The Wizeguy: No Mercy

Cobra Kai isn’t a guilty pleasure, it’s an actual pleasure. I absolutely loved the ISHT out of season one. Corny, heartfelt, funny and touching. It’s a travesty that none of the last year’s awards have acknowledged that this was one of the best shows of 2018.

Honestly I’m still ASTONISHED at how good they made the first season. The line between having fun with a nostalgic story and making fun of it is very fine and most of the reboots these days fail spectacularly. Cobra Kai managed to make a true followup that actually introduced new ideas instead of solely rehashing old ones, and didn’t take itself too seriously.

If you binged season one let me speculate on the shape of things to come.

Daniel lost because he’s not following the teachings of Miyagi. “Miyagi-Do” isn’t an actual Karate school, but a lifestyle that includes elements of Okinawa Karate, developed by the Miyagi family. It’s way more than a fighting style, and Miyagi stated that several times: it encompasses behavior, working ethic, family and social relationship AND fighting techniques. That’s why Miyagi’s teachings did much more than simply making Daniel win the tournament, but also become a better person, more confident and successful, both in his personal and professional lives.

Now Daniel isn’t only treating “Miyagi-Do” as a Karate school- Miyagi would shook his head at the idea of opening a “do-jo”, a thing that he explicitly stated being against – but doing it out of pride and hubris, unable to withstanding the idea of Johnny winning and slowly improving himself. Miyagi was adamant clear about his techniques being for defense in life, not for winning tournaments.

That said, when we think the show couldn’t get any better, the return of Kreese makes things a thousand times more interesting. And in the new trailer I got really surprised to see what it seems, at least in the short scene we see, Kreese actually blocking and getting the upper-hand over Johnny. Johnny is no longer young, but Kreese is ancient compared to him. The only explanation is that after his new defeat in “The Karate Kid – Part III”, Kreese has never stopped practicing hard, and kept himself sharp.

Movie Johnny was pretty much a blank slate evil proxy for Kreese, which makes adult Johnny’s depth all the more compelling. Listening to the whole “this new kid came to town, he tried to steal my girlfriend & then got some old man to beat up me & my friends when we didn’t like that” story made me think 1) this is great character stuff we never got in the movie and 2) yeah, come to think of it, Daniel was no saint. They are both flawed, and I hope to see them both grow and develop.

Just goes to show, there are no heroes, just villains who are really good at hiding it. The typical hero in a typical story rises because they’ve lost everything. A typical villain in a typical story is motivated to keep everything that they have. When the hero wins and gets everything they sought, where does that put them? In the position to be the villain of the next story.

Now, The next NEXT level would be Julie (Hilary Swank), from “The Next Karate Kid”, returning to remind Daniel of the proper teachings of Mr. Miyagi, Daniel back to the track and balanced, so he could finally fight for the right reasons. Or maybe even a Terry – Thomas Ian Griffith, from “The Karate Kid – Part III” – cameo. In this series, nothing should be off in the table. So, when are we getting that Johnny vs Daniel rematch?

Cobra Kai is back on YouTube Premium April 24.


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