“The Right Path” turns up the nostalgia as Daniel returns to Okinawa, and long-time fans of The Karate Kid will get a real treat out of this episode.
This recap of Cobra Kai season 3, episode 4, “The Right Path”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Following on from the previous episode’s quasi cliffhanger, “The Right Path” opens with Daniel pitching an exclusive partnership with Doyona. It doesn’t go well, but he’s determined to find an answer and come home with a “yes”, despite the fact he has no idea what he’s going to do. A kindly Japanese bartender gives him some solid advice, explaining how the Japanese believe that you can always see someone even after they’re gone. At that moment, Daniel sees a televised advert for Mr. Miyagi’s home, Okinawa. It’s fate!
When Daniel lands in Okinawa and heads to Tomi Village, the flashbacks to The Karate Kid Part II begin. What was once “the land that time forgot” has now been thoroughly commercialized, riddled with international chain brands. A resident explains to Daniel how the place was going to go under, but the commercialization saved it and brought people jobs. In a stroke of good fortune, Daniel spots a familiar face within the crowd — that of Kumiko, his former girlfriend. Let the nostalgia begin.
Elsewhere, Kreese continues to teach Cobra Kai and Hawk continues to stand out as his top student, while Miguel’s surgery goes ahead, though it’s unclear for now how successful it was. Johnny also finally goes to see Robby while he’s doing community service at a soup kitchen, but things don’t go well between them, leading to Robby being further embarrassed in front of the jailhouse bullies.
At school, Hawk gets jealous of Demetri talking to Moon and childishly destroys his science project. Here’s where we also get a bit of obligatory banter about micro and macro aggressions, triggering, and safe spaces — Cobra Kai made its name by being rather proudly anti-PC in regards to stuff like this, and it’s nice to see it hasn’t forgotten where it came from despite the exclusive move to Netflix.
School is also where the on-going rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do continues to boil over, namely during a soccer game that gets physical. The school is still pushing a zero-tolerance policy in regards to violence, so they all get sent to the principal, but of course, it’s the “good guys” who’re punished, which causes Sam to go ballistic.
Kreese spends most of “The Right Path” visiting people, starting with Johnny, who he catches at a bar. But his claims of everything he did being for his own good fall on deaf ears, and his attempts to get Johnny back on-side to train Cobra Kai fail. Later, he goes to see Robby in prison, which is the first step in an ill-advised connection forming between the two.
Johnny, meanwhile, continues to have a stronger connection with Miguel, who he once again visits in the hospital, though this time in sensei mode. He inspires him to get up and retrieve his phone, but it only results in Miguel falling out of bed onto his head. This is obviously going to be something of a process.
The best material here is all reserved for Okinawa, though, as Daniel explains to Kumiko why he really came back, and she takes him to Yukie’s house, where she has kept a load of love letters that Mr. Miyagi sent her. In a very moving scene, she reads aloud from one in which he, close to death, reflects on his life and his relationship with Daniel-san. Kumiko gets upset while reading of how proud he was of Daniel, and how Daniel welcomed him into his family and made him feel like Sam’s grandfather. This gives Daniel an idea of what to do next. In another neat transition, this time evoking Daniel’s old block-breaking days as ice is shaved into his drink, we find Daniel and Kumiko enjoying another drink until their conversation is interrupted by another unexpected arrival — Chozen!
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