By: Carissa Zawiski/Editor in Chief
Cobra Kai is one of Netflix’s top streamed shows, and it takes place thirty-four years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. Reopening the notorious Cobra Kai dojo, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) seeks redemption, reigniting his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who is now successful.
The show is back with the 3rd season, and was released on Netflix on January 1st, 2021. Last season ended at West Valley High with a blood-and-bone brawl. Johnny’s ace student Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) ended up in a coma with a spinal injury after Daniel’s troubled student Robby (Tanner Buchanan)-who is also Johnny’s son!-knocked Miguel down a stairway. The shocking cliffhanger risked breaking the show, offering a saga of righteous kick-punching genuine, medical-legal stakes.
In the new season, the two senseis sign off teaching, while the post-traumatic action-scene disorder works through separate high schoolers, especially Sam (Mary Mouser), the daughter of Daniel LaRusso. Sam is mostly stuck in a bitter rivalry with Tory (Peyton List). Meanwhile, Miguel wakes up from his coma, and his sensei Johnny helps him make an unbelievable recovery. In addition to supporting Miguel and beginning a new dojo (hilariously called “Eagle Fang Karate”), Johnny makes changes with Miguel’s mother Carmen (Vanessa Rubio), and gets a visit from his first love, Ali herself (Elisabeth Shue). In the meantime, due to issues with his car dealership, Daniel takes a detour to Okinawa where he excavates memories of Part II of the Karate Kid. The time he spent there helps his business, and teaches him a few new karate moves to be used later on.
Season 3 falls back on Karate Kid’s original dark Sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove). Flashbacks make his backstory complicated, and in a great way the story thread pays off. Kreese outlines the show’s cultural-war void. He’s also a psychotic maniac, and the wounds he inflicted on the students of his Gen X are now being re-inflicted on the children of their Gen Z. In fact, Kreese’s students in Cobra Kai are more dangerous this season. Eli/Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) is now a typical ‘retro bully who terrorizes anyone with his posse. A pivotal moment for the teen and the show, is when he breaks the arm of his former best friend Demetri (Gianni Decenzo).
Finally, Miguel and Sam team up to get both dojo’s to work together to fight against Kreese’s students, which sends Robby right into Kreese’s arms as soon as he’s out of Juvie. It ends up with another well-choreographed battle between Cobra Kai and what is now the newly formed Eagle Fang Karate + Miyagi-Do just like in season 2. This time the violence is taking place in Sam’s own house after Cobra Kai’s ruins their holiday party. Sam finally faces Tory, while Hawk comes to the rescue of Demetri and takes down his former dojo mates. Only to make Robby remain on his side, Johnny and Daniel face off with Kreese. In the coming All Valley Championships Tournament, the three men agree to take it to the mat, with the winner remaining and the losers going. In the end, Johnny and his students end up at Miyagi-Do with Daniel’s students, all on the same side, including: Miguel, Sam, Hawk, and Demetri.
Personally, I would rate the season 4.5/5 stars. The season started out a little slow compared to the last two seasons, and some of the scenes were somewhat predictable. Overall, season 3 of Cobra Kai has managed to continue pushing the characters and plots in the right direction. Transformation and redemption are main takeaways of the series, and in this season we see a lot of both. Again, the writers did a solid job putting together feel-good nostalgia, comedy, suspense, and action, making it really difficult to leave after episode 10. The show remains to be one of the best and most bingeable shows. Season 4 is currently being produced, and can’t come quick enough.
Click the link below to watch the trailer for season 3.