Even though this is the most important war yet, the stakes have never been higher. Season 4 of Cobra Kai is Netflix’s first original production since purchasing the series from YouTube TV. There are a few growing pains obvious in this new period, even though the creative crew remains the same. Nevertheless, it’s an exhilarating experience.
To reach the All-Valley Tournament, Eagle Fang Karate and Miyagi-Do will have to overcome one more obstacle: convincing Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) that they need to work together. Johnny and Daniel spend a lot of time attempting to get past the “mortal foes” problem, while agreeing to work together to take down Cobra Kai, which is now run by the diabolical John Kreese (Martin Kove). Most of the season will be devoted to this endeavor, with different degrees of success (and varying degrees of viewer frustration).
Feuds aren’t resolved overnight. Problem is, Johnny and Daniel have already spent three seasons gradually understanding that their yin-and-yang relationship might have some gray spots. This has been an ongoing plot point for the past three years, and it’s a little discouraging that it’s so central to the Story.
Season 4 has a sentimental sense about it that wasn’t expected, and it has nothing to do with the inclusion of younger characters. This show’s cheese has always worked because it’s so good at playing on our fondest childhood memories. Some of that charm may have been lost because Netflix added some significant “why is this happening?” moments, but it’s impossible to say for certain. There is a needle drop in the penultimate episode that will either make you squeal with delight or convert you into a metaphorical anime character with little question marks flying above your head. Not a good thing to say about Netflix in this situation.
Terry Silver’s ride, on the other hand, may be the most challenging. The fact that Thomas Ian Griffith is returning to the series has an entirely new impact. Kreese’s wickedness is a more palatable one than others. Cobra Kai’s leader is a cunning manipulator who understands how to get his way no matter the circumstances. Except for Terrance Silver. Mind tricks by Silver were the only way to break Daniel LaRusso. Terry, on the other hand, appears to be in good health and glad to be living his life as a retired entrepreneur with a beautiful vegan partner. It is only now that Kreese needs his second in the dojo and has no qualms about destroying his war buddy’s life to get back into Cobra Kai.
Kenny Payne (Dallas Dupree Young), the new prism through which Cobra Kai reflects its annual cycle of bullying, retaliation, and the dehumanization both causes, joins Silver as the new prism for our viewing pleasure. Once again, the introduction of new characters necessitates less time and distance for the old ones. However, neither the writers nor Young wasted the time allocated to Kenny. It’s easy to sympathize with his character and circumstances, especially the “breaking point” prank he plays on Robbie and Cobra Kai.
In seven half-hour episodes, there is still a lot of ground to cover. Cobra Kai Season 4’s initial two-thirds are largely held together by a lingering comparison between Daniel and Johnny’s opposing techniques, no matter how interesting the new characters are or how compelling their challenges are individually. Robbie and Tory (Peyton List) are briefly tested before the plot shifts focus to Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) and Demetri (Ashlee Miller) tussling at the other end of the stage. Because of List’s outstanding work the past two seasons, I was hoping for more from Tory. Regarding collaborations, the most interesting coupling comes from a source; you’d least expect it to be. After learning the narrative of one of the Cobra Kai, Amanda LaRusso shows a surprising degree of empathy for the criminals who threatened her children’s lives in the wake of this karate nonsense. I’m most excited for Season 5 because of developing both her, and this character.
The most intriguing aspect of this most current chapter is that it doesn’t go according to plan. The kids who look up to Johnny and Daniel can’t break their patterns, but that doesn’t mean they have to follow in their footsteps. Although the relationship between the two dojos has had its ups and downs, the result is clear. A bratty little bully may be made of any attitude at any age, regardless of who is teaching them. You’ll be both cheering and crying as the difficult relationship dynamics between Johnny and Miguel get stronger and stronger.
For better or worse, this new season of Cobra Kai was amazing. Even so, the series’ heart and soul are still very much on display. Season 4 brings a new level of corniness, but it’s balanced out by deeper emotional journeys and surprising team-ups that will have fans eagerly anticipating Season 5.
Cobra Kai Season 4 is now available on Netflix.