In Review: Cobra Kai – Season Three

Cobra Kai - Season Three brings plenty of drama. But crucially, some serious action, too. Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) is recovering
Cobra Kai - Season Three

Synopsis: Cobra Kai – Season Three brings plenty of drama. But crucially, some serious action, too. Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) is recovering from his horrific accident. As a result of his part in it, Robbie (Tanner Buchanan) is on the run. Jonny (William Zabka) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) finally realize that they might have to work together to defeat their mutual enemy John Kreese (Martin Kove).

 

Story

Miguel’s Accident: Outcome

Cobra Kai – Season Three picks up pretty much directly after season two. SciFiPulse didn’t review the first two seasons. But if you want a quick refresher, to save watching or re-watching them, this video does a great job. It includes commentary and character descriptions from the cast. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) survives. His mother, Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) eventually calms down. This allows her to continue exploring a romantic relationship with show protagonist, Jonny (William Zabka). And of course, Miguel inevitably takes up karate again. Some fantastic scenes, very well written. The dynamic works so well because Jonny needs Miguel as much as Miguel needs Jonny. Especially due to Jonny’s broken relationship with his son, Robbie (Tanner Buchanan).

On the run, Robbie is eventually caught. Daniel gives him “tough love”, and once he catches up with him he calls the police. Robbie’s time in a juvenile detention centre allow for a dark turn in his character development. Kreese (Martin Kove) swoops in and poisons Robbie against his father, Jonny, and former mentor, Daniel (Ralph Macchio). Robbie joining Cobra Kai allows for real and relatable depictions of young people who have had a tough upbringing. Some hard-hitting stuff, at times. Important themes are used finely.

Daniel and Jonny

Daniel isn’t just at odds with Jonny, now. His car dealership runs into trouble when Tom Cole (David Shatraw) announces he’s negotiated an exclusive deal with a Japanese car firm. That allows for a return to Japan, for Daniel (enter “Daniel-san!). Seeing Chozen (Yuji Okomoto) again was incredible. And so too was seeing Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomito) and Yuna (Traci Toguchi). A clever way for the writers to incorporate the ideals of Myagi Do, and for Danie to regain balance in his life. Most of all, a great way to incorporate the all important Pat Morita, as Mr Myagi, absolute cult legend. Oh, and fun to watch Daniel get beaten by Chozen (Yuji Okomoto), who gives a hilarious easter-egg nose honk. That was absolutely comedy gold. Perfectly timed and wonderful redemption for Chozen, too.

There’s no doubting that Cobra Kai – Season Three owes everything to the character of Jonny Lawrence. The whole show does, really. Of course, he couldn’t do it alone, but he’s the lynchpin. The very idea of development and change for the better is embedded within the character. More of Jonny’s battle to adapt to the technological world this time, and some very funny results come from the idea.

Sam and Tory

Sam (Mary Mouser) and Tory (Peyton List) add a new dynamic to the franchise. They are the deepest rivalry. They’ve never been friends and seem least likely to ever be. Seeing what has hardened Tory (Peyton List) so much is another stark reminder that poverty and inequality can have lasting results. Sam being genuinely terrified and having to overcome her fear was a great way to show how we all live with demons in life. Some great writing, that didn’t pull any punches. Crucially, the plot relevant to the younger audience.

Jonny and Ali . . .

definitely one for the older viewers. Not in that way! But more in terms of nostalgia. Actually seeing Elisabeth Shue return meant that Jonny could finally get closure. That was all he needed, in the end. Especially as things with Jonny and Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) did heat up, in that sense! But it wasn’t just Jonny who got a reunion. Those scenes with the old trio were great, as was Daniel’s wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) getting to meet the fabled Ali Mills. When Ali told the old rivals there are multiple sides to the past events she outlined the whole series dynamic, in one sentence. A great eventual arrival and fantastically awkward in the required way.

Hawk, Kreese and Finale

In many ways, Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) is the closest character to the mindset held by the poisonous Kreese. And as we saw Kreese’s back story, we learned that life can really have a way of making people what they think is tough, but is really broken. Whilst Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) might be a long way off killing, his brutal treatment of Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo) shows he was certainly on the wrong path. Hawk’s seeing the errors of his ways was a big moment. He turned back just in time, proving we all make bad mistakes.

How Cobra Kai – Season Three would manage to top the last two season finales wasn’t clear. But they did. The showdown that saw Daniel and Jonny take on Kreese was tense and explosive. We’d seen that Kreese is a killer, so when he picked up the dagger you just didn’t know . . . With Robbie and Tory the remaining Cobras, the show is set to focus on the next Under 18 All Valley Championships.

Acting

Hard to pick out one actor as the clear candidate for best in season. But it has to be William Zabka. Nobody else could play Jony Lawrence. It’s that simple. As well as the depiction of ageing masculinity in an increasingly changing world, his scenes showing Jonny’s vulnerability were exceptional. Those with Xolo Mariduena as Miguel and Tanner Buchanan as Robbie, too, who were both impressive.

Arguably, Ralph Macchio had the toughest job to do. As face of the franchise. It must be said he does a fine job. And shows us that Daniel is far from the polished hero. Macchio’s depiction of anger towards Kreese shows that his character is flawed. And only human. Cast members such as Coutrney Hengeller and Mary Mouser help to bring out the various aspects of Daniel LaRusso’s character

Martin Kove is sensational as Kreese. A true relic of the past. His seamless transition back to Cobra kai Sensai is chilling, in the best way. And the young cast takes to his dark charisma perfectly. Special mention to Peyton List this season, as the new surface-level villain, Tory

Stunts and Action

There can’t be enough praise for the choreography of Cobra Kai – Season Three. It really stepped up the action. The fight scenes looked so realistic. So much so, it was almost impossible to believe that nobody got hurt during them. The athleticism itself on display was impressive. Furthermore, what truly allowed for awe-inspiring moments was the final fight scene, at the home of the LaRussos.

As the rest of them smashed furniture, leaped off tables and bounced off walls, the big showdown between Tory and Sam was brewing. It didn’t disappoint. The escalation to using weaponry showed things are really getting out of hand now, dangerously so . . .

Just as Sam and Tory were sparring with martial arts weapons, so too did Jonny and Kreese go down that same path. But in the end, it was feet and fists that were again the tools of the trade. It meant a whole new generation got to see what all the fuss was about, and why karate was so cool too so many kids growing up in the late 80s and early 90s. Some brilliantly made set pieces were on offer here.

Overall

Certainly one of, if not the hottest shows on right now. Cobra Kai – Season Three had a lot riding on it. Everything, really. It had to be a hit, with the move to Netflix, for what it must have cost to get. And it was. The main reason is fantastic writing. Again there are great insights and issues dealt with. What’s great about Cobra Kai is that whilst it’s a very different world now than it was when Daniel LaRusso and Jonny and Lawrence first battled it out, some things haven’t changed. Being young is hard. Role models are vital. What Cobra Kai – Season Three continues to do is threading together two generations. And it does so in style, as well as with humour, too.

Nostalgia alone can’t guarantee anything. This is shown in what’s the best season yet of Cobra Kai. You need a good plot, and string cast to make it work. This season had all that, and more. The choices characters in the story-world made have had lasting consequences. Formerly, in the films, those characters were all one dimensional. But now they’ve developed. Fleshed them out means we can really root for them. Both the stars that fans old enough remember, and those newcomers who make up the younger cast. For that to happen though, there need to be interesting stories. Tension and conflict. There was plenty, helping to make it a surefire hit.

9.8
In Review: Cobra Kai - Season Three
  • Story
    9.6
  • Acting
    9.7
  • Stunts and Action
    10.
  • Overall
    10
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