Here\u2019s What That Badass Cobra Kai<\/em> Season 3 Finale Means

The following story, obviously, contains spoilers for Cobra Kai Season 3.

So that was fun. Were your eyes just glued to the screen for the last, oh, I don’t know, 30 minutes straight of that Season 3 finale? Yeah, ours were too. While most of Cobra Kai‘s Season 3 saw characters dealing with the aftermath of the epic end to Season 2—Johnny is down and out, Robby is on the run, Daniel is struggling, Miguel is in a coma—the Season 3 finale kicked things into high gear. And while the events of the Season 3 finale, including yet another epic karate fight, this time in the LaRusso house, certainly keep our attention, it’s the potential impact on Cobra Kai Season 4 that has us most curious.

The Season 3 finale also did something important for any show: kept all of the key characters involved, smartly positioning the chess pieces in new spots for whatever Season 4 could bring. We don’t know what, exactly, that could be. But we can see the directions forming.

So instead of a linear look at the events of the Season 3 finale, we’re going to take a look at where each character stands at the end of Season 3—and where it looks like things could take them in Season 4.

Daniel LaRusso

Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is in a good place at the end of Season 3. He saved Johnny’s life when Kreese was about to murder him (?!?), and the enemies-turned-friends-turned-frenemies-turned-maybe-friends-again seem to finally be operating from a place of mutual respect. All it took was Kreese’s Cobra Kai students to get increasingly violent and for everything to come down to an epic upcoming karate tournament.

We also saw Daniel—through his visit to Okinawa and reunion with Chozen—learn that he still had things to learn. He’s the same age now that Mr. Miyagi was when the pair first met, but as we learned from Mr. Miyagi’s letters, even he had things to learn. Daniel re-introduced him to the concept of family, something he thought he’d never had the chance at again. Daniel’s open mind, and a little bit of perspective from his meeting with Ali and Johnny at the country club, allowed him to humble himself and team up with Johnny when he needed to.

Johnny Lawrence

Johnny (William Zabka), too, seems to be operating from a real position of strength for the first time in Cobra Kai by the end of Season 3. He’s no longer living in the toxic shadow of Kreese’s Cobra Kai—instead, he’s started his own dojo, Eagle Fang (which doesn’t make sense, but, as Johnny would put it, does sound pretty badass) and can instill his own values. Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do are teaming up to finally take down Kreese and the remaining members of Cobra Kai (which only include assholes like Tyler and Tory at this point). The bow between Johnny and Daniel at the end of the season is one of the biggest moments of the series so far. The two heroes are finally on the same page.

While he’s moving in the right direction, Johnny still has some work to do on the personal front. Kreese has entirely brainwashed Robby, who doesn’t want anything to do with Johnny or Daniel at this point. That being said, Johnny has grown exponentially—his relationship with Miguel was undoubtably yet again a highlight of Season 3, and he’s really become a surrogate father to him. After a great day and reunion with Ali, he also has realized that he’s ready to take things to the next step with Carmen, Miguel’s mom. It’ll be interesting to see where all of this goes in Season 4 as Johnny continues on his path to Cobra Kai and Karate Kid redemption.

John Kreese

While Season 3 showed Kreese (Martin Kove) as evil as ever (remember, last season he beat up a literal child in Demetry), the show also included a series of flashback scenes throughout that let the audience know what makes him tick. Kreese was a young Vietnam troop who was bullied back home, bullied by his commanding officer, and lost the love of his life in a car crash. Eventually, we see him adapt what would become his life mantra, No Mercy, as he stomps his cruel commanding officer to his death in a pit of—of course—snakes.

Kreese is not a redeemable character. Despite learning of his backstory, and seeing him sticking up for Tory (which was a nice early-season moment), this is still a deeply evil person. This guy was about to literally murder Johnny—that is not an exaggeration—over some drama stemming from a karate dojo in a strip mall. What is happening? I digress. Daniel and Johnny teamed up to kick Kreese’s ass, and he agreed that if they defeat him at the upcoming All-Valley tournament, he’ll leave town for good.

Kreese has a few weapons up his sleeve though. He’s got Robby under his wing Palpatine-Anakin style, and he’s got a favor he’s calling in from an old Vietnam buddy. That doesn’t seem nefarious at all, now does it?

Amanda LaRusso

After a Season 2 that saw Amanda grow a bit frustrated with the amount of attention Daniel was giving to his karate turf war and lack thereof to their somewhat struggling auto business, she saw the problem up close and personal in Season 3. She confronted Kreese in the Cobra Kai dojo, and gave him a (much deserved!) slap in the face. However, he used this against her and now she’s legally not allowed to be within several hundred feet of him.

Anyway. Amanda, Daniel, and Johnny are all on the same page going forward—which sounds like a good mix. And she got to meet Ali, so the two probably shared some even more fun stories off-screen when we weren’t listening. Maybe Season 4 could find Amanda learning some moves herself?

Miguel Diaz

How could anyone not root for Miguel (Xolo Maridueña)? Not only is he one of the best athletes on the show and a great underdog to perpetually root for, but he’s just constantly a great kid. We said it before when talking about Johnny, but the Johnny-Miguel relationship was the best part of Season 3 (Especially when Miguel was giving the technology-averse Johnny social media tips. Simply incredible stuff.)

He’s still getting his strength back little by little, but with the passage of time, Season 4 should find Miguel stronger than ever as Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do work to take down Cobra Kai. He and Samantha also seem to be back together, so, good for them.

Robby Keene

Rough season for Robby. Rough season. He starts out on the run, ends up in juvie, and eventually feels betrayed by his surrogate father (Daniel, who arranges for him to go to Juvie in the first place), his literal father (Johnny misses a scheduled meeting to tend to Miguel), and his girlfriend (he arrives at the LaRusso house only to see Samantha with Miguel).

So, while we’re not fans of it, it makes sense why Robby would be easily manipulated into joining Kreese and Cobra Kai. He’s the Anakin to Kreese’s Palpatine, as the season’s closing moments seemed to indicate. And despite the fact that Kreese nearly murdered Johnny (seriously cannot iterate that point enough), Robby is sticking by his side. Hopefully this Anakin-Palpatine story will have a similar ending to the original’s.

Samantha LaRusso

Samantha had a rough start to the season, as she was still a bit in shock after Miguel’s fall and her scarring by Tory. But as the season went on, she became more self-confident and embraced her role as Miyagi-Do leader and teacher while Daniel was figuring things out and away in Japan. Samantha proved she’s just as strong and capable as anyone else when it comes to Karate, and in teaming up with Miguel and the rest of Cobra Kai, is setting herself up nicely to come away victorious in Season 4.


Hawk was going full-evil there for a while, but thankfully in the midst of the LaRusso house fight a lightbulb went off above his head. The moment when he realized how messed up everything was, and he saved Demetry, and, eventually, when he beat Tyler up, was just a series of moments that would make any Cobra Kai fan’s hearts warm. The fact that we care so much about Hawk and Demetry—two kids who aren’t related to the LaRusso or Lawrence story, or, really, the original Karate Kid story in any way—goes to show us just how good Cobra Kai has been at developing these young characters. The nostalgia is a draw, no doubt, but we’re here for what’s happening right here and right now. A reformed Hawk should be a really valuable person for Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do to have for Season 4.


Demetry is the same smart-mouthed nerd he’s always been. Season 3 saw his his charm and snark get him places familiar—beat up—and unfamiliar—uh, making out with Yasmine. But he’s continuing to prove that he’s actually good at karate. Far cry from when he couldn’t do anything and Johnny kicked him out of the dojo, and when Kreese kicked his ass a season ago.


Season 3 did a pretty decent job of fleshing out Tory. While we still aren’t rooting for her—she’s cruel to Samantha—we at least see that there’s a person behind it all. Her mother is on dialysis and very sick, and she’s constantly harassed by her asshole landlord. Kreese gets her out of this tricky situation—so it’s evident to us why she (and potentially others) would be loyal to this awful man; because he helped them. It’s a little culty, but in the context of everything, it makes sense. We feel bad for Tory and the situation she’s found herself in; she is supporting her family by working multiple jobs. But she’s going to need a Hawk-style change of heart and redemption arc in Season 4 to get back on anyone’s good side, because while Season 3 did good in making it clear that she’s a person, she’s still a pretty apparent villain.

Source: Read Full Article