A highly detailed installment that healthily furthers the plot and delivers plenty of talking points.
We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 3, which contains spoilers.
In episode three of season two, Alchemy of Souls successfully ups the excitement levels. Punctuated with an ending bound to get people talking, this chapter really brought Bu-yeon (Jung So-min) into the thick of proceedings and drew out the lingering vulnerability of Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook). As we progress, it’ll be interesting to see how the dynamic between the two changes, particularly as both are starting to become more aware of themselves and each other.
Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 3 recap
Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 3 picks ups where we left off. Jang Uk and Bu-yeon ignore Ho-gyeong’s pleas, adamant they will be leaving together to live their lives freely. Not even the rest of the Unanimous Assembly can sway the duo, with their loose threats on Park Jin being punished for this apparent wedding unable to penetrate at all. As such, Jang Uk prepares for his exit. Elsewhere, Dang-gu finds himself in hot water again with Cho-yeon, this time over his reckless act of plastering Bu-yeon’s face around Daeho.
In time, Jang Uk causes more controversy, flooring onrushing guards without even unsheathing his sword. Thus, panic spreads around the members of the Unanimous Assembly, who recognize the monster hunter’s immense power, although they’re not quite able to let him leave alongside Bu-yeon unchallenged. So Jin Mu puts into practice an idea of his own, wanting the alleged couple to produce a witness able to verify their marriage. Jang Uk protests, wanting his powers to be justified enough to exit with his partner, but Bu-yeon has a surprising trick up her sleeve. She feigns being pregnant, resulting in awkwardness so severe the Unanimous Assembly refrains from further interference.
After Dang-gu and Cho-yeon are brought up to speed on the shock marriage of Jang Uk and Bu-yeon, we cut back to the Unanimous Assembly. Here, it’s confirmed that Jinyowon will not be moving to another family (thanks to the protection Jang Uk’s power offers), news which doesn’t exactly please Ho-gyeong as it should, thanks to Jin Mu’s sinister comments on the situation. Meanwhile, Bu-yeon confirms she will be settling with Jang Uk “for good” when arriving at his house, startling Maidservant Kim.
As Seo Yul and Dang-gu privately wonder about the deeper meaning of Jang Uk’s new relationship, Bu-yeon is hit by a wave of recollections when touching the sword used by her husband, which in turn allows her to turn the Jinyowon candle relic back on. Shocked, the arriving Jang Uk questions what went on and hears that his wife’s powers must legitimately be linked to her memory, given she was able to utilize them when something from her past “flashed before” her eyes. Following that, Bu-yeon further shows off her re-developing skills, excited that “external stimuli” could mean a quickened return to her former self. Still, Jang Uk remains concerned over the pregnancy lie told to the Unanimous Assembly, as well as with his partner’s continued hope for a genuine relationship.
Soon, Jang Uk becomes troubled by a different matter, however. When restraining Bu-yeon from leaving, he notices her feeling an intense pain and subsequently discovers the tracking thread that has been sewn into her body. “It is tightening and causing me pain,” Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter explains, realizing she is being called back by her disapproving mother. Nevertheless, Bu-yeon chooses to “endure the pain,” telling Maidservant Kim she cannot desire something without this tolerance. “A pain that does not kill me will eventually set me free,” the Jinyowon priestess resiliently adds, unwilling to head home despite the persisting agony.
While So-i is set to be enlisted to help Jin Mu find out more about Bu-yeon, Jang Uk takes a stand. Frustrated that his partner has been subjected to something resembling mild torture, the monster hunter storms into Jinyowon and breaks the tracking thread. “Please refrain from calling her in the middle of the night,” he tells an astonished Ho-gyeong, selflessly putting an end to his wife’s misery (though she remains currently unaware of his kind actions).
Next, So-i is told to bring Bu-yeon to Jin Mu, in exchange for more of the medicine which is said to keep her alive. Yet there’s a slight twist, and we soon see this treatment is actually being discretely passed on to Seo Yul. The genius mage wants to meet So-i to discuss this, and is informed of her management of an illegal gambling den in Gaema Village through Ju-wol.
When Jang Uk encourages Maidservant Kim to get married herself, she uses the situation to request something of her Young Master. “Please get rid of the red bird egg that you keep where you have been stabbed,” she states, wanting the yin-and-yang jade “shared” with the dead to be disposed of out of her fear Naksu will return to take Uk away. Holding the item in his hand, Jang Uk assures Kim he has never been called by the person who wounded him so deeply three years ago, before explaining that he keeps the egg simply to prove to himself his old love will never come back.
The following day, Bu-yeon is taken to properly meet Heo Yeom, Park Jin, and Dang-gu. Here, she admits to lying about being pregnant at the Unanimous Assembly meeting so she could “prevent a fight from occurring,” proves her energy-seeing powers to the doubtful trio, and explains her intention to protect Jang Uk. Later, Maidservant Kim asks Park Jin what he thinks of Bu-yeon, and hears she appeared familiar to both Songrim’s former leader, and Heo Yeom. Do-joo puts this down to the priestess wearing Do-hwa’s dress, a theory which results in Park Jin putting his foot in it right when he was touchingly discussing his own potential marriage to his current love. He does atone for his error, embracing Maidservant Kim warmly to ease her fleeting jealously.
After Dang-gu tells Bu-yeon that Jang Uk broke her tracking thread, she is evidently touched. So she rushes to visit her partner in the Dark Forest, the monster hunter’s self-created graveyard for the soul shifters he has killed, and the place he spends the majority of his time, isolated from everyone else. But Jang Uk is presently absent from the area, allowing Bu-yeon to look around in curiosity quietly.
Suddenly, the grave belonging to Naksu crumbles slightly, and Bu-yeon is faced with another onslaught of returning memories. This reshaping of the stone tower also means the Jinyowon priestess is able to find the blue yin-yang jade, which she recognizes as no ordinary stone. Therefore, Bu-yeon keeps the item, carrying it with her as she questions where she had seen it prior to this occasion, until it is snatched from her hand by an associate of So-i.
Following the jade’s energy, Bu-yeon finds herself at the illegal gambling den, away from the attempts to have her lured into Cheonbugwan’s secret room. Yet she is not free from danger, as the hiding So-i releases soporifics, so the priestess can be knocked unconscious and transported to Jin Mu.
Fortunately, So-i’s scheming doesn’t go as planned. For one, Bu-yeon had enough initiative to dunk herself in water, meaning she avoided taking in the soporifics. Plus, Seo Yul found his way to the den to meet its owner at the same time the drama was unfolding, so he ended up helping the Jinyowon priestess come to safety, yin-yang jade intact. A little later, the genius mage escorts Bu-yeon away from Gaema Village and explains he, Dang-gu, and Jang Uk are childhood friends.
In the midst of Seo Yul’s sweet discussion with Bu-yeon on how he loses his sense of direction when flustered, as well as how he will pretend not to be smart so the two can be “foolish friends,” the priestess ends up stunning her new acquaintance by asking if there was a soul shifter able to see despite her blindness. The genius mage explains this was Naksu, who killed Jang Uk three years ago, though Ho-gyeong’s daughter misinterprets things and believes this must mean the two were enemies. Regardless, Bu-yeon is wise to say she will refrain from mentioning this particular soul shifter to her partner.
As So-i feeds back that Bu-yeon was able to see energy, Jin Mu quickly concludes the priestess really is who she is said to be. The swindler uses this to try and get under the Cheonbugwan’s leader’s skin, wondering if he is worried the hidden fact he pushed the priestess into the river when she was a child will now resurface. Yet So-i’s plan is poorly executed, and Jin Mu reminds her she cannot leave him as long as she has a blood parasite living within her, clearly wanting his pseudo-servant to watch what she says.
Continuing, Jin Mu strikes curiosity into So-i when explaining that Bu-yeon is the “spitting image” of Naksu, even if the pair seem to now believe the priestess is Ho-gyeong’s daughter, given she has the divine ability to be able to see energy. Elsewhere, the Queen uses gifted flowers as an excuse to rue her current looks, enraged at how she is “shriveling up” in a body, not hers, desperate to switch with someone “young and fresh.”
Next, Jin Mu arrives to inform the Queen it’ll be difficult to “take” Jinyowon from Ho-gyeong’s family. As such, the royal is frustrated, wanting answers on how they will get the relic needed to take the ice stone from the sky. Jin Mu calmly states they will need to “remove” Bu-yeon from Jang Uk to do so, and details his plan to have Naksu’s soul summoned to distract the allegedly married man, then have Jinyowon’s heir officially wed Seo Yun-o in that timeframe.
While the Crown Prince sets out to retrieve the sorcery-tinged powder being used by the Queen to dry out the skin of her concubines, he ends up meeting Bu-yeon, who is taking cover away from Jinyowon guards (and looking at rouges). The King’s heir is flustered by the priestess here, particularly when she requests he saves a turtle with a unique forthrightness, so she becomes curious as to who she is and why she didn’t deduce he was from the royal family.
After Master Lee clears another dried-up well by fetching out a mysterious item, we cut to Park Jin and Jang Uk. The two are talking over one of the former’s typically comically bad meals, but the topics of conversation are anything but humorous. Firstly, Park Jin wants to know if him potentially marrying Maidservant Kim was something Jang Uk thought could help him “die in peace.” Then, Songrim’s former leader acknowledges that Bu-yeon mustn’t be aware of her husband’s plan to die from her divine powers, though he looks relieved when realising the priestess is some way from regaining her strength.
In their most candid moment, Park Jin brings up Mu-deok, no longer wanting to refrain from mentioning her name. He recalls how Sang-ho saw Naksu become petrified and fall into Lake Gyeongcheondaeho, so wants Jang Uk to let him “recount the incident,” see things for himself, then mourn the death of his love. “And if you still want to die after that, come back here. I will make you another dish,” Park Jin emotionally adds.
After spending the night unsettled by Jang Uk’s absence, Bu-yeon – who wanted to thank her partner and inform him of a freshly regained memory – hears that he is at Jeongjingak alone and has been there since she last visited Songrim. Sun-i theorizes this is because “someone makes him uncomfortable at home,” upsetting the Jinyowon priestess to the point she takes her to leave without resistance.
Ultimately though, Bu-yeon handwaves the snide comments and decides she will visit Jang Uk, believing he will be happier to hear she is regaining memories than he will be worried about any advances she may make. Yet the jealous Lady Heo does seize a chance to cause upset in the meantime by requesting that the Jinyowon priestess calls for her partner by putting energy into the jade formerly owned by Nokia, so she can see “why no one believed” she was Uk’s bride.
While Bu-yeon pieces things together besides Naksu’s grave, Jang Uk returns home and is told by Maidservant Kim that his partner was supposed to be looking for him at Jeongjingak. Then, the monster hunter is interrupted by the glow of his red jade, making him rush to the source of the other egg’s energy.
When there, he finds it’s Bu-yeon holding the blue jade, so he angrily asks for a good explanation on why he was made to “frantically” rush to this location. The Jinyowon Priestess is confidently able to provide one, and Alchemy of Souls season 2, episode 3 ends with her shocking disclosure of a regained memory that reveals she and Jang Uk have liked each other “for a long time.”
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