Starring: Lee Jae Wook, Go Yoon Jung, Hwang Min Hyun, Shin Seung Ho, Yoo Joon Sang, Oh Na Ra
Year Released: 2022
Number of Episodes: Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Country: South Korea
Director: Park Joon Hwa, Bae Hyun Jin
Screenwriter: Hong Jung Eun, Hong Mi Ran
Where to Watch: Netflix
Jang Uk returns from death, and three years later, the story of the mages unfolds anew. Jang Uk becomes a hunter of the soul-shifters when a young woman, a prisoner in her own home, seeks his help to reclaim her freedom.
After a short break, Alchemy of Souls returned to finish things up and my best friend and I were here for it all. We were here for finishing out the story, and seeing where all the characters ended up and we weren’t mad about the female lead change either. That made sense to me. It worked for the story that was being told, and if I had a gripe about anything in this season, it was that we never got a Naksu vs. JinMu showdown. Everything else? It worked and I enjoyed it a lot.
One thing that I enjoyed about this season was that I didn’t need to watch the first season again to remember where we were in the story, what to expect, or anything like that. Therese and I were able to just jump right into the new season and go from there, so that was good.
Season 2 of Alchemy of Souls picks up three years after the first season ends. Things look really different in Daeho. Yul is still sick from that damn blood bug that homegirl put inside him last season. Dang Gu and Cho Yeon are separated. Prince Go Won is on the outs with Jang Uk, who has the ice stone and is killing soul shifters left and right. Jin Bu Yeon is back and she’s locked up in the dungeon at Jinyowon. When chasing a soul shifter brings him to Jinyowon, he uses his new powers to sneak in and comes across Bu Yeon. These days, Jang Uk has little time and desire to interact with anyone and it shows when Bu Yeon pleads for his help in escaping her prison. Not being able to completely ignore her, he helps her in the funniest of ways and does not expect to keep running into her wherever he goes. Before he knows what’s what, Jang Uk pretends to marry Bu Yeon and even though he had his reasons for wanting to marry her, loving her was never in the cards for him. Not when he was still drowning in guilt for failing to protect Mudeok, his long lost love.
The more time he spends with his fiance, the more things start to click into place until Jang Uk has no choice but to stand up against the very evil that took his love away from him.
Jang Uk is a lot darker than he was in season one. It makes sense since my guy is heartbroken and dealing with the burden that came along with his new powers from the ice stone. He had no intention or plans to save everyone in Daeho, along with everyone else in the world. He didn’t care about anything or anyone and once he found out that there was a person with divine powers that could put him out of his misery, he planned to make her his wife so that she can destroy the ice stone in him and in turn, probably destroy everything else too. Gone are the days when Jang Uk would have thought to do the right thing and use his powers for good. He doesn’t want any of the responsibility so he wants out.
I’m not going to lie. I spent a good deal of this season pissed at his fine ass. He kept hurting my girl, Bu Yeon, over and over again. But alls well that ends well because once he finally gets over himself, his grief, and gets to know Bu Yeon, he falls in love again and seeing him struggle made my heart hurt for him. Even while I was mad at him for always being so mean to Bu Yeon, I never blamed him for the way that he acted. Even though he didn’t want the responsibility that came with his powers, he dealt with everything that was thrown at him. He grudgingly stepped in when he was needed and even though it would have been so easy to turn to the dark side, he didn’t and he was still a really good friend to his loved ones. No matter how mad I got at him, I still loved him most and if that ain’t love, I don’t know what is.
A lot of people were not a fan of the female casting change but I wasn’t one of them. I started the first season because Go Yoon Jung was in it. Sure, she was only in it for a handful of minutes and I ended up loving everyone else, it was her that brought me around to wanting to watch it. So I was waiting for her return this season, quite anxiously too.
Bu Yeon was the light to Jang Uk’s dark. She was bright, bubbly, and completely adorable to me. I loved that she was determined to get out of that dungeon. I loved that even when the chips were down, she never stayed down. She got right back up and learned to fight another day. I loved that she was so self aware. She knew she was pretty and she also knew that she was a bit of an airhead but didn’t let that stop her from trying to figure out her future outside of her mother’s clutches. I loved how completely sure she was of her love for Jang Uk and even when she realizes that Jang Uk already gave his heart away, I loved that she was prepared to love her all by herself for the rest of her life. She didn’t begrudge him his feelings even if his feelings hurt her. When her memories started coming back and she was so confused about who’s memories they were. If they were hers or if the memories were part of her power somehow, I enjoyed the angst that came with having to wait week after week for more clues to put everything together. As Bu Yeon, I enjoyed her even though I waited all season long for Naksu. It was Naksu that I was invested in and it sucked that after all this time, we never really got to see her.
Man, it was so good to see everyone back in action. From the Crown Prince to the Parks, Maidservant Kim, the Seo’s, and hell, even the damn Jin’s. I didn’t miss JinMu’s ass and he annoyed the ever loving shit out of me in this season but it was still good to see everyone again. This season Master Lee and his constant air of mystery annoyed me. I was like, dude we don’t have a lot of time to fuck around, what the hell do you know and who are you telling the truth too because you were telling a lot of stories that conflicted with what you told others. I did like seeing everyone come together to save Yul. I also liked seeing Maidservant Kim and Park Jin being so cute and in love with each other. I loved seeing them worry over their kids and I cried when they all banded together to battle the bad guys and they got caught in the middle of it all. All of the powerful mages were a lot of fun to see in action. I’m gonna miss all of them for a long time.
As a whole, this show served the goods. Was it perfect? No. Did that matter to me? Not entirely. Sure, there were a lot of loopholes left when everything was said and done and I was bummed about that because I really wanted a Naksu and JinMu showdown. I wanted Naksu to somehow be able to clear her name and live as her true self, either Naksu or Cho Yeon. I didn’t want her to stay a Jin. Overall, I loved these characters too much to stay mad about not getting the exact show that I wanted. I loved the chemistry between all of the different characters both on screen and off. These characters became very dear for me and I had a hard time saying bye to all of them. All of these actors have made themselves a permanent spot on my favorite actors list and I will be heartily supporting their upcoming and future projects for as long as I amble. So while it’s not perfect, I still loved it and would recommend.
4 out of 5