The Collegian
Thursday, January 26, 2023

Film Fridays: "Cobra Kai" Season 3

<p><em>Graphic by Carissa Gurgul</em></p>

Graphic by Carissa Gurgul

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of The Collegian.

I have been watching “Cobra Kai” since it premiered on Youtube Red (now called Youtube Premium). It was one of those underappreciated hidden gem television shows that didn’t get the attention it deserved. 

When Netflix secured the rights to the show and rebranded it as a “Netflix Original” I was enthusiastic at the thought of the show gaining more traction. “Cobra Kai” soon became the massive hit it deserved to be, dominating the streaming ratings.

It makes me happy to say that the third season of “Cobra Kai” did not disappoint. The story takes place right where the season two finale left off. Miguel is in a coma, Robby is missing, Johnny is down in the dumps and Daniel’s reputation is crumbling. 

There were plenty of unanswered questions after the season two finale, and it was reassuring to see the show quickly answer those questions and solve other dangling problems at the start of the season. I want to avoid spoilers, so I won’t delve too much into what happens in season three, as I avoided them myself.

What I will say though, is that William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence,  the bully turned hero who cannot live without karate, is still the stand out here, as he continues to demand attention when he’s on screen. I am truly happy for Zabka, because “Cobra Kai” has been a massive comeback for him. It always shocks me at how good he is at portraying the subtle nuances of Lawrence, whether it be his obliviousness to technology, his political incorrectness or his witty comebacks. 

More importantly, it has been a pleasure to witness the character progression of Lawrence as he turns from an anti-hero to a true hero. This season, more than ever, focuses on the adults more than the kids. 

Daniel LaRusso, played by Ralph Macchio, who is stuck in the past and wants what’s best for his family, even takes a trip to Mr. Miyagi’s hometown of Okinawa and encounters some old faces. LaRusso still holds his own, but I am fully rooting for Lawrence here. 

Although I have not seen “The Karate Kid Part II,” it is clear that there are several nods and callbacks to the film as multiple flashbacks and montages indicate, which will please lots of fans. While I mentioned that this season focuses more on the adults, there still is a fair share of drama between the students of the crumbling Cobra Kai dojo, led by Lawrence and the improving Miyagi-Do, led by LaRusso. 

Lots of this springs from the maliciousness of John Kreese, who now runs Cobra Kai. Kreese is given much more screen time this season, with a surprising amount of flashbacks to his life during the Vietnam War. This was necessary to give Kreese the depth of character he deserves, as he was a bit too much in the background for the first two seasons. 

Kreese is a master manipulator, and he really gets to be a proper villain in this season. It is funny to see how much Johnny Lawrence has evolved in contrast to how Kreese remains iniquitous. 

The action still hits in this season, although I will say I am more of a fan of the traditional tournament-style fighting scenes rather than the chaotic brawls. While there were no tournaments in this season, there were plenty of engaging fighting scenes that will have fans at the edge of their seats. 

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

The third season of “Cobra Kai” was the weakest, but it is still a great season of television. This was the definition of a buildup season -- there was lots of exposition, character development and plotlines coming to a head. With that being said, I am more excited for the fourth season than I was for the other seasons and that is really complimenting the way the third season builds up the “Cobra Kai” world. 

There may have not been as much exciting action or drama as the other seasons, but it is still the same show I have loved for years and left me salivating for more. “Cobra Kai” is streaming on Netflix now.

Contact columnist Miles Goldman at

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now