Cobra Kai: Season 2 (2019)

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Once again, I normally don’t review series, but since Cobra Kai Season 1 was reviewed last year, it is time to review the second season of the Karate Kid sequel series.

The long-standing rivalry between Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso has come to a head in the second season of the Karate Kid sequel series. The bottom line, if you thought season 1 was great, wait til you see Season 2.

While Cobra Kai has won the All Valley Karate Tournament, Johnny finds himself at a crossroads because of how Miguel, his star student, won the tournament. However, Johnny is about to get the shock of a lifetime when he sees a face from the past in John Kreese, Johnny’s former sensei. From the events of the 1984 tournament, Johnny has washed his hands of Kreese. Kreese is convinced that Johnny has what it takes to bring the old spirit of Cobra kai back, but Johnny wants to do things differently. Going against his better judgment, Johnny takes Kreese back into the Cobra Kai fold.

Meanwhile, reeling from their loss, Daniel and Robbie, Johnny’s estranged son, decide to turn Miyagi-Do Karate into a full-fledged dojo. While attempts to reconcile their destroyed relationship have become futile, Johnny still believes he can try to make amends with Robbie. Daniel finds himself lucky when his daughter Samantha, still reeling from her breakup with Miguel, decides to join her dad and Robbie at Miyagi-Do Karate. As the two train together, Robbie and Samantha begin to bond and grow closer while Miguel, still heartbroken and gets punished for his actions at the tournament, becomes infatuated with new Cobra Kai student Tory. As the two dojos continue their long rivalry, personal relationships unravel and when the first day of school comes, all hell is set to break loose.

From my review of Cobra Kai Season 1, that was a great continuation of the original Karate Kid saga, but it looks like with season 2, showrunners Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald have upped the ante and this is living proof that sometimes, a sequel season can outdo its predecessor. Oh where to begin with this one?

It is great to see William Zabka bring a more effective human side again to the role of Johnny. While his team won the karate tournament, he is not happy with the methods used to win. It is clear he wanted to shy away from the days of old school Cobra Kai and from his return, the viewer can pretty much guess what’s in store when the original Cobra himself, Sensei John Kreese returns to the fold. Martin Kove was surprising enough in the original Karate Kid and Karate Kid Part III, but here, he plays Kreese at perhaps his most sinister. Like a snake, he slowly goes up to the prey in the form of buttering up to Johnny and his students, but then when the time comes, he’s ready to strike.

Ralph Macchio’s Daniel finds himself at a major crossroads with this season as he struggles between his car dealership, his new dojo, and well, his relationship with his wife, Amanda, once again played by Courtney Henggeler. On the upside, his relationship with student Robbie, played by Tanner Buchanan, makes him more of a father figure than Johnny, and as much as Daniel appreciates the gesture, he knows deep down that despite his rivalry with Johnny, he feels like Robbie should attempt to make amends with his arch-nemesis.

The “love triangle” between Xolo Mariduena’s Miguel, Mary Mouser’s Samantha, and Robbie takes quite some intricate turns. The training between Robbie and Samantha soon leads to the inevitable between the duo while Miguel spends half the season all heartbroken, knowing he is at fault for what transpired. However, for Miguel, complications and perhaps an lift in spirit comes in the form of new Cobra Kai student Tory, played by former Disney star Peyton List, who goes totally against Disney type as a female “Mike Barnes” we shall say.

There is another rivalry brewing in the form of former friends Hawk and Demetri, respectively played by Jacob Bertrand and Gianni Decenzo. Hawk is clearly reveling in his newfound confidence but tends to take things too far, especially when it comes to Demetri, who comes off as sometimes an annoying character, but it is after he decides to train with Daniel, he slowly gains the confidence he needs to stand up to his one-time friend. One episode even shows a bit of a background behind Hawk’s pre-transformation as Eli, who was constantly bullied because of a birth defect.

One episode will become quite emotional and that is a reunion of some of the original Cobra Kai students. The episode has Johnny reuniting with Bobby, Tommy, and Jimmy, once again played by the trio of Rob Thomas, Rob Garrison, and Tony O’Dell. While it seems great to see these Cobras reunite, it becomes emotional because of the reasoning behind this reunion. However, in essence and in true nostalgia form, it is wonderful to see these Cobras once again and while all of the original Cobras aren’t there, the characters are mentioned as to what they are up to these days. In case anyone is wondering, it is episode six of the season.

However, the piece de resistance is the action of the series. While the first season’s tournament scenes are quite enjoyable, it looks like Hiro Koda and company have really amped up the action in this season. From a blistering fight at a mall to perhaps the best school fight seen in years (the season finale rumble is just amazing to watch in its entirety), the action this season even gets a very brief rematch of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament and just when the longtime rivals have finally made amends, something is bound to happen that ends up breaking up that respect much like season one. However, none of that compares to how this season ends and here’s hoping that there will be a Season 3, because quite frankly, it needs to happen.

Cobra Kai: Season 2 definitely is a better sequel that amps up both the story and the action, but the season ender is quite a shock and here’s hoping that there will be a season 3 and that somehow someway, Daniel and Johnny will find a way to finally put a stop to their long rivalry.

WFG RATING: A+

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment present a Hurwitz and Schlossberg Production in association with Overbrook Entertainment. Directors: Various. Producers: Various. Writers: Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg; based on the characters created by Robert Mark Kamen.

Cast: Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Martin Kove, Xolo Mariduena, Tanner Buchanan, Courtney Henggeler, Mary Mouser, Peyton List, Jacob Bertrand, Nichole Brown, Gianni Decenzo.