This review is spoiler-free.
Even after four seasons, I still don’t understand how Cobra Kai is so good?
It’s a teenage soap opera with karate, yet somehow this show has very quickly been one of my favourite things to watch! And this is coming from someone who isn’t a massive Karate Kid franchise fan! Like, the films are entertaining enough, but the series has never been something that I’d seek out to watch on a regular basis. Yet Cobra Kai has quickly established itself as a ‘go-to show’ that always puts a huge smile on my face – and Season 4 is no different!
With the huge reveal at the end of last season that Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) would be making his return to the franchise, it’s safe to say that the expectation and excitement levels had been raised ten-fold! I’m very happy to say that I was NOT disappointed! Griffith was exceptional and subverts expectations from both a story and character point! They fix some of the character issues from the third film and explain it in such a compelling way that it works both for the character in this show and heightens his performance in the movie too! The whole Silver/Kreese dynamic is also not so straightforward, this is not just two ‘bad guys’ teaming up, their relationship is complex and so utterly compelling that it was just as good as the parallel story of Johnny and Daniel! Speaking of which…
Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) have joined their two dojos together to take down Cobra Kai and their strained and up and down relationship is everything that you’d expect! We all just want them to work it all out and become best friends, but as we’ve seen throughout the previous seasons, as much as they have in common, there is a stubbornness in them both that always pushes them apart. This relationship in the show has always been one of Cobra Kai’s strongest aspects but we also have the students who all go through their own dramas and triumphs too! Robby (Tanner Buchanan) and Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) once again have the weight of the world on their shoulders and must live up to their sensei’s expectations. Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Tory (Peyton List) go head-to-head once more, with both characters also having the most compelling personal stories out of all the young stars! I think List had a very strong season, both from a performance standpoint and for her character development.
I genuinely believe this is the strongest season to date because the great writing has now been coupled with characters that we have cared about for multiple seasons. Every victory is celebrated, and every setback hurts the heart, as an engaged viewer this show just grabs you, pulls you in and does not let go! Even when you try to come at it from a purely analytical angle, pulling all the silliness and absurdity apart, you’ll still have a ridiculously large smile on your face – the show just has a magical formula that, even after four seasons, never feels old or that it has overstayed its welcome.
Perfectly building on from the previous season, Cobra Kai returns with a huge crane kick to the face packing punch after punch of great comedy, complex characters, and storytelling and plenty of over-the-top shenanigans that will leave audiences smiling from ear to ear!