REVIEW: ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4 Only Gets Half the Steps

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Cobra Kai Season 4 - But Why Tho

Cobra Kai Season 4, a new season to the hit Netflix original series, was released on Friday. Season 3 left off with a big fight at the LaRusso residence. Cobra Kai lost the brawl against both Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang dojos, forcing them to retreat. Johnny (William Zabka) and Danny (Ralph Macchio) confronted Kreese (Martin Kove) about the fight, which lead to a fight. Kreese loses the fight but manages to get Robby (Tanner Buchanan), Johnny’s son, to join him. Kreese proposes the idea that if Cobra Kai loses the next All-Valley Karate tournament, he will no longer be a sensei. Once they all agree, Kreese calls Terry Silver Thomas Ian Griffith, his former friend, for help while Danny and Johnny agree to team up.

Cobra Kai Season 4 picks up with Danny and Johnny training the students of Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang together. However, they quickly discover that teaming up won’t be easy. Both senseis cannot let go of the past grievances that they have towards each other. Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) and Sam (Mary Mouser) attempt to bring their respective senseis together but must deal with dilemmas of their own.  Season 4 also introduces a new character named Kenny, who’s quickly bullied by the kids in his class. To get the upper hand, he seeks out Robby and attempts to join Cobra Kai. Meanwhile, Kreese convinces Terry to come back and the two become senseis of the Cobra Kai dojo. As all this is going on, all dojos go through training for the All-Valley Karate tournament.

The chemistry between Zabka and Macchio has elevated throughout the series but it wasn’t until Cobra Kai Season 4 where it shined the best. It’s clear that Johnny and Danny hate one another and can’t seem to get over their rivalry. The hate and feeling of distrust that they have towards one another can be felt in every scene that the two share together. Their banter this season is full of tension, even when they’re meant to be working together to stop Kreese. The two play off each other so well to the point where they make it hard to believe that they would actually work together well. Constantly discussing the differences of beliefs in what karate represents and the history that they have plays a big role in this. It will be interesting to see where their partnership will be taken moving forward into Season 5.

Cobra Kai Season 4 put a major emphasis on the bond that Kreese and Terry have formed and where it will eventually go once Terry rejoins Cobra Kai. This season does an incredible job at establishing how much Terry appreciates everything that Kreese had done for him in the war. Saving his life and the connection they made is a big part in what made Terry join his old dojo. But with two big personalities, it’s not surprising that tension starts to become more apparent as the season progresses. With Kreese’s drive for dominance and Terry’s wealth shaping him into who he is, it’s only a matter of time before their personalities will collide. It was immediate from their first scene together this season that tension between the two would arise. That tension sways back and forth, which will make audiences interested as to what direction it will ultimately land on.

One of the more surprising elements of Cobra Kai Season 4 is Hawk (Jacob Bertrand). Until the last episode of Season 3, Hawk had been completed devoted to Cobra Kai. This is what makes betraying his dojo and helping out his old friends during the fight at the LaRusso residence quite surprising last season. Rather than just re-introducing him to his friend group, his character goes through an identity crisis since Cobra Kai is what inspired the name Hawk and his new attitude. While he felt the need to be a bully and assert the dominance that he never had as Eli, all of that was gone the instant he helped out his former friends. This identity crisis gives him bigger importance on the series overall rather than just being another character.

The main issue with Cobra Kai Season 4 is the number of elements that are packed into just 10 episodes that are roughly 35 minutes long. For instance, the introduction of a brand new character like Kenny would have made sense earlier in the series, perhapsShou Harusano in the first or second season. Bringing him in now, on top of everything else, doesn’t make a lot of sense. The show has already established what characters will be focused on and if new characters are introduced, they play a larger role in the story.

Kenny being bullied by Danny’s son Anthony (Griffin Santopietro) and his other classmates rehashes the main plot of the first Karate Kid film but with a LaRusso being the bully and a Cobra Kai being the victim. That arc was already covered in the first season with Miguel and proved to be successful already. Kenny just seems like a completely pointless character other than for yet another LaRusso vs Cobra Kai student fight in Season 5. To make matters worse, Kenny’s story arc felt completely rushed, which lessened the effect it had on the season.

There is also the fact that Cobra Kai season 4 made it seem as if this was no longer Miguel’s story. From the premise of the show, audiences were led to believe that Miguel would be the main focus of the show. This was true for the first three seasons as his character went through tremendous character development with the amount of experience and obstacles he dealt with.

While Season 4 heavily promoted the team-up between Danny and Johnny, it was still expected for Miguel to be at the center of the plot. However, as the season progressed, his character was rarely included in any of the main developments in the story. This isn’t to say that he was missing completely, but he wasn’t given enough to make an impact this season. Sure, it seems like Season 5 will be giving him much more to do, but having him take a back seat for an entire season was a mistake.

It’s safe to say that Cobra Kai Season 4 started off strong and had several elements to carry the season forward but failed to include a satisfying conclusion because of too many elements that had to be carried out in just 10 episodes. Adding the fact that Miguel wasn’t as important as he was in previous seasons, one can only wonder if the show is starting to lose sight of what made it successful. With the show already renewed for a fifth season that has already wrapped filming, fans won’t have to wait to see as to whether or not this show will continue.

I, for one, am excited to see where the show goes from here, especially with the major cliffhanger at the end.

Cobra Kai Season 4 is available now, exclusively on Netflix.


Cobra Kai Season 4
  • 7/10
    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

It’s safe to say that Cobra Kai Season 4 started off strong and had several elements to carry the season forward but failed to include a satisfying conclusion because of too many elements that had to be carried out in just 10 episodes. Adding the fact that Miguel wasn’t as important as he was in previous seasons, one can only wonder if the show is starting to lose sight of what made it successful. With the show already renewed for a fifth season that has already wrapped filming, fans won’t have to wait to see as to whether or not this show will continue.

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