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The Karate Kid Wiki

"There's your side, and your side, and then there is the truth. And the truth is, you guys are more alike than you want to admit. And maybe you recognize parts of yourselves in each other, and maybe you don't always like what you see."
Ali Mills

"December 19" is the tenth episode of the third season of Cobra Kai and is the season 3 finale.

Summary

Old wounds begin to heal at a country club holiday party, but a brutal assault by Kreese’s students leads to new betrayals and alliances.

Plot

This episode begins with a flashback of North Vietnam in 1969, in which John Kreese, as a POW, is being forced by his captors to fight to the death against his compatriots on a platform above a pit. Two soldiers in Kreese's group are chosen to fight. During their fight, Kreese asks Captain Turner for guidance, but the latter says there is no rank here and it's every man for themselves. Then, one of the soldiers throws the other into the pit, making Kreese uncomfortable. The soldier that won is brought back into the cage, where he reveals to Terry Silver that the depth of the pit isn't the worst part of the battle zone.

The action cuts back to present-day at the Encino Oaks Country Club, where Daniel LaRusso, after ordering drinks from Bartender Brett, is surprised and excited to see Ali Mills next to him at the bar. Daniel and Ali exchange pleasantries and reminiscences between each other, but Daniel is soon miffed upon realizing that Ali is there with Johnny Lawrence, and that they have been spending time together. Daniel and Johnny verbally banter with each other, and as Amanda LaRusso enters the scene, she becomes playful when she learns that Daniel and Ali used to date each other.

At the LaRusso house, Sam’s attempt at achieving a union between Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do is greatly aided by an emotional speech from Demetri. However, Cobra Kai violently raids the meeting, and yet another karate war ensues. Initially, the fight appears to be even. At one point, Tory singles out Sam in the fight, and though Sam initially runs away scared, she is able to find her strength and determination after Tory smashes a photo of Mr. Miyagi.

Back in the house, Cobra Kai has the upper hand, but after Hawk sees Kyler beating Miguel, as well as Mitch being repeatedly hit, Hawk starts to suffer a crisis of conscience, as he realizes he's fighting alongside the bullies who once made his life a misery. Hawk remembers the statements made by Johnny, Miguel and Kreese, and has a look of horror on his face when witnessing the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students being beaten by the Cobra Kais. When Doug and another Cobra Kai have Demetri in a hold and offer him another free shot, Hawk makes his choice and attacks his fellow Cobra Kais after coming to terms that Johnny and Miguel are right, Kreese's methods are wrong, and his reluctance to be on Cobra Kai with Kyler and Robby. He apologizes to Demetri after saving his best friend, an apology that Demetri, even though was reluctant but is still happy to accept, and together they attack and defeat several Cobra Kai's. Miguel is seen bloody and near defeat, but regains his confidence and proceeds to defeat and knock out Kyler. After defeating the Cobra Kai's in the house, Miguel, Hawk and Demetri head to Miyagi-Do, where Sam has just disarmed Tory with her bow-staff. Hawk and Miguel convince Tory to stop the fight, which she begrudgingly does. She tells Hawk to watch his back but Demetri says he has friends who will watch it for him.

Back at the Encino Oaks Country Club, Johnny and Daniel continue to banter as Ali shares stories from their past and Amanda gleefully processes their stories. Ali helps Daniel and Johnny see that they are more alike than they'd like to admit and that both are equally responsible for the events leading to their rivalry. The two men accept the truth of this, allowing them to begin moving on. At the end of the evening, Daniel and Ali share an emotional parting in which Ali reflects, “we were so young, and the good times far outweighed the bad.”

Johnny and Ali exchange parting words at the valet, at which point she asks him about Carmen. Ali proclaims that she has been enjoying reliving the past, but they must now look to the future. After an emotional hug, Johnny departs in his 1993 Dodge Caravan with the intention of confessing his love to Carmen. Instead, at her apartment, he finds Miguel badly beaten and bruised.

The action returns to the flashback in Vietnam. Captain Turner is lined up to be the next fighter, and the Vietnamese soldiers choose the terrified Terry Silver to be his opponent. However, Kreese stands up and volunteers to fight the captain in Silver's place. The captain, hoping to gain a psychological advantage, reveals the contents of a letter that he had previously kept hidden from Kreese; Betsy was killed in a car crash. As the captain taunts and laughs at a devastated Kreese about this, it is revealed that the pit over which the American soldiers were forced to fight over is full of Cobras and many other venomous snakes.

Back in the present day, an enraged Johnny arrives at the Cobra Kai dojo, kicking in the door and finding Kreese training Robby. Kreese insists that three generations of Cobra Kai will “melt this whole snowflake generation,” but Johnny rejects Kreese’s offer to join forces and aggressively attacks Kreese, causing Kreese to fight back. The two have a big fight, as flashbacks of Kreese losing to Turner in their fight in Vietnam are being interspersed. Johnny and Kreese fight and both fight for the upper hand. Kreese sometimes has the upper hand, but Johnny has it for most of the fight. Eventually Kreese kicks Johnny in the stomach and sends him against the wall. Johnny gets one of the weapons and thinks about stabbing him, but drops the weapon when Robby shouts "Don't do it!". Johnny then slips Kreese onto the ground and starts repeatedly punching and battering Kreeses face making it bleed badly until Robby intervenes, trying to fight his father. Johnny tries not to retaliate, but easily blocks and ends up accidentally throwing Robby into a locker, knocking him out in extremely brief momentary anger. Johnny regrets it immediately and then tries to help Robby.

In the flashback, Kreese is on the verge of being thrown into the pit by Turner, but manages to regain his footing after stabbing him with a bamboo stick. Kreese then proceeds to overpower Turner and kick him off the platform. However, Turner doesn't fall into the pit, as he is hanging on to the edge, but is dangling over the pit. Back in the present day, he attacks Johnny from behind with a Sai and then after Johnny kicks the Sai away, Kreese puts him in a chokehold once Johnny's down, mirroring the beginning of The Karate Kid Part II.

The timelines continue to intersperse. Turner is seen dangling precariously over the snake pit and Kreese is one move away from killing Turner. When Kreese is about to defeat Turner, the U.S. forces arrive, causing the Vietnamese soldiers to flee. Turner tells Kreese to pull him up, but Kreese decides to have Turner pay the price for laughing at Betsy’s death, Turner’s repeated cheap shots, and embrace his captain's mantra of 'No Mercy' and instead stomps on Turner’s left hand which sends him plummeting into the cobra and venomous snake pit which results in Turner, falling to his death. Meanwhile in the present-day, Daniel saves Johnny from Kreese’s chokehold. The fight spills outside and Kreese tries to stab Daniel with a large shard of broken glass, but Daniel employs the pressure point techniques he learned from Chozen and disables Kreese. Johnny appears at the broken glass area and witnesses a disabled Kreese to which he gives a nod of approval to Daniel, meaning it’s acceptable to finally kill Kreese because of Kreese’s previous attempts to kill Johnny and Daniel; this mirrors the second movie where Mr. Miyagi spared Kreese. Sam and Miguel arrive in time to stop Daniel from delivering the heavy blow. Kreese proposes they settle this long-standing grudge the old fashioned way: with a tournament. Robby stays with Kreese, while Sam and Miguel gather behind Daniel and Johnny.

In a final flashback, Kreese frees the rest of the soldiers and Terry promises him that he owes him for the rest of his life, while in the present-day, Kreese looks at his photo and makes a phone call to someone (Possibly Terry.)

The final scene shows both Eagle Fang, Miyagi-Do, Miguel, Sam, and Hawk assembled, ready for training, as Daniel and Johnny both bow to them and each other.

Trivia/Episode Discussion

  • This is the first finale episode to be directed by Josh Heald instead of Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg.
  • This episode marks the reunion of Ali Mills with Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. She also meets Amanda LaRusso for the time.
    • Ali was the sole reason behind Daniel and Johnny's rivalry.
  • The waiter nearly spilling spaghetti over Johnny at the country club is a reference to the original movie when Daniel was spying on Ali and got spaghetti over him after bumping into a waiter.
  • During the dinner with Johnny, Daniel and Amanda, Ali references the events of the Halloween dance from the original movie.
  • The truth behind Daniel and Ali's breakup, only briefly mentioned in The Karate Kid Part II, is revealed.
  • This is the second time Johnny Lawrence has been saved by Miyagi-Do.
    • However, the difference is that Mr. Miyagi spares Kreese but Daniel was about to end him.
  • This episode marks the first time Daniel and Kreese engage each other in a fight.
  • This episode marks the first time that Johnny calls Daniel by his first name, instead "LaRusso" or "Danielle". It also marks the first time both Johnny and Daniel respectfully bow to each other. The only other time they bowed to any degree was when the referee told them to bow at the start of their fight at end of the first film. Daniel bows, but Johnny only gives a slight nod.
  • After seeing the errors of his ways, Hawk finally redeems himself by defending Demetri (and regaining his friendship back) from his former Cobra Kai teammates. Furthermore, he ultimately defects from Cobra Kai to join Miyagi-Do with some other former Cobra Kai students/rejects.
    • Most notably, Miguel, Demetri and Hawk's friendship from Season 1 is also restored.
  • Kreese makes a phone call to Terry Silver.
  • Terry is confirmed to appear in Season 4.
  • Johnny and Daniel finally choose to put their differences aside with the help of Ali and together they both combine their Dojos to become co-senseis over their joint dojos training. While both dojos still exist outside of the merge, they train together to prepare for the tournament against Cobra Kai.
    • The training merge also ended rivalries with their respective students, most notably Hawk and Demetri, Chris and Mitch, and Bert and Nate.
  • The episode’s title is a reference to the date of Daniel’s first All Valley Karate Tournament in 1984.
  • The ending of the episode mirrors the ending of William Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet.
    • The similarity is that all four main characters ended rivalries with one another but the difference is that Daniel and Johnny survive but Romeo and Juliet faced death.
  • Among the Cobra Kai's that participated in stealing the snake, Robby is the only one not to participate in the LaRusso house invasion.
  • Under California Criminal Code, all of the Cobra Kai's whom participated in the attack on the LaRusso family house have committed CPC Section 459, a felony, and could face up to 20 years in prison.