REVIEW: ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 3 Lives Up to the Hype

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Cobra Kai Season 3

After nearly a two year wait, Cobra Kai Season 3 was released on New Years Day on Netflix. Season 2 ended with a climactic fight between the Cobra Kai and  Miyagi-Do dojos at the local high school. At the end of the fight, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) was left in a coma after Robby (Tanner Buchanan) kicked him off a balcony. Both Johnny (William Zabka) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio), feeling guilty for the fight that broke out, step away from their roles as sensei for their respective dojos. Johnny’s former sensei, John Kreese (Martin Kove), takes over Cobra Kai and vows to bring the dojo to its former glory.

Cobra Kai Season 3 picks up days after the incident at the high school. The LaRusso’s and Miyagi-Do are being blamed for what happened to Miguel. To make matters worse, their auto shop is on the verge of a takeover since their reputation has been tarnished. Cobra Kai continues to grow their numbers under Kreese’s leadership, which worries some of their members. Robby, having fled from the scene after kicking Miguel, is on the run from the police. Samantha (Mary Mouser) tries to deal with the trauma of seeing Miguel fight for his life and blames herself for everything that happened. Johnny attempts to support Miguel through his recovery while also trying to make amends with Miguel’s family and Robby.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Cobra Kai Season 3, especially after the long wait due to COVID-19. Most of the talk around the show’s third season was what Miguel’s fate would be. However, the show handled his character really well this season. While this does follow the trope of a hero recovering from a major defeat, Miguel’s determination and Johnny’s willingness to make amends with his students adds a bigger impact. Their sensei-student relationship culminates in this and manages to transform into something greater. The bond that they form throughout season 3 takes time and isn’t forced, which adds a much more authentic feeling. It will make audiences root for both Johnny and Miguel to form the same kind of connection they had before and even improve upon it.

Samantha’s trauma throughout Cobra Kai Season 3 was something I wasn’t expecting but found to be a great addition to the series as a whole. Rather than just having her character be the love interest between two lead characters or just Daniel’s daughter, Samantha became a much more important character. Having blamed herself for what happened to Miguel and Robby, she carries all that pain without ever talking about it. Throughout the season, she has nightmares and panic attacks that affect her terribly. There are also constant reminders from the Cobra Kai members, blaming her for starting the entire fight. However, I think her trauma was dealt with too quickly. Her character growth would have had a bigger impact had she dealt with this more, possibly even in season 4.

Cobra Kai Season 3

It was also very surprising that Cobra Kai Season 3 focused on John Kreese’s origin. In season 2, his military past was revealed. Season 3 dove deeper into his life in the military during the Vietnam War and how that shaped him into who he is in the present. Until now, he was just the evil sensei who was set on destroying Daniel and Mr. Miyagi. The focus on his origin made him a much more interesting character. His origin never leaves the viewer rooting for him, but it does explain the reasons he wants to be the best and the karate dogma that he follows. Most of his origin is told through flashbacks, but it isn’t until the final episode of the season where Kreese’s true colors are shown. It’s such a great scene that I know I will surely be rewatching it a few more times in the future.

I was worried that Cobra Kai season three would once again rely heavily on the love triangle between Miguel, Robby, and Samantha. It was difficult to imagine where things would go between the three of them for yet another season. However, this love triangle wasn’t touched on at all and gave room to the three of them as individuals. It’s fantastic that Samantha isn’t  a character completely associated with her love interests and that the rivalry between the boys isn’t completely rooted in love. It would have taken away any character development that Samantha was given had her character been rooted in who she was dating. The rivalry between Robby and Miguel was able to develop through their own actions this season in a way that couldn’t have happened had love gotten in the way.

I wasn’t sure just how the fight scenes in Cobra Kai season three would surpass the previous seasons but they certainly did. A major part of that had to do with the music selection that accompanied every fight scene. The big climactic battle and the end of the season, for instance, is expected to be grand. However, the score for that particular fight will not only pump viewers up but it captures just how dire the situation really is. The fights between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do this season also act as a storytelling device to convey the hate that both dojos have towards one another. They also just real fights rather than something that’s just unrealistic and a lot of that is because of the incredible fight choreography.

Overall, the hype behind Cobra Kai Season 3 was immense and it did not disappoint. The focus on Johnny and Miguel’s relationship is at the heart of the season and is handled well. Samantha’s trauma over Miguel’s injury and the fight at school proved to be a great catalyst for her growth, but it should have lasted longer than it did. Kreese’s origin establishes his character in a much more personal way, which is something that fans of the original Karate Kid film series will enjoy. From special appearances from fan-favorite characters, incredible fight scenes, and a cliffhanger that perfectly sets up a possible fourth season, Cobra Kai Season 3 will surely leave fans wanting more.

Cobra Kai Season 3 is streaming now, exclusively on Netflix.


Cobra Kai Season 3
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Overall, the hype behind Cobra Kai Season 3 was immense and it did not disappoint. The focus on Johnny and Miguel’s relationship is at the heart of the season and is handled well…From special appearances from fan-favorite characters, incredible fight scenes, and a cliffhanger that perfectly sets up a possible fourth season, Cobra Kai Season 3 will surely leave fans wanting more.