Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 9 recap – new beginnings

July 17, 2022
Nathan Sartain 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

A decent chapter that signals the start of new beginnings for the protagonists and throws in some interesting developments for good measure.

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3.5

Summary

A decent chapter that signals the start of new beginnings for the protagonists and throws in some interesting developments for good measure.

This recap of the Netflix K-Drama Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 9, contains spoilers. 

Access the archive of recaps, news, and reviews for Alchemy of Souls.

Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 9 recap

With Jang Uk accepted as a Jeongjingak mage, afforded his clothing, spirit plaque, and book of regulations, the young master completes his induction (which does come with some warnings about conduct), motivated in his new path. There is to be a welcoming ceremony headed by Dang-gu that night to show the more celebratory side to the mage’s newfound acceptance, but there’s also room for reflection too, as Jang Uk visits his mother’s memorial to ensure she is informed of the news.

In her own mind, Naksu acknowledges the impressive progress of her pupil, before she helps him put on the clothing that signals the start of his expanding journey as a mage. Hearing that the uniform is “impeccable” on him when asking how it looks, Jang Uk embraces Mu-deok and thanks her, with the two parties smiling warmly to themselves in a display of understated affection. Then, they head out, ready to drink after splitting a raisin tree pill for any potential hangovers (much to the ire of Maidservant Kim).

Elsewhere, Jin Mu talks with the Queen about Jang Uk’s entry into Songrim, and how his father’s sorcery of unsealing the ice stone resulted in his birth. “That child is a disaster to Songrim,” the sinister Cheonbugwan resident says, as the woman he serves wonders why Jang Gang closed his son’s gate of energy and sealed the ice stone when he had options on the table that could’ve led to him ruling the world. Jin Mu explains that it is because the man was weak, but the Queen further continues to speculate, pondering whether Gil-ju’s death could have been caused by Jang Gang. Although the assistant Gwanju is adamant that his former associate would not have done such a deed out in the open, so suspects Master Lee instead, wishing to gain more power before Songrim become involved in the matter.

Next, Jin Mu details how they succeeded in getting their hands on the ice stone 10 years ago through Bu-yeon, a blind young girl who possessed “divine” powers. The Queen seems mildly concerned that Ho-gyeong is unaware of her daughter’s death, yet becomes coyly pleased when Jin Mu talks about how he will find someone believable enough to pretend to be Bu-yeon, so he can make Jinyowon’s leader his puppet.

On a ship, we hear the story of a blind girl who hopes to find her friend Mu-deok in the city, as she has stolen her things and fled to Daeho Fortress. Although we find out that it’s actually the pseudo-impaired lady who is the trickster, given that she successfully managed to rob belongings from those on the ship and can see perfectly fine.

Outside the enjoyable party, Seo Yul sits in deep reflection about Naksu, deflated until she appears in front of him. He claims to be tipsy and lost, before he expands to say he is making a “grave mistake,” all while holding the hand of Mu-deok. “I do not know which way I will end up going,” Seo Yul states, only to be told that he will follow his love interest home, in addition to the fact that he goes astray when he focuses on too many things on his mind, so should settle for just one. With a teary look, Seo Yul heeds the advice, walking along with Mu-deok, who herself asks what the illusion he saw of her said a little while back.

At that point, Seo Yul gets blunt, talking about the fact that the illusion said that it loved him, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the real-life Mu-deok regularly says the same thing. As such, the pseudo-maid is backed into a corner, straining to fake her affection for the genius mage while he expresses his gratitude with a decorative flower. Hoping that her words are not believed, Naksu then walks ahead to catch up with the person she is leading home. Meanwhile, a drunken Master Heo blames Park Jin for Do-hwa’s fate, with Maidservant Kim happy to join in on the goading over his lack of romantic expression prior to a frustrated exit.

With Master Lee almost ready to return to Danhyanggok, he almost ends up caught up in the temptations he’s evaded when saving Maidservant Kim from an embarrassing fall. Yet he holds out, fleeing the vicinity before he falls victim to his feelings. Elsewhere, Yun-ok returns to Sejukwon, frustrated by the suggestion that she should also head to Chwiseonru, where her “future husband,” who in fact are just mages selected by Heo Yeom for consideration, will be. It’s because she is interested in Jang Uk, with the infirmary worker regretting the fact that she never asked him for his name, and wondering if he will ever be seen by her again.

When hearing of his desire to get married (not practice celibacy), Heo Yeom officially deems Jang Uk a candidate for Yun-ok, making sure that the young master promises that from now on, he will do as the elder says. He is also warned by Park Jin over what happens to mages who perform sorcery, but Jang Uk wonders why this is such a bad thing, as regular magic can kill too, while the supposed misdemeanours can save people. “A person’s true intention behind the spell seems a lot more important,” Songrim’s newest mage adds, frustrating Park Jin with his admission that he would be open to using sorcery.

Bringing with him a jar of alcohol to congratulate Jang Uk, the Crown Prince’s intentions still seem murky, even when he wishes for the young master to become “the best mage that this country has ever seen.” As such, Jang Uk pours his foe a glass too, saying he should be a great leader, cutting through the tension thanks to Mu-deok’s improvised help.

Upset over the destroyed treasures which no longer hold energy, Ho-gyeong orders their burning alongside a disappointed Cho-yeon, only for the mood to completely change when Woo-tak returns with a girl who fits the description of Bu-yeon in all but her ability to use powers. Still, the leader of Jinyowon is motivated by the hope that such skills have just been lost in the time spent away from the area, so guides the blinded young woman towards the door that will give a definite answer in terms of status.

Unfortunately, the girl is not Bu-yeon, although we do see that there is a striking similarity between the eye mask Ho-gyeong soon strokes in longing, and the one the trickster who stole belongings aboard a ship possessed on her person (so could conceivably be used by Jin Mu). A quick flashback shows Bu-yeon’s skill in detecting energy, which is how she is able to see the world in spite of her physical blindness.

In the present, Ho-gyeong is upset by her husband’s failed attempts to find their daughter, and is clearly desperate enough to now trust the brother she detests to help push through the task. Meanwhile, the shady So-yi, who claims to be a mage from one of the main families of the country, continues her quest to find Mu-deok, but leaves the brothel she arrives at when realising the ongoing celebrations could stop any achievement of her goal. Understanding the power mages have in Daeho, So-yi tells herself that she needs to live off the Jinyowon crest for a while, acknowledging that if she tells Mu-deok such an item is being returned, she is sure things will be fine. Putting two and two together, it becomes clear that the original Mu-deok could well be Bu-yeon.

Confessing to feigning his kindness, the Crown Prince wonders if Mu-deok believes he is narrow-minded, receiving a response back that this not the case, and that she believes the royal acted in a wise and smart manner. Though there is an air of seriousness to the pairing’s meeting, as the “filthy” maid is told that should she intervene in a battle between he and Jang Uk again, she will be killed first. Or at least there is some soberness until the royal begins to wonder about the location of his sachet, which he had been falsely told was hung up in an outhouse.

As we discover that Mu-deok is no longer permitted to enter Songrim, as well as the fact that Jang Uk cannot leave the area until he has completed basic training, Heo Yeom ends up having to treat the young master due to his irregular breathing while drunk, leaving his granddaughter able to be coincidentally reunited with the man who caught her eye not so long ago. Learning his history, Lady Heo begins to look after Jang Uk, while concurrently Mu-deok becomes determined to enter Songrim “no matter what,” swearing that she will kill his pupil should she be abandoned.

In that moment, Seo Yul appears with an umbrella, informing his love interest that she cannot stay where she is and risk Jang Uk breaking the rules so soon into his training. With that in mind, Mu-deok leaves with the genius mage’s umbrella in hand, departing with a message to be left for her pupil that she will eventually head into Songrim, so he should “hang in there.”

The next day, Jang Uk finds out about the care Lady Heo took of him through the loud-mouth Sun-i, but panics at the thought of Yun-ok revealing their history with others. Of course, we see she is preparing to do just that with Park Jin, Heo Yeom and Maidservant Kim present, although any detailed discussion on the potentially fateful meeting of the two youngsters is stunted by another clash between Songrim’s chief flirtatious bickerers. Fortunately, this allows Jang Uk to interrupt, and amidst the elder’s speculation that “something must be going on” between the two, the young master informs the infirmary worker that she cannot allow word to get out about the soul shifter who attacked her on the night they first came across each other.

Sharing proper introductions with each other humorously, the awkwardness between Jang Uk and Yun-ok subsides over their jokes about Heo Yeom, in addition to a sweet interaction involving the unknown resemblance the Lady bears to Do-hwa. Then, just like that, the young master walks off, hoping to find Mu-deok, but instead finding out that she cannot enter Songrim. Confronted about the exception Jang Uk wishes to have made, Songrim’s leader wonders if the maid is needed for communication with the young mage’s real teacher, with Jang Uk smartly opting to cave here amidst further speculation, much to the surprise of Park Jin.

While this is happening, Mu-deok attempts to buy a spirit plaque for Songrim on the black market, ignoring the warnings about potential death. Though she does seem hurt by comments about Jang Uk no longer needing her, as we cut to the beginning of the young master’s basic training, which is based around the reading of books. However, he is quickly interrupted by Maidservant Kim, who wishes to get the bottom of his relationship with Lady Heo, and assures Jang Uk that Mu-deok will be comfortable without him around.

The ending

Moping around that she could have trusted her pupil too much, Mu-deok soon feels patronised at the suggestion that she should take a test to be able to enter Songrim as a servant, then frustrated by Maidservant Kim’s implication that Jang Uk wishes for her to just enjoy life from now on. With that being said, Mu-deok comes to realise just how much the young master cares for her when her associate outlines his description of the woman who is the “only one he has,” before the episode ends with a montage of their sweet displays of unconventional affection, and both parties reflecting on the extent they miss each other.

What did you think of the Netflix K-Drama Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 9? Comment below.

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