Let’s Talk – Cobra Kai – S01E05 – Counterbalance


[00:00:00] JC: Welcome to Just Curious Media. This is Let’s Talk – Cobra Kai. I’m Jason Connell. Documentary film maker, churn podcaster. 

[00:00:08] SR: I’m Sal Rodriguez, comedian and toy collector.

[00:00:11] JC: So here we are. This is episode 5, Counterbalance. 9.0 rating on IMDb.

[00:00:17] SR: Oh! Wait, is that higher than the other ones?

[00:00:20] JC: Yeah, it’s one of the higher ones.

[00:00:21] SR: Really? 

[00:00:21] JC: Yeah, pretty good episode.

[00:00:22] SR: It almost brought me to tears. In fact, it did bring me to tears, I’ll be honest with you.

[00:00:25] JC: Yeah, there’s a moment.

[00:00:26] SR: There’s a moment.

[00:00:26] JC: We’ll get to that. I know that you recently ordered this Karate Kid toy.

[00:00:30] SR: Yeah, it is the action figure two pack of Johnny and Daniel facing off at the All-Valley Karate Tournament. Made by NECA, which is National Entertainment Collectibles Association. It’s so fantastic. I’m so excited to see it and get my hands on it, and I am waiting and chopping at the bit. It is not here yet. 

[00:00:47] JC: So is it because of the show Cobra Kai you think these toy companies are now reissuing Karate Kid merchandize?  

[00:00:53] SR: I don’t know. That’s a very good question, because I think that I heard about the Karate Kid two pack coming out right around the same time as I heard about Cobra Kai coming out. Yeah, they might have just started opening up licenses, because I don’t think before this series of figures that we have out right now by NECA, that we’ve had any real good legitimate Karate Kid action figures. When I say good and legitimate, I’m referring to today’s standards of toys. Not necessarily 80s standards. There may be figures from the 80s. 

But action figures have evolved over the years, that action figures today are way better than when we were kids. So in a way I’m making up for lost time, because when I see an action figure today, one of my thoughts is, “We didn’t have toys like this when I was a kid. We had cheap stuff,” comparatively speaking. So this two pack that’s coming out, never before seen. Nothing has existed like this before.

[00:01:40] JC: So why is it not a three pack and throw Miyagi in there?

[00:01:43] SR: Or the referee there in the middle.

[00:01:44] JC: Yeah, or throw Ali in there. Make it a four pack, five pack.

[00:01:47] SR: Actually, they do have separate single pack Miyagi. Separate single pack Daniel. Then they have the two pack of Daniel and Johnny. Then they have a single figure of Johnny in the skeleton costume, that it looks fantastic.

[00:02:01] JC: Exciting. All right. I’m also excited to get into this episode. So we began with Miguel. He wakes up and he goes right into training mode. Some pushups in his room, cut to Cobra Kai studio and he’s still doing pushups. All of a sudden we got like a montage going on and he’s training with Johnny. 

So we see Miguel getting better. We see Johnny’s creativity introducing a baseball pitching machine training.  

[00:02:26] SR: Brutal. That looked majorly brutal, because I think he’s using actual baseballs. 

[00:02:30] JC: Yeah, he’s taking Miyagi training to a whole other level. 

[00:02:35] SR: He’s taking crease training to another level. 

[00:02:36] JC: Yeah, crease was never so creative.  

[00:02:39] SR: But I mean crease would probably do something like that if he had the technology today.

[00:02:42] JC: That’s true. Then Miguel sweeps Johnny’s leg, which is like Johnny’s textbook move from the original Karate Kid, which I really enjoyed. Then of course Johnny takes him down. He fires up the baseball machine with the remote and bounces one off his head.

[00:02:57] SR: Right off his ear.

[00:02:58] JC: Right off his ear. 

[00:02:58] SR: Yeah. So Miguel is there riding in pain from his ear. 

[00:03:02] JC: But Miguel is getting pretty tough. I’m impressed with his training. He’s really coming a long way. 

[00:03:06] SR: I admire the commitment. You see right now is where the rubber meets the road as far as Miguel’s commitment to karate, commitment to Cobra Kai. You see it really taking a stronghold here.

[00:03:16] JC: Yeah. It’s a real turning point for Miguel, I think. He’s got a father figure. Johnny’s got a son-ish. Then there’s real bonding. But he’s running out of money. He has one student, and so who do we see come in the dojo right after this great montage? 

[00:03:33] SR: A bunch of yoga students coming in who sublease from Johnny, and they start their yoga class, and then they put a big banner over the Cobra Kai verbiage on the wall that says strike first.

[00:03:43] JC: Which I think is a bit overstepping a studio that you’re subletting.

[00:03:47] SR: What do they say? We need to – What did they?

[00:03:49] JC: Change the energy of this room or something.

[00:03:51] SR: Yes, that’s right. Yeah.

[00:03:52] JC: Immediately, I’ve taken a lot of yoga, and they come in and within 5 seconds they’re in downward dog or they’re doing back stretches and they’re going at it. So it was a pretty funny transition.

[00:04:02] SR: They don’t waste any time. They walk in there and start doing their thing.

[00:04:04] JC: But Johnny is trying to make it work. Looking for other revenue streams while he lures in more students. 

Cut to the Encino Oaks Country Club. We see Daniel meeting with Armand, who you’ve probably recognized before.

[00:04:19] SR: From Borat, right?

[00:04:19] JC: Exactly.

[00:04:20] SR: Yes.

[00:04:21] JC: Ken, I’m going to butcher this last name, but D-A-V-I-T-I-A-N. Do you want to take a shot at that? 

[00:04:27] SR: No.

[00:04:27] JC: Okay. Me neither. 

[00:04:29] SR: Because you’re reading it. I can’t see it.

[00:04:30] JC: Davitian? We definitely recognize this actor from many other films. He’s always a pretty good comic relief, and he’s the owner of the Reseda Flats over on Victory Boulevard, and Daniel is inviting him to the country club. Why?

[00:04:45] SR: He’s buttering him up so to speak. 

[00:04:48] JC: While he’s dipping his lobster in butter no less.

[00:04:50] SR: Yes, literally. I couldn’t figure out if Daniel legitimately wanted to buy the strip mall, or if that was part of his plan to just make the strip mall seem exciting and popular so that Armand will raise the rent on Cobra Kai.

[00:05:04] JC: I guess Armand wants to get back and becoming a club member. He lost his membership at some point in time.

[00:05:09] SR: He lost his membership at some point. We don’t know why, but we find out later in passing. But I like the line from Armand, “You want me to scratch your balls? How are you going to scratch my balls?”  

[00:05:18] JC: Yeah, he was like, “I don’t think that’s how the expression goes.” But, yeah, pretty funny sequence. I always see Amanda and Samantha. In my opinion, it’s their first mother-daughter moment. Finally the first time I can see Amanda that is her daughter, Samantha.

[00:05:32] SR: Yeah, I don’t think we’ve had any moments like that so far.

[00:05:35] JC: No. She always push it on Daniel, and that’s why I really thought she was a stepmother for the first episode. So it’s nice to establish that rapport. So now we cut to Robby’s bringing home groceries. He’s in good spirits. His mother is on her way out as usual, but she mentions that Johnny wanted to possibly take Robby in.  

[00:05:55] SR: Well, she’s not just on her way out. She’s getting ready for a date. She’s dressy-ed up. She’s letting us know, the viewer, her priorities are to get a man. She does say something kind of telling where she goes, “Oh, Robby. You’re going to grow up one day and go out into the world. So you’re going to dump me anyway.” 

[00:06:13] JC: Obviously, his mother has some sort of abandonment issues where he thinks people are just going to dump her, even her own son. We kind of feel for Robby here. He got the pizza that she actually likes and asks her if she wants to watch a movie and she’s getting no love. 

[00:06:25] SR: No.

[00:06:25] JC: He’s got no father figure, and his mother has already checked out.

[00:06:29] SR: Yeah. Yeah, so he really is alone. I mean, we see his juvenile delinquent friends, but whatever. 

[00:06:35] JC: But not in this scene. 

[00:06:36] SR: No.

[00:06:36] JC: So now we’re back to Miguel training at the Cobra Kai Dojo, and Aisha wants to join. Aisha, being Sam’s friend, and Johnny says – What does he say, Sal?

[00:06:48] SR: No girls in Cobra Kai.

[00:06:50] JC: Exactly.

[00:06:50] SR: So Miguel has to give them, “Hey, snap into reality here.” 

[00:06:54] JC: He does it a little differently. Miguel, his head salesman, takes Johnny in the backroom and just says, “You know who her father is?” I guess Aisha’s father was a hall of fame lineman for the San Diego Chargers, now the Los Angeles Chargers. He says, “Her parents have money and other people would follow.” So Johnny changes his mind. Smartly changes his mind.

[00:07:16] SR: Sure. You want to get in with the crowd that has the money to pay you.

[00:07:20] JC: So what I liked in that scene too is there’s a whiteboard in the background. I don’t know if you noticed it, and it said current students: Miguel. Empty whiteboard [inaudible 00:07:28].

[00:07:28] SR: That’s funny. I didn’t see that. 

[00:07:31] JC: So then Aisha is allowed to join, and she shares how she’s been cyber bullied, which Johnny, he says there’s no honor in cyber bullying. 

[00:07:41] SR: No.

[00:07:41] JC: Back in his day, if you have someone to bully, you do it to their face. That’s honor.

[00:07:46] SR: There’s some honor in saying it in somebody’s face.

[00:07:48] JC: So, Sal, have you ever been bullied or cyber bullied? 

[00:07:50] SR: So I was never really bullied. Online however, I did experience pushback when I uploaded my first standup comedy video, and we’re going back to about maybe 2000, 2001. I uploaded my first standup comedy video on to YouTube, and oh boy, the hate. I didn’t see where it was coming from. I didn’t know why people were doing it.

[00:08:09] JC: Well, you were going through your races face back then, weren’t you?

[00:08:11] SR: No. I wasn’t telling any races jokes yet. But I found it interesting that all these strangers felt the need to insult me. They don’t even know me. They don’t know who I am. Why are they watching my video at all if they don’t like me? If they don’t like it, why not just move on like I do? If I don’t like something, I just move along. Sort of interesting as a sociological study as well, that people are just willing to sit home and let the hate out. I don’t feel the need to have to lash out if I don’t like a video.

[00:08:37] JC: Oh, you’re not a hater?

[00:08:37] SR: No. So, yeah, I did experience that. But now I’m toughened up. I mean, look at all the years I’ve been online now, on YouTube, on MySpace, on Facebook. So I’m pretty tough now. I’m pretty bulletproof as far as the internet now. If I’m a teenager today experiencing the hate that people can do and perform in social media, oh yeah, it must be pretty rough.

[00:08:55] JC: You’re still on MySpace aren’t you?

[00:08:57] SR: I think I still have a profile on MySpace.

[00:08:58] JC: I think we all do. So, wait. So that’s not called cyber bullying.  What’s the term for that? 

[00:09:03] SR: It would probably mean more trolling than bullying.

[00:09:06] JC: That’s the term. 

[00:09:06] SR: Yeah. 

[00:09:07] JC: Okay.

[00:09:07] SR: Yeah, I definitely have been trolled. 

[00:09:09] JC: But you never did any bullying either?

[00:09:11] SR: Oh, no, no. I’m not that kind of person.

[00:09:13] JC: Yeah, I was really fortunate. I was never bullied. I guess I’d seen some of it, but really I remember it from Karate Kid more than anything. 

[00:09:19] SR: Well, there was a lot of bullying going on in 80s movies. Whether it be Revenge of the Nerds? Weren’t the weird science guys bullied a little bit? 

[00:09:26] JC: Oh, for sure. Yes.

[00:09:27] SR: Okay. So bullying, it didn’t come out in the social arena, so much this term bullying. But all those 80s movies, people getting bullied. 

[00:09:35] JC: It was like high school hazing.

[00:09:37] SR: Yeah.

[00:09:38] JC: Okay. So Aisha shares her cyber bullying. Johnny is upset about it, and he’s ready to train these two Cobra Kais to fight. Okay, now we’re at LaRusso Auto. Daniel is on the phone with Armand, and he’s offering more for Reseda Flats.

[00:09:54] SR: 10% over market value.

[00:09:56] JC: Armand thinks something’s going on. Declines the offer, and he senses something as if Daniel has ulterior motives, and Daniel is denied. 

[00:10:07] SR: Armand says something like, “I didn’t get to my level of success by listening to car dealers,” or something like that, “and I hate this boba.” Yeah, he tried the boba. A lot of business people don’t want to sell their property. They just want to jack up the rent. So much of what’s happening in Cobra Kai with the rent in this episode and the lease and the doubling of the rent, that is actually happening all around us, particularly in this area in the San Fernando Valley. A lot of small businesses are being pushed out by landlords, jacking up the rent. Unfortunately, renters have no protection. 

[00:10:39] JC: Right. So although Armand thinks his Reseda Flats is a dump, having someone interested in it makes him reevaluate it. Essentially he’s going to go and jack up that rent. 

[00:10:50] JC: Oh! Daniel does say to Armand, “Enjoy pissing in your own shower.” Then we learn that is how Armand was kicked out of Encino Country Club, is by peeing in the shower. 

[00:10:59] SR: Everybody does it. At home maybe.

[00:11:02] JC: So now we see Yasmine and Moon, they’re getting high and they’re getting spooped by the local kind of comedic vagrant.

[00:11:10] SR: Yeah. She is the one who Johnny originally recruited to be a sign spinner, and was that episode 1 or 2?

[00:11:16] JC: She was actually in the first episode when Johnny went in to get the pizza at the convenience store. So she pops in and out of lots of episodes.

[00:11:22] SR: Yeah, good character actress has some reoccurring work.

[00:11:25] JC: Then it’s kind of a weird scene, but then Sam jumps in the car and it spooks them.

[00:11:30] SR: One of them says, “Oh my God! We thought you were a poor person.” I love that line.

[00:11:33] JC: So Sam is confronting them, because they’ve given her –

[00:11:36] SR: They’ve ostracized her.

[00:11:38] JC: They invited her to a concert. Didn’t take her calls, and all of a sudden she’s seeing videos of them at the concert. So she wants to know what’s going on. Essentially, Kyler told some lies about Sam. 

[00:11:49] SR: Kyler said, “You said you think you’re better than us. That’s what Yasmine said,” which of course Samantha never said that.

[00:11:56] JC: No. 

[00:11:56] SR: But Doesn’t everybody know that he’s a piece of garbage? 

[00:11:59] JC: What else did he say?

[00:12:00] SR: So Kyler has convinced everybody in the school that Samantha gave him a blowjob at the movie theater, which we all know is not true.

[00:12:09] JC: Absolutely. In fact, she used her karate moves and embarrassed him at the theater.  

[00:12:14] SR: She did make some pretty cool moves. I think at that moment is where we learned, “Oh! Samantha knows a few karate moves.”

[00:12:18] JC: Absolutely. So we’re back the Cobra Kai Dojo, and it’s the first lesson for Aisha, and Johnny has Miguel fight Aisha, which is pretty funny. Miguel’s really standoff-ish and doesn’t want to engage with someone who’s never had a lesson, and what happens? 

[00:12:39] SR: He apologized. Then he gives her a front kick and knocks her down.

[00:12:44] JC: But she’s tough. 

[00:12:45] SR: Yeah.

[00:12:46] JC: She gets up and body slams Miguel.

[00:12:48] SR: Yeah. She does a takedown. Maybe she has a wrestling background. Who knows?

[00:12:51] JC: Who knows? Her father is a hall of fame football player. 

[00:12:53] SR: She tackles Miguel. That’s what she does. Probably learned how to tackle from her dad, who’s a football player.

[00:12:58] JC: Who’s a lineman. 

[00:12:58] SR: I just figure that out.

[00:13:00] JC: Okay. So she tackles Miguel. Takes him down, and then jumps on him, and I think drops a knee on his chest. 

[00:13:06] SR: Johnny says, “She’s a natural,” or natural Cobra Kai.

[00:13:10] JC: Natural Cobra Kai. Yeah, that was a great moment. 

[00:13:11] SR: That was a pretty cool moment. So Armand is yelling with the convenient store owner, because he is doubling his rent. OF course, Johnny comes in. He hears he’s yelling, and he finds this out at the same time, and now none of the shop owners know what they’re going to do. In fact, I even realized later on, Johnny’s paying rent on his apartment and he’s paying rent on his dojo. That’s double rent. 

[00:13:34] JC: He should just live at the dojo.

[00:13:35] SR: He should just live at the dojo. I thought of that too.

[00:13:37] JC: So we cut to Robby who is viewing the Cobra Kai website, as his mother comes home with a random guy. Probably not that unusual for Robby to see.

[00:13:49] SR: Was that the same guy from the bar scene?

[00:13:51] JC: No.

[00:13:52] SR: That was a different guy.

[00:13:53] JC: Different guy.

[00:13:53] SR: Oh. She’s trying to hookup. I wonder what website she’s using. Do you think she’s on Tinder?

[00:13:58] JC: She probably is on Tinder, and she doesn’t even know he’s sitting there in the living room. He puts the headphones on. Robby is just disgusted. But he is checking out the website. You know there’s a level of interest. He’s trying to see what Johnny’s up to. 

Now we cut to Johnny at the pawnshop, because he’s going to make some extra money now, because his rent has doubled at the dojo. 

[00:14:18] SR: Was he trying to sell an old issue of Sports Illustrated with Ellen Macpherson?

[00:14:22] JC: Yes, that is right. He had an Atari. Then he busted out some old gold coins.

[00:14:29] SR: Like Franklyn mint kind of stuff.

[00:14:30] JC: Yeah. He thought with his letter of authenticity, he was going to get his 1,200 that he needed, and the pawnshop owner said, “Yeah, 60,000 more of these and you might get your 1,200.”  

[00:14:40] SR: If you’ve seen Pawn Stars, you know the deal. You go in there thinking you’re going to strike rich on what you’re bringing in, but you realize no you’re not.

[00:14:47] JC: You might get $5. So Johnny’s disappointed and just takes the box and leaves. Doesn’t sell anything. 

[00:14:55] SR: I like that he goes back to the dojo. Looks in his own fridge, there’s no beer in the fridge at all. 

[00:14:59] JC: Exactly. No Coors. So Johnny goes to the store, and this is an interesting scene to me, Sal. Daniel comes in and asks for a red spray paint can. 

[00:15:10] SR: I think that Daniel went there to try to just see –

[00:15:15] JC: See if they sold it.

[00:15:16] SR: Yeah. I don’t think that a convenience market like that would sell spray paint.

[00:15:21] JC: But they had it in the back.

[00:15:21] SR: Yeah, that was interesting. So that’s when Daniel realizes, “Okay. They sell spray paint right next door to the Cobra Kai Dojo. That’s it.”  

[00:15:28] JC: Then he saw Johnny in there. I think you’re right. I guess initially I thought, “Did he really stopped Johnny to go in here?” But you’re right. He was probably going to check it off the list. If they didn’t sell it, he could assume maybe Johnny didn’t do it, as if Johnny couldn’t have got spray paint somewhere else. 

[00:15:40] SR: No. 

[00:15:41] JC: Johnny feels very guilty, because he knows what he did. Then to add insult to injury, Daniel pays for Johnny’s beer. 

[00:15:49] SR: Yeah. “Just put it on my tab,” he says.

[00:15:51] JC: He’s already feeling guilty about what he did, and he’s just kind of defeated. 

[00:15:55] SR: Wait. Do you think Johnny feels guilty about drawing the big dick on the billboard?

[00:16:00] JC: I do in that scene. 

[00:16:00] SR: Really? I don’t know. I’m kind of thinking that Johnny is just caught off guard in that moment. Holding his beer, being depressed, feeling hopeless. Doesn’t know if he’s going to be able to keep the dojo. He’s overwhelmed financially. Then here is the hotshot enemy still at this point walking in. I think that what Johnny was feeling was shame about his scenarios. Not necessarily about the billboard. That’s not what I thought.

[00:16:24] JC: He’s had that happen before, the same being caught. I think he felt some guilt, because he also did that spray painting when he was pretty hammered. I think there’s a little regret there.

[00:16:33] SR: Okay. 

[00:16:34] JC: But now Daniel has his answer. He knows in all certainty that it was Johnny that did the spray painting.

[00:16:40] SR: Yeah. Whatever detective work Daniel went through, he is not satisfied that he has his man. Johnny’s the one that drew the dick. 

[00:16:49] JC: Not Tom Cole.

[00:16:49] SR: Not Tom Cole. 

[00:16:51] JC: Now Daniel is pouring wine for him and Amanda.

[00:16:53] SR: I like that moment, because we go from Johnny buying 12-pack, to then cut to Daniel opening up a bottle of wine in his beautiful home with his beautiful wife. 

[00:17:04] JC: Yeah.

[00:17:04] SR: Those moments of dichotomy. I love those contrasting moment.

[00:17:06] JC: To add one thing to your story there is Daniel bought Johnny’s beer. 

[00:17:11] SR: Yes, which to some people makes matters worse for Johnny, because then he feels like, “Oh, I can’t even buy my own beer.” 

[00:17:18] JC: So he’s pouring this wine and he shares the flyer and he explains who tagged the sign and his great plan – 

[00:17:27] SR: Which Amanda does not like. I really liked Amanda’s reaction. She’s like, “What are you doing?” 

[00:17:33] JC: So explain his plan.

[00:17:34] SR: His plan was to get Cobra Kai’s rent jacked up so that it would have to close. 

[00:17:40] JC: That was always his plan.

[00:17:42] SR: Yeah, and Amanda is like, “What are you doing?” 

[00:17:43] JC: “What about the other shop owners?” She said.

[00:17:45] SR: Yes. 

[00:17:46] JC: Daniel didn’t even think about that for two seconds. The convenient store person and anyone else located in the Reseda Flats.

[00:17:52] SR: What else could be there? I’m thinking. Oh, there’s got to be a foot massage place. Liquor store, karate studio, foot massage place.

[00:17:59] JC: I would assume there’d be a subway there. 

[00:18:01] SR: Yeah, I could see that.

[00:18:01] JC: But I guess the convenient store does all the food offerings in these episodes. 

[00:18:05] SR: Oh, the delicious pizza of the Reseda Flats liquor store.

[00:18:07] JC: Yeah. Please come here and have the owner man handle your pizza. Okay. So one thing about this scene which I thought was interesting was that it’s a tight shot of the Cobra Kai flyer, of which we saw on a pervious episode when Robby picked it up. But I looked at it again and the top is, “Learn to fight. Join Cobra Kai.” Not many karate studios promote learn to fight. It’s more about self-defense of learn some valuable lessons in life. Johnny has just driven the crease way, if you will.

[00:18:37] SR: Yeah, it wasn’t like increase the discipline. 

[00:18:40] JC: No. Learn to fight. Learn to kick ass. So Amanda, as you said, is not pleased. It was really good point she makes. She even goes on to say, “Ever since your childhood nemesis came back into your life, you’re embarrassing Sam at the dance. You’re kicking Tom Cole’s boba out of his hands. Whatever you’re doing, you need to stop.”

[00:19:00] SR: Yeah.

[00:19:01] JC: She’s 100% right.

[00:19:03] SR: Yeah, because this goes back to the moment, and I think the first episode, when Daniel is in his car, looks over and sees the Cobra Kai Dojo for the first time, and you just see him start to shrink inside. 

[00:19:15] JC: His life went off the tracks.

[00:19:17] SR: What happens in those moments is the inner child peaks out. So this is now Daniel LaRusso’s inner child lashing out, because he thinks he’s being bullied, when really he’s not. He goes back to the 80s emotionally is what he does.

[00:19:33] JC: So now we’re back at school, and Sam is rejected in the cafeteria by the rich girls as well as by Aisha. 

[00:19:41] SR: Aisha doesn’t want to sit with her, and the rich girls, Moon and Yasmine, don’t want to sit with Samantha. 

[00:19:47] JC: So she confronts Kyler in front of everyone.

[00:19:51] SR: Knocks over his tray, right?

[00:19:52] JC: Yes, and he sticks to his lie. Mentions the billboard penis, and Miguel enters and what happens?

[00:19:59] SR: Miguel comes in. I think he says something like stop being a jerk. Then that’s when Kyler says, “Oh! I can handle your lame ass karate.” He says something like that. 

[00:20:09] JC: Miguel says –

[00:20:10] SR: “It’s not lame ass karate. It’s Cobra Kai.” 

[00:20:12] JC: Great line. Great scene, and it sets up a pretty damn good fight.

[00:20:18] SR: Oh, yeah. Miguel kicks ass in this scene. I mean, reminiscent of Johnny kicking these guys asses in the first episode, right?

[00:20:27] JC: Yes.

[00:20:26] SR: So Miguel does what his sensei did earlier. 

[00:20:31] JC: He’s not just fighting Kyler. It’s Kyler and company. The guys that have bested him a couple of times. They used to call him Ria after they poured the pepto-bismal on him in the first episode. 

[00:20:40] SR: Reassure for diarrhea.

[00:20:42] JC: But he does incredible. He uses karate, tables, food trays. All the while, what are kids doing?

[00:20:49] SR: Everybody is filming it. They’re posting it to social media.

[00:20:52] JC: It’s already going viral, this incredible fight sequence, which in this day and age, if that really happened, it would be a huge deal.

[00:20:59] SR: Oh, sure. Yeah, that’s reality-based. If that really happened, that would go viral. 

[00:21:03] JC: Absolutely.

[00:21:03] SR: Everybody would be sitting home like, “Who is this kid?” 

[00:21:05] JC: I liked it when Aisha yells, “No mercy!”

[00:21:07] SR: Yes. Yeah, she’s into it. Everybody’s into it. He’s Cobra Kai.

[00:21:10] JC: She didn’t physically helped, but she was rooting him on, his fellow Cobra Kai student.

Okay. So now we are back at the Cobra Kai studio and Miguel is sharing the news of Johnny about this great fight, and Johnny is impressed. 

[00:21:23] SR: Yeah.

[00:21:24] JC: So much so, what does he give Miguel?

[00:21:28] SR: Johnny gives Miguel the gi that he trained in for his first tournament from 1981.

[00:21:35] JC: It’s a beauty. It’s all folded up nice and neat in the back of the car, probably waiting for Miguel to earn this from Johnny. It was a great moment I thought. 

[00:21:44] SR: I haven’t thought about that where Johnny was maybe expecting for this moment to happen.

[00:21:49] JC: Some moment.

[00:21:49] SR: Yeah, and have that ready.

[00:21:51] JC: Right.

[00:21:52] SR: Yeah. 

[00:21:52] JC: Because that was planned.

[00:21:53] SR: So he presents that to Miguel, and then they give each other a hug.

[00:21:57] JC: Yeah, double hugs, fist pumps. He’s really proud of this pupil an probably his first moments of being a father figure. But in the background, who’s overseeing this entire exchange?

[00:22:09] SR: In the background, we see Robby, Johnny’s son. We don’t know why he’s there. I guess we assume that he just came to say hello to his dad or just to see the dojo maybe.

[00:22:20] JC: Probably did. 

[00:22:20] SR: Okay. So he then spies his dad hugging Miguel, Miguel hugging his dad. I guess we assume he gets jealous and does an about face and walks the other way.

[00:22:29] JC: Yeah, because they’re in the parking lot. Robby’s on a skateboard and was going to just pop in. See the Cobra Kai studio. Sees Johnny is close to another kid of a same age, his peer. He just turns and runs. 

[00:22:40] SR: Yeah.

[00:22:41] JC: It was just too much for him. Now we go to a very touchy moment in the episode as Daniel visits Mr. Miyagi’s grave.

[00:22:49] SR: Okay. At first I didn’t think it was Miyagi’s. See, right after that scene with Johnny, with Robby, with Miguel, fight after that scene, and we see Daniel walk to the gravesite. I’m thinking, “Oh! We’re finally going to know who Daniel’s father is.” 

[00:23:03] JC: That would have been in New Jersey probably.

[00:23:04] SR: Okay. Then I thought, “Maybe it’s his mother. We haven’t heard anything about is mother.” So I was even thinking the gravesite was going to be his father, or be his mother. Instead –

[00:23:12] JC: Wow! You’re way off.

[00:23:14] SR: I was completely off. So that one was Mr. Miyagi. I’m like, “Oh!” I did have a few margaritas before I saw this episode, but it did bring tears to my eyes. Seen him kind of broken at Mr. Miyagi’s gravesite, incredibly touching. 

Again, I’m not even necessarily pro Daniel in this moment yet necessarily. I’m kind of more pro Johnny so far. But still, just knowing the relationship that they had. Knowing how Daniel feels about Mr. Miyagi. Incredibly touching scene at his gravesite where Daniel sort of has a breakdown. He says, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I feel clueless.”  

[00:23:52] JC: He went there to get centered, and it works. But what I noticed from the gravesite besides all the touching moments that you spoke of, is that Mr. Miyagi was born June 9th, 1925. He passed away November 15th, 2011. Lived to be 86 years old. Pat Morita born June 28th, 1932. They have them born in the same month, died November 24th, 2005. Died in the same month. 73 years old. Miyagi outlived Morita by 13 years.

[00:24:28] SR: Very interesting. I wonder why they did that. There’s got to be something relevant to the storyline in Cobra Kai.

[00:24:33] JC: I know. That’s a question for the writer or the show creators, or Daniel, or someone.  I geek out about that kind of stuff. I’m not going to lie. 

[00:24:41] SR: No. You do notice those things. I often may not notice little things like that. Then Daniel is trimming a bonsai tree. 

[00:24:47] JC: That’s right. He has a bonsai.

[00:24:47] SR: He has a little bonsai tree there at Miyagi’s gravesite. So I was kind of like, “Oh! There something in my eye. Excuse me,” as I was watching this. I have to admit.

[00:24:55] JC: As Daniel gets back in his car, we have – Which I do love about this show when it does this. We have a Karate Kid flashback. You see Mr. Miyagi speaking to Daniel.

[00:25:06] SR: This is right after he gave him the car and Daniel sat in the car that was his birthday gift, right? 

[00:25:10] JC: Yes.

[00:25:10] SR: This is that moment. He’s talking about lessons about balance. Not just karate only. Lessons for whole life.

[00:25:17] JC: Yeah. He’s really talking about balance, which goes back to the title of the episode, which is Counterbalance. That’s what Daniel is probably seeking right now, because, like I mentioned earlier, and you alluded to, his life’s a little off track. Introduced Johnny in Cobra Kai, and it’s frazzled Daniel.

[00:25:33] SR: Sure. Blast from the past.

[00:25:35] JC: He’s got no one to really connect with. His daughter right now is going through her things. Amanda, his wife, is kind of like, “Just get over this midlife crisis.” He doesn’t have Mr. Miyagi. So he’s not sure what to do, but coming to the grave helps center him.

[00:25:50] SR: Now that you mentioned it, it doesn’t seem like Daniel has any buddies or any actual friends, like colleagues, that he can confide in or have a drink with. It seems like in this episode and the next, Daniel is reaching for things, reaching for people.

[00:26:05] JC: Exactly. Nor does Johnny, to be completely honest.

[00:26:08] SR: Even less so. 

[00:26:09] JC: They’re both very isolated.

[00:26:10] SR: Sure, because at least Daniel has employees that he can bust around.

[00:26:13] JC: That’s right, and he’s got a wife.

[00:26:15] SR: And he has a beautiful wife.

[00:26:17] JC: So now Johnny pulls up to the Cobra Kai Dojo and students are lined up. I mean, this is like a blockbuster. They’re lined up and they’re all watching the fight video.

[00:26:27] SR: Yeah.

[00:26:27] JC: Johnny’s just like, “What is going on?” 

[00:26:30] SR: Yeah, he’s excited. Miguel tells him, “Hey, everybody saw the video. Everybody wants to join.” So we’re thinking, “Hey, we’re going to get some traction here.” 

[00:26:40] JC: This Miguel is a hell of a salesman. 

[00:26:41] SR: Miguel is not only kicking ass in Karate. The guy is a marketer.

[00:26:45] JC: He isn’t real. He built the website. He gets in this incredible fight, wins. Goes viral, and he’s literally brought in – What? 30 students?

[00:26:53] SR: Yeah.

[00:26:53] JC: Lock this guy up. He’s wonderful. Now at home, Daniel clears his dojo, which had become a storage room and he’s putting pictures of Miyagi back on the shelf and kind of making this that place again where he can start practicing. Because that’s something that’s been missing as we’ve talked about in pervious episode. That probably was his center. Obviously, he trained Samantha for a few years in her youth. 

[00:27:17] SR: Yes.

[00:27:18] JC: But it’s been void ever since. 

[00:27:20] SR: He just became busy with his automotive empire is what he did. But Amanda walks by and sees him setting up the dojo, you can tell she looks pleased or she knows that he’s starting back on a good path again.

[00:27:31] JC: Exactly. So he was missing. 

[00:27:32] SR: The karate was what was missing in his life. 

[00:27:34] JC: Yeah. He didn’t turn to the bottle. He’s not going out late with the guys. He’s just fixing the dojo and getting that zen back in his life. 

[00:27:42] SR: I wonder if we’re going to be getting into at some point how they met. How did Daniel meet Amanda? What was their courtship like? What was it about him that she found interesting in the beginning? Because remember she says, “I want the old Daniel LaRusso to come back.” There was a Daniel that was present when they met. 

[00:27:59] JC: Well, he was wooing her probably.

[00:28:01] SR: I wonder what level he was at in his automotive empire when they met as well.

[00:28:04] JC: I’d say probably very early. I bet she was a big part of his success. Well, behind every great man is a great woman, as the old saying goes. 

[00:28:11] SR: Yeah, and that’s Johnny’s problem.

[00:28:13] JC: Yeah. Johnny doesn’t have a good woman. He doesn’t have Ali anymore.

[00:28:16] SR: That’s right. 

[00:28:17] JC: Okay. Cut to the LaRusso Auto, and Amanda is hiring Robby. 

[00:28:22] SR: Yeah. Robby is sitting there to get a job at LaRusso Auto.

[00:28:26] JC: He’s got some sort of mocked up resume though.

[00:28:28] SR: Yeah. Oh! 

[00:28:30] JC: He took some liberties.

[00:28:32] SR: Amanda refers to it as, “Your high school transcripts are so impressive.” You’re like, “What? This kid doesn’t have any damn high school transcripts.” 

[00:28:37] JC: He’s skipping months at a time. He probably faked these transcripts like he faked his uniform at that computer repair shop that one time.

[00:28:46] SR: Right. He’s a con artist.

[00:28:48] JC: Eduardo’s uniform.

[00:28:48] SR: Yeah, Robby is a con artist, and that’s why at this very moment, I don’t really know what to make of Robby yet. 

[00:28:54] JC: His character will continue to evolve. It’s all I’m going to say. So now we’re back at Daniel’s dojo. It’s all cleaned, spick and span, and he’s dawning the infamous bandana from the Karate Kid.

[00:29:06] SR: Yup. 

[00:29:08] JC: As we pan out, he’s also wearing his gi, which still fits wonderfully. Kind of a Karate Kid theme song starts to play. It’s kind of a cool moment.

[00:29:18] SR: Very cool moment, because right there is where you’re thinking Daniel LaRusso is back, or should is say – Let me be clear, the Karate Kid is back.

[00:29:25] JC: There you go. That’s it. 

[00:29:27] SR: The Karate Kid is back when he puts on that headband, puts on his gi. Starts doing some katas. I think he delivers an elbow at the end.

[00:29:34] JC: He does. I like the variant tag of the episode. 

[00:29:37] SR: Yes.

[00:29:37] JC: In loving memory, Noriyuki Pat Morita, 1932 to 2005.

[00:29:44] SR: Yeah. 

[00:29:44] JC: Nice.

[00:29:45] SR: It was a very touching episode with the Mr. Miyagi sequence, and then at the end when they have the homage, very touching episode. If you’re a Karate Kid fan, if you love Pat Morita, this is definitely the first, hopefully of many, homages to Noriyuki Pat Morita.  

[00:30:01] JC: There was a nice photo of him and Daniel.

[00:30:02] SR: It’s a beautiful shot. 

[00:30:03] JC: Yeah, it’s a great shot. There the sea in the background, these cliffs. Pat Morita looks a little bit older in this more distinguished, and Ralph Macchio still looks like a kid. 

[00:30:11] SR: Yeah, it’s a beautiful picture and I love how they put it there at the end. A wonderful sendoff of that episode, episode 5.  

[00:30:17] JC: All right. That concludes episode 5. Hopefully you give us a rating or subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever else you get your podcast. Anything you want to add? 

[00:30:26] SR: No mercy.

[00:30:28] JC: No mercy. Well, see you soon. Thanks a lot.


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