Strike First Recap

Daniel wakes up in his expensive home, next to his beautiful wife Amanda. He gets dressed for work, serves breakfast to his daughters, and shares a cup of coffee with Amanda. Daniel drives to his business and sells cars to his customers, handing out bonsai trees. That night, he goes home and sees the new Cobra Kai Karate Dojo at a strip mall. He remembers the Cobra Kai teenagers beating him when he was a high schooler.

Johnny meets with only student, Miguel, and tells him to only speak when spoken to and address him as "sensei". He then tosses Miguel to the mat, and tells him to only strike first and never wait for the enemy to attack. Johnny recites Reese's lessons as Miguel uses his asthma rebreather. His sensei tosses it away, saying that they don't allow weaknesses so they don't allow made-up allergies and asthma. He says that his teachings are about real life as well as karate, and says that striking first is the first step to victory and they don't tolerate pussies. Miguel asks if he's doing a lot of generalizing, and Johnny yells at him to listen to him rather than his guidance counselor and give him fifty push-ups. Miguel can't even do one.

Keith, a man from the city health department comes in and gives Johnny a list of requirements to open up an exercise studio. Johnny says that it's a karate dojo and Miguel is a worker. Keith tells him that he'll come back in a week, and admires the "rattlesnake" insignia on the wall.

At the Encino country club, Daniel finds his son Anthony, who is busy playing a video game and doesn't want to participate in the club activities. Depressed, Daniel goes to the bar and tells Amanda that he didn't have anything as a child like the country club. Isaiah and his daughter Aisha come over, and the LaRussos says that Samantha is with their grandmother. Once Isaiah leaves, Daniel complains that Samantha hangs out with his friends and is never with them.

Amanda realizes that something is wrong, and Daniel tells her that he saw Johnny's new dojo. Before he can explain further, Anthony yells for his drink.

Johnny returns to the dojo and tells Miguel to work on getting the studio in shape. When Miguel wonders what it has to do with karate, Johnny tells him to do what he's told. Miguel sees William's trophies and asks about them, and William says that he didn't lose a point in his junior year. He refuses to discuss his senior year, and Miguel gets a call and says that he's running late. Once he hangs up, Miguel explains that it was his mother and she doesn't approve of violence. Johnny asks about Miguel's father, and Miguel says that he never knew him.

Samantha is at a pool party at home with her friends, and Yasmine point out that Kyler has been eying Samantha all day. Daniel and Amanda pull up outside and Daniel goes in, furious. He orders everyone out, and as they leave Samantha says that they're his friends. Daniel doesn't care and realizes that all of the boys are wearing his swimsuits. Amanda talks to her husband inside and says that he's acting irrationally. She says that embarrassing Samantha in front of her friends isn't helping. Daniel doesn't want Samantha to turn into a "privileged Encino brat", and Amanda warns that it won't help his relationship with Samantha. Brucks comes out of the bathroom and realizes that everyone has gone.

That night, Daniel cleans up everything from the party. When he goes inside, he looks at a newspaper clipping of the karate tournament and wishes Miyagi was there to give him some of his wisdom. Daniel then looks at a photo of him and a young Samantha, and remembers when she was younger and he trained her to fight in self-defense only.

Samantha is skyping with her friends, and Yasmine and Moon, and Samantha admits that she feels guilty about driving away after they hit Johnny's car. Daniel comes in and Samantha quickly shuts down the computer. Her father apologizes for overreacting, and Samantha apologizes for holding the party without asking him. Daniel asks about her boyfriends, and Samantha says that she and Kyler have been texting. He suggests that they invite Kyler to family dinner on Friday while Anthony has a sleepover, and Samantha agrees. Samantha tells her father that she can handle herself.

The next day at the school cafeteria, Miguel avoids Kyler and his gang. The school nerds jokingly say that he can't sit with them, and then the two nerds Demetri and Eli quickly invite him to sit with them. Yasmine and Moon walk by, and Demetri tells Miguel not to torture himself by figuring that he's going to get together with one of the "rich girls". Yasmine looks over and Eli figures that they're talking about them.

Yasmine sees the nerds looking at them, and makes catty remarks about Aisha. Samantha smiles and tries to ignore them.

Miguel suggests that Demetri talk to the girls, and takes Johnny's advice. He goes over despite Demetri's warning, but Kyler and Brucks sit down and Demetri walks back to the nerd table, depressed.

At the dojo, Johnny shows Miguel how to hit a dummy. He has Miguel practice while he takes a call from Carla Jenkins, the vice principal at North Hills High. She says that she has him listed as the emergency contact for his son, Robby Keene, and Robby's mom isn't answering. Robby has been sent to the office for using drugs. Johnny talks to Robby and says that he's flushing his life down the toilet. Robby tells his father that Johnny is a pathetic loser, and hands the phone back to Carla. Carla says that she should keep trying her mother and hangs up. Miguel isn't doing well punching the dummy, and Johnny goes over and tells him that he either has to get used to being a loser or punch his enemy in the face. The teenager pictures Kyler and punches the dummy repeatedly, screaming in anger.

On Friday, Daniel cuts sushimi for his family and talks about how he learned how to make it in Okinawa. Kyler doesn't eat fish, and Amanda takes Samantha to the kitchen to find something Kyler can eat. Once they're alone, Kyler thanks Daniel for inviting him over. He says that Samantha is cool, and Daniel admits that he didn't like sushimi either until a good friend taught him to enjoy it. Daniel asks about the bruised eye Kyler has, and Kyler claims that he got it in wrestling. Despite the teenager's lies, Daniel figures that he was in a fight and says that high school kids can be rough. Kyler says that some guy jumped him and his friends while they were buying protein bars. Daniel asks where it happened.

At the dojo, Miguel is cleaning the windows while Johnny fills out the paperwork. Smirking, Johnny sends him to clean the toilet on his hands and knees. Daniel comes in and Johnny comes out to greet him. His visitor says that some things have never changed, and repeats Kyler's claim. Johnny says that he kicked the shit out of some assholes who deserved it, and Daniel tells him to stay away from his daughter's friends. His old rival says that Kyler and his gang were beating up a kid half their size, and suggests that Daniel doesn't know his daughter as well as he thinks. Miguel comes out and calls Johnny "sensei", and Daniel warns him that if he listens to Johnny, he'll end up just like him. Daniel walks out, ignoring Johnny's challenge. Johnny watches him drive off and smiles.

Written by Gadfly on Jul 22, 2018

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