The hit historical K-drama, The Red Sleeve, starring Lee Jun Ho and Lee Se Young, ended on January 1 after airing 17 magnificent episodes of a free adaptation about two real-life characters. , King Jeongjo and his most beloved concubine named Ui-Bin, while he ruled Korea between 1776 and 1800 during the Joseon Dynasty.
Set in the 18th century, The Red Sleeve also known as The Red Sleeve Cuff introduces us to Sung Deok Im a girl of humble origins who becomes a Lady of the Royal Court and meets Crown Prince Yi San with whom she falls in love. When the young man finally becomes king, Jeongjo forces Sung Deok Im to become his concubine despite her repeatedly refusing, a behavior that he always mistakes for lack of love, when in reality it was due to the young woman though. Deep down she loved him, she didn’t want to be trapped in the palace.
As expected, the last two episodes were the most moving of the entire narrative, as its own protagonists had warned days before during an interview, when they confessed that they cried when reading the scripts. Fans witnessed the obstacles the couple had to face and enjoyed the brief period of happiness they experienced.
The end of The Red Sleeve immediately sparked a debate among fans of historical K-Drama, over two discoveries. The first refers to the fact that the unfortunate events that occurred in episode 17 after Jeongjo and Deok Im get together as a couple, are the product of a bad dream of the king that we had already seen him wake up from in episode 16 while resting in the lap of his beloved.
On the other hand, some other followers of The Red Sleeve firmly believe that when we see the king die many years after living with a broken heart by the death of Deok Im, it actually did happen (as the history books record) and that When he woke up he did it in the afterlife where he finally managed to reunite with his beloved consort in the house and the garden where they both lived the happiest moments of their youth in the time when they were together.
Other no less important comments from the fans refer to the bittersweet scene in which we see the King and Deok Im reunited in what we assume is the moment when both meet again after he passes away. When the somewhat confused King thinks he realizes what is happening and she tells him that he is on time to return to where he belongs, he resists and decides to stay by her side. It is the words in off with the voice of the actor Lee Jun Ho that caused the most emotion in the spectators:
“If this is a past memory, that’s fine. If it’s a dream, that’s fine. It doesn’t matter if I’m dead. I will always choose this moment with you and hope it never changes. May it last forever.”
We then heard Lee Se Young’s voiceover respond as Sung Deok Im stating, “So this moment became forever.” At the same time, the last seconds of the episode the audience sees that the King’s face was wrapped in gloom while he smiled with happiness. This emotional The Red Sleeve sequence reminds viewers of an important moment from the first episode, when little Yi San and Deok Im were in Empress Yeongbin’s morgue.
On that occasion, Deok Im consoled Yi San (the night they met), who was saddened by the death of his grandmother and worried that he would leave hating him for the last words he said to her during a fight. History repeats itself once again, when, already converted into King, he ends his years tormented thinking that deep down he made Deok Im suffer a lot by pressuring her with his selfish love to become a concubine and have to experience a life that he did not want, so he always feared that she also left with a grudge.
The Deok Im girl from the first episode comforts him by saying, “She will know how you feel. Everyone who died knows it. Even the words hidden deep in your heart that you didn’t say.”