Wait, this is the second-to-last episode of the season? Last episode, we just got the All-Valley tournament reinstated, and now there’s not even going to be enough time for everyone to compete in it. What is the big fight in the last episode going to be? Are they going to spend half of it at some lame country-club Christmas party? I want answers, and I want them now!
This episode is almost all about Johnny reigniting his relationship with his old flame Ali, the gorgeous and milky-skinned Elisabeth Shue, who shows up looking as gorgeous as she did 30 years ago and only a little bit like something that stepped out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop newsletter. Other than that, each story line is inching ever so slowly toward where it will inevitably finish in the finale. We all know where this is going, and I wish it would just hurry up and get there already.
As the episode starts, Johnny is in bed with Carmen, Miguel’s mother, after a night of passionate lovemaking and hopefully some very responsible condom use. He wakes up and Ali has sent him a message on Facebook saying that she’s in town and wants to get lunch. After having only the company of his 1980s skin mags for years, suddenly Johnny is knee-deep in … female attention. Come on, guys. It’s 2021. We have to be a little more enlightened than saying pussy. (Though Johnny is also knee-deep in pussy.)
When he goes out to lunch with Ali, they revisit old times and talk about their modern lives. Johnny is actually honest with her about how he messed up everything in his life and he’s trying to correct his past mistakes. This is a whole new Johnny, one who isn’t trying to project any kind of façade, badass or otherwise, and who is just being himself. It’s no wonder Ali finds him so attractive.
But let’s face it: Ali was totally going to get with this guy no matter what. Johnny didn’t even need to take her to the arcade, let her win at both air hockey and mini-golf, and buy her a stuffed hippo with all of the tickets they won on the carnival games. Ali is recently separated, has been in a bad marriage for two decades, and is lonely at her parents’ house. She’s only in town for a week or two, and she is out to get some quality pipe laid before returning home to Colorado. Oh, sorry, we are being enlightened. She is going to get some “quality time with a gentleman suitor” before returning home.
Just as they’re about to make out and seal the deal, Ali’s phone rings and it’s a reminder she has to go to some lame country-club party with her mom. She gets a wild hair and invites Johnny too, because she wants more than just Santa coming down her chimney this Christmas. (Aw, screw enlightenment. Johnny would hate that shit anyway.) When he shows up to the party in his white suit like it’s a Miami Vice–themed night, Johnny sees Ali talking to Daniel and gets all mad about it. Dude, Daniel is now married to chief scold Amanda LaRusso. Do you think for a second that Amanda is going to let Daniel spend more than five minutes talking to his old girlfriend when she looks that damn good in a formfitting dress?
As Johnny is seeing Daniel, though, we hear Sam in voice-over talking about how everyone needs to get over their old rivalries if they want to be successful in defeating Kreese and Cobra Kai. She’s talking to the Miyagi-Do students and the Eagle Fang kids, but obviously the show wants to draw a parallel between Daniel and Johnny as well. After all, their feud started because of this girl in the first place — maybe she’s the one who can show them that there’s a new future.
Sam and Miguel have been on the path to reconciliation all episode, and not just because they’ve been making out in the dojo when no one else is looking. When Daniel catches them in a clinch (yes, Daniel, that is your drum in Miguel’s pocket, and, no, he’s not just happy to see you), Daniel talks to Miguel and tells him his side of the story about what happened between him and Johnny in high school. Miguel finally gets the whole picture, not just from the bully’s point of view but from the victim’s. He sees that both of these guys were hurt in the conflict, and they just expressed it in different ways based on how their mentors coached them. They were both scared, insecure teens but with wildly different value systems. It’s only been time and perspective — and coaching these kids — that have aligned their values, maybe even more than they realize.
Like I said, we all know where this is going. Sam, Miguel, Ass-Face, Dimitri, and all the other non–Cobra Kais are going to band together to kick the ass of Kreese and his gang. They’ll convince Johnny and Daniel to declare peace. Blah blah blah.
The other obviousness is what is going on with Robby, Hawk, and the Cobras. When Hawk shows up for class at the dojo, he sees Robby putting away his sleeping bag. (Um, do these kids ever go to school? Why are they there first thing in the morning?) He tells Kreese that Robby is not one of them, which is exactly what he said when Slim Jim and the other new recruits showed up. Who the hell made Hawk the Cobra Kai sorting hat in the first place, and why is Cobra Kai Slytherin, Eagle Fang Ravenclaw, and Miyagi-Do Hufflepuff?
Tory is feeling Robby’s pain about being displaced and having nowhere to go, but she doesn’t want him to quit Cobra Kai. She tells him that only cowards keep running away and that he needs to face his problems at some point. The way to do it is to join the Cobras after school for a secret mission. They’re going to break into the zoo and steal a new cobra for Kreese. First of all, it’s Kreese’s own damn fault for letting his snake loose in LaRusso motors. Secondly, can’t these kids just buy a new snake on the internet? Isn’t that how they do it these days?
After they break into the reptile room, Hawk is pissed with Slim Jim because he didn’t bring the “snake bowl” so that they could steal this thing without getting bit. What the hell is a snake bowl, and where was Slim Jim even going to get one in the first place? They abandon their mission, and Hawk is pissed because Slim Jim ruined it. But when they get outside, they all discover that Robby was man enough to reach into the tank and snatch the cobra. He then gets all the props from Tory, the other students, and Kreese, while Hawk looks more and more disaffected. So we also know that, at the last minute, he’s going to leave Kreese and go back to Johnny, right? Right. So let’s get all of this Ali stuff over with and get to the big fight in the finale, shall we? We’ve spent a little too much time on romance and not enough time on ass kicking.