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Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

With his best friend’s life hanging in the balance, our hero invades Cheongbugwan, setting off a fateful political crisis. Soon, he’ll be forced to reckon with his worst enemy — and our heroine, with whether or not she can rely on his loyalty. Buckle up, folks! Things are about to get brutal.

 

EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Wook proceeds to fulfill last week’s threat masterfully. RIP to Mu’s lackey-of-all-seasons, Yeom-su — you will not be missed! However, one person does leave the room alive: Yul — still clinging to this mortal coil by a thread. Prior to his well-deserved demise, Yeom-su implicated his master. When Wook marches on Cheonbugwan, felling guards like dominoes, his friends have the perfect excuse to back him.

Daeho’s establishment would scarcely have blinked at the demise of a gutter rat like So-yi, but with a nobleman’s life on the line, it’s outright crisis. Wook stands firm in Cheonbugwan’s courtyard, threatening Mu’s life and those who protect him. This includes the Crown Prince. However, Won’s only thought is to restrain Wook from doing something rash. Inadvertently, his efforts to negotiate with Mu help Wook achieve his true objective: as Mu wriggles on the hook, he strives to bring his sister down with him.

Ho-gyeong, dragged into the only atrocity this season she truly had no hand in, resentfully brokers a solution. Yul’s salvation lies in Jinyowon; the fire bird’s power can vanquish the blood worm. She’ll happily open the gates — for the price of Bu-yeon’s freedom. It’s hard to forgive Wook for what he does next. Without a flicker of hesitation… he agrees.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Bu-yeon is no fool. Her next meeting with Wook is fraught with painful subtext. She wants to help, she insists. Not for Wook’s sake. For Yul’s. Blinkered by worry, Wook ignores the opening. But for all that he tells himself it’s necessary — that it’s selfish to keep her by his side — it doesn’t change the fact that Bu-yeon knows what he did. He chose to abandon her.

Our heroes assemble to plot Yul’s rescue, Mission Impossible style. The plan is to transfer the blood worm — gorged energy and all — to Jinyowon, where the fire bird will purge the parasite. They mustn’t break the fire bird’s barrier; instead, they’ll extend it with a ring of gold. That’s easy: Wook has amassed an entirely useless fortune via widespread soul-shifter slaughter. More pertinently, Yul can’t be moved. A proxy with Jin blood must carry his energy, via Soul Lantern water wick.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

The proposed carrier is Cho-yeon, which proves… problematic. Energy transferal may cause side effects if pregnant. She won’t take the risk — not after a wild night spent in secret with Dang-gu! And so it is Bu-yeon, with her tragically unconsummated marriage, who agrees to hold the water wick in her mouth. She and Wook travel to Jinyowon, where Won waits.

Much of this plan hinges on the impossible: Won and Wook’s peaceful cooperation. With Yul’s life quite literally between her teeth, Bu-yeon can’t utter a peep. It’s the perfect formula for a truly unhinged comedy of errors. Bu-yeon descends. Won’s eyebrows skyrocket in opposite directions. Turtle Shaman? Bu-yeon’s eyes widen in earnest bafflement. Eunuch Go?? Everyone takes a moment to awkwardly disentangle who everyone else is, and precisely how a turtle got involved.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Won lifts Bu-yeon into the circle, chivalrously insisting that if she still hasn’t sourced a room of her own (Bu-yeon shrugs, mournfully) — well, guess where you can find lots of rooms? Palaces! And he just happens to own one! Bu-yeon glows. Wook glowers. Miraculously, they then remember they’re here to perform a ritual. Wook makes the fire bird’s energy flare, suffusing Bu-yeon’s body. Cutting into her arm, Won extracts the parasite. Shaken but unharmed, Bu-yeon allows Wook to very pointedly lift her back to safety. (The crown prince raises his own arms, expectantly.) (He is ignored.)

Bu-yeon returns to Yul’s sickbed. At Yeom’s insistence, she leans close, pressing her lips to his. The energy travels back to its source — and Yul draws breath.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

In the aftermath, a series of unfortunate realizations are made. Mu — incensed that Won likes soft, useless things like turtles, rather than proper, royal things like manipulation and revenge — attempts to sway him back to the fold. He tells Won exactly why Wook is the King’s Star. Meanwhile, Yul confronts Master Lee. Serenely, Daeho’s most inscrutable meddler reveals that the original Bu-yeon’s soul was never gone. When Naksu recovers her memories, Bu-yeon will repossess her body — destroying Naksu for good.

Elsewhere, Bu-yeon faces the fallout of Wook’s betrayal. Did he think she was stupid? She chose to go back. Maybe she is useless to Wook. Still, you can miss a brazier even in the summer. But Wook’s response is icy: perhaps, he snaps, I’ll miss you when it’s cold. Bu-yeon’s temper flares. Fine, she says. Freeze to death alone. Later — and very alone indeed — Wook regresses to an old routine. He sits. (Will Bu-yeon be all right?) He remembers. (Could he find an excuse to see her?) He mourns. (Doesn’t she belong by his side?) All the while, the Jinyowon lamp flickers.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

When Bu-yeon visits Songrim, he’s there. The lantern, he explains, is out of its mind. He’s out of his mind. Does she think he abandoned her because she’s useless? He had wanted her to kill him, not keep him warm. Now? He’s sorry. He’s grateful. When the lantern is on, he’s sane, and he knows she must return. But, when it flickers out… he pines.

Bu-yeon steps closer. She breathes out a puff of air. I turned it off, she says. A second later, the two are kissing so fiercely it’s like they never intend to part.

It’s a mind-blowing kiss. It’s sizzling, and desperate, and Bu-yeon’s outer jacket is very nearly removed. But before our heroes can thoroughly scandalize any passing Songrim students, Wook recalls himself. They’ve got a promise to break. When Bu-yeon protests, he grins, lifts her onto the desk, kneels before her… and insists he’ll win over her mother.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

As they leave hand in hand, giddily flirting, Bu-yeon recalls the first time they met. She knew the moment she saw him. He was her husband. The two smile — then freeze. Both remember Wook’s words to Mu-deok. I knew the moment I saw you. You are my master. For a moment, there is agonizing silence. Then, Bu-yeon says something that stops my heart. I don’t mind that you didn’t recognize me. This time, I recognized you first. The two stand on the precipice of the truth — but they refuse to fall.

Later, Yul, burdened with fresh knowledge, takes a sledgehammer to Bu-yeon’s happiness. You and Wook, he informs her bluntly, will cause each other pain. Bu-yeon flinches as fresh memories assault her. Go to Danhyanggok, Yul commands, and you’ll learn why. But Bu-yeon won’t give in. She pleads for him to let her be foolish, just a little longer. And so, Yul promises her time. True to his word, he approaches Ho-gyeong, armed with the truth: that soon, the real Bu-yeon will triumph. Knowing this, won’t she let Naksu be?

Wook faces his own unwelcome collision with reality. Won has sent his royal medallion, insisting that they must speak. As he shrugs on fresh robes, Bu-yeon enters. She spots the bright scar on his chest that, in another life, was her parting gift. Wook watches her, carefully. He doesn’t know why Naksu did it. And Bu-yeon refuses to remember. Wook pulls her into a hug, urging her to wait for him — he’ll return to her side.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Won stares at the turtle enclosure. Ever since Mu visited, it’s been suspiciously empty. Gravely, he prepares to issue Wook with an ultimatum. If Wook truly doesn’t intend to fight him for the throne, then he will retreat to the North Fortress. Still, even as Wook publicly declares his intention to leave — even as Won sits down for tea and scheming with Mu — Won glances towards the turtle’s deserted terrarium. There’s a skeptical slant to those magnificent eyebrows.

Meanwhile, it’s Yun-ok’s turn to meddle. During Yul’s illness, she stumbled upon the letter revealing Naksu’s identity, and immediately decided to make it her business. Sadly cementing her degeneration into Generic Jealous Villain #10003, Yun-ok forces Bu-yeon to face the truth. Luring her to the Forest of Brooding, Yun-ok splashes Bu-yeon with a medicine designed to reveal hidden scars — including the soul-shifter’s mark. As Bu-yeon washes her face in the stream, she watches her eyes bloom blue.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

The trickle of memories swells to a tide. Bu-yeon finally makes her way to Danhyanggok. The tree looms before her. Her eyes well up as gold mist surges, and she finds herself facing — Bu-yeon. The original. It’s a shame, the blind girl tells her. You’ll have to leave this body soon. As she faces the soul that will soon be her destruction, Naksu finally lets a tear shed.

She finds herself sitting outside Chwiseonru, where she and Wook first met. Where Wook first proposed. And, of course, it is here that he finds her, having waited and searched. I know who I am, she tells him. And I can no longer wait for you. There was a man I cared for. I liked him more than he liked me — and I hurt him, gravely. Jang Wook, she says, in a tone that is pure Naksu, turn the light back on.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

It’s Wook’s turn to be viciously jealous — of himself. To agonize, and rant, and feel useless as a brazier on a hot day. But, as ever, he is resolute in his devotion. He stands outside Jinyowon, where Naksu intends to fade in silence, waiting. And, when he spies her watching him leave — he sneaks in to see her. I’m not confused, or crazy, he insists. I just like you. If destiny has decreed that he be the brazier — then, very well! He’ll be the brazier!

As Wook prepares to retreat north, Yul demands an explanation from Master Lee. Why not tell him the truth? Because, says Master Lee, if Wook wanted, he could save Naksu — by killing Bu-yeon’s soul. He wished to spare him the agony of choice. Frankly, this is optimistic: I doubt Jang “I’d burn the world twice over for Naksu!” Wook would even hesitate. Anyway, a glimmer of hope remains… in the unlikely form of a truant turtle. In the strangest twist yet, we learn that Won’s pet is a powerful creature that guides those who’ve lost their way. This time, it has alighted on Naksu.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Meanwhile, Team Evil — of whom Won is, alarmingly, an acting member — force a confrontation with Ho-gyeong. Mu seeks to destroy her position as head of Jinyowon, on the basis of her graying hair and dwindling powers. Now that’s cheek, coming from a man whose head is entirely silver. Hearing this snaps Naksu out of her depression. She decides to act.

It’s a delicious moment. Memories recovered, dignity repaired, and turtle in hand, Naksu strides into Cheongbugwan, declaring that she will take over Jinyowon. Slimy as ever, Mu insists upon a test of her divine powers. He casts Jinyowon’s plaque into Cheonbugwan’s labyrinthine prison. If she can retrieve it, he’ll acknowledge her position.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

Passing through the doorway, Naksu emerges in a forest surrounded by sea. It’s all she can do to follow her guide, the turtle… very slowly. Soon, she stumbles not on the plaque, but on a skeleton — whose ribs contain what seems to be an ice stone. Just as she reaches for it, she’s forced back. One of the prison’s resident wraiths comes careening towards her, sending her stumbling back down the path. As she’s backed against a tree, she throws up her hands — only to be met with nothing. Wook’s sword has already swept it away.

He’s here. She looks at him, stunned. He looks back. And, seeing the blue marks surface in her eyes, he asks — who are you?

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8 Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

This week saw the return of so many things that thrilled me in Part 1. There’s Wook’s impossible devotion, the way he will always, always return to Naksu: his ability to spit in the face of noble idiocy and say, not today! And as for Naksu — be still my heart. She’s back! Go Yoon-jung’s performance is flawless. She has the same calculating, almost hungry stare, the same unwavering tone of command — all braided together with Bu-yeon’s vulnerability and gorgeously soulful expressions.

Fate is inexorable, and our protagonists are running out the clock. The tragedy of this drama is one of time. Bu-yeon never got that room of her own — just the realization that she needed one. Our leads never got their first marriage — just the promise of one. And Alchemy of Souls had the space of another season — but ten episodes hardly feel enough for this story to explore its new vistas of character and plot. All our protagonists can do is revel in those stolen moments where the light flickers out. And, much as I’d love to wallow in the world of Daeho forever, I cannot wait for the sheer scope of what the Hong sisters will achieve next week. In this drama, one episode has always been a world of time. Whether Wook and Naksu’s story will be open-ended, or a series of intense moments snatched breathlessly from the jaws of death, it’ll have been worth it every step of the way.

Alchemy of Souls: Episodes 7-8

 
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Jang Uk swooping in at the last minute to swipe danger away with a sword or a blast of energy is always my favorite thing. I would be completely fine if at least one of those was included in every single episode. That said, our poor, poor OTP. Of course it was always going to be this way. As soon as they reached a point of mutual understanding, as soon as they finally communicated and were honest with themselves and each other, as soon as the dust from one disaster begins to settle, they get ripped apart again. I could have done without the noble idiocy on her part (I kept shouting at my tv, “Just look at her Uk! Surely you are close enough to see her eyes!”), but I’m glad it didn’t last long. I don’t have any idea how Uk will react in the next episode because it’s so hard to imagine what an appropriate reaction would even be. He’s made so much progress in the last few episodes and it feels like the whole thing could unravel so quickly.

I’m not mad about how Yun-ok has turned out, but I am disappointed. In part 1, I thought of her as an interesting character and was excited to see how things would turn out for her in part 2, but she’s become so bitter. I thought her devotion to/interest in Jang Uk was endearing in part 1, but three years of watching him be desperately, tragically, hopelessly in love with someone else has turned her into someone else. I think I would mind it more if it didn’t feel so logical. I can’t help but think that she is a pretty realistic depiction of someone in those circumstances. It’s made her vengeful and underhanded when she used to be kind and warm. Certainly there are other ways that she could have reacted to the situation, but honestly (and unfortunately) this feels like a believable one to me. I know that others will be angry that this is the direction her story went, but I’m mostly just mad at the character herself. She has told herself that she is doing these things (reading letters, throwing medicine on people, generally being a loose cannon on deck) to save Uk from pain, but really she is doing them out of spite and jealousy. Her blindly loyal and decidedly annoying maid is, if anything, worse, and the less I can have her on my screen, the happier I will be.

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I'm really pissed at Yun-ok too. What exactly made her a candidate to read Yul's sealed letter? They had no prior relationship of any sort.
But then, her actions moved the plot forward in a manner I didn't expect to happen. She's not entering my good book though. Her pining when she'll not even be getting breadcrumbs is patronizing. 'Grow out of it. It's unhealthy'.

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I'm low-key shipping Yun-ok with Jin Mu now - and may they sail straight over a thousand-foot waterfall. They've both become caricatures when they could have been so much more interesting.

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Hahaha I'm so here for that ship and Waterfall of Wasted Potential

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lol when you first mentioned Yun-ok’s name I had no idea who you were talking about. That’s how uninteresting and insignificant she is on the show

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Me too! I was all, “ Yun-ok who? Oh yeah, her.”

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I learnt her name not from the show, but from people complaining about her in the comments lol

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😂😂🤣

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I loved how straightforward Heo Yeom was to her! He is so over it. "Don't even be curious about him!" I want to grab a drink with him and complain about her childish behavior.

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I had thought that Yun-Ok might be a potential partner for CP Won - even now, that might be a possibility if they both redeem themselves and find their way back on track? They've both been seduced by the dark side of jealousy and insecurity but they are still good people inside. I'm actually more annoyed by her maid, who is just a mean girl. She can be sacrificed.

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So far, so many people have been paired or entangled with CP Won :)
- Cho-yeon in part 1
- Mu-deok in the love square in part 1
- The Turtle Shaman Bu-yeon in part 2
- And now Yun-ok you're pairing him with Yun-ok.

What a track record worthy of an heir apparent ;)

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It's a truth universally acknowledged that a kdrama crown prince in possession of a good fortune must be in need of a pairing (or many pairings). Or maybe I think he's in competition with Jang Uk's 6 (7?) broken engagements....

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I feel Won also needs to be paired with Wook. I feel like they have a low-low-key boys love thing going on. Won was the original holder of the love egg. Wook totally pretended to leave the prince behind the gold barrier and then went back for him. And "How did she mistake you for a eunuch" sounds like a total come-on.

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Whaat you’re forgetting the CP & Uk pairing/ship! 😁

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@ar you described their relationship perfectly! Also you’re making my heart flutter again ~

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@ar and the CP getting excited thinking Wook saved the turtle for him.

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remember Ju-wol's grand introduction of the Four Most Eligible bachelors in Daeho to Bu-Yeon in the S2 pilot?

CP Won is Candidate #1 lol. Enuff said.

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Ugh, I know. The maid has no place in my imagined ending. She just encourages all the worst parts of Yun-ok.

I'm still open to redemptive actions from Yun-ok, but it better be something big.

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The maid is just a snot who hasn't been trained better to keep her place. Granted, she's a plot piece, but not a well placed one. She should have been acting like the Secretaries in Cinderella and the Four Knights, or Goblin. Funny, sometimes smug, and always clever. She should have been busting Yun-ok chops to move on.

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"What exactly made her a candidate to read Yul's sealed letter?"

There's a law in kdramaland. Everyone is required to snoop thru other people's private papers when they get a chance.

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I hadn't considered Yun-ok's behaviour in the context of seeing Jang Uk for three years, I think it'll help me be slightly less frustrated on rewatch - thanks!

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Yeah she's incredibly frustrating, but I also can't imagine how painful it's been to watch the person you like betrayed to that extent and then see him casually brooding all over Songrim for three years. I can understand her more for her behavior after she learns Bu-yeon's identity, though I'm still frustrated with her for how she's behaved the rest of the time. That, I think, was just classically territorial behavior. Bleh.

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It's not just three years of watching Jang Uk give her the cold shoulder, but three years of seeing Jang Uk suffer and believing that Naksu had planned this betrayal all along. But yeah, the treatment her character received this season, while realistic, feels very much like a waste. Then again, we are seeing many contrasts this season. Just sucks that we're back to bashing the convenient jealous jilted woman.

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I agree it's a bit cliche, but at least in this case I can see how she got here - they didn't just make her bitter out of nowhere like some second FLs. Good point about believing Naksu had planned the betrayal from the start. I keep forgetting that almost no one (besides us) knows what really happened that day.

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I don't see how Naksu committed any betrayal. She was always under the control of others until she, herself, was betrayed.

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Yes, but apart from JM, and possibly CP, no one else actually knows that, though it seems the revelation will come in the final two episodes.

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Second that. Even Uk himself said that to Bu-Yeon when she saw his stab wound (when he was undressed): "People said she did it to avenge her family."

Like it or not, Naksu's reputation went from fearsome/criminal to outright notorious after this incident. So to a degree, Lady Heo's fears and suspicions are not entirely unjustified.

So yes, I may not agree with Lady Heo's behaviour BUT I can understand it. And to be fair to her, she did qualify before doing her forensic expose ("I am a physician, I would never harm a person.")

She told Seo Yul she merely wanted Naksu to leave on her own accord after knowing her true identity.

Not the nicest kindest way to do it, but yeah I can understand.

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If you'd told me before the season started that the amnesia would last for 8 episodes and I'd be on board with it, I wouldn't have believed it.

As much as I wished it was revealed earlier, I absolutely love that Jang Uk fell for JB/Naksu while mourning/healing and had a chance to make that clear to her before he found out who she really was. I'm not sure if I'll still feel like this once the seasons over, but I'm trying to see and love the season for what it is (and there's so so much I've unexpectedly enjoyed) and not in comparison to what I wanted it to be.

I can't wait till next week but I'm also not ready for it to end. Though I'll probably just go back to S1 ep 1 as soon as I'm done which I think will help... For me, its been one of the most rewatchable dramas ever

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I think this is the best philosophy for enjoying dramas in general. Expectations suck enjoyment out of so many shows sometimes. This show is so fundamentally about our central love story and dealing with past events, so I understand why some people who were expecting something different aren't into it. But what the show is doing, I think its doing really well, and I agree it might be one of the most rewatchable dramas I've ever come across!

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I'm not a re-watcher in general, but I have watched each episode this season twice already, and know I will come back to these 10 episodes time and again. I've also loved watching JU fall for Naksu all over again, and am glad I didn't know going in that the amnesia plot would last almost until the end. I would have been annoyed anticipating that, but it allowed the love story to be the entire story this season which I've personally found extremely compelling.

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The amnesia also allowed UK the time he needed to grieve over Mudeok and it allowed us to grieve, too. I know how disappointed I would have been if he had jumped right into the arms of BuYeon at the beginning of the season. There was almost an anger he was showing whenever BuYeon seemed to remember things that would sound/seem like MuDeok. Uk needed to resist any other woman to be able to give his love of MuDeok/Naksu the honor and depth it made in his heart.

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Totally.

We both (Uk and viewers) need that space and time to grieve for what we have irrevocably lost in S1, before we can embrace this iteration of Naksu in S2.

The anger that he shows is the same anger that many fans have expressed as they struggle to honour their own cherished memories of S1's epic love story (whilst rejecting the new woman in town lol).

But I agree with everyone that I actually am glad he fell in love with her before finding out THIS is THAT, one and the same.

His reasons are so realistic and simple that they border on moving:
1) She helps him face his grief and memories that he did not dare to even speak about;
2) She helps him to sleep in peace when he never thought he could again;
3) He could hold her hand when this simple gesture is such a trauma trigger because of the deep significance it held for the lovers

In short, she helped him want to live again. He stops wanting to kill himself. and THAT, is a great deal.

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@dncingemma: Thanks for your kind kind words! Not embarrassing at all. It totally brightens my day here (where it's raining outside my window) LOL

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I deleted my comment as didn’t want to appear insincere but I genuinely enjoy and appreciate your comments. I hope the weather improves soon!

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On Waiting l The Use & Uselessness of Love:

I used to remember my Lit Prof saying:
The classical definition of comedy is things happening at the right time, in the nick of time etc.

Therefore by inference, the definition of tragedy is things happening out of time, either too early or too late.

A lot of the angst-filled waiting for star-crossed lovers arc is really about the timing not synching up.

The writers have always straddled that delicate line to prolong that angst without tipping into melodrama or misery and then wrest us back into safe ground again with light comic relief. SO I trust the Hong Sisters to pull through for us!
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On Love & Utility (or the lack thereof):

Best declaration of love by Uk in S2: "I shall be your brazier in summer then!"

This is either a growth arc (or plain comic comeuppance) for our hero here.

From S1, the T&C of our OTP relationship has always been framed around the idea of "use/usefulness".

S1:
Naksu to Uk: "Be my Lake Gyeongcheongdaeho!"
Uk to Naksu: "You are useless now. Just like me." (when she could not unsheathe her sword)

S2:
Naksu to Uk: "Though I do wish you would come back for me, in spite of the fact that I am of no use to you." (when he bride-snatched at the Unanimous Assembly, the 2nd time)
Uk to Naksu: "You thought I abandoned you because you are useless to me."

Now, he is willing to be the most useless gratuitous item in the wrong season
A brazier in summer, waiting just waiting, until the season of his element, until winter, to be ablaze again for a freezing lover.

Burn away, Jang Uk. Burn for your love.

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Completely agree, I think that's a huge part of my I'm okay with the amnesia lasting for as long as it did, it added meaning to the original story we all loved as well as adding emotional depth to Jang Uk's eventual acceptance of how he felt - the passage of time was needed.

It reminds me of how I felt about the break between part one and two - it was painful and I disliked the idea of it, but ultimately made the story more effective in showing the passing of time. It did for me antw9, I think I'd have had trouble internalising 3 years had actually passed without some time in between the actual episodes.

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Yes, waiting and the passage of time.

“Am I in love? – yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn't wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover's fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.” ― Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse: Fragments

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On Amnesia:

I know some irate fans reserved nothing but bitter vitriol for this trope in S2 BUT today a thought came to mind! I hope it can help assuage some unhappiness about the narrative choices made.

(a) Amnesia OR Tabula Rasa:
Strictly speaking, Naksu2.0 straddles both grounds. But because we frame her "memory loss" as amnesia, we process her characterization through the usual lens of how we understand drama-land amnesia. And therefore she carries this unfair burden of mismatched expectations.

IRL, amnesiac folks do still retain their skillset, general knowledge and personality. But Naksu2.0 has lost far FAR more (and God knows what Master Lee erased from her; maybe assassin skills?)

In this respect, she is like a Tabula Rasa. Thinking of her like a 3-year-old may not be that far from truth. That is also why Douchebag Uncle Seo & the slimy mages called her "daft". She isn't. Cut her some slack?

(b) She being a "Blank Slate" achieves one very key narrative objective in S2 which didn't strike me until now.

Without any emotional baggage or prior knowledge of the "#1 Taboo Subject to be Avoided" in Daeho, Naksu2.0 is practically fearless in battering down the fortified door of his heart.

She slays sacred cows in conversations. She voices things that no one, absolutely NO one dared to in front of Uk-- for the past three years.

In short, this trope absolutely short-fuses the recovery of Uk from grief. In record time. And accomplished something no one else could -- not even his closest and dearest kin. Simply because no one in their right mind could/would dare do it.

You need a blank slate, a zero to start afresh (just like her real name: Cho "Yeong" meaning, zero).

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Also, did Jin Mu learn his evil laugh from cartoons? I had to pause to laugh, possibly the only time I've had anything other than a scowl on my face while he's been on screen.

Wishing for his painful death next week

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seconded!

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Snidely Whiplash, if you remember Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.

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In giant strides, Alchemy of Souls is becoming my reluctant bean to begin the year. I read the memo, I know what I signed up for - a love story majorly, and a fantasy. If only the time spent on conflicted love emotions, assuring and unassuring and reassuring and unreassuring Bu-yeon and Jang Uk's love is devoted to moving the plot forward or developing them as characters individually, or even the secondary characters in the movie, would it have been different? At this point I wish we had more of the Unanimous Assembly and Royal Court scenes where they do their political nitpicking to replace the excess sugar. There are other plot points that need to be taken care of. I know they love each other to the moon and back.

Here I was cheering as Naksu took it upon herself to defend Jinyowon and take a dangerous risk. Alas! Tada!! Who shows up to save the day? Can I stop having that. It takes away necessary growth.

And they've basically relegated the rest of the Four Seasons to the third wheel. Even if they do not share equal screentime give them something contributing to do, not just to chip in here and there or some explanation of some sorts, like get into the action.

The level of audacity the Hong sisters give Jin Mu is becoming a cartoonish and Jin Mu is becoming cartoonish himself. His fall will become our regular everything comes crashing down right when the power trip was at the highest. How many more power trips from the Hong sisters will I have to sit through?
How do you threaten Jinyowon, to the point of asking Ho-gyeong to surrender Jinyowon's gold plaque, questioning her efficacy and strength, pointing to her lines of gray hair, gray hair that became prominent while she was forced to save your ass. What if she used the plaque to reject the King's order then? Where would he be? In Seoho dungeons I believe. And now he's threatening to the point that Jinyowon's leader starts to fret. I laugh and shake my head at whosoever is in the writing room deciding what next he's going to do. Request that the right to convene the Unanimous Assembly at any point be transfered to Cheonbugwan.

CP Won is really a disappointment. I get his renewed insecurities but I'm still disappointed. I wish that the turtle does some magic trick and brings back our good guy.

'Heroic bow out So-i'. Even after the end, she was not separated from her symbol of light - the umbrella.

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I'm about 99% sure that CP is faking it, in cahoots with Uk.

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Yeah. That'll explain how he ended up coming through in the Gwigu realm.
But I'm not hoping and do not wish that it is a fakeout. I hoping the CP had a sudden change of heart on the spot, and Uk disobeyed the royal order he had earlier agreed to follow through.

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Don't know, to me it just seems like super obvious, ever since they introduced CP as a character I never once thought that he would become evil, and I feel that the show is actually showing that, even if it's unintentionally. I feel like they're showing: "see, he is in a position where a person COULD turn evil, but it just won't happen with this guy. Not with these eyebrows." Ofc, I could be wrong.

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@turka No lie, between Uk and CP I'm swooning all episode long. 😍

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I never thought he'd become evil. This is someone I really liked in part 1 for his objectiveness despite his sweet arrogance, which he should have of course. I came to the conclusion that CP Won will be the ruler who has a relationship that purely formalities between the Royal Family and the major families of the Unanimous Assembly who have thier roots in the Capital. And I didn't even come to the conclusion first, CP Won was the one who pushed for it with his actions in part 1.

So while he was very guilty for how his relationship with Uk and by extension the F4 got soiled, I loved that he paid the price. He lost one of the things he cherish and wished to adopt in his rule - friendship with the mages. But that didn't stop him from calling Uk to order in ep 5 and I like him for that. It only instilled more confidence in him.

But to see him falter yet another time in quick succession right after I thought he is finally leaving Mu's shadow, I understand him, I get his insecurities, I know he won't get to the point of no return - his actions have shown that time and time again. Still, I am equally disappointed. We are back at part 1 ep 18 when he turned bad guys on Uk and Naksu and he's repeating the same thing, except this time he might not follow through to the end.

Jang Uk freaking let him take on the identity of the King's star without any machinations from Uk's side whatsoever and no one knows the truth till tomorrow except for a few. So why does he think he can't trust Uk on this one? 'You can falter for a moment, yes I understand. But you should get right back up'.
Does he think Park Jin will ever allow Uk lay claims to the throne while he is still breathing? Or Kim Yeon? I don't know of Hemp Master Lee cause that guy is very inconsistent, vague and loves ambiguity.

There are so many things that reassures CP Won that Jang Uk won't go overboard - Jang Uk himself, the people Jang Uk wants to protect, the people who love Uk but will use their very dying breath to resist him if ever he tries to actualize the notion of being Daeho's ruler. I'm disappointed he's not thinking about these things to placate his renewed insecurity, instead he's letting My get into his head more and more. I get his anger at Mu taking away his Turtle head being a lingering point but it doesn't mask my disappointment at all.

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It’s hilarious that the CP’s eyebrows is such a defining feature for him 😂
Meanwhile, i’ve been distracted by Buyeon’s disappearing eyebrows.

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'Not with these eyebrows.` LOL love that, this line will be in my head when it's 'revealed' he's actually good

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He’s saving Miss Turtle! Jin Mu really got him riled!

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I also think the CP is faking being aligned with Jin Mu. I don't know whether he's conspiring with UK. When Jin Mu tells him that Uk only fights to protect people, I thought the CP acknowledged that like it was a good thing. He has good energy.

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Yes, there was a scene in Episode 5 where the Prince tried to say his deal with Mu ended three years earlier, and Mu threatened to tell Uk the truth about the CP's deal with Mu if their deal is over.

I remember watching that scene and thinking that the Prince has finally realized that the only way to stop Jin Mu is to kill him. That scene, plus the Prince's barely concealed displeasure at losing his turtle, makes me think he's playing Jin Mu.

We also don't know what the CP and Uk talked about when Uk went back to Jinyowon to help the prince out of the wall of gold around the firebird.

Plus, Buyeon can't be wrong when she says the CP has a "warm heart"?

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Agreed and I felt Jin Mu kept trying to test where Prince Won’s loyalty lay, and for sure CP noticed this. Also his look of guilt when he saw Bu-yeon, all feels like he playing double agent to me

But can I also gush how we’re finally getting the sassy S1 Naksu back! Her sharp pointed look of displeasure at CP made giddy with delight. She’s back finally!

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Yes, that side-eye was awesome. haha!

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Especially with Uk so obediently taking up that post at the Northern Fortress.

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More precisely, pretending to while he circles around, lulling Jin Mu into a false sense of security.

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Exactly.

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So much so I fully expected a , "Hold my turtle" moment before our heroine entered the Guido.., er rather the Gwido thingy.

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Didn't you say to yourself -- yet one more plot that is depending on the deus ex testudines.

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🤣🤣🤣

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Laughing loudly while watching the first minutes of ep 9 as I recall your deus ex testudines comment.
If turtles could talk....

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Actually I was thinking of you as a scientist when I was looking up the taxonomy of turtles!

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Apparently Daeho doesn't use that slang, hehe.

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Confirm they are in this scheme together.

There is this shot in trailer where they close up on the hemline of Uk's robes as he strides off to carry out the King's order to guard the North Fortress.

His hemline of his inner robe is peeking out: it is BLUE! That signifies that his fighting spirit is back, and this is war

It is also a STEALTH OP, (hence hidden in inner robe under his black somber clothes). So yes, they are just putting on a grand pretense to out-maneuver the sly Rat-face.

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It's sad that I'll be going into the finale with no hopes or expectations of any sort. I am just expecting Park Jin and Kim Yeon's wedding to occur onscreen, and a possibly nice place to wrap up Dang-gu and Cho-yeon's romance. Even if nothing, these two romantic stories deserve a proper ending and are a parting gift gift well deserved.

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1) Yes, a wedding is in order! with fireworks and (hopefully) festive cuisine that doesn't poison half the Daeho populace

2) Dang-gu and Cho-Yeon will go house-hunting (again) for their bridal home midway between Jinyowon and Songrim (again) and then end up having a hot quickie (this time, onscreen). They pop a kid before he gets a nephew from Uncle Park Jin.

3) The turtle to come under PETA animal protection, please.

4) I still want my OTP to climb their tree. INSIST.

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Uk finally wails his anger at Jin Mu’s minions. But the blood parasite removal did not come across as that dangerous or difficult. It just fizzled out with no ramifications. During the process, the disturbing and demeaning part of it was BY was basically told to shut up and do what she was told.

I was right that two souls reside in BY’s body, but Master Lee saying BY is just feeding off Naksu’s energy until her own soul is revived seems wrong. I still believe BY captured Naksu’s soul to complete herself; to take Naksu's traits, skills and personality to become the person she wanted to be: strong, independent and not an object controlled by others, including her mother. Uk is denser than Lord Park when it comes to romance, since he still doesn’t know BY is Mudeok (which is a conundrum when BY’s soul recovers to become dominant - - - will not her face change back?) It seems the lantern going on and off was all Uk’s doing as if he was flicking a light switch in his heart to finally realize he loves, supports and needs BY. Where did Uk get Jin power? Or does the ice stone trump all?

I also found interesting that BY’s recovered memories came when touches someone who has her lost shared memories like Yul. I wonder why being so close to Uk did not trigger stronger recall. Perhaps BY soul was the cause of the repressed memories. I find this another example of inconsistent writing. And Yul being extremely jealous of Uk’s bride-to-be to have him plotting to kill Naksu so Uk could never have her was startling for a mage represented as a calm, cool, and quiet soul.

BY's soul returns as the blind teen to confirm that Naksu’s soul would soon disappear once she regained her full divine powers. Was that BY’s plan all along? To capture Naksu’s energy in order gain her full divinity? Or all along was her prize Uk? It was shown that BY could balance two souls without going mad, bells not withstanding. And it also showed that BY soul never went away - - - she was repressing Naksu’s memories in order for Master Lee to move the chess pieces in place to bring order back to Daeho.

The push-pull of BY and Uk was extreme. It took a very long time for the OTP to realize that Uk’s current crush is his old master; that BY is one and the same. Being trapped in a dimensional prison as the climax of season 2 is not very great. Uk’s teleportation skills come in handy but part 2 can be best remembered for his entrances.

At this point we will not get answers to all the important questions. It is an easy path for a mellow happy ending: Uk helps saves Jinyowon’s power base and plaque so Lady Jin accepts their marriage; and the CP realizing that Uk-BY duo is a more powerful ally than Jin Mu, he destroys his secret network to secure the throne succession for himself.

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And Yul being extremely jealous of Uk’s bride-to-be to have him plotting to kill Naksu so Uk could never have her was startling for a mage represented as a calm, cool, and quiet soul.
Having the bloodworm reside in him caused him to have such negative thinking and disposition. It corrupted him and as such he reasoned to killing Naksu in Dangyanguk. I believe it came with the total package.
There's a chance that even if he knew about the Bu-yeon's soul taking over later in the future, he'd still not consider that as an option because then he wasn't predisposed to positive Naksu vibes. The only positive vibes he could emanate came from So-i. Now without the worm, he's no longer murderous.

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I believe part two was written to show Yul's jealousy was to mirror Yun-ok's jealousy as agents to break up the BY-Uk couple.

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i dont think so. There's no indication that he want to break up the main otp whatever for his gains. Why do i feel a lot people are purposefully misunderstanding Yul up till this point.

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Exactly. What I understand is that Seo Yul feels guilty he allowed his feelings in S1 influence him so much, he turned a blind eye to the fact that there was a soul shifter walking amongst them, and that person ended up killing Jang Uk reinforcing his knowledge that they are a danger to society . In S2, he doesn't want to make the same mistake but still can't bear to kill her & live, hence the murder-suicide (Also, he knows Jang Uk wouldn't understand)

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I understood Yul's motivation for offing Naksu to be totally different - he felt responsible for not revealing that Mudeok was Naksu earlier and thus he was partly to blame for the blood bath wrought by the bell-hypnotized Naksu. That's why he was going to take care of offing her - because he perceived her as still dangerous and it was his responsibility to remove that danger. When he found out that her soul was going to disappear soon anyway, he changed his tune about her needing to die and he wanted her to be with Uk for whatever time they have left. I didn't see it as a jealousy move or murderously evil plotting.

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Agree. I didn't see Yul as jealous at all. In S1, he said it was their responsibility to protect the world from "monsters", and he accepted that he might one day need to slay Naksu when she runs wild. Given that his character is very square, he believes it to be his responsibility to off Naksu even more for 2 reasons
1. He regrets not doing anything despite knowing in S1
2. He recognized her first this time

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"Now without the worm, he's no longer murderous."

-- this is untrue, unfortunately. After regaining sobriety post-op, he unequivocally told BY again she would not consider him a friend once she knew what he intended to do to her at Danghyangok. His tone did not indicate that he relented or repented this earlier posture.

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"And Yul being extremely jealous of Uk’s bride-to-be to have him plotting to kill Naksu so Uk could never have her was startling for a mage represented as a calm, cool, and quiet soul." I do not think this is the reason that Yul is having sad and scary dreams of killing Bu-Yeon. He felt guilty that he didn't tell anyone that Mudeok was the assassin Naksu, because he loved the person who became Naksu. The blood worm had him obsessed with his obligation to kill his friend/first love, and with his fear that she would kill him instead. When he was healed, not only did his head clear, but he got more information about Bu-Yeon. The problem of jealousy was always there in the last series and will always be there until the very end. His best friend and his first love are in love with each other! No one can confront this without some ambivalence. But jealousy is never going to motivate Yul to kill someone, not even when a magical bloodworm is poisoning him.

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1) It's not gonna be a mellow ending, but I sure hope it won't go makjang / melodramatic either!

2) Gwuido Prison portal won't be the climax of S2 am pretty sure but it will be the penultimate set-piece (where key Easter eggs will be collected / mysteries solved / moral dilemmas deliberated / and perhaps, some frantic fishing of chestnuts from the water bowl)

It will be the parallel mirrored piece to Ice Stone barrier story beat in S1: E17-18

3) The mother-of-all-battle with elaborate fight scenes / CGI energy blasts / and all-out faction war will be the grand showdown (also, great money shot)

4) Yes, her face will change back once Naksu exits and Bu-Yeon awakens (JSM gets a cameo!)

5) I don't relish seeing the real Bu-Yeon. She has assumed an almost sinister air since the last reveal. She reminds me of the parasitic and fatal Blood Worm that burrows deep into one's energy core (Naksu's) and suck it dry before spitting her out like a dry raisin. Not pretty

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BY/Naksu = Mudeok/Naksu +BY

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I have an exam tomorrow and but alathe dropped a recap so of course I am here, reading and laughing. Two episodes left but I only want one thing at this point. Actually, two things. Jin Mu's head and not to cry too much in the last episode. I know we are going to get a sad ending but please Hong sisters, I am begging on my literal knees, make their deaths quick. I only have so many tears to cry.

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I am still baffled and frustrated with how this season managed to botch the plot entirely, but I'm entirely enamoured with our two leads. I'm done speculating and will not even hold any expectations or hope for this story to make sense anymore. These two actors literally carry this drama. Thank you for your lovely recap and infectious enthusiasm @alathe. I can't wait till next week puts me out of this inexplicably pleasurable and painful misery.

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I can't wait till next week puts me out of this inexplicably pleasurable and painful misery.

That's exactly what it is. I've enjoyed the hell out of this show, but am I the only one feeling like I will probably wish I'd just stopped now? We’ve already seen a kiss scene that was the best of 2022 and then somehow managed to get even better in 2023. A tragic ending has been telegraphed from the first few episodes of part 1 and I’m not sure I want to stick around for it (yes, I’m a coward, but I also don’t think the show is going to pull off a satisfying, coherent tragic ending). The magical nonsense is flying thick and fast with the Hong Sisters pulling new tricks and new rules out of … somewhere … and despite all the fun the show has provided, I’m starting to get weary of their act. I’ve lost count of the tragedy-foreshadowing moments and the number of times Master Lee has contradicted himself. I don't even know what to hope for to resolve the BY/Naksu conundrum - I just want a little more CP and fanservice and Wook throwing thunderbolts like Thor before he goes out in a blaze of self-sacrificing glory.

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'but am I the only one feeling like I will probably wish I'd just stopped now'

I think this captures what I've been feeling since I watched episode 8 yesterday - I've been rewatching the season bc right now there are endless possibilities, but after next week whatever happens is the end and will always colour how I see the previous episodes

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@sp2022 🙈 omgsh so true. fingers crossed my friend that it's an ending that is merely mediocre but not a shit show

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I just want them to live so bad, if they die, I'll rewatch every episode with the sense of dread of knowing where its going :( my heart hurts just thinking about it

But whatever happens, this show has given me a lot of enjoyment and I'll definitely rewatch because I've loved the journey

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I’m 99% confident that the OTP will live happily ever after but as for the rest of the plot not going shitti(er) i have no insurance against that.

Drama for reference is BIG where the OTP ended up together but they butchered the fantasy element so much that i, who suffer from drama amnesia still remember how mad i was at the ending even years later.

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yea as frustrated as I am, I'll defn be rewatching this drama later i think. It's one of those very rewatchable dramas. It's the cute banter and comedy that's so delightful

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Yes, how it was for me for S1. I’m sure I’ve watched all of it at least 10x. Haha. Found it so funny and loved the characters. Really rewatchable.

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Hands up!

I felt like "Okay, quit while you're ahead." LOL

That major jaw-dropping reveal of "Bu-yeon's soul is returning, and Naksu will do a reverse fade-out" isn't just rain on my parade, it is like just 2 notches down from Noah's Flood.

I just feel my giseya leave me, and wanted to walk to the kitchen for a stiff drink.

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That soul reveal, I had to pause to take a few deep breaths, scream into a pillow, then resume watching with my feelings still very much <\3

I'll be on edge anytime Master Lee opens his mouth for the final two episodes.

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@elinor, you summarized my thoughts exactly. I'm both nervous and anxious for next week. At least this drama allowed some budding actors to demonstrate their excellent skillset, after which I hope they get chosen for solid projects. I also love this director; abrupt transitions or not, the comedic timing, especially in season 1, was stellar. Looking forward to seeing more from this entire team.

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I feel like there isn't a good way for them both to live. Now that it's confirmed that Bu-yeon is also in that body, I'd feel bad for Bu-yeon to be killed off so that Naksu could live. And Naksu needs a body. And Wook's life is only alive because of the ice stone which is always drawing wraiths to him. What happens if Naksu dies in her 50s and then Wook just lives, tormented forever? Like Shin in Goblin? If they're getting killed off, I want them to at least do a fan-service reincarnation scene. Like Wook can be Park Jin+Kim Do-joo's son.

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I still clearly remember when I dropped Descendents of the Sun, it was exactly on ep.12 with them going back to hospital after the Uruk crisis. It was a perfect ending and I stopped at correct time 😅😅😅.
I wish I could do the same for all Hong sisters drama but they really know how to push ending button, even with some of crappy misfortune finale.
To scratch them from my favorite writer, still a long way for me then 😆

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LOL HOW did you muster the self-control to drop Descendents at ep 12? That's impressive 🤣

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I don't know what makes me more fearful of the last 2 episodes -- a tragic ending or a botched story.

I love the show so much, but it feels like it's unraveling into a big mess (I'm still hoping it doesn't). It's quite tempting to not watch real-time next week, and instead do a rewatch (again) of all the eps just so I could appreciate it one last time (and hang onto the love I have for the show for as long as I can) before facing the end, whenever that may be.

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I'm so glad I’m not alone in feeling this way! I’ve been psyching myself up for a sad ending since Part 1 (and we all know sad endings are not necessarily a bad thing) and I totally agree with @SP2022 that re-watching the prev episodes will never be the same again after this weekend's finale. It's so rare that a k-show generates this many theories and get dissected by this many people — the story coupled with the cast's acting chops make this truly legendary in k-dramaland. Like many others, I don’t know how they’re going to tie up everything without fudging up the ending, but I hope it’s not too fluffy or too illogical. Just 4 more days for us all to rewatch the last 28 episodes without being affected by the ending — whatever that may be.

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We will need AoS group therapy session after this, if the ending is disastrous.

Savor the last two days of innocence before the Grand Showdown!

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Quoting Elinor: "the number of times Master Lee has contradicted himself."

I was frustrated by this as well, but now that I've rewatched that conversation Master Lee had with Yul, I'm wondering if he miscalculated.

He'd said that, contrary to his intentions, Buyeon's plans will still come to fruition. That makes me wonder if he had tried to remove Buyeon's soul from the body three years ago, and he's realizing only now that Buyeon isn't that easy to remove.

That would also explain why he originally wanted to tell Uk who Buyeon/Naksu was, and now says it's just as well Uk doesn't know since Naksu's soul will disappear in the end.

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Yeah, I think Master Lee, rather than being some all powerful puppet-master, is just trying his best to keep people alive and he doesn't always succeed. He kept the secret of her identity, not because he wanted to but because it got him the cooperation of Lady Jin (who would have happily eliminated Naksu immediately). And now he is still trying to spare Uk pain, an impossible choice of watching his love fade away or ousting the soul of Bu-Yeon and becoming a murderer... This "who do you save" question is getting repeated again and again this season. I think Master Lee is hoping for a way to save both, just like Park Jin said we should always try to do.

Master Lee was trying to balance the two souls, restrict them a little in power/memory to keep them both alive to try to find solutions. He's doing triage/emergency medicine like the healer that he is, but eventually the situation is not tenable... and he can't stop it.

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@bethy80 yes I can respect that. Master Lee is human after all. I blamed Master Lee at first for being so callous. But then he did give Uk a fair chance to ask about the origins of the girl he nursed back to health...but Uk was just not interested. Instead, Yul asked. Lol it's maddening...so best not to think about the details anymore.

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This is what I assumed. That Master Lee hasn't been lying, he's just been mistaken. It's not like any of this has ever happened before, so pretty much everyone is flying blind and having to make educated guesses about each new part of the situation.

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This! There are so many things about the plot which are exhausting me. (One culprit being that JU's fallen for BY as well as Naksu now and has been forced to make a choice between the two of them. Really, show, could you not just let this be an epic JU-Naksu tale? Do we need extra angst?) But the leads are just fantastic - and I'm getting as much joy (maybe more?) out of the bts as the drama itself. Telling...

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Wook is still in love with Naksu, whom he knows as Buyeon now. Buyeon's soul had been suppressed and it has been Naksu's amnesiac soul that has been interacting with Wook. The difficult choice being presented now would a moral one rather an emotional one. Like to save your loved one, would you kill an innocent bystander? Wook killing Buyeon's soul so that Naksu could have a body and live....he may be happy to have Naksu back, but could he live with himself?

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Honestly, I was just telling a gf -- the real love triangle isn't Jang Uk / Naksu / Seo Yul, or even Jang Uk / dead Naksu / amnesiac Naksu.

The real love triangle is Jang Uk / Real Naksu / Real Bu-Yeon.

They all need to seriously sit down for couples counselling and therapy. Just to sort out the body time-share thingy and who's who, what's when.

Can they all just step into that Ice Stone vortex and have their dialogue session pls

(p.s. I thought the young blindfolded BY session with Naksu is important, I just wish they call the S.O. into the therapy room too)

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Uk and Bu-Yeon never had any kind of relationship. Her soul didn't communicate with him (in the mirror she helped). They always use her child body to represent her (even if it doesn't make sense).

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What I meant by "triangle" is they need to decisively solve this longstanding conundrum of "1 body-2 souls" once and for all, in order to have a proper love relationship with the ML

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JU does not know the actual BY - by looks or her soul, but he does know Naksu's soul, regardless of the packaging, irrespective of how late he's coming to the knowledge.

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This is exactly how I felt after ep18 Part 1. When MD said fine make that promise about our future and they kissed - I wish it all ended there. ep 19 was still ok with the proposal and then with ep 20, sht hit the fan. So i'm thinking ep 9 of Part 2 will still be ok...not sure anymore about ep 10.

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I strategically stopped watching after episode 19, because I knew episode 20 would have to blow everything up for the second season.

I just spent the long weekend catching up in time for the finale, so the verdict is still out on whether I should have just stopped at 19.

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Oh smart move.

This was what we advised a gal friend who started watching S1 after the fact, we told her to watch all the way up to E19, and just hold out for 2 months, then watch E20 and segue smoothly to S2. so she wouldn't experience the shock and trauma we did.

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@emilyk damn that's smart. i will advise anyone interested in this drama to do the same

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I was live watching the first season and didn't intend to stop at 19, but I was happy with where things ended at that point a. I glanced at the 19-20 recap here long enough to confirm that things got blown up in episode 20 (but not get truly spoiled). If the reaction here to season 2 was poor, I figured I could just stop there.

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"If the reaction here to season 2 was poor, I figured I could just stop there."

Wow - tremendous willpower you have, I must say.

Which reminds me...I still haven't got round to watching the last episode of 2521 (cos a gf told me it was so universally vilified for its unfairly unhappy ending). So...maybe time to muster up the courage and watch it now LOL.

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There's no way that CP went to the team evil, he's just acting for the sake of a scheme that he orchestrated with Wook, which we will find out next week.
On another note, here's another six days of just biting my nails while trying not to think about a possibility of a shitty ending, because of my ever-existing K-drama endings PTSP, induced by the likes of Hwayugi.
P.S. I somehow have a hope that we will se both girls alive and incarnated at the end - original Bu Yeaon and Naksu, in their original bodies.

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I love both my girls! Both of them deserve full lifes, my blood pressure is going to be high the whole time waiting for ending.

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I don't know about kdramaland, but in happy-ever-after-land the combined power of Uk, Bu-yeon (or should I call her Bu-naksu?), ice stone etc should be able to reconstruct a spare body in some dramatic fashion, and we get a Jung So-min cameo with separate Naksu & Bu-yeon & friends crushing Jin Mu in suitably spectacular fashion. Please(?)

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Totally agree. But also, totally curbing my enthusiasm, because I know what genre I'm watching.

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Thank you, @alathe, for the weecap! I love the way Seo Yul is quietly taking care of Naksu because he knows that she has always loved Jang Uk. He could even threaten Jin Bu-yeon's mother so she could stay with his rival for a little more time. I also love it that Jin Bu-yeon is showing her mother that she can also be the leader of Jinyowon and representing the family to help Yul.

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I thought Bu-yeon stepping up to uphold the family honour was so kickass and such an "up-yours" gesture to Jin-Mu.
#girlpower

But Bu-Yeon tripping twice whilst running away is not cool.
#epicFAIL

Jang Uk showing up is awesome, Naksu is like Eun-Tak who can summon the Goblin at her whim. Similarly she is the first love who pulls him like Newton's apple towards gravity.

They can kill monsters and kick ass together in the Gwuido Prison after he sights her blooming blue eyes. #powerduo

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I thoroughly enjoy this drama. Flaws and all, I love it. The whole time the otp is together im giggling, throw in the crown prince in the mix and im laughing like a mad person. I love the comedy in that while their friend was dying, they were messing around, my anxiety was off the roof though. Glad the side characters have "wild nights" albeit its off screen but still good. I just felt disappointed when jang uk showed up in the end, im 100% naksu/buyoen could have handled the whole situation if the writers wanted in that way. Oh well my heart currently beats for Alchemy of souls and I shall not be moved from this mountain!

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Oh, me too...the frustration is high when Uk appears in front of BuYeon. Although she might not fully regain her divine power, but writernim fails to give us some epic moment from her side 😪. Makes me wondering even if she managed to have full power, does she not be able to kill some wraith (then what is her full divination then?🙃)

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Yeah! I want more Naksu skills back….

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I start to believe Master Lee is not that know-it-all, plot-twisting Mago (Mago has that function in Hotel del Luna, who is kind of the representative of screenwriter in the show), but Buyeon, the soul of Buyeon.

(In the following, I am defining Mudeok as the surface people seeing the female lead, as well the body containing the two souls, Buyeon and Naksu).

There are 2 questions we must ask here:
1. Why Buyeon becomes Mudeok in the first place?
2. Why Buyeon let Naksu (even forces her) into her own body?

I guess getting the Ice Stone had severely weakened Buyeon, and she needed a long time to recover herself. Therefore she need to disguise herself in a small village to be Mudeok, also prepared herself to destroying the Ice Stone. Attaining Naksu's, I believe, can at least speed up the process (If you remember in S1E1, Naksu first choose someone else to switch soul with, not Mudeok at all), even essential; which case it is, I guess, will be revealed in the last episode of this season, I guess.

I am not sure if Buyeon love Wook or not (if so, this will be a pretty complex yet interesting love polygon, haha), but that analogy of having two love one fall into the lake is pretty essential as well: Jin mentioned this analogy three times in this short season already. Also Master Lee did mention one of the options Wook has is to drive Buyeon's soul away to keep Naksu in Mudeok's body. Therefore, what if another (better) option is keeping both soul, but turning one soul into another body (which Wook can even create it himself? How about a Jung So-min body for Naksu?)?

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I knew Jang Uk wouldn't really go North, his line about being back sooner than she thought was a dead giveaway. I guess the egg called to him, and because they also stated that there wasn't anywhere he couldn't be, poof, he appeared just in time! Forgive my chagrin, but I can't help but notice how convenient everything is turning out to be, I'm looking at you sage honing turtle. Did anyone else catch the stray ice stone/energy orb in the skeleton's chest? Something tells me that will be the key to this whole "Whose Soul is it Really?" conundrum. I see them both walking away with ice stones while the real Bu Yeon makes a sneak appearance to do the rain dance just in time to save the day.

Speaking of which, Bu Yeon, I am totally side-eyeing you! Girl, I thought you were a force for good, but you're on board with ousting Naksu? Not cool! Totally rude, especially since we all thought you were dead. My head hurts. At this point there are a number of schemes and plots in the air; I'm looking forward to the final episodes for closure if nothing else. I doubt it will be a sad ending, but I do need several answers to questions and for the conclusion to make sense.

I am a simple woman, let my couple get married and turn off the light as often as they'd like, that is all. 😔 Along with killing Jin Mu, because COME ON. The stakes have never been higher and CP is clearly plotting against the Skeev Master General. He wants Jin Mu to lure the dissenters into one place and have Uk annihilate them when there is no means for escape. I hope it all goes to plan, but things are definitely getting tense. The clip of the bells from season 1 gave me PTSD and all I can say is, not ever Satan! One tragic end was more than enough.

Finally, my "They Better be Dead by the End of This" list:

🎀 Jin-MOTHER-FLUFFING-Mu. I am done with you, Frosty Tips. If you live in ANY capacity, I will riot.

🎀 The Crowned Crone Queen needs to go. I don't know, lady, maybe look inward and blame yourself for your problems instead of pointing fingers at everyone else.

🎀 Yun Ok. This is a bonus, but you can go right ahead and die. Please take your annoying maid servant with you, y'all are banished to oblivion. I allowed the possibility that she could become queen, but my threshold for annoyance was reached this week with her fiendish antics. Why even bring her back if she was just going to be a cartoonish villain? I’ve had enough. She doesn't have to die, but I am done wasting screen time on her.

🎀 Mama Jin has got to go. Cho Yeon mentioned that it pains her to see the person she hates the most being happy and I'm unsure if that was in reference to Uk or Naksu. Either way, she's just a sad, sad person. I don't see her living until the end.

🎀Stray Observations:🎀

🎀 Cho Yeon and Dang Gu might have a little witness of their own.

🎀 Maybe Bu Yeon isn't fully on the dark side? I think she was trying to hold on long enough to do the...

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...rain dance and then maybe leave willingly, giving Naksu the body? This is probably wishful thinking on my part, but I'll hold onto hope.

🎀 Provided that my earlier point is incorrect, the Jin's are some bad bananas, excluding Cho Yeon. This streak of using people without remorse is definitely genetic.

🎀 The Crown Prince will have his revenge! How dare Jin Mu discard his turtle! CP is biding time, but his rage is thinly veiled and I can’t wait to see their plan unfold.

Thank you for the wonderful recap!! I can't wait to see how this beautiful story ends. 😊

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Hahaha!

1) Yes Frosty Tips and Crowned Crone can both plunge into the Volcano and burn.
2) yes, shaman bells give me PTSD too. I nearly froth at my mouth when they troll us in the trailer with that awful clip
3) I forgive Yun-Ok for her forensic snooping for just one reason: she serves the plot by short-fusing the recognition of our Naksu by her true love, Uk! That splash caused her eyes to bloom like flowers.
4) Black Turtle: I was seriously ranting with all this magic items littering the S2 story landscape with promiscuous glee. BUT it had a nice neat payoff with our Turtle Shaman! I like.

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Speaking of which, Bu Yeon, I am totally side-eyeing you!

Park Jin and others keep comparing BY to Jin Seol-ran, but what if that’s been a smokescreen all along? BY is a Choi as well as Jin descendent; maybe her soul is the rebirth of the Choi mage who first used the ice stone and kicked off civil war 200 years ago, and she is thus actually a force of chaos or destruction and not good? Maybe when child BY refuses to turn the ice stone over to Jin Mu on the boat, it’s because she covets it herself? If so, the parallels would be:
Wook = Master Seo Gyeong
Cho Yeong/Naksu = Jin Seol-ran
BY = Mage Choi
Still not happy news for the OTP, but it makes a few things make more sense. And in a way, BY doesn’t have any more of ‘right’ to exist than Naksu or Wook do because she was also born from sorcery.

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Great analysis, @elinor.
I do agree that BY is really a part of Choi's mage bloodline and does not fully represent Jin Seol Ran at all.
But Naksu/ Cho Young as JSR is quite a stretch tho.
There are still many unexplained things that makes sense but anyhow, I always throw my logic brain out-of-window when watching Kdrama 😅. It will be easy for me to ride the show until the end 🙈

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@elinor **gasp** I never thought of it that way! I assumed the ice stone was a force for good, but every time it's used, there's great upheaval and literal chaos in the weather. Not to mention, it comes from the sky which is seldom without turbulence. There are periods of calm, but thunder, lightening, hail, storms and tornadoes prevail. This is a very interesting theory, thank you for sharing. I hope it pans out! Ironic that all three characters, Bu Yeon, Jang Uk and Naksu technically are against the natural order of things, but their existence is seemingly necessary to save the world.

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I just loved these two episodes. Wook's Yul-saving killing spree was beyond awesome, Wook, CP, and Naksu/BY realizing everything was totally hilarious, and Wook-Naksu confession and smooching was super touching, and hot.
I decided that I won't wish for anything for the last two eps, except to see Naksu wearing her assassin bun and having eyebrows again.

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I been waiting more than 28 hours to see this girl with her assassin bun but will we get to see this will happen? 😭

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I know, I know, I feel you...

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Second that.

I RELISH the first 20 minutes of Ep 7 -- it was EPIC and escalates quickly into a near all-out factional war with Songrim, Cheongbuwan, Jinyowon, Royal family, Unanimous Assembly and even Seoho Fortess getting embroiled in one multiple automobile car-crash pileup. It was DELICIOUS.

I also love how Park Jin (for the first time) backed Uk up in such an unequivocal show of support in war. It was oh-so-satisfying. #catgotitscream

Alas it petered out way too quickly (yes I realized we don't have enough time, S2 should have been a 16-ep arc not 10).

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