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. (Source: Netflix) Edit Translation
Where to Watch Alchemy of Souls Season 2: Light and Shadow
Cast & Credits
LEGENDARYNot gonna lie, this drama, from script, direction, and acting, up to CGI and editing, was just legendary. But how did this become legendary? This season continues the story where it was left off in the 1st season, which I rated 9.5. So, why did I rate this 8.5 instead?
To be honest, the first season is far superior to this one, and the reason this season has become so successful is clearly due to the first season. Let's look why:
First of all, this lacked the punch of the 1st Part. The 1st Part introduced us to a whole new world, and much time was used to build the lore and the details. This kept us engaged and interested. However, nothing much happened in Part 2, in general. Everything was established in the 1st seasonitself,f and this 2nd part didn't have much twists and turns like the 1st.
The pace of the story was another problem. This problem had been there in the 1st season an well. The starting episodes were amazing, but somehow, after some episodes, it felt like the story was moving downhill. The plot was, like, not moving at all. But they picked up the momentum in the later episodes, nonetheless. Honestly, they could have done the whole drama, I mean, part 1 and 2 together, In just 15 or 20 eps.
This is another issue I've had since the first season. They promised us strong, witty, smart, and brave female characters. However, all we got were sidekicks. Let's take a look at the main female characters in the story:
1. First of all, Naksu/Cho Yeong- I really wanted to see her fighting with her sword again. I wanted her to be like how she had been as Mu Doek. Don't get me wrong, I honestly loved how they separated the real Cho Yeong from the Naksu that Jin Mu created. All I wanted was for her to be as sharp-witted and as quick-witted as her older self. That Naksu was more interesting than the present Cho Yeong. In Part 2, Naksu seemed to be reduced to a one-dimensional, not-that-witty, not-that-smart person who was really only meant to host Jin Bu Yeon's priestess powers and to mend Uk's broken heart.
2. Jin Bu Yeon/Jin Seol Ran - She seemed like just a background character, appearing here and there. She was a character with much potential, but sadly, it was wasted. I would have loved to know more about the time when she was Seol Ran, how she went through what they call the Great Chaos, and all. Also, it was entioned in almost all episodes about how powerful she is. But, pity that we didn't even get a glimpse of it.
3. Maidservent Kim - She had no powers whatsoever. She had been just a mother figure for Uk and a love interest for Park Jin, right from the start to the end. But I did love her, nevertheless.
4. Jin Cho Yeon - She was introduced as one of the Jin clan, with great powers, but we didn't actually get to see even one scene where she was using her powers usefully. Again, she was reduced to just a love interest for Dang Gu.
5. Jin Ho Kyung - Again, another character with great powers. In the end, she couldn't even protect her fortress. I know she was ageing and eventually losing her powers, but when Park Jin didn't have any problems while ageing, why does she?
6. Heo Yoon Ok - Okay, I didn't like her. She wasn't said to have great powers, but what made me dislike her was that she was overcome with jealousy half of the time, going after Uk and attempting to separate him and Naksu in both the 1st and 2nd parts. And her happy ending was jsut seeing someone.
7. So Yi - She was another great character with great potential. I really liked her character. She is one of the strongest female characters in the entire series, in my opinion, whose potential got wasted. She could have been developed into a GREAT character. But...
This drama would have been even better if the FLs were as strong as they were said to be. Now, that's all about the female characters. Let's talk about other problems.
They dragged out the amnesia plot for too long. This is one of those common, clichéd plot lines that I hate. But, if executed well, it could become a masterpiece too. Sadly, this wasn't the case with AoS Part 2. They could have either made Naksu remember it earlier, or made Uk realise that it was Naksu all along. And, when they did realise it, it felt really underwhelming.
I really hated to believe that Uk had finally forgotten about his Naksu/Mu Doek and moved on to fall in love with another woman. I know it was her all along, but I just didn't like the feel of it. That ruined the whole point of this romance, for me.
Underwhelming villain characters - this was one of the main things that bothered me. The villains, especially Jin Mu, all had proper goals and objectives and plans to achieve them, but I felt like they were all acting behind the scenes. I would have liked them to be utilised more and build more tension between them and the heroes. Towards the end, Jin Mu seemed reduced to one of those cartoonish villain charactes with just an evil smile and no brains.
Now, enough with the bad points. Let's start with the good points that make this drama stand out from the rest;
1. The Crown Prince and the Turtle: We can't help but love the Crown Prince. He was the best character in the entire series for me, and I was rooting for him until the very end. He and our MVP Turtle were truly the best duo in the entire series!
2. Crown Prince and Jang Uk - I really really loved the dynamics between Crown Prince and Ukkie, in the 1st as well as 2nd part. Even though it cannot be considered as a real bromance, I loved it, and I would watch an entire series with just them without any complaint.
The comic relief - I laughed hard enough watching this to add comedy as one of its genres. Those scenes were like breaths of fresh air in an intense plot line.
I loved how they explained the meaning of the title. Jang Uk being the light that protects Cho Yeong and Her being the sadow, embrassing him. It was so endearing!
Acting - DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?? The perforance of the cast was impeccably beautiful. I was initially quite disappointed in the replacement of Jung So Min with Go Yoon Jung, but after the first two episodes, I was convinced that she deserved the role. She really is a gifted actress with great potential. Even though she didin't quite manage to catch So Min's charm, she was great in her own accord.
Jae Wook's performance shook me to the core. He was a new actor to me, and I haven't seen any of his earlier works, but this drama alone is enough for me to make him a part of my list of favourite actors.
I had seen Shin Seoung Ho in A-Teen before, but I didn't even realise it! I figured this out recently, and I'm blown! I hope he gets more great characters like this in the future so that he can showcase his great talent! He really does have an acting genre in him!
All the others did a good job as well. Out of the supporting cast, the one who stands out is Do Sang Woo, who played Yul's uncle. His last scenes as Jin Mu, after the Alchemy of Souls were mind blowing. He nailed it. He really did give off the original Jin Mu's vibes!
Music - The music score and OSTs used in the drama were perfect! It gives us the right vibe for every scenes. Some of the OSTs are still on my Spotify favourites list.
Lastly, I enjoyed most part of it. Even with the slow pace, this is a good watch, nevertheless. I would surely recommend this drama to people who love fantasy and heartbreaking romance, original plot lines, amazing cast and chemistry, etc. This drama is legendary and will live on in my memory.
10 episodes that should've been cut in 5Let's just start with Season 1 was a 10 for me. It had ALL The exciting elements that YES finally S2 is here! And then it felt ..... draggy & flat, completely anti climatic. NO fault to the actors and I know people are complaining about the change of the FL. No chemistry etc. Personally I think the script is the problem. Naksu's character shouldn't have deteriorated to a sick love puppy that only in ep 8 did her original personality started to show. Progression was terrible!! If the story isn't there don't drag it out like what C dramas tend to do & just ended. Instead they filled it with flashbacks, blank stares, forced comic lines at the wrong times, and hot red birds ep 1-7.
S2 managed to recover the initial glory in ep 8-10 and ended with a semi satisfying ending but it should've been so much better. The cast did an amazing job regardless!
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|Moral of the story by Lotus Eater
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|(FINAL update) How can NakYeon survive? by IM YourOnlyOne