last 2 episodes but it was understandable. Ep 9&10 was all about our Light & Shadow couple. And the ever-endearing bromance between Wook & Won heh.
I loved this season. Hong sisters really outdid themselves. I thought Hotel Del Luna would be my favourite show but Alchemy of Souls is daesang worthy, a gem.

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Phewww are you ok @alathe? Thank you for managing to capture everything for the weecap!

I’m just glad that all my seasons, lady with 4 names, Crown Prince and Kim Do Joo all survived and had a happy ending.
S2 felt like it lost it’s spark a little bit with the non-romantic storyline, maybe it’s a case of trying to tell too much at once, but i would probably still be in if they tell me AoS 3 is in the works. In fact i already imagined some titles for it:

AoS 3: Rise of the Dark Mages (all the kins of the dead Unanimous Assembly attacks Daeho to avenge the deaths of the old fogeys)

AoS 3: Hunt for the Lost Relic (we just continue the story of Wook n Buyeon hunting for the lost relics..and making babies while at it..haha)

11
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"It’s like one of those feel-good news stories where a labrador cuddles up to a tiger". :'D I died. Props to the best recapper, alathe always nails it.
Anyway, miscellaneous:
a) this show was altogether unexpectedly epic and coherent, and it managed NOT TO TRASH THE ENDING, which I basically expect as a given with fantasy dramas by now
b) I am a bit peeved by: not seeing Naksu's bun back; Jin Seol Ran / Bu Yeon in her child version. Ok, I know that maybe they couldn't get Jung So Min to do a cameo for some reson, but still - story-wise it is weird that she now appears in the child format, especially if she's the resurrected Seol Ran;
c) but delighted by: the OTP (ofc); CP (no need to elaborate); Wook's no-nonsense approach to soul-shifters and power-hungry soul-shifting wannabe old farts. Especially the latter bunch, I mean, he just BURNED them. Really liked that part, it kind of reminds me of the 1980's action heroes modus operandi. Just <3 <3 <3

10
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

First let me say: Thank you. Thank you to all the Beanies who were along for some or all of this epic journey, and a huge thank you to @alathe for helping us navigate this weird, wild, and wonderful story.

I was so uncompromisingly convinced that we were headed for tragedy that I honestly did not even consider that the whole thing might end happily. I kept expecting something to get snatched away at the last second, and it took me a while of jabbering at my partner (who, bless his un-shifted soul, listened and asked questions during this) to figure out how I even felt about any of it, I was just so thrown off. I think it will take some more time for me to process this completely, so for now, I’ll just share some things I loved and things I didn’t.

Things I loved. * The light and shadow images/symbolism - this is the kind of thing that I bet really rewards rewatching. I loved all the references to light and shadow, like the fact that you only have shadows when you have light, that it was Jang Uk’s light that created Cho Yeong’s shadow, that the light protects the world and the shadow protects the light. * The wedding. I loved that Cho Yeong finally chose the name she wanted to go by and therefore the identity she wanted to have, and the exchange of drinks and bows. They’ve been on such uneven footing in their relationship that it was beautiful to see them meet each other as equals in that moment. Plus we got to confirm that Master Lee is a huge softie. * The CP/Uk team-up. We were right! He was faking it! No way he was going to forgive someone for harming his turtle and no way he was going over to the dark side. Even if they do take eyebrows pretty seriously over there. (I know lots of folks were on the CP/Uk ship, but I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that by the laws of Daeho, they are first cousins, so it would be a little bit ick.) I’m also really happy with where their relationship ended up, with King Won pestering Uk to be his Gwanju. * The fact that Ho-gyeong was able to let the idea of Bu-yeon go at the end. I know that it was partly because she realized she had been Seol-ran all along, but it was still an important step forward for her to be able to admit that and to realize that she couldn’t hold onto her forever. * The beautiful bickering between our OTP at the end. It was such a gorgeous callback to how they were in Part 1, when it felt like they had all the time in the world and could just be happy being around each other. Add to that the fact that Jang Uk is back in his signature blue at the end and it was just lovely. * Cho Yeong very satisfyingly using her divine powers to kill Jin Mu - slowly. (I only wish it had stuck.)

15
13
reply

Required fields are marked *

Things I didn’t love. * The fact that it didn’t stick! It would have been such justice if she had been the one to kill him and if that had been her final kill as Naksu the assassin. They could have used ep 9 to take care of Jin Mu and then ep 10 preventing the natural disaster of the firebird and it would have let the whole thing breathe a little more, which leads me to * It was a little squished. I mean, of course it was. It was always going to be, but they could have used another episode and a half to really sort out the meat of the conflict, which was the choices Jang Uk and Cho Yeong had to make about what the right thing to do was and where that left them. Instead, we got that incredibly complex emotional moment taking up all of three minutes and as much as I love a hero who knows what the right thing is, I wanted to see the pain it caused him a bit more. * I feel a little like I was cheated out of my tears. I wish they had either killed Park Jin, Kim Do-joo, and Ho-gyeong in earnest, or shown them being saved at the last minute. Instead it was just implied that they died and then Jang Uk popped up to say that actually they hadn’t, which robbed the previous scenes of their force and made me feel like I’d been a bit lied to. It’s one thing to leave an outcome open, it’s another to tell you for sure one thing and then the other. This is another symptom of the fact that it was a bit squished. * I wanted the firebird to feel more like a group effort. There was that lovely part about the seven stars sending their light to the King’s Star, and I wish we could have seen all their powers combine to really help Uk out in a critical moment. As it was, it looked cool, but I was never worried that Uk would not come out victorious. * This is petty, but I really despise Yun-ok’s maid. And she gets to be a student mage at the end because she has good energy? Good energy for what, being terrible and bringing that out in other people? I have doubts that even kind, wise Yul can straighten her out and I wish they’d given the opportunity to someone cool, like Joo-wol.

Still, I really enjoyed this whole experience, and I’m excited to rewatch at some point and see all the little details I missed this time around. I’ll definitely come back to the weecaps too, they are some of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I suspected that nothing could change my love for the inhabitants of Daeho, and about that at least, I was correct.

14
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah I also wished they had Jin Mu has her final kill. Her walking away to let JIn Mu slowly die is just a storytelling trope. The moment you let an evildoer perish slowly, it's the moment you set them free to bring chaos again.

I would have been like "I'll let you slowly die here. psych! *stab in the head, stab in the heart*".

4
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hahaha, ruthless but effective!

I feel like walking away before your enemy is dead is at least as bad as giving a long-winded explanation of your plans before you kill them. Leaves a lot of room for escape.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

EXACTLY!
I was twisting my knickers in angst, like, shouldn't this M.O. be in your Assassin Playbook 101? "ALWAYS ascertain the death of your mark"??

But narratively, I can understand why that call was made. There *is* a deep irony and poetic justice in granting him such a fitting end.

The rapacious nature of the Ice Stone is a visual metaphor for the endless greed and ambition of Jin Mu that will ultimately destroy him too.

But that narrative call also opened the door for two more lesser villains to meet their ends in the most masterful and karmic ways (well played, Show).

It then gave Jin Mu a temporary reprieve -- only to let him be killed (again) by the other half of our OTP amist fittingly religious imagery. Burning, in a lake of hellish flames.

I felt Jang Uk has unwittingly paid it back to him on Cho Yeong/Naksu's behalf. Twice she had to witness her family perish in a burning massacre, and then her own body burned in a public pyre.

It was fitting.

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Your take has given me a new perspective on this whole thing, and I think I like this part more now. You're right that it was Jin Mu's greed and lust for power that endangered him via the devouring ice stone and our FL in the first attempt, and it was the same thing that finished him off, with a dash of not-caring-if-everyone-else-dies. I also enjoy the parallel of him eventually dying because of a burst of flames when that scene has been so traumatic in her life. Thank you!

2

Actually, come to think of it -- this really deepens the parallels between Naksu & the Fire Bird (symbol of resurrection).

Not just twice, but three times:
(i) family massacre amidst flames
(ii) her dead body burning in a pyre
(iii) the memorial service for her father & her (MD sat there in silent tears until the incense stick burnt to ashes)

Reminds me of Jesus' words: "Destroy this temple (referring to His own body), and in three days I shall raise it up."

And so it was. And so she did as well.

2

When they had the wedding in the beginning of ep 10 i kept thinking does this mean they’re dying Show??

7
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was literally expecting someone to die at any moment! I think when I rewatch it will be a whole different experience because I'll already have the knowledge that it's not a tragic ending, and in some ways I understood the whole story in those terms. I'm not upset about it, but I was very thrown off.

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yep even though last recap i said i was 99% sure they would have a happy ending i still kept waiting for the axe to fall 🫣 probably cos i had expected a happy end in S1 but got murdered instead.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree, usually an early in the episode wedding does not bode well for the longevity of one of the leads but happy we got our happy ending (especially after the crappy endings from the prior 2 Hong Sisters dramas)

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really loved the ending of Hotel Del Luna, but that's one of the reasons I was expecting tragedy. I thought that ending fit really well with the journey of the FL and I liked that they left it open for a happier ending later on. The more I think about it, the more satisfied I am with this ending, but it definitely threw me for a loop!

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Tbh, I was thinking of HDL too. I accepted the bittersweet ending and made peace with it because (i) it was very sensitively written and directed (ii) it has the contours of narrative inevitability. I cannot fault the iron-clad logic and elegance of solution.

So yes, I admit (after the fact) I was bracing myself for such an ending for AoS. So the fact that HS gave us such a happy ending is such a big deal for me. It is nothing short of exquisite grace and a Godsend.

2

IKR! it's like those "terminal disease" happy last days trope. I keep wondering if this is Show just buffering us for the inevitable bittersweet/traumatic parting later.

Thankfully, the Hong Sisters decided 2023 is gonna be the watershed year of happy endings. I mean, we fans lucked out. It's like striking the jackpot. lol

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

My earlier comment is being moderated don’t know why! But i just wanted to add i loved Wook’s line about them not being together because of fate, but because they lightened each other’s lives in their times of need. Total swoon 🥰

13
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes that was one of my favourite lines too!

That our OTP's love isn't something you can glibly chalk up as merely "fate" or "destiny". It was a conscious choice; human free will.

They chose each other, they found each other in their darkest moment when they most desperately needed each other.

That they went in with their eyes fully open (blue light and all), they knew the cost, they embraced the shadows, and they were willing to pay dearly for this love.

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought we'd be getting some action in the form of Jin Ho-gyeong vs Jin Mu but it was freaking undercut with Jin Mu suddenly attaining superspeed. Even if he would end up overpowering her as I expected of the writing without any doubt, it wouldn't hurt to give us a back and forth before he won the battle.
However, that was some show of immense power when she defended Daeho against Jinyowon's relics despite having a fatal cut to her lower body. Total respects to you Jin Ho-gyeong, great respects.
Daeho really forced gray hair out of her scalps but she came out victorious, with a few more strands to adorn her ends and edges.

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Delighted with the ending and @alathe 's brilliant recaps.
So many wonderful scenes, even the visuals for the killing of the firebird were very good. One of my favourite lines was from Wook to the Unanimous Assembly that 'this is the world they wanted'. Justice was served in the best possible way, they were destroyed by the evil they gathered to awake and wanted to unleash on innocent people.

Happy, happy ending. Maybe I should get a turtle as pet.

15
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

That line was so satisfying! The fire bird is Not so great when the ultimate power is Not in your hands right oldies?

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought the just desserts was served in a measured but masterful way. I expected something more dramatic, but it was elegantly logical.

Jin Mu's famous last words are so fitting and bitterly ironic -- he assented to what Jang Uk said.

He acknowledged that Uk was stronger than him, and therefore (rightfully) the weak (himself) shall perish. He never groveled or backed down. How consistent to the very bitter end.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

This ending made me feel all warm and fuzzy, and @alathe excellently enjoyable recapping did it again.
I am surely under a spell, for at the moment I only want to watch the drama again, and it has the highest note.

For now, I can pardon the strange law of physic that allow a gold plaque to float (the density of gold is 19.32, that very far from styrofoam) and the volcanic-clay-birds to either float on the lake or sink in the wells and canals.
Is Gwido really a prison ? Everybody goes in and out as they please.
I would have loved to see more action and development of the heroine. However, I have arrived at the conclusion that the misogyny of this drama is deliberate to create reaction in the viewers, such as in The Left Hand of Darknessby Ursula K. Le Guin. Don't destroy my illusions, we had our happy ending for all.

Such a good story, beautifully crafted and paired with sumptuous visuals and musics.
And Wook is such a delightful character. Fallible and righteous, a benchmark for all heroes.

13
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gwido truly is a prison. And entry to it is sealed if you do not access the door from Cheonbugwan, so I guess Master Seo Gyeong built Gwido just as Jin Seol-ran built Jinyowon.
Jang Uk and CP Won was able to access it because Jin Bu-yeon(Seol-ran) opened Jinyowon to and at any location she sees fit. I think Seol-ran and Gyeong alone possess the ability to enter Gwido without using the door at Cheonbugwan. We also see that Jin Bu-yeon accessed Jinyowon despite the doors sealed completely because she was the one person who designed the place.
I don't know if the same privilege extends to Master Seo Gyeong with regards to Jinyowon, still, it was kind of established that Jin Seol-ran and Seo Gyeong have the same privilege with regards to Gwido.
As for Seo Yoon-oh and Queen Seo going in, I guess it is because the door was left open at Cheonbugwan and they most likely used that door.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

They said that Jin Seol-ran is the one who created the door to Gwido. And the door wasn't left open. Before entering, Seo Yun-oh told the Queen that he got the key from someone at Cheonbugwan.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's gold foil wrapped around balsa wood, right? I wonder what Ursula would make of this Korean-flavored fantasy. Thinking she would suggest an outline first.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm happy that JangUk and Naksu ended up together.

But I did not feel any anger or danger or being overly excited with the firebird. I wish the firebird too Jinmu and talked back to JangUk.

After the show ended I'm not too eager to hash through it again!

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

* I wish the firebird took Jinmu' soul with it and transferred it to herself and talked down to JangUk.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

After previous disappointments, the Hong Sisters came through and gave us an outstanding conclusion to this drama. All the characters we loved got a happy ending and all the characters we hated were justly punished. Overall, a "crack" drama for me and now my favorate Hong Sisters drama.

11
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

At the end of ep9, that fish sauce tteok scene came to mind — ep10 was just that for me. I was 95% sure the ending was going to rip me apart inside or leave me with a fishy taste in my mouth with yet another annoying open ending. BUT, I still chose to watch it and I’m so glad I did. Overall I’m really satisfied with how it ended and like @alathe, I too have come to terms with not getting to see badA$US$ Naksu wielding her sword again. That said, it would have been nice if we got to see more episodes of her after she’s regained her memory (or that she had discovered her true identity sooner) — if only to see more of that Mudeok-ish parts of her. At the end of it all, I’m glad she got a 3rd shot at life and to do it alongside Wook is just *perfect*. On a side note, I’ve grown really fond of the actor Lee Jae Wook. Sometimes, when I’m watching some shows, I start imagining how another actor/actress would slay this or that role...but I really feel like we might not have been able to appreciate the many layers of Jang Wook if it wasn’t for LJW. He really brought the character to life.

15
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I totally agree about Lee Jae Wook.
I might even watch Extraordinary you to see him a little more, despite my reluctance to Univ drama.

6
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh no, you must. Extraordinary You was the very first drama I watched LJW in. He wasn't even the ML, and was a SL antagonist. But the aura, OMG. He is a walking force field all by himself. Very intense actor.

6
reply

Required