Cobra Kai’s steady decline through season three

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The third season of Netflix’s Cobra Kai is fine, but nothing extraordinary. The first season of the show was fantastic in a lot of ways, and it’s disappointing to see the product continue its steady decline into season three. 

While I still had an overall pleasurable experience watching the newest season, there are some serious problems that the cast and crew need to address for the next, and hopefully, final season. 

Cobra Kai’s best assets and simultaneously greatest weaknesses seem to be its acting and characters. Xolo Mariduena continues to impress me, routinely putting in a believable performance as Miguel. 

While the script often throws him a curveball, Mariduena usually rises to the occasion, working well regardless of the circumstance. 

Additionally, William Zabka’s acting abilities, while originally mediocre, have really improved as the show has progressed. It is fitting that as his acting has evolved, so has his character as Johnny Laurence. 

The chemistry the two actors share is undeniable and the overall quality of the show improves whenever both of them are on screen. Unfortunately, all of the good acting is cancelled out by poor performances and character choices. 

Demetri was my least favorite character throughout the first two seasons, and while I can appreciate how they’ve toned him down, his mannerisms still irks me, and I cheer on the bad guys when they beat him up—as cruel as that may seem. 

Disappointingly, Mary Mouser’s performance as LaRusso was very poor both in terms of character and acting. 

Throughout the third season, LaRussoSam is given some of the most boring, cliche dialogue I’ve seen in a while. There is nothing about the character that I haven’t already seen in a hundred other movies and shows. 

My guess is that Mary Mouser knows this too, considering how boring and unemotional her performance is. She and the writing team are going to need to step it up if they want to save her character.

In this most recent season, Cobra Kai attempts to give more context and backstory to their previously lesser-defined characters. 

I admire the effort despite the mixed results. John Kreese’s backstory was presented in an exciting, emotional and engaging way. It gave me further insight into the character and I am happy that such a substantial portion of the show was dedicated to the narrative. 

Tory’s harsh circumstances are also explored. While I agree that the character, played by Peyton List, needed more identity, her circumstances feel forced onto the audience. 

One particularly noticeable gap in quality can be found in Nicole Brown’s departure from this show. I liked her as an actor and her character was already likable. I can’t fault the show for how they handled her leaving, but when her absence is dismissively alluded to in the opening episode, it is extremely distracting.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when shows don’t carry meaningful consequences from meaningful events. My biggest gripe with this season is how they handle Miguel’s injury. 

In season two’s epic finale, Miguel’s injury provides the emotional punch the show had desperately been looking for. Such a serious and catastrophic event should be a focal point of the plot and be carried on for the rest of the show’s running. 

Instead, Miguel goes through being in a coma, waking up and being paralyzed, to walking again over the course of about half the season. 

When Miguel confronts Johnny and blames him for being paralyzed, it was one of the most genuine emotional moments of the show’s history. It is then undercut by their relationship rapidly repairing and Miguel’s medical problems disappearing. 

This comes off not only as a wasted opportunity but as a slap in the face to an emotionally invested audience.

Despite all my criticisms, I still enjoyed the latest season of Cobra Kai for what it was. But with how the plot is unfolding, and how the characters are evolving, I think that the show really can’t survive after next season. 

I think the show is beginning to lose its identity. While it started out as something fresh and a suitable homage to the Karate Kid movies, it is slowly becoming just another teen drama—with the addition of fight scenes.

After some brief research, I discovered that there are plans for many more seasons and spinoffs. If Cobra Kai decides to go that route, viewership will plummet as the show becomes less and less interesting.
Cobra Kai needs to finish things off before it’s product goes stale or else it’s potential to be remembered fondly will disappear.

Cobra Kai needs to finish things off before it’s product goes stale or else it’s potential to be remembered fondly will disappear.

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