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Different but Same
Season 1, Episode 9
Dbs
Air date May 2, 2018
Written by Jason Belleville
Directed by Jen Celotta
Episode guide
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Molting
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Different but Same is the ninth episode of the first season of Cobra Kai.

Summary

Despite Johnny’s efforts to move forward, he confronts Daniel about the assault on his property. An attempt to appease Johnny makes them revisit the past together. Miguel senses Sam is lying to him. The dojo students try to intimidate the popular kids at a party.

Plot

The episode opens with Robby skateboarding at the skate park. After several failed attempts on the half pipe, he is shocked to find himself perched upside down on one arm much like Daniel was, in perfect balance.

Meanwhile, Daniel is at home drinking his morning coffee, which drops to the floor when he sees Johnny Lawrence standing on his patio, looking ready for a fight. He races outside to confront his old rival, who accuses him of sending Louie and his goons to torch his car and potentially the entire neighborhood with it. Daniel firmly denies any involvement and threatens to call the police if Johnny does not leave, but Johnny tries to take Daniel's phone and the two square off. However, Amanda quickly defuses the situation by suggesting that they work out their differences over breakfast, and the two men agree. As Daniel and Johnny argue, the LaRussos discover that Sam was involved in the accident that totaled Johnny's car months ago. To help make amends, Amanda talks Daniel into giving Johnny a used car from his dealership.

At school, Miguel is still distraught over his visit to the LaRusso house. He encounters Sam in the hallway and expresses his desire to meet her family, but Sam tells him it is not the right time. Discussing the matter with his friends after school, Hawk suggests that Miguel pick a fight with Robby, but Demetri tells him that Sam has given him no reason not to trust her. After another cyberbullying from Yasmine, Aisha comes up with the idea of crashing her birthday party at the canyon later that night.

At the car lot, Johnny picks out a 2009 Challenger but insists on taking it for a test drive. With Robby on his day off and Louie having been fired, Daniel has no choice but to go with Johnny. As they drive, Daniel switches on the radio and the two men share a moment singing along to "Take It on the Run" by REO Speedwagon. They stop at the old South Seas apartment complex where Daniel used to live and explore the property. Discovering they have more in common than he thought, Johnny decides to take Daniel out for a drink. At the bar, the two men discuss their respective father figures and the spaghetti incident at the Oaks Country Club before the conversation turns to Ali. Daniel brings up Ali's Facebook page on his phone but tells Johnny he has never reached out to her. They then make fun of Ali's husband, assuming he must be a real loser.

Back at the LaRusso house, Sam finds herself grounded for the hit-and-run accident, with her mother confiscating all of her electronic devices. While the Cobra Kai stock up on snacks and alcohol using a fake ID, Miguel tries to invite Sam to the party, but with her phone privileges revoked, she cannot answer. Robby then arrives at the house for a training session, but with Daniel still out with Johnny, he is asked to wait. After being scolded for checking her phone, a frustrated Sam tells Robby she is a prisoner in her own home.

Yasmine and her friends arrive at the canyon for her birthday party, only to find the Cobra Kai and a host of uninvited guests from school already there. Flustered, Yasmine tells Kyler to get rid of them, but upon spotting Miguel in the crowd, he quickly backpedals and suggests they find another spot. As Kyler leaves, Moon joins the party and Yasmine reluctantly accompanies her. Still unable to reach Sam, Miguel opens a beer and starts drinking heavily.

Back at home, Sam is reading a book when Robby limps into the house, having apparently sprained his ankle while training alone. With no other option, Amanda instructs Sam to drive Robby home and then come right back. As they get outside, Robby reveals that he faked the injury to get her out of the house, and they hurry to the party. At the canyon, Yasmine confronts Aisha for crashing her party, but Aisha strikes back by delivering a painful front wedgie to Yasmine, who then scurries away in humiliation. When Sam and Robby arrive, Miguel shoves Robby down in a jealous rage and then lashes out at him, accidentally hitting Sam. Furious, Sam tells him her father was right about Cobra Kai and leaves the party with Robby.

Returning to the LaRusso house, an inebriated Johnny and Daniel agree to a final match in Daniel's dojo, but find Robby there waiting. When Johnny learns that his son is Daniel's new student, he violently shoves Daniel against the wall, breaking one of his All Valley trophies. Robby immediately steps between them, telling his dad to back off. As Johnny tears out of the driveway in his car, Daniel is furious about Robby's dishonesty and banishes him from his home and his business. In the aftermath, Daniel picks up the pieces of his ruined trophy.

Trivia

  • The episode title refers to a line in the original Karate Kid, where Mr. Miyagi says that Daniel and Ali look good together and are "different, but same".
    • The title also has a double meaning, suggesting that, in spite of their differences, Daniel and Johnny are similar enough that they could have been best friends as kids.
      • The episode's title could even have a triple meaning, as a reference to how Miguel, Aisha, and Eli are a more diverse and sympathetic group than the 1980's Cobra Kai students... but are now following in the same delinquent bullying footsteps.
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