Drama Special – Crimson Moon/Red Moon (KBS, 2015)

One of the latest entry into the large repertoire of works on Crown Prince Sado, Crimson Moon is an one-episode drama that focused on the reason behind Sado’s insanity, adding a touch of supernatural at work. Kim Dae Myung (Misaeng) plays Crown Prince Sado, bringing to life the tortured and mentally unsound Prince, whose eventual death inspired many plays and literature work.


Show begins with the rumor that King Yeongjo poisoned his brother, then King Gyeongjong, and usurp the throne. The Soron faction, which supported King Gyeongjong and his mother, Jang Heebin, attempted an assassination on King Yeongjo, and Show depicts how a young Sado witnessed the bloodshed. He was eventually left to reside at the quarters where Jang Heebin was given poison by her husband King Sukjong. Show hints that an evil spirit is work at the residence, and a young Sado witness apparitions of a lady and a young boy on the first night.


The time jumps to 17 years later, where a grown up Sado begins to kill random servants in the palace, however he has no idea he killed them the next day. Lady Yi, his mother happen to see him in his hideous act one night, and believes the evil spirit at his residence is behind all these. King Yeongjo is constantly displeased with Sado, and more than once threatens to kill Sado.


Those who’d watched Yi San before would know that Princess Hwawan, Sado’s sister, has a bad relationship with Sado’s wife, Lady Hyegyeong. However in here, Hwawan seems to be on pretty friendly terms with Hyegyeong. Furthermore, it is recorded that Sado is jealous of Yeongjo’s favoritism towards Hwawan, but none of it is present here. Rather, Hwawan here is sincere is helping Sado, and Sado also is portrayed to be reliant on Hwawan. There’s also a brief examination of the relationship between Yeongjo and Sado, but sadly there wasn’t enough time in a 72-minute outing to explore it in more details. We do get to see more of how much of a threat mentally unsound Sado is to his own son, the future King Jeongjo.


The tragic story of Sado is always one of much interest and intrigue, and Crimson Moon is definitely one successful re-imagination that ties the supernatural element with historical records of Sado being mentally unsound. Watch it here.

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