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"First Learn Stand" is the second episode of the fourth season of Cobra Kai.

Summary

Johnny picks up defensive strategies while Daniel learns how to go on the offensive. Amanda confronts Tory. New kid Kenny is bullied at school.

Plot

Kenny plays Dungeon Lord Legacies on his computer. His alarm vibrates telling him that he's going to be late for school. He quickly gets ready for school then runs downstairs. He then finds a plate of a lot of squares of M&M Rice Krispy treats and a lovely note from his mom wishing him a good day. While waiting for the bus, he dances happily to his music, and doesn't notice the school bus pulling up behind him until it honks. The students are laughing from behind him. As he goes into the bus, a group of students mock him. Anthony LaRusso describes it as the "trying-not-to-shit-in-my-pants dance". His friends commend him for the insult and Kenny sits on the bus saddened.

Daniel brings hand-held sanders to the deck only to find Johnny sanding down the deck with a machine. He wanted to knock it out early. Daniel wanted to use the deck as a teachable moment - now his whole week is tanked. They jabs at one another's teaching methods. Daniel doesn't want to fight as their students want them to work through their differences. They want each other to respect their styles of karate, which is hard for Daniel since he was taught karate was for defense only and states that he's finding it hard to respect Cobra Kai. Johnny rebuttals that it's Eagle Fang, not Cobra Kai. Daniel doesn't see the difference as it's still teaching aggression. Johnny notes that some kids need aggression. Daniel decides they should teach other their styles of karate. Johnny offers a spit-shake but Daniel declines.

Tory is at work waiting tables for low tips. She readies to take a woman's order. However, the customer reveals herself as Amanda LaRusso, needing Tory to stay away from Sam. Tory nervously realizes Amanda came to her job. She tried calling Tory's parents but didn't get a call back, but wonders if she should have kicked in her front door as it's her style. Amanda angrily tells her that has little daily reminders of the mess Tory made in her house. She watches Sam covering up her bruises and scars. The only reason Tory isn't in jail is because Sam didn't want the ordeal dragged out. She threatens to have Tory put in jail if she touches even a hair on Sam's head before the tournament. Tory thinks Amanda should go, ignoring a customer who wants his soup. Amanda's just there to deliver a message but needs to know Tory got the message. If she didn't, as pointed out by Tory, then it would be a mistake. The manager intervenes just as the customer asks about his soup again. She tells the customer to shut up, and the manager fires her on the spot. Tory angrily throws her apron, angrily thanks Amanda, and then loudly proclaims how the restaurant got a B in the health inspection and that the cook dipped his balls in the soup. Offended, the customer asks the manager to cancel his soup.

At West Valley Middle School, the students are playing basketball for gym class. Anthony watches Lia, swooning over her from a distance. The coach puts Kenny in with LaRusso and Thompson. Anthony offers to cover the "ballerina". However, his plan backfires as Kenny is revealed to be skilled in basketball, which annoys Anthony. Kenny goes to check the ball before Anthony scores, only to hit him in the face with the ball. Thompson urges Anthony to use karate on Kenny, but Anthony reminds him how the moves cause brain damage. Thompson scoffs, calling him “LaPusso”, then walks off. Kenny attempts to apologize but Anthony doesn't believe the check was an accident. Lia, another classmate, tells Anthony to give the new kid a break. She tells Kenny to ignore them, compliments his shirt, then leaves. Anthony watches the entire exchange.

Johnny paints the dojo's walls at Daniel's behest. He points out that this isn't the right way to paint walls, though Daniel doesn't want him to miss the lesson. Daniel drinks beer while Johnny paints with his critiques. He takes a beer, calling defense boring and scoffs at the fruity beer. Angry, Daniel karate chops the bottle in half. Impressed, Johnny wants to learn how to do that. While Miyagi-Do may seem boring, it saved Johnny from Kreese a few weeks ago, which wasn't the first time. Johnny then remembers Mr. Miyagi's confrontation with Kreese and how he embarrassed him. Daniel tells Johnny that nobody was more badass than Mr. Miyagi. Johnny quietly returns to the painting.

Robby teaches Miyagi-Do to the Cobra Kai's, acknowledging how difficult it is to learn. The precise blocks stop a specific attack. Robby demonstrates with Tory, who blocks his punches. Kreese adds that their whole style is reactive so they have counter moves and they can use Cobra Kai to set traps. Robby demonstrates by having Tory "paint the fence" then use her lowered guard to sweep her to the mat. He apologizes as its part of the lesson but she angrily flips him over, mounts, and prepares to deal the finishing blow when Kreese stops her. Upset, he calls her into his office and tells Robby to continue the lesson.

Kreese and Tory discuss what's going on with her, and she eventually lowers her guard enough to admit she lost her job, and is having trouble finding another while on probation. He asks if she feels sorry for herself. Kreese explains that when something bad happens, you have two choices - let it tear you down or build you up. He looks at a photo of him, Silver, and a man from Vietnam. He wisely reveals that a step backwards can open a new path. After, he asks what really happened.

Kenny comes home and answers a call from his father, who is in the military. He asks if Kenny made any new friends, as it can be hard switching in the middle of a school year. But if Kenny does things right then he'll see results. He then asks how mom is doing. Kenny admits she's working a lot. His father understands, as she's had a tough time since what happened to his brother. He presses that Kenny's the man of the house now - he shouldn't have to be, but is. He asks him to rise to that. Kenny promises he will and they exchange goodbye's, love you's and hang up. Kenny logs into his game to find a new request from "PrincessLia". He remembers it's the same girl from gym class, inviting him to play with her. He happily accepts and begins the game.

Daniel gives Johnny a history lesson, inspirational proverbs, and sayings as he learns "wax on, wax off". Johnny stands on the balance board on the pond as he performs a kata. He does well until he slips and falls into the pond. Johnny angrily splashes the water, calling the board unleveled. Daniel retorts that their might be a little imbalance inside Johnny. However, Johnny doesn't understand how any of this will work in a real fight. Exasperated, Daniel reiterates that Miyagi-Do isn't about fighting. Mr. Miyagi said the best defense in all of karate is "no be there". Johnny asks if he means "don't be there", jabbing that Miyagi taught Daniel centuries of ancient family karate but Daniel didn't help him with his English. With training now over, and Johnny getting a taste of Miyagi-Do, Daniel will learn Eagle Fang tomorrow.

Kenny and Lia play Dungeon Lord as they get to know one another and is happy to be making a new friend. He looks over her Instagram, finding it cool. He's oblivious to the fact the person on the other end isn't Lia, but Anthony LaRusso and his friends. Anthony assures Kenny his cosplaying secret is safe with him. His favorite character is Dr. Scribblebottoms. Anthony laughs over it being the lamest character, then launches into details over the character. Thompson wonders how Anthony knows all of that, forcing Anthony to cover that he overheard nerds talking about it. Thompson proposes having Kenny meet them at Balboa Park while cosplaying as Dr. Scribblebottoms. Kenny, in awe over the chance to hangout with Lia, agrees to meet up that night.

Amanda is shopping in a high-end store when Kreese appears, picking up a piece of her cheese she dropped. He feigns that he's there for the honey crisps. She points out his restraining order, but he retorts that it works the other way around - she's the one in violation. She steps closer to him - talking about the deal between the dojos. But no matter what happens after the tournament, she'll ensure he loses. He asks if that's why she sabotaged Tory, something Amanda wasn't trying to do. He respects her defending her daughter as all mothers should do that. He then reveals that Tory's mother is sick so she has to pay the bills, provide food, all by herself. He thinks she should leave Tory alone or face the consequences. After all, not every child is as lucky as hers. He bites into the apple and leaves the store.

Daniel goes to Johnny's apartment expecting to wake him up with his arrival. He's surprised to see Johnny not only awake, but ready for training. Daniel is taken to the Eagle Fang dojo, albeit blindfolded, as Johnny asks if he's ready to no longer wait for problems to show up at his doorstep. Because an Eagle doesn't follow, they attack, lead, and grow into what they were meant to be - men. He has Daniel shovel hot coals out of a forge, climb a chain as if it were a rope, and do knuckle pushups on a wooden crate, all while hurling "motivational" insults at him. He rigs a baseball launcher across the room, padding Daniel's hands as the man tries to block the hurling balls. Johnny corrects this isn't a defensive training. He has Daniel walk across the hot coals he shoveled out. As Daniel tries the baseballs, Johnny urges him to attack. Daniel catches one of the balls and hurls it back at the machine, knocking it over. He finishes the push-ups, sprints across the coals, and "soars like an eagle" up the chain.

Kenny arrives at Balboa Park in his cosplay outfit. Anthony and his friends emerge as they mock and laugh at Kenny. It turned out that Kenny was cat-fished by Anthony. They record the entire incident. Kenny doesn't want them to post it and lunges for Anthony's phone, knocking it to the ground. The impact breaks the phone. Thompson urges Anthony to use his karate moves. Kenny admits he didn't mean to break the phone. The kids surround Kenny and one restrains him while the others hit him. They urge Anthony to use his Miyagi-Do moves, calling him LaPusso when he doesn't. As Anthony readies himself, Kenny breaks free and runs off. He hops a fence and loses the boys on the street, ultimately hiding in a recycling bin to avoid their attack.

Johnny takes Daniel to a hockey game to watch other men beat the hell out of each other. The training isn't over yet, which concerns Daniel. Johnny wants Daniel to show his toughness like the players. The only rule is intimidation which is why striking first is important. Two players are checked into the divider, making both men jump. Daniel points out the penalty of spearing, so Johnny shouts it out to the ref. The referee penalizes the player and puts him in the penalty box - which is only a few feet from Daniel and Johnny. The player hurls insults at them, but Daniel does his best to de-escalate the situation despite Johnny repeatedly provoking the player.

After the game, Daniel admits to having fun, as not even Daniel can ruin hockey for him. Johnny points out that the team won because they beat the crap out of the other team, not because they were on defense. Daniel has better understanding of Eagle Fang but doesn't plan to change his stripes. Johnny just wants some respect for his teachings, so Daniel likens the respect to a madman with a nuke. Johnny accepts that now. The hockey team approaches Daniel and their anger is evident. They bring up Daniel's challenge that he can kick their ass any day, though Daniel explains that Johnny said it, not him. He goes to point to Johnny who is gone. One player recognizes Daniel from his business and karate commercials, even mentioning how Amanda runs the dealership. Daniel warns the player that Amanda, who they call hot, is his wife. They then cat-call her and make lewd comments, annoying Daniel. Angered, he punches the hockey player and he launches into a takedown of each member of the team, incorporating his Eagle Fang training to do so. He disarms one member to steal a hockey stick and uses it to defend himself. Once the team is down, Daniel circles the aftermath. Johnny appears with a pretzel, applauding his badass way of asserting dominance. Daniel questions where Johnny went. Johnny merely smirks as he says, "no be there", then walks out of the building while a seething Daniel is left dumbfounded.

Amanda talks business with Anoush in LaRusso Auto Group. Tory arrives angry over the shopping bag left outside her family's apartment, as she doesn't need Amanda's sympathy. Anoush tries to calm Tory but is only threatened, so he leaves the situation. Tory promises this will all be over soon when she humiliates Sam at the All Valley. She thanks Amanda for lighting a fire under her as she really needed that. Anoush wonders if they should call the police, but Amanda refuses. She also doesn't want Daniel to know about the incident.

Later, Kenny talks about how miserable things have been at school lately. He explains that everyone laughs at him over the video Anthony posted. He's also chased and beat up everyday and doesn't know how to keep going as he doesn't feel safe. On the way home, LaRusso and his friends throw milk on Kenny while riding the bus. Kenny explains that one of his bullies knows karate. Shawn Payne, revealed to be his older brother, laughs over the karate statement. He tells Kenny not to worry as he knows a guy who can help.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Trivia

  • This is the first episode not to feature series regulars Xolo Maridueña (Miguel Diaz), Vanessa Rubio (Carmen Diaz), and Thomas Ian Griffith.
    • It also is the first episode not to feature any Miyagi-Do or Eagle Fang students.
  • Johnny putting his students in a cement mixer is mentioned.
  • Kenny's first experience being bullied is somewhat similar to Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid.
    • Another reference is that when Anthony and his friends bully Kenny in Balboa Park, which results Kenny climbing on a fence to escape basically mirrors the scene where Daniel tries to escape from Johnny Lawrence after getting revenge on him by dousing him with a hose during the 1984 Halloween dance. Unlike Daniel, Kenny doesn't get beaten up and climbs the fence on time to avoid his bullies before hiding in a recycling bin.
  • Daniel attacks when physically unprovoked for the second time in Cobra Kai. The first time was when he kicked down Johnny's door looking for Sam in Season 2.
  • Flashback footage filmed for The Karate Kid Part II is seen, specifically, the scene of Kreese choking Johnny after the tournament for coming in second place. As with other times in the series the footage has been re-edited and includes takes and camera angles not seen in the film, like Johnny telling Kreese he sucks and a close-up of Kreese's hand smashing through the car window.
  • Kreese tells Amanda that she is the one who has to stay away from him per the restraining order. However, this is incorrect, as a restraining order is not person dependent. Kreese is the one who filed it, not Amanda. Additionally, if the petitioner breaches the order, the defendant can use the contact as justification to have the order modified or dismissed.
  • A scene where Johnny blindfolded Daniel and made him chug a gross-looking pre-training smoothie during the training montage was deleted. It was meant to be a vodka and eggs mix, but spiraled into "whatever the prop master made". Ralph Macchio filmed the scene but it was ultimately deleted. He explained the unique taste saying, "it was like if Johnny Lawrence grabbed everything in his fridge, whether it was expired or not, maybe threw in some protein that he heard about, and put it in the blender that was probably still rusty and mildewed."[1]
  • Daniel circling the hockey players is a reference to the The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi circles Johnny and his group after beating them up.

Gallery

References

           The Karate Kid Franchise

Films
The Karate Kid | Part II | Part III | The Next Karate Kid | The Karate Kid (2010)

Cobra Kai
Season 1
Ace Degenerate | Strike First | Esqueleto | Cobra Kai Never Dies | Counterbalance | Quiver | All Valley | Molting | Different but Same | Mercy

Season 2
Mercy Part II | Back in Black | Fire and Ice | The Moment of Truth | All In | Take a Right | Lull | Glory of Love | Pulpo | No Mercy

Season 3
Aftermath | Nature Vs. Nurture | Now You're Gonna Pay | The Right Path | Miyagi-Do | King Cobra | Obstáculos | The Good, The Bad, and The Badass | Feel The Night | December 19

Season 4
Let's Begin | First Learn Stand | Then Learn Fly | Bicephaly | Match Point | Kicks Get Chicks | Minefields | Party Time | The Fall | The Rise

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