Episode 10 of Cobra Kai Season 3 begins with another flashback in Northern Vietnam. Kreese and his men are kept as prisoners of war. Kreese blames himself as he’s forced to watch the different soldiers beaten down to the ground by the Vietnamese soldiers.
One by one they’re released to fight each other. That eventually leads to Kreese and the Captain fighting over a snake pit. This fight is given even more emotion by the Captain revealing that Betsy actually died long ago but he kept it a secret to keep Kreese fighting.
An enraged Kreese gets the upper-hand and has his Captain clinging on for dear life. Despite being liberated by American soldiers, Kreese re-enacts Scar from The Lion King and sends his Captain tumbling to the ground below.
At the Christmas party, Amanda and Daniel show up together. Of course, Johnny shows up too and puts his arm around Ali, which builds more conflict and drama between him and Daniel. Things are intently given an extra pinch of tension when Amanda shows, as Ali learns both men have their own dojos now.
As the party winds down, Ali tells both Daniel and Johnny that they’re more alike than they realize. With the adults patching up their differences, all eyes now turn to the kids to do the same thing.
The kids in Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do put their differences aside and agree to team up. Just in time too; Cobra Kai break into Daniel’s house and prepare to fight.
With all the soldiers together, fighting finally breaks out across the house. A series of well-worked shots ensue as Tory stalks Sam all the way to the dojo away from the main bubble of fights.
After Tory smashes the photo of Mr Miyagi, Sam stands and the two finally square off. While they do, Hawk sees sense and changes sides, turning on his own Cobra Kai teammates to save Demetri from certain doom. He apologizes to his old friend and helps turn the tide of battle.
With the fight over, Tory and Sam leave with unresolved feelings as she promises Hawk that he needs to watch his back from now.
Back at the party, Johnny finally makes his decision to go back to Carmen. After bidding farewell to Ali, he intends to tell Carmen exactly how he feels. Only, there he finds a beaten and bruised Miguel being patched up.
Enraged, Johnny marches back to Cobra Kai and confronts Kreese. When he gets there though, he finds Robby training.
Johnny and Kreese fight, linking back to moments from the past where Kreese fought above the snake pit in Vietnam. Only this time, Johnny beats Kreese down… until Robby throws him off his new sensei. Robby then begins fighting Johnny, leading to the latter throwing Robby into the lockers and inadvertently knocking him out.
It’s just the opening Kreese needs as he starts choking out Johnny. As all hope fades, Daniel shows up at the last second and saves him. Daniel uses the training learned by Chozen and incapacitates Kreese. With the old man on his knees, Daniel looks set to hit the finishing blow… until Sam and Miguel show up.
With Johnny alongside Daniel, they decide to take out Cobra Kai once and for all. All of this will be settled at the upcoming tournament. If Cobra Kai lose, Kreese agrees to disappear for good. Unfortunately Robby is now going to be alongside Cobra Kai, which certainly strengths their cause. Even worse, Kreese phones his old buddy from Vietnam to lend a helping hand.
At Miyagi-Do, Daniel greets his students as Miguel and the rest of Eagle Fang show up to form an alliance properly. With Johnny and Daniel on the same team, they stand ready to train the kids together, taking a bow together and then to their students. The final fight is on.
The Episode Review
After a busy and congested 10 episodes featuring no less than 9 separate story threads, Cobra Kai bows out with a pretty compelling and well written conclusion. With everything gearing up to the climactic fourth season, I’d imagine we’ll get a final showdown between Sam and Tory as the final fight.
Understanding more about Kreese and his motivations, especially the past flashbacks to Vietnam, is a really welcome inclusion and helps to flesh him out too. Unfortunately, the show goes a little overboard with its flashbacks, leaning so far into nostalgia and past clips that it loses sight of the main conflict at times.
In fact, the middle portion of this season meanders around the dealership problems and ensuing love triangles that aren’t given anywhere near enough time to breathe and just feel like busy work.
Demetri’s love interest at school for example is underwhelming, the Hawk-turn feels slightly rushed while Robby’s motivations are all over the shop after going missing for 3 episodes this season. A little more time crafted to show him turn into someone more bitter and twisted in prison, perhaps aligning himself with the bullies, would have done wonders to help build his “heel turn”.
This is one of the biggest complaints with Cobra Kai Season 3, alongside a lack of substantial fights outside this finale. There’s so many characters here that none of them are given enough time to make their stories shine as brightly as they could.
Sam’s story arc has been underwhelming, Tory’s rent problems are given around 15 minutes of screen-time while the other sub-plots and characters sort of just happen to be there.
Having said all that though, Cobra Kai is still an enjoyable show and many people will not care in the slightest about the story threads and character progression. Johnny Lawrence is the real star of the show and every single one of his scenes are golden. I just wish there was a bit more focus on him being the main character again.
The whole season builds up to this finale and in a way, the show does bow out this season on a high. It’s just a shame it took so long to actually reach that point!
While season 3 isn’t a misfire, it also doesn’t fire on all cylinders like the other seasons did, leading to an enjoyable but somewhat busy final episode that casts its eagle fang gaze toward season 4.