The show “Twin Peaks” was known for its many bizarre, surreal, and confusing situations. “Twin Peaks” was one of the first shows on primetime television to make the purposeful decision not to explain anything that was happening, serving as the inspiration for later hits like “Lost,” “The Leftovers,” and the dream-sequence episodes of “The Sopranos,” to mention just a few. The Red Room is a perfect illustration of how David Lynch and Mark Frost weren’t afraid to occasionally leave viewers perplexed.
The Red Room
The Red Room originally featured towards the conclusion of “Twin Peaks” episode number two. After passing out in his hotel room, FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan) awakens in a room enclosed by crimson curtains. Behind him is an odd marble statue of a woman, and a red-clad man is seated on the chair right next to him. Everyone in the Red Room speaks in a peculiar manner that necessitates subtitles in order to comprehend. The actors’ lines were said backward and then reversed in the edit to achieve this.
Soon after, a disguised Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee) appears and speaks into Dale’s ear. Dale phones Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) as soon as he gets up and claims to know who killed Laura Palmer. He asks him to meet him for breakfast the following morning so he can share his information. After a week of suspense, viewers were shocked to hear Cooper admit he couldn’t recall in the opening scene of the subsequent show. The episode serves as an effective (though very harsh) reminder that finding the person who killed Laura Palmer isn’t the main goal of the show, despite how irritated the viewers must have been at the time. Lynch didn’t even attempt to unravel the mystery.
The realities of network television at the time, however, obliged them to not only identify the murderer right immediately but also to produce a different pilot episode for European viewers, one that would disclose the murderer and function as a stand-alone feature. This type of studio interference is what initially caused the Red Room to exist.
Rolling with the punches
Mark Frost explained to Yahoo Entertainment:
“The Red Room came about because when David [Lynch] did the pilot, our foreign distributor wanted to have a closed ending that they could release as a feature in Europe in case the show didn’t get picked up for a series. So it was that scene that led to the discovery of Bob, the phrase “fire walk with me,” and the first time we saw Michael J. Anderson as well. We had written the sequence into the second episode, and David’s visualization of it became one of the most iconic images in television history.”
Even if the Red Room’s debut and the other aspects were not entirely organic storytelling decisions, they all ultimately contributed to what “Twin Peaks” would ultimately mean to millions of viewers, even 30 years later.
Despite the fact that “The Return’s” ratings were far below those of the original programme at its height, “Twin Peaks” has one of the most ardent fan bases in television history and has left its mark on many other highly regarded programmes. As unforgettable as the show’s characters, tone, and location were, the crimson curtains are what immediately come to mind whenever “Twin Peaks” is mentioned.