“Cobra Kai” season four review: “No be there”


Courtesy of Netflix

Arianna D'Antonio, Staff Writer

Netflix’s “Cobra Kai,” the perfect combination of 80s nostalgia and modern comedy, rises again for a fourth season.

One of the biggest reveals of the season is the return of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), the infamous villain from the third film in the epic Karate Kid trilogy. His psychotic, obsessive tendencies shine as his involvement in the show increases, and fans are both excited and wary to see him back in the game.

At the beginning of the season, Silver initially rejects Cobra Kai co-founder John Kreese (Martin Kove)’s offer to rejoin his dojo. However, he quickly changes his mind and accepts after he realizes how much he misses the old lifestyle. The consequences of their collaboration will create turmoil going into season five, especially since Silver will be more likely to take over Cobra Kai from Kreese. We have yet to uncover what spurred this betrayal, but the next season should hopefully bring some clarity to Silver’s plan.

As the show reveals Silver and Kreese’s shared backstories, we as an audience get to learn the origins of Cobra Kai. This aids our understanding of its distinctive style of karate, urging us to compare it to the styles of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio)’s Miyagi-Do and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka)’s Eagle Fang. This choice brought a serious tone to the show, which is much needed to balance out the cliché comedy.

Another major point of season four involved the combination, or rather separation of, these conflicting karate styles. According to Daniel, Miyagi-Do uses karate for defense. On the other hand, Johnny’s Eagle Fang prioritizes offense: “The best defense is more offense.”

However, season four poses a possibility: why not have the students combine these styles to better improve their karate technique? This approach is not without its problems though, mainly due to the ongoing battle of dominance between Daniel and Johnny. However, by the end of the season, both senseis realize that using multiple techniques together will increase their chances of defeating Cobra Kai in the upcoming All-Valley Karate Tournament.

The blend of techniques taught by Daniel and Johnny improves not only their students’ physical ability but their mental state as well, as they realize they don’t have to thrive on just pure aggression or passivity. This is one of the best arcs in this season, since we’ve followed the black-and-white differences between Daniel and Johnny for so long.

Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang aren’t the only ones changing up their techniques though – Johnny’s estranged son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) instructs the Cobra Kai students on the ways of Miyagi-Do, essentially giving away trade secrets. Before long they start fighting fire with fire. Does this serve Cobra Kai well? Not long after, Sensei Kreese’s students start questioning the morals of their dojo’s teachings. This means we might see some character growth in morally grey characters such as Robby and fellow Cobra Kai student Tory (Peyton List) into the next season.

Additionally, season five welcomed a new pair of stunt coordinators – Hiro Koda and Jahnel Curfman. This dynamic stunt duo later won an Emmy and several SAG Award nominations for their work on this season. The cast talked about how the stunt coordinators were constructive in utilizing the actor’s talents and martial arts skills, while keeping them safe.

In fact, Vanity Fair’s “Notes on the Scene” episode on “Cobra Kai” highlights the cast’s personal stunt doubles as they pay tribute to their work. “It really cannot be done without the stunt team, especially a show like this where you’re having fights every episode,” said Xolo Maridueña, who plays Johnny’s protégé Miguel Diaz.

The cast is now looking forward to seeing what else the stunt team has to offer in the next season, as fans of the show wait in anticipation as well.

Click here to stream “Cobra Kai” on Netflix.

Illustration by Ariel Landry
Illustration by Ariel Landry