Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 8 recap – another extremely strong installment

July 10, 2022
Nathan Sartain 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV


Another extremely strong installment that changes dynamics in a gripping fashion.

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Another extremely strong installment that changes dynamics in a gripping fashion.

This recap of Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 8 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

As the harsh skies signal the alchemy of souls to Heo Yeom and Seo Yul, we return to Jang Uk’s potential shifting, watching as he wonders if his life will soon end. Unable to do anything, a saving grace – seemingly the original Mu-deok – is the young master’s only way out of danger, a point proven by the fact the mage soon wakes up without a blue mark on his body. Something has been done though, as Naksu finds evidence that Gil-ju has successfully managed to shift souls with someone. Panicked, she shakes her former associate while shouting the name of her pupil, before wielding a sword at the person she now believes has become an enemy.

Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 8 recap

With that being said, it doesn’t take long for the truth to come out, even if the faux-maid attempts to fight the young master for a short while. As such, the two embrace in emotional relief, both happy that the potential for tragedy didn’t manifest. Sweet sentiments soon have to be set aside though, as it doesn’t take long before the conflict between mage and assassin resumes. Fortunately, it’s not a long battle, as Jang Uk manages to floor his opponent swiftly, pleasing his master, who makes him aware that the Soul Ejector helped surge the energy he previously could not control.

When Gil-ju rises again, disappointed that his grand plan has failed, he drops in some important information about Naksu’s father being a soul shifter. It piques the interest of the person now living as Mu-deok, who presses her former associate for more information, and ends up shocked when she hears of the real truth behind the death of Cho Chung. But any answers about the identity of the true Danju, and where they can be found given their powers to prevent a soul shifter running wild, are ill-afforded, as Gil-ju opts to tightly grip Naksu instead. When Jang Uk then intervenes, the soul shifting assassin flees, tailed by the young master at the request of his teacher.

Wishing to take off before the poison from the sorcery spreads, Mu-deok attempts to escape the group of mages gathered at the temple to look for the soul shifter. But the people led by Seo Yul quickly have more important matters to deal with when they find both the Soul Ejector and Jang Uk’s binding bracelet, resulting in some of the men being tasked with reporting what they have seen back at Songrim. Meanwhile, Mu-deok manages to get to a safe spot to reflect in, upset after recalling the fact that both her and her father will share the same fate of being petrified, then perishing.

This quiet moment is soon interrupted though, as Seo Yul finds his former love interest when searching the forest. It’s not quite a nice meeting, as the genius mage had hurt Mu-deok in the process, but the resulting pondering on why she has appeared in front of him again at a time of strife seems more important. Elsewhere, Gil-ju looks for people to steal energy from within the town, while Jang Uk is thrown off in his quest to find the soul shifter by two women who believe that the young master had followed them to an inn. We find out that one such person is Lady Heo, a woman who seems to be in-demand from potential suitors, so believes that Jang Uk must be one of them.

However, the young master explains bluntly why this is not the case, causing Lady Heo to reflect in embarrassment that night, unable to eat. Unfortunately, this leaves her open enough for the soul shifter to pursue her, but Jang Uk is still on hand to save the day, interrupting the bad deed with enough impact to cause another fleeing. As a result, Lady Heo is grateful, though the young woman doesn’t quite get to explain that she is part of the same Sejukwon recommended to her for treatment.

As Seo Yul tends to the person he now knows is Naksu, reflecting further on their past, Gil-ju falls down in the village, weakened by his lack of energy. Stumbling, he steals a cloth and continues his walk towards what Jang Uk believes is the true Danju, while Jin Mu is being fed the information about his right-hand man’s disappearance back at Cheongbugwan. There, the shady gwanju learns of Jang Uk’s potential involvement with Naksu too, enraged by the fact that he didn’t hear of this information sooner. “Order all of our mages to look for Gil-ju,” he says, as we cut to an explanation that Dang-gu has been tasked with finding the missing young master, and see Master Lee’s confidence that Jang Uk will have been safe because of Mu-deok.

Concurrently, Park Jin hears from Maidservant Kim about Jang Gang’s interest in the alchemy of souls, deciphering that he must have performed it for Do-hwa to birth Jang Uk as the King’s son. His concerns are broken up by the news of the present day return of the spell, though, and who they may have managed to impact. Meanwhile, Jang Uk follows Gil-ju to the Royal Palace, where the soul shifter looks to urgently enter. Such ambitions are trampled on, however, as the security put up a long enough fight to allow for the young master’s intervention, and subsequent triumphant victory over the monster. Declaring his ambitions to take the ice stone from the palace, Jang Uk watches his foe fall, ready to get to work.

The next day, Jin Mu is presented with the dead body of Gil-ju, along with an explanation that the assassin was defeated by the use of Tansu. Shocked, the assistant gwanju wonders what mage could’ve mastered the spell given it was Naksu’s speciality, before Park Jin arrives ready to investigate. Confirming the identity of the soul shifter, the leader of Songrim realises that Jin Mu is also panicking, and will have been unaware of the alchemy of souls being performed too. So he leaves things be, with the sole request that he is asked for help should any end up being needed. Elsewhere, the royal family hears of the ongoings, curious as to why Gil-ju was heading towards their palace prior to his death, while gossip spreads all around Daeho that Naksu has re-emerged.

After a flirtatious scene between Park Jin and Maidservant Kim, Seo Yul talks to Jang Uk about his task involving tracing the root of the previous night’s sorcery. There, they discuss the binding bracelet, in addition to the state of the injured Mu-deok, who had been treated for her hefty injuries. So Jang Uk rushes to her location, only to quickly be forced into pretending like he ran away from the conflict for the sake of quelling any suspicions from the onlooking mages. Though Seo Yul is still doubtful, and vocally wonders whether Jang Uk had indeed just fled.

Warned to lie low until his duel with the Crown Prince, Jang Uk seems content with his current life, while Seo Yul confronts Mu-deok about her knack of being by her master’s side as he risks his life to attain what he wants. Vowing that he may have to let her die next time it happens, the maid appears shocked, before she is called upon by the young master to return home. Later on, the genius of the Seo family informs Park Jin of Jang Uk’s healthy condition, with the leader of Songrim looking deep in thought as he and Heo Yeom try and get to the bottom of the mysterious mage’s identity. There’s some evidence of uncertainty too, as Park Jin becomes curious about Seo Yul’s injury, right after he prods for intel on Mu-deok’s potential witnessing of the spell.

Following on from a scene which shows rumours spread of a marriage between Dang-gu and Cho-yeon, the Songrim mage lies by saying such hearsay is true to save face, knowing that nothing substantial will arise from it. Then, we see a scene which shows the Crown Prince’s affection for Mu-deok, as he defends the person he dubs as “filthy” from other people’s critique while also affording the maid a subtle compliment.

As we see that the ‘Naksu cloth’ has become a clothing trend, Seo Yul and Dang-gu talk about the speculation surrounding the assassin’s alleged return, as well as the fact that it means people have lost interest in Jang Uk’s upcoming duel with the Crown Prince. The former worries about his friend’s current location though, which we see turns out to be the soul shifters’ grave. There, the two allies are looking for Naksu’s father, but the assassin is also worried about her own potential to run wild, and whether or not her pupil will leave her at the grave when it happens. The answer is a simple one, that Jang Uk knows where the real Danju, who can potentially stop the occurrence Mu-deok is so worried about, is located.

After Park Jin questions Master Lee about the truth behind the ice stone, we return to Jin Mu, who is visited by the real Danju, the Queen. Here, she explains that when the Choi family regains power, Songrim will get destroyed, and that the day she controls Daeho is approaching. The assistant gwanju claims to have been waiting for this moment, so appears up for the challenge when tasked with killing the person who defeated Gil-ju, knowing that they too must know the ice stone was not destroyed. Concurrently, Jang Uk is explaining his knowledge of the stone’s location to his master, adding in comments that he will eventually enter the palace walls to find the item for Mu-deok.

Remaining adamant that Jang Uk should be allowed to participate in the duel should he wish to, Park Jin explains to Seo Yul that he will only exist as a bystander, and whether he dies, or runs away, will happen without intervention. With that in mind, we skip forward to the battle, watching the entrances of the myriad of important viewers all bearing witness to the anticipated match. The stakes here are high given that Jang Uk’s rights to become the next Gwanju are on the line should he not appear by noon, rights that seem ready to be relinquished given that the doors to the training centre are asked to be shut when midday comes.

However, to many people’s surprise Jang Uk does emerge, ready to take on the duel that could see an end to his life. What follows is intense stuff, with the young master’s defensive tactics working well in the opening, but there is soon an issue when the carefully placed water crocks have been broken by a suspicious Jin Mu. It leaves Jang Uk firmly on the back foot, requiring Mu-deok to have to use her own blood to enable the successful use of Tansu, much to the shock of the audience.

The Ending

The young master’s victory in the duel is quickly disputed by Jin Mu, however, who believes what transpired constitutes as cheating, and that somebody must have helped Jang Uk in secret given his fast learning of Tansu. He is right of course, and the unbelievable claims that the skill was learnt single-handedly do not resonate with the doubtful parties, but nonetheless Jang Uk ends up bailed out when Master Lee appears, willing to back up the statements given by the victor. Thus, the young master is awarded the win, one which brings with it mixed reactions from the audience members. None are more immediately poignant than the queen’s, however, as she immediately requests that Jang Uk is brought to Cheonbugwan, presumably suspicious about the mage’s sudden skillset.

When offers roll in from Cheonbugwan, Sejukwon, Jinyowon and Songrim, Jang Uk suddenly finds himself wanted by those who shunned him, leaving him confused enough to consult Mu-deok over where he should go. As expected, the location of choice is Songrim, and as Park Jin stares at the young master, flanked by an emotional crowd, the episode ends.

You can stream Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 8 exclusively on Netflix.

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