Cobra Kai: Molting
May 21, 2018 7:31 PM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Johnny prepares his Cobra Kai students for the next All Valley Karate Tournament and in turn, he is inspired to clean up his life. Daniel is still unaware of his new pupil's background.

Decider: But still, all this time, Johnny has held on to the idea that he was somehow the hero in his own story, which is just about the most relatable thing a human being can do. That scene on the curb is one of the best in this entire series, in which Johnny recounts the events of The Karate Kid from his perspective. Just a passionate bro sticking up for his girl against this interloper who swooped in on his first love, sicced a crazy old man on him during a dance—”I think my buddy Tommy got brain damage because of that fight”—and, because life isn’t fair, eventually won the All-Valley karate tournament despite obviously representing the side of pure evil. It’s such a great, quiet mix of Zabka’s multi-layered performance and Michael Jonathan Smith’s script that’s uncomfortably relatable to anyone who has ever looked at a pile of empty bottles, a blank Word document, an unfamiliar face in the mirror or anything of the sort and said, “Nope, this is someone else’s fault.”
posted by ActingTheGoat (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The junkyard scene feels like a huge throwback to the '80s - I mock modern "swaddled with bubble wrap" playgrounds but this could have taken a dark turn with liabilities and lawsuits and tears.

Fun scene, though. Also enjoyed the continuing "Yes/No Sensei" gag (Are you nerds? No Sensei! Are you Sure? No Sensei!).

Man, between the "Daniel was the real jerk in 'Karate Kid'" and his mom is still agrieved over the whole thing ... it almost feels like a full on retcon of 80's sensibilities/ wish fulfillment desires.

Miguel's mom inviting Johnny over for dinner leading to Johnny turning over a new leaf - feels legit (this comment is 100% poly-sarcasm free).

Continuing to hate Robby. What a great foil - and foil switch from Kyler (presumably from a well off/ privileged family, popular) to Robby (poor home life, shady "friends"), and sets up Daniel to be the ur-villain. The beautiful montages adds a je ne sais quoi Bond-/ super- villain quality/ depth to the villainy.

Chekov's double kick.

Which from a biophysics pov, is complete bullshit.

Geeze, so this is the foreshadowing that Hawk is going to be a real dick (Young Johnny throwing shit and "acting alpha" at a theater and Hawk being a shit at a theater - just realized that Johnny, off camera, probably took Hawk "under his wing" like he did Miguel, too).

Wow. Johnny's response to Sid (step father). How great that must have felt - especially after "re-humanizing" after connecting with real people (Miguel's family) again.

I'm surprised/ not-surprised that Johnny is a outdoor shoes wearing inside kind of person (he has the same shoes on from the junkyard scene as his letter writing in his apartment scene).
posted by porpoise at 8:34 PM on May 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Loved Johnny throwing the cash back in his rich, mean POS stepdad's face.

OTOH, still not loving the aggro alpha bullshit from Johnny with respect to human relations & women in particular. Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck.

Totally bewildered by the Robby hate. He's not as compelling or fleshed out as Miguel or some of the other characters, but he's fine. The father-figure transference moment in the woods was brilliantly done, too; now, all of a sudden, it's Daniel's feelings of betrayal he's considering, not his own father's.

I really like Miguel, but his look of betrayal after happening upon the dinner scene? Dude needs to get over himself. For all he knows, Robby is a cousin. What, his girlfriend's not allowed to consume food with other males?
posted by duffell at 5:27 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I hate Robby with a passion.

1) too-good looking kid to be in his position - society treats people like that differently
2) stupid-assed haircut, and a throwback signal not a modern one
3) he's too smart, but also too dumb - as a character; if he could land a job like that, he could have landed any number of good/ better jobs instead of hanging out with his two thug 'buddies'
3.5) if he was that smart, he'd have a better way to divest his thug buddies, play inside the system, take advantage of the system and go into Finance (or more likely, given his penchant for subterfuge) go into Finance
4) duplicity/ lying - and this is all long-range stuff, not spur of the moment stuff. Premeditation
5) his mom is an alcoholic/ druggy slut and he's the 'adult' in the 'family' bullshit
6) preternatural skill that needed only a day (or two) of training bullshit (contrast Miguel's extended training)
7) he's only here to be a foil (to Johnny)
8 ) he's only here to be a prop (for Daniel)
9) the actor did a good job of "I'm just lying" for how he interacts with other people

Basically, an unbelievable character who is both smarmy and wholesome and still designed to garner sympathy but no explanation other than that "he is an awesome person in a difficult situation."


The characterization is more like a mediocre (ie., not completely useless) spawn of very financially successful people who are taught what they will be able to get away with - and to go ahead and do all that shit and expect to get away with it.

The character's choices feel like that of someone who is very much privileged - the written character isn't.
posted by porpoise at 7:54 PM on July 20, 2018

I absolutely love Johnny's retelling of the events from the movie. Love it.

I think I agree that Robby isn't believable. Not least because he's laid out of school and taken up with thieves but never gotten pinched? Even if he's a pretty-boy genius? C'mon. Even so I like the role he plays in Johnny's and Daniels's stories.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:55 PM on July 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

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