Encino Hills, CA - 1979
A young Johnny turns on his Walkman on his earphones and bicycles from his home. He comes to the Cobra Kai dojo and peers in the window as Kreese drills his students. Smiling in admiration, Johnny looks up like the dojo insignia.
From his office, Johnny looks at his new class of students. Demetri complains to Eli about them coming to learn how to fight, but Eli suggests that they give it a chance. Johnny comes out and calls his students to attention, and then tells them that he doesn't sees losers and nerds. However, he admits that he's seen some miracles as a sensei so he figures that there might be hope for them. Johnny orders everyone to line up.
IN his new home dojo, Daniel finishes exercising.
Out by the pool, Samantha is looking at Miguel's Facebook page. She sees Yasmine putting up insulting photos of her doing blowjobs, just as Daniel comes out and asks if she wants to spar with him. Samantha says that it's been eight years and claims that she has a lot of homework. She asks if it's okay, and Daniel tries to put a good face on it. Daniel goes into the kitchen and offers to go to spin class with him. He hopes that in return she'll practice with him in the dojo, and Amanda realizes that Samantha said no. She reminds him of what happened ten years ago when she tried karate and glances at Antonio. Daniel says that his son should spar with him, even though Antonio isn't interested. When Daniel takes his video game, Antonio orders a new one via Alexa.
At his apartment, Robby is trying on his new LaRusso shirt when his two friends Trey and Cruz come in. When they invite him out, he says that he has a temporary job figuring that Johnny will lose his shit once he finds out because he hates Daniel.
Johnny has his students go through their training exercises and focuses on Eli, making fun of his lip. Demetri objects, and Johnny says that in the real world they can't expect people to do what they want them to do. Miguel tells Demetri to knock it off, and Demetri says that they're paying Johnny and he works for them. He figures that Johnny can't hurt him, and Johnny walks over and tells Demetri to hit him in the face. When Demetri does so, Johnny easily blocks his blows and finally knocks him to the mat.
Later at school, Demetri tells Miguel that he's quitting. Miguel says that Johnny is a good guy, but Demetri figures that he doesn't need to know karate when he has Miguel. A bruised Kyler walks by, and Demetri tells Miguel that no one will mess with him.
At the auto group, Robby does his job. Daniel asks Anoush how Robby is working out, and Anoush says that he's doing great. When Daniel asks Anoush if he wants to spar with him, Anoush says that he's working out with a date and Daniel tells him to tell Robby to keep up the good work. Anoush goes over and Robby asks when he'll get a personalized shirt. Louie comes over and sarcastically asks what else Robby needs. He tells Robby that they're joking and suggests that Robby move one of the cars up front by the windows. Robby agrees and Louie gives him the keys.
Miguel and Demetri arrive in science class, and the girls laugh at Samantha as she sits by herself. The teacher, Mr. Palmer, tells them that they'll be dissecting fetal pigs. Samantha tells him that her partner is absent and Miguel volunteers to take Samantha into their group. She thanks Miguel and goes to get a chair.
Robby goes to the car while Louie and Anoush look on. When Robby starts up the car, Daniel comes over and asks if he's out of his mind for starting a car in a crowded showroom. Robby realizes that Louie was playing a practical joke and storms out, angry. Daniel realizes what Louie was doing and goes after Robby, and shows him how to make a fist and then has him hit his hand. He apologizes for calling Daniel out and asks where Robby is from. Robby admits that he grew up in a poorer part of town and Daniel says that he's been there. He makes sure that Robby isn't quitting and goes back inside.
Miguel dissects the pig and Samantha talks about the fetus' sex. She hesitantly thanks him for helping her out and thanks him for fighting on her behalf when nobody else would. Samantha gives him some fighting advice and then offers them bananas from the bunch that people slipped into her backpack. When Miguel points out that they insult him as well, Samantha tells him that they don't anymore and they smile at each other.
At the next class, Johnny discovers that half of the students are gone. Miguel tells him that they quit and Johnny tells the others that it was a test to weed out the quitters. He calls Eli "Lip", and Eli whispers to him not to do it. Johnny tells him to speak up and keeps heaping on unintentional abuse, and tells Eli that he has to flip the script. Eli walks out and afterward, Miguel goes into Johnny's office and asks if he has to be so hard on them. The teenager reminds Johnny that he wanted a full dojo, and Johnny says that he doesn't want a class like that. Miguel tells him that Johnny doesn't know what it's like to be them, and leaves.
Robby is organizing coffee when Amanda comes in with Louie and tells Robby that Louie will be doing his work. Louie gives a half-hearted apology and Amanda gives Robby a personalized shirt. Once Amanda leaves, Louie tells Robby that he'd better do it himself because Amanda might be watching on the cameras. He suggests that Robby score points with Daniel by delivering a hard copy of the sales report to his house. Robby finally accepts that he's sincere and says that he'll do it.
That night, Samantha is in her bedroom studying when Miguel sends a photo of a cartoon pig as a joke. They text back and forth.
Johnny returns home and drinks. He finds his old Walkman and remembers the past.
Young Johnny tells his mother Laura about what he saw at the dojo, Sid comes in and complains about work, and Laura has Johnny ask if he can take karate class. His stepfather says that Johnny is a social reject at school, and Sid finally agrees but figures that Johnny will forget it like all of his other interests. While his parents argue, Johnny puts on his earphones and listens to his Walkman.
Johnny looks at the Walkman.
Robby arrives at the LaRusso home with the sales report and rings the bell. Nobody comes to the door and Daniel walks off. He sees Daniel performing a kata in his dojo, and goes in and Daniel sees him in the mirror. Daniel confirms that Robby didn't share the report with anyone else, and reveals that it's a porn magazine and another of Louie's jokes. Robby asks what he's doing, and Danny talks about how it's more like balance than fighting. He invites Robby to stay and learn, and Robby agrees.
The next day, Johnny discovers that more of his students have left. He tells Miguel and Aisha that it's his fault that the students left. He tells the remainder that he's been hard on them and he doesn't apologize. Johnny says that they have to be hard on the outside to be on hard on the inside, and describes how he used to be just like them. He shed his loser skin and found his true power, and says that they will too. Eli comes in sporting a mohawk, and says that he's flipping the script. Johnny tells his students that it doesn't matter if they're losers as long as they become badass, calls Eli "Hawk", and tells him to fall in. He then has the students recite that pain and defeat don't exist in their dojo and leads them in the way of the fist.
Written by Gadfly on Aug 5, 2018