COBRA KAI: SEASON 3 (TELEVISION REVIEW)

COBRA KAI: SEASON 3

SPOILERS AHEAD

This show has proven to be the little engine that could. As after being on YouTube premium and their most successful show. After two season they canceled it.

Which allowed for the show to be shopped around to other networks. It was obviously going to get picked up due to it’s popularity and a loyal cult audience. Luckily Netflix stepped up and produced it. Exposing it to a larger audience. the masses if you will.

Which after premiering on the network in 2020. Opened it up to a new audience and gave other fans another chance to watch and catch up. So that in the beginning of 2021 they got instant gratification with a season 3.

Those of us who had been watching from the beginning have been waiting for this season for two years. While not the strongest season it is a good continuation that feels like it was worth the wait.

The show is not only curated with. Care but also love. When you see something like this handled with respect and acknowledging not only the best aspects of the franchise and films but also it’s flaws, disappointments and embarrassments, still embracing them as canon.

The creators embrace and enhance to tell an overall saga packed with plenty of surprises.

I wish it could all be gravy and even though this is not a show asking for you to think too deeply but feel deeply what must be brought up is. This was not only an observation I made but was informed and pointed out by a friend.

While I have certain problems with the show that are more representational and in demeanor. it still offers up some diversity. Though still at it’s center are angry white men fighting with one another for control.

I will choose to talk about the enjoyment of the show. As certain issues are naturally evident. Especially when it comes to privilege of the characters and certain elitism that Daniel represents and a kind of white savorismmin general when it comes to the show.

Though it gives us some understanding he is still playing with fire. As he more or less seems to be repeating the same mistakes and trying to represent or replace his old captain and trying to make his own amends.

The show does offer Johnny as a surrogate for older viewers. Who miss the old days of the 1980’s before political correctness. Where things seemed more cut and dry. When masculinity was what ruled. Not as much technology and everyone wasn’t as sensitive. He is a throwback an unknowing but unapologetic misogynist to a certain extent who means well. Though is trying to relate to these modern times. While also trying to be himself and do what is best and take responsibility for the first time in his life

It also keeps building all around it. Giving characters history or at least revealing it. So that we understand and have reasons for their behavior. Allowing characters to make mistakes and be flawed. Some learn the error of their ways and change or in trying to change might cause more damage. As the characters and the creators are Constantly changeing the perspective to make them human

The show does manage to keep an ongoing story with history but shows how it affects the next generation and how history can repeat itself only here with more complications. Showing how old wounds can affect the Present.

It keeps the saga just as entertaining and compelling also the show has it’s main characters but works more as an ensemble then the films ever even approached.

Kept all in 30 minute episodes where you still keep wanting more and are on the edge of your seat until the end.

There is no Way I can contain it exactly express my joy watching this series.

Reawakening a deeply held love of a franchise one that I grew up with, but also ended up watching others reveal and confess a deeper appreciation. Knowing someone else out there loved the franchise. To keep it going and knowing it was secure in their hands.

Not only dissecting the past, but sifting through it and putting it back together. Resurrecting it so that it runs like bee after it had been put out to pasture and given a sheen to be be a remake but still didn’t have the original internal vital organs. Here it has been remodeled and renovated but it has given the characters their strength and dignity. Not be a passing fad or a punchline.

This series was done Not only for money but actually have a sense of the fandom out there and give the people what they want. As a friend told me it has “Pay off after pay off” and each season brings that same thrill as the third act usually in each film.

The show feels so light but carries so much weight. Not only in continuing the legacy and franchise but just in themes and subjects.

It makes a good teen show, dealing with youthful issues and decisions. The universal problems, but also allows those who grew up with the Films room enough to identify with the characters and see their idols from arrested development to adults. So that the show speaks to all ages. Works for fans and new viewers alike Allowing all of this franchise into it’s own mythology or universe. Where You can tell time and care went into it

Hints at another return form the past. Which you expect but still makes it exciting as it keeps coming full circle. As already Daniel finally explains the story of KARATE KID 3 and overcoming fear to his daughter Sam. As she is suffering the same fear at the hands of Cobra Kai Tory.

Not to mention as we see John Kresse’s memories we are reminded of a character one for the villains of that same movie. Here we see Kreese as a young man and are given a red herring at first until his last name is revealed as a character who earlier was only related to a nickname. As the name Silver is introduced abd a lifelong bond and promise is made to John. That once again he is cashing in on. That’s right we might see the return of millionaire toxic dumping TERRY SILVER.

As we all wait for hopefully seeing how they might incorporate the movie THE NEXT KARATE KID into all of this. Hopefully Hillary Swank is free and willing to guest star.

While we are at it we could also bring back Larry B. Scott, who was the only African American in the original Karate Kid movie and the only African American Cobra Kai student. His name was Jerry (even though he had no lines) Showing that Aisha wasn’t necessarily the first.

As this season introduced characters from KARATE KID 2. Chozen and Yuki, not to mention Ali from the original who was explained away in part 2. Now we get to hear her side of the story even as she pretty much serves the same purpose of being what and who they both desire and blew it with and still enchants them easily.

It’s easy to see why Elisabeth Shue would come back it’s a hit show and the way they write her. She still has privilege and charm. She gets to defend herself but it still seems like she just came by to be admired flirt and show she still has it in the middle of what looks like a setback divorce and was hoping. For a little fling with Johnny until she realizes he is it’s someone and seeing how he is. She realizes she doesn’t want to damage him all over and that this woman he is seeing might be best but she knows she could Have him if she wanted to.

While also seeing the return Ali as a kind of reunion. While also showing a kind of treasure that Johnny and Daniel have been fighting over all these years and hammer home.

Points about the characters being the same in many ways and there being three sides to a story. Though also kind of presenting her as Johnny’s Ideal and her more or less flirting with both to show she still has it and makes her feel better. While allowing Johnny to go back to Carmen who he had just been intimate with the night before. Like she is relinquishing him back

Just as that character comes into play. So does Chozen to teach lessons that come in handy especially at the end of the movie. Where once again. Daniel can make a life or death decision but rather then make a joke. He stays away from death only by being brought out of it by a loved one once again.

It also gives us what we have waited for Daniel and Johnny teaming up finally. Though it seems they have been rivals and teammates before, albeit briefly, but we have seen the destruction that rivalry has brung. As Robby, Johnny’s son has been the casualty. Especially as Johnny has grown Miguel as his surrogate son many times. Miguel seeks a father figure also and see’s that in Johnny, so that we can understand Robby’s jealousy. As the two men who are supposed to care and help him. Always end up being absent when he needs them or in doing the right thing. Only he pays the consequences .

The show does at least give off the message of faith in whatever you believe in but most of all self. As that is where your strength lies. Which is the general arc of the show. Here it seems especially presented in Miguel’s recovery, which while rushed also has a tough love stance. As well as giving off the message of the power of rock n roll.

It also kind of relieves a certain kind of story where as before it was the two Dojo’s being enemies but still having ties and friendships. Not to mention that yo knew they were good kids underneath evil and questionable acts but believed it was because of not only the taste of power but being lead down a bad road.

It seems now that while you have Robby who is just looking for a family or at least people he can trust. He is more of a survivor than anything. Not a bad kid but doing what he can to make it. Then we have Tory who is forced to grow up too fast in a mean world. Where she finally has a place where she can be in control and fight back. Especially when she has had to work for everything she has had. When she see’s Sam she envisions her as the reverse and someone who has been given everything she wanted. Which only brings her jealousy out more.

So when it comes to Miguel who Sam dated then seemed to have dumped. Tory saw an opening and bond of backgrounds so they dated. Then once Robby and Sam kind of imploded and when Sam and Miguel, (who never really got over sam) found their way back to one another this only incensed her more, but now it seems she has found a spark with fellow loner Robby. So that this romantic square is constantly revolving.

Those characters are clearly defined. They are the best fighters and leaders of Cobra Kai. Especially Now that Hawk has had a change of heart. Though it will be interesting to see hawk’s fighting style under the good guys as he is more aggressive in his attacks. He offers less defense.

Though now it has made it easier to label Cobra Kai as villains and give us more a classic good versus evil narrative

The Return of old characters form the movies seem to help enhance the whole experience. The even bring back characters from season 1 who seemingly disappeared in the form of

Yasmine (the Queen Bee) Kyler (Sam Ex and head bully) And even the pane shop dealer as well as Daniel’s slow witted cousin.

The elimination of a character (other then Raymond played by Paul Walter Hauser. The older cobra Kai Student who lived with his mom and was too old to still be hanging with teens)who seemed perfectly set up in season 2 that would have made more sense being in season 3 and bringing the characters together rather then Sam being the focus of it all herself

Though also with the removal of Aisha’s character it seems that her emotional arc and probably crossover to miyagi do might have been given to hawk or if she did and him leaving stayed according to plan it might have been more predictable or had less emotional impact than planned.

She was one of the few people of color characters who was not only there from The beginning and seen as an intergal character in the beginning. But one who was also a kind of bridge between the Dojo’s and characters and again one of the few minority characters allowed to be mroe than Just background there for a few lines she was given an emotional complex throughout.

Though it also would have been hard to believe in her falling for Kreese’s brand so wholeheartedly and not questioning his methods or his systematic elimination of students. His building up of Cobra Kai to be an elite group and have the type of bullies that the original core group joined Cobra Kai to escape and defend themselves against.

Her departure also opened up a certain storyline. Not to mention. You would think with parents so concerned over karate gangs either cobra Kai would be making a killing in the money. As parents want their kids to defend themselves so buy into the business that would be only if the parents in pulling their kids out and going over to miyagi do. when in business as it being the only alternative and better yet it’s free

When even more confusing is how do classes work because it seems like the core group have the same practice but doesn’t cobra Kai have separate classes for maybe overflow or age range. Then again how about weight and the earning of belts which seems obsolete there. Look I am not one to lecture anyone on a business plan but…

The show offers an ending we all saw coming that finally has happened but both of them really being challenged and still someone they care about still being ripped form them

It might not be the best season but it has the most guest stars firm the past and is a natural conclusion. That keeps building The show is Predictable but still manages to surprise you

In the end though a kind of cliff hanger you are left so satisfied. As it has given you mostly what you wanted and a bit more.

7.5/10

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