Several decades after the popular Sony PlayStation vehicular combat video game Twisted Metal first came out, the concept has been turned into a TV show. It’s an exciting, apocalyptic story full of high-speed car chases, eclectic characters, romance, danger, and thrills.
The best way to describe Twisted Metal is if you took elements from The Last of Us, Fast & Furious, and The Boys and smashed them together, complete with an epic soundtrack that spans multiple decades, from Hanson’s MMMBop from the ‘90s to Epic by Faith No More from the late ‘80s. The end-of-the-world story combines terrifying plotlines with gruesome kills and plenty of humor. But how does it all end?
The story begins with John Doe (Anthony Mackie), who as a young boy, was hit in the head after a car crash with no recollection of his life before. Now, 20 years later, he works as a skilled milkman spending his days delivering items from one place to another in his car, which he calls Evelyn based on her license plate, “EV3L1N.”
After yet another successful run, he is called into the office of Raven (Scream‘s Neve Campbell), the leader of a thriving community who promises him everything he wants in life, including entry inside, if he does one big task: deliver and pick-up a package to New Chicago, 2,000 miles away and return within 10 days. If he succeeds, his life will change forever. Or so he thinks. Viewers see Raven’s true intentions, and it’s clear she is using Doe for something far more sinister. But in his eyes, this is a big opportunity. But it won’t be easy. Can Doe become the first milkman without an expiration date?
To get to New Chicago, he must pass through various blockades made by Agent Stone (Thomas Haden Church), a former mall cop who has appointed himself the new sheriff in town. He is cruel and violent, taking out his anger on the people who once poked fun at him while he worked as a “rent-a-cop” trying to maintain order.
But the most terrifying villain is Sweet Tooth (Samoa Joe, voiced by Will Arnett), a mentally unstable man who wears a clown mask and rules all New Las Vegas on his own. He does have a sidekick, though: a paper bag he calls Harold.
Along his encounters, Doe meets Quiet (Stephanie Beatriz), a skilled car thief grieving the death of her brother at the hands of Agent Stone and his men. The pair cross paths with Sweet Tooth, but Doe manages to charm himself out of a dangerous situation, appealing to Tooth’s desire to be noticed, appreciated, and literally applauded. Don’t worry, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Sweet Tooth.
Through their 10-day journey, Doe and Quiet shift from despising one another to becoming romantically linked (with a graphic dalliance in a ball pit). Lather, rinse, repeat, as they meet several people and groups along the way while racing against the clock.
First, they are tortured by Agent Stone and his men at an outpost, fittingly situated at the old DMV. They are forced to fill out endless forms while listening to Aqua’s Barbie Girl on repeat at an ear-popping volume. Stone wants to know who provided the detailed map that lists all his outposts and ways to avoid them, but Doe refuses to betray his friend.
Certain death is thwarted, however, when a newly recruited, sympathetic agent named Stu (Mike Mitchell), clearly not like the others, decides to help Doe and Quiet. Before they depart, however, Quiet brutally bashes in the skull of Agent Shepard (Jared Bankens) who killed her brother. She leaves him for dead, pants down with a girlie magazine in his lap. But that’s not enough. She wants Stone’s head on a silver platter.
They also meet a trucking convoy of helpful folks who trade parts and gear for Doe and Quiet getting them poisonous plants to help put their ailing leader Granny Dread (Peg O’Keef) to rest on her own terms. Then there’s the bunch of misfits, including Mary (Chloe Fineman), a milkman with whom Doe was once romantically linked.
Sweet Tooth, meanwhile, has traveled to Agent Stone’s headquarters, looking to put on a “show” that everyone will applaud. His trauma and desire for the spotlight date back to childhood, as shown in flashbacks. The then-child actor, mocked by his own parents, was upstaged on screen by a dog. He brutally murdered the pup while filming a live scene and landed himself in a mental institution for the rest of his life.
He tears apart bodies, decapitates agents, and paints the walls red with blood for his climactic, curtain-call finish, laughing the entire way through. The survivors deliver a terrified standing ovation and become his new followers. That includes Stu, to whom Sweet Tooth takes a liking because of his similar heavy-set body and the fact that both their names start with “S.” Despite his reluctance, Stu takes the job as Sweet Tooth’s right-hand man, mostly out of fear for his life.
Meanwhile, Quiet takes off on her own to Topeka to find and kill Stone and an epic car chase ensues. Doe saves her in the nick of time, and the two find a safe haven in an old fast-food burger joint while they wait out an electric storm. The venue is a sad memory of Quiet’s previous life working for wealthy Orange Country residents who cut off their servants’ body parts and wore them as jewelry when they stepped out of line. That explains her missing finger.
Once they’re back on the road, the duo finally arrive at the destination where the mysterious voice of the all-powerful Calypso thanks them for the service. He gives them a package they need to take back to Raven. The clock is still ticking.
As Doe and Quiet are nearing the end of their journey, Evelyn is stolen by a group of masked men. Doe isn’t going to let her go so easily, and we learn why through flashbacks. A young Doe found Evelyn covered with leaves and inside was money he could use to light a fire and cans of beans that provides much-needed sustenance. He managed to drive the car and get parts to fix it. Evelyn had been by his side for 20 years and seemingly saved his life.
The pair find the group, and it’s a sinister cult of masked men being entertained by female dominatrixes, all led by a maniacal former priest who goes by Preacher (Jason Mantzoukas). He has left the cloth behind and makes it his mission to commit the seven deadly sins (desires, as he calls them now) day in and day out. Doe challenges him to a fight, unaware that the priest has some serious martial arts moves. Quiet steals a car to escape but gets angry with Doe when he refuses to leave without Evelyn. It’s just a car, after all.
She was right, because as the fight continues, Evelyn is burned to a crisp in an explosion, and Doe mourns with Evanescence’s My Immortal as a backdrop to the emotional scene. Quiet, however, thinks Doe is dead. But they find their way back to one another through the trucking convoy. After they eventually kiss and make up, they rebuild a new car they call ROADKILL that will help them take down Stone and his group once and for all.
The final battle scene is an epic one right out of the video game. They do donuts around Stone’s cars and his people, blowing up and shooting at everything, and everyone, in sight. Sweet Tooth has also arrived, his head lit on fire while he maniacally laughs, causing explosion after explosion.
Miranda (Jamie Neumann), the leader of the trucking convoy, suits up to hop aboard her blazing-fast racecar and joins the fight, helping Doe and Quiet getaway. Sadly, however, Sweet Tooth blows up their truck, much to Stu’s shock and horror. “Why did you do that? They’re on our side?” he asks. “There are no sides!” screams Sweet Tooth as he continues to laugh hysterically.
Stu eventually shoots Sweet Tooth as he and his friend Mike (Tahj Vaughans) escape. Sweet Tooth later gets into a fracas with Agent Stone where he is again shot, then run over by Stu, but he still isn’t dead. (In an after-credits scene, he shows up at a campsite where Stu and Mike are enjoying a fire with their blow-up doll girlfriends and seemingly brutally murders them.)
Doe and Quiet almost get away until Stone pulls up behind them. Quiet turns the car around and they’re ready to face off in a game of chicken. Just as the two cars are about to collide, however, Doe pushes a button and out comes a ramp from the front of the car, which launches Stone’s van into the air, flipping it over multiple times. Stone is still alive, but they get the last laugh when Doe throws an axe that hits him square in the face. In a beautiful karmic moment, Quiet puts his gun down in front of him, just as he did to her brother, and tells Stone he can die slowly, or end himself quickly. It’s his choice. They walk away as the sound of a gunshot rings in the distance.
Back at the community, Raven holds up her end of the bargain but refuses to let Quiet in as well. That wasn’t part of the deal, and Quiet isn’t going to let Doe lose his opportunity. She’s offered a job as the new milkman but decides to go Robin Hood, stealing from milkmen and providing the goods, usually food and other useful supplies, to the poor.
What about that all-important package? It was just a frozen carton of Rocky Road ice cream. It was a test, and Raven is grooming Doe for something. But what? After a month or two, Doe decides this life isn’t for him, and he misses Quiet. But Raven won’t let him go that easily.
She takes him to a house with photos in the mailbox. It’s photos of him as a child, his parents’ faces now viewable unlike the photo he has with the faces burned off. This, she claims, is the house he grew up in. Interestingly, the photo also shows a young girl with Doe and his parents.
Doe is visibly shaken but tells her he’s not that boy anymore and that is no longer his life. That doesn’t matter. There’s a huge race among all the communities coming up called Twisted Metal. It’s organized by the all-powerful Calypso, who promises to grant the winner one wish – anything they desire. Raven wants that prize and she thinks Doe can get it for her.
Photos of the participants appear on screen, and it’s all the people with whom Doe encountered along the way, some of them friends. This is a deadly race where only a single driver survives.
Over on the road, Quiet is stopped by a group of women in masks. The leader, presumably the character Dollface, tells Quiet she has been looking for her. She believes Quiet knows her brother. He’s a man who goes by the name of John Doe.
Will there be a season 2 of Twisted Metal? We’ll have to wait and see. For now, watch all episodes of Twisted Metal season 1 on Peacock.
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