I’m a big fan of COBRA KAI and saw the early release of season 3 as a tiny speck of awesome after 2020, before 2021 went off the rails and smashed into a horrific new low for America. I thought the season started off rocky but ended with full punch and heart in an amazing finale episode.
The season starts with the aftermath of the school brawl where all its consequences had to be dealt with. The kids are in big trouble, Kreese is fighting a personal war, and Johnny and Daniel blame themselves for what happened. These early episodes were rocky for me. The writers didn’t compromise the characters, but it felt like they just wanted to get through it, and as a result so did I. Once season 3 gets rid of season 2’s story engine and discovers its own, the result is solid though a bit over the top, as the feud has reached a kinda psychotic level. But the show leans into what makes it great, which is plenty of genuinely heartwarming scenes and its ability to trade on the original movies in a way that has integrity and finds its own identity.
And then there’s that finale. Oh, man. There’s a great amount of action, excellent humor, strong resolutions, great surprises, and a solid setup for season 4. I won’t say more as it’s best to discover it for yourself. Overall, for me, season 3 of COBRA KAI proved the show still has legs and a solid kick. It’s just plain fun.