*** DISCLAIMER: Spoilers of SEASON 2 and MILD spoilers of Season 3 of Cobra Kai in this review. Season 3 points are as vague as possible as to not spoil the viewing experience.***
Netflix subscribers were given a wonderful gift to kick off the new year when they pushed the release date of Cobra Kai Season 3 up from January 8th to New Years Day. Fans of the show have been anxiously awaiting the return of the hit Karate Kid spin-off series after season two ended with quite the bang… literally. I’m, of course, referring to the battle at the high school that ultimately ended with Robby Keene kicking Miguel off that second story balcony and putting him in a coma. This sent shock waves throughout the entire show as a grieving Johnny regressed back who he was at the start of the show, Kreese took Cobra Kai over and Johnny just let it happen, and let’s not forget the famous friend request from Ali.
Season 3 picks up in the aftermath of the Season 2 finale and we see just about everyone in disarray. The first few episodes of the season is spent picking up the pieces from the fight at the highschool: Robby is on the run, Johnny is trying to redeem himself to A LOT of people including Robby, and the La Russos are trying to save their business from the negative PR that generated around them with people labeling them as bullies.
The first few episodes felt a little slow but they served as a great falling action from the climax that was the Season 2 finale and gave us a chance to catch up with a lot of these characters. The season eventually hits it’s stride in the middle of the season with Daniel taking a trip down memory lane, and learning some valuable information about Miyagi Do from an old rival. Johnny and Miguel’s relationship comes full circle and it feels like you are back in season one (which is a great thing). Robby has to fight to survive in juvenile detention against some stiff competition. However Sam La Russo and Hawk are probably the two kids that we see the most character development from. Sam progresses in a way that almost mirror’s her father from the Karate Kid movies and it is done exceptionally well.
One of the most intriguing things about the season is that we get to learn a lot about John Kreese as he returns to where he starter – being the leader of Cobra Kai dojo. The thing that bugged me about seeing Kreese’s past is that it actually makes you sympathize with him a little bit. This is just another example of how great this show is at giving you the full story and letting you be the judge of the characters. With Kreese at the helm, Cobra Kai starts to become the menacing force that fans of the Karate Kid movies are accustomed to. As the season progresses, characters begin to choose what side they truly aligned with and we start to see who the “good guys” and “bad guys” are going into Season 4.
I don’t want to give away too much of the story so I will wrap this up with my thoughts on things in the most non-spoiler way I can. Season 3, was another excellent chapter in the story of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel La Russo. The relationship drama, action, character development and well-structured story are what you expect from this show at this point – they are second to none. Although this season may not have had as big of an exclamation point for it’s ending, the season was still incredible and gives viewers a perfect glimpse as to what is in store for Season 4 – which may end up being the best one yet.
Cobra Kai’s third season takes you on quite the ride. The kids of the show continue to evolve and perspectives change, the adults begin to use their past experiences to grow, and we get some crazy fun fights throughout. Despite the lack of resolution to the conflict at hand, they did a great job of preparing the audience for the next season and the conflict to come. This may not go down as the most thrilling season of the series but the performances make this season still shine.