“Fire and Ice” makes the division between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do even clearer as both teams attempt to one-up the other.
This Cobra Kai Season 2 Episode 3 recap for the episode titled “Fire and Ice” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
My favorite scene of Cobra Kai Season 2 thus far is Johnny Lawrence purchasing his first-ever computer and instantly, after figuring out how to turn the thing on and access the internet, searching for “hot babes”, Bloodsport and conspiracy theories. It’s a perfectly telling encapsulation of how woefully out of touch Johnny really is, and even though it’s played for comedy, you can’t help but get behind him when he starts complaining about ads. The irony, I suppose, is that the show is only available on YouTube Premium, which is ad-free, so it might be preaching to the choir. But either way, one of those ads is for Miyagi-Do karate, which obviously annoys Johnny, among other people.
Amanda is annoyed by the ad because Daniel has spent half of the dealership’s marketing budget on it. And the internet is annoyed by it because of, surprise surprise, “cultural appropriation”. Daniel LaRacist, as the comments suggest, is co-opting Asian culture for his own gain, including, most insultingly, cliched background music. (“That was Mr. Miyagi’s favorite song!”) Cobra Kai has always poked affectionate fun at super-sensitive outrage culture, and it’s nice to see that continuing here in the second season, being such a timely comedy goldmine and all.
As Kreese and Johnny decide that the ad requires some retaliation, Miguel informs Hawk that Robbie is Johnny’s son, after having seen a picture of him on Johnny’s fridge while dropping off some homecooked food. The pair approach Johnny about this, but it doesn’t go as well as they think it will — Robbie might be Johnny’s son, but that doesn’t mean he’s okay with them cheating during tournaments. Also, they’re cleaning mats for a week.
Since Danny is losing prospective clients thanks to his training methods looking like free yard work, he decides to stage a demonstration at the Valley Fest. Amanda is worried that he’s having a midlife crisis and is siphoning business away from the dealership, which is a fair point. Johnny, meanwhile, is worried about losing students too, but for different reasons. Kreese plants the idea in his head that Daniel might entice Miguel the same way he enticed Robbie. “It’s a good job you’ve still got that Mexican kid,” he says. “Miguel’s from Ecuador,” Johnny replies. “Six of one…”
Obvious racism aside, the point hits home, and in a quietly moving scene in “Fire and Ice”, Johnny takes Miguel out to explain more about his relationship with Robbie. Johnny’s obvious fear of losing his friend and student is made palpable here thanks to some great acting by William Zabka, whose performance in this show has always been a little underrated. It’s a well-written scene, too, getting at the heavy burden of past mistakes and the pressing fear of making new ones; again, central themes of the show continuing to be extrapolated on in this thus-far more-than-worthy follow-up.
The big showcase of “Fire and Ice” is the Miyagi-Do demonstration at Valley Fest. Kind of, anyway. It’s going well but is swiftly interrupted by Cobra Kai’s own demonstration of their much more down-with-the-kids style of karate. There are strobe lights, music, and the breaking of fiery bricks. I must admit, Cobra Kai looks a lot cooler to me. No wonder they called the show that.