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Joe Seanoa as Sweet Tooth driving a ice cream truck driving while dressed in his murder clown mask in the Twisted Metal show Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock

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How twisted and how metal is each episode of Twisted Metal?

An important investigation, for science

Pete Volk (he/they) is Polygon’s curation editor for movies and TV, with a particular love for action and martial arts movies.

Have you heard the good word? Peacock’s Twisted Metal show is quite fun.

For my money, it’s the best TV adaptation of a PlayStation game about an unlikely duo traveling across a post-apocalyptic landscape of 2023. And it continues a strong run of Peacock original shows in 2023, starting with the great detective series Poker Face and continuing with the bewildering (complimentary) mystery that is Mrs. Davis.

Following in our time-honored tradition of breaking down seasons of Love, Death & Robots by amounts of love, death, and robots, we’re going to do the same with Twisted Metal. How twisted and how metal is each episode?

Let’s define our terms: By “twisted,” we mean something shocking and surprising, perhaps bordering on the edges of good taste. By “metal,” we mean something rad as hell. We’re going to grade each of these on a scale of 1 to 5. A 1 on the twisted scale is akin to a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, with a 5 being something like “I can’t believe Hannibal was on network television.” On the metal scale, a 1 is elevator music, while a 5 is “your head is on fire, Sweet Tooth-style.”

Sweet Tooth, the evil clown, salutes Anthony Mackie’s John Doe in the Peacock series Twisted Metal Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock


How twisted is it? 4. We’re introduced to the post-apocalyptic setting, and a gun pops out of John Doe’s (Anthony Mackie) car’s roof and shoots a guy right in the nards. Raven (Neve Campbell) pretends to have a child and is visibly disgusted by it. Also, a nude Anthony Mackie gets sprayed by a yellow slime goo before getting his ass perfumed.

How metal is it? 3. One of the show’s longer extended car gun fights ends up with a PlayStation copy of Twisted Metal going across John Doe’s windshield. Multiple cars blow up, and we see Sweet Tooth (Samoa Joe/Will Arnett) for the first time.


How twisted is it? 5. We’re giving Sweet Tooth’s exhilarating variety show the full marks here — using the hotel TV welcome message as source material was particularly inspired. It does not hurt that this episode also had a cannibal cult, complete with graphic shots of roasting human meat.

How metal is it? 2. Some circles may consider Sweet Tooth’s meal accompaniment for his show (white tiger served three ways) metal, but we’re instead going to call out his excellent salmon suit. Look at him serve while he serves! You go, big guy. Show them what you’re about.

Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal wears a salmon suit while serving dinner to John Doe and Quiet. Image: Peacock


How twisted is it? 5. This episode features Agent Stone’s petty-tyrant origin story, from mall cop to self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner. This particular storyline culminates in a massacre of civilians. Also, there’s a torture montage (featuring Aqua’s “Barbie Girl,” tiny pencils, and some light waterboarding), and Quiet murders Stone’s creepy henchman mid-wank session. Twisted!

How metal is it? 3. John and Quiet convince Stu of his good heart. What’s more metal than that? OK, actually, quite a few things. But Quiet obliterating that dude with the butt of a gun gets some bonus points.


How twisted is it? 3. After nearly dying via poisonous flower, John and Quiet go on a long mission that ends in helping an older woman end her life on her terms. We are also introduced to the Holy Men in this episode, via a body hanging upside down on a cross with a “Got milk?” sticker over their mouth. John also shares a graphic story about a milkman eaten from the inside out after falling asleep on an anthill.

How metal is it? 4. Five words: Granny trucker convoy Viking funeral. The convoy in general is pretty metal (especially the scene where they trap John and Quiet on the road with their giant trucks), but the real highlight is sending off Granny in style, followed by a dance party.

Sweet Tooth and his loyal followers march together in Twisted Metal. He wears polka dot capris. Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock/Sony TV


How twisted is it? 3. After Quiet betrays John to go to Topeka alone, she starts hallucinating her dead brother. Sweet Tooth blows a guy’s head off by putting a grenade in his mouth. There’s a “MMMBop” needle drop. And then there’s whatever is going on with the guy wearing a gas mask over his pelvis and rubbing vegetable shortening over his nips.

How metal is it? 5. This episode features one of the highlights of the series: Sweet Tooth’s machete massacre of Stone’s men. This latest performance features tons of blood and dismembered body parts, ending in rapturous applause and a group of loyal followers. Stone and Quiet also have their first Twisted Metal-style car battle, including a rocket that goes through two of Quiet’s open windows.


How twisted is it? 5. We’re introduced to the indentured servitude contracts that Quiet and Loud were duped into signing, and learn about how amputations are used as punishment to keep servants in line. Also, John and Quiet have sex in a ball pit, then they argue and have to gracefully attempt to leave said ball pit. That part is not twisted really, but it is quite funny.

How metal is it? 4. After Loud’s manager at Astral Burger threatens to turn him over to the police, Quiet kills him and the two cops, starting the siblings’ ill-fated journey together.


How twisted is it? 4. This episode gives us some Sweet Tooth backstory, an unhinged Nope variant where child actor Sweet Tooth kills his co-star (a dog) out of jealousy, and locks his mom and stepdad in a cell. He comes back to visit years later and talks to their skeletons.

How metal is it? 1. Not a very metal episode (although Sweet Tooth destroys the skeletons, which sounds pretty metal in theory but is more sad in practice). However, John and Quiet do kill a lot of milkmen who try and steal their package in a chaotic bar fight.

Jason Mantzoukas wears an unbuttoned jacket, sunglasses, and a black hat with his left-arm raised as the Holy Men leader Preacher in Twisted Metal. He is surrounded by what looks like garbage. Photo: Skip Bolen/Peacock/Sony TV


How twisted is it? 4. Any episode with Jason Mantzoukas as essentially a cocaine pirate preacher is going to rank pretty highly on the twisted scale. (“Are you possessed?” “I was once. By a demon baby. Little fucker made me kill a whole church of people.”) But this episode also sees the demise of John’s beloved car Evelyn, after John stops Mantzoukas’ Preacher from trying to have sex with it.

How metal is it? 3. Quiet gets another hatchet kill, which is cool. And there’s also something undeniably metal about the Holy Men’s entire deal, too — the leather outfits, S&M-style masks, and love for fights, drugs, and alcohol. Preacher’s flying, acrobatic kicks are pretty damn metal as well, and the episode ends in one of the series’ biggest explosions.


How twisted is it? 1. One of the least twisted episodes, but former Stone lackey Mikey is now Stu and Sweet Tooth’s new “puppy,” and Mark the Vulture says, “Now she’s up in heaven doing angel dust with baby Jesus.”

How metal is it? 5. There’s a graveyard of cars tall and wide enough to be a city wall, which is approximately how metal things can possibly get. But to make things even better, Sweet Tooth (finally) lights his head on fire in this episode.


How twisted is it? 4. Betrayals! Stu shoots Sweet Tooth instead of Mike, leaving Sweet Tooth for dead. After all they’ve been through! But then… Sweet Tooth shows up and kills Mike. Ah, reunions. Meanwhile, Quiet shoots John so he’ll go into New San Francisco without her, but surprises await for both of them: John is being entered into a tournament with season 1’s greatest hits, and Quiet encounters John’s very alive sister and her gang.

How metal is it? 5. Quiet going full vigilante justice/Twisted Metal Robin Hood is among the most metal turns the show could have taken. On top of that, this is the most Twisted Metal episode, as the action in the first half essentially plays out like a round of the video game. There’s also more of Sweet Tooth’s head on fire, many cars on fire, and John and Quiet leaving Stone with one last bullet to kill himself.

Season 1 of Twisted Metal is streaming on Peacock.

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