Cobra Kai season 2 recap: How the cliffhanger ending sets up season 3

Cobra Kai - Season 2 - Episode 205 - Courtesy Guy D'Alema / © 2018 Sony Pictures Television / Netflix
Cobra Kai - Season 2 - Episode 205 - Courtesy Guy D'Alema / © 2018 Sony Pictures Television / Netflix /

Is Cobra Kai season 2 as good as season 1?

As a fan of The Karate Kid, I had reservations about a TV series based on the movie, which was originally released on YouTube before moving to Netflix. The first season of Cobra Kai didn’t disappoint. It struck hard, struck fast and showed no mercy. But would Cobra Kai season 2 continue the unrelenting tugs on the heartstrings?


The feud between long time rivals Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) spills into season 2. It seems every time they’re on the verge of putting their past behind them and even becoming friends, something happens to rile them up again.

This time it’s usually caused by their kids, Sam (LaRusso’s daughter, played by Mary Mouser) and Robby (Johnny’s son, played by Tanner Buchanan).

Then, there are the kids in each of their dojos. They’re aware of the bad blood between their senseis, which they feel compelled to claim as their own, and that helps fuel the fire too.

In fact, there’s conflict galore, on and off the mat, in Cobra Kai season 2. Not only between dojo vs. dojo and Daniel and Johnny, but between sensei Lawrence and sensei Kreese, Miguel and Robby, Tory and Sam. All while revolving around the themes of friendship, giving second chances vs. holding grudges and no mercy vs. honor.

However, there’s also a lot of heart. I finally know what this series reminds me of: One Tree Hill. Except instead of basketball, it’s karate, but there’s a similar father-son dilemma where one son has known his father’s love, while the other was rejected. Although, Miguel isn’t really Johnny’s son, and no, Johnny hasn’t always been there for Robby, but thanks to Miguel, he wants to be.

But LaRusso has stepped up to provide for Robby like Johnny never had. That, plus Robby resenting his dad for being a father to a stranger (Miguel), sets up season 2’s main tensions. But it just gets more complicated from there.

Cobra Kai vs. Miyagi-do

Cobra Kai vs. Miyagi-do is sort of the martial arts version of Slytherin vs. Gryffindor. Except instead of a sorting hat telling each kid which dojo is right for them, they figure it out themselves based on their perception of sensei Lawrence vs. sensei LaRusso.

The more hardcore win-at-all-cost kids opt for Cobra Kai, while those looking for wisdom and the confidence to defend themselves choose Miyagi-do.

It was really interesting to see the split in friendships right down the middle between former best friends like Sam and Aisha, Hawk and Demetri and even supporting cast like Mitch and Chris. This set up for plenty of tension and hurt feelings that led to mini-skirmishes throughout season 2, but also contributed to an epic first day of school showdown in the last episode.

Sensei Lawrence vs. Sensei Kreese

Johnny hasn’t always done the right thing, but like he did in the first season, he tries to make the right decisions in Cobra Kai season 2. One of those decisions is abandoning one of Cobra Kai’s tenets, “no mercy.”

He shows mercy on his former sensei, Kreese, when he reappears and wants back into the dojo. Johnny quickly realizes that was a big mistake, one that ultimately costs him his dojo entirely when Kreese steals it from him.

The love triangles

After Miguel takes Cobra Kai’s mantras to heart in season 1, which drives Sam away, and Robby is essentially adopted by the LaRussos, spending all summer training with Sam, the inevitable relationship blooms.

Miguel wants Sam back, but Tory, a fellow Cobra Kai, advises him against pursuing Sam because Tory wants Miguel for herself.

Robby also feels threatened by Sam and Miguel’s former relationship, which is why he at first doesn’t tell Sam that Miguel returned Mr. Miyagi’s medal of honor that Hawk stole when he led some fellow Cobra Kais on a mission to trash Miyagi-do.

Robby, like his father, wants to be a better person. On the first day of school, he comes clean to Sam. It’s part of a “no more secrets” pact he wants to make with her.

But Sam has a secret of her own. At Moon’s back-to-school party she kisses Miguel, which Tory happened to see. Before Sam can tell Robby about it, Tory sparks a Cobra Kai vs. Miyagi-do first day back-to-school brawl.

What happens at the end of Cobra Kai season 2?

Cobra Kai season 2’s ending is a bit melodramatic and over the top, but holy cow does it set up one heck of a cliffhanger and a must-have season 3.

Demetri finally stands up to Hawk, Sam and Tory have a full-on girl fight with hair pulling and everything, but the worst fight of all is the one between Miguel and Robby.

Ironically, Miguel shows Robby mercy, but Robby doesn’t reciprocate and in an awful final kick sends him over the railing to land hard on the steps on his back. It’s a life-threatening injury.

Will Miguel live or die?

Will Miguel’s mom, who Johnny was forming a romantic relationship, forgive Johnny?

Will Johnny forgive himself for getting Miguel into all of this?

Will Johnny be able to get his dojo back from Kreese?

Will Johnny and Robby finally reconcile?

And will Elisabeth Shue reprise her role as Ali in season 3?

Because, oh yeah, that happened in this second season too. In his never-ending attempts to pull Johnny into the modern era, Miguel introduces him to “the Facebook.” He ends up sending her a message to check in, and that’s how Cobra Kai season 2 ends. With Ali Mills Schwarber writing back.

But Johnny has tossed his phone on the beach, his keys in his Cobra Kai Challenger and walked away from it all.

So will he come back?

Even for as melodramatic as it was, Cobra Kai season 2 made sure fans will for sure want to come back to see what happens in season 3.

Cobra Kai season 3 prediction

Ali is now a doctor and so is her husband. Will she play any part in healing Miguel, Johnny’s broken life and perhaps once and for all end the rivalry between Johnny and Daniel?

Maybe I’m reaching, but I’m curious if that’s how they’ll work her back into the plot.

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