Johnny takes a trip down memory lane in “Take a Right”, as Cobra Kai checks in on some old faces to moving results.
This Cobra Kai Season 2 Episode 6 recap for the episode titled “Take a Right” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
The Miyagi-Do dojo is, to use a technical term, a disaster. As Daniel surveys the damage, “Take a Right” treats us to flashbacks of Mr. Miyagi building the idyllic facility in the first place. It certainly looked a lot better then. Luckily Daniel’s students are on the case, including some new hires from Cobra Kai, which causes friction. Demetri is especially annoyed at the idea of letting the kids who jumped him train there; he resorts to another Game of Thrones analogy (“it’s like letting the Wildlings beyond the Wall!”) and is once again thwarted by Daniel’s superior knowledge of Westeros.
The remaining Cobra Kai students, meanwhile, are being beasted in the hopes that they’ll give up the identity of the vandal. Hawk wants to admit his guilt to Johnny, but Kreese keeps him quiet, later insisting that they’re all responsible — they’re all Cobra Kai.
Johhny, unfortunately, doesn’t have time to stick around for the investigation. He receives a call from an old buddy letting him know that one of their friends is terminally ill; it’s Tommy, of “Get him a body bag! Yeah!” fame, and the rest of the Karate Kid OGs — all played by the same actors, some looking a little worse for wear — have gathered around to say their farewells. So, while Kreese is busy running Cobra Kai and insisting that the students are about to begin their “real training”, Johnny, Tommy, Bobby and Jimmy head out on one last road trip.
This entire subplot is very moving, touching as it does on all the show’s central themes of getting older and learning to get along. It has moments of levity, a virtually obligatory “old guys out on the town” bar fight, and some genuinely well-written exchanges, particularly between Johnny and Tommy. Johnny’s old buddies think he’s naive letting Kreese back into his life, and don’t believe that everyone is capable of change — least of all Kreese, which, as we can see during the scenes back at the dojo, they’re probably right about. But the most prescient conversation is about time; for all the mistakes Johnny has made, he still has the time to atone for them. Some other people aren’t so lucky — the next morning, Johnny and the boys wake up to find Tommy dead.
This all works in part because it’s nice to see the perspectives of those who always liked and respected Johnny; in The Karate Kid he was basically a cartoon villain, and it never really occurred to me to wonder what his friends actually saw in him. “Take a Right” helps with that, fleshing out how he never quite got over Ali, and that he was seduced by Cobra Kai because he was, in his own way, more lost and vulnerable than anyone. Ironically, had Miyagi-Do existed properly when Johnny was young, it would have been just what he needed.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.