A fantastic installment that combines action with impact.
We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Alchemy of Souls Season 2 Episode 9, which contains spoilers.
Ready to go out with a bang, the penultimate instalment of Alchemy of Souls Season 2 showed exactly why people became so invested in the show in the first place. With a grand power struggle and exciting underdogs now established, the scene is set for what could be a heck of a finale.
Alchemy of Souls Season 2 Episode 9 Recap
As Bu-yeon all but confirms her soul is Naksu’s, the Crown Prince arrives to check up on the priestess. Once Jang Uk has assured the royal of her condition, he turns his attention to his partner, who he informs should keep her detectable blue marks guarded while he figures out what to do with her. “Only I am allowed to come this close,” he bluntly says, making sure Bu-yeon is aware of how things are going to be. Elsewhere, Master Lee relieves Ho-gyeong with news that her powerful eldest daughter will be fine in Gwido.
In Gwido, Jang Uk finds an ice stone that “desires to absorb human energy like a soul shifter that has run wild.” The Crown Prince realises this item must have belonged to a member of the Choi family who held “deep resentment” towards Jin Seol-ran, hence why the wraith attacked Bu-yeon when she sought it out. Following this, it’s established both that the Jinyowon priestess summoned her two allies to save her and that the royal is actually working alongside Jang Uk to expose (then subsequently dispose of) Jin Mu’s secret organisation of soul shifters.
Next, some flashback scenes offer necessary context, such as: Jang Uk teaming up with the Crown Prince over a discarded turtle, the monster hunter purposefully avoiding travelling to the North Fortress, Songrim gaining access to where Jin Mu was allowed to place his earthenware, the Gwanju is planning to attack Jinyowon (they’re without their plaque & Bu-yeon) to claim the fire bird. Back in the present, Bu-yeon believes the true soul of the Jinyowon priestess must’ve intervened, using her divine powers to allow the Crown Prince and Jang Uk into Gwido.
While Master Lee floats around the idea of Ho-gyeong’s eldest daughter being Jin Seol-ran because she was saved by the ice stone made for the late priestess, he also wonders if Naksu went to Gwido to disappear upon the retrieval of her body’s divine powers. Concurrently, the Crown Prince has a heart-to-heart with Bu-yeon, about his relationship with Jang Uk, and his past romantic desire for the shadow assassin the monster hunter had by his side. “That is why whenever I think of her (Naksu), I feel ashamed of myself, and I feel painful remorse,” the royal adds, a statement which allows him to be told he should “let go” once the pain has persisted long enough.
Continuing, Seo Yul presents Heo Yeom with a potion used in sorcery to help with divination (he found it in So-i’s belongings). Park Jin alleges the Queen was fed Shaman Choi’s concoction, whereas the genius mage proposes he looks into the medicine’s potential Cheonbugwan origins. Here, Yul discovers the potion caused people to hear bells and “go insane,” and receives hints that Naksu once consumed it. The bitter Queen, however, is no help, instead favouring a lecture on her beliefs in the alchemy of souls being permitted to allow for “everlasting power.”
When Seo Yul decides he wants to reveal the truth about Naksu being a victim of Jin Mu, Park Jin reminds the genius that Uk’s burden isn’t that he needs to make up for Mu-deok’s wrongdoings, but rather the fact he holds the power the Gwanju craves. Meanwhile, the monster hunter appears to have figured out that Bu-yeon is Naksu, and the Crown Prince explains to his priestess acquaintance that all of the secret organisation must be “annihilated” to end Jin Mu’s greed.
Despite acknowledging the fight he’ll partake in is right, Jang Uk wonders if he should stay in Gwido with Bu-yeon, knowing she is Naksu yet not wanting to confirm. Teary-eyed, the priestess accepts the pair could do this, though admits it would be wrong, “no matter the justification or excuse.” Elsewhere, Dang-gu is sent to defend Jinyowon, and Seo Yul is dispatched to stop the Cheonbugwan officials outside the secret room with the help of Sang-ho. Additionally, Park Jin heads to the palace to talk with the King once the “battle” begins at sunset.
At Cheonbugwan, Jin Mu tells the secret organisation of his plan to recreate the sky of 200 years ago when the world was dry, an event which will leave the ice stone in their hands. “We will live in a world where the strong gain greater power, and continue to rule forever,” the Gwanju then determinedly states to his motivated soul shifters.
As the Crown Prince tells Jin Mu he will show him the power of strength that comes from protecting things, his allies arrive. Thus, when the royal confirms he plans to confront the Gwanju who “underestimated” him, Jang Uk enters the secret room, isolating his adversary while battling 78 soul shifters. It’s impressive stuff, but in between the fighting is a genuinely intriguing point made about Jin Mu’s reluctance to become a monster himself, perhaps out of fear he’d run wild.
Nevertheless, Jang Uk doesn’t plan on killing Jin Mu, instead putting Cheonbugwan’s leader inside Gwido using the temptation of an ice stone. There, the Gwanju is greeted by Bu-yeon, who herself cynically offers assistance in having the villain harness the power of his newly acquired item. This is because, as mentioned earlier, the ice stone is empty, intent only on feasting upon Jin Mu’s energy. Ultimately, the Gwanju is left to die, taunted by the person he recognises as Naksu.
While Jang Uk collapses, Park Jin tells the King of Jin Mu’s fate (as well as the deaths of the soul shifters in the secret organisation), leaving His Majesty concerned that Songrim will now challenge the throne and the Unanimous Assembly. Concurrently, the Queen becomes irate at the idea she will forever live in her current body, so she demands Yun-o finds a solution.
During her reflections on staying alone in Gwido until her soul disappears, Naksu is granted a coincidental opportunity to leave the prison she’s trapped in when the Jinyowon plaque washes up on the shore. This is thanks to the turtle with the energy of the black tortoise, which “found a path” for the priestess. In this scene, Master Lee theorises that Jin Seol-ran has been protecting the ice stone and “chose” Jang Uk and Bu-yeon.
As Seo Yul tells a returning Naksu that it was Jin Mu’s fault she rampaged three years ago, trying in vain to get the assassin to absolve herself of blame so she can remain where she is, Jang Uk wishes Maidservant Kim the best for her upcoming wedding, which he cannot attend due to his imminent departure to the North Fortress for the sake of the King.
After Jang Uk accepts he cannot be with Naksu, despite her approaching death, we cut to the Unanimous Assembly. Here, Bu-yeon proves her powers and clears up what happened with Jin Mu. Yet doing so only causes complications, given the priestess is subsequently tasked with removing Jang Uk’s ice stone, even though it would kill him. Meanwhile, Yun-o enters Gwido alongside the Queen, hoping to figure out how to perform the alchemy of souls.
In time, Jang Uk is subtly asked to acknowledge the existence of Naksu, meaning he now has to slay her. The monster hunter’s anger in this request shocks the Unanimous Assembly, however, who can’t quite believe his abrupt insistence on ending the discussion they’re having.
Arriving at Naksu’s location, Jang Uk is upset by her emotional words declaring that she has let him go and is no longer his “merciless master.” So he embraces the assassin, allowing the two to take in the time they have left. Elsewhere, Yun-o and the Queen press Jin Mu for an answer on the last Soul Ejector’s location, only to hear it’s “inside of the blood of the mage of the Choi family who created it in the first place.” Realising this means it’s inside her when it’s too late, Her Royal Highness has her energy drained, and the Gwanju opts to shift souls with Yun-o.
As Jang Uk lovingly kisses Naksu, perhaps for the final time, the King is greeted by the body of Yun-o, which now houses Jin Mu’s soul. Smugly, the fresh-bodied Gwanju greets His Majesty and the Unanimous Assembly (who had all been promised power from Cheonbugwan’s leader) before the episode ends with Jang Uk’s shocking discovery of coffins.
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