Cobra Kai

‘Cobra Kai’ Never Dies

Cobra Kai has been renewed and it’s one more reason to be excited waiting for season 3!

Let’s be honest, sequels, revival, reboots have been more disappointing than satisfying lately. There’s something missing that was present in the original or where the characters end up ruining the ending of the original. Sometimes, it’s safe to say that if it’s not done well, it shouldn’t have been made at all.

Fortunately for the original Karate Kid movies, Cobra Kai is so well done that it shows the many layers of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso while balancing the introductions of the new characters. The creators (Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg) may not have been involved in the original films but they are fans that have perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the three The Karate Kid films starring Ralph Macchio.

I love that How I Met Your Mother was partially responsible for a regained interest in seeing where Daniel and Johnny ended up after the 1980s. I remember watching the “The Bro Mitzvah” episode and laughing, as Barney Stinson detested Ralph Macchio’s presence at his bachelor party. Then, of course, the best scene ever was when the clown revealed himself to be William Zabka in the Cobra Kai gi.

In this article, we’ll explore what makes Cobra Kai one of the best sequel series in this age of sequels/reboots/revivals.

Nostalgia to the Max

Ralph Macchio and William Zabka in "Cobra Kai". 2018 - 2020, Netflx.

Daniel vs Johnny in “Cobra Kai”.

If you have watched the original The Karate Kid movies, then you can probably spot the Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the show. It’s easy to see that in this instance, Johnny takes on the Miyagi role with Miguel being his Daniel-san without the chores disguised as muscle memory. Daniel also gets his chance to be the sensei to Robbie and utilizing Miyagi’s training methods in a pretty hilarious montage of Daniel low-key micromanaging Robbie.

One of the cool things I’ve discovered, Miguel and Robby both take on traits of Daniel and Johnny. Miguel is Johnny’s “Daniel-san” and Robby becomes Daniel’s “Daniel-san”. There’s also sprinkles of Johnny’s quick temper in Robby. An example is in the final fight in season 2 when Miguel practices “no mercy”, but Robby uses this moment of weakness to his advantage.

Another nod to the original The Karate Kid film is the return of the skeleton costume Johnny and his Cobra Kai friends wore. Miguel dons the familiar costume for a Halloween dance when his original costume didn’t turn out so great.

Sins of the Past

Xolo Maridueña and Tanner Buchanan in "Cobra Kai". 2018 -2020, Netflix.

Miguel vs Robby in the All Valley Karate Tournament.

It’s safe to say that both Johnny and Daniel have not entirely forgotten their rivalry. Johnny holds a grudge towards Daniel. He doesn’t even want his wrecked car to be repaired at LaRusso Auto. Once Daniel sees that Cobra Kai is back in the valley, his mission to eradicate the dojo from gaining students.

Of course with their rivalry in full force, it trickles down to Daniel’s daughter, Samantha’s budding relationship with Miguel. His open hatred for anything/anyone related to Cobra Kai causes some insecurity in Miguel. He ends up pushing her away inadvertently starting the rivalry between him and Robby. And that rivalry between Miguel and Robby escalates throughout season 2 that is the catalyst for where Miguel ends up in the last moments of the season.

Balance of New & Old Faces

Tory and Sam square up for the big confrontation.

One of the most compelling aspects of Cobra Kai is the balance of the old characters and the new characters. Through a television show, we get to learn more about these characters. We’re able to explore their motivations, how they react to changes, and who they were.

We have compelling characters from the original movies and the new series. We want to be along the journey with Johnny as he builds Cobra Kai and gains new students. I, for one, love what his relationship with Miguel gives him. Through his bond with Miguel he becomes a better person. Through Johnny, Miguel becomes more confident and he has a father figure. But of course, through the Cobra Kai teachings Miguel also becomes more aggressive and volatile.

In Season 2, Hawk and Dimitri have such a great arc. Hawk has fully transformed into an aggressive bully, shunning Dimitri and his former nerdy self entirely. In a bid to get back at Hawk and learn karate, Dimitri joins Miyagi Do. The two started as side characters in Miguel’s story, but have fully realized arcs in the second season. This helps elevate the difference between Johnny and Daniel’s training methods.

We also get a pretty epic rivalry between Samantha and new character, Tory. It at first starts in the country club when Aisha brings Tory to avoid Sam. A misunderstanding happens ending with Sam covered in chocolate pudding and a dangerous rivalry formed. Then, the rivalry escalates once Miguel and Tory become involved. Plus, Sam and Tory start the epic fight in the last episode.

And you, what do you like about Cobra Kai? Share in the comments!

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