Cobra Kai Review: Welcome to Eagle Fang Karate!

Television

Is there room in the Valley for three warring dojos?

We got a new origin story on Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 7 and Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 8 as a new dojo rose from the ashes: Eagle Fang Karate.

A Phoenix would’ve been hella badass, too, but Eagle Fang is quintessentially Johnny, and eagles devour snakes, so we’ll go with it.

Initially, the LaRussos planned to shut Miyagi Do down after the brawl, and Amanda wasn’t keen on Sam continuing to study Karate.

After their experiences with Kreese and his threats, they realized it was safer for the kids if Daniel prepared them for whatever Cobra Kai throws their way.

Not maintaining Miyagi Do and the students’ training would’ve been irresponsible, and they basically would’ve hung those kids out there to dry and get bullied.

Even Amanda saw the error of her ways in even suggesting Daniel shut it down before.

It’s refreshing that Amanda is coming around to karate as the family is dragged deeper into this dangerous rivalry. And she had shown some real grit and badassery of her own.

If there’s one nitpick, it’s her relationship with her family. She and Daniel still have no chemistry at all, but her mostly hands-off take with Sam is downright disturbing.

I froze, OK? I watched my friends get hurt. I watched Demetri get his arm broken, and I couldn’t do anything. And now I’m having all of these panic attacks, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to defend myself again.

Sam

Anyone can see that Sam is struggling, and Amanda was quick to tell Daniel that, but we’ve never seen her direct her maternal energy toward trying to help Sam with the two of them sharing a moment or something.

She left it up to Daniel. It’s evident Sam is a Daddy’s Girl, and the setup was there for the two to bond again through overcoming fear, but I wish Amanda had worked harder to get help for Sam, even if she offered therapy or something.

Amanda wasn’t even aware that Sam had panic attacks. Amanda knows the Cobra Kai kids are terrorizing the Valley, but we never see where she’s trying to help Sam through it outside of making the Valley around Sam better without Cobra Kai.

It does nothing for Sam’s mental health. But that’s where Daniel came in, and a day of playing hooky and reminding Sam of why Karate is valuable and isn’t something she should run away from is what she needed.

Daniel: Cobra Kai is out of control you know that. 
Sam: That’s the problem. I’m scared, dad. I never felt so alone.
Daniel: You’re not alone. No matter what you’re feeling right now there’s nothing to be ashamed of, you hear me?

Daniel’s one on one moments with Sam (or even Robby) are among the moments where he (and Macchio, of course) shines best. He has the mentoring part down in that way, and he even excels at using the similar methods he learned from Miyagi.

His time in Okinawa served him well, and he came back revitalized and willing to help, even if he had a bit of a short temper with his students at times.

It’s still annoying as hell that he can’t apply some of those lessons he learned to his relationship with Johnny. Even with Kreese there wreaking havoc, those two find a way to bicker about something.

Robby remains a source of friction for the two.

Johnny; This park will be our new dojo because you don’t need a dojo to be a dojo.

The only thing less surprising than both of them showing up when Robby got out of Juvie was the two of them still having a pissing match over who was the better person, father, and sensei, or I don’t know, whose cobra was longer. Do we even remember anymore why these two argue so much still?

Robby didn’t want any part of either of them, and you can’t blame him for that. He feels they both let him down in different ways.

If you think about it, with his mother in rehab, Johnny distracted, Robby not speaking to Daniel, and Sam dealing with other things, no one was there to see him or help him through a tough time.

Robby’s Cobra Kai origin story began the second they threw him in juvie. He only needed Kreese to plant some seeds, and a little push from Tory, of all people.

Their standoff at the probation officer was rather intense, and Tory did what she does best, which is to project her shit onto everyone else and get into their head.

Tory loves to lean into her wrong side of the tracks shtick, and it’s even better for her when she can drag someone down too. Tory and Robby share similarities — they’re working poor, play adults by taking care of their moms, and are delinquents.

Robby is angry, and he’s willing to direct his ire at anyone — you need only point him in a direction. In his defense, it is odd that Sam stopped writing, never called, and she either didn’t know or wasn’t interested in seeing him upon his release.

Tory: It’s not fair you know everyone else got to go back to normal, but here we are eating shit while your girlfri–
Robby: Don’t talk about Sam.
Tory: She cheated on you. 
Robby: She made a mistake. Sam is a good person. 
Tory: Yeah she sure acts like it. Just wait she’ll turn in you just like Miguel. 
Robby: You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Tory: Then why are we both here? At least I know who I am. You’re still pretending to be something you’re not.

He wasn’t a thought in her head with the warring dojos and her rekindled friendship with Miguel. Robby already felt as if he was a rebound from Miguel, so it was natural that he assumed the worst when he got to Miyagi Do, and Sam and Miguel were having yet another one of their moments.

What is disheartening and speaks to this series’ ongoing theme of shitty communication and jumping to the worst conclusions is that Robby bypassed any feelings of regret or guilt over what he did to Miguel and jumped right back into wanting to fight him.

He had to have known how long it took Miguel to get back on his feet, but he didn’t seem to care. And there goes the Robby we love as it’s now his turn to fall from grace and backtrack on all the redemptive progress he made.

Now, he’s joining Cobra Kai, and if so, he’ll be one of their prized fighters. I wonder how Hawk’s going to react to that?

Hawk can’t seem to juggle loyalty to friends like Mitch and Demetri, or to Johnny and Miguel, but when it comes to Cobra Kai? He’s a soldier.

He has blinders on, though, which is sad to see. What did he expect when Miguel got back to school?

After struggling with leg paralysis for half the season, Miguel is back on his feet and walking again. Johnny and Miguel tossing out the wheelchair and crutches felt cathartic given the nature of this series.

Johnny’s methods and thought process were outdated, among other things, but he did pour his everything into helping Miguel, and it’s doubtful the kid would’ve gotten on his feet so soon without Johnny there.

Sam: I’ll let you get back to your friends.
Miguel: they’re not my friends anymore. Not after what they did to you guys.

And Miguel went to school and got such a warm welcome. But it also meant he found out the things that have happened in his absence, and there’s no way he could stay with Cobra Kai knowing the things they’d done.

Miguel and Johnny starting a new dojo of their own — it feels right and well-earned. They’re both getting back on the horse. It’s almost bizarre that Johnny instilled so much into kids like Hawk and Miguel, and now he’s starting from scratch again with new kids, but Johnny has finally accepted that this is his passion and calling.

Holding free Karate lessons at the park is so on-brand for Johnny, too. It’s real grassroots going on there, and between that and the batch of students, Eagle Fang are real underdogs here.

Johnny: I started Cobra Kai with one nerd. This is a step up and if we’re going to be taken seriously we need a name that commands respect. A name that elicits power and dominance. Cobras are strong they may be king of the jungle but the world is more than a jungle. There’s only one animal that can kill a snake.
Bert: A mongoose?
Johnny: A real animal, Bert. Welcome to Eagle Fang Karate.

It’s also sad that Miguel is not at the top of his game yet. Thankfully, they didn’t sail past his injury and make it seem as though he would be doing Crane kicks or something the second he got back on his feet.

It’s something else Miguel has to grapple with, and it’s another opportunity to highlight Johnny’s maturity and growth that he is putting Miguel’s health above all things.

Johnny really feels like a father, except it’s with Miguel, not his actual kid. It’s been enough for Carmen to take notice, too.

YES! They finally hooked up, and I cannot be happier about this. Carmen made her move and pounced on him like a panther; go, Carmen!

Carmen: I may not want him to compete, but I know he won’t get hurt again because you’re his sensei. It’s what you were meant to be. It’s your calling. There are other Miguels out there who need you in their corner.I know I’m the last person you expect to be telling you this, but you have to save the tournament. 
Johnny: I don’t know how I’m going to do that.
Carmen: By doing what you do best. Fight. 

And much like Amanda, Carmen has also made some peace with karate and its importance. She sees what it does for her son, and she also notices how well Johnny is with Miguel.

She was genuine in her pep talk and urging Johnny to fight for the karate tournament’s reinstatement even if Miguel wouldn’t participate in it. She knew Johnny needed that, and the other kids, and since she genuinely cares about Johnny, she wanted that for him.

It’s funny that Johnny and Daniel both considered the cancellation a blessing in disguise. It was the women in their lives and the kids who convinced them of how important it was.

And Miguel and Sam’s impassioned pleas summed up the importance of all of this for them. They do need a place where the dojos can duke it out in an official capacity with rules.

Karate is about strength. It’s about discipline. It’s about confidence. Lessons you can use for the rest of your life. Look, I didn’t know where I would be today, or who I would be today if it weren’t for my sensei. We don’t need this tournament to do cool kicks or sell tickets. We need it to show the bullies of the world that we’re not afraid. It’s called the All Valley because it’s for everyone to give everyone a chance to show what they can do to fight to become a champion and we deserve that chance. 

Miguel

They need to show that the bullies can’t win, and karate has taught them things about discipline and strength.

I hope Daniel paid attention to how much Johnny changed Miguel’s life and saved him from the bullying he endured. The teens had more success pleading their case than the adults.

Johnny and Daniel got suckered into squabbling and pointing fingers at Kreese, and Kreese pulled the Veteran card with a sprinkle of politically correct shmoozing. It was hysterical.

The All Valley Tournament is back on, but what is it going to look like now? Cobra Kai has the majority of the strongest fighters, and that’s not including Robby.

The Miyagi Do kids can probably hold their own. Although, things like Demetri’s arm leaves them down a person.

It would be awesome if Demetri busted out a few moves and unexpectedly kicked some ass. Cobra Kai members are the bane of his existence right now.

Hawk did the unthinkable when he broke his arm, and Kyler is still bullying him. Although, some of that mistreatment did pave the way for a surprise Demetri and Yasmine fling.

Kreese: Don’t worry, Johnny. I’m not here for a fight.
Johnny: Well then why the hell are you here?
Kreese: I’d like to make you another offer to come back to Cobra Kai where you belong. 
Johnny: You’re crazy if you think I’m ever teaming up with you again. The garbage you’re feeding them, the shit they’re pulling, it’s messed up. And you’re to blame for that.
Kreese: I have to disagree with you there. I care about my students. They’re strong, and they’re real fighters, and they wouldn’t make the mistake of showing mercy and ending up in a coma!

I didn’t have that pairing on my Bingo card, but I’m not mad at it. Yasmine came far from the days when she was Queen Bitch, and she’s no longer in support of bullying.

Her front wedgie changed her, and somehow, she and Demetri work as a pairing. Maybe with that new relationship, Demetri will build some more confidence and fight better.

But it’s Eagle Fang who has their work cut out for them. Miguel is their best fighter, but he’s not in the condition to do so, and the others are newer, inexperienced, or weaker.

Only two things come to mind here. On the one hand, Eagle Fang and Miyagi Do can team up to take down Cobra Kai. Cobra Kai is their mutual enemy, and they don’t have any beef with each other beyond Johnny and Danny’s silly rivalry.

Just don’t forget. Being a badass doesn’t mean being an asshole. 

Johnny

Or, Eagle Fang needs to hit the ground running and get some more recruits. The girl Kreese recruited who went up against Tory is a good choice. She didn’t leave Cobra Kai on the best terms, and she looked ready to kick Tory’s ass.

I would like to see it. It would be more epic than the more predictable Tory and Sam fight.

We’re heading into the final stretch. What are your predictions? Are you Eagle Fang, Cobra Kai, or Miyagi Do?

And for you ‘shipping lot, how do you feel about the Miguel, Sam, and Robby love triangle, Johnny and Carmen hooking up, and Demetri and Yasmine?

Hit the comments below, and get back to us for our final review! You can watch Cobra Kai online here via TV Fanatic. 

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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