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‘Cobra Kai’ Season 3 kicks into high gear

  WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ‘COBRA KAI’ SEASON 3 When Cobra Kai was first announced, the idea of bringing back The Karate Kid seemed strange. The trailers didn’t help make the show look any better, and it seemed like it was another show that would come and go without any fanfare. Once the show was released, it was surprising to discover it was enjoyable, if not great. It has all the 80s cheesiness of the original trilogy but updated for a modern audience, adding interesting narratives and characters. Both Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso were able to be both hero and villain, based on the perspectives and actions of the characters. Along with this, the show juggles its wide cast of characters allowing them to have different connections and relationships with one another. The season two finale left the show on a strange mark. It had a big, over the top fight in a school that was cheesy. Since the show was able to stay grounded, it was strange that the finale was such an over the top scenario, but intertwined were many big cliffhangers that made season three a must-watch.

Moving forward

Image from Empire
One of the best things about this season was how resolved the ending of season two was. The strange and out of nowhere fight at the end of season two leads into many great story arcs for all of the characters, particularly Lawrence and Miguel Diaz. With Diaz being left paralyzed, the majority of his arc for this season has been trying to regain strength back in his legs. This arc leads into Lawrence’s as the fight has left a toll on him, leading him to try to fix his mistake of bringing back Cobra Kai. Cobra Kai has been left in the hands of John Kreese, leaving the students to go down darker paths. LaRusso has been affected by the fight at the school. Like Lawrence, LaRusso feels at fault, which affects his home life and the dealership.  Robby Keene's arc became the most interesting of the season but didn’t get much attention. He doesn’t appear much throughout, with there being a couple of episodes where he doesn’t appear at all. He is stuck in prison for the majority of the season, but once he finally gets out, they do some interesting things with him. Since he still holds a grudge against Lawrence, and LaRusso ends up being the one who turns him in to the police, he is left going to Kreese for help. This leads to some great tension between the four characters and ends with some great cliffhangers as to where season four will go.

Connecting the past

Image from The Hollywood Reporter
The first two seasons barely touched on the two Karate Kid sequels, so it was great to see the second film be brought more into this season. For a couple of episodes, LaRusso travels to Okinawa, Mr. Miyagi’s homeland, and the setting of the second film. He runs into many characters from that movie, making for some interesting interactions between LaRusso and past enemies. Like how Cobra Kai was able to humanize Lawrence, season three explained Kreese’s character. Up to this point, he’s always been the cold-hearted villain. However, we get snippets of his past that help explains his actions. His role in season two wasn’t great as he was a hollowed villain, but understanding his character more makes him a much better and interesting villain for this season. One of the cliffhangers from the previous season was the introduction of Alli, LaRusso’s girlfriend from the first film. They teased that she would return this season, but she had a limited part. However, her arc is great as she’s able to help develop both Lawrence and LaRusso.

Finding balance

Image from Rolling Stone
As already mentioned, the show has many characters that it’s been able to juggle up to this point. However, this season made a few characters feel unimportant. Characters like Keene, who had a great arc for the season, were given less screen time. Hawk Moskowitz, who had a great arc this season, didn’t get enough attention as he had in the two previous seasons. At times, it feels as if the show needs more time than its 10 - 30-minute episodes allow. With Netflix having not been the producers up to this point, there’s potential for season four and beyond to include longer episodes to allow for more time with all the characters.     Sources: Variety Featured Image: The Hollywood Tribune Images: Empire, The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone