Happy New Year’s Eve MMT Fam! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time off activities, which included previewing several upcoming Netflix shows like the fourth season of the hit series COBRA KAI.
This new season picks up immediately after the season 3 finale, where we found Johnny’s (William Zabka) “Eagle Fang” and Daniel’s (Ralph Macchio) “Miyagi-Do” dojos joining forces to stop Kreese (Martin Kove) after his regaining control of “Cobra Kai.”
How are they going to do that you ask? Well, the two have made a bet with Johnny’s former sensei to compete once more in the upcoming All Valley karate tournament – only this time the losers must agree to hang up their gis and stop training. But can Johnny and Danny hang up their long-held rivalry to complete the mission is the million-dollar question that definitely ups the ante.
With all the major players returning from last season, and the addition of Thomas Ian Griffith who reprises his role of Terry Silver from “The Karate Kid Part III,” season four is adept at juggling the temporary, yet fragile, stay on the Lawrence/LaRusso feud, the training within each camp for the pending tournament, and the further development and parallel storylines of Lawrence, LaRusso and Kreese – the latter amplified with the introduction of Silver.
It does all of this while balancing this very much geared to teens/families story with its young adult characters – including Mary Mouser, who portrays Daniel’s daughter Samantha, her arch enemy Tory (Peyton List), and the duo that completes their love quadrant Robby (Tanner Buchanan) and Miguel (Xolo Mariduena).
There are also several “role reversals” this season highlighting the duality of the circumstances the characters find themselves, and posing the questions of when does the bullied become the bully, the righteous become the reviled, the teacher become the student, help turn to manipulation, and loyalty turn to blind allegiance.
Season highlights for me include episode 5 where Johnny and Danny train and we see some iconic poses from films past and the great fight choreography throughout the show in general – especially during the tournament.
I also love the addition of Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young) as a bullied young man that Robby, who was in juvenile detention with Kenny’s brother, takes under his wing and tries to protect – from bullies and the negative influences of some of Cobra Kai’s training.
One interesting note was in episode 6, where an All Valley tournament board member discusses an increase in the interest of their young female audience. I found this particularly relevant considering the outrage after the removal of the popular character Aisha Robinson (Nichole Brown) from season three.
However, slight spoiler, we do later see Brown’s Aisha in the same episode after Samantha seeks her out for advice. But it would be nice to still have Brown’s full representation on the show as a young woman of color, since all of the other highlighted characters of color are male, which in reality contributes to that young female interest – let’s expand that to diverse young female interest – the fictional board member references.
And I’m still calling foul on how violent the kids in this valley are. I’m also pretty certain some of the moves that were allowed at the final fighting event would be deemed illegal at many real-life tournaments. I mean, I counted several face and even a butt hit! And how does a new karate student end up sparring against a seasoned, trained student? You’ll know it when you see it!
All in all, I believe Cobra Kai is still a solid narrative, with lessons that are appropriate for young (mature school age and up) and old alike – but I give a strong forewarning about violence (minus the gore). The stakes are definitely higher this season and it culminates in an ending that is surely to leave viewers excited about where the series is headed. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
COBRA KAI season 4 premieres on Netflix today December 31.
Until next thought, Thomasena