Too much material for an intro this time. Straight to my unfiltered, raw reactions to Cobra Kai 3:
Episode 1: Aftermath
This episode feels so heavy and depressing, yet I couldn’t help but laugh when Moon and the other students have their outside picnic blanket guitar-playing Kumbaya pleas for peace.
Johnny losing the bar fight because he’s so drunk was quite a curveball. I was almost tempted to space out during this part of the scene because I’ve seen him beat up so many people.
OK, so when Johnny tells his version of the events of 1984 to Miguel in Season 1, I wondered if the writers were aware of that popular “Daniel Was The Real Bully” video on Youtube. Now that I’ve seen the town meeting scene at the school after the karate riot, I KNOW they’ve seen it. Daniel gives an impassioned plea to not blame karate; he was bullied as a teen and it saved him. Someone shouts off-screen, “I heard you were the real bully!” LOL!!! That is so meta and clever. I love it with my whole heart.
Amanda: “Tory should be in Shawshank”. LOL.
Johnny’s speech to coma Miguel: Slow clap.
Louie finding the missing vehicle that Robby stole was amazing. I’m so glad he’s back.
Daniel and Johnny team up again. I hope it lasts this time. (Crosses fingers.)
Episode 2: Nature vs. Nurture
Kreese backstory. Wow. Didn’t expect that. Don’t know if it was intentional (since they make so many ’80s references) but it reminded me of Back to the Future when Marty trips Biff at the diner.
They are going to make Tory more complex. Dang. I just want to loathe her without any divided feelings.
Even though Amanda brings up Tango and Cash, Johnny clearly knows the movie quite well. One, this is the third Sly Stallone film he’s proven to be a big fan of, which makes me giddy with excitement. And two, the way he astutely and confidently informs Amanda about the roles of Tango and Cash is hilarious. Because he is such a neanderthal on nearly every subject in the world. Karate and the ’80s are the exceptions. On those topics, he’s a genius.
Johnny and Daniel working together to take out the bad guys – Fist pump!
But yet again, their buddy cop moment fizzles out and they part ways on angry terms. Sadness!
Miguel just told Johnny to leave his hospital room. Super Sadness!
Episode 3: Now You’re Gonna Pay
Bobby gives drunk Johnny a leg sweep in church! Mid-sermon! I never know what this show is going to do!
Tom Cole is a great secondary villain.
Johnny gets rejected by Sid for money to help with Miguel’s surgery. But he nabs something on the way out. LOL.
It was tough to watch Robby get jumped from all sides and beat up.
Johnny passes up going to see Robby to stay and pray with Miguel. Dang. That’s going to bite him.
One of the very few things I knew about this series beforehand was that the Okinawa cast (who are alive) made it into Season 3. Otherwise, the effect of closing an episode with a Daniel-being-in-Tokyo would have rocked me.
Episode 4: The Right Path
Daniel finds Kumiko. NICE.
Johnny has messed up so many times with Robby it’s really no wonder Robby is done with him. We know Johnny is a good guy now and trying to do better. But that doesn’t make up for the pantheon of misses.
Hawk destroying Demetri’s project was brutal. He’s off the charts with Kreese at the helm. He needs a redemption arc and soon.
The soccer game with subtle and overt callbacks to the original movie was wonderful. Especially Sam expressing her opinion of the school, as Daniel did!
The bar with Kreese and Johnny was great. A real barnburner of a face-off. The line about the cop being there for five minutes so Kreese had five minutes to make his pitch to Johnny was hilarious.
Johnny motivating Miguel to get the phone, but he falls out of bed. LOL. (Was I not supposed to laugh at that? Then stop making Johnny so funny.)
Miyagi’s last letter to Yukie, talking about Daniel. UGLY CRY EMOJI UGLY CRY EMOJI UGLY CRY EMOJI
Chozen!!! (Man he looks old.) Again, the effect was slightly diminished by me knowing the spoiler. But it was still awesome.
Episode 5: Miyagi-Do
Miguel’s physical therapist vs. Johnny. LOL.
Kreese is going to recruit Robby. Such a simple yet powerful plot stroke. Gave him a reason not only to reject his dad but also Daniel. And even though it’s irrational for him to despise Daniel, with his past it is realistic. This feels Darth Vader-y.
Chozen taking Daniel to the original Miyagi-Do was a fire hydrant of information and entertainment. That alone was worth doing a reboot. I was totally cool with Chozen beating Daniel and I normally hate for Daniel to ever lose. It was a good humbling for LaRusso because even after decades with Mr. Miyagi, I’m glad he had more to learn. Especially from Miyagi’s own homeland dojo.
You could see Chozen returning the “Honk” of Daniel’s nose coming, but it was still a nice touch. For them to leave with mutual respect was enormous. They fought to the death before! I adore that plotline.
Johnny and Miguel at the concert. Ovation.
Hawk’s image has been getting darker and darker, becoming the epicenter of how the show has changed in that way. For him to break Demetri’s arm in cold blood…that was hard. Even without seeing it on screen and being bloodless, it was hard. The show is too good to turn away, but I couldn’t handle a ton of that.
(I need a Hawk redemption arc something fierce. Dude just broke his best friend’s arm! I can’t process this.)
The Tory-Sam rivalry and how Sam is scared of her even though she basically won the school fight is so good. Because even if Sam is a better karate student, Tory has no conscience.
Bringing back Yuna to save Daniel’s business! Brilliant!
Amanda slaps Kreese! WOW.
Johnny and Ali. I still don’t know how I feel about that.
Episode 6: King Cobra
I don’t care how many Vietnam flashbacks you give me, I am not feeling sorry for Kreese! Lol.
The return of Kyler. It was great watching him nearly pee his pants at seeing Miguel after bullying him in the back half of Season 1. But now he could resume the former role. Interesting…
Miguel turning the “QUIET!” back on Johnny. LOL!!! I hadn’t even realized until that moment how much Johnny had been saying it. This show is chock full of the smallest, greatest, recurring gags.
Kreese vs. Amanda and the restraining orders…man that really shakes things up. What a snake. Pun intended.
Hawk wailing on Brucks without mercy. Nearly impossible to stomach. So dark. I need a Hawk redemption arc. Stat.
Episode 7: Obstáculos
The Sam dream about Tory was good. They are really setting up something great with that rivalry.
Johnny: “How long does it take Facebook messages to be delivered?” LOL.
Starting up a third, Johnny-led dojo. YES!
Great speech by Johnny to Hawk and his Cobra Kai cronies. Really put Hawk in his place. Hawk needs some comeuppance in the worst way. And a redemption arc.
Demetri and Yasmine. WOW.
Daniel’s “show me, cast the rod” being a Miyagi bow staff move was awesome. A call back to the original movie but with a new twist. Just perfect.
I have so long despised Karate Kid III. And this show has really made me change my mind. It’s a miracle! But seriously, that speech Miyagi gives at the end of III about losing to an opponent but not losing to fear. Just phenomenal. And I would never have thought that if Daniel didn’t use it with Sam in this series. Cobra Kai just keeps producing at a Tom Brady Playoff level.
Eagles don’t have fangs. LOL!!!!
What a confrontation between Cobra Kai and Eagle Fang at the end. Bring. It. On.
Episode 8: The Good, The Bad, and The…
Robby turns his back on Daniel and Johnny. It’s clear what is happening there.
Miguel and Sam are being chummy again. Nice.
Johnny, Kreese, and Daniel all showing up to try to save the All-Valley Tournament from being canceled was so good. The image of the three men sitting down together (which I used as the image at the top of this article) is already iconic in my mind. Cobra Kai isn’t good and evil. It’s good, evil, and Johnny. He has his own category! I LOVE IT. #LEGEND.
The impassioned speeches by the teenagers at the city council weren’t my favorite. But the two of them being the heroes is the right call.
I’m thrilled Carmen has forgiven Johnny. He deserves that grace, if I may invoke that paradox.
Robby is now at Cobra Kai. The Anakin path is nearly complete. He’s trying to play it cool but we all know what is going on.
Episode 9: Feel The Night
ALI. Finally. I don’t know where they go with her but I’m still pumped Elizabeth Shue agreed to come back.
Robby is about all in now with Cobra Kai, after the snake grab. I can hear Emperor Palpatine’s voice somewhere in the vicinity.
Daniel giving Miguel the other side of the story was great. Daniel shaded it some, too. He was not the bully, but the Halloween prank was a big deal.
Episode 10: December 19
Great title. So much of this show is in our face about Karate Kid, but it’s never too much.
Johnny looks great in that white jacket.
Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do, coming together! Come on, guys. Let’s do this!
Oh, a brawl at the LaRusso mansion. That’s different.
HAWK. REDEMPTION. ARC. Finally! Yet not too early or too late. At just the right time. My endorphins are screaming right now.
If you’ve been following along, you know Johnny/Daniel banter is my favorite. So I’m LOVING this scene at the country club. 5-star material. Even Ali being Amanda’s hero and Amanda acting tipsy.
It’s a cliche but Ali nails it: There’s Johnny’s side, Daniel’s side and then there’s the truth.
Sam turning the tide on Tory. Awesome. Slay that demon. (Double meaning.)
Johnny in the 1993 Dodge Caravan. LOL. #LEGEND.
Johnny chooses Carmen. Yep.
Johnny vs. Kreese with Robby jumping in at the end. Glory! Not quite Season 2 Finale outrageous but still captivating. Then Daniel comes in to save Johnny with the Chozen-taught defensive strategy! And it’s over. Noice! The movie series was built on Daniel learning something from Miyagi that helps him win the fight at the end (Krane, Drum, Kata). This was both the same and still different. It flooded my heart with joy.
And That Final Scene
Four restored teenage friendships (though for Miguel and Sam, I assume more). That was sublime. Just so good. They all stand next to each other as two dojos united. Tears coming to my eyes.
Then, my new favorite moment of any TV show of all-time: Daniel and Johnny bow to each other. Tears. Standing Ovation. Goosebumps shattered. I couldn’t be happier right now. I don’t want to go back to real life! (Mostly kidding.)
Johnny is clearly the star of the show to me. Daniel is great and had his turn in the ’80s. But this is Johnny’s show. He was such a perfect one-dimensional villain in the original. I had no idea Zabka had this in him. He’s incomprehensibly likable. He’s both a doofus and yet super cool (PG version of the word he keeps using in the show). Lawrence simply is not like most other characters. He didn’t need to be anything more than what he was in the movie. And had this series never existed, I’d still love him. Yet this time around, he is a next-level legend.
They have hit every major mark for how to do a series like this—writing, acting, choreography, the balance between past and present. It’s mind-boggling. I know there are flaws there but when you’re infatuated, you don’t see flaws easily.
I have loved the parade of actors who’ve all come back for this series. And to be honest, and this could be controversial with my readers, I’d even love for Hilary Swank to make an appearance. She is Miyagi-Do. She’s had a much more prestigious career so maybe a long shot. But at this point, I just want it all.
I am probably more excited about Cobra Kai Season 4 than any TV moment since the Seinfeld Finale. Stranger Things 2 and Patrick Jane killing Red John were the 21st century standard. This I think has surpassed them.
- Hamilton’s “It’s Quiet Uptown” and The Joy of Melancholy Music - May 9, 2022
- Gentle and Lowly: A Review Of The Most Celebrated New Christian Book - April 25, 2022
- For Math Nerds, On 3.14 Day: Why I Love Perfect Squares - March 14, 2022