Nature VS Nurture
Episode 2 of Cobra Kai Season 3 begins back in 1965 right at the heart of San Fernando Valley. John Kreese is working as a cleaner in a diner and after being tripped, finds himself surrounded by raucous laughter. Determined, he decides to enlist in the army. Kreese wasn’t always a bad guy it seems, and after a parking lot brawl with the tripping culprit, sets his sights on Vietnam.
Back in the present, Kreese takes the reigns of the dojo and decides Cobra Kai should strike back and obviously strike hard. That lesson comes in the form of a little mouse that the students are forced to feed a snake inside a cage. Everyone who objects to feeding it is immediately kicked out and told to go home. Those left behind – Hawk included – are allowed to continue training.
After class, Hawk confronts Kreese about him cutting student numbers but he shrugs it off as a necessary sacrifice. It seems like he’s grooming Hawk to being the next ruthless champion now that Miguel is out of action.
However, there’s also the wildcard in Tory, who Kreese visits at her apartment. She’s certainly going through a tough time, eking out a living while struggling to pay rent to her sleazy landlord. She refuses to go back in the dojo but Kreese sees something in her, something that clearly reminds him of himself. Kreese threatens the landlord and eventually they come to an arrangement together.
Johnny and Daniel head out on the road and rock up at rehab centre called Malibu Canyon Recovery. However, they hilariously believe Johnny is checking himself in until he tells them, “I’m no quitter.”
Their real contact is Janet and there’s certainly no love lost between Johnny and her. Janet however, leads them toward Tweedledee and Tweedledum; Trey and Cruz.
The pair head off to prison intent on confronting the pair. After several punches to the face and some antagonizing from LaRusso, the duo spill details around Panorama City and send them back on the road again. A hilarious phone call ensues on the way as Johnny’s brutal honesty sees Daniel in hot water with Amanda. While stopping to fill up their car, Johnny receives a text from Carmen regarding Miguel.
Miguel has woken from his coma but despite the scans coming back okay, he isn’t able to feel his feet. Outside the room, Miguel notices his Mother talking to the doctor and despairing. Whatever they spoke about, it certainly doesn’t look good for him
Anyway, back at the gas station Johnny and Daniel find the stolen car and chase their pursuer into a garage holding numerous men. After fighting them off, Johnny tries to press the culprit for details, hitting him constantly. It turns out he stole the car from Robby earlier in the day but doesn’t know much else.
Daniel pries Johnny off though and the two trade blows, allowing the man to slip away. Both of them come up trumps with no new leads. Johnny heads back to the hospital though and hears from Miguel that he may never walk again. Distraught, Miguel eventually tells him to leave.
Robby shows up at the Rehab center as Daniel races in to talk to him. As he sits opposite Johnny’s son, police officers show and arrest the boy. Daniel promises to help as Robby is taken away.
Back at the Dojo, Tory returns to Cobra Kai as Kreese tells the students that good is only a matter of perspective. There’s only weakness and strength.
The Episode Review
This second episode finally allows for some confrontations between Johnny and Daniel as they play up the two investigators trying to track down Robby. There’s some great comedy between the two and Johnny’s antihero quips are absolutely brilliant. He is easily the stand-out element of Cobra Kai and hopefully these back and forth quips continue as the season progresses.
The light sparring between Johnny and Daniel in the garage seems to be a foreshadowed glimpse of what’s to come while the flashbacks to John Kreese’s past help to reinforce the message of this episode – good and bad are only a matter of perspective.
For the most part, this second episode does a great job capturing this and the series leaves the door wide open for where this one may go next.