In the season finale of Cobra Kai, more personal obstacles are faced, and some differences are set aside. The All Valley Grand Champion is named, leaving everyone reeling in the aftermath. Read on to find out what happens in “The Rise.”
Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.
The episode opens in a hospital, but it’s not Miguel. It’s Ray (we’ll come back to him). Miguel is fine; he just has a sore back. While he can still compete and Johnny encourages him, Miguel isn’t certain it’s the right call. A bit later, Johnny has a run-in with Kreese, who’s confident about Cobra Kai’s future. Johnny is determined to shut him down, and when he checks on Miguel again, he reiterates his earlier sentiment. Miguel has one minute to return to the mat, but he doesn’t. So, Eli advances to the finals by default. And Miguel is gone.
Meanwhile, Samantha and Robby also advance to finals. Before Robby and Eli’s match, Robby finds Kenny beating up Anthony in the locker room. He tries to talk sense into Kenny, but his effort is futile. Then it’s time for the boys’ final. Cobra Kai only needs one win for grand champs, while Miyagi-Do needs two. Eli and Robby’s match begins. They tie at 1-1 before running out of time and going into a sudden death round. Eli earns the win for Miyagi-Do.
A Victor Emerges
Miguel finds Samantha before her match, where they make amends. In another area, Amanda finds Tory, noting that Tory’s been keeping up her appointments. Amanda has one more request for Tory: fight fair during her match. With only a couple minutes to spare, Daniel approaches Johnny and asks for his help coaching. They both apologize for how they dealt with Samantha and Miguel. The match is about to start, and Samantha and Tory receive their pep talks.
During the match, Tory takes the lead. Daniel tells Samantha to follow her instincts. But when she lands a hit that should count, the ref discounts it. They continue and Samantha pins Tory, who elbows Samantha in the eye but receives no consequence. While there’s a time out, Terry tells Tory to do it again if Samantha pulls another move. Tory is skeptical, but Terry doesn’t care. Meanwhile, Kreese eyes Johnny and seems to have a bit of a crisis of conscience. The match ends, and Tory (and therefore Cobra Kai) win the tournament. Terry announces he’s franchising Cobra Kai.
When One Son Returns…
Samantha feels bad about the match, and Daniel tells her it’s okay. Carmen finds Johnny and tells him that Miguel left. Johnny blames himself, but Carmen says maybe Miguel just needs space. Later, Johnny goes to the Cobra Kai dojo, which is now empty. Robby shows up and says they’re moving to bigger and more locations. Johnny commends Robby but notices he’s quite upset and thinks it’s about the tournament. Robby tells Johnny about Kenny, and how it made him realize the pent up hate he had for Johnny and making the mistake of thinking Cobra Kai could fix it. Johnny tries to take the blame. Instead, Robby says he’s tired of blaming Johnny, and Johnny goes to hug Robby.
Johnny goes to see Carmen and sees she and her mother are upset as well. Miguel is really gone this time. He left a note reflecting on everything that’s happened with his back injury and the tournament. Though he learned a lot from Johnny, he wants to find himself and know where he came from. We then see him boarding a bus for Mexico City. He’s going to find his father. Carmen reveals Miguel’s father doesn’t know he exists. She doesn’t know what to do. Johnny promises to find Miguel and make sure he’s safe.
An Uncertain Future
The Cobra Kai kids head out to celebrate. Tory goes to grab her bag before joining them, and she overhears Terry talking to the ref about upholding a deal they made. Later at Terry’s, he and Kreese talk about the match. Kreese brings up the weakness thing again and wonders what his is. Terry says it’s Johnny Lawrence, but it’s fine because Kreese is Terry’s weakness. Kreese disagrees. He views himself as Terry’s strength, once again mentioning (you guessed it) Vietnam. Terry dismisses it this time as the police show up to arrest Kreese. We then learn Terry also made a deal with Ray: Ray can rejoin Cobra Kai if he pins the beating on Kreese, which he does when a detective visits him in the hospital.
But Terry isn’t the only one willing to keep fighting. Daniel visits Mr. Miyagi’s grave, saying there’s too much at stake to honor the deal with Cobra Kai. He wraps up by asking someone for help. When he turns, we see Chozen is with him, and he agrees to help Daniel.