REVIEWED: SEASON 2 (ALL EPISODES) | WHERE TO WATCH: YOUTUBE PREMIUM
When it was first announced that YouTube Premium was making a TV show follow-up to the original Karate Kid movies featuring its ageing stars, no one would have blamed you for taking a hard pass. On paper, it simply shouldn't work. However, Cobra Kai Season 1 was one of the most binge-worthy shows in recent history, and we’re happy to report Season 2 absolutely follows suit.
Season 1 ended with a number of cliffhangers that set up this season nicely: Miguel won the All Valley Karate Tournament by beating his sensei’s son in the finals, showing his injured competitor the infamous Cobra Kai’s No Mercy attitude; Hawk’s attitude adjustment worsened as the geek-turned-punk attacked an opponent from behind; Daniel LaRusso’s daughter was shown training karate, hinting at her joining Miyagi dojo, and of course, Jonny Lawrence’s old sensei John Kreese made his surprising return.
Season 2 continues all these story arcs, with the previous season’s relationship between Johnny and star pupil Miguel taking a bit of back seat. The rivalry between the two warring dojos continues to escalate over the course of the season, with the main story arc focusing on the relationship between Jonny and Kreese. Friendships and family bonds are all put the test as tensions build, until they eventually explode in the season finale.
For a film that was so black and white, Cobra Kai and all its characters sit in a much greyer area. Characters aren't good or evil, they're just different people with contrasting beliefs, and even those that start heading down that darker path never stray too far from redemption, with the odd exception. Although it can be serious, the show never loses its humour and charm. Whether it be Jonny Lawrence learning about the internet, Amanda LaRusso’s quips, reminding us how silly this entire scenario is in a real-world setting, or Cobra Kai’s over-enthusiastic new recruit who’s clearly too old to be hanging around teenagers.
The writers continue to do a great job with so many characters to focus on, and manage to cram plenty of character development into the short, half-hour run times. Other than a single over-the-top sequence in the finale that more closely resembles an episode of WWE Smackdown, Season 2 is excellent television; easily as good as, if not better than the first.