Alchemy of Souls: Episode 1


Alchemy of Souls: Episode 1

Alchemy of Souls is as dramatic a historical-flavored fantasy as you’d anticipate from the Hong sisters. Physique-swap shenanigans vie with higher-stakes magical duels, resulting in a promising 1st episode. Its true strength, on the other hand, hinges on its charmingly homicidal female protagonist and her efforts to survive in a new, weaker physique.


We start, as in all very good fantasy, with a cryptic prologue, meeting a mage (Joo Sang-wook) who practices the forbidden art of soul-switching — moving 1 soul to an additional physique. It is a morally dubious magic: a soul can clash with its host physique, causing it to drop power and attack other living beings, all the although steadily becoming stone.

Our mage has been summoned by his king (Park Byung-eun). Points are tense as the king is deathly sick and can not stand the believed of dying with out an heir. Just 1 week, he says. Let me switch bodies/souls with you for 1 week.

This appears not at all suspicious. So, holding out a mysterious glass orb, in a spectacular show of CGI theatrics — seriously, the visuals in this show are beautifully bombastic — the mage performs the spell.

Turns out, the king had his personal agenda (who’d have thunk?): to seduce the mage’s wife in the hopes that she’ll bear his youngster. (Side note: I do not like the way sexual deception is so casually made use of to engineer drama, but we’ll see if that is explored in later episodes.)

Alchemy of Souls is set in the fictional kingdom of Daeho. Extended ago, the power of the sky collided with the ground to build the magically supercharged Lake Gyeongcheondaeho, about which Daeho was constructed. Mages are men and women with the energy to wield the lake’s power 1 of the quite deadliest is our heroine, the masterful assassin NAKSU (Go Yoon-jung – for now).

Twenty years post-flashback, Naksu has fallen afoul of Daeho’s greater-ups, presumably due to her inconvenient habit of killing lots of men and women. Now, she faces PARK JIN (Yoo Joon-sang) – head of Songrim, the most potent organization in the land – plus a squad of mooks that she swiftly dispatches with her sword. Atop a frozen lake, she battles for her life, although not with out taking time to sardonically clarify that she’s named soon after the sound of heads hitting the ground. How droll!

In spite of her ability, she’s wounded by a nicely-aimed arrow from Park Jin. Fleeing, with enemies hot on her heels, she has 1 desperate indicates of survival. Grabbing the 1st lady she sees on Daeho’s streets, she opens up her hand to reveal a glass orb which — you guessed it! — she makes use of to send her soul into an additional physique, letting her present 1 slump corpse-like to the ground.

Regrettably, Jin is sensible to her tricks: when he finds her physique, he spots the inform-tale blue mark indicating her soul has left the developing. Nonetheless, when they search the other lady they discover at the scene, there is no corresponding mark. Park Jin, concluding that the soul transfer should have been unsuccessful, bundles up each physique and sword to return to Songrim.

As Jin and his cohorts examine Naksu’s physique, we meet SEO YUL (Minhyun), a infant-faced noble who notices a bird-shaped whistle in her pocket. This clearly strikes a chord, for he has wistful memories of a girl he made use of to know — a girl whom he gifted that quite whistle. (Our assassin remembers him as well, as it later turns out, but she’s got larger issues than a extended-lost 1st like.)

We also meet Jin’s heir, PARK DANG-GU (Yoo In-soo), an easygoing celebration boy who would rather carouse in Daeho’s bars than knuckle down and study magic. He bemoans the loss of his buddy, JANG WOOK (Lee Jae-wook), who has been sent away to do the latter.

Time to meet our male lead! Jang Wook is 1 cool buyer, and at present, he has a bone to choose with a monk. He’s been patiently honing his magical theory, but his would-be master will not teach him a single spell!

Cuttingly, Wook threatens that if the guy will not tutor him correctly, he’ll withdraw the tasty bit of funding his benefactor Jin promised. As the monk blusters more than Wook’s shameful parentage, we discover that he is an illegitimate youngster whose father abandoned him. Hmm… sounds suspiciously prologue-relevant.

Anyway, Wook will not stand for this slander: alternatively, he’ll discover a greater master! An individual potent! Yeah, that’ll show ‘em!

Reduce to Naksu. Except, she is not Naksu any longer. Alternatively, she’s MU-DEOK (Jung So-min), a when-blind girl with all the strength of a wet noodle — a supply of interminable woe to her body’s new inhabitant.

Points take a turn for the slapstick as Mu-deok attempts to carry out all the killer assassin strategies and death-defying acts of strength that came naturally to her just before, only to pratfall repeatedly.

It is slightly jarring compared to the earlier moody atmosphere, but Jung So-min actually sells it: her exasperated glances are reminiscent of a cat with ruffled fur, and it is quite simple to discover her endearing as she scarfs meat to pacify her body’s growling stomach and thinks longingly of murder when a passerby tends to make her drop her chicken skewer.

Mu-deok is nonetheless in peril: she should escape the gisaeng residence to whom her body’s preceding owner has been sold. Right here, our leads ultimately collide. Wook is browsing for the notorious assassin Naksu, who — if she survived — may possibly be the only individual fearless adequate to break the seal his father placed on his magical skills. Mainly because yeah, as it turns out, there’s a lot more to the monk point than 1st met the eye: no one dares countermand his father’s will and teach him spell operate.

In 1 of this episode’s funniest scenes, an escaping Mu-deok threatens Wook with the 1st weapon that comes to hand: a crab leg from his nearby dinner tray. Wook, remarkably unperturbed for a guy about to be impaled by a crustacean, merely remarks that Mu-deok has stunning eyes.

Though Mu-deok manages to tumble out the window just before Wook can do some thing awful like compliment her once more (the reproachful glance he sends her soon after she grabs his purse produced me cackle with delight), she is promptly apprehended. Immediately after a swift bop on the head, she wakes up in the Jang residence: Wook has rescued her, buying her from the gisaeng residence.

Right here, items get cute. Wook clearly recognizes that Mu-deok is not who she claims to be. Nonetheless, alternatively of confronting her, his program is to make her fetch water for his bath, then complain about it becoming as well hot, only to whine that it is as well cold when she adjusts it, ad infinitum till she snaps and resorts to violence. It is not a terrible program. She fantasizes vividly about murdering him. Nonetheless, with no magical ability to speak of, it is all she can do to grin (unconvincingly) and bear it.

Awkward misadventures abound. When Wook discovers Mu-deok, who was attempting to steal his gate pass, hiding beneath his bed covers, he remarks, deadpan, that this was not what he had in thoughts when he brought her right here. Her hasty excuse is that she was attempting to warm his bed, to which he replies that, if that is the case, she really should warm his bed all night… with this brazier right here, exactly where she can fan the fire.

His toneless delivery, along with Mu-deok’s blank disdain at the innuendo, make the scene — and, even though Wook’s try to tease Mu-deok is a tiny uncomfortable, it is clear his only objective is to psyche her out till she reveals she’s an assassin.

The chemistry involving them is blisteringly awkward, and I am right here for it. Mu-deok’s incredulous certainty that Wook has somehow fallen for her, paired with Wook’s failure to realize why this cutthroat assassin is becoming so weirdly polite, hits that comedic sweet spot. The characters are baffled by 1 an additional, but the actors know specifically what they’re carrying out. It is got scrumptious possible: ultimately, there’ll be sparks, but proper now they’re fumblingly alarmed by the other’s existence.

While Wook pretends to sleep, Mu-deok steals his pass in order to escape. She does not, on the other hand, get far. Mysterious cloaked figures — connected, it appears, with the man who hired Mu-deok — have set fire to the Songrim developing, and in the ensuing chaos, Mu-deok is practically caught once more. She is rescued by – Wook, who pulls her to security.

She asks him why he’s right here. Mainly because, he says, of her eyes. In the moonlight, they gleam as blue as the mark left on Naksu’s physique. Mu-deok has been observed for who she is: Naksu’s soul in a new physique. And Wook is determined that she be his master.

While the silliness of Alchemy of Souls sometimes misfires, this show has good possible. I was excited by the premise, and my excitement has only ratcheted up soon after that delightful ending.

Most of all, I like Mu-deok, and can not wait to see her struggle with her desperate yen to murder men and women in Episode two.

Associated POSTS

  • Premiere Watch: Jinxed at Initially, Alchemy of Souls
  • Jung So-min tries to teach Lee Jae-wook in tvN’s Alchemy of Souls
  • Initially appear at tvN’s Hwanhon with Lee Jae-wook, Jung So-min
  • Lee Jae-wook, Park Hye-eun to co-star in new Hong Sisters drama



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