As ‘Cobra Kai’ races towards its season 3 finale, three drastically different combat philosophies compete against each other for dominance. In the appropriately titled 8th episode, ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Badass,’ this conflict between Daniel’s (Ralph Macchio) Miyagi-Do, Kreese’s (Martin Kove) Cobra Kai, and Johnny’s (William Zabka) Eagle Fang Karate takes center stage. Meanwhile, in the wake of the school brawl, the All-Valley Karate Tournament is called off, prompting all three senseis to appear before the city council in an attempt to save it. SPOILERS ALERT.
Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 8 Recap
Daniel, Kreese, and Johnny train their respective students, each staying true to his dojo’s foundational philosophies. But even the perpetually calm and balanced Daniel has become agitated because of his concern for his students. With Robby’s (Tanner Buchanan) release from the detention center, the feud between the three dojos manifests in their efforts to recruit him. The three senseis try to convince the city council that they must not cancel the tournament, but the obvious enmity between them only worsens the situation. Ultimately, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) and Sam (Mary Mouser) have to step up to advocate for the tournament.
Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 8 Explained: The City Council
The cancelation of the tournament comes as a surprise for all three dojos, although Daniel and Johnny consider it a blessing in disguise. As Daniel puts it, at least the tournament will now not be used by Cobra Kai as a platform to promote their hateful ideology. But Daniel soon realizes that Sam and his other students have been looking forward to the tournament, so he prepares a statement for the city council meeting.
Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) encourages Johnny to attend the meeting. She has seen what a positive influence Johnny has been on Miguel, and although neither she nor Johnny wants her son to compete while he is still recovering, she knows that Miguel will never get hurt again with Johnny watching over him. Even if Johnny hasn’t realized it yet, others around him know that he was born to be a teacher.
At the meeting, the rivalry between Daniel and Johnny briefly resurfaces before they realize that Kreese is also attending the meeting. Johnny now has no delusions whatsoever about the type of man his former sensei is. “What did you think would happen when you summoned that devil back to Earth?” Daniel asks Johnny earlier in the episode. The meeting quickly descends into an argument in which Johnny and Daniel find common ground against Kreese. But it also seems to convince the city council members that the valley is better off without the tournament.
It is then that Miguel arrives and gives an impassioned speech, enunciating how positively Johnny’s teachings have influenced his life. Sam joins him soon in defending the tournament, telling the council that the competition gives them a platform to display their talents. She subtly implies that the violence can at least be monitored during the tournament. If it continues to happen in schools or abandoned recreational areas, it wouldn’t be long before some kid gets hurt even worse than Miguel. Moved by their advocacy, the council announces that it will allow the tournament to happen.
Daniel and Johnny separately go to pick up Robby from the detention center. The boy is facing immense emotional turmoil right now. He is bitter, angry, and frustrated and feels that everyone has betrayed him. Predictably, he rejects both Daniel’s and Johnny’s offers of support, preferring to stay alone. He wasn’t prepared for what he would experience at the detention center, and the only advice that proved to be helpful was from Kreese. While visiting his parole officer, he runs into Tory (Peyton List), and the showrunners don’t fail to point out the numerous similarities between them.
Tory, brutally pragmatic as ever, tells Robby about Miguel and Sam. At first, Robby refuses to believe it. For all his growing nihilism, he still considers Sam to be the only good part of his life. But then, he sees her and Miguel together when he visits Miyagi-Do, and that illusion shatters. That night, he formally joins Cobra Kai. As Johnny’s son and Daniel’s former student, Robby is Kreese’s perfect weapon against both his rivals.