Julien Neaves, Editor
After binging Cobra Kai Season 4 I posted on Facebook that it was the greatest show ever. Now admittedly was I being slightly hyperbolic, but it is one of the most consistently entertaining shows ever and a personal favourite. The sequel series to the Karate Kid films just keeps getting better and better, with Season 4 fully delivering on the action, comedy and drama.
So allow me to strike first with a SPOILER ALERT and strike hard with this review in three kicks. NO MERCY!
Kick #1 Tenuous Alliance
I was really hoping Daniel and Johnny could have held the Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang alliance together but alas it was not be. But the clash of styles did make for a lot of entertainment and a cool rematch with a Rocky 3-type ending. And both did come out learning something from the other so at least it was not in vain. The pairing of Ralph Macchio and William Zabka never fails to disappoint and it was great having them together for so long. The epitome of the alliance was in Samantha who was still suffering the physical and emotional wounds from her encounters with nemesis Tory. I like Sam but her inability to be the bigger person with Tory grated on me. It was pretty cool seeing her visit Aisha though, and I enjoyed having Nichole Brown back, if even for a cameo.
In Season 1 we had Johnny and Miguel bonding and in Season 4 we swap out Johnny with Daniel, leading to the former getting jealous. Typical Johnny. It was also nice seeing Johnny and Carmen’s relationship moving forward. I ship those two hard. But of all the “good guys” I think Jacob Bertrand’s Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz had the strongest arc. We saw him go to the depths of defeat and humiliation (that haircut was brutal) and rise to new heights as a hero, thanks in no small part to a great pep talk from Demetri. Heck, he even got his girl back. Good stuff Hawk or Eli or whatever you are going by now. Oh, and Oona O’Brien’s mouthy Devon Lee was a fun addition to the Eagle Fang crew.
Kick #2 Snake Pit
And now we move on to Cobra Kai. I have never been the biggest fan of Tanner Buchanan’s Robby as I found him somewhat bland. But I enjoyed him this season as an antagonist, love interest for Tory, and mentor for new character Kenny. Good stuff. And speaking of Kenny, what a journey that kid had. He went from sweet kid to bullied teen (by Daniel’s slacker son Anthony “LaPusso” no less) to skilled Cobra Kai fighter to a bully himself. His takedown of the bullies in the school was some horror movie slasher stuff and I dug that. I do hope he gets a redemption arc as I like that kid. And speaking of redemption, I loved the developing relationship between Amanda (aka one of the show’s best characters) and Tori. Hopefully she can get her life together and stop being such a walking timebomb.
And now let’s move on to the big snakes. Thomas Ian Griffith returned as The Karate Kid Part III antagonist Terrance “Terry” Silver and he killed it! He went from rich yuppie to determined co-sensei and back to the twisted psychopath we all love to hate. His scenes with Macchio were wonderfully tense and he handed poor Johnny his backside. But his best scenes were with Martin Kove’s John Kreese. Their twisted relationship was endlessly intriguing. And while I was not surprised
Kick #3 The Tournament
Everything was leading up to the 51st All Valley Karate Tournament and it was larger, more epic and more action packed than what we had in Season 1. We had the surprise pull-out of Miguel, the emotionally scarring battle between Robby and Kenny, the brutal, bare chested battle between Robby and Hawk, and the awesome climactic fight between Tory and Sam. But Cobra Kai won AGAIN! Who saw that coming? But then we learn sneaky Terry rigged the whole thing. And to add icing on the scheme cake he had beaten the crap out Stingray (a gut busting return by Paul Walter Hauser) and sets up Kreese (who had been lately growing a conscience) to take the fall. You just got out-cobra-ed dude! Looking forward to him as the main antagonist next season and I strongly suspect he will be recruiting The Karate Kid Part III co-star and fellow former cobra Ben Barnes to the fold. Those guys never die.
I am also looking forward to seeing Johnny and Miguel’s adventure in Mexico as the latter searches for his shady father. And of course Daniel’s alliance with enemy-turned-ally Chozen. Sure, it felt like a bit of a repeat of the end of Season 3 but I’ll allow it. And hopefully their alliance is more successful than Miyagi-Claw.
So all around a truly awesome season. I laughed so much (“feminist” Johnny was a highlight), smiled at all the banter (both friendly and threatening), and repeatedly went “dang” at the improved martial arts action. I don’t know how they are going to top it in Season 5 but I will be tuning in to see them try.
Editor Jules’s Score: 9 out of 10
So what did you think of Cobra Kai Season 4? And you can check out reviews of previous seasons below:
Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.