Cobra Kai Review: Fathers & Sons and Kumiko's Return!

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We got another blast from the past.

Carrying on with its knack for nostalgia, Daniel-san was Japan-bound by the end of Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3, and a side trip to Okinawa during Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 4 had him face-to-face with his Japanese almost flame, Kumiko.

And while Daniel carried some emotional labor with his Japanese arc, Johnny, Robby, Kreese, and Miguel held their own in the States.

Seeking Help - Tall - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 1

The repercussions from the fight are relentless for many of the characters. It remains a testament to the series' strong writing that they used the brawl as a platform to jumpstart nearly everyone's arc.

For Daniel, his reputation is in shambles, and if he were in any other field, it wouldn't have such a significant impact, but he's in sales at a dealership he owns. The LaRussos are losing more business than they're bringing in.

Amanda's idea to distance themselves from karate in their marketing was smart, but it can't be enough to keep their business afloat.

If that wasn't bad enough, Doyona, one of their biggest manufacturers, struck a deal with sleazy Tom that would've cut LaRusso dealership out and been a final nail in their coffin.

Tommy  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

Tom is such a colossal asshole that it wouldn't be worthwhile to ever take him up on his deal, no matter how desperate the LaRussos may become.

Faroush tipping Louie off -- and later returning to LaRusso dealership, gave Daniel a slight edge, but turning down Tom didn't help their situation any.

Daniel's plan to go to Tokyo to speak to the heads of Doyona directly was ambitious and ballsy, but he needed more than that, so it wasn't a surprise that it didn't lead anywhere.

Was that the extent of Daniel's plan? What else can he pull out of his bag of tricks to save his dealership? Clearly, it's more than a career -- it's a real passion for him.

Deal with the Devil  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

And like most things in his life, it's one more thing that connects him to Miyagi. According to Daniel, he has been passionate about cars ever since Miyagi gave him his, and it was his mentor who urged him into sales.

Miyagi has influenced almost every facet of Daniel's life. If these installments, particularly "The Right Path," haven't shown anything, it's that Miyagi is still every bit a character of this revival. His influence and his presence looms and lingers.

Bartender: You look happy there.
Daniel: Happier times.
Bartender: Is that a friend of yours? 
Daniel: Best friend I ever had. 
Bartender: Are you visiting him while you're in town.
Daniel: I wish. I'm afraid he's no longer with us.
Bartender: Very American way of thinking. In Japan, you can always visit someone they speak to us even when they are gone.

Daniel is middle-aged now, and he's still perpetually lost without this father-figure. After Doyona shot him down, he headed to Okinawa to reconnect with Miyagi again and feel; as if somehow his mentor could give him the advice he desperately needed and craved.

Tomi Village becoming a shopping center was sobering as hell and a real kick in the teeth. Sure, it benefited the villagers more than harmed them by providing them with jobs, but one look at that commercialized center, and you know the charm is gone -- the culture and tradition are gone.

Kumiko Dances - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 4

It's one of the first times when Daniel was no better than Johnny in being stuck in the past. But in a twist of fate, it led him to Kumiko, and their reunion was so charged and fruitful.

Can we talk about the sparks flying between Kumiko and Daniel? They were inferno, and they danced along the lines of flirtation with each scene they shared.

Daniel: I used to go to Mr. Miyagi for help. You know I am the same age as he was when he met me. He had it all figured out. I wish I still had him, you know? I wish he could be here to help guide me.
Kumiko: I think I can make that happen.

Is it wrong to say that Daniel has more of a spark with Kumiko than he does Amanda? Sometimes, perhaps because of how they tell, not show us the LaRusso love story, it's hard to buy into their connection.

But Kumiko and Daniel are easy. They caught up with each other as if they weren't apart for three decades, and they know each other well.

Kumiko - Tall - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 4

Daniel needed that connection to his past, and Mr. Miyagi to remind him who he was again. Sadly, despite Amanda's support and recalling how they built LaRusso dealership together, it just doesn't feel the same.

Amanda was ready to throw in the towel and accept Tom's offer and didn't even consider brainstorming an alternate plan. Amanda supports him in her way, but it's not a method conducive to what Daniel often needs and seeks out.

Kumiko: Why did you come back to Okinawa, Daniel- san?
Daniel: I told you, my business. 
Kumiko: No, why did you really come back?

Kumiko's faith in Daniel, despite their years of distance, felt different, more inspiring. She understood his connection to Miyagi and why he was searching for his presence in Okinawa. She gets that Miyagi is home.

When she said she never got married and that no one ever fought to the death for her, it was one of many scenes that felt as if she still held a torch for Daniel. And while reading Miyagi and Yukie's love letters, there were some quiet, heated moments.

Miyagi's Letter - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 4

Kumiko reading Daniel Miyagi's final love letter (a week before he died) is one of the best moments in the series. It was pure nostalgia and a tear-jerker of a scene if you're so inclined to have an allergy flare-up.

Daniel always assumed, even now as an adult, that Miyagi had all of life figured out, but it's not true, and through those letters, he understood that.

Kumiko [reading Miyagi's letter]: There is nothing to do except watch TV and think. Think about family. Think about us. Think about where I have been and where I am going. In life, I have always looked for signs to show me the right way, but I got lost. Until I met Daniel-san. His kind heart, strong chi, and loyalty and love for those around him is a guiding light for me. I am very proud for the man he has become even though he still has a hard head. I never thought I would have a family again. Daniel-san has welcomed me in his family, and he has passed on what I have reached him in Miyagi-Do to his daughter. Samantha... makes me feel like I'm her tanmee.
Daniel: What's tanmee?
Kumiko: Grandfather. [continues reading] In life, we always lose our way, but it is people, not the signs, that guide us back to the right path.

Miyagi spoke of how much he loved and valued Daniel and that he, too, had gone down an unknown path and felt lost until he cultivated a lifelong bond with the teen. And he considered Daniel his family -- the entire LaRusso clan became kin to him.

It meant something that Daniel passed down Miyagi's teachings to Samantha -- that Miyagi recognized before he died that his legacy would live on through Daniel and Sam, who he considered his granddaughter.

Daniel  & Kumiko  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 4

Miyagi believed people guide lost individuals back to the right path, and that's what his letter and Kumiko did for Daniel.

Now, the question remains, with this new fire in him after finding what he longed for in Okinawa, how will he save his dealership and kick Tom's ass?

Of course, before he leaves, we might have another showdown between Daniel-san and Chozen. Bring it on, baby!

While Daniel was off playing the lost son seeking a connection to the man he considered a father, Johnny was balancing the role of both father and son, literally and figuratively, with Robby, Miguel, Kreese, and Sid.

Chozen Returns  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 4

I can't think of anything more frustrating than Johnny feeling torn between two sons. He made such progress, but his embarrassing himself in church and getting his ass kicked by Bobby aside, who wouldn't ask the questions Johnny was asking?

He can take the hits; life kicks the shit out of him, time and again, and he's used to it. A huge part of him often feels as though he deserves that, but Miguel and Robby don't, and he couldn't fathom a God allowing terrible things to happen to those boys.

Bobby has the patience of, well, a man of the cloth, to endure all of Johnny's ways, but it was especially great that he arranged an opportunity for Johnny to see Robby in juvie.

Testing Bobby's Patience - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

Johnny is trying so hard to do right by both boys, and his love for them is as transparent as glass, but it's forever at odds. Johnny makes plans, and God or fate seems to laugh at him.

Carmen is in debt dealing with Miguel's medical expenses, and the top-notch surgery he received was pushing her over.

When it's just him, Johnny is fine slumming it, but to pay for Miguel's surgery, the man got suited up and clean-shaven and hit up damn near every job in the newspaper looking for work.

Without ever beating us over the head with commentary, the scene with the prospective boss told you more than you could ever know about how difficult it is for people with previous arrests to find jobs.

Job Hunt  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

The irony is that jail and probation are supposed to rehabilitate as much as punish individuals, but rehabilitation is a wash if people can't get or sustain jobs if they have a record.

On paper, Johnny was everything they were looking for, and he practically was a shoo-in until he had to describe his arrests and bless his heart, he didn't know how to present them in a way that served him best.

Bobby: How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not a priest.
Johnny: So your wang can still get tang. Nice.

And a prideful Johnny wouldn't go to Sid for help when it came to his dojo, but he subjected himself to the old bastard's onslaught of verbal abuse if it meant getting money for Miguel's surgery.

Hocking that sculpture he stole at least did the trick, but I hope it doesn't bite him in the ass. It also got him back in Carmen and her mom's good graces, somewhat, but that's what left him choosing between Miguel and his meeting with Robby, and once again, he picked Miguel.

Miguel's Fate - Tall - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 1

Robby looked so hopeful when he found out his father was visiting. No matter how often Johnny disappoints him, he always holds out for more. It's so quintessentially childlike.

Johnny not showing up was just another disappointing act on top of a clusterfuck of others, and finding out later that it was because of Miguel was a gut-punch again.

Bobby: Hey just give him a little more time OK?
Robby: He's not coming. I knew it.

The food kitchen confrontation was brutal to watch because they both suck so hard at communicating. Johnny lecturing about Robby getting into fights (when he doesn't even know the truth) is rich, considering he's the king of getting into unnecessary beef.

And the dig about how Robby was the one who put Miguel in the hospital in the first place was never going to go over well.

Community Service  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

Kreese and Sid have two different ways of treating Johnny like a failure, and Miguel and Robby's responses to him as a father (figure) vary, too.

Sid is straight-up abusive. However, Kreese is the more subtle type of toxic. His entire conversation with Johnny at the bar was masterful gaslighting, and Martin Kove is so good at this role you hate that you love it.

You're in a bad place, and I probably put you there. But you gotta believe it was for your own good. I never wanted to hurt you. I always wanted just to help. You did the impossible, you brought Cobra Kai back to life. You brought me back to life. But then you started leading those kids down the wrong path, and I had to step in. I kept trying to warn you, but you didn't listen. So I had to act. But now it's time for you to come home. You may hate my guts, but I will always be your teacher. I know you more than you know yourself, and there's only one way to get you out of this funk, the way of the fist. You were the best, Johnny, and you can teach that to these kids, you've done it before.


Kreese attempted to convince Johnny that everything he has done for him was for his benefit. Kreese also removed Johnny from the extent of his work and let Johnny know he was ready to welcome him home.

It's such a twisted and toxic father/son relationship they have -- a cycle that neither can break. It's harder than it appears to cut strings like that.

Luring Johnny In  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

But what is it about Johnny that he took that talk with Kreese, and it brought him to Miguel's bedside again over reaching out to Robby?

Is Miguel easier? Johnny doesn't want Miguel to be like him. He doesn't want Kreese to get his hands on him as he alluded to doing at the bar, but the irony of it all is Kreese's intentions extend to Robby.

Kreese: And when our boy comes back, well, we'll help him get on his feet.
Johnny: Go anywhere near Miguel and his family, and I'll kill you.

Kreese will get his claws into Robby, based on him showing up to see the kid at juvie, and Robby is prime for his manipulations since he's angry at Johnny and Daniel.

Kreese feeds off of anger, weaponizes it, and uses it to his advantage, and I'm willing to bet Robby is his next project, much to Hawk's chagrin.

Robby in Juvie - Tall - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

Johnny heard what Kreese said and decided he wanted to be better, and it led to yet another fantastic scene between Johnny and Miguel. Miguel is spending way too much time giving up and throwing in the towel.

The surgery won't mean a damn thing if Miguel's attitude sucks. He needed Johnny to drop by so he could stop moping and feeling sorry for himself. It was a pitiful display.

Miguel: I can't walk. Even with the surgery I might never--
Johnny: Quiet! Never "can't." Those are just words, they're meaningless, It's time to get out of bed and do something.You're not a kid anymore, the world isn't just gonna hand it to you. You want something, you're gong to have to crawl across the floor, use your damn teeth if you have to, You'll have to do whatever it takes.And I'm always going to be right here next to you 'cause I'll always be your teacher.

Johnny getting into sensei mode knocked Miguel into place, and even though he couldn't suddenly rise from the bed and start walking, at least he has some fight in him again. All he needed was Johnny's support and confidence in him.

It's unlikely either of them will return to Cobra Kai, though, so where does it leave them? Despite their loyalty, it doesn't seem as though Miguel is thrilled with his mates.

Johnny Pushes Miguel  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

He seemed to enjoy Sam's visit to the hospital, and he probably heard and appreciated the Miyagi Do car wash. And kudos to Sam for telling the gospel truth about Tory in response to Miguel's excuse justifying Sam's actions. Cool tragic background story and all, buddy, but she's still a bullying asshole. Hawk, on the other hand, has leaned heavily into the dojo beef.

Miguel: Tory's had a rough life. Her mom's sick and --
Sam:- everybody's got a sob story. Doesn't give you the right to be a bully. 

His exchange with Sam at the hospital was far from pleasant, and from then on, it's been nonstop dojo animosity. Hawk and Cobra Kai beating up Shawn and stealing the car wash money was ignorant AF.

I mean, they also could've considered raising money for their fallen brother on their own.

As much smack as Hawk talks, it was also a punk move for at least three of them to beat up the smallest member of Miyagi Do.

Getting Jumped  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

With that move, the karate rivalry carried on at full-force. And Sam has taken her place as the leader. She has also taken the role of sensei, knowing that to keep up with Cobra Kai, they need to continue training.

And she and Miyagi Do are at a disadvantage. Even though Coba Kai initiates most of the attacks, Blatt only sees them as the issue.

Blatt: Did she enter your personal bubble without your consent?
Hawk: Yeah, she definitely triggered my safe space. 

Hawk expertly knows how to exploit Blatt's hippie, kumbaya methodology equipped with the overuse of words like "safe space" and use it against Miyagi Do at every turn.

And sadly, because of what happened, Sam and everyone else associated with Miyagi Do's reputations are inextricably linked with Robby's actions.

Miyagi - Do Kids  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

Hawk's display in the cafeteria was despicable as per usual, for the simple fact that smashing Demitri's project also affected people unrelated to their conflict, but damn if he didn't have some funny as hell lines. The triggered safe space bit took me out. 

He has heeded Kreese's advice -- he has taken to him like a duck to water, soaking up everything Kreese says like a sponge. Kreese told them to fight smart, and that's what he's doing.

It's putting Coba Kai at an edge, and the Miyagi Do kids keep getting caught with their pants down. But they're giving it a real go. The fighting match under the guise of playing soccer was pure adrenaline-pumping brilliance, creative, and well-executed, too. I could've watched a half hour of that alone.

Hawk Visits Miguel - Tall - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

While Johnny is distracted with Miguel and Robby, and Daniel is dealing with his dealership issues, their decades-old vendetta rages on among the kids.

So far, Sam has only been facing off against Hawk, but what's going to happen when she squares off against Tory again?

And with Robby getting his ass kicked by an irksomely politically incorrect and side-eye worthy, trope-tastic trio of delinquents, where's he going to fall when he gets out?

Rrobby's Bullies  - Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3

Kreese may pull some strings to spring Robby, but will it be enough to earn the kid's loyalty? It would be a hell of a move if he joined Cobra Kai, after all.

Over to you, Cobra Kai fanatics. Hit the comments below, and hit us up for the next reviews.

You can watch Cobra Kai online here via TV Fanatic.

Now You're Gonna Pay Review

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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on Twitter.

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Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

Bobby: How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not a priest.
Johnny: So your wang can still get tang. Nice.

Miguel: Tory's had a rough life. Her mom's sick and --
Sam:- everybody's got a sob story. Doesn't give you the right to be a bully.