More often than not, screen adaptations of video games tend to favor the non-realistic, goofy parts of their original work while leaving behind any possibility to act on the serious, grim parts of it. HBO’s The Last of Us earlier this year was a brilliant exception to this, but Peacock’s post-apocalyptic action-adventure series Twisted Metal follows the same usual practice. Adapted from the videogame series by Sony Interactive Entertainment, the show presents the post-apocalyptic wasteland that America now is, with a new protagonist named John Doe having to deliver a crucial package with the help of his armored and weaponized car, dearly named Evelin. Twisted Metal is best for some light-hearted action entertainment, with no expectations of seriousness to be kept, as the series itself prefers to stay goofy throughout its 10 episodes.
Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
Twenty years before the present time in Twisted Metal, the world had gone through an apocalypse in which computers were taken out by software bugs, and human civilization, therefore, fell apart. At present, the world is divided into the “inside” and the “outside,” with all major cities being walled fortresses. While the wealthy and influential population were allowed to stay inside these walled cities, all criminals and outcasts were pushed out of the walls and forced to stay in the wild outside. Our protagonist, John Doe, happens to be one such outcast who works the crucial profession of a “milkman,” which basically involves delivering packages from one walled city to another. But the job is not so straightforward, as the outside is filled with hordes of criminals and baddies who all want their hands on the precious cargo being carried around, and people like John have to fight them off to safely deliver. The milkmen are, in turn, given gas for their cars and other important resources that are rare to find in the outside world. Despite coming so close and working with the cities, they are never allowed inside.
However, John Doe’s life is about to take a turn when he visits the enormous city of New San Francisco as part of his job. After being washed and scrubbed clean, the man is taken to meet with Raven, the COO of the city, making it evident that cities in this post-apocalyptic world are run in corporate style. Raven tells John that she wants to appoint him for a very important delivery from the faraway city of New Chicago, but the man will not be told exactly what he will be carrying. Although the secrecy does not bother John much, the sheer distance he has to travel through the unsafe outside roads is an instant deal-breaker for him. However, what Raven offers next is enough to convince John—if he can successfully make the trip, then John Doe will be allowed to settle in New San Francisco for the rest of his life. Being a man who has only known the outside world so far in his life and could not even dream of living on the inside, John Doe accepts the offer and makes his way to New Chicago to collect the package and bring it back within the stipulated ten days.
How Had John Doe First Found Evelin?
John Doe’s character is given some depth through a backstory about his childhood days. However, the man does not remember much about his childhood, and his memory begins with a day when he woke up inside a car all alone when he was a boy of ten or so years. Who he was before this time remains a complete mystery until the very end of the series, and John only carries around a photograph of his family. This photo, with his parents’ faces cut out, had been found inside the car where John first woke up, but this car was very soon looted from him by some criminal in the outside world. The boy had to find temporary shelter inside a forest, and after slipping and rolling down, John found himself in front of an old, abandoned car. Despite being covered with shrubs and plants all over, the car ultimately did start, allowing young John to drive away from a group of looters who wanted to make him their food. After arriving at an old garage, John then lovingly cleaned and repaired the car, also finding a nameplate with “EV3L1N” written on it. It was in this manner that the man found his deepest love, Evelin, and soon John Doe became inseparable from his beloved car.
It is rather evident that John misses the human bond, though, despite humanizing the car he drives around. The man is often seen looking at his family’s photo and wondering who they are, and he is genuinely interested in how life would be inside the walled cities. In New San Francisco, Raven obviously wins John over with the lavish lifestyle and abundance that the man can apparently get at the place. But then, John gets totally convinced of the plan, not because of the luxuries promised but rather because of the promise of a family of his own. Raven’s own cozy family with her husband and newborn baby (albeit a fake display setup for John) is something that John Doe yearns for in his own life, and it is in order to achieve this life one day that he finally accepts the job offer.
How Had Quiet’s Life Been Before Meeting With John?
The gradual human bond that John Doe develops throughout the runtime of Twisted Metal is with another thief and raider who does not ever tell him her name. Because of her initial silent nature, John calls her Quiet, and the two decide to stick with that name for the rest of their journey. Unlike John, Quiet did have memories of her life before the apocalypse, remembering the happiness she had found at Disneyland as a kid. After the apocalypse, though, Quiet and her brother Loud had been living their lives at a place called the O.C. Farmlands. All the crops for consumption in the O.C. area were grown on these farmlands, and the siblings had to work on these fields growing and harvesting crops. But Quiet always had the desire to move into the nearby city in the O.C. Beachlands and live a life of comfort and luxury.
Following this desire, Quiet signed herself and her brother up for a program in which they would have to work as domestic help and food servers, respectively, for four straight years. In return, as the contract mentioned, they would be given two acres of their own property in the beachfront area as compensation for their service. As the siblings signed up for the program and soon realized it was just a sham to hide the exploitative work that they were actually made to do. Quiet was turned into almost a slave, kept by a rich woman, while Loud had to work at the local fast-food restaurant without any pay or respect. Society in the O.C. Beachlands was such that the rich owners were allowed to torture their slaves and even cut off fingers and other body parts to make jewelry for themselves. The more fingers or ears a piece of jewelry had, the more distinguished it was in society.
The whole ordeal had such an effect on the sister that she completely stopped talking altogether, therefore becoming the quiet person that John later meets. When she finally gets to spend some time with Loud, the manager of the restaurant catches them and is about to hit the sister when Loud steps in to bear the punishment. Out of frustration and desperation, Quiet then silently murders the manager, and the siblings finally get their freedom once again. However, Quiet and Loud had to then go around living the raider’s lives in the outside world before being chased and stopped by the police officer, Agent Stone. It was after Stone killed Loud and left Quiet with a warning that the woman first came across John Doe. By the end of Twisted Metal though, Quiet becomes the human bond that John had always been looking for, and her presence also takes away from his grief of losing Evelin.
What Was Agent Stone’s Backstory?
Other than the mostly straightforward plot, Twisted Metal invests time in developing backstories for its characters, including the two villains seen. Agent Stone, the independent police officer who now runs rampages all over the outside world, is most definitely a negative character. Despite living in the outside world and therefore under no official jurisdiction of the law, Agent Stone wants to get rid of the lawlessness practiced by the various raiders and criminals who live here. The man has, therefore, single-handedly rallied a group of guards and even created a police headquarters in the town of Topeka, laying down innumerable check posts all across the outside roads of the country. Stone and his group of police officers stop every car and demand something called the “Open Roads License,” which they themselves issue to drivers. As is quite evident, Agent Stone’s entire persuasion in life is a sort of make-believe setup, in which he himself makes up rules and then strictly makes everyone else follow them.
In fact, make-believe setups had forever been a part of Agent Stone’s life, as is revealed in the flashbacks that establish his backstory. Before the apocalypse struck, around the year 2000, Agent Stone was still a very tough and strict officer of the law, as he mostly went around catching teenagers and reprimanding citizens for the silliest of reasons. Nobody took Stone with any seriousness, though, owing to the fact that the man was actually just a security guard at the local shopping mall and no real police officer. But his father had been a distinguished police officer, and so Stone also wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. After the apocalypse happened, the man was even taken advantage of by some of his neighbors, who falsely reported some crimes to him and then looted his house.
A few days later, another man came to Agent Stone’s house and complained to him that a group of citizens had forcefully entered and taken control of his convenience store. The owner of the store now wanted Stone to help him with the dilemma, and the man seemed rather pleased that he was finally being called for serious problems. Despite realizing that the store owner was being selfish and that the group of intruders were just helpless people who wanted shelter and food for their families, Agent Stone opened fire on all the intruders and killed them. This group also included a young girl, who was killed too. Affected by this incident, Agent Stone turned completely evil and was determined to cause pain and harm to those he considered unlawful.
Why Was Sweet Tooth The Way He Was?
Perhaps the most interesting and deep character in Twisted Metal is the clown-faced man Sweet Tooth, who goes on absolutely violent rampages, killing multiple humans at once. Although the series arguably does not play around with the character as much as it could have, Sweet Tooth is given a fitting backstory as well, which explains why he has become such a violent man. Originally named Marcus, the boy had a tough childhood, mostly because of a strained relationship with his parents. Marcus’s mother had left his biological father, as the man was a mere taxi driver who had also gotten arrested for some crime. The woman instead settled with a different man who was related to the profession of T.V. production, and this change in life affected the adolescent Marcus. The boy was then used as the frontrunner in a T.V. show, and Marcus enjoyed the applause and appreciation he would get after his performances.
However, this situation changed massively when a new character was brought into the show, and this new addition was an adorable dog named Billy. As could perhaps be expected, the audience immediately loved Billy and forgot all about Marcus, making the boy tremendously angry. Marcus seemingly had some inherent evil in him already, plus his biological father was also apparently involved in some blood-curling crime. Marcus had enough of the show and Billy, and he viciously murdered the dog right on the stage in front of the audience and the camera. Naturally, Marcus was moved into a mental asylum, and it was here that the man got more out of control. Growing up at the asylum, Marcus then murdered multiple other individuals before capturing his parents and leaving them locked up inside the cell where he was once kept. While the captive parents died, Marcus survived the apocalypse and then turned into the ferocious clown Sweet Tooth.
‘Twisted Metal’ Ending Explained: What Was Raven’s Real Plan?
During Twisted Metal Season 1’s ending, all of the secondary issues are resolved, with Sweet Tooth seemingly killed and Quiet getting her revenge on Agent Stone. In the same manner, as the police officer forced Loud to kill himself, Quiet now forces Agent Stone to either kill himself or die a slow, painful death. By this time, John Doe and Raven have also become lovers and partners, and together they pick up the package from New Chicago and manage to make their way back to New San Francisco. However, since the deal only involved John, the guards at the walled city refused Quiet entry. Despite John not wanting to leave Quiet behind, the woman forcefully gets John into the city while she remains on the outside, seemingly working as a milkman. But it is later revealed that Quiet actually does not deliver the packages she is supposed to deliver; instead, the woman spreads all the supplies and aid amongst the helpless people in the outside world. Quiet becomes employed in her own small effort to wipe out the disparity between the inside and outside worlds.
A month passes after John’s entry into New San Francisco, and the man gradually grows tired of the monotonous life here. But when he informs Raven that he wants to leave the city, something more sinister is revealed. All the friends and lovers that John had made in the city during this time were basically planted in his life by the COO, Raven. He was essentially living a fake, staged life, just like Raven was when she first met him. In fact, the precious cargo that John had delivered for her was also nothing but inexpensive ice cream, and the delivery mission was only to prove John’s worth to Raven. Now that she is convinced of his skills, she reveals her real plan—a massive tournament is about to take place among the cities, in which skilled drivers from all over the country are to compete against each other in deathmatch scenarios. Raven wants John Doe to represent her and the city of New San Francisco in this tournament, which is, in fact, very much in line with the actual gameplay that the Twisted Metal video games had.
When John initially disagrees with staying back, Raven gives him one last reason—revealing that the boy and his family used to be residents of San Francisco, and she even takes him to his parents’ house. Raven promises to tell John Doe more about his family, but judging by how deceiving she has been, this might not actually come true. On the other side, Quiet is seen approached by a different gang or faction, who wear doll masks on their faces, and the leader of this gang is seemingly John’s sister, who had been estranged from him during the apocalypse. In a final post-credits scene, the clown-faced Sweet Tooth is seen making a return, as he is probably going to once more come back as a villain in the second season, defying his death in Twisted Metal season 1.