Twisted Metal season 1, episode 1 recap: WLUDRV

TWISTED METAL -- “WLUDRV” Episode 101 -- Pictured: Anthony Mackie as John Doe -- (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock)
TWISTED METAL -- “WLUDRV” Episode 101 -- Pictured: Anthony Mackie as John Doe -- (Photo by: Skip Bolen/Peacock) /

Peacock’s Twisted Metal series, based on the video game, has a lot to set up in a very short amount of time and is out the gate fast with the worldbuilding.

The opening voiceover narration of the first episode gives us the setup for the new Twisted Metal series.

Around twenty years ago, something happened that caused all computers to go haywire and kicked off the dystopia that this show is set in. All of the major cities built walls to protect themselves and sent the criminals to live outside the walls in the wastelands between cities. Of course, sometimes things still have to go between cities, and that’s where our hero comes in.

Twisted Metal season 1 episode 1 recap

John Doe is a milkman, a delivery specialist who drives between the cities picking up and dropping off packages. We get a good look at what the setup of this world is in these opening scenes which show plenty of car carnage as well as lots of guns added to the cars that make the world a very violent version of Mario Kart.

We also learn that John Doe seemingly doesn’t know who his parents are, and seems to live the life of a loaner. While he travels from city to city, delivering packages, he can never go inside the cities because he is a part of the outside world.

That is, until one day, when dropping off a delivery to New San Francisco, the COO of the city wants to have a word with him, and he is invited inside. The COO, whose name is Raven, has a proposition for John. He has ten days to deliver a package. The only two catches are that he can’t know what the package is, and he has to go to New Chicago to get the package.

The New Chicago thing seems to be a deal breaker, John has never dared to go that far east before, but Raven tells him that if he delivers the package, she can make him a full citizen of New San Francisco. The idea of being a citizen of a city had never seemed like a possibility before, and John takes the job.

And now the secondary characters…

Meanwhile, back outside the cities, a brother and sister pair of criminals, named Loud and Quiet, are on the run from the law. The Law in this case is Agent Stone, a law and order-loving fanatic along with his deputy. After chasing down Loud and Quiet, Agent Stone offers them a choice to save the other if one of them kills themselves. Before Quiet can stop him, Loud kills himself. Stone has his deputy brand Quiet but leaves her alive.

As John Doe is making his way to New Chicago he is stopped in Vegas by Quiet who tries to take his car. The two of them are in a standoff with each other, but a noise in the distance captures their attention, the sound of an ice cream truck.

Fans of the Twisted Metal video game will know at once that the sound means Sweet Tooth is coming, and John and Quiet seem to know that too because they temporarily join forces to face the oncoming Sweet Tooth as the first episode comes to a close.

Charm can save the show

For a minute there, this episode looked like it was going to be really, really rough. It can be hard to set up all the rules of a new world when you’re creating a show like this one, but the opening few minutes of the show felt incredibly clunky with all the information they were giving you about how this new society worked. Half of it came through voiceover, half of it came through what was happening on the screen, and it was trying so hard to be funny throughout the whole thing, it was hard to tell what parts were actually important to know and what parts were supposed to be jokes.

Fortunately, the show settled down as the episode progressed. It helps that Anthony Mackie is incredibly charming in the lead role and it feels like as soon as the rest of the show figured out how to get on his wavelength, everything started to click.

The Twisted Metal video game series might not have as many fans as some of the other video game series that have been adapted so far this year (we got both a Mario Bros. movie and a Last of Us show in the last seven months), but for those fans that are checking out the show, the video games have a deep enough roster of characters that it’s pretty easy to find a video game character that fits whatever personality type you’re going for with each TV show character.

Sweet Tooth is obviously the big character appeal from the games and he was only teased in this episode. We’ll have to wait for the next one to see how that character plays out.

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