|Season 1, Episode 10|
|Air date||May 2, 2018|
|Written by||Josh Heald |
|Directed by||Jon Hurwitz |
Different but Same
Mercy Part II
- "You've all learned to strike first, to be aggressive, not be losers. I taught you to strike hard, put every ounce of your power behind everything you do. But I haven't taught you the third rule of Cobra Kai. "No mercy." The older you get, the more you're gonna learn that life isn't fair. You wake up one morning feeling great, and then life throws a spinning heel kick to your balls, takes a big steaming shit in your mouth. You get an "F" on a test, you get suspended. You fall in love with a girl, and some other dude comes and steals her away. Car gets set on fire. Just when you think things are going good, everything falls apart. That's how it goes. Life shows no mercy, so neither do we. We do whatever it takes to keep our heads above water. We do whatever it takes to keep moving forward. We do whatever it takes to win! Remember who you are. You're badass! You don't give a shit! You kick ass! You're Cobra Kai."
- ―Johnny Lawrence[src]
Mercy is the tenth episode of the first season of Cobra Kai and the season finale.
The highly anticipated All Valley Karate Tournament brings Johnny and Daniel on opposite sides again, except this time, the new generation of karate students are the combatants. Who will pay the price for ultimate victory?
The All Valley Sports Arena welcomes the 50th Anniversary of the All Valley Karate Championships in a montage set to "I Want It All" by Queen. Outside the venue, the Cobra Kai await the arrival of their sensei. Bert, the smallest member of the team, mentions having seen Johnny at the mini-mart the night before, rambling drunkenly about Daniel and Robby while urinating on his new car. As they prepare to enter the tournament without him, a sober Johnny arrives to impart his final lesson to the group: "No Mercy."
At the Larusso house, Daniel and Sam brood over the events of the previous night. Amanda tries to rouse them, pointing out that LaRusso Auto Group is one of the tournament's major sponsors and must be represented. Realizing that everyone she knows will be there, Sam convinces her dad to go to the tournament. There, Daniel is met with a hero's welcome and takes a moment to admire his own 1984 championship banner before escorting his family to their front row seats.
As the tournament opens, all the participating dojos are introduced to the audience. Cobra Kai enters in their trademark black and gold uniforms, marching in a line while chanting their dojo's name. Last to be introduced is Robby Keene, having signed himself up for the tournament unaffiliated.
On instruction from Johnny, Miguel scores his first point in a tournament match with a Crane Kick, much to Daniel's chagrin. Robby wins his first match with Daniel quietly rooting him on. Aisha and Hawk also score early victories, with Hawk removing his gi and showing off his tattoo in a Victory Pose, exciting Moon. Miguel, Robby, and Hawk all advance to the semi-finals, but Aisha is defeated by the reigning All Valley champion Xander Stone with a leg sweep. Stone offers to help her up, but Aisha furiously tells him to "eat shit" and storms off the mat. Sam goes to console her after the loss and they ultimately reconcile, with Aisha telling her that the tournament could use another female fighter.
Before the semi-finals get underway, Stone takes the microphone from the announcer and makes an impromptu speech about tolerance and equality before calling for a moment of silence in the arena. Annoyed, Johnny orders Miguel to "kick that pansy bitch in the face." With his mother and grandmother cheering him on, Miguel defeats Stone in impressive fashion to advance to the finals.
When Robby faces off against Hawk, Daniel is reluctant to support his old student, but when he notices Robby is unfocused, he encourages him to find balance. After a brief bout of meditation, Robby resumes the fight and quickly scores a point, which Hawk boasts will be his last. After Robby makes fun of his haircut, Hawk attacks him from behind and injures his left shoulder resulting in his disqualification. Johnny races to his son's side, but Robby angrily refuses his aid before being led off the mat by the official. Johnny then scolds Hawk for the unethical act (possibly thinking about how his own dojo experiences in 1984), but Hawk argues, "what was I supposed to do, be a pussy?"
In the locker room, Daniel speaks with Robby who apologizes for his deception and admits he just wanted to get back at his dad. In turn, Daniel tells Robby he understands, lets him in on the truth about Johnny and encourages him to let go of his anger. He explains that his father is not a monster, but just a man who is battling a lot of demons. When Robby doubts he can go on with his injury, Daniel begins rubbing his hands together as if to use Mr. Miyagi's pain suppression technique, but ends up calling for a medic instead who pops Robby's shoulder back into place. Daniel tells him he doesn't have to fight in his condition, but Robby wants to face his father. Back in the arena, Miguel tries to apologize to Sam for hitting her, but she rejects him and his Cobra Kai philosophy. Rather than watch the final match, she tells Amanda she wants to leave and offers to take an Uber home. Amanda says she'll go with her and Anthony leaves with them, too. Daniel remains at the tournament.
Robby and Miguel square off in the finals with Daniel officially coaching Robby under the Miyagi-Do banner. Fighting defensively, Robby manages to score a point against Miguel, but Miguel answers back and earns two quick points by exploiting Robby's injured shoulder. Daniel calls for a time-out to help Robby focus, after which he scores his second point with the double-footed kick. Robby offers his hand to help Miguel up, but Miguel callously yanks on his injured arm drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd. A second time-out is called, at which point Johnny tells Miguel that he doesn't have to fight dirty to win, but Miguel insists there is nothing dirty about winning, using Johnny's own lessons against him. When the match resumes, Miguel targets Robby's shoulder once more to win the tournament for Cobra Kai.
Miguel dedicates the win to his sensei, but Johnny is in no mood to celebrate. He goes after Robby to apologize, which Robby accepts. After congratulating Johnny on his victory, Daniel leaves the arena with Robby. Miguel looks for Sam in the crowd, but Demetri tells him she left a while ago. Back at home, Sam walks through her father's dojo and reminisces about their time together before launching into an aerial attack routine, implying that she will resume training.
As Daniel is driving Robby home, Robby contemplates his second-place trophy, but Daniel assures him that fighting with honor means as much as winning, and that he is very proud of him, and encourages him to be proud of himself. Robby laments that Cobra Kai will now "take over the valley". Daniel declares that he will never let that happen and he takes Robby to Mr. Miyagi's old house(which he now owns) and reveals that he plans to convert the house into the new Miyagi-Do school of karate.
Back at Cobra Kai, Johnny celebrates a hollow victory alone in his office when he hears someone enter the dojo. Expecting to see Miguel, he is stunned to find his old sensei John Kreese, who congratulates him for revitalizing Cobra Kai and tells him the real story has only just begun.
- The episode's title is a reference to the final rule of the Cobra Kai Dojo: No Mercy.
- This is the only episode with no opening credits.
- The scene when Hawk commits an illegal kick against Robby (getting Hawk disqualified) can be compared to Bobby Brown doing the same to Daniel in the 1984 all valley tournament. However, there is a difference in the manner it was done in:
- Bobby was reluctant to do it [and kept arguing against it, when ordered by Kreese to do the move], and when he did the kick, shocked and remorseful, he dropped on his knees to Daniel and profusely apologized for it.
- Hawk, on the other hand, did the move on purpose [deciding to], out of anger, and did not regret a thing about it.