|Season 1, Episode 8|
|Air date||May 2, 2018|
|Written by||Michael Jonathan Smith|
|Directed by||Steve Pink|
Different but Same
Molting is the eighth episode of the first season of Cobra Kai.
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. But as events unfold, it seems nothing has changed between Daniel and Johnny in 30 years.
In an automobile junkyard, Johnny rallies his students with a speech before putting them through a training from Hell montage set to "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister, culminating with Johnny unleashing a pack of hungry German Shepherds upon the kids. At the LaRusso house, the family greets Daniel's mother Lucille, who has come to visit from New Jersey. Over a family barbecue, Daniel fumes about the committee's decision to reinstate Cobra Kai. His mother denounces them as a bunch of bullies, but knowing Miguel as she does, Sam is not convinced. Nevertheless, Daniel advises her to stay away from them, while his cousin Louie suggests getting even by force. Eventually, a huge quarrel erupts between Amanda and Lucille over Louie's unprofessional behavior and his use of Daniel's name to make his own deal involving luxury motorcycles.
At Cobra Kai, Miguel trains with Johnny alone, as Johnny believes he is the only student with a chance of winning the tournament. Miguel then receives a selfie of Sam on his phone, and Johnny immediately recognizes her as Daniel's daughter. He proceeds to tell Miguel his version of the events of 1984, painting Daniel as the cocky new kid who stole Ali from him and himself as the innocent party just trying to get him to back off. He advises Miguel to watch out for the LaRussos.
After returning home for the night, Johnny is invited to have dinner with Miguel's family. Miguel is excused from the table to take a call from Sam, who is taking a break from her own family. Eager to keep their relationship going, she suggests that he join another dojo in the valley, but Miguel declines out of loyalty to Johnny. Miguel's mother reveals to Johnny that she left Ecuador due to a husband she describes as "a very bad man", unwilling to let the mistakes of the past determine her future. Inspired, Johnny returns home and begins to clean up his apartment and his life.
Robby arrives at the LaRusso house for a training session and meets Sam for the first time. Daniel invites her to come and train with them, but she has already agreed to go to the mall with her mother and grandmother. Daniel drives Robby out to a wooded area where they engage in another training montage. When Daniel shares a lesson about balance in life, Robby nearly tells him the truth about who his father is, but ultimately decides against it. His training is capped off with a balancing exercise in which he tries to execute karate techniques atop a horizontal tree trunk without falling. Upon succeeding, he finds Daniel perched upside down on one arm trying to perform the most powerful kick in Miyagi-Do karate, a double-footed kick that he has never done before.
At the movies, Miguel vents to his friends about not being able to see Sam due to Daniel's hatred of Cobra Kai. As Hawk throws Milk Duds at the girls sitting in front of them, he tells Miguel to just go over to her house and talk to her, which he describes as an "alpha move." Meanwhile, Johnny visits his stepfather Sid and gives back all the money the old man ever gave him, telling Sid that he no longer needs him in his life.
Daniel returns home to find that all is well between his wife and mother, thanks to Sam's mediation. As the family sits down to dinner, Miguel arrives unannounced to see Robby talking to Sam. Heartbroken and angry, Miguel walks away.
As Johnny composes a letter of atonement to Robby for his past mistakes, he is startled by the sound of shattering glass and goes outside to witness Louie and the two biker thugs vandalizing his car before soaking it in gasoline, allegedly in Daniel's name. Johnny makes short work of the bikers and subdues Louie, but one of the thugs manages to set fire to his car. Enraged, Johnny demands Daniel's address from Louie before riding away on one of the bikers' motorcycles to confront his enemy.
- Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso
- William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence
- Courtney Henggeler as Amanda LaRusso
- Xolo Maridueña as Miguel Diaz
- Diora Baird as Shannon Keene
- Courtney Henggeler as Amanda LaRusso
- Tanner Buchanan as Robby Keene
- Vanessa Rubio as Carmen Diaz
- Mary Mouser as Samantha LaRusso
- Gianni Decenzo as Demetri
- Jacob Bertrand as Eli/Hawk
- Nichole Brown as Aisha Robinson
- Griffin Santopietro as Anthony LaRusso
- Randee Heller as Lucille LaRusso
- Ed Asner as Sid Weinberg