Review: The Red Sleeve

Review: The Red Sleeve

No. of episodes: 17
Genre: Historical, Romance
Native title: 옷소매 붉은 끝동
Original network: MBC

The drama is set in Joseon Dynasty, during the 1700s the perfect young Crown Prince is haunted by his father’s death which is caused by his grandfather, the King. Yi San (2PM’s Lee Jun Ho) fell in love with his personal court maid Sung Deok Im (Lee Se Young) and try to convince her to be his concubine.

Based on real historical figures

  • Crown Price, later King Jeongjo (22nd King of Joseon Dynasty): Yi San (by Jun Ho)
  • Royal Noble Consort Uibin Seong: Sung Deok Im (by Se Young)
  • King Yeongjo (by Lee Deok Hwa)
  • Hong Deok Ro, Crown Prince’s teacher (by Kang Hoon)

and many more

Sentiments: Not going the usual route of having 16 episodes, The Red Sleeve added an additional episode which I find it still questionable and optional to watch. 

The chemistry between Lee Jun Ho and Lee Se Young is amazing and them receiving the Best Couple Awards at the MBC Drama Awards 2021 explains it all. 

Overall Rating: 7/10
Cast: 8/10
Production: 7.5/10
Storyline: 6.5/10
Rewatch Value: 6/10

Court Lady

Gungnyeo is a literal translate to palace women, a term referring to women waiting on the king and the other royalties. Among them there are hierarchy and some are way more superior than the others.

Sung Deok Im was labelled as a traitor’s daughter after the Crown Prince Sado’s death as her father was working for him. Adopted by another family of Sung, she was granted a chance to enter the palace as a court maid by Lady Hye Gyeong Hong (Kang Mal Geum).

Life of a court maid is really tough, have to abide strict rules and not even treated like a human. Nevertheless, Deok Im is really grateful for the chance to survive. However, that means separation from her older brother.

East Palace

Every sanggung has their own little apprentice and Deok Im’s mentor is Court Lady Seo (Jang Hye Jin) who serves the crown prince in the East Palace. She was kept as a librarian for the Crown Prince’s library and hence she is exposed to more books and literate.

Deok Im chance upon the Crown Prince in the library but mistaken him as the Crown Prince’s teacher which he did not correct her as well. Yi San finds her interesting and starts to pay more attention to her.

Being well-known as hard to serve master, no court maid wants to be chosen as his personal maid but Deok Im was picked.

Personal Maid

Serving Yi San day and night, both of them grew closer and lesser fiction along the way. Deok Im seems to get Yi San every time which amazed him, very soon, he starts to seek second opinion from her.

However, Hong Deok Ro (Kang Hoon) who is the Crown Prince’s teacher starts to feel jealous and losing power. He was the top bachelor in the palace, many court maid’s ideal type and idol. Only Deok Im saw the real him and feel annoyed by his actions.

To the throne

King Yeongjo has been very strict to Yi San ever since young, he want to groom him into a capable and respectable King who can take over him. His charisma and stern figure scares Yi San, he is afraid to make mistake yet everyone is trying to get him off the route as a successor.

Deok Im, as his personal maid and someone that admire him vows that she will protect him at all cost until he succeed the throne.


Similar drama, Yi San (2007) where the drama talks in details of the life of King Jeongjo who is remembered as one of the greatest kings in Korea with his love for the people.

Overall, this is a really beautiful story to catch.

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