(WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEASON 2 EPISODE 6 OF COBRA KAI!)
From the start, Cobra Kai has done a masterful job at balancing nostalgia and fan service with a real and compelling story in the present. I'm going to tell you right now, that this episode may have done this better than any other before it so far. There were so many things to love about "Take A Right". I will have to warn you, this is an emotional one, so grab a helmet and let's ride.
Johnny wastes no time punishing all of his students for what happened to Miyagi Do. Just as you think they are going to pass out from exhaustion over all of the burpees they are doing, Johnny gets a call and has to leave the dojo. He seems reluctant to leave Kreese in charge, but once we find out what the call was about, we understand why this take priority. The two things are actually a bit related.
I wasn't expecting Johnny's next stop to be a hospice care facility. The next face we see is Bobby, who looks very different than he did in his Cobra Kai days. As a matter of fact, he is a minister now. The reason that they are there is another Cobra Kai alum, Tommy, appears to be taking a turn for the worse. Jimmy also joins them, and they all decide that they are going to take Tommy out for a good time while they still can. Just like the good old days, they hop on their motorcycles and ride to a campsite and bar. Watching them talk about their younger days was so much fun, and we even got a couple of stories that were not a part of the movies. Then Johnny reveals that he's re-opened Cobra Kai and that Kreese is back. The guys don't respond well to Kreese returning, and warn Johnny about how toxic he was. Johnny tells them that he has changed, and it's pretty clear that he's fallen for Kreese's manipulation. Luckily, Tommy breaks the tension but the real fun was about to begin. Johnny sees some moron getting fresh with a waitress at the bar and decides to do something about it. That's when an all out brawl breaks out and the guys show that Cobra Kai really never does die. Even Tommy gets a couple of shots in, and the dude was just in hospice care! It was an impressive display. Later that night, it's just Johnny and Tommy talking by a campfire. This has to be one of my favorite scenes from the show to date. Tommy reveals that he was in love with Ali, and that Johnny asked her out before he could make his move. They just sit down and talk about life, and it was so compelling. I feel like Johnny gained a lot of perspective from this conversation. Unfortunately, Tommy would not wake up the next morning. While it was very sad, the fact that they all got that moment with their friend was priceless and you could feel the emotion throughout these scenes. It was incredible storytelling by the writer.
Back home, Daniel is breaking in his new Cobra Kai recruits who left the dojo in the last episode. Demitri isn't happy to see Chris, who was one of the bullies who was chasing him at the mall. Robbie isn't too happy about it either, and is very suspicious. Chris doesn't help much, since he is very combative with Demitri from the start. It's clear to Daniel that these young minds have been poisoned, or at least in his view anyway. He then reveals to the entire class, including his daughter hearing this for the first time, that even Daniel was once a member of Cobra Kai. That's an easy fact to forget from Karate Kid 3 isn't it? How Terry Silver manipulated a young Daniel who wanted to defend his All Valley title against Mr. Miyagi's wishes. He said that if Mr. Miyagi could take him back, that means everyone can change and deserves a second chance. It seems like this is a lesson that Daniel himself needs to remember in regards to more than just this situation, but we'll save that lecture for another time. It seems to work, because we see Chris and Demitri work together on a project and all of the other students falling in line as well. Miyagi Do now has an actual roster of students, and Daniel is continuing to focus all of his energy on this. Remember, he still has a family and other responsibilities. I have been wondering for a while now if he's forgotten about that and when he'll get back to it. Seems problematic, don't you think?
In the Cobra Kai dojo, Kreese is starting to execute his plan to make Cobra Kai HIS Cobra Kai. He says that they were all responsible for what happened at Miyagi Do, because when they strike they strike as a team. Then during combat, he tells Tory to finish her opponent with a final strike. That's when Miguel steps up and says that's now how Johnny has taught them. Kreese then pretty much says that Johnny has lost his way and their real lesson was about to begin. He says that you don't fight for points in real life, and man did that really seem to hit home with the students. This is especially true for Tory, as she tells Miguel about how hard her family had to fight to barely get by and how her mother supported her. Then Miguel actually apologizes to Kreese for questioning his methods. This was hard because we JUST got the good Miguel back, and now he may be led astray all over again. Kreese picked the perfect opportunity to strike with Johnny away, and all of the circumstances that have happened recently contributed to this moment. Can Johnny fix this when he gets back? I hope so.
Like I said before, there were so many things that felt right about this episode. It also needs to be said how well that Cobra Kai executes the time that they are given per episode. A lot of similar shows might get 10 episodes, but they typically have 40 to 60 minutes per episode. Cobra Kai is telling their story in half of that time, and crushing it with every episode. There are no wasted or false moments, and they are constantly driving their story forward. It may seem like things are sliding backwards for certain characters, but it always ends up being for a good reason eventually. I never go into an episode thinking that we will end up with a plot hole at the end of ten episodes. I just can't wait to see how they get there from here.