Cobra Kai, everyone’s favorite karate-fueled melodrama, has returned for a third season. Like its predecessors, this season is jam-packed with decades-spanning conflict, gut-wrenching emotion, and a whole lot of killer martial arts moves. Season three sees the rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do continue to heat up in the aftermath of the game-changing brawl at West Valley High. Each and every character is dealing with a unique struggle: Consider Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña), who is wrestling with recovery from a serious injury, and Sam LaRusso (Mary Mouser), who is attempting to cope with post-traumatic stress. In the midst of this angst, an unlikely alliance is formed — one that just might save the soul of karate in the San Fernando Valley.
Season three of Cobra Kai acts as something of a second act in the show’s overall story, slowly preparing the characters for a grander struggle yet to come. At the end of the season, all the pieces are set up for a final confrontation between Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), and the real villain of the Karate Kid/Cobra Kai mythology, the sinister John Kreese (Martin Kove). The finale doesn’t leave the audience wondering about what will happen next, as a result — the "what" seems pretty clear — but about how it’ll all go down. What forms will the rivalries and relationships of Cobra Kai take in the future? We’re here to ponder those burning questions.
Major spoilers ahead!
How will Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang coexist?
In the finale of season three, Sam LaRusso and Miguel Diaz convince the rest of the students from their respective karate dojos — specifically, Daniel’s Miyagi-Do and Johnny’s comically-named upstart, Eagle Fang Karate — to sign a sort of treaty. Essentially, they decide (whether their teachers like it or not) to merge their two factions. While they agree to use the Miyagi-Do dojo as their training ground, they haven’t yet settled on a name or a gi design. Presumably, they won’t be using those already established by either dojo, and will create a new identity for themselves instead. But what will that be, exactly?
A new name would certainly be appropriate, as becoming one united dojo will likely require a merging of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence’s drastically different technical and educational styles. While he’s splintered off from the most brutal aspects of Cobra Kai’s philosophy, Johnny still sees karate as a means to becoming a hardened butt-kicker. Daniel LaRusso’s karate, in tremendous contrast, is all about balance and peace. Neither sensei is all that interested in compromise, especially when it comes to each other.
Moreover, on a purely technical level, these are two totally different schools. LaRusso teaches Okinawan karate, while Lawrence teaches Tang Soo Do, a Korean karate variant. Whatever emerges from this union will be a fusion of the two forms, and, by necessity, something entirely new. Can the students learn each others’ moves while keeping their teachers on the same page?
Who will win the next All Valley Tournament?
The first season of Cobra Kai ends with the climactic 2018 Under-18 All Valley Karate Tournament, in which Miguel Diaz of Cobra Kai defeats Robby Keene, then representing Miyagi-Do. A lot has changed since then, most notably the fact that these fighters have switched sides. Robby is now the presumed ace of Cobra Kai, while Miguel is helping to lead the newly combined Miyagi-Do-Eagle Fang dojo.
Now, the remaining factions — Cobra Kai and the united Lawrence and LaRusso schools — have agreed to resolve their rivalry once and for all at the 51st Annual All Valley Tournament. During the last tournament, the make-up of the finals was a foregone conclusion. But going into season four, things are very different indeed. There are enough prominent characters in contention that there are absolutely no guarantees that the next tournament will end with a rematch between Diaz and Keene. Assuming the final contest is between Cobra Kai and the new dojo, we could also get bouts like Miguel vs. Tory, Tory vs. Sam, or even Sam vs. Robby (with apologies to Hawk, who we don’t see making it to the end).
There could even come a twist in which Cobra Kai is eliminated in the semis, with the championship match coming down to one of Daniel’s students facing off against one of Johnny’s. Perhaps it’ll be Sam vs. Miguel, in which there is much dramatic potential, whether or not they’re still a couple at that point.
How will Cobra Kai respond to Hawk’s betrayal?
Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz (Jacob Bertrand) has been ride-or-die for Cobra Kai ever since the first season of the show. In the absence of Miguel, Hawk becomes the dojo’s top prospect early on in season three. Hawk gets less and less comfortable with Cobra Kai throughout the season, however, as Kreese gradually pushes out longtime allies like Mitch (Aedin Mincks) and replaces them with the likes of Kyler (Joe Seo), the very bully who Hawk joined Cobra Kai to defend himself against. By the time the brawl at the LaRusso house breaks out in the season finale, "December 19," Hawk has had enough. He turns against Cobra Kai, joining forces with Demetri (Gianni DeCenzo) and the unified Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang dojo.
Cobra Kai doesn’t take kindly to traitors, and one can imagine that they won’t be waiting until the tournament arrives to exact some serious revenge against Hawk for his betrayal. Tory, the last remaining character from the season two squad, is not exactly the forgiving sort, while Kyler may very well resume his favored pastime of menacing Hawk, now that they’re no longer on the same team. As Hawk was once the most zealous follower of John Kreese’s Cobra Kai philosophy, he should have no illusions about what he can expect from his old tribe, now that he’s turned decisively against them.
Will there be a truce until the tournament?
In the original Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso finds himself constantly menaced by Johnny Lawrence and his buddies in Cobra Kai (though, in fairness, he takes his share of cheap shots himself). The feud begins to consume them, and eventually even threatens their lives. So, after Nariyoshi Miyagi (the late, great Pat Morita) breaks up a particularly bloody and one-sided fight between Daniel and five Cobra Kais, Miyagi and Kreese agree to settle the conflict at the upcoming All Valley Under-18 Karate Tournament. During the weeks between this fateful meeting and the climactic tournament, the Cobras are forbidden from picking fights with Daniel at school, or anywhere else.
At the end of Cobra Kai’s third season, Daniel, Johnny, and Kreese agree to use the upcoming tournament to determine the fate of the Cobra Kai dojo, but no other specific terms are established. Given the all-out gang war that erupted between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai this season, fans are full of questions. Will the dojos agree to a similar cessation of hostilities, so that the students can focus on preparing for the next tournament — and crucially, perhaps avoid getting arrested or expelled from school in the meantime? While such an agreement would likely deny us a few of the fight sequences that make the series so thrilling, memorable, and fun, it would help to differentiate Cobra Kai’s fourth season from its third, which is so thoroughly characterized by its patterns of violence.
What does Kreese want with Terry Silver?
Season three expands John Kreese’s backstory tremendously, using flashbacks to reveal his tragic youth and his traumatic capture in the Vietnam War. In 1969, young Kreese (Barrett Carnahan) saved the life of Silver, a fellow soldier (Nick Marini). Silver, who felt he owed Kreese his life, fervently promised that he’d be there for Kreese for the rest of his life. In the finale of Cobra Kai’s third season, after present-day Kreese has agreed to stake his dojo on the tournament’s outcome, he picks up a photo of himself and Silver and places a phone call to his old friend and comrade.
Fans of The Karate Kid trilogy are already familiar with Kreese’s intensely loyal war buddy Terry Silver: Alongside Kreese, he’s the antagonist of The Karate Kid Part III, where he’s portrayed by Thomas Ian Griffith. There, Silver is a millionaire industrialist who puts his entire life on hold to construct a complicated revenge scheme against Daniel LaRusso on Kreese’s behalf. In season two, Kreese mentions declining a job offer from an old war buddy, who may also have been Silver.
It appears that Kreese is calling in a favor from Silver — but what might that favor be? Silver is portrayed as a formidable fighter in The Karate Kid Part III, and his money could certainly come in handy as well. But Silver’s greatest talent is for deception and manipulation. Might Kreese use him as a fresh face to torment unsuspecting students?
Can Miguel and Sam go the distance?
By the end of Cobra Kai’s third season, Miguel Diaz and Sam LaRusso have reunited. This is a serious blow to Robby, who spends most of the autumn in juvenile detention, then returns to Miyagi-Do to find that his girlfriend has reconciled with her ex. Ouch. Robby tells them that they "deserve each other." Now, as the show is concerned, they absolutely do — but, you know, in a good way. Miguel and Sam have each grown a whole lot since they were last a couple: Miguel has shed the Cobra Kai skin that so hurt their relationship, while Sam has come out the other side of a rage- and fear-fueled breakdown. They’re both better, stronger, more considerate people for having undergone these trials, and are more able to bring out the best in each other as a result.
This is all very well and good for the two lovebirds. But Cobra Kai is, however, a big ol’ karate soap opera, which is just not the most stable ground upon which to build a healthy and lasting relationship. History isn’t on Miguel and Sam’s side either: So far, no romantic relationship between high schoolers has survived an entire season of Cobra Kai. Do Miguel and Sam have what it takes to make it through what struggles lie ahead and survive as a couple through the end of season four? Only time will tell.
Are Robby and Tory becoming a thing?
Of all the regular cast members of Cobra Kai, life has been hardest on Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) and Tory Nichols (Peyton List). Robby has been effectively on his own for years, with a deadbeat dad and an addict mom who is, thankfully, now in recovery. Tory’s mother is on dialysis, and Tory works two jobs to support her and her younger sibling. They begin the season as bitter enemies, since Tory is Sam’s nemesis, and their rivalry is what led to Robby’s own terrible mistake while fighting Miguel. However, there are moments between them at the probation office and later in Cobra Kai where there seems to be an understanding between them — and maybe even the spark of something more.
Robby and Tory have more in common than just rough childhoods: They’ve both benefited directly from the Cobra Kai philosophy. Robby is routinely thrashed by fellow inmates in juvenile detention until he abandons his Miyagi-Do scruples and stands up for himself in a violent fashion. Tory would likely be at the mercy of her predatory landlord if not for the personal intervention of Kreese himself. Tory has been a true believer in "strike first, strike hard, no mercy" from the beginning, while Robby is a recent convert. All this, plus the fact that they’re the two remaining teenage leads at Cobra Kai, means there’s a real chance they’ll end up a couple … at least for a little while.
Will Johnny and Carmen give it a real try?
After roughly three seasons of will-they-won’t-they drama, Johnny and Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) finally hook up in the season three episode, "The Good, The Bad, and The Badass." They both seem pretty pleased about this, but are hesitant to commit to anything serious, because of Miguel. Johnny is Miguel’s mentor and closest father-figure: Getting serious with Carmen would mean wagering one relationship on the others’ success. What happens to Johnny and Miguel’s bond if Johnny and Carmen’s doesn’t work out? The results could be disastrous — a fact that weighs heavily upon Carmen and Johnny’s minds.
It appears as if Johnny might torpedo this new romance right out of the gate when he meets up with his old flame, Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue), for a very date-like afternoon and evening. Selfies are taken, Golf N’ Stuff is visited, ice hockey is played, and a whole lot of emotionally potent reminiscing takes place. Thankfully, the night ends with Johnny and Ali renewing their very-much-platonic friendship, and the day seems to go by without anyone seeing the two of them together and getting the wrong idea. Johnny seems genuine in his interest in pursuing a real and truly committed relationship with Carmen, despite the risks it involves. But of course, there are still plenty of ways for Johnny to screw this up next season. We’re rooting for these two for now, but their future is far from certain.
Will we ever see Aisha again?
During the first two seasons of Cobra Kai, Aisha Robinson (Nichole Brown) is a regular member of the ensemble. In season one, Aisha goes from being the victim of relentless bullying to one of the Cobra Kai dojo’s most promising students. In season two, Aisha acts as the connective tissue between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do, maintaining friendships with members of both dojos. But in season three, Aisha doesn’t appear at all.
Early in the season premiere, "Aftermath," it’s revealed that Aisha’s parents have not only pulled her out of Cobra Kai, but out of West Valley High entirely, enrolling her in a private school instead. The infamous rumble in the halls of the school last season is to blame. This is the only mention of Aisha in all of season three, much to fans’ dismay.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Aisha is gone from the show for good, however, according to series executive producer and co-showrunner Jon Hurwitz. Before the season premiere, Hurwitz told TVLine that Aisha may return in the future, much as Kyler, Yasmine, and Louie returned for season three, despite not appearing in season two. If Aisha does return, we sincerely hope she’ll get an interesting story arc to sink her teeth into, as Aisha is pretty underserved in season two.
Are we ever going to get that Daniel/Johnny rematch?
Cobra Kai has teased a rematch between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence since the show’s very first episode. The show is, after all, built around the pair’s infamous rivalry, as chronicled in The Karate Kid. The two of them have come to blows only briefly throughout the first three seasons of the series: It happens once in season two’s "No Mercy" and is broken up by Sam and Robby, and again in season three’s "Nature vs. Nurture," after they fight off a group of chop shop tough guys together during their search for Robby. Neither fight lasts very long, and they both end in a draw. Thus, Cobra Kai has kicked the real rematch further down the road.
By the end of this season, their dojos have combined. Daniel and Johnny are now set to begin training their students side-by-side, as partners. Tension between these legendary rivals is at an all-time low, and apart from sparring at the dojo, it doesn’t seem like the two will be going at it again any time soon. We’re distantly happy that there’s finally some chance of peace in the valley, but honestly, we’ll be disappointed if we don’t get one actual no-holds-barred LaRusso-Lawrence rematch before the end of the series.