If there’s one thing the characters in Cobra Kai learned during its first two seasons, it’s that karate isn’t just something to do for kicks—especially when last season ended with Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) suffering a tragic fall and Robbie (Tanner Buchanan) going to jail for his role in the all-out fight in the high school.
Season 3 of the new Netflix darling has kept the seriousness of karate paramount all season long, with battles that seemed more inclined to maim and kill rather than just as a self-defense mechanism—even for those learning under Sensei Daniel Larusso (Ralph Macchio).
Sam (Mary Mouser) plays into her fear for much of the season due to the tragic events that unfolded and is deathly afraid of her enemy, Tory (Peyton List), who seeks vengeance for taking Miguel’s affections away. It’s not surprising, since the Cobra Kai bullies continue to inflict pain, suffering and “no mercy” on the Miyagi-Do students. But Sam taps into that fear thanks to one of her dad’s most formidable enemy — Barnes from The Karate Kid III.
During the season, we see Daniel remembering that fight with Kreese’s student, and knowing what it was like to be afraid. Naturally, Mr. Miyagi teaches him to channel that fear into mental fortitude and Daniel relays that experience to his daughter—which she is able to call on when Tory comes calling again.
Sam has had enough and once Tory smashes Miyagi’s picture, she quickly grabs a staff and pummels her enemy in the Miyagi dojo. This is a vengeful Sam we haven’t seen—one that scares even Tory.
With Cobra Kai, Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do all agreeing to battle at the upcoming All Valley Tournament, which will most likely drive the story for most of Season 4, expect Sam and Tory to battle again—one that rivals the classic fight of Daniel and Johnny (William Zabka) in the original Karate Kid film. After all, like father like daughter.