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"The key to this move is making your enemy think you are retreating. But just as they let their guard down, that's when you strike the hardest."
John Kreese[src]


"The Moment of Truth" is the fourth episode of the second season of Cobra Kai.

Summary

Daniel makes another attempt to promote Miyagi-Do Karate, and receives guidance in a familiar form. Johnny grows suspicious about Kreese's backstory. A new Cobra Kai student challenges Miguel and befriends Aisha, while Robby revisits a past he would rather forget.

Plot

Demetri's best friends, Miguel and Hawk both train at Cobra Kai, but that place isn't for him. And it was confirmed when he arrived at the dojo after hours, believing John Kreese to a be a more amenable alternative to Johnny. After attempting to lay down the law and criticizing Kreese's tattoo, he leaves with a bloodied nose. Turning to Hawk for support, Demetri does not find much sympathy. “You know what snitches get,” he says. “They get immunity,” replies Demetri. Hawk is evidently fond of Kreese's attitude and his story about fighting in Mogadishu in the 1990s, but Miguel; who knows that Mogadishu is in Somalia, and not Rwanda as Kreese suggests, recognizes he's lying through his teeth and takes his concerns to Johnny. Johnny initially defends him, but his curiosity is piqued.

Following Kreese, Johnny learns the building where Kreese currently lives in and hears Kreese yelling while walking up the stairs to the floor of Kreese’s apartment to know why Kreese is yelling. Standing in the hallway, Johnny sees Kreese from the barely open front door of Kreese’s apartment where inside, Kreese is verbally abusing and physically threatening a tenant residing in another apartment. Just when Kreese is about to punch the tenant in the face, the tenant is saved when a female employee of the building opens the front door, walks into Kreese’s apartment, and shouts at Kreese by saying, “Hey! Knock it off! You want to go back out on the street John [Kreese]? Live at a bus stop? I got a hundred guys that would kill for your bed.” On this quote, she implied that if she were to see Kreese abusing or threatening another tenant one more time, Kreese would be evicted from living in the building for good which would result in Kreese being officially homeless. Although she was not speaking to Johnny or did not notice Johnny, the quote informs Johnny that Kreese lives in a homeless shelter which is what the building is. Kreese apologizes and says the incident wouldn’t happen again. After hearing the apology, the tenant who almost got punched walks out of Kreese’s apartment with the female employee. Then, Johnny enters Kreese’s apartment and asks Kreese about his past. Kreese reveals that after Cobra Kai shut down, he was lost and aimless, refusing to take a lucrative job offered by “an old war buddy” because he did not want to accept a hand out. Kreese was then denied re-enlistment in the Army after he failed the psychological evaluation. All his stories were, unsurprisingly, false. He also tells Johnny that he has been homeless for more than ten years. However, he sees Cobra Kai's recent success at the All-Valley Karate Tournament as a second chance at redemption, which Johnny is willing to give him, just so long as he agrees to do things Johnny's way. Meanwhile, Robby and Sam are curious as to why Cobra Kai is more popular than Miyagi-Do; Robby reasons it is that the former prizes offense, which looks more appealing, whereas the latter is all about karate as a means of self-defense. Daniel uses a story about his first job selling cars as an analogy for why Miyagi-Do has to maintain its truth and authenticity, which is more meaningful and long-lasting than flashy lights and gimmicks. Thus, he takes the kids on a recruitment drive to the local beach club, where he can schmooze the well-to-do parents.

Cobra Kai, meanwhile, has a new recruit: Tory, with a “Y”, who takes on Miguel during her first session and wins with the sneaky underhanded tactics that Kreese loves. Seeing a potential ally in her, Aisha asks if she'll accompany her to the beach club, where her mother is undermining Daniel's efforts at promoting Miyagi-Do by showing off footage of the Cobra Kai demonstration at Valley Fest. Sam, trying to make amends with Aisha, clashes with Tory, who is nicking bottles of vodka and just generally being aggressive. When Amanda's wallet goes missing, Sam accuses Tory, who throws her through a table full of cakes. The wallet is missing because Robby's old pals from the show's first season, Cruz and Trey, spend the summer there nabbing wallets and stashing them on the beach. After the beach management attempts to throw him out because of his old friends, Robby tries to prove that he is no longer associated with them by starting a fight and filming it. However, Robby is then jumped by their newest recruit named Derek. Fortunately, Daniel intervenes just in time and defeats the attackers, which is all caught on video. Daniel refuses to use the footage on principle, but instead echoes the sentiments shared with him by a fisherman he encountered on the beach earlier: "If you’re offering something worthwhile, the bites will come eventually". Daniel suggested to the fisherman that he reminds him heavily of Mr. Miyagi.

Back at the dojo, Daniel is explaining that he is content to be patient and wait for the people who need them, right as Demetri walks in. The episode ends with Kreese taking over a demonstration at Cobra Kai. He says explicitly, “Just as they let their guard down, that’s when you strike the hardest.”

Trivia

  • The episode title is likely a nod to the song, by the band, Survivor, of the same title played in the end credits of the original film.
  • The short flashback of Kreese in the 80's is an unused Mid-shot from the opening of The Karate Kid Part III.
  • When Kreese said an old war buddy offered him a job, he is most likely referring to Terry Silver.
           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

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