Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 2 recap – how does Bu-yeon fail to become Jinyowon’s heir?

By Nathan Sartain
Published: December 12, 2022 (Last updated: March 13, 2024)
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Another strong chapter that builds on yesterday’s opener with some intriguing twists.

We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 2, which contains spoilers.

Just like the opener to season two, this chapter of Alchemy of Souls favoured a more strategic, less intense approach. Instead, it carefully built the relationship between Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook) and Jin Bu-yeon (Jung So-min), throwing in some intriguing twists for good measure. With just four weeks of the show remaining already, it’ll undoubtedly be exciting to see how all of this eventually factors into having Jang Uk reunite with his first love, Naksu, whose soul is unknowingly in the body of the monster hunter’s new wife.

Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 2 recap

While Bu-yeon theorises that someone must have purposefully kidnapped her missing sister, Jang Uk humorously begins his new partnership with the charismatic Bu-yeon. It’s established here that the eldest daughter of Jinyowon suffers from memory loss, though, meaning she can’t remember anything from the time she was initially ill. “My condition is the reason why my mother kept me a secret and hidden from everyone,” Bu-yeon explains. Elsewhere, Dang-gu discovers it’s not his beloved Young Lady Jin getting married, and is able to finally stop his weeping.

After Jang Uk confirms Bu-yeon isn’t a soul shifter (he wanted to check given she used to be blind, but can now see), he draws boundaries with his new partner, refusing to answer any questions on Naksu. The monster hunter simply wants to be a “means to escape” for Jinyowon’s eldest daughter, and is willing to cut ties immediately if she desires more. Bu-yeon responds by saying she will stay with Jang Uk “no matter what” if he can offer her freedom from her “sickening cell,” so the two look to be on the same page.

When Jang Uk admits he needs the “divine powers” of his partner, it seems to awaken some understanding of self in Bu-yeon. She senses the presence of a lurking soul shifter keeping tabs on her prospective husband, but is unable to fully piece things together for now. Meanwhile, Jin Mu assures the Crown Prince that his enemy can never use his powers for himself because Park Jin’s life depends on it, and the royal thanks Cheonbugwan’s leader for helping him have the sidelined mage in the palm of his hand. “Just think of Jang Uk as a tool that helps you utilise the energy of the sky,” Jin Mu cynically utters.

Next, Dang-gu clears his name from being the alleged kidnapper of Bu-yeon, with Songrim’s leader admitting he wanted to “ruin” the wedding ceremony out of fear it was for Young Lady Jin, yet did not act on his will. Seo Yul confirms his friend was with him all night, meaning Ho-gyeong needs to go back to the drawing board. However, Jinyowon’s leader now has something more pressing to worry about given the likes of Park Jin and Heo Yeom have ended up being made aware of her eldest daughter still being alive.

Later, a deflated Dang-gu hears that Young Lady Jin is likely upset with him since he wasn’t the kidnapping culprit, and because he didn’t desperately attempt to rescue the person he believed to be her. Subsequently, Seo Yul advises his friend to not live a life regretting what he “could’ve done.”

In the midst of Bu-yeon’s private worrying that she doesn’t boast the “divine powers” required by her partner, she is introduced to a shocked Maidservant Kim as Jang Uk’s “bride-to-be.” Jinyowon’s eldest is happy with this, unable to hide her smiling response to being told she will be looked after by the woman who took care of her future husband from when he was a baby. Jang Uk adds he has no reason to be inhospitable given he needs his partner too, so asks her to do as she wishes.

Continuing, Maidservant Kim gets acquainted with Bu-yeon, bringing her clothes and food. Do-joo then becomes intrigued by the Young Lady’s lack of knowledge on Jang Uk, worried the priestess didn’t know his parents had passed away or what happened to him three years ago. When Maidservant Kim later goes as far as to vocally wonder why her Young Master would even consider getting married “again,” Bu-yeon looks noticeably worried. Meanwhile, the soul shifter seen earlier continues moving along in search of the ice stone.

Next, Bu-yeon sits down with Jang Uk, hoping to share a drink with him that will commemorate their marriage. But it doesn’t happen, and Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter has to admit she lost her divine powers when unable to turn off a candle that cannot be blown out. “All I can do is see energy with my eyes,” Bu-yeon states. Thus, Jang Uk claims his now seemingly former wife-to-be is of “no use,” and orders her to head home.

However, Jang Uk does become interested in the tightening tracking thread no sword can cut which resides around the wrist of Bu-yeon. She acknowledges this, declaring to her partner that when people from Jinyowon arrive at the location of the item’s energy, they will know he took her, so she will lie by notifying them of an overnight marriage they conducted. Then, Bu-yeon properly confesses to Jang Uk, an act which leads to the cutting of the thread from her wrist. Still, the monster hunter tries to pass this off simply as a way to help his former ally head home “quietly.” So Bu-yeon prepares to leave, but not without telling Jang Uk that once her memory returns, so too will her divine powers. Elsewhere, Lee Cheol reveals to Ho-gyeong that he would not be surprised if Bu-yeon ran away should she have regained her memories, given the soul inside the body is Naksu’s.

In a flashback, we’re shown how Lee Cheol kept the body of Bu-yeon alive by retaining the soul and energy of Naksu there in place of Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter’s. As a result, the Jinyowon priestess started to resemble the famous assassin, though lives without her memories or energy, which is why she willingly accepts her identity as Bu-yeon. “Bu-yeon’s body has no divine powers, and Naksu’s soul has no memory, so the body and soul do not conflict,” Lee Cheol explained to Ho-gyeong three years ago, before stating that if Bu-yeon’s powers do return, Naksu’s memory will likely follow.

Back in the present, Lee Cheol recalls how he respected the wishes of Ho-gyeong by keeping the identity of Bu-yeon a secret (Jinyowon’s leader especially wanted to ensure Jang Uk didn’t meet her daughter, given the soul of Naksu is inside her), looking disappointed when uttering that the whole world now knows who the currently missing person is. Concurrently, Bu-yeon finds herself needing to be rescued by Jang Uk when recklessly following the strange energy of a soul shifter.

While Dang-gu sets out to find Bu-yeon to impress Cho-yeon (he offers a reward in exchange for the missing priestess), Ha-sun is angrily asking why she wasn’t told about Yun-o’s cancelled wedding, feeling disrespected that her cousin didn’t inform her of the Seo and Jin family’s plan of becoming in-laws. The King switches topics quickly though, and states that Bu-yeon can now be appointed as the official heir of Jinyowon at the Unanimous Assembly. Elsewhere, both Jin Mu and So-yi are perplexed by Naksu’s face appearing on the missing posters for Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter.

Next, Bu-yeon comes to believe she’ll stay with Jang Uk for a little while longer when Maidservant Kim confirms she will be receiving three days’ worth of medicine for her recovery from the soul shifter incident. Then, the hiding priestess is told “ghastly” things always linger around her partner, causing a realisation in her that this may be why Uk wanted the ice stone removed from him, so he can be at peace.

As Maidservant Kim informs Park Jin that Jang Uk brought someone home he intended to marry, Bu-yeon is recognised by Young Lady Heo, and subsequently made privy to the fact everyone now knows who she is thanks to Dang-gu and Seo Yul. Confused, Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter requests more information, before deciding she will “bet” her life on Seo Yul, who she wrongly believes has defied her mother.

In time, Bu-yeon gets a chance to talk with Seo Yul, and she admits to him that she wouldn’t have hesitated in marrying him if they had met sooner. But she also says she has given her heart to someone else, clearly influenced by her earlier remembrance that Jang Uk may have in fact eventually had what would count as a wedding drink, in addition to her concern for his “painful” past. Then, Bu-yeon ends up relieved anyway when Seo Yul confirms it was his uncle she would’ve been marrying, not him. Or at least she is content until Lady Jin’s allies find the Jinyowon priestess, ready to take her back home.

After Jang Uk brushes past Maidservant Kim, exclaiming all that matters is that Bu-yeon is gone, he quietly reflects on his former partner’s words. Clearly touched by the notion the priestess always planned on returning to her mother so she won’t be “lost” again, the monster hunter clutches the broken tracking thread. Meanwhile, Ho-gyeong slaps her eldest daughter in a fit of rage prior to tearily embracing her, relieved her “precious” child has been found.

While Seo Yul asks his uncle not to share news of his worsening condition, Jin Mu tries to get a meeting with Bu-yeon, who he remains curious about. Additionally, Cheonbugwan’s leader tells Ho-gyeong the Unanimous Assembly will suggest Jinyowon’s artefacts and relics are moved, explaining that “the duty to protect Jinyowon could get passed on to a different family.” The area’s leader brands this as nonsense, but is sternly told this is the consequence for keeping doors closed for three years. “The leader of Jinyowon is old, which means her power is weakening day by day,” Jin Mu adds, exposing the need for Bu-yeon to be brought to the Unanimous Assembly and made the area’s heir so the artefacts and relics can be stopped from changing hands.

When Park Jin sits down with Jang Uk, he complains about the monster hunter’s now nixed plan to marry Bu-yeon, wanting him to marry someone he can spend his life with, not someone who will take his life away. Songrim’s former leader then shares the news that Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter will be made Jinyowon’s official heir, causing Uk to quietly exclaim his former partner should’ve just ran away.

As Bu-yeon is set to be confined to her room for life, simply so nobody can find out Jinyowon’s heir has no divine powers (her tracking thread even ends up tied into her neck to prevent escape), Jang Uk comes to realise his temporary ally may be more commanding than he initially thought when discovering she eventually turned off the candle unable to be blown out. Following this, we cut to the Unanimous Assembly meeting, where Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter is introducing herself to the onlooking crowd.

Ending Explained

Continuing, Jang Uk arrives at the Unanimous Assembly meeting in due time, carrying with him the Jinyowon gifted candle light so he can verify whether it was in fact Bu-yeon who had the power to turn it off initially. “If you turn this off, I will take you with me,” he says, sticking to his word when Ho-gyeong’s daughter surprisingly fulfils his request. “Jin Bu-yeon is already married to Jang Uk, the son of the Jang family,” Jang Uk subsequently states to the audience at the meeting, ensuring his partner is unable to become Jinyowon’s heir, and that they can live together. Then, as Bu-yeon tells her mother she won’t be returning to her room now she is married, and the monster hunter asks for the shocked Unanimous Assembly’s blessing, the episode ends.

What did you think of Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 2? Comment below.

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