Very few reboots, or remakes are able to capture the magic of the original intellectual property. Cobra Kaiseason one very well exceeded expectations while bringing us on a wild ride back into the lives of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). The series felt refreshed and revitalized adding new characters and rivalries to the mix while still focusing on the two main stars. Even with that focus so heavily on Johnny and Daniel, the new characters shined in their own right and held their ground on the mats.
Season two picks up right where season one left off. Only this time the action, the charm and heart is bigger and better than we could have imagined. So much nostalgia is thrown into this series giving longtime fans what they wanted. Johnny is still reliving his childhood trauma while Daniel channels his inner Mr. Miyagi and opens Miyago-Do bringing Robby (Tanner Buchanan) fully under his wing. This of course adds fuel to the fire being stoked by Johnny’s former mentor and tormentor John Kreese (Martin Kove). The addition of Kreese adds more weight on Johnny’s conscious as things spiral out of control for Johnny and the state of his dojo.
Looking back on season one and seeing how the new characters are introduced and developed over the course on the season is intriguing, season two doesn’t make these characters adapt of have the growth necessary to put them over the top. Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) is the main protagonist who has a turn to the dark side by the end of the season. Season two see’s Miguel show some remorse to his actions toward Robby but not toward Sam (Mary Mouser). These are typical high school kids, so it makes sense for them not to feel the gravity of their actions but to never change how they treat one another stints their character potential.
“Quiet! This man led you to the mountain top, and you question him? Look at you. Look at all of you. I can’t believe this pathetic pack of pussies competed in the All Valley, and let alone won. It’s an absolute miracle. And who’s responsible for that miracle? Johnny Lawrence. The best student in the history of Cobra Kai. My student.”
Robby is still the standout character of the series as he is the most developed character and still the true underdog. His relationship with his father is more interesting to see blossom as Robby is really the one who appears to be maturing. There is a set back and the same can be said for Miguel who shows an act of kindness to Robby letting their rivalry take the backseat until the finale. The final fight is more than we could have asked for. The only difference between the season 2 finale and the season one, is the realism and toll this rivalry has on Johnny and Daniel.
Johnny’s realization that he doesn’t want to be like Kreese is something that wouldn’t be possible if the character never made his return. Cobra Kai means more to Johnny than he realizes, and he must protect it no matter the cost. He soon learns what that cost is while truly feeling the weight of the events in the finale. One of the highlights of this second season is a brand-new character. That character is Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser). Paul steals ever scene he’s in making it hard to dislike his utter goofiness.
The series as a whole is incredibly easy to binge in one sitting. As a couple episodes go by, you’ll find you need to complete the entire season as soon as you start it. There are brief moments of clarity between Johnny and Daniel and it’s refreshing to see them actually get along for once instead of constantly rekindling the hatred each one shares for the other. They had their time to shine so it’s up to Miguel, Sam, and Robby to keep that torch lit. The addition of Tory (Peyton List) gives another reason why this goes beyond karate. She’s mainly used as an instigator driving a wedge between Miguel and Sam.
“Cobra Kai sells power, strength, and when I joined I was, well, I was weak. It was 1985, I had just won my first All-Valley, and, Mr. Miyagi didn’t want me to compete anymore. He never really like the idea of fighting for trophies in the first place. So, you know, I-we got into this big argument, and what did I do? I joined Cobra Kai. I learned to strike first, strike hard, show no mercy, and it turned me into an angry and violent kid. It changed me.”
Miguel and Sam didn’t feel right as a couple together, and the screenwriters felt that way too. Robby and Sam have such incredible intense chemistry together that just pops off the screen. Every scene they have together, you want them to be together. It’s a Shakespearean tragedy what these characters endure together. They are Romeo & Juliet reimagined for the real present world.
Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) is the true epitome of what Cobra Kai stands for. He is comparable to teenage Johnny Lawrence being that true heel the show needs to thrive. Majority of the time I want someone to punch his teeth in. That’s true acting greatness that you can make a character you play truly hated and all the credit goes to Jacob. His character does feel stagnant at times as everyone around him changes and matures.
Overall, Cobra Kai season two is a step in the right direction for this new series. Having the show move off of YouTube and to Netflix was the best decision for the show to thrive on a more popular service. The characters are increasingly more complex as they deal with the struggles of life outside of the dojo. The action is intense and grand, and the charm is more present than ever. Season two does see some character growth between Johnny and Daniel but nothing really changes for Miguel, Sam or even Hawk. If I were to rate Cobra Kai season two, I’d rate it a 4.6 out of 5.
Cobra Kai season two premiered in 2019 and can be streamed on Netflix. Cobra Kai season two has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%. Cobra Kai was created for TV by Josh Heald, John Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg and stars William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Tanner Buchanan, Xolo Mariduena, Mary Mouser & Jacob Bertrand.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Cobra Kai season two and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
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