Everything is falling apart before the tournament.
The most upsetting of all is Miguel and Johnny after that gutwrenching scene between a drunken Johnny and sweet Miguel.
It feels like a few things came to a head during these installments, which set things up nicely for the final two installments of the season. It was the most balanced of all, checking in on most of our primary characters and moving the plot forward when it was needed the most.
We needed to catch up with Anthony, and the truth about his bullying came to light. The often forgotten LaRusso kid got some much-needed time in the spotlight, but mostly, he was in the hot seat.
Daniel: If Mr. Miyagi was here, do you know what he would say right now?
Anthony: I don’t care.
Anthony: All you ever talk about is Mr. Miyagi. OK, I get it. He was a great man. He taught you karate. And he taught Sam her first move, the wax on, wax off. Okay. I’ve heard all the stories, and I’m getting sick of it.
Finally, they addressed that he’s often neglected by both of his parents, who are either preoccupied with their respective careers or personal issues or wrapped up in drama with Sam. And now, they’re paying the price for it all.
Despite some insufferable moments, Anthony has never been as fleshed out as a character as he’s been this season. Daniel’s one-on-one time with him only showcased how much he neglects the kid and how out of touch he is with him.
Daniel was excited that Anthony was showing some interest in karate for the first time, and that’s the only reason he dug deeper into his son’s life and spent as much time with him as he did. By doing so, he got to know his son on a level that he hadn’t in years. And what he’s learned is disappointing.
It seems like Daniel has Anthony’s number, and he’s opened his eyes to how manipulative his son is. Anthony is a kid in dire need of discipline, and the irony isn’t lost that Daniel spends a significant amount of time teaching that to other kids but fails to do so with his son.
Why do you think you love your daughter more than your son?
One glance at a Cobra Kai shirt and Daniel got distracted from any other topic of substance with his kid. And Anthony was able to use that to his advantage.
The themes of the two installments had to do with honing in and exploiting people’s weaknesses and getting into other people’s heads, and Anthony is great at both. He knows how to play his father like a fiddle, and it was interesting to see his sudden turnabout and how Daniel couldn’t trust it even if it looks good now.
Anthony is at least getting the attention that he’s probably craved for some time, though.
The LaRussos snorted at cousin Vanessa’s pedigree, but she was on point in all of her Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny glory. One damn near choked when she flat out asked them about loving their daughter more than their son.
And Anthony gave hints about his issues with his parent from his own mouth. He’s a piece of work, but no lies were detected when he talked about how sick he was of his father talking about Mr. Miyagi.
Of course, it must suck for him. It seems every facet of their lives is steeped in karate and Mr. Miyagi. Unfortunately, he was a baby when Miyagi died, so he doesn’t remember the man, and he also hasn’t been part of their karate lifestyle.
Daniel sharing a memory of Miyagi and Anthony was a great bonding scene for the two, and it gave Anthony something to cling to for a bit. It even shifted his perspective. But it’s too early to know if it’ll make a real difference long-term, and I frankly didn’t trust the kid fondling that Miyagi-Do lethal technique.
At the rate Anthony is going now, he could join Cobra Kai, and it wouldn’t be a shock.
Johnny: Not bad.
Devon: I pride myself on never making the same mistake twice.
Anthony is dealing with a lot as a tween. He’s jealous of Kenny, crushing on Lia, and battling peer pressure. Anthony also feels isolated from the rest of his family. Based on what we’ve seen, it’s not beyond him to do something big to spite his father, and Daniel has shown time and again how much defeating Cobra Kai consumes him.
He’s also dealing with toxic friends, and he could use Cobra Kai as a way to prove something to them. Interestingly, it could mean he and Kenny become begrudging friends or allies.
Cobra Kai has rubbed off on Kenny, and it’s both good and bad. He’s grown more confident in his abilities to defend himself, but he picked a fight with Anthony so he could justify beating them up.
The library fight was incredible, though. Kenny has the moves, and he got to show them off, and he is quicker than most people around him. Hell, it was his speed and his utilizing Robby’s affection for him against him that allowed him to win a fight against Robby during Kreese and Silver’s friendly competition.
Listen, John. I just want you to know, I haven’t forgotten what you did for me. I wouldn’t be here if not for you, and I’ll do anything to prove my loyalty. Anything.
Kenny is shaping up to be a good fighter with Robby’s guidance and his experiences at Cobra Kai, and Silver isn’t that bad of a teacher. But Kenny can easily become something other than himself if he continues down this path that he’s on. He got his revenge on Anthony and the others, but will it stop there?
But it’s possible that Anthony was authentic with this new and improved version of himself and he does join Miyagi-Do, even though it’s something in which he’d be in his father and sister’s shadow. With the tournament not far off, he could face off with Kenny, which is a fight of interest.
All sides of this have been putting in work to gear up to fight their adversaries, but in the interim, they’ve been doing so among themselves.
Silver has been such a challenging read. For a bit, it appeared as if he had it together, and he was purposeful in making sure Cobra Kai was on the up and up. He was the one who seemed less sociopathic than Kreese in all of this.
Kreese: Let him go. Now! We agreed to settle this at the tournament and that’s where we’re going to do it.
Silver: What happened to no mercy?
Kreese: I thought you knew better than to question me.
Silver: I thought this was what you wanted.
But he’s also had this air of unhinged energy brimming beneath the surface, and it made him a wild card. Kreese was aware of it, and like Johnny, he has a territorial streak that had him putting Silver in his place and asserting his dominance over him.
It was a fascinating scene when he reminded Silver of their bad experiences from Vietnam that Silver didn’t want to think about.
It was as if Kreese was reading code words to the Winter Soldier to get SIlver in line and back under his thumb. He exploited Silver’s loyalty and feeling of being indebted, and he twisted it to his advantage when he thought Silver was getting too big for his britches.
It would take another series to unpack Kreese and Silver’s symbiotic relationship and how fascinating it is.
They’re supposed to be partners, but it’s evident that Kreese only wants SIlver paying for things and getting out of his way.
Silver stood down, but he would not do so after Kreese rejected his gift of beating up Johnny. Kreese loathed the notion that he has a weakness, but he showed what it is when he reacted the way he did at seeing Johnny in peril. Johnny is Kreese’s weakness because he still cares about the kid as if he’s his own.
Johnny held his own in the fight against Silver, and Griffith has been impressive with his fighting choreography this season. The man is spry AF. Johnny was almost toast.
Silver is bat shit crazy right now. It was shocking when he proceeded to beat the shit out of Stingray, whose reappearance was another odd contrivance. Was he even missed?
And that behavior doesn’t bode well for Cobra Kai or his relationship with Kreese. The kids seem to like him, and he has a particularly concerning relationship with an impressionable Robby that could change things. Robby’s daddy issues have him gravitating to the man who shows interest in him and is tricking off money on him.
Shannon is a crappy mother, but at least she could figure out that Silver was no good. And does that mean that Robby went back to living with his mother?
Johnny: I don’t know what your deal is, but you keep your cars and your cash away from my son.
Silver: Prom is a special night. Did you even know he was going? Look, as long as Robby is with me, I’m going to take care of him. Oh, and I gotta say, Shannon? She is a special lady and deserves so much better.
Johnny: Listen to me you piece of shit, whatever you and Kreese are up to I’m going to kick both of your asses back to the nursing home.
Silver: I would love to see you try.
Robby has moved on from his father and seeking his affections, but it’s something of which Johnny still struggles, and poor Miguel is in the crosshairs. Miguel just overcame the weirdness from learning that Johnny and Carmen are dating, and now he got hit with the ultimate blow.
Johnny and Miguel’s father-son dynamic is obvious to anyone who pays attention, but Johnny always doubts himself as a mentor and father because of his past experiences. He failed to step up with Robby without a solid role model, from his birth father and Sid to Kreese.
And it sucks that Robby carries the burden of Johnny’s past, and Johnny couldn’t break that cycle with his blood. But he was able to do that with Miguel, as complicated as that makes things.
Miguel means more to Johnny than anyone in the world. His actions have shown that. However, his drunken words sent Miguel in a tailspin after Robby’s statements during that fight.
I didn’t have a male role model growing up until I met Kreese, and you know how that went. I didn’t want to be like him, or Sid, or my own dad. I took all that bullshit I felt from them, and I put that on Robby’s life. I can never fix that. And I don’t want to make that mistake again.
Miguel is always there, looking up to Johnny and taking care of him. They mutually protect each other and have their best interests at heart. Johnny was in a state after that fight with Silver, and Silver knew that doing something to Johnny would be the perfect way to get into Miguel’s head.
Little did Silver know, Johnny, put the nail in that coffin himself. Everything about Johnny telling Miguel how much he tries to protect him and cares about him was perfection and summed up their entire relationship since the show’s inception. We know all of these things to be true.
And Miguel put himself out there by telling Johnny how much he loved him. It’s not often you can reach that level of intimacy with someone like Johnny and make yourself that vulnerable.
It was a beautiful scene until Johnny called Miguel by Robby’s name instead. Johnny crushed Miguel’s spirit and changed their entire relationship in one sentence.
He had Miguel reeling and wondering if he’s always been a substitute for Robby this entire time. It was absolutely stunning work by Xolo Maridueña. His tearful expression was breathtaking. He went from emotionally happy to his face crumpling in despair at the Freudian slip in seconds.
It was piercing. Miguel’s presence has been uneven during this season, but you remember why he carries the show as a young lead when they center him like this. He’s magnificent.
The tournament isn’t that far off, and even the most rock-solid relationship shattered into a million pieces. How they’re supposed to pull all of them together and operate as a unit is beyond me.
Miguel already experienced some tension with Sam at Junior Prom. The two looked adorable together, and the build-up to it with both families, including Johnny and Daniel, was sweet.
Johnny: I want to be a father to you, I really do. I try to protect you. I try to be there for you. I suck at it. I really suck at it. But I want to so bad.
Miguel: You’re doing just fine. I love you.
Johnny: I love you too, Robby.
But everything fell apart when Tory and Robby walked through those doors, and they made a hell of an entrance. Tory looked gorgeous in her dress, and they were the best dressed and coolest pairing there.
Like her father, Sam is blinded by her rivalry with Tory, and she can’t even bring herself to have a good time the whole night. It was insane how Robby and Tory lived in Miguel and Sam’s head rent-free. It was an effective tactic, and they played right into Tory and Robby’s hands without much effort.
The prom fight is one of the most memorable of the series, let alone the season. The choreography was stellar, and they executed it well. It also had hints and callbacks to the epic fight in the high school.
Tory and Robby came out on top with this one. They applied some of their sweet dance moves from that saucy number they did to piss off Sam and Robby, and they showed how fighting is an art style and dance.
Sam: Stay the hell away from my family.
Tory: Sorry, I don’t take orders from tiny little bitches.
And you rooted for them for the simple fact that Sam was the one who started something she couldn’t finish. All she had to do was ignore Tory and mind her business, but she’s obsessed with the girl, and she couldn’t wait to make a few digs at her at the beer keg.
Tory’s height joke elicited a snicker, and the way she towered over Sam didn’t help matters. And as usual, the guys only got dragged into this fight trying to stop Tory and Sam.
The pool was the perfect way to diffuse things, and Tory and Robby were unfazed after all of that tension. Right now, they’re two kids who are simply trying to figure out their lives and have a good time.
The two of them work as a pairing. They have a lot in common with their rough home lives and chips on their shoulders. Robby brings out a softer side to Tory, and he doesn’t make her feel judged as others have. And damn if their scenes were cute, and their chemistry was great.
Tory: All these Encino kids have their whole lives cut out for them. I’ll never have that, but if I can win just this one time, then I can look at the trophy and know I was best at something. It’s stupid.
Robby: Not it’s not. I mean I get it.
Tory: Are they still watching?
Robby: I don’t care.
Tory: Me neither.
They were most enjoyable, and they deserved a cute date with each other and a hot make-out session in SIlver’s expensive car. Good for them.
As it stands, they’re the only kids who seem to be in a good place right now and prepared for the tournament, too. Well, Demetri isn’t doing so shabby either with his hot girlfriend, who is out of his league.
Hawk is still a shell of his former self as he pines over Moon. Sam and Miguel are on the brink of collapse in the relationship, and Miguel is distraught over Johnny’s revelation.
If Johnny isn’t careful, he’ll lose Miguel, and the closest person he’ll have to a mentee will be Devon, who is fantastic.
Devon is an excellent addition to Eagle Fang, and her montage of kicking nuts and spouting off karate movies only made me love the girl more. Johnny is obsessed with her already, and she’s a hell of a scene-stealer.
She’s 100% champ material when the tournament happens, even if all the attention will be on the Sam and Tory rivalry.
With all this tension, I’m eager to see this tournament firsthand. And the potential for more drama.
With the ongoing theme about shitty fathers and broken bonds, there’s so much they can capitalize on with the Johnny, Miguel, and Robby material and the Daniel and Anthony dynamic. Both men have felt as if they’ve failed in some way.
You think my dad cares about you? He’s just trying to make himself feel better for screwing up with me.
Just as Anthony is prime for seeking out Cobra Kai as the only way to get his father’s attention, stand on his own, and get back at him, doesn’t it feel like Miguel’s father could make an appearance at any moment?
Silver is gearing up to be the most unstable enemy out of the bunch as Kreese starts to show more restraint, which could set up some exciting things down the road if they keep heading in that direction.
And Amanda is proving time and again why she’s the only LaRusso with rights.
Over to you, Cobra Kai Fanatics.
How crushed are you by that Miguel and Johnny scene? Are you shipping Tory and Robby? What are your SIlver predictions? Hit the comments.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.