Last we saw, The Valley was in chaos. The Dojo wars were raging and there were losses on both sides. Miguel Diaz was sent to the Hospital, Robbie was sent on the run. Tory and Sam were brutally injured in their own right. What was meant to bring badass-ness back to youth had failed at the hands of Johnny Lawrence. Mr. Miyagi’s teachings had fallen on deaf ears with Daniel LaRusso’s students. John Kreese had set the karate world on fire. What would happen when we returned? We waited and waited, and now we have our answer. Season 3 of Cobra Kai was released on Netflix last night, and I for one am already waiting for season 4, because I need more.
After launching on YouTube Red in 2018, the world has been caught up in Cobra Kai. Taking a unique look at The Karate Kid lore, given to us from the Legendary Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, we have watched Johnny Lawrence try to pick up his life and bring Karate back to the Valley. His rivalry with Daniel LaRusso kicked right back up where it had lifted off. After two incredible seasons the series was sold to Netflix where it will live for the foreseeable future. Originally set to return on January 7th, the newest season arrived a week early on New Year’s. The new season brings back all the originals, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka as LaRusso and Johnny respectfully. As well as new series stars, Xolo Maridueña, Jacob Bertrand, Courtney Henggeler, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser and Peyton List are all back.
However the cast lost Nichole Brown who played Aisha Robinson in the first two seasons, which is a blow as she was a very strong character to the show. Her loss is countered by the return of Joe Seo’s Kyler, now joining the ranks of Cobra Kai. While this switch is a blow to the show in the way that Aisha was a well-rounded character, the storyline takes a road that wouldn’t fit well with Aisha. The show’s Executive Producer and co-showrunner Jon Hurwitz has hinted that the character could still return.
Over all this season does a good job at ramping up the drama, the action, and the story of Cobra Kai without sacrificing much. The season takes you on a ride of twists and turns in the drama department that will have you on the edge of your seat from episode to episode. From Kreese’s maniacal plans to take over Karate in the Valley, to the LaRusso’s issues with their business outside of Karate, to the kids trying to navigate their friendships, their relationships, and everything in between; Cobra Kai keeps the drama flowing. Nothing really goes beyond the realm of disbelief, it stays pretty much within the rules of the world they have built, which I like.
The Action is strong. The Karate seems even more crisp then in seasons before which at times can be hard to believe. There is nothing that really rises to the levels of the school fight from season two, but what they do is very fun and exciting. Biggest step up in Daniel’s Karate. Macchio seems to have taken steps to biome more limber and look more the part of a Karate Master.
Miguel and Johnny’s relationship is still the heart of the show. While they lean into nostalgia even more this season, we are still sitting on the shoulders of Johnny being a mentor to Miguel. When we leave off these two are in bad shape, one mentally, and one physically. They once again have to find a way to work through these complications and build on their relationship. The writers have done a good job at not making this seem repetitive, but fresh and organic in their growth.
Sam goes through quite a bit of character development this season as well. She is tasked with being the leader of Miyagi-Do all though she doesn’t feel up to it. Still dealing with repercussions and trauma of the school brawl from season 2 we follow her as she attempts to get back up, a lesson we have seen on numerous occasions in sports film, but one we never tire of. Cobra Kai does it with such a gentle touch that they are able to make it realistic and exciting all the way through.
They do go deep into the background of John Kreese this season through flashbacks. However, this was an aspect I was not a huge fan of. They work on one level, but for the most part I liked the idea of Kreese just being this bad guy that you don’t understand. I know that would make him a very basic bad guy, but it worked when we didn’t care. While the background and flashbacks make him a much more developed character, and they do a good job of making you actually relate to him and his journey, I still was totally ok with the one not villain.
Over all, Season 3 of Cobra Kai is a strong addition to the Karate Kid franchise. It shifts the tone slightly, but the show needed that tonal shift after the way season 2 ended. It is unpredictable, fun, exciting, and action packed. Characters are developed even more, and stories flow dynamically. It has me excited and ready for the next installment, which probably won’t arrive until probably January of 2022.
Have you seen the third season of Cobra Kai? Let me know, and answer the call in the comments!