Audience Divided with Alchemy of Souls Season 2 as it Heads to Final Weekend Still Unable to Answer Basic World Building Questions

I checked out of Alchemy of Souls after the first season but continued to watch season 2 as a casual bystander. Nothing that happens will upset me but I am curious to see what the Hong Sisters have in store and also whether the still loyal cadre of viewer fans are enjoying this season with the switched up female lead and falling in love again premise. Through episode 8, the drama is doing great ratings above 8% but the reaction is mixed. Some find Wook falling for Naksu/Bu Yeon without knowing its her a betrayal of his supposedly I love you and only you forever promise, others just like the chemistry between these two leads and all those romantic scenes without getting too bothered by the logic or moral issues. It might just be this drama’s strength to have such polarizing opinions since no one thinks the drama narrative and world building makes any sense so why not just love/hate it still.


Audience Divided with Alchemy of Souls Season 2 as it Heads to Final Weekend Still Unable to Answer Basic World Building Questions — 54 Comments

  1. This season has been complete garbage story-writing wise. It seemed like they made things up on the fly. Everything looks rushed and cheap – no fight scenes or humour, no CGI from S1. Villians are still hanging ard with ppl treating them like annoying neighbours and taking cheap shots at them but nobody doing anything. Random filler scenes that dont propel the story forward. Dragging amnesia trope for 8 eps etc

    This season was set up to focus on the romance but it was too sickly sweet and unbelievable for me. Like what was it built on? Her BeAuTy? there’s no foundation for their love at all except her jumping on him all the time. And yes the big morality issue, so this dude is pining for naksu/mudeok and that was the whole point of S2 right – to build up this EPIC romance, but instead he went and fell for a different woman and him/the audience are only finding this out in ep8? Even if he does go back to liking naksu, he still betrayed her. Also I find it kinda gross that he’s enjoying 2-3 women all with the same souls/different body hijinks, and that this idea was thought of by 2 female writers.

    The cast also look so done with the promos, especially the guys. The energy is quite different this time round when in S1 promos, it was lively and there was alot of natural banter. I also dislike how they overhype/over-rate the romance between the leads so much literally pushing it in our faces – they talk abt the kiss and their “feelings” everywhere – interview, netflix promos cos this season has been so lame the production/cast knew the kissing scenes and whatever will bring in the fans. The show is literally existing for fanservice and catering to a small group of rabid young fanatics who dont care much for the plot. Even Reddit commenters are expressing criticism and they usually never do for popular kdramas. The kissing scenes made me feel nothing at all, though they were technically “hotter” than S1 and it’s clear the production want these scenes to be centrestage.

    I also realise I dont like GYJ. Not a huge fan of JSM by any means but I’ve now come to appreciate her take on mudeok and I miss her/the character. GYJ is one-note, bland and cant act lovey-dovey stuff. Chemistry where? Also dislike how shes over-filtered and white-washed even more to look like this gReAt bEaUtY, the entire promo is literally ard her looks. Unnatural looks btw. And the fans are like shes prettier than JSM! Plsss. Mudeok was incredibly dressed down, JSM is a pretty girl off cam and even better, seems to get along with anybody she works with and the male cast were very relaxed and respectful ard her. I always think if only she continued in this Season, the vibe may have been so different. Sigh.

    Anyway off my soapbox

    • Be ready to get attacked by AoS2 and GYJ fans lol. They can never accept any criticism. Even for viewers that only focused on the plot, commenting how draggy it is, they spouting excuses some even say stop disrespecting GYJ. Like, how saying the story is bad is disrespecting her??

    • “Hey, let’s not be too hard on GYJ. She’s new and we shouldn’t hate her. While the plot may not make a lot of sense, it’s still not as nonsensical as the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies. It’s just a silly, fun drama that’s meant for a younger audience to enjoy.”

    • @Forgotmyname – wahah ikr. They behave like typical teenage fanatics – the exact type of audience this drama and esp this season has been targetting. And the types of ppl that can’t be critical of anything they watch or read even if the content hits them in the face. Criticising an actress isnt disrespect. It’s valid criticism esp when one is suddenly elevated from support roles/rando model to a lead role and treated better by the production than the original 2 actresses including JSM and the poor forgotten original actress. In fact the amt of unwarranted bad comments JSM has endured from fans – now THAT is disrespect. She was 1 of the 2 reasons why S1 was so awesome (the other being ljws acting). Lucky she’s senior enough and awesome enough living her own life and booking other roles away from this travesty of a drama. Those fanatics can bring it on, not afraid of them or their whiny attacks.

      • JSM truly saved S1 – saw the forgotten original actress in another drama (Adamas), and boy, if she were still Mudeok in S1, it would have been nowhere near as good, her acting is sadly still very limited. I do wonder though why GYJ has such a fanatical following – never heard of her before AoS

    • Yes, i agree with you…JSM acted get along and chemistry with Lee Jae Wook naturally…season 2 so lame and not much story telling..a bit disappointed

    • @Anne. I agree with you. I just couldn’t watch this clearly inferior version of Alchemy of Souls. It’s totally insane of the viewers to criticise JSM and praising GYJ sky high.
      While GYJ is certainly pretty but JSM is very pretty too. It’s actually ridiculous of the production team to put JSM in rags and dresses GYJ in such lovely outfits. Do they have a vendettta against JSM?
      And it’s like what you said. They made GYJ clingy and whiny. Gosh they made GYJ look like a desperate bride and JSM like a beggar on the streets.

      • Ugandababw
        How low can you go to attack other commentators? Clearly you are another social media troll

    • Yes, spot on…I am completely agree with you…when the second season aired for 2 episodes, I was still trying to watch the show but I don’t feel the storyline as good as the first season with JSM…I’m not a fan of either actress but watching GYJ acting is too lame and the production pushing too hard on the romance it looks like desperate attempt to spike up rating cheap way. Season 2 story doesnt impressed me at all…I wrote a review sometimes about this issues but got bashed by the fanatic fans telling me not to watch the s2…well, I’m glad I didn’t watch because it’s waste my time…to understand the plot, I rather see the review in YouTube…it basically tells entire story in 5 min 🤣

      • This is not aimed towards the person I am replying under so please do not misunderstand
        This is why wuxia or any any other fantasy dramas shouldn’t be brought into the Korean film industry. If you guys want to talk about storyline and world building then you should have realized from the start of the show that none of these were actually strong points. There were never actual backgrounds for characters. The main characters families such as Jang UK, Seo Yul and Cho yeon. The only one of them that has background outside of Daeho is Seo Yul and his family was never brought up and we never knew what kind of ties he had to Daeho or why he was even there. Most of the things we had to speculate what it is or infer. The screenwriters of this drama were never going for a detailed story line they were only going for entertainment. As many others have said the characters are not even written properly, whether they are your fave or not.
        And the whole debate about Mudeok and Buyeon and Naksu, that’s all stemming from the bad writing, ever since I started s2 I’ve been hearing “Jang UK is cheating” “Jang UK should keep his promise” when mudeok stabbed him in the heart and left him? In reality many ppl who had the power that Jang UK has would find any means that is to suck her soul right back to Earth of search the ends of the Earth just to get revenge or further continue a toxic misunderstood relationship.

        In s1 what i saw was mudeok and Jang UK risking their lives over and over for each other and even after that mudeok would still hold her guard up around UK sometimes. In season 2 u see the reverse, buyeon is holding on dearly to Jang UK, almost as if her should recognized him from the start and wanted to do all the things for him she couldn’t because she was afraid.
        I don’t care who you think is the better actor, bcs time will tell, ppl who are passionate abt something don’t stay at the same level, I just hope u guys appreciate her when she is good and don’t make excuses.
        And for all the ppl talking about how they dressed them differently, mudeok was a maid that was bought from a ginsaeng house, why don’t u ask why the screenwriters never asked for her clothes to be changed, but u use it as a tool for you to say that the show is being biased against her. GYJ didn’t ask for her clothes to be pretty, and in any case she is the heir to Jinyowon.

      • Hi Eva…..
        Yeah sometimes its the scripting that lacking, placing the actors or actresses in awkward characterizations.
        Sorry to hear how poorly you have been treated here.
        So please ignore the trolls here who like to bash people.
        They have anger issues and they will attack people here as punching bags.
        The commentators here really can be vicious and outright “murderers” with words. Whatever others comment, they will still find fault and try to ruin the days with wicked words.
        Anyway it’s our right to like or not to like any shows.
        Let these horrible people be haters

    • Wow!!! So that’s how you feel.. I loved it. The first season and this second season too and that’s how I feel. Everyone did an awesome job!

      • Same here, I’m a bit annoyed that many like to blow season 2 up to be a hit. However, I see tons of comments like this. I loved Season 1 and sure it lacked some story-wise. However, the leads in season one Jungsomin and LeeJaeWook had amazing chemistry. Such a let down

    • I completely agree with you. The one lacked a lot, I stopped watching after episode 4 I believe it was. Where they suddenly kissed, no depth in this story at all.

  2. Entertainment wise, I am enjoying this drama but in terms of plot and character development and story building, it has been like a hamster on the treadmill going nowhere.
    Killing Jin Mu and making the queen and the Seo family the new villain could have been the better choice

  3. Personally, I liked AoS2 better than I expected, and warmed to GYJ sooner than I expected (JSM truly owned the first part as Mudeok). Yes the overall story was weak, the villain even weaker (Jin Mu was always just sidekick serving a stronger master material), and not much building up on the strong foundation of the first season, but overall it’s just a light entertainment fare for fan service really, a 10 episode long epilogue to solve(?) the problems of the OTP’s doomed love story

  4. The first season was already badly written but the second is worse. Only 10 episodes and they wasted them with amnesia and change of personality…

    • @sayaris …So true. Season 2 so draggy…..sigh …good start of Season 1 but derailed after first half of the drama…
      Season 2 is worse… going in circles and no where as entertaining … probably the writers switched souls with others halfway.zzzzzzzz

  5. I too actually was disappointed by season 2. Specially that the amnesia was dragged on until episode 8. I was also disapointed by Jang Uk. I thought he would do everything he can to figure out if Bu Yeon was indeed Naksu due to their resemblance. If I was him, longing for someone in 3 years, and I found the slightest resemblance with another person. Knowing that Mudeok was a soul shifter, I would have done everything I can to find the answer to my confusion. Even though, I was catching feelings, I would have probably hold back until I was sure. Master Lee has already mention to Jang Uk on Ep 20 in Season 1 that Mudeok’s body may belong to a great priestess, and I can’t believe that he didn’t even remember that and connected the dots.

    On the other hand, I still enjoyed the series, throwing all the criticisms away. Thinking that Jang Uk may just have been like just some man who said they will love only one person but ended falling for another. Sad but, this things happen.

    • Aos2. I think naksu and UK will vanished together. Bu yeon@muedok in naksu body will live and be with Yul. Just how I see from ep8😁

    • I too think he should have been more curious about this girl who coincidentally lost her memories right at the time that Naksu “died.” Actually in the first part likewise, he should have asked more questions about the body’s backstory and history. The only reason he didn’t is Because The Writers Said So. But anyway, in part 2, she keeps echoing all this stuff from Naksu. Surely he would be curious and pursue this? It might have made it feel less like he was falling for a completely new person.

      Overall I love the series. But it doesn’t mean I don’t have questions. 🙂

  6. She can’t act. Said this before, will say it again. Was attacked for it like crazy but it won’t change that fact. The whole drama is a mess.

  7. Imo they’ve dragged the amnesia plot for way too long. Some people loved Naksu’s albeit short but impactful appearance in ep1S1, but she’s nowhere to be seen in S2. Personally I tried to give it a chance as i find the new otp chemistry quiet palpable and i do enjoy first few eps but then they kept dragging. Some eps feel like fillers without anything happening and while I find BY/Naksu adorable and cute at 1st i still miss that badass Naksu who’d fight, here she’s really no different than a damsel in distress most of times. From latest ep, even after getting her memories back, she still needed to get saved by Janguk! don’t even mention about noble idiocity and annoying 2nd ml. I expected more from Janguk tbh, if they wanted to go for the idea of falling for the same soul twice, excuse me but it didn’t feel like it as BY is really not like Naksu, and after 8eps i feel like Janguk had fallen for a new woman who had ‘pulled’ him out of darkness and helped him sleep well etc It totally went the other way and it made me so unconfortable while looking at them. It felt like it wasn’t because she was Naksu, but more like for what she did for him and in other sense it could be anyone else. Did i make sense? argh. And it annoyed me how everyone knows but the ML and for some stupid reasons nobody tells him. It’s so frustrating at this point that any endign wouldn’t satisfy me. I still hope LJW and GYJ reunion in another drama though.

  8. The first season started well and end up as ” what the fuck is this?” sorry for saying that . I was curious about season 2 and even if nothing makes sense ( it’s like a cocktail of various stories that were written in other creations ), i’m enjoying the chemistry between the leads and the turtle .

  9. In my country, there is actually a Cf for a streaming site that is very funny and makes me think of this kind of dramas that begin great and end up as a deception . Canal Plus ” Le secret De Wakany ” , watch it on Youtube , even without understanding french you’ll get the meaning .

  10. I enjoyed watching season 2 despite the weak plot. I wont mind a season 3. 10 episodes of s2 are literally not enough. So please give me more LJW and GYJ. Not even a fan of but i like their chemistry. Acting wise, GYJ is too ‘green’ but not bad. Still enjoyable.

    Alchemy team fighting!!!!!

  11. I thought season 1 was where it should have stopped. I checked out season 2 with remaining 2 episodes, and I find the story line very illogical. I understand why UK is confused with his feelings after all he has grown to know and love Naksu’s personality behind Mudeok’s face and now Jin Beon’s face. I see no betrayal there. Can’t a guy not move forward after 3 years? Anyway, if Naksu’s soul disappears then whose face will we see for Jin Beon when she regains her body? If I were Naksu I will feel that life isn’t fair. In conclusion, the story should have been wrapped up in Season 1.

  12. To begin with, I personally believe that GYJ’s acting is amazing by the way. We all know that she looks like naksu but doesn’t look like naksu. The way she switched from that cheerful bite on to naksu is something that you can’t argue with. Something about her eyes makes the acting more special. The season is only 10 episodes, you can’t exactly expect it to be as filling as a first season with 20 episodes. The whole ‘I promise to love you and only you’ thing with naksu isn’t an exact betrayal. He decided to stay alone right, some girl makes him front his memories and all and made him fall for her. No other female had the courage to come close to him not to talk more of falling in love with him as they always tried to maintain a safe distance. The same applies to yun ok. She loved uk yet wasn’t bold enough to make a move.
    Therefore, he didn’t break any promise with naksu as SHE made him fall for her. The whole thing makes sense coming from where the whole story stopped in season 1. Some people say that they dragged the amnesia thing for 8 episodes, but that was the point. Then not recognizing who they were and still falling for each other. If she had gained her memories in earlier episodes, it would have felt rushed, she would have had to confront all the villains early and then they’d drag the whole fighting for too long and most importantly it would be as if jang uk fell in love with her because she was naksu.
    In season 1, uk had a conversation with work Jin about the fact that he is open to using sorcery if it means that the has to save someone life. If this story wasn’t well written, how does uk have to actually face such a problem in season 2. The whole point of the show is to show that naksu and jang uk’s love is inseperable l, so enjoy the whole show because that’s what the writers want.
    He never fell in love with the actual mudeok. It’s still the soul of naksu that he fell in love with, just her in a different body, therefore it’s wrong to say that he fell in love with 2-3 women. In the two bodies, it’s the same soul. The whole point of watching something is not being logical. Anyone who cares about logic shouldn’t be watching AOS.
    The cast also have a beautiful relationship with themselves. I’ve watched JSM as well as GYJ dramas and I can say that they are both amazing actresses. You can’t expect two actresses to be exactly the same. There was a little bit of respect with JSM because she was their noona although they still had a great relationship. They are freeer with the cast of season 2 because they are around the same age and also this season has less promotions than that of season 1. If you want to know the answer to the question, then wait like the rest of us for the last two episodes to see what happens next. I mean isn’t that why the whole story isn’t complete yet.
    I have no criticisms for GYJ not because I’m a fan but because her acting was spectacular. Being able to play completely two different personalities in the same show isn’t an easy thing to do. She also nailed all her crying/ emotional scenes. Same goes for LJW. The CGI is also better in season 2. I mean take a look at uks fighting scenes. Shout out to the cast and writers of AOS. You guys did a good job.

  13. The truth is, since season one the female lead character had major flaws and this is not the actresses fault but the writer fault. I like JSM but her character did not much in season 1, they could do so much more and didn’t….

    Part 2 ending soon and the poweful NAKSU or Powerful Jin heir DID’T SHOW how amazing they can be, but instead being saved by the male cast over and over is just sooo annoying.

    Another truth : If they didn’t change the actress some fans here would be loving it and not complaining so much unlike now lol

    I understand disliking the actress change, but putting the actress looks down doesn’t look like normal criticism.

  14. No but JSM character was also super bland in S1 until the last scene and frankly even if the soul is Naksu the JBY of GYJ is a completely different person from Mudeok or Naksu. Even after regaining her memories she’s still a completely different person. There is no similarity between the character played by JSM and the one by GYJ even though technically they have the same soul. I think what Jang Uk needed was to know if Mudeok really loved him because when she stabbed him with the sword and killed him he wasn’t sure if she still loved him and he holds that resentment in his heart but his love for her had changed and in JBY he found a new love who is completely different from his previous one even with the similarities of their words and some actions. The old Naksu and Mudeok don’t exist anymore this is a completely new character albeit with the same soul but a different personality. I think his love for this new personality is far bigger than his love for Mudeok. A lot of it I feel also has to do with LJW and GYJ being close in age and having more chemistry overall than JSM who was frankly too old for the role and the rest of the cast.

  15. I am of the opinion that AOS is very enchanting,and great fun to watch. I believe the ratings reflect the same.

    The acting is fine, the story intriguing, and I always anticipate the next show. the story may sometime drift, or be too predictable, etc… but it is still a wonderful production which I consider great entertainment.

  16. I love AOS2 more than AOS1 because Jang Uk is more powerful and Naksu has her original appearance . GYJ is a fine actress especially as Naksu the skillful mage in AOS1.

  17. I think everyone should understand that Jang Uk is attracted to Jin bu- Yeon because of the existing love between Naksu and him so it just proves that even without knowing she is the one, he fell in love with her over again

  18. Meanwhile I’m just enjoying the drama…

    It took me a bit to come around to the idea of changing the actress 2/3 of the way through. But I like GYJ, too (never seen her in anything before). I like to think of it as, this is what her personality would have been like if Jin Mu hadn’t turned her into an assassin. (Not that living with thread-sewing Mama Jin was exactly a piece of cake, either?) I do wish that she had gotten her memory back a bit sooner, because I spent some time feeling almost like she was a new character. I could see the same character’s mannerisms in her, yes (GYJ did a good job there), but of course without the memory of being Naksu, some of that coldness was gone. (This is a scriptwriting issue, not an acting one.) I really liked the moment when she went to meet Jin Mu in full possession of her memories, though. You could see Naksu 1.0 come over her. That was the moment when I fully felt that yes, this is the same person. Just wish it had come a bit earlier.

    Anyway, despite its flaws and despite not coming into it as a particular stan of most of the cast (most of them were unknown to me before), it ended up being my favorite drama of the year. *shrugs* Some of us (actually, a lot of people) simply like it.

  19. Surprised by the amount of bile that has been spouted here but I’m glad that more level-headed heads have also spoken up.
    I’m personally one of those who prefer AOS2 to AOS. As for the plotting.. I mean, I’ve watched Hwayugi… it’s best to just suspend disbelief when watching some of the Hong sisters dramas.
    While I did think that GYJ needed some time to ease into the role, once she did, she’s done a really good job! Her micro expressions are on point and she definitely has a charm of her own.
    I’m not too bothered by the so-called “inconsistencies”. The way I see it, this is Naksu’s personality if she had been allowed to keep her innocence and not spend her whole life consumed with revenge and killing.
    I look fwd to the last 2 episodes & am cheering the cast and staff on!!

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