Cobra Kai went big with his debut season, giving us a climax involving an All Valley karate tournament and a crowned winner. Since the show more or less records the hour at a reasonable rate, it had a lot to prove in Season 2 when it essentially had to portray the summer after Miguel’s big win. No school. No fights to train for immediately. Just the lives of these characters and the fallout from Johnny’s “badass” lessons inadvertently turning old victims into new bullies. And Johnny’s slow but well-deserved realization of Kreese’s toxic teachings.
Then Season 2 ended with the Helm’s Deep of high school karate brawls and Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) taking a massive fall from a second floor landing and ending up in a coma. Johnny’s son, Robby (Tanner Buchanan) is to blame, Daniel’s daughter, Sam (Mary Mouser), feels responsible, Miyagi-Do takes the heat (despite being the peaceful dojo), and the freakin ‘ John Kreese (Martin Kove) swept and robbed Johnny’s Students of him. Season 3 is about the aftermath of school combat, Johnny’s spiral of self-hatred, Miguel’s road to recovery, Kreese’s ever-growing influence, Miyagi-Do’s redemption, and much more. For its second consecutive tournament-free season, Cobra Kai proves that good storytelling, clever writing (sometimes a wink), and deeper exploration of these legacy characters from ’80s movies can provide effortless entertainment.
Like the Crane Kick itself, to paraphrase Mr. Miyagi, when done right, there is no defense against Cobra Kai’s greatness.
Spotlight on Netflix: January 2021
On top of all of this, and on par with Cobra Kai, the various “Bully Redemption” arcs are on point. The show’s secret weapon has been its ability to reexamine the seemingly single-note “bad” characters from its original films and make you empathize with them. Or, at the very least, explain why they are the way they are and why no one treats people badly or behaves in an obnoxious way for no reason. Everyone who joined Cobra Kai in Season 1 did so for a reason. And clung to Johnny as Sensei for a reason. Now the same can be said for those who choose to stay with Cobra Kai under Kreese’s ruthless reign.
Everyone is on a specific and separate journey and Cobra Kai is always aware of this, and of making people’s choices as believable as possible. It doesn’t necessarily mean that every turn and round goes perfectly, or that you don’t often watch the characters make terrible choices, but an effort is always made to make you understand why they are making certain decisions. And that everyone is as fleshed out as possible. Does that mean you’ll start to feel sorry for John Kreese? Everybody? Well, don’t rule it out! No one remains a cardboard cutout on this series. It is almost as if there is a permanent “no bully left behind” initiative. While Daniel slowly learns to take his share of the blame for his past conflicts, his former enemies are also rounded in kind and in style.From the Season 3 trailer, you can spot scenes from Daniel’s trip to Japan, and in an effort not to spoil too much, I won’t go into details of his exploits there this season. , except to say that Cobra Kai’s use of 80s movies, and his (sometimes super-obscure) characters, remains an absolute blast. He never leans too much on them, nor uses them as a crutch. Instead, as Daniel and Johnny examine their lives and begin walking half a mile in each other’s shoes, these faces from the past dive in, in a way that feels quite organic, to help provide perspective. third parties.
For fans of the old movies, the Daniel / Johnny angle is, or at least was the big draw. Like the wreck that their stubborn quarrel caused and invested in their reconciliation (however slow the reconciliation was). But Cobra Kai also spends as much time with Maridueña, Buchanan, Mouser and the rest of the young cast – like Peyton List, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni Decenzo, and more – as with the band’s legacy. And the various struggles of these teens, as they alternate between the light side and the dark side, continue to be the lifeblood of the show.
Teens grow up in the world of Cobra Kai, not Karate Kid, and the landscape is more complex. Their fights and feuds, which have now long survived the Season 1 tournament, are having real consequences. Cobra Kai is grainy and darker while still being a heightened, sometimes meta experience. Season 3 features plenty of “fallen” characters and focuses on how they help themselves and get back on their feet.
Cobra Kai: Pictures from season 3