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Recap / Cobra Kai S1E3 "Esqueleto"

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The episode opens with a nighttime shot looking over L.A. (set to the strains of some 80's hair metal) before it cuts to Miguel's grandmother cooking dinner for the family. She calls to Miguel in his room, but mistakes the sounds of his karate practice as masturbation. Over dinner, the family discusses what Miguel's costume should be for the school's Halloween dance. Miguel suggests Deadpool, but notes that the costume is expensive.


Meanwhile, Daniel's insecurity about Sam's relationship with Kyler reaches its peak, to the extent that he is willing to sneak into his daughter's room and read her instant messages, in which Kyler claims to have "something BIG" to show her at the school dance. Daniel volunteers to chaperone the dance to keep an eye on her, but Sam makes him promise that he will not embarrass her.

At school, Aisha approaches Sam with the idea of going to the dance as Sodium and Chloride, respectively, but Sam tells her that she had already planned on going with Yasmine and Moon as Laker Girls. Sam offers to order another costume so that Aisha can join them, but Yasmine cruelly rebuffs her on account of her size.

At the Cobra Kai dojo, Johnny has received several past-due notices in the mail. Desperate to pay the bills, he asks Miguel if he has any friends interested in taking karate, but suspects he doesn't have any. When Miguel suggests advertising, Johnny bribes a homeless woman to help draw attention to the dojo with a sign while he walks the streets handing out flyers, but his efforts are either ignored or met with ridicule. He returns to the dojo where Miguel is eager to show off the new Cobra Kai webpage he developed in study hall. Impressed, Johnny tells Miguel to meet him at the high school at midnight for his first lesson in kicking, which involves Johnny tying Miguel's hands together and pushing him into a swimming pool. With practice, Miguel is eventually able to break boards with his feet. He and Johnny then prepare for the school dance, but Johnny rejects Miguel's shoddy homemade costume and proposes a different one, stating that Cobra Kai has a reputation to uphold.


Miguel attends the dance in a skeleton ("esqueleto") costume identical to those worn by the Cobra Kai in the 80's. Daniel is disturbed by the sight, but when he notices a Cobra Kai flyer taped to the wall, he leaves the dance to confront Johnny who is posting flyers all over the school. At that moment, he spies Sam leaving the dance hand-in-hand with Kyler. In an empty classroom, Daniel interrupts them but misinterprets Kyler innocently presenting her with his grandmother's bracelet, making Sam furious. She tells Yasmine she is ready to leave, but Yasmine cannot resist posting a cruel pig meme about Aisha eating at the snack table before they go.

Miguel takes a bathroom break with his friends in the boys' locker room, but they run afoul of Kyler's gang once more. Left to fend for himself, Miguel knocks Kyler down with a jumping front kick, but the gang quickly seizes him and delivers a vicious beating. Afterwards, a dismayed Johnny locates his fallen student.


This episode contains the following tropes:

  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The homeless woman Johnny uses for advertising proves she is unable or unwilling to focus for very long.
  • Bathroom Brawl: Miguel receives a beatdown from Kyler and his gang in the locker room during the Halloween dance.
  • Because I Said So: Johnny's reason for cancelling Miguel's practice.
  • Call-Back:
    • Miguel dresses up as a skeleton, the same way Johnny and his gang did in the original movie.
    • Daniel mentions his mom driving him to his date with Ali.
    • "Cobra Kai never dies!"
    • Johnny looking at the trophy case in the school, including an old photo of Ali.
  • Cassandra Truth: Daniel notices Sam and Kyler spending some alone time in an empty classroom, then intervenes and tries to warn Sam that Kyler is bad news. Sam doesn't heed his warning and dismissively shoots him down for not keeping to his promise of not openly humiliating her, then furiously storms off.
  • Cheap Costume: Along with a bit of Your Costume Needs Work, Miguel's "generic superhero" is made of a couple of old bedsheets. Interestingly, this is also the point where Miguel starts to turn from a sweet kid willing to wear the bad costume his yaya made for him, into a more confident badass... and eventual bully.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Downplayed. Miguel at most gets only a single hit in before he is quickly overwhelmed by Kyler and his goons, and beaten into unconsciousness.
  • Downer Ending: The episode ends with Miguel beaten to a pulp by Kyler and his gang, Daniel's relationship with his daughter has gone downhill, and vicious cyber bullying of Aisha begins with a pig meme.
  • Foreshadowing: Amanda mentions that Louie's behaviour at the dealership is unacceptable and unprofessional.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Dear God, Johnny.
Double-you, double-you, double-you, period...
  • I Lied: Johnny really didn't know the night guard.
  • Insistent Terminology: Demetri is a Necromancer, not a sorcerer!
  • Meaningful Name: "Esqueleto" is Spanish for skeleton, referencing Miguel dressing up as a skeleton the same way Johnny and his friends did in the original movie.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: When Miguel starts training in his bedroom to loud music, his grandmother hears his exertions and immediately assumes he is masturbating. She attributes the bruises on his knuckles from training to this as well!
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Miguel is on the receiving end of this from Kyler and his goons.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Zig-Zagged. Daniel interrupts Sam helping Kyler with his belt, and Kyler claims that it isn't what it looks like... but later, Kyler reveals to his friends that he was working toward exactly what it looks like.
  • Oh, Crap!: Miguel's reaction once he kicks Kyler and realizes he picked a fight he had no chance of winning.
  • Pet the Dog: Sam attempts to be friendly with Aisha, telling her to "stay salty." Quickly followed by Yasmine's Kick the Dog wherein she cruelly pranks Aisha.
  • Properly Paranoid: Daniel bursts in and embarrasses Sam right as Kyler is about to give her a bracelet that belonged to his grandmother. When he's back with his posse, Kyler reveals that it was just a cheap piece of costume jewelry, and the "Grandma's bracelet" story is his go-to trick when pressuring girls into sex.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • When Johnny pushes Miguel into a swimming pool with his hands tied for the first time, Miguel nearly drowns.
    • Miguel has only just begun to train seriously, and still struggles with basic PT. So while he can get one good hit in, he's no match for multiple athletic opponents at once.
    • Before he signed his lease, Johnny did not stop to consider that a dojo like Cobra Kai is a business, which means it has expenses to cover, and one customer's worth of revenue isn't enough to survive. Normally, more customers can be generated with advertising, but Johnny has no clue how to market his dojo, either. Unsurprisingly, this all leads to the past due notices we see Johnny trying to cope with, and by the end of the episode, Cobra Kai is in serious financial trouble.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Demetri and Eli flee after they're discovered by Kyler and his goons, leaving only Miguel to fend for himself. It doesn't end well.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Johnny becomes a literal one, when he drops Miguel into the pool to teach him about kicking.
  • Trauma Button: Miguel unwittingly hits one of Daniel's when he dresses as a skeleton, like the Cobra Kai did when they beat him unconscious as a teenager.


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