Cobra Kai season 3 is a comeback worthy of the Karate Kid
Cobra Kai season 3 is a martial arts soap opera born of the 1980s teenage exploitation style, and works on these specific phrases. The sequence began with a love-note first season that was pure feel-good magic. The brand new season, the primary to debut solely on Netflix, revels in a brand new (outdated) set of tropes. including the adults’ dereliction, the youngsters’ impossibly subtle lives, the social caste antagonisms, and Romeo-and-Juliet themes, you additionally get a rockin’ cameo from hair-metal artifact Dee Snider, and the requisite trashing of a mansion whereas mother and pop are away. Cobra Kai season 3 isn’t any status drama — and if it had been, it’d be rather a lot much less enjoyable.
So, let’s go forward and deal with the is-it-better/worse questions: No, Season 3 is inferior to Season 1. Sure, it’s a lot higher than Season 2. The nostalgia will not be as natural as that first yr, but Season 1 wasn’t shouldering the identical type of story weight that these 10 half-hour episodes should lug round and resolve.
And Season 2 was nothing but unresolved battle — Cobra Kai vs. Miyagi-do; Johnny vs. his outdated sensei, Kreese; a love quadrangle involving Robbie, Samantha, Miguel, and Tory. That plus the cliffhanger — Miguel comatose after an all-hands brawl between the dojos — left numerous damaged glass on the ground. But for these hoping this third act could be a finale sweeping all of it up, Cobra Kai once more ends with a promise for extra (and Netflix ordered a fourth season again in October, so it’ll truly occur).
Crucially, although, all main characters come throughout higher, extra partaking, and extra of who I wished them to be all alongside. One of the best of the comeback gamers are Demitri (Gianni Dacenzo) and Hawk (Jacob Bertrand), whose rivalry now has some actual heft. It was a distraction in season 2, undermined by Demitri’s egg-headed, unsympathetic whining. but Dacenzo will get a lot more to work with, and a lot more for the viewer to root for within the writing for his character, whereas Bertrand shines in an unexpectedly pivotal function because the nerd berserker.
Xolo Maridueña additionally delivers an excellent image of Miguel, who awakens from his coma but stays paralyzed under the waist. Deprived of the gawky teen physicality that made his battle scenes such a joy, Maridueña goes deep along with his emotion, indignant at and forgiving of Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in such an genuine approach it makes each characters higher. Their chemistry and affection, which shone in season 1 and went AWOL in yr 2, blooms once more, specificly within the sequence the place Miguel coaches Johnny on methods to look good on social media.
ALL THE CHARACTERS COME ACROSS BETTER AND MORE FUN THAN THEY WERE IN SEASON 1.
Kreese (Martin Kove) drove the 2 aside in retaking the Cobra Kai dojo from Johnny final yr, regardless of scenes through which he was extra a pathetic outdated man than a twisted sociopath residing vicariously by youngsters. but good outdated, enjoyable, asshole Kreese returns and even will get an origin story befitting a Batman villain. That mentioned, whereas Cobra Kai operates as comedian ebook leisure, Kreese leaving a slithering calling card in one in all Daniel’s showroom cars may need been a bit a lot.
Daniel-san (Ralph Macchio) doesn’t have many emotional journeys left to make, so head writers Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg ship him on a visit to Japan, giving Cobra Kai an opportunity to lasso just a few unique Karate Kid actors who’ve but to seem. Within the writers’ protection, although, Daniel a minimum of has a believable cause to jet throughout the Pacific whereas all the things is falling aside within the San Fernando Valley. A facet mission to Okinawa is slightly too serendipitous, but whereas there he reconnects with Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita) and a still-seething Chozen (a still-buff Yuji Okumoto), who’s in search of a specific type of payback after 35 years. Nothing, canonically, demanded a reunion with both character, or this location, but the story commits to them and permits them to drive occasions ahead, in their very own approach.
Cobra Kai season 3 is general a fast-paced present, which implies a few of its slower parts appear to pull or linger by comparability. specificly, the character arc for Robbie Keene (Tanner Buchanan) is left unfulfilled, even because the viewer will get the sense the story is now funneling towards him because the hero who has earned a righteous heel flip. That is partially as a result of, like Miguel, Robbie is confined for many of the season, albeit to juvenile detention for his function in season 2’s climactic throwdown. Not less than meaning an excellent jail battle or two for Robbie, but with a lot of Cobra Kai’s emotional price range spent on the characters not behind bars, little is left for him to do besides rage in any respect the daddy figures who’ve failed him.
Whereas the battle choreography is as sturdy as ever — including a few candy team-up Kid bookending the season — the higher conflicts are those inside, notably with Mary Mouser’s Samantha LaRusso. The arc of Sam’s personal paralytic trauma (Tory gaffed her with some type of claw within the faculty melee) units up a lesson from Mr. Miyagi, drawn from what appears to be like like a deleted scene from The Karate Kid. It additionally brings some weapons (Sam’s bo workers vs. Tory’s nunchaku) into the present’s satisfying martial arts repertoire.
Heading into Cobra Kai season 3, I frightened that the mess made in season 2 was setting us up for a serviceable mop up, and little extra. I used to be specificly troubled by the teases for Daniel’s Japan go to, considering we’d be getting extra nostalgia sizzle than narrative steak. but season 3 nonetheless has loads of substance; it acquired me to care once more, about what has occurred and what’s going to occur to those folks, relatively than remorse the earlier 10 episodes as a story that didn’t want telling. That’s a hell of an excellent comeback, but then, we count on no much less of The Karate Kid.