[00:00:00] JC: Welcome to Just Curious Media. This is Let’s Talk – Cobra Kai. I’m Jason Connell, documentary filmmaker turned podcaster.
[00:00:08] SR: And I’m Sal Rodriguez, toy collector, comedian.
[00:00:10] JC: All right. So this is episode 3, Escualito, which means skeleton. Spoiler alert. This episode got an 8.5 rating on IMDb. So, Sal, what do you think? Third episode, what’s your initial thoughts?
[00:00:25] SR: I feel like we’re starting to get into a groove here.
[00:00:27] JC: Us or the show?
[00:00:28] SR: Well, all of us actually. We’re starting to establish characters. We’re starting to get into the three dimensionality of each person. I’m really liking where things are going as far as the backdrop. We’re learning more about Miguel. We’re meeting his family. I’m really happy with where we’re at right now.
[00:00:44] JC: So this episode starts with Miguel training, playing classic rock, obviously influenced from Johnny, and his grandmother comes and checks on him.
[00:00:53] SR: His grandmother comes to invite him to eat I think, doesn’t she?
[00:00:55] JC: Right.
[00:00:55] SR: Then she’s doing all this grunting in the room, training in karate. But the grandmother thinks he’s beating his mate.
[00:01:02] JC: Or jerking off she says.
[00:01:03] SR: She [00:01:04].
[00:01:04] JC: Translation, jerking off. So then we’re around the table, and Miguel’s mother is referencing the Halloween dance, which is coming up, which all I can think of is the Karate Kid’s the scene.
[00:01:12] SR: Halloween is the most prominent holiday in the Karate Kid/Cobra Kai folklore. I got to admit. When they started talking about a Halloween costume at the Halloween dance, I’m thinking, “Are we going to see Miguel in a shower curtain?” That’s why when we see what Miguel arrives in, I was like, “What?”
[00:01:32] JC: So we cut to the Cobra Kai dojo, and Miguel is the only Cobra Kai student to this day.
[00:01:38] SR: Johnny’s looking at all these bills. The bills are a piling.
[00:01:41] JC: That goes back to how much money he received, and this one not much.
[00:01:45] SR: Yeah, okay. So in other words, he had enough money from his stepdad, from episode 1.
[00:01:50] JC: Ed Asner?
[00:01:51] SR: Yes. Ed Asner. To open up the dojo, maybe pay a month or two of rent, and that was about it. He’s got to go out and start recruiting.
[00:01:57] JC: In a small runway. So Johnny needs students, and it’s not like he’s ever run any sort of business. Even in the handyman job, he worked for someone else. So Kreese from Karate Kid, he had a loyal dojo, parents who had money, very affluent, and there was a lot of students in there, and they’re all black belt. So they’d been in his program for years. Johnny’s just turned on the switch, put the Cobra Kai logo out. He doesn’t know how to recruit yet. If he doesn’t know how to do that very soon, Cobra Kai is going away.
[00:02:25] SR: Well, Kreese almost had a cult-like following.
[00:02:28] JC: That’s true.
[00:02:29] SR: Those were his minions. Those were his disciples. So leadership at that time was on another level.
[00:02:34] JC: All the more reason that Johnny’s going to recruit some students and learn how to run a business immediately.
[00:02:40] SR: So here’s where Miguel starts doing outside sales now. He’s got to bring some new disciples into the new cult of Cobra Kai.
[00:02:47] JC: Exactly. So now, we’re back at the school cafeteria, and Miguel is trying recruit Demetri and Eli to be Cobra Kais. Demetri is sarcastic, and he has no interest. Eli’s just a very quiet, reserved character at this point in time.
[00:03:01] SR: Well, neither kid is going to think, “Oh, yeah. I’m going to learn how to kick ass.
[00:03:05] JC: Then you see Aisha who’s Sam’s old friend, and Sam’s somewhat outgrowing right now, because she’s running with the school kids. Yasmine and company. Aisha comes over and wants to do a fun Halloween costume to be Salt. She’ll be sodium, and Sam would be –
[00:03:21] SR: Chloride was it?
[00:03:22] JC: That’s right.
[00:03:23] SR: As a combo, they would be salt together.
[00:03:24] JC: A dynamic duo.
[00:03:25] SR: Yeah. You have to know the periodic table of elements for it to be super hilarious, I believe.
[00:03:29] JC: Hilarious is a stretch.
[00:03:32] SR: Aisha knows her from the country club, because their parents know each other. Right?
[00:03:34] JC: Yeah, and they’ve been best friends all growing up.
[00:03:36] SR: Really? Okay.
[00:03:37] JC: This is that time when you start to get different friends in school.
[00:03:40] SR: Oh, no.
[00:03:40] JC: So Sam tells her, “Oh, I’m sorry. We’ve already decided to go as Laker girls.
So Johnny hires this lady to –
[00:03:50] SR: To do sign spinning.
[00:03:51] JC: Sign spinning. Cobra Kai sign spinning. He’s also distributing flyers. He goes to the playground. Guys are playing basketball, and he’s like, “Hey, guys! You want to pick up these babes over here? Join karate.” Just the worst salesman that one could be.
[00:04:07] SR: Yeah, sure.
[00:04:07] JC: The two girls he was talking about, they could be with these guys. We don’t even know this. So –
[00:04:12] SR: Well, he’s kind of out of touch. You’re noticing that as Johnny is living his life, here he is in present day. But he’s not exactly present-day.
[00:04:20] JC: No.
[00:04:21] SR: He’s sort of a throwback still.
[00:04:24] JC: So not good at recruiting?
[00:04:25] SR: Bad at sale.
[00:04:26] JC: So now, we cut to Miguel who created a website. Somehow, it got the Cobra Kai logo. It’s got a little snake sound in the mailing list, and Johnny is impressed. Even more impressed when Johnny hears Miguel’s new ring tone, which is a rat track. Johnny kind of smirks like, “This guy is pretty all of a sudden.”
[00:04:47] SR: Well, Miguel says that he went down this rabbit hole of ‘80s music. In other words, he starting to get into Johnny’s world a little bit. Johnny’s getting in his world. He’s getting in Johnny’s world. So it’s a nice –
[00:04:59] JC: Well, I think Johnny is staying in his world.
[00:05:02] SR: Well, Johnny’s now looking at a website.
[00:05:04] JC: That’s true. He understands the significance of it and even Miguel is like, “We’ll get some social media going on here.” So he understands it. To reach this younger demographic, these millennials, he’s going to need this guy.
So now, Johnny inspired by what he’s seen, he tells Miguel who had asked her earlier in episode, “When am I going to learn how to kick?” He says, “Meet me at midnight at the school.” Now, it’s a week night, and midnight’s late for anybody. So this is a high schooler, who’s going to go meet his sensei at midnight to start training?
[00:05:35] SR: Yeah.
[00:05:35] JC: Farfetched?
[00:05:36] SR: In the Cobra Kai/Karate Kid folklore, maybe not so much. Mr. Miyagi had Danielson paint the whole damn fence all day long.
[00:05:45] JC: That’s true. But he’s done by 9:00 probably.
[00:05:47] SR: At this point, I’m thinking anything goes. Expect the unexpected.
[00:05:51] JC: But I would just say this. They have a dojo. They’re at the Cobra Kai dojo. Let’s just walk out of here out of the office and work on some kicks. So Johnny’s going off-script, and he’s going a little Mr. Miyagi actually.
[00:06:04] SR: Yeah. What does he say? He knows the night watchman or something like that?
[00:06:06] JC: Yeah. So we’re at the school. It’s kind of a dark scene, and no lights are on, and they’re by the pool, and what’s he doing to Miguel?
[00:06:13] SR: It’s an indoor pool. So it’s really dark in there.
[00:06:15] JC: Correct.
[00:06:16] SR: He ties up Miguel’s hands, pushes him into the pool, and Miguel has to survive by kicking. So he’s practically drowning.
[00:06:24] JC: Miyagi never went so dark.
[00:06:26] SR: He never went life-threatening. It’s pretty harsh.
[00:06:29] JC: Because Miguel is struggling. He doesn’t know what’s going on, disoriented. Probably can’t even see down there, I’m assuming. So he pulls him up by the hair, and then kind of gives him some motivation like –
[00:06:40] SR: The motivation was drowning is for pussies.
[00:06:42] JC: That’s his motivation. It worked.
[00:06:44] SR: He kicks his legs, and he surfaces, and we realize, “Hey, he’s got some strength and power in his legs. He’s learning how to kick.”
[00:06:50] JC: Well, before that though or in the midst of that I should say, we go into an ‘80s training montage.
[00:06:55] SR: Oh, yes. With lots of kicks to wood.
[00:06:58] JC: We end the montage, and now Miguel is trying to wear this ridiculous costume. Not a shower curtain. I don’t even know what this thing is.
[00:07:06] SR: It was just a really bad handmade costume by his mother and grandmother.
[00:07:09] JC: Yeah. It was a mess. Johnny says he can’t go out like that. He’s representing Cobra Kai, and we cut to nice slow-mo intro. Miguel is wearing the infamous skeleton costume from Karate Kid. Beautiful. Now, the only difference is he’s one of one. Unlike in Karate Kid where there was like 20 of those costumes.
[00:07:29] SR: It’s not a skeleton crew.
[00:07:31] JC: But it sure looks cool.
[00:07:32] SR: It was pretty bad ass him walking in. I’m telling you, I was like, “Wow! Wow!”
[00:07:37] JC: It made me just realize just how iconic that costume was. So he goes up, and he sees Demetri, who – Is he a warlock? What was Demetri again?
[00:07:48] SR: Well, at first, Miguel referred to him as a sorcerer.
[00:07:50] JC: A sorcerer?
[00:07:51] SR: But then I think he corrected him. But he was something else probably from some nerd game or something like DND. I don’t know.
[00:07:55] JC: Some nerd game. So Eli is not just a doctor. He’s a plastic surgeon, and I believe a facial plastic surgeon at that.
[00:08:02] SR: The character has, I believe, maybe a harelip. He had surgery, but he still gets made fun off. He feels bad about it, so he does a Halloween costume where he gets to wear a surgical mask and cover up his harelip.
[00:08:13] JC: Like he’s got the bird flu or something?
[00:08:15] SR: Yeah. It’s one of those bird flu things.
[00:08:17] JC: He does get made fun of, which will fuel him later. Okay. Daniel is at the dance as a –
[00:08:23] SR: He’s there as a chaperone.
[00:08:25] JC: Which Samantha hates.
[00:08:26] SR: Imagine you’re at a high school dance, and your parent is there.
[00:08:29] JC: Lame.
[00:08:30] SR: What are you doing? Then he’s there, not necessarily to chaperone the dance. He’s there to keep an eye on his daughter.
[00:08:38] JC: He didn’t trust Kyler.
[00:08:39] SR: No.
[00:08:40] JC: Nor should he.
[00:08:41] SR: No.
[00:08:42] JC: So now, Johnny is at the dance as well, but he’s in the hallways, flyering the school.
[00:08:47] SR: Yeah. I love that moment so much, because it’s very similar to the moment in the previous episode when Daniel LaRusso is sitting in the car. He looks over and sees the dojo for the first time, and you see he starts to wilt.
[00:09:00] JC: They show us some flashbacks from Karate Kid.
[00:09:03] SR: Him getting beaten by the skeleton crew.
[00:09:05] JC: He still harbors all that.
[00:09:06] SR: Yes. I love that moment, because I like these moments where you see behind the façade into the vulnerability of someone. So those little moments when you just see him start to wither inside, but then he has to obviously come back to reality. He’s a parent. He’s chaperoning. He’s got to mind his Ps and Qs. But inside, he’s still Daniel LaRusso, a boy from New Jersey, new kid in school getting beaten.
[00:09:28] JC: Then he is distracted by Kyler and Sam exiting the dance and going somewhere private. So Daniel is hot on the trail, walks out the hallway, runs into Johnny. It’s not a showdown, but it’s an exchange, and you can tell that Daniel is hanging on to what he believes Cobra Kai was and assumes, making a huge assumption that that’s what Johnny’s creating now.
There’s words, but Johnny’s not having much of it. He’s just trying to get students, because he knows this is going to be a different Cobra Kai. But there’s no time for that, because he’s got a go see what Sam and Kyler are up to.
[00:10:05] SR: Johnny does say the words, and I quote, “I’m not Kreese,” because Daniel made some reference to, “Oh, you’re bringing back Cobra Kai even after what your sensei did to you.” So that’s when Johnny said something like, “I’m not Kreese.” In other words, this is different now.
[00:10:22] JC: That’s what’s funny about the show. There’s a lot of assumptions, and they’re both hotheads, and they have a hard time seeing eye to eye on anything, which also makes for a very good show.
[00:10:31] SR: Yup. Because what makes for a lot of rivalry or argumentation or miscommunication is lack of understanding. If you don’t have those come together, come to Jesus moments, as they say.
What we’re seeing is we’re seeing these parallels of their lives. We’re seeing two men who are living life with all of its struggles, its ups and downs, its trial and tribulations. Two guys just trying to make their way in the world. So you see how their lives kind of counteract each other. Different but kind of balance each other out also.
[00:11:01] JC: Neither are that happy with where they’re at right now.
[00:11:03] SR: No. Neither that happy. I think that neither person is completely satisfied with their lot in life. You know what? I’m getting a feeling as I’m watching Daniel more and more that he kind of still feels bullied.
He’s a successful businessman with multiple auto dealerships. He has a whole multitude of dealerships. What? 5, 6 dealerships in the San Fernando Valley, successful billboards everywhere. Yet I think he still feels a little bullied.
[00:11:29] JC: Well, Daniel never bullied anyone. So he’s only been bullied and he bested them in a, say, forum, but that is still there. He still feels what he felt as a young kid. He still harbors that, and he doesn’t have Miyagi to fix him.
[00:11:44] SR: So then, are we all just children walking around in adult bodies with all the hurts and pains and all the feelings that we had as kids, as teenagers? It’s still there. It never goes away.
[00:11:55] JC: We’re in kids’ bodies, just old. So Aisha still goes to the dance in her sodium costume, her periodic table shirt, not salt. She did her part. Yasmine makes fun of her eating and films it.
[00:12:14] SR: Yeah, and puts a little pork snout on her through some little app. Sends it to everybody. All of a sudden, everyone at the dance is looking at this on their phone.
[00:12:23] JC: Somehow, she filmed this, edited it, and somehow got it out to the entire school, and made her look like a pig, added trough. She’s just eating something at the table like everyone else is.
[00:12:35] SR: There’s a buffet. She’s eating from the buffet.
[00:12:36] JC: Just makes fun of her and makes her feel bad. So Aisha then looks over and sees Sam next to Yasmine and assumes that she was part of it.
[00:12:44] SR: It’s almost a Carrie moment.
[00:12:46] JC: Very much.
[00:12:47] SR: They’re going to laugh at you.
[00:12:48] JC: Very much Carrie.
[00:12:50] SR: So all of a sudden, everybody is –
[00:12:51] JC: If she has telekinetic powers, we’re all in trouble.
[00:12:53] SR: Everyone would’ve been dead if she would’ve had telekinetic powers at that moment.
[00:12:56] JC: If Travolta had made an appearance, I would have definitely been on the lookout. But before that, before the video went viral, Sam goes to a classroom with Kyler, and Daniel breaks in, assuming that something’s going down.
[00:13:13] SR: Well, because at one moment, Kyler and Samantha are there, and they’re making out, and then he’s like, “Oh, I want to show you something.” Then he starts reaching down, and then he’s like, “Help me with my belt. I have something.”
[00:13:23] JC: He’s got like some sort of like buccaneer costume on.
[00:13:25] SR: Yeah. He’s a pirate, I guess.
[00:13:26] JC: So he can’t even get into his pirate belt or whatever. Daniel breaks in. He can’t handle it and then realizes he was reaching for something that like a family heirloom or something?
[00:13:35] SR: Yeah. Some little bracelet or something. All this is –
[00:13:37] JC: Sam’s embarrassed, mad, and just tears out of there.
[00:13:42] SR: When he pulls out the little thing and says, “This is what I was going to give her,” I’m not really buying it necessarily.
[00:13:46] JC: Kyler’s got more plans.
[00:13:48] SR: I’m not really buying that his motive was that pure. I don’t trust him.
[00:13:52] JC: But I wouldn’t say Sam’s there to have sex with the guy.
[00:13:55] SR: No, not necessarily.
[00:13:56] JC: So Sam’s probably thinking, “Trust me in this situation.” She’s not happy with her dad, because, A, he’s there and that he’s at the dance. Now, he’s tracking her.
[00:14:05] SR: Well, speaking of 1980s, it was one of those Three’s Company moments where they’re doing something that from the outside looks like they’re doing something else.
[00:14:14] JC: Mr. Furley’s outside, “Jack.”
[00:14:18] SR: He’s outside listening. He thinks something is going on. He barges in, and it’s really just Jack and Janet or her teaching him how to hold a golf club. It’s always something like that. It was no different here. So they were doing something that was actually innocent in the moment, but he just saw her undoing his belt.
[00:14:37] JC: Or the Ropers. It could’ve been Mr. Roper. By the way, I keep calling her Sam for short. I’ll go back and forth. We can say Samantha or Sam.
[00:14:43] SR: I think that Daniel refers to her as Sam at a few points.
[00:14:46] JC: I think I’m doing that. I’m assuming that we’re on the same page. We know what we’re talking about.
[00:14:49] SR: Yeah.
[00:14:50] JC: Okay.
[00:14:50] SR: By the way, Samantha, played by Mary Mouser from Arkansas, born in 1996, a young woman. But 22 when she’s filming the show, playing a teenager. She was in that old 18-to-play-younger category.
[00:15:05] JC: You were a little bit of that, Sal, on 90210, weren’t you back in the day?
[00:15:08] SR: I didn’t realize how fantastic a place 18-to-look-younger is such a fantastic place to be.
[00:15:14] JC: But to be clear, you were on episodes of the original 90210 as an extra.
[00:15:20] SR: Yes, I was an extra on 90210, Saved by the Bell, [inaudible 00:15:23].
[00:15:23] JC: But how old were you when you were on 90210?
[00:15:26] SR: When I was on 90210, I was probably actually about 17.
[00:15:31] JC: Okay. You were younger.
[00:15:33] SR: I got a fake ID to be an extra on 90210 to play a high schooler, and I was a high schooler. So I was a high schooler who faked it as an adult to play a high schooler.
[00:15:43] JC: While the cast was older, playing younger.
[00:15:45] SR: When I was on the set of 90210, I looked at the stars and I thought, “They don’t look like high schoolers.” Look at our cast, Miguel, Samantha. Miguel is –
[00:15:54] JC: Miguel looks young.
[00:15:55] SR: He is 18. As they’re filming this, he’s 18 years old.
[00:15:58] JC: I bet you Eli and Demetri are also quite young.
[00:16:01] SR: I’m assuming that everybody’s at least 18. For all the laws [inaudible 00:16:04].
[00:16:05] JC: They’re casting it closer to real unlike 90210.
[00:16:09] SR: They were all – I think a lot of them are in their mid-20s on 90210.
[00:16:12] JC: So now, we are still at the dance. We’re in the restroom and defeated by not meeting any women at the dance. We have Miguel, Demetri, and Eli. All of the sudden, here comes Kyler and company. Kyler’s telling them the story of how he didn’t hook up with Sam and blah, blah, blah. What happens next?
[00:16:30] SR: Well, Kyler is gloating about the fact about this bracelet scam that he does with girls that he dates.
[00:16:40] JC: Some family heirloom.
[00:16:41] SR: Yeah. It’s part of his little plan to get into her pants, obviously. So our heroes overhear Kyler joking with his friends.
[00:16:49] JC: The hero.
[00:16:50] SR: Well, Miguel and his buddies. Over here, Kyler and his plans about what were just foiled.
[00:16:56] JC: But I’m saying Demetri and Eli quickly exits.
[00:16:59] SR: They’re out of there.
[00:16:58] JC: So it’s really just Miguel.
[00:17:01] SR: So they are out of there quick, fast, in a hurry. It was interesting that Miguel just didn’t hightail it out of there too.
[00:17:07] JC: He’s been training, and he has a little bit of that Cobra Kai mindset in him now.
[00:17:11] SR: Which is strike first.
[00:17:12] JC: Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy. So what happens?
[00:17:17] SR: Well, they start picking on him, poking at him. The he does precisely that, right?
Doesn’t he go for the kick?
[00:17:24] JC: He goes for the kick, and an overconfident Miguel gets beaten down. Kind of like reminded me of a beating that Daniel took on the same Halloween night when Mr. Miyagi broke up the fight, and he took a beating.
[00:17:38] SR: Well, actually it’s a little bit worse, because if I’m not mistaken, he kind of grabs some sort of weapon.
[00:17:42] JC: So he had no help, no mercy, and they got him good.
[00:17:45] SR: What is it like? What’s that –
[00:17:47] JC: Lacrosse stick?
[00:17:47] SR: Yes. That’s what it looked like.
[00:17:49] JC: Well, that’s what initially – Eli knocked over some lacrosse sticks, and they heard them.
[00:17:54] SR: So Kyler beats Miguel with a lacrosse stick?
[00:17:56] JC: Yeah.
[00:17:57] SR: Kyler deserves –
[00:17:58] JC: Kyler wasn’t alone. It’s four friends.
[00:18:01] SR: It’s horrible.
[00:18:04] JC: So now, we see Johnny in the hallway, and he sees a photo of Ali. So it was like a trophy case, and Ali’s in there, a black and white photo of her with a football. He’s just reminiscing, and then he hears Kyler and his crew leaving the restroom. I thinks he hears something in the distance. He goes to investigate and discovers Miguel completely beaten, probably bloody, bruised.
I think Johnny right then felt compassion, probably some mercy, but he knows he has to train Miguel much more, so they can defend himself against these punks.
[00:18:37] SR: Miguel is just a broken heap on the ground. Remember also, at this moment in time, Miguel represents Cobra Kai.
[00:18:44] JC: This is his first student ever as far as we know. So right now, Johnny probably feels a little bit like a failure. I failed this kid. I’ve got to do better. He lives next to him. He knows he has to take this kid home and what that consequence is going to look like.
[00:19:00] SR: So I think the episode ends with him looking down at the broken heap that is Miguel.
[00:19:05] JC: That is exactly how it ends, kind of dark, kind of like Empire Strikes Back.
[00:19:10] SR: But I hadn’t thought of that. They possibly went to the Halloween dance together in the same vehicle.
[00:19:15] JC: They did.
[00:19:16] SR: They did.
[00:19:17] JC: They actually did, because he got in that costume, and he said, “We’re going to go.” He’ll be marketing and doing flyers.
[00:19:23] SR: Wow!
[00:19:23] JC: Now, had Johnny been more like Freddie from Karate Kid, Daniel’s friend, he would have left him.
[00:19:29] SR: Yeah. I remember that moment when Freddie just vanishes at the beach.
[00:19:33] JC: I would encourage anybody who loves Cobra Kai. In fact, I was just on Facebook the other day, and there were people there who watched Karate Kid who’d never seen Cobra Kai. People who saw Cobra Kai and never saw Karate Kid.
[00:19:44] JC: It’s so crazy.
[00:19:45] SR: Yes. So I definitely would encourage anybody who likes Cobra Kai to watch Karate Kid. I would encourage you to do so. If you don’t, I think you can still enjoy the characters and still enjoy the show. But I would encourage you.
[00:19:55] JC: When you say Karate Kid, the 1984.
[00:19:57] SR: The original Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, the stars of Cobra Kai in their original roles, yes.
[00:20:03] JC: Then listen to our special episode.
[00:20:05] SR: Please listen to the special episode.
[00:20:07] JC: So that concludes episode 3. This has been a lot of fun. I hope that you guys can like us, subscribe to us on iTunes or any other place where you get your podcast. I look forward to coming back for episode number 4.
[00:20:19] SR: Looking forward to episode 4 big time. I’m totally Kai’d out.
[00:20:23] JC: All right. Take care.