We all love feeling nostalgic, there is something every single one of us can look back to from years ago and hype it up as some of the best content pop culture has put out. Cobra Kai is just that for all the lovers of the 80’s and its parent The Karate Kid. Now on its new home for more to discover the nostalgia of this classic franchise, the show is in its third season. Focusing heavily the story from the original, seasons one and two brings you right back into the comforting arms of Miyago-Do (though Mr. Miyagi has long since passed on) and the students that have now become the teachers.
Where last we left off with the dojos of Cobra Kai and Miyago-Do, a brawl breaks out at the high school leaving the star pupil of Cobra Kai Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) in a coma from landing on the railing at the bottom of a staircase. Robby (Tanner Buchanan) who landed the fateful kick goes on the run leaving his father Johnny (William Zabka) and rival Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) to clean up the mess. On the hunt for Robbie, John Kreese (Martin Kove) takes over as sensei of Cobra Kai in Johnny’s absence.
Cobra Kai’s strength as a whole lie in the relationships and rivalries built and developed in the original trilogy. With the younger cast, their relationships with each other and to their sensei are now the backbone of the series while Johnny and Daniel’s relationship provides a solid foundation to build upon. After the mess at the school, the motivation for the rivalry to continue has burned out since Johnny and Daniel begin to see things under the same microscope. They no longer can sustain living in the past as they slowly become allies as the season progresses.
“At least I know who I am. You are still trying to be something you’re not.”
Johnny and Daniel will do anything for their kids, well Johnny is warming up to being a better father with action instead of just words. His and Robby’s relationship at this point can’t be held onto with another band aid – the damage is done no matter how hard Johnny tries to make amends. If it wasn’t for Miguel, Johnny wouldn’t be trying so hard to win his son back. Miguel is the sun that all characters revolve around – he’s the one that reignited the fierce rivalry and set the events in motion that led him to the coma and somewhat paralyzed (not that it’s his fault, somewhat).
While Johnny and Daniel take responsibility, as they should (they are the adults that have so much influence on the kids) most of the blame should be put on Tory’s (Peyton List) shoulders for what happened to Miguel. Her jealousy and anger toward Samantha (Mary Mouser) and her relationship with Miguel led to the uncontrollable brawl at the school. Each character’s fallout from that brawl is developed well that moves the story in the direction it needs to go for there to be growth.
Cobra Kai relies on its nostalgia factor a little too much. It was only a matter of time before other characters from the original trilogy made their returns. Creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg make the returns make sense that fits the story organically. The 80’s influence is fully on display with attitudes and how the world has adapted to the new generation. Besides the consequences from the school there is no other heavy sentence based on the despicable actions of each dojo. Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo) gets his arm broken by Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) and nothing happens. Not a single assault charge against Hawk or the influencer, Kreese. This ultra-stylistic choice isn’t realistic as if something similar would happen in the real world. How were no cops called to the house brawl? These fights are borderline death battles and there isn’t a single person to be blamed for this kind of action. These situations don’t make any sense to the overall story and the lack of accountability by the adults who are supposed to know better speaks volumes.
“This man has poisoned the mind of his students. I should know, I was one of them.”
Kreese is completely removed from society that nothing seems to register in his brain about the seriousness of these kids’ actions. At least Hawk begins to realize that he’s become the thing he once hated and that he’s not god’s gift to earth. It’s about time he realizes this and that’s the brilliance of Cobra Kai and the performances by the actors and actresses. As a performance Jacob Bertrand is completely overshadowed by Xolo and Tanner. Hawk is such a unique character that you hate him because of his actions but you can’t help but to root for him to see the error in his ways.
Bullying in any circumstance is unnecessary and not welcome. That’s the overall message this show is attempting to teach while some of its characters (Tory) cannot grasp the severity and harm that comes with bullying. Certain characters learn from their mistakes while others appear to be stuck in quicksand.
Cobra Kai is a perfect blend of new and old. Adding in Kreese’s backstory to give him more depth is utilized throughout the season. We are finally able to understand how and why he is the way he is and at this point, he’s beyond redemption but it’s the care of exploring his story that works well in this universe since a lot of these events can be traced back to him.
Cobra Kai continues to blend the emotional weight of the relationships built with high octane action and set pieces. The choreography is as sound as ever and the character development is on par with previous seasons for most of the characters. Certain characters are given sympathetic moments but ultimately, they don’t deserve it based on previous actions. The stylistic choices to remain full throttle 80’s nostalgia works in some cases and fails in others but it’s still a solid season with an Avengers like finale. If I were to rate Cobra Kai Season three, I’d rate it a 4.4 out of 5.
Cobra Kai season three premiered in 2021 and can be streamed on Netflix. Cobra Kai season three 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, Martin Kove, Tanner Buchanan, Xolo Mariduena, Gianni DeCenzo, Mary Mouser & Jacob Bertrand.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Cobra Kai season three 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.
Eagle Fang Karate Forever!