Now that Cobra Kai season two is out, there are some major episodes that warrant spoiler discussions. The cast and creators of Cobra Kai were happy to discuss those episodes as long as the stories ran after the season premiered and we include the spoiler warnings. So this one includes spoilers for episode six. Make sure you’ve seen episode six by the time you read this story, and we won’t spoil anything in episode seven or beyond.

Still: spoilers ahead.

In episode six, Johnny Lawrence (WIlliam Zabka) takes a break from the Cobra Kai dojo to visit his original Cobra Kai gang from The Karate Kid. Whether leaving John Kreese (Martin Kove) in charge of the students was a good idea is a different story. That’s not what this story is about.

This story is about Ron Thomas, Tony O’Dell and Rob Garrison reprising their roles as Bobby, Jimmy and Tommy respectively. The gang reunited for one last hurrah as Tommy dealt with cancer.

Where Was Dutch?

It’s always great to see any returning Karate Kid character, so Thomas, O’Dell and Garrison were a nice surprise. There were five original Cobras though, so where was Dutch (Chad McQueen)?

“We had some conversations with Chad McQueen and we weren’t quite sure whether or not we were going to involve his character in that script or not,” Heald said. “Early on, it seemed like the scheduling just wasn’t going to work out. But with that exception, Rob, Ron and Tony were very happy and eager and excited to be able to put back on the faces of these characters and have a little bit more meat to chew with them.”

It sounds like there are no hard feelings between the show and McQueen or vice versa and it’s entirely logical that his high school buddies can’t all make it, even in an emergency. After all, even Johnny hadn’t seen them for a while.

Stepping Into the Foreground

Just like Cobra Kai made Johnny a main character, the show was able to give the other Cobras real dramatic scenes, at least for a single episode. That’s the great thing about television. Star Trek can do a whole episode about Sulu, but a movie has to focus on Kirk and Spock.

“In the original movie, they were asked to be the other guys on the bikes and the other guys laughing behind Johnny,” Heald continued. “Here, it was really fun and enjoyable and satisfying to us as fans of the original movie to see them carry the same weight that Johnny carries with him throughout life, about how Cobra Kai ended for them and what that has meant in adulthood, even in a small way.”

Cobra Kai is still the Johnny Lawrence story, so the other guys get to be part of that story in greater context, proportionate to Johnny from the movie to the show.

“It was also just enjoyable for them to fill that void in the show up to this point of giving Johnny some compatriots and friends and some people who have had a shared experience with him and see a different side of Johnny Lawrence if only for a tragic moment,” Heald said.

The Bar Fight

In their return, the Cobra Kai class of ’84 got to show their skills in a brawl in a biker bar. Like most fights on Cobra Kai, they had to shoot it quickly.

“Wow, we had four hours to film that fight scene,” Zabka said. “We had about an hour before that of learning that fight scene. There were a lot of stunt guys in that fight and all the background and all those stunt fighters had their stuff down, but as far as the OG Cobra Kais, Rob, Tony and Ron, we learned all our stuff right there on the spot. We went right from the drinking beer to scene to okay, now we have to learn this fight. We watched the stunt guys do it and then we learned it right there.”

They’d all had fight scenes in The Karate Kid, either attacking Daniel, getting taught a lesson by Mr. Miyagi, or one-on-one in the climactic tournament. Each of those were shot on a movie schedule though.

“It was very fast, unlike The Karate Kid where we had months to prepare,” Zabka said. “This show is moving so fast, the time to do it is real quick so we have to be in good fighting shape and ready to go at every minute, stretch out every day and warm up every day. That fight scene took four hours all in all I would guess. We were against the clock. We had to get it. It’s a big brawl from a lot of angles, a lot of guys, a lot of choreographing but it was a thrilling fight, especially to be back with the original Cobra Kais, to work with them again was like having family to dinner. It was amazing.”

The Actors Have Kept In Touch

It may have been a while since Johnny’s seen the old Cobras, but in real life Zabka never lost touch with them.

“We’re all great friends,” Zabka said. “I see them frequently. Rob Garrison who plays Tommy lives in West Virginia so I see him probably once a year. He’ll come and stay with me at the house and visit California. Ron and I see each other a lot. Tony O’Dell who plays Jimmy lives just around the corner. All of us, from The Karate Kid to now, we’ve remained close, close friends and brothers.”

That paid off for the creators when they didn’t have a lot of time to shoot the epic reunion.

“We all have friends from high school that we keep in touch with over the years, some of whom you see frequently, some of whom you’re exchanging group texts with or Facebook messages with,” Jon Hurwitz said. “Billy Zabka and that group of guys who you see in episode six are all very close to this day. When they were making the original Karate Kid, they had two or three months of Karate training even before the shoot. So they spent four, five, six months together as a group, training very much like the Cobra Kai dojo where they formed a really powerful bond between them. Billy Zabka is still in touch with these guys today, I think Rob Garrison, he and Rob talk every week or two it sounds like and the other guys several times a year. So what was really fun was even though some of these guys haven’t acted in a while, their natural chemistry and history in addition to their acting chops was able to shine through because they just had that comfort level together. It felt like old friends getting together because they are old friends getting together.”

They’ve Been Waiting

Cobra Kai has been a huge opportunity for Zabka to return to his trademark role, as well as Ralph Macchio and now Martin Kove as John Kreese. The success of season one empowered the creators to do this episode in season two, and Zabka said his costars were supportive last season.

“They were very excited and it’s difficult for me to step into Cobra Kai without them, the show,” Zabka said. “I felt all of us, the whole gang, we were all one. We were like a pack so I had an 8 x 10 picture of the original Cobra Kais on the set of the final fight scene from The Karate Kid on my wall. I brought that with me so I kind of brought them there with me in spirit for the whole season, knowing there’s a chance if this goes well that they’ll come and join me. I was thrilled to see that the writers found a way for them to come in.”

As much as Cobra Kai has been about Johnny Lawrence’s redemption, episode six was a major step towards Johnny owning who he was and who they’ve all become.

“It feels like it came full circle,” Zabka said. “Doing that episode was the highlight of the season for me, to get to work with those guys again, be in their presence and share that energy. It was just organic like it was from the beginning when we first met, and it’s lasted a lifetime. To put that in the show was magical.”

Cobra Kai season two is now streaming on YouTube Premium.

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