Just about every main character in Twisted Metal has had their past revealed in one of the earlier episodes. Which means it’s finally time to learn about John’s backstory.
Since the character has amnesia, and can’t remember his parents, or even his real name, we start the flashback with him waking up in a burning car with a bump on his head. The day goes from bad to worse when a woman shows up, pretends to be nice for a few seconds, and then steals his car leaving him alone in the world with nothing more than a burned picture of his parents.
He tries to fend for himself, but it’s looking bad until he stumbles across an abandoned car in the middle of the woods. While the car won’t start, it does have enough food and toilet paper in it that he’s able to survive for a while.
But things look like they’re taking a turn for the worse when a group of cannibals come across his hideout. Trying to escape, young John desperately turns the key and manages to bring the car to life.
There’s just enough left in the car for him to get away safely, but he is obviously happy about that. He promises the car that he’ll take care of her, and get her fixed up.
He builds the car into the Evelyn that we know today, showing us how his relationship with the car is the longest, realest relationship that he can remember ever having…
Twisted Metal season 1, episode 8 recap: Back to the story at hand
Anyway back to the present, after the action from the last episode, John and Quiet are trying to make it back to New San Francisco. However they’re trip is once again interrupted when Quiet ends up dropping John’s picture of his parents out the window.
Then when they are looking for it, the car is stolen by a group of Holy Men. While John and Quiet manage to kill two of them, they lose the car.
John is determined to get Evelyn back, and so they follow the sound of bells to the Holy Man’s base of operations. Wearing the masks of the men that they killed, they blend in to try and find the car.
At the compound, the two of them meet Preacher, the leader of the Holy Men. Preacher demands the gifts from his followers, and while most of the gifts are various types of drugs, one of the gifts is John’s car.
Rather than figure out a way to steal the car back, John challenges Preacher to a fight for ownership of the car, a plan that doesn’t go very well since it turns out that Preacher is an amazing fighter. While Preacher is beating up John, and the attention of most of the Holy Men is on the fight, Quiet sneaks away and defeats the one guy guarding the vehicles and steals a car.
Then she sneaks away and frees John, who had been put in a cage after losing to Preacher. However, John refuses to leave without Evelyn, and Quiet refuses to die trying to save a car.
They split up with Quiet leaving and John once again going after the car. John tries to beat Preacher once again and the two of them fight, a fight which has the added danger of Preacher having a gun this time around.
Preacher ends up shooting the car’s gas tank, and as the two of them fight, gas begins to leak out of the bullet hole. The fight is interrupted when the gas stream ends up touching a nearby torch, causing the car to explode.
With the car explosion destroying most of the base, the Holy Men pack up and head out, leaving John with the ruined remains of his car as the episode comes to a close.
Twisted Metal season 1, episode 8 recap: The silly show gets serious
This episode features two great losses for John, and the way it’s set up, you can’t tell which one is supposed to be worse. If you could ask the character, in that moment, the answer would be Evelyn.
Without a doubt the loss of the car that has been with him for as long as he can remember, is the most devastating blow that he could have been dealt and he has no way to recover. Yet, at the same time, his split from Quiet may be affecting him more than he can process in the moment.
For all its loud, crass humor, the show has set up a world where genuine companionship is not really a thing that humans get to experience anymore. Even in most cases where it seems possible, every person has to keep their guard up a little bit, just in case it all falls apart and they have to face the world alone once again.
We’ve seen examples of real unguarded emotional connections happening in this world, such as the citizens who live in the tractor trailers trucks, but they are rare. This was something that John had never experienced before his relationship with Quiet and it seems as though he didn’t even realize what was growing between the two of them.
For the first time he was forming a real human connection with another person, and he wasn’t even familiar enough with what was happening to know how to protect it. The show seems to intentionally bury this under the weight of losing the car.
But you can see it in Quiet’s performance, as a character who has had that connection before with her brother, she sees it falling apart and can’t stop it. While most of the show is really carried on by the charm of Anthony Mackie, this episode is carried by Stephanie Beatriz having to emotionally process the events of the episode.
What did you think of Twisted Metal season 1 episode 8? You can watch Twisted Metal season 1 on Peacock TV.