It is a happy new year indeed for fans who’ve watched Cobra Kai Season 4. The return of the hit Netflix series has made auld lang syne bright. It certainly moved The Karate Kid story forward and set the stage for season 5. The theme song from The Karate Kid, “You’re the Best” by Joe Esposito, even inspired one of the storylines.
Creators Josh Heald, Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by zoom on Dec. 2 about Cobra Kai Season 4. Heald and Schlossberg addressed how one of the recurring themes of the series actually comes from “You’re the Best.”
‘You’re the Best’ takes on new meaning in ‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4
“You’re the Best” plays in the All-Valley Karate Tournament montage in The Karate Kid. The lyrics say, “History repeats itself, try and you’ll succeed. Never doubt that you’re the one and you can have your dreams. You’re the best around. Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down.” Well, history repeats itself in Cobra Kai Season 4 when Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) returns to Cobra Kai. The Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fangs even repeat some of their old rivalries.
“You want to put characters through the works,” Heald told Cheat Sheet. “You literally want to have history repeat itself as ‘Best Around’ tells us. And see it differently through different eyes now that you’ve matured or have harbored a resentment or have changed for better or worse, when you experience the same feelings again at a different point.”
Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Tory (Peyton List) are repeating their rivalry. Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) finds himself bullied all over again. Combining dojos certainly hasn’t made Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) any more harmonious.
“Whether it’s one of the kids from one season to the next being back in a viscous cycle once again with a relationship or with a rivalry, this show more than most gives you an opportunity to explore how a rivalry and how adult conflict can actually change, can actually be overcome,” Heald said. “Sometimes it’s blunt force trauma and sometimes it’s the right mentor and sometimes it’s learning a mistake from the wrong mentor.”
“You’re the Best” may be correct
Cobra Kai seems to be all about letting go of the past. Johnny had to lose Cobra Kai to really move forward. Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) certainly encourages Daniel to let go of those old rivalries. However, as “You’re the Best” states, you might want the good parts of history to repeat themselves.
“Do you want to totally let go of the past?” Schlossberg said. “We kind of need our past in some ways to learn from our mistakes. I would say it’s more about the relationship that we have with our past. For Johnny, it’s clearly something that’s haunted him at the outset of our series. It’s coming to terms with your past, whatever that means. It’s taking the good but not letting the bad overwhelm your life that you’re held back as a result of it. So the past is always there and it always can come up and there’s always something that could rear its ugly head.”
‘Cobra Kai’ Season 4 continues to recontextualize the past
One of the pleasures of Cobra Kai is seeing them rewrite the Karate Kid franchise. In season 3, they were able to give Ali (Elisabeth Shue) better closure than The Karate Kid Part II did. In Cobra Kai Season 4 they explained Silver’s outrageous Karate Kid III behavior.
“In the Karate Kid universe there’s characters from the past that can continually enter into this world that remind you of the trauma and bring back all the emotion and feelings,” Schlossberg said. “No matter what happens at the end of this series, Johnny is still that guy who got kicked with the crane kick in 1984. That’s never going to change unless we build a time machine and go there and who knows?’”