Welcome to episode 108 of Cobra Kai! Just a reminder, please do not discuss anything further than this episode (including actors who will be in the show in the future) without putting it under the SPOILER tag. I apologize for there being no review last week, and for it going up late this week. I got my first vaccine shot, and it laid me out. This review is…well it’s there. There’s grammar mistakes, typos, and bad jokes.
So business as usual really.
Anyway, moving on.
It’s a lovely day in the junkyard, and Johnny is a horrible sensei.
At first, it looked pretty fun. Take the kids to the junkyard, hype them up, let them break stuff.
Except Johnny has now released the hounds.
I mean, sure, destroying cars is one thing, fighting junkyard dogs is another. And even so, these kids remain super loyal to this guy. The mind boggles. Even after Hawk gets bitten by one of them (and apparently needs a rabies shot). Still, the destroying cars stuff does look fun.
Daniel’s mom, Lucielle LaRusso, has come over for a bbq! Oh wow, they got the original actor who played her in the movies, Randee Heller, that’s amazing! Gotta admit, she looks good. She gives Daniel a big hug, and starts commiserating with him about the awfulness Cobra Kai, and how great Mr. Migayi was. Which morphs into ‘when I was a working Mom, I made dinner from scratch every night Amanda.’ Also some bikers showed up at the dealership looking for Louie, because Daniels dumb cousin thought he’d make some extra money by LaRusso selling motorbikes. So now Amanada and Luicille are arguing, and Daniel and Louie are arguing, and everyone is arguing, and dinner is ruined. Woof, tough crowd. Also, if you’re wondering if the subplot with Amanda and Luicielle went anywhere well…no. They resolve things off-screen with Sams help. No I don’t think the show has a problem with the way they write women, nope, not at all.
Miguel and Johnny are doing some one on one training to get him ready for the All Valley. And Miguel is ‘does this mean I’m your best student’ and Johnny is all ‘Yeah yeah shut up but also yes.’ Getting a selfie on his phone from Sam, Miguel breaks into a goofy smile, prompting Johnny to ask what’s up. After he shows him her picture, Johnny is aghast. ‘You’re dating a LaRusso??’
He goes on to tell Miguel a very biased version of the events from TKK, painting himself as the wronged party, and Daniel as a huge jackass. And as the reason he lost Ali. Oh boy Johnny…that is some story all right. ‘You gotta watch out for the LaRussos.’ he tells Miguel, looking deep into his eyes. Miguel seems unconvinced, but also uncertain. He has feelings for Samantha, but Johnny is his sensei. He doesn’t know what or who to believe.
That night, Johnny is invited over to the Diaz family’s for dinner. ‘Oh no, I’ve got some hot pockets, I’m good.’ he protests weakly.
‘That sounds like the opposite of good.’ Carmen replies, and insists on him coming to dinner. ‘My dojo, my rules.’
So Johnny goes over. It’s clear he feels a little out of his element. A loving family who eat a home cooked meal together?? What?? But he enjoys himself, even lets his guard down enough to let something slip about his past (not that he really noticed) when Carmen learns he used to live in Encino. ‘There’s some really nice houses there.’ she comments. ‘Well just because you live in a nice house doesn’t mean nice things are going on inside.’ says Johnny, which gives her pause. Vanessa Rubio doesn’t have much to do on this show, but the stuff she does get, she does so well with. In return, Carmen shares that she got married young, and pregnant at eighteen, before she had to run away from her husband. It’s heavily implied here that her ex was into some criminal stuff. Johnny apologies, but Carmen replies she moved on long ago. ‘You can’t let the mistakes of your past determine your future.’
Coming home after the dinner, Johnny looks around, seeing his apartment with new eyes. The mess, the clutter, the half eaten meals.
Grabing a garbage bag, he starts stuffing it all in.
During the dinner, Miguel excuses himself from the table to answer a video call from Sam. They’re both a little uneasy. Daniels and his family have been saying how terrible Cobra Kai is, and Johnny’s story is still fresh in MIguels mind. When Sam suggests that Miguel join another dojo, he’s confused and defensive. I guess I don’t blame him.
Robby arrives at the LaRussos and sees Sam sunning herself by the pool, eyes closed and relaxing. He seems a little smitten, but then realises he’s being creepy and turns to go…running right into the wind-chimes! Smooth!
Sam welcomes him and then Daniel arrives to avoid the whole thing from being TOO awkward, taking Robby out to the forest for some training.
I gotta say, Robby and Daniels training montage is so fucking soothing. ‘Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring’ by Bach playing over them practising kicks and katas by the lake, the wind in their hair. I’m living a little vicariously though the show right now, just like the mini golf thing, I am just salivating at the thought of going somewhere that isn’t twenty minutes away on foot. Daniel said they’re out there to get away from everything, no internet, no family arguments, just quiet.
There’s some amazing drone footage of them doing katas in unison on a dock, the sun on the water…Chefs kiss.
They aren’t done yet though. ‘You may have the moves, but none of that matters unless you have balance.’ says Daniel. ‘I balance on my skateboard everyday.’ Robby answers, but Daniel shakes his head, smiling. ‘I don’t mean balance in your body, I mean balance in your life…When those bad feelings weigh you down, you gotta search inside for the good stuff. Because then you can find some balance in your life.’
I have to say, I think about that speech all the time. Especially when I’m struggling, I find it very calming.
Moved, Robby is on the verg of confessing that he’s Johnnys son, but chickens out, thanking Daniel for teaching him.
Well I’m sure that things will be fine and it won’t come back to bite him in the ass or anything, right? (right?)
The lesson ends with Robby attempting various karate moves on top of a fallen tree that lies vertical to the ground, with some small success. But Daniel insists he does it until he can do all the kicks without falling.
And back up you go Robby!
Miguel is fretting over his relationship with Sam, commiserating over it with Hawk and Aisha while watching a movie in a theatre (or you’re one of those people are you? grrrr) Aisha tells him not to worry, Mr. LaRusso is pretty nice. Hawk insists that he just go over there because ‘it’s a total alpha move.’
And now comes the part of the episode I just love. Johnny goes to his stepfather Sids house, with an envelope full of money. It’s equal to the amount that Sid gave him in episode one. That’s right. Johnny is paying him back. Now he owes him nothing at all. ‘You’ll be back, you need my money!’ Sid grumps. ‘I never needed your money.’ Johnny replies cooly. ‘It’s just all you had to give.’ And for once, Sid is speechless.
That. Was. Amazing!!!! It is so cathartic to see someone sticking it to their abuser, just chefs kiss y’all. Thanks for nothing Sid, may the worms grow fat on your flesh.
Miguel arrives at the LaRusso house, only to see Sam laughing with Robbie at the dinner table. His face falls, and he leaves
I can’t help but feel that there are a few things at play here. Miguel is very conscious of how much money the LaRussos have. He may have shrugged it all off during the date, but it got to him. Robby has slotted himself into the family with ease, looking as if he belongs. And he knows that Mr. LaRusso hates Cobra Kai, thinking all of them are bad news. All of those insecurities play over the scene at once, and Xolo Maridueña does a great job with it.
Cutting back to Johnny, we see that his apartment actually looks nice now! He has stuff in the fridge that isn’t just beer! He’s even sitting down at his now clean table to write a letter to Robby, shock!
Also, Johnny definitely feels like he needs a singing frog telegram, since he refuses to communicate in any modern fashion.
But as he’s sitting there, he hears the sound of shattering glass, and runs outside to see cousin Louie and some biker buddies going to town on his beloved corvette! ‘Consider this a message from Daniel LaRusso.’ says cousin Louie, who has seen ‘Goodfellas’ way too many times, before he and the goons try to beat up Johnny.
Except no. Because they have no idea what they’re doing, and this is Johnny Lawrence. Please, they never stood a chance.
Because one of the dudes sets Johnnys car on fire On. Fire.
‘WHERE DOES DANIEL LARUSSO LIVE!!!’ yells Johnny, doing his best Christian Bale Batman before jumping on the bike and heading out.
Things are getting tense! Here’s hoping there’s no blood on the dojo floor next time.
-Same music plays over the training montage with Robby and Daniel as plays over the one from TKK with Mr. Miyagi and Daniel.
-Also it’s very similar to the original.