“Then Learn Fly” allows Daniel and Miguel to bond, but their relationship threatens the dynamic between the dojos.
This recap of Cobra Kai season 4, episode 3, “Then Learn Fly”, contains spoilers.
“Then Learn Fly” has a predictable structure. After a couple of episodes depicting Daniel and Johnny trying and failing to get on the same page and work together, here we see them finally start to gel… and then realize that the whole thing isn’t going to work after all. But it’s still impressive how the half-hour gets to that point, how neatly and organically it nurtures the right relationships to sell the idea on. Miguel, who has never known his biological father, sees his burgeoning relationship with Daniel as getting two for the price of one. But Johnny, who has ruined his relationship with his biological son, is terrified of losing his connection to Miguel. Disagreeing over karate styles is one thing. But some differences are much harder to reconcile.
Cobra Kai season 4, episode 3 recap
It is satisfying to see Daniel and Johnny getting on, though. They both take the opposing dojo’s kids out for a lesson, and their plans are comically on-brand. Daniel wants the Eagle Fang kids to catch koi fish with their bare hands. Johnny wants the Miyagi-Do students to jump between rooftops with nothing but a pile of dirty mattresses in the alleyway below them. It’s an attempt to sway the kids to other ways of thinking about and doing things, and some respond to the lessons better than others (Miguel thinks outside the box to trap the fish; Sam plucks up the courage to leap between the rooftops.)
The point is, though, that it all seems to be working, fostering an environment of togetherness and understanding. It’s outside of karate where the real issues begin to arise. In an early dinner conversation, we learn that Miguel’s educational aspirations are probably going to be limited by his socioeconomic status, and later he’s reluctant to accept help from Daniel when Carmen’s car breaks down because he’s worried that his sensei will think he’s not good enough for Sam. Of course, Daniel can relate, since he comes from very similar circumstances, which he relates to Miguel while teaching him to fix cars and drive. When Johnny eventually sees the closeness between these two at the end of the episode, it’s like all of his worst fears coming true at once — Daniel can relate to Miguel in ways he can’t.
“Then Learn Fly” also spares some time for Silver, who is having Vietnam flashbacks of his promises to Kreese (their time at war was detailed in the previous season). Their relationship is obviously complex and traumatic. When Terry turns up at the dojo, he confronts Kreese about dredging up the past and “messing with his head”. But as the episode progresses and Silver has more flashbacks, to him and Kreese getting matching Cobra Kai tattoos and discussing him putting the dojo ahead of inheriting the family business, present-day Silver ends up symbolically tying his hair into a ponytail. We all know what that means.
And then there’s Kenny. He goes to Cobra Kai on the recommendation of his brother, who knew Robby in juvie. Kreese throws him in at the deep end, which Kenny doesn’t take to, and he quickly leaves. By following the address in the bag he left behind, though, Robby is able to find him at home. After seeing videos of Anthony and his friends tormenting Kenny, Robby agrees to “show him a few moves”. Eventually, Kenny returns to Cobra Kai and, with Robby’s endorsement and after socking Kyler in the mouth, Kreese gives him a spot.