Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 12 recap – a more understated affair

July 24, 2022
Nathan Sartain 0
K-Drama, Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, Weekly TV


Smartly advancing the plot without giving too much away, the 12th chapter of Alchemy of Souls is a more understated affair at times, but one nonetheless enjoyable.

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Smartly advancing the plot without giving too much away, the 12th chapter of Alchemy of Souls is a more understated affair at times, but one nonetheless enjoyable.

This recap of Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 12 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

As Master Kang’s pupil rushes in an attempt to escape Cheonbugwan, we are told he shall die in public by Jin Mu, a statement instantly followed up on by pursuing assassins. Then, the new host taunts his old body, watching the ‘elder’ pass away without being able to speak. Meanwhile, Jang Uk loses another duel, deflated by his failures even though his friends are noticing improvements. Later on, Mu-deok heads out to console the young master, only to stumble on Lady Heo, who introduces herself warmly (much to the disappointment of the Songrim servant).

Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 12 recap

When Mu-deok does find Jang Uk, she soon becomes encouraged, noticing his happiness at learning a skill from the fight he was bested in. So the former assassin gives some words of advice around striking only when an opponent’s guard is down, ensuring her pupil is well aware of the value of patience. However, Mu-deok does try and subtly prevent Jang Uk from leaving to see Lady Heo, perhaps jealous of their potential connection. But a comforting back-and-forth about hard work and injuries drives home the blatant care these two do have for each other, ultimately causing Naksu to sit in deep reflection.

As Jang Uk realises that Lady Heo had visited, we cut to the Crown Prince’s tracking of the red jade, which glows in the hand of the young master to the point his heart palpitates. Driven by curiosity, the two head towards each other, only to be disappointed by the misguided energy. “I am truly offended that you were the reason why my heart raced,” the royal says, prior to wondering whether Jang Uk had felt the same feelings he had. Although before long the pettiness between the two rivals returns, with the rookie mage asking the Crown Prince to keep the valued item safe, as he will be reclaiming it soon. Elsewhere, Seo Yul encouragingly informs Mu-deok that Jang Uk may be able to beat Beom in the young master’s next duel, due to Hyeongong being a spell that is useless if the user lacks skills. Here though, we do also see that the genius mage is wise to the fact Naksu is his friend’s trainer.

Next, Dang-gu arrives on the scene with news of “commotion in the capital,” letting his friend know that Master Kang has died at the hands of assassins. With plenty of people concerned, we cut to the funeral service, where Park Jin and co. are denied entry to pay their condolences. Such rejection arouses suspicion, as the new host of Kang’s soul is unable to convince Songrim’s leader of his reasoning for no autopsy being carried out. Only Jin Mu, flanked by Ho-gyeong, manages to stop Park Jin forcing a look into a death he believes has been influenced by sorcery. As such, doubt remains.

Later on, Lady Jin quizzes her half-brother over the quest to find Bu-yeon, hearing back that Jin Mu believes he has found her whereabouts. Disclosing the backstory he has created, the assistant Gwanju states that Jinyowon’s leader’s eldest child is actually dead, and that his men are going to dig up the grave so the body can be returned. Shaken, Ho-gyeong states that this is unacceptable, adding in an order to bring her daughter back alive. With a promise from Jin Mu that he will do just that, he smugly looks away, pleased at how well his cunning plan is working. Afterwards, he checks that So-i is familiar with her new fake-family, before the two agree to make the fraudster look shabbier so that the heart strings of Lady Jin can be firmly pulled.

While studying, Jang Uk overhears Park Jin relaying his suspicions to Master Lee, knowing that there must be a deeper reason for assassins to have killed someone who was, by all accounts, already dying. Meanwhile, Jin Mu talks about the scepticism that arises when bodies disappear, recalling the days when Naksu used to take care of them so nobody was ever aware of his creation of soul shifters. Now though, Songrim’s leader is clued up with the adequate knowledge, realising that the shadow assassin must have killed those who were to be discarded. As we see both parties then tell the tragic tale of Naksu’s manipulation under the guise of vengeance, with Jang Uk listening in the background, we return to Mu-deok in the present. There, she is carrying out responsibilities dutifully, until the young master hugs her in understated consolation, now understanding of her past.

Following on from Mu-deok’s excitement over the potential power the yin-yang jade holds when told she will be given it again should Jang Uk win it back, the cremation of Master Kang’s old body is shown, with Park Jin in attendance. Here, he is using Seo Yul to check for any evidence of soul shifting, evidence that is delivered via the transferring of energy to the corpse which soon proves that sorcery was involved in the death. What follows is a fight between Master Kang’s new host and Park Jin, who is ready to show the soul shifter becoming petrified to the onlookers with the help of Seo Yul.

Once Master Kang has been exposed, and some more confrontation has taken place, Seo Yul chases after the soul shifter, though is stunted by assassins. This allows for the attempted murder of the petrified former mage, to the delight of Jin Mu, who believes he has been killed. But he isn’t quite a lost cause, a fact Songrim seize advantage of when they take the body with them, close its gate of energy, and hope to revive it so that the “breathing stone” can talk about the situation. Meanwhile, the assistant Gwanju is confident that his rivals will not succeed in their mission, before he orders Yeom-soo to get the assassins prepared for their next task.

Next, Seo Yul catches Mu-deok reading up on the Hyeongong technique, upset as he observes how his love is also a soul shifter, unable to properly adapt. He then explains to Jang Uk how there is “no turning back” once one of these monsters runs wild, warning his friend subtly about the fate that will one day face Naksu. Though Jang Uk reminds Seo Yul that they too can protect the soul shifters from the world, keeping them in check to maintain peace. “I will follow my heart,” the young master adds, walking off to resume his training.

Worried that he too will run wild, Eunuch Kim confides in the Queen over Songrim’s potential to suspect the palace. However, he soon annoys the royal when asking if some of the ice stone’s power can be shared with him, using the secret that she is a shaman residing in the body of the Queen as a thinly veiled threat. But the Eunuch’s request to have his soul moved once more seems to only cause anger. Concurrently, Jang Uk forfeits when Dang-gu discusses his intent to let his friend beat him, walking out falsely believing that Mu-deok did not wish for him to participate. Once the misunderstanding is cleared up, the two then talk about the fact that there is only one chance left for the jade to be won back, before the former assassin notices the guarding of Sejukwon, elaborating to suggest that the soul shifter’s body must be in there.

Wishing to shoo away a curious Jin Mu while the newer body of Master Kang is still being inspected, Park Jin allows for the visit of Maidservant Kim. Yet his plan for an exception to be made isn’t exactly failproof, as the assistant Gwanju has cosied up to the allowed visitor, meaning he too has to be invited in. A somewhat sentimental scene ensues, until Jin Mu’s words take a sinister twist when the topic turns towards a “special spell.” “You fail to distinguish what you can have and what you cannot,” Songrim’s leader says, hearing in reply taunts about the stories Jang Uk could hear about Jang Gang from Jin Mu.

While Mu-deok is tasked with sending over some biscuits to Cheonbugwan, Jang Uk listens to Dang-gu speculate about Sejukwon, and the fight that Songrim may have had with Jin Mu’s area. Then, Park Jin arrives, forbidding the exit of anyone from Songrim, as well as informing those who have mastered Ryusu (and more) to go straight to Sejukwon to follow Sang-ho’s orders. Except for the young master, who is exempt from the situation, and free to do whatever makes him comfortable. Frustrated, Jang Uk ends up tagging along to Cheonbugwan instead, while Eunuch Kim expresses his desire to enter the body of So-i. Though his superior is more annoyed at his stating of facts to the Queen, reminding him that despite some things being true, they aren’t necessarily welcomed.

When Jang Uk drops off the honey biscuits, he heads inside to see the constellations, reminding Mu-deok of her past. Then, the young master excitedly gets ready to search for his own records, just as Eunuch Kim is sent to run wild by Jin Mu. Though the soul shifter does create some of the Seoul Ejector before he scurries away, startling the two visitors . When the assistant Gwanju heads after the monster, however, it’s Jang Uk and co. that appear, dually dismissed by the man who has more pressing matters to deal with. With that being said, the Songrim mage is aware that Eunuch Kim’s situation is probably Jin Mu’s doing, and he had planned – albeit unsuccessfully – to use the ongoings to his advantage.

The Ending

Confronted by Jin Mu, Jang Uk ends up sent to a barrier made by the Gwanju, forced to stay still should he wish to be unscathed. Afterwards, the Cheonbugwan villain turns his attention to Mu-deok, calling upon the Eunuch to replenish his energy from the maid, then swap souls with the young master. As expected, the monster capitalises on the offer even if he doesn’t trust Jin Mu, but finds himself pressed for time when a persevering Jang Uk frees himself from the blockade. Yet, we see when he arrives at the scene that it’s actually Naksu taking charge, feeding herself energy through the Eunuch.

Worried about the fact she too may be running wild, Mu-deok doesn’t wish to be approached by Jang Uk, so keeps him at enough of a distance so he doesn’t touch her. However, the young master ignores the warnings, embracing his master in unflinching comfort, causing the constellations to light around the pairing as the episode ends.

You can stream Alchemy of Souls season 1, episode 12 exclusively on Netflix.

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