Beanie level: Eunuch in drag

Just starting to review for the US licensure exam for my profession so I’m putting my kdrama vices on pause. But man, 1st page in and I’m already wringing my head. Why can’t I just live in kdramaland and find a chaebol? I won’t even be a damsel in distress. I’m good with researching and coming up with new ideas to support the company. Ugh. Life just hasn’t had a touch of color lately. 😔

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Alchemy of Souls: my thoughts on the finalé.

Details in the comments sections. Warning: filled with spoilers. Click only once you’re done watching. 😁

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    Okay okay okay.

    It’s past 3am where I am and I just finished episode 20 of AoS. But I gotta jot this down before I forget the feeling. And boy, was there so. many. feelings!
    Kilig at our main couples. Giggling and sighing at Master Lee’s Heartbreak. Facepalming at Park Jin. Facepalming at everyone still not realizing who Bu-yeon is. Indescribable intense annoyance at Jin Mu. Ugh! He’s like a mosquito that’s been buzzing for hours. I just wanna swat him and make him go splat! Disappointment at Go Won. Heartbreak for our main leads. Hope for that ending. Frustration at that cliffhanger.

    Seeing the Crown Prince in the previews, I still hope that he’s regretted his mistakes and will come out a better, wiser person. I truly still do hope that So-min as Bu-yeon still gets to cameo in season 2, finally reconciled with her mother.

    I have a feeling that everyone else will be away from the capital next season – and most of them looking for Naksu. Cho-yeon would probably be on a quest for revenge and Danggu would have no choice but to accompany her.

    There were several things that I found lacking in this season. But I gotta be honest that I still love it. And it still has a spot in my top 10 favorite kdramas of all time. I love how they circled on the sad similarities between the tragedy Naksu and her dad – both being caused by Jin Mu and those bells. Really, there is only one thing that will satisfy me in season 2 – an intensely satisfying end to Jin Mu. Gah! He makes my blood boil!

    Like I said, there were several areas that could have been given more time and imagination. But these two would hold the highest spots – Jang Gang and Jin Bu-yeon. Ayyy such wasted potential. Though I guess they could no longer make room what with the dozen small plot lines they also kept going on the sides.

    Why do I have a feeling that the 2nd Part wouldn’t be as gleefully fun as Part 1? At only 10 episodes and everyone much more motivated to fight, I feel like it will be nonstop combats – which isn’t bad as it’s one of the things a lot beanies have found lacking in season 1.

    Oh well.. Still. This went way better than I feared. All things considered, I’m happy with how things turned out.

    P.S. THAT tragic scene reminded me so much of Extraordinary You. Except that time, it was the girl. I guess manwha Dan-oh finally got her revenge? 😅

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THAT scene was too inspired by Infinity War. The guy everyone\’s been waiting for just gave like a 2 minute speech then got off and got dusted. Then right at the next shot, a scenery that uncannily looks like the realm of the soul stone. Ugh. Episode 19 being anti-climactic is an understatement. Please be better and finish on a high, episode 20. Don\’t disappoint us please. 🥺

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    I agree. I found the episode underwhelming to say the least but for M’s farewell convo with Yul which was sad because of its finality. And, what will become of Yul after that secret blood transfusion?

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      Same, and the creepy blood worm looked purely like a hook for Season 2. The farewell scene was gorgeous, although even that was made a little weird with the breathing bit.

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    If whole series was leading up to the point where both ML and FL made MASSIVE sacrifices to save everyone, why did it take like 1 minute each (a short explanation and quick twirl)? The whole character arcs have been leading up to this point! Make it more dramatic T_T

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I don\’t know what to feel about AoS eps 17 & 18. There were some scenes that I wanted to savor so much that I feel like playing it slow, but there were also some scenes that I\’m fast-forwarding. It\’s the last stretch for season 1 next week. Please stick the landing, Hong Sisters. And please for the love of Daeho spare the four seasons + Crown Prince. I\’d just dare hope for Mu-deok. Given the S2 casting, she\’s the character whose ending I\’m unsure of the most.

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    To my regret, I can’t inagine that Mudeokie is going to survive as she will become Buyeon and even if, they don’t end up killing her off, she will become an entirely different person. Naksu will likely get resurrected in her original body when her soul joins her original physical appearance.
    One random comment: those mages were a sorry and pathetic bunch. I’m not sure if it was because of their overacting or just the poor narrative.

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      Lol at the mages. They didn’t even notice that their friend was missing.

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        Haha – them too, oblivious much? I meant the greedy and irritating older ones!

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          Whoops…Daeho’s mages are just that ineffectual 😂

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          Oh, I meant the smarmy, swaggering young mages 😁

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    Adding my pleas to yours for an ending that spares all our faves! I don’t trust the Hong Sisters… 😭

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Now I realize why Kwon Min Woo frustrated me so much. ‘Coz even though he was a jerk for most of the season, deep down I could see that he had a good heart – it was just buried underneath his insecurities and anxiety for the future. And while his character development took long and then abruptly changed near the end, I could see that his time with the more hateful Atty. Jang and the warm influence of our spring sunshine Choi So-yeon showed him how there are also good things to be gained from fighting for the truth and listening to one’s personal convictions despite the external pressures. For sure all his other problems still exist (I do hope he was also hired full-time in Hanbada), so I hope to see his character fleshed out in season 2. Speaking of which, I am just so glad my 2 current favorites are getting 2nd seasons. 2024 for EAW 2? I can wait as long as Kang Tae Oh is still on board, I wouldn’t mind. Plus I’d also like to see more of Young-woo’s dongsaeng. Man, what’s up with Tae Soo-mi’s genes? Her kids are both geniuses AND good-looking! Would love to see the shenanigans these sibling geniuses will be up to. 😆
And ah, would love to see more of the rest of the cast too! Been a while since I last seen the actress playing Atty Jung’s ex-wife. It’d be great to also see Jun-ho and So-yeon’s characters explored more next season.
Overall, t’was a good watch, EAW.. You’re second only to Alchemy of Souls in my heart this season. Now, AoS, please don’t disappoint me. Please and thank you. 😄

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    I adored the younger brother! He’s a good egg and I would love to see how his relationship w WYW develops. Just hearing him call her noona, and seeing her reaction to it made my heart melt.

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News on Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim 3 had me rewatching Season 1. Gah! 2016 really was a good year for dramas. I loved season 2 but the 1st has my heart. It\’s my favorite medical drama, along with Hospital Playlist season 1.

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    That is interesting news!

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    Oh my gosh!! Really? I LOVED ss1 and ss2!!!! I’m so delighted!

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    You and I are of the same mind. These two are my favorites, and only season 1 of each.

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Eyyy.. You gotta admit it, Master Lee is a cutie in Park Jin’s imagination. 🤣🤣🤣

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“You are both piping hot.”

YES, THEY ARE! 😍😍🤣🤣

Of all the wishes I have for this show, at the top of the list is my hope that the Crown Prince won’t end up a villain. Give us the bromance happy ending, show. Please. Pretty, pretty please. 🥺

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    I think they are indeed headed for bromance. They are reluctant friends because of their history but I think they low key like the other as a person.

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      Totally! More than anything, them ending up seriously fighting each other and not reconciling until the curtain falls would probably the worst heartbreak in this drama for me.

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    Their village scenes together were well-played. I was so glad the show didn’t make them do full-blown gay panic when the shaman asked if they’re lovers – just a head-shake and a grimace and “no way.” Bring on the bromance!

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      Reminded of when Jang Uk summoned the CP from his bed just so he can rescue them from Jin Mu. “Is he mad?” he angrily said – but he still went out and checked it himself. Gah! The best sageuk non-main lead crown prince in kdramaland, I daresay!

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        Because Won is a softie and he knew Uk would not dare prank him.

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    I have hopes from all the side-eye hard looks CP gives his “mother” and the barely hidden rolled eyes he gives the King.

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    I’m less concerned he’ll end up a villain and more worried he’s going to die/get forcibly taken over by a soul shifter.

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      😮

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      I hope not. Although with the CP being the smart, self-sufficient guy that he is, I doubt anyone can force him into giving up his body. Though I sure hope Bu-yeon is around when someone attempts that. Surely she’s also developed a soft spot for this softie. Gah! I just want him and Wook to be like ATLA’s Zuko and Aang. The rightful king and his capable right-hand man.

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        It doesn’t seem like you get a lot of choice if someone tries to take you over though? Like it was a shock to Dude Whose Name I Forget when he failed to soul shift into Jang Uk.

        It’s really just because so often in fiction if you are the lone good guy so close to the baddies (but not the main character so you have less plot armour) it doesn’t end well.

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          Plot-wise, it would make more sense for Won to inherit the throne. As Jang Uk has no interest on the throne, plus he’s really better suited as the Royal Adviser. The Aang to CP’s Zuko.
          I’m really crossing my fingers that the writers will not sacrifice the characters we’ve come to love and the plot just for the sake of “drama”. The stakes are already high. There really is no need to kill off characters – especially those in Wook’s circle. Jang Gang though.. He’d make a good sacrifice. The prodigal dad who finally sees his errors and makes the ultimate sacrifice to correct the chaos that he started. Darth Vader to Uk’s Luke. Wishful thinking, I know. But I can only wish. 😅😩🥺

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            I think at this point it’s become less likely they’d permanently sacrifice the CP as there’s no much time left (although I’m not sure what the deal is with the ten episode extension/season 2/spin-off/who knows and if that makes things more or less complicated). As you say, Jang Gang would make a nice sacrifice (narratively).

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Woori Jae-wookie has always been 🔥 but this episode he’s just ultra 🔥🔥🔥. 😍😍

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The way he just said this in one breath just like that. Swooooon.. I’ll just be here gushing about Dali and the Cocky Prince, Beanies. Don’t mind me. Haha

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I\’m late to the wagon but at least now I\’m on it. I\’m having so much glee watching Kim Min-Jae on this. 😂 And Park Gyu-yeong is killing it as Dali! I love, love, love her here. So Audrey Hepburn. 😍

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I like to believe that Atty. Kwon will get his own character development and redeeming arc, but he\’s just grating on my nerves! Argh

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    Naw. Not every person deserves redemption.

    That mentality needs to stop.

    He is a adult who makes his own decisions and deserves the consequences of them.

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    I had hopes for him until he actually sent that damn envelope out.. bubye kwon i hope you get on the wrong side of that taesan lady..

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This is late but I gotta put this here so I can look back on what I felt about Yumi’s Cells Season 2 ending. 😅

Sad that Babi wasn’t endgame. But at the same time, I’m happy they chose this ending for him instead of the one in the webtoon. Still sad though that they didn’t give screentime for Shin Soon Rok. Does this mean then that they’ll give us Season 3? Probably why they chose to not show his face so they’ll have the freedom to cast another actor should the go signal be lit for another season? Though if that happens, they’d have to deviate a bit more from the source as a lot of his scenes were given to Babi, or so I’ve heard.

Still, I can’t help but feel that the show is starting to overstay its welcome. I sure hope that if they give us another season, they’d somehow be able to inject some much needed new energy into it. I feel like a lot of the drama in Season 2 were unnecessary. Dunno. I did love Babi though. And though I was disappointed with how he defaults in withdrawing and lying when pushed to a corner, he truly did love Yumi. And Yumi grew and bloomed much during her time with him. If anything, their story just brings home the truth that no matter how compatible two people may seem, or how perfect a person seems to be, if it’s not meant to be it’s not meant to be. It just is how it is.

Despite its lapses, this show still goes up to my top 5 dramas this year. Thank you, Yumi’s Cells! I enjoyed your unique storytelling and metaphors and life lessons. This INFP is happy. 😊

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Sometimes I come across Decider\’s Stream It or Skip It when I\’m looking for reviews on streaming shows. Eyy! They gave AoS a stamp of approval. Nice!

https://decider.com/2022/06/26/alchemy-of-souls-netflix-review/

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So there’s been quite a lot of contradicting opinions on Alchemy of Souls’ storyline recently. It’s got me thinking.. So far I haven’t had much complaints about it..? Is it just me then? Just to be sure, let me share with you my understanding of the main duo thus far.

DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS abound so if you still have to watch the latest episodes of AoS, scroll away.

Let’s start with Jang Uk. Naksu seems to be the main character of the story but to be fair, it was Uk’s origins that kicked off the plot.

Jang Uk, the “Winter” of the 4 Seasons, was born under sketchy circumstances. His father, Jang Gang, was ordered to perform the forbidden sorcery “Alchemy of Souls” by the sickly king in his bid to fulfill a prophecy by taking matters in his own hands (or rather in poor Jang Gang’s body). And so, Jang Uk was conceived when the king’s soul was inside his dad. Since the genes were his dad’s, he’s still technically his father’s biological son – thus inheriting the mage’s genes that come with it. And yet, since the soul and consciousness within was the king’s, he’s also technically the king’s son and heir? Especially since the king claimed him.

Knowing the complicated backstory behind Jang Uk’s conception (plus the King’s Star that conveniently appeared when he was born), Jang Gang took this to mean that Jang Uk was destined to change the world – for better or for worse. Being the pessimistic guy that he is (I mean, who can blame him? He trusted the king and look where that got him.), he leant on the latter and blocked off his son’s energy gate to make sure that he never gets to perform spells at all. (Really, someone should have told him that fighting a prophecy never works. Tsk tsk. What rock have you been living under, Jang Gang?) He told nobody else of this except for his best pal, Park Jin. Ever loyal, Park Jin kept the secret and banned all masters and mages from opening Jang Uk’s gate with the only explanation being it was Jang Gang’s wishes. So of course rumors of Jang Uk’s legitimacy would abound. Why else would his father insist that his energy gate be blocked other than because of spite?

And so 20 years, and 12 masters, passed and Jang Uk still has to get his energy gate opened. All his other peers have already become mages while he was still left magic-less. Being the impatient spoiled brat that he is, he also refuses to train under masters who won’t even open his gate. Good thing he did bother to read all the magic books given to him. At least theory-wise, he knows about spells. Counts for something.

Enter Naksu, aka Mudeok.

I’ll probably talk about Mudeok in another post but long story short, this newly-rendered-powerless-soul-shifted-mage-assassin didn’t get the memo. Seeing Jang Uk’s potential, she agreed to become his master on the condition that he helps her gain back her magic once he achieves Chisu (level 3 of Daeho Magic). Since Naksu basically grew up alone and trained to become an assassin since childhood instead of going to kindergarten, her ways are understandably unconventional – but undeniably effective. To force the masters to open Jang Uk’s gate, she poisoned him. Good ol’ Master Heo couldn’t bear seeing Jang Uk die so he opened his energy gate – plus gave him extra energy for good measure. While his motive was for his energy to help Jang Uk recover faster, what he did actually cost him 10 years of life. Which I understand as basically worth 10 years of mage experience and training.

So now, Jang Uk has this giant wealth of power suddenly sitting at the bottom of his well. To wake it up and help him weild it, Mudeok had to make him go through various challenges and focused training. It also helped that the 100 flogs he got from Songrim as punishment only managed to speed up the process.

TL;DR A lot of viewers get dismayed by the speed in which Jang Uk achieved Chisu. But if you ask me – based on what I gleaned from the story – he was always meant to be a prodigy. If his father did not block his energy gate the way he did, he would have already performed Jipsu before he even started to walk. The only other peer of his that could possibly be on par with him in mage-genius was someone also born with the help of sorcery – Jin Buyeon, aka Mu-deok, aka the owner of the body Naksu soul-shifted to. Which actually made me appreciate this show even more. Yes, Jang Uk always had the potential for greatness. But due to his circumstances, it was not something that was given to him on a silver platter. Thankfully, he met Naksu – another highly skilled young mage – who “coincidentally” inhabit the body of another mage prodigy, Jin Buyeon aka Mudeok. It’s a lovely twist of fate given in pieces over the past 14 episodes. Who knows what other mysteries will get unraveled in the episodes to come?

I will admit that there are several lapses and loopholes in the drama. But with the fun I’ve been having so far, I don’t really mind so much. I just hope that no matter the ending, the Hong sisters will not destroy whatever character development the story has weaved so far. I still smell tragedy coming but I hope it’s something the viewers and fans can, albeit begrudgingly, understand.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk. Lol. Please add in your theories and thoughts below, especially if I missed on something. Would love to hear them! ^^

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    “Which I understand as basically worth 10 years of mage experience and training.” – I never really considered this! I guess I wanted to see Uk sweat. 😀
    I think the loopholes don’t affect my enjoyment, it’s just I keep imagining how I’d like to tweak the story. I like the characters – I’ve just ended up wanting more “awesome” for them.
    I’m also afraid of where Naksu is going to end up – surely it can’t end happily if she doesn’t have a body anymore…? 🙁

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    I had totally forgotten the points about him receiving Master Heo’s extra power up. That does make more sense now. So now that he’s achieved. Chisu, do you grog o the next 6 episodes will be about Naksu getting her power back? That’s what we were promised. And I want to see some female protagonist swears/magic duals.

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      Sword, not swears

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      Most of my complaints in the story actually stems from the lack of exploration on Naksu’s story – especially since the drama synopsis was framed on her perspective. Based on what the drama is showing, Naksu is actually just a plot device from which to tell the Alchemy of Souls. The way I see it, Jin Bu-yeon and Jang Uk have more to do with the resolution of the story’s conflict than her. We first thought that Naksu used Mu-deok’s body. Now it seem like it was actually Bu-yeon who used Naksu.

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I was hesitant to watch Alchemy of Souls when I first heard of it – what with it being a Hong Sisters piece. Man, am I so glad I didn’t give in to my prejudice. This show is, hands down, my utter favorite this year. And this year has been filled with so many great dramas so that’s saying something. More than the acting, the chemistry of the cast, the cinematography, the plot, the humor… I actually love the world they’ve created in this show. So much that I wish they’d somehow explore this universe in other media. Like perhaps comics/webtoon/mini-series/spin-off? I want to read a wikia page dedicated on this lore – exploring how the spells and magic came to be, how it’s developed since it was first used, how the families of Daeho were established and why each major mage family is in charge of a certain domain (Songrim, Jinyowon, Saeho, Sejukwon, Cheonbugwan)… This fantasy they’ve created is so rich that there is just so much potential. The Hong Sisters have penned brilliant shows in the past but I daresay this is perhaps one of their best yet – that is if they don’t destroy it in its last 3rd. (Please don’t.)

Honestly, I’m just babbling on and on ‘coz eps 13 and 14 are so good and the next episodes are still so far away! Huuu.. *sigh*

Time for a rewatch.

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2 out of 4 ongoing live-watch done. Thought the ABP|2521|39|Forecasting season was the most I\’d watch at once. Barely even a few months after I\’m back at it. Lol. I already said my piece about Yumi\’s Cells. Why Her though was somewhat a disappointment. Sure, I still loved Seo Hyun Jin\’s stellar acting. And I still have a soft spot for In-youp. But man. His Gong Chan really doesn\’t have that much chemistry with Soo-jae. He\’s the weaker INFP in the 2 INFPs in kdramaland this season (the other one being Yumi). I even find Se-pil sharing more spark with Soo-jae than him.

And ah. This drama must have the worst TOD death ever. Was it really needed? Sure, it pushed Soo-jae over the edge and allowed her to finally connect with Mr. Ha but come on..

Anyway, I just wish SHJ gets a better drama soon. I\’d love to see her in an action drama. Or perhaps fantasy? She\’s only been doing melodrama and intrigue for a while now.

So right now, I have Alchemy of Souls and Extraordinary Attorney Woo on my current watch. Both of which are utterly enjoyable – though my heart is more in line with the former. Love all the cast on this drama! I\’m not a fan of sageuks but I\’m glad I made an exception for this one. It\’s just been a joy to watch since day 1. 😊

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All these lovely mages getting so involved with Mu-deok’s contest is equally hilarious and heartwarming. Can’t believe I used to hate the Crown Prince. I love him so much now and truly enjoying his chemistry with the rest of the three seasons and Mu-deok. Ugh. Please remain as good bros. Don’t let Jin-mu and his nefarious plans win.

Huuu.. I’m loving this show to bits that it’s actually making me anxious. The last time I felt this much giddiness watching a show was 25-21, if I had to be more specific, fantasy genre-wise it was Goblin. Please don’t be a tragedy, show. I beg you. 😩

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    This scene equals the chamber pot incident in comedic gold! Bwahahahaha

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      I laughed so much in this scene. It was like watching a couple of guys do puzzles together

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    I never laughed so much in one episode😂😂😂😂😂 Don’t forget the pink scarf on Master Lee😂

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    I love how invested they were to have Mu Deok succeed, even Danggu too. He’s such a great friend. I even did the math with them 😃

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As an INFP myself, I do get where Yumi is coming from. For an INFP, authenticity and honesty are utterly important. I truly think she\’d have been able to forgive Babi the 1st time if he just came clean about it.. And now he\’s lied about another huge thing again. And then patching it up with a proposal. You\’re still swoony, Babi, but you\’ve become a walking red flag, especially for someone like Yumi. I do understand why he did what he did. But unless he learns to be more honest with himself and Yumi, their relationship would really go nowhere.

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I think the founder of Songrim placed the ice stone inside the body of the blind girl who we have seen dancing from the beginning of episode 7. Since it was placed inside that girl\’s body many years ago, the ice stone will then be passed on to the next first-born of the Jin family since I believe that the ice stone is inside Mudeok\’s body whom I also believe to be Jin Buyeon, the long lost-daughter of Jin Hogyeong and eldest sister of Jin Choyeon. To back this up, Mudeok was able to open jinyowon which would not be possible if she didn\’t come from the Jin family.

I think the Queen learned about the ice stone being inside Buyeon\’s body and was the mastermind behind her disappearance. She stole the ice stone, but only managed to get half of it, dividing the ice stone into two. Thinking that she was able to get the whole ice stone, she killed Buyeon and the latter\’s soul eventually perished. The only thing that\’s keeping her body alive was the half of the ice stone that is inside her body, acting as the special soul. This is the reason why Mudeok\’s body has become weak.

The part of the ice stone that is with Mudeok is the one that can prevent soul shifters from getting wild. We all know that Naksu hasn\’t mastered Hwansu yet, and that\’s the reason why she did not turn wild when she shifted into Mudeok\’s body. Since Mudeok\’s body is weak, it needs a powerful soul who can put the power of the ice stone to good use. I believe it was the ice stone that chose Naksu to be shifted into Mudeok\’s body. I think the ice stone needs to be discovered to be in that body for the shifted soul to be able to use it in a good way. I think this is also why Naksu can\’t use her power, because it\’s the ice stone that\’s preventing her from using her power for evil.

Then, the other half of the ice stone is with the Queen and uses it in creating soul ejectors. The reason as to why she stole the ice stone because Jinmu told her about what happened between the late King and Jang gang. I think Jinmu and the Queen have an agreement that the Queen will continue to supply him soul ejectors in exchange of the original constellation plate that can prove that Jang uk was born with a King\’s star.

For me, Jang Uk\’s real father is still Jang gang because when the alchemy of souls between the late King and Jang gang took place, Dohwa was already pregnant with Uk. There was a King\’s star when he was born because he was destined to end the alchemy of souls that has occurred between the late King and Jang Gang.

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    I came across this theory on Facebook and I think it makes the most sense so far. We’ll just have to see if it follows through. 😁

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    Brilliant theory. This might be the first theory I came across where I can actually see plot events going about the way you described it, while properly incorporating the most likely answers to each mystery. Shoutout to whoever came up with it and thanks for sharing it here, @cindymahri77

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    That… totally makes sense. I wish they’d continued the fast pacing from the beginning and then we’d be at these points now instead of reading books in Songrim.
    I’m also approaching everything with a sense of doom, now we know the FL is being replaced… 🙁 What on earth is going to happen?!

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