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Heartwarming / Cobra Kai

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Young Hearts Die Young!
"One of the best things... has been teaching you. And I want you to know, no matter what happens, I promise I will always be on your side, and I will always have your best interests at heart."
Johnny Lawrence to Miguel Diaz

Cobra Kai isn't all fighting and violence. Sometimes it's truly inspirational, since it's about two karate masters trying to do right by others. After all, was it not said that everything can be better if there is balance in one's life?

All spoilers on this page are left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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    Season 1
Daniel-san regains his balance.
  • Miguel and Johnny's relationship is in many ways quite heartwarming. Johnny is in a way getting a second chance at being a father figure after screwing up with Robby, and Miguel is getting a father figure he never had. This is nowhere more apparent than the scene where Johnny is begging Miguel's mother to allow him to keep training — one gets the definite sense that these words are exactly what Johnny wishes he could say about Robby. The fact Johnny got through to her is sweet as well.
    Johnny: Please don't close the door. Look, I know I wasn't there for him when it mattered. I let him down. I guess I let you down too. And I know there's no do-overs, but that kid... is the only person in the world who hasn't given up on me. And I don't want to give up on him. I know I messed up big time, but if you let him come back... I won't fail him again. I promise. All right? Please, just think about it.
    • In fact, it's touching on many levels to see Miguel turning to Johnny for advice as a father figure, on topics such as dating girls, dealing with people, and how to navigate the world.
    • When Miguel excitedly showed Johnny the website for Cobra Kai that he built, Johnny had no idea what it did or how to use it but Miguel's enthusiasm for it made Johnny smile in spite of himself. He was also pleased when Miguel changed his ring tone to "Round and Round" by Ratt and started getting into 80's rock as per Johnny's earlier advice.
  • Johnny tends to be very 'fair' in his criticisms. Although he mercilessly mocks and belittles nearly every one of his students when they first join, he is genuinely open and encouraging when he sees them giving it their all. Although Miguel, Hawk, and Aisha are the most obvious examples of this, it's also very telling that he supports Bert in the All-Valley tournament despite how woefully outclassed the kid is - to Johnny, it's obvious that the important thing is how unflinchingly his student went into battle despite the odds.
  • Even his mockery of his students has a heartwarming tinge — if you tilt your head and squint hard enough. Johnny used to be a bully, he knows well the secondary gain of tearing someone else down to make yourself feel better, but that's not why he mocks his students. He's telling them how bullies operate and what they want, and thus how to deny them easy targets, as well getting his kids to toughen up and learn to take emotional blows just as solidly as he teaches them to take physical ones. He wants to build his students up into people who can be proud of themselves.
  • Even if a bit of a My Beloved Smother and naive, Carmen, Miguel's mother, clearly has Miguel's best interests in mind. Throughout the series, she shows herself to be a hardworking and kind person.
"Ace Degenerate" (1x01)
  • Daniel's inclusion of a bonsai tree with every purchase ties back to Miyagi's bonsai shop in Part 3, this is his way of making Miyagi a partner in his business.
    • Daniel's adherence and love of Japanese culture as a whole. It's never shown as being fetishized for Daniel, and you can tell it's a way he remembers his father figure Miyagi, whom almost certainly taught Daniel everything he knows as his surrogate son.
  • Even if he was a Jerkass about it, Johnny saving Miguel from Kyler's gang shows that despite his Politically Incorrect Hero status, he still has some good in him.
"Cobra Kai Never Dies" (1x04)
  • Although it veers heavily into Tear Jerker, Johnny carrying a battered Miguel home after the boy loses his first fight with Kyler's gang. It shows how much Miguel now means to Johnny, and also shows Character Development for Johnny to take responsibility for his actions that arguably landed Miguel in that mess to start with. It also mirrors the moment in the first movie where Mr. Miyagi carried a barely-conscious Daniel away after Johnny and his friends beat the hell out of him.
"Counterbalance" (1x05)
  • Along with it being a Moment of Awesome, Miguel's fight in the cafeteria was triggered by him standing up to Kyler on Sam's behalf. At this point, this kid will fight to protect those most dear to him.
  • Johnny giving Miguel his old gi after hearing about the fight in the cafeteria. Miguel asks him if he's sure he wants to give it to him and Johnny tells him he's earned it.
  • Daniel's flashback to Mr. Miyagi teaching him about balance when he was a teenager. As an aging Daniel struggles to find balance again in the face of a resurgent Cobra Kai, it's genuinely touching to be reminded of how much he and Miyagi meant to each other, and how Miyagi's benevolent influence stays with Daniel even decades later.
    • Proof? Watch him don his signature gi and headband and practice some katas with no one else around.
"Quiver" (1x06)
  • Despite degrading many of his new students, Johnny referring to Miguel and Aisha as miracles is a very sweet gesture.
    Johnny: When I look around this dojo, I don't see Cobra Kai material. I see losers, I see nerds, I see a fat kid with a funny hat with his tits popping out. But in my short time as a sensei, I've also seen some miracles. (sidelong glance at Aisha and Miguel, who smile) So... maybe there's some hope for you yet.
"All Valley" (1x07)
  • The Wax On, Wax Off Training Montage at the dealership. Just as Miyagi did with him all those years ago, Daniel has done with Robby.
  • Most of the episode qualifies, as Miguel goes on a wonderful date with Sam, and Johnny's committee meeting goes exceptionally well. The triumphant way they both greet each other back at the dojo says it all, as does the toast.
    Miguel: (shouting in triumph after his "not-date" with Sam) Who da man?!
    Johnny: I'm the man!
    Miguel: (shit-eating grin)
    Johnny: (honestly and sincerely excited) Oh, shit, are you the man too?!
    • Even if some of his dating advice is dated, Johnny shows that, by saying no means no when things get physical, he does (at least for his heyday) have respect for the women he dates.
    • There's also Johnny's speech to the All-Valley Tournament committee that results in Cobra Kai's ban being lifted.
      Johnny: Look, I admit Cobra Kai had its share of problems in the '80s. My sensei didn't always play by the rules. That's why I left. But my Cobra Kai is different. It's a place where kids can come and feel like they belong. Where they won't get picked on just because they're a bunch of losers - er, because they're unique. I've watched firsthand as my students have gotten stronger, gained confidence, learned how to stand up for themselves. Cobra Kai's making a difference in these kids' lives. And honestly, they’re making a difference in mine as well.
      • Immediately after the speech, one committee member even says the community could use more people like Johnny.
    • And what fan of the original film didn't get the warm fuzzies just a little when Commuter's "Young Hearts" queued up over a shot of the old Golf n' Stuff sign?
"Molting" (1x08)
  • When sharing his history with Miguel, Johnny reveals his signature headband was a gift from Ali. As horrible as he was to her in the first movie, he did care about her.
  • Johnny eating dinner with Miguel's family. Johnny is getting some much need social support here. In a sweet little Bilingual Bonus for those who know Spanish, one of the last things Rosa says while praying over the food is thanking God for their new friend, Johnny.
  • When cleaning up his apartment, Johnny throws out a lot of trash. However, he keeps a clean and intact photo of his mother displayed where anyone can see it, and earlier expressed disgust when his stepfather objectifies her in memory. Even after decades, Johnny still loves his mom and remembers the woman who gave him much-needed kindness and encouragement.
"Different But Same" (1x09)
  • When Johnny confronts Daniel about Louie and his goons torching Johnny's car, he shows anger at the fact that, aside from his beloved car being destroyed, the fire could have burned down his whole neighborhood. Clearly, he's showing concern for Miguel and his family after everything they've done for him.
    • He and Daniel both start to loosen up during a test drive, bobbing their heads to REO Speedwagon while still trying to put on a belligerent air. Then they bond over drinks and begin to open up and learn more about each other's upbringing and personal lives, with Daniel even revealing what became of their shared ex-girlfriend Ali (Schwarber, nee Mills). It's a shame that it all ends up getting torpedoed over a simple misunderstanding about Robby.
"Mercy" (1x10)
  • Miguel's family cheering for him during the tournament is quite sweet. When Miguel makes it to the finals, Carmen says with enormous pride to one of the spectators, "That's my son." Any proud parent can relate to this.
  • On tournament day, we see Johnny making his most sincere efforts to encourage his Cobra Kai students. Not only does he deliver a crass Rousing Speech to them and give them all the iconic black sleeveless Cobra Kai gi's, but during the matches themselves, we hear him cheering them on almost like a real coach — no longer is he even calling them by his usual degrading nicknames. He wasn't blowing smoke up Daniel's ass when he told the tournament committee that his students were making a difference in his life.
    • Note that he does this for every single one of his students, including Bert (who's clearly out of his depth in the tournament and loses quite easily). And when they lose, he doesn't admonish them like Kreese did, but rather assures them they did their best.
  • Despite the fact that Daniel is still angry at Robby for not telling him that he was Johnny's son, he still can't help but cheer for him during the tournament.
    • Similarly, Sam cheers wholeheartedly for Aisha despite her falling out with Miguel and her negative view of Cobra Kai in general, showing that she is truly committed to repairing their friendship. They reconcile later on, with Sam apologizing for associating with the likes of Yasmine and Aisha encouraging her to take up karate again so they can compete together.
  • Daniel's locker room speech to Robby about his father, encouraging the boy to understand and forgive him. Daniel describes his nemesis not as pure evil, but simply a man with a lot of demons who was led down a bad path. It means a lot that even with all the bad blood between them, the things he learned about Johnny during their bonding session in episode 9 stuck with him, and Daniel is still willing to recognize Johnny's humanity.
  • Even if it doubles as a Tear Jerker, Miguel sincerely regrets hitting Sam while drunk at the beach party and apologizes to her. Despite everything, he still has feelings for Sam. There is still some of the old Miguel Sam was originally attracted to left, even if most of it has been taken over by a ruthless martial artist who will do anything to win.
  • The moment doubles as a Tear Jerker, but at the bitter end, when Johnny has watched his best students turn into the same jerkass bullies he and his Cobra Kai friends used to be, does he celebrate their brutal victory? Does he rub it in the face of his arch-rival Daniel? No, he goes and sincerely apologizes to his own defeated son, who in turn even seems to accept his apology. Even though his students are going down a bad path — and he knows it — Johnny has come a long way from the adolescent bully who almost killed Daniel.
    • Even when Miguel starts to go down a bad path, Johnny still cares for Miguel like he is a son to him. This is obvious by the encouragement during the tournament and desperate pleas Johnny gives to Miguel not to fight dirty. He does not want his protege to go down the road he went down.
    • He probably won't have to worry about his own son returning down that road, however. In fact, their relationship looks to be firmly on the mend, in the most ironic way possible.
  • As much of a jerkass as Miguel became, him dedicating his victory at the All-Valley Tournament to Johnny and Cobra Kai was still very heartwarming.
    • In fact, much of the camaraderie within Cobra Kai is quite sweet. They support each other during their matches and provide much-needed encouragement as well. All of this from a diverse group of kids who just wanted to not be picked on.
    • It is clear that even though they have fallen into He Who Fights Monsters territory, they support each other even outside of the ring. Villainous Friendship at its finest.
  • While Robby is disappointed that he came in second place, Daniel assures him that he's still proud of his performance and that Robby is the true winner because he fought with honor, unlike the Cobra Kai. Robby accepts the loss without further complaint.
    • This could also be the key to fixing the relationship between biological father and son. Once he has truly atoned for his early actions, Robby is unlikely to fall into the trap in which Johnny fell.
  • Following the tournament, Daniel brings Robby to his sensei's old house, introducing him to Miyagi-do Karate. The original Karate Kid has well and truly taken up the torch.
    • The best part is that despite all the years that have passed, Daniel has managed to keep Mr. Miyagi's house in pristine condition with not even a speck of dust on the place.
  • When she fends off Kyler's advances, Sam realizes that she's Still Got It. In her final scene of the season, all alone in the training room, she proceeds with a kata of her own.

    Season 2
"You'll do it Johnny. You're the champ."
"Mercy, Part II" (2x01)
  • While setting up the dojo for student use, Daniel shows Robby several of Mr. Miyagi's possessions from the original trilogy, including his Medal of Honor, the handheld drum, and the banners listing the two rules of Miyagi-do karate.
  • While he's initially furious with Miguel for his dirty tactics injuring Robby during the tournament, Johnny later tells him that there is a difference between having no mercy in karate and having no honor outside it, and while he might not have appreciated that when he was younger, he sees Miguel as having the potential to be better than Johnny himself ever was. Miguel's little smile and bowing to his sensei afterward confirms he did indeed appreciate the lesson.
    • Crossing over with Awesome, his expansion and elaboration of "No Mercy," both in private to Miguel and for the whole dojo. To the dojo, he points out that beating opponents who can't effectively fight back doesn't make one "badass." Johnny has realized the mistakes he made in his youth and is acting fast to keep the kids under his charge from going the same way.
"Back in Black" (2x02)
  • Kreese actually gets a legitimate moment of this when he calls out the current Cobra Kai students for whining about Johnny's instructions at the construction site:
    Kreese: This man led you to the mountain top, and you question him? Look at you. Look at all of you. I can't believe this pathetic pack of pussies competed in the All Valley, and let alone won. It's an absolute miracle. And who's responsible for that miracle? Johnny Lawrence, the best student in the history of Cobra Kai. My student.
    Hawk: (impressed) You were Sensei's Sensei?
    Kreese: You better believe it, kid. And I tell you I've never trained a tougher student in my whole life. So if you know what's good for you, you better listen to every goddamn word he says.
"Fire and Ice" (2x03)
  • Johnny takes Miguel to a diner that's across the street from the hospital where Robby was born, explaining one of the most painful things in his life — how his alcoholism and his mother's death caused him to not be there to welcome his son into the world. He laments how he went on to fail Robby every other day of the boy's life, as well. But Johnny moves past this Tearjerker moment to state that one of the best things in his life has been teaching Miguel, and straight-up promises Miguel that no matter what happens, he will always be there for him.
    "One of the best things in my life has been teaching you. I'll always be on your side and always have your best interest at heart."
    • Before this, Miguel was angry with Johnny for not telling him about Robby and initially refusing to discuss it when he and Hawk confronted him about it. However, after hearing the full story and realizing just how sensitive a topic it is for Johnny, he understands why he didn't want to talk about it before and lets go of his anger.
  • During Valley Fest, Hawk pulls Demetri onstage during the performance to help him with his part. Earlier in the episode, he chastised Demetri for using Cobra Kai's reputation to score with girls despite not being a part of the dojo. In a way, he's helping him back up his claims so he doesn't look like a jerk in front of everyone. Seeing as in the next episode, their friendship spirals downwards, it's the last nice thing Hawk does for Demetri.
"The Moment of Truth" (2x04)
  • When Johnny finds out that Kreese has been lying about his "resume", Kreese confesses that the events of his life after losing Cobra Kai are not only anything BUT badass, but in fact have left him a broken man. Johnny gently reminds him of the Cobra Kai motto — "Defeat does not exist in this dojo" — which inspires Kreese to return to the dojo under Johnny's leadership. (Yes, it turns out Kreese was playing him like a violin, but that takes nothing away from how Johnny wanted to redeem this man who was the closest thing he ever had to a father figure.)
  • When Robby accompanies the LaRussos to a beach club that he used to run criminal hustles at, the manager recognizes him and moves to throw him out, but Amanda wards the manager off. Afterward, when she asks Robby what was going on, he confesses that he did some bad things before falling in with the LaRussos, and guiltily decides to leave the premises anyway. Amanda stops Robby and assures him that it doesn't matter what he did in the past, it's his current direction in life that matters.
  • As Daniel walking down the beach, he saw a man in the distance fishing, and wearing the same type of clothes Miyagi wore. When he walked towards him, he realized it was just a random man. The man politely asks about Miyagi and then told Daniel about that with patience, the right fish will come to hi, when it comes to fishing. Definitely something Miyagi would say and Daniel then commented he is more like him than he thought. This not only serves as a happy reminder for fans who was sad about Miyagi's passing but also a rare example of Mistaken Identity being used for heartwarming instead Played for Laughs.
"All In" (2x05)
  • Even though Demetri is a borderline pessimistic and neurotic wimp, Daniel taking and keeping him under his tutelage really illustrates his dedication towards his students. Even when he learns that Demetri joined Cobra Kai and Miyagi-do purely out of peer pressure, rather than dismiss him like most would, Daniel actually changes his approach towards training Demetri by getting on his level and letting him learn at his own pace. When they both discover that they have a shared interest in Game of Thrones, Daniel uses that to both connect with Demetri and expedite his training and teachings with series-related analogies.
"Take a Right" (2x06)
  • When Johnny tells his friends about his dojo, one of the first things he mentions is what great kids the students are. Even though he had just learned they trashed the Miyagi-do, and several of them quit to join his arch-nemesis Daniel, he still cares about his students and holds them in high esteem.
  • Strongly overshadowed by Tearjerker, but Tommy's last day was not spent slowly expiring in a hospital bed, he spent it hanging out with his old Cobra Kai compatriots like the old days and encouraged Johnny to keep trying to change his life for the better because, unlike him, Johnny still had time. Once it's over, he peacefully passes away in his sleep. It's the way anyone would want to go.
    • When Tommy tells Johnny that the latter still has time on Earth to do whatever he wants, Johnny tells him that all he really wants to do with his remaining time is keep teaching his students at Cobra Kai and prevent them from making the same mistakes they made when they were younger so they'll have bright futures.
    • This episode is made all the more heartwarming by the behind-the-scenes detail that not only did the original Cobra Kai actors reprise their roles, but in real life, they have all remained friends and kept in touch during all the years since the original Karate Kid.
"Lull" (2x07)
  • Hawk telling Miguel that there are no hard feelings between them after their confrontation at Coyote Creek, showing that he still values their friendship even as he's starting to fall under Kreese's influence.
"Glory of Love" (2x08)
  • Johnny falling for Miguel's mother, Carmen. He only tries dating apps because she's seeing someone else, and after a long montage of hilarious date fails, Johnny meets an attractive lady who seems tailor-made for him... that is, until he overhears Carmen's boyfriend saying that he only wants Carmen for "a few bangs" and then he'll dump her. Johnny doesn't think twice and ditches his date to confront the douchebag boyfriend, beating on him until he agrees to leave Carmen alone. While you could take issue with Johnny's aggression here, there's no question that he cares far more about Carmen's well-being than this jerkass who was just using her.
  • Daniel spends the episode trying to make amends with Amanda. When he finally succeeds, he admits that he's been missing Mr. Miyagi badly, and opening the Miyagi-Do dojo made it feel like he had his old mentor back. In a subversion of Wet Blanket Wife, Amanda assures him that she doesn't want to take that from him. Then the following exchange happens.
    Daniel: I do know that, if (Mr. Miyagi) were here, he'd say, "Forget about karate. Focus on what's important.
    Amanda: And what's that?(Daniel then kisses her, as Glory of Love plays in the background.)
"Pulpo" (2x09)
  • It may have been a hopelessly naïve and stupid thing to do, but that fact that Moon at least tried to bring an end to the dojo rivalry by inviting everyone to her party was very sweet, and shows that she really does care for her friends and just wants everyone to get along.
  • At Moon's party, Demetri tries to comfort Hawk as he mopes over his failed relationship with Moon and her new girlfriend, Piper. Considering how Hawk had assaulted Demetri over his Yelp review earlier in the season, Demetri attempting to make amends with his former friend is a touching gesture (even though it fails).
    • During the school-wide brawl, Demetri does his best to avoid confronting Hawk (especially after Hawk started actively hunting him down). When they do eventually come to blows, Demetri apologizes to Hawk after kicking him into a trophy case, which apparently put him out for the rest of the fight. Despite all that's happened between them, Demetri seems to truly wish to have his friend Eli back.
  • When Robby takes a drunken and embarrassed Sam to stay somewhere that her parents won't see her, he turns to his father in desperation. Johnny takes both of them in without question.
"No Mercy" (2x10)
  • The morning after the party, when Robby is going through his father's old things, he finds that Johnny kept some of Robby's childhood drawings, including one depicting their biological family happy together and one with a dinosaur.
    • Johnny states that while he's happy to give the kids a safe place to recover from drinking too much, he's still going to have to explain to Daniel what happened. A moment of honor and decency that transcends their rivalry (even if said rivalry was patched at that point). Then Robby says they can blame the whole thing on him, to spare Sam parental disapproval.
    • When Daniel tracks Sam's phone to Johnny's apartment, he's understandably frantic to figure out what happened with his daughter. Johnny tries valiantly to calm him down and explain things, finally flatly refusing to let Daniel in until he cools off. Again, Johnny doing what he can to spare Daniel's family.
  • Even though she's lying in the hospital with fractured bones and cuts that require stitches, Sam's only concern is whether Miguel is going to be okay.
  • Although it comes at great cost (both before and after), it's pretty wonderful to see Johnny dropping off Robby for his first day of school and earnestly trying to be a dad for the first time in 16 years.
    • And Robby suggesting that Johnny and Daniel each have lessons that could be of value to the other side, a stark contrast to how he told Johnny that Daniel was a better man than he would ever be at the beginning of the season.
  • Arguably heartwarming under tragic and ironic circumstances, but Ali friend-requesting Johnny on Facebook after he finally mustered the nerve to reach out to her and confront his past demons. Despite Ali's memories of what a bully Johnny was when they were teenagers, she's clearly willing to at least talk to him now... another stark contrast to how things began. Remember the opening of the first Karate Kid, when in Johnny's first appearance, Ali didn't even want to talk to him?

    Season 3
Binary Brothers for life.
"Aftermath" (3x01)
  • Amanda, of all people, saying she's proud of Louie for finally taking initiative and doing his job.
  • Being an awkward nerd his entire life, Demetri gains respect from his classmates after defeating Hawk in the school brawl. People no longer pick on him, except the supreme jerkasses at Cobra Kai (mainly Kyler). Girls are appreciating his nerdy interests more. Hell, even Yasmine finds herself impressed with his Lego project. You can see how Demetri is gaining a new level of confidence because of this, which makes any viewer who is nerdy like him smile.
"Nature Vs. Nurture" (3x02)
  • Rather than being angry or disappointed, Shannon tries to assure Robby that things will be okay as he's being carted away after being arrested. Considering how neglectful she used to be, it's welcome to see that Shannon has learned to care for her son.
  • While Kreese was likely only doing it so he could get Tory to return to Cobra Kai, and not because he cared about her, seeing how messed up Tory's life is only for Kreese to find her and threaten her asshole landlord into leaving her alone and giving her a place to stay at the dojo is genuinely nice to see, and one of the few times Kreese doesn't seem like a sociopath.
"Now You're Gonna Pay" (3x03)
  • Even after Johnny disrupts his service by being a drunken ass, Bobby still takes the time afterwards to console and advise him on how to cope with what happened to Miguel and Robby. He even decides to have his church make a donation for Miguel's surgery (without Johnny asking for one) and accompany Johnny to the juvenile detention center to visit Robby.
  • Hawk visiting Miguel in the hospital, especially as he's the only Cobra Kai who's actually seen doing so. Even as he continues down a dark path under Kreese's influence, his genuine loyalty to Miguel remains one of his most redeeming qualities.
  • The Miyagi-Do students had the choice to leave Miguel stuck in the hospital bed as he is Cobra Kai's star student. Instead, they went out of their way to raise money in a car wash to help the "enemy", without Daniel needing to say anything, let alone being aware of this. This proves that even when Daniel neglected to properly teach the philosophies of Miyagi-Do, his teachings about forgiveness and balance are still taken seriously. Cobra Kai stealing the money to donate it in their name was purely cruel, even without beating up Nathaniel.
  • While Daniel, Amanda, and Louie are coping with the news of what Cole did, Daniel started reminiscing about how he had to drive a car so crappy he and his mother had to push to get it to start moving and the excitement he had when Miyagi gave him the iconic (1945!) car on his 18th birthday. Miyagi was the one who pushed Daniel into sales, despite Daniel thinking car salesman are sleazy (which Louie calls a bullshit stereotype). Daniel remembered him saying he must follow his passion and he opened the dealership because he wanted to make people feel the same excitement as he did when Miyagi gave him the car. In stark contrast to Cole's underhanded practices, his dealership is about making people happy and that's why they were so successful.
    • Amanda mouthing along with Daniel when he quotes Mr. Miyagi is a nice reminder of the relationship he had with the entire LaRusso family, not just Daniel.
  • Johnny caring enough about Miguel that he goes to Sid, the one person he hates more than Daniel and Kreese, for money.
"The Right Path" (3x04)
  • The bartender of the bar Daniel went to drink after failing to save his dealership noticed his unhappy state and asked about the picture of Miyagi in Daniel's phone. When Daniel told him he is no longer around, the bartender said that 'in Japan, you can always visit someone. They always speak to us, even when they are gone'. He obviously had inspired Daniel to visit Miyagi's hometown and if it weren't for him, Daniel would have returned penniless and unable to save his dealership. This moment truly demonstrated how warm Japanese people are, even to foreign customers.
  • The show actually manages to give Miyagi an active role outside film clips when Kumiko shows Daniel all the letters he wrote to her aunt after reconnecting with her. This includes confirmation that Samantha got to know him, and considered him an honorary grandfather. The last letter, written near the end of Miyagi's life, revealed not only his final So Proud of You thoughts about the man Daniel had become, but his deep thankfulness for having been part of Daniel's life. Daniel is brought to Tears of Joy and a whole new understanding of how he should be living his life. The full letter 
    • When Daniel first arrived in Tomi Village, he was dismayed to find it heavily gentrified. He then learned that after a crop failure, Sato made those changes to give the village a new economy and enable it to survive — something the villagers themselves remember fondly today. While Daniel may be disappointed that the old Tomi Village is gone, it's heartwarming to see that after Sato's Heel–Face Turn in Part II, he didn't just give the village deed back to the villagers and then wash his hands of it all — he stayed with them and kept helping them when they needed him the most.
    • Kumiko is seen performing a traditional dance in the plaza of Tomi Village Green with a group of her students. Heartwarming in that she did get to follow her dream, and in the confirmation that while the village has changed, it did so on its own terms and has preserved its culture while still thriving in the modern era.
"Miyagi-Do" (3x05)
  • Johnny takes Miguel to a Dee Snider concert to help him take his mind off his condition and enjoy himself. Miguel is actually underage but the door guard allows him entry after Johnny claims that Miguel is dying and how much this experience was on his bucket list. And during the performance, lead singer Dee Snider announces hearing that a "Make-A-Wish" kid was in attendance and when he learns it's Miguel, Dee dedicates his next number to him. The exhilaration of the entire evening was enough to get Miguel's foot tapping — the first step in his recovery.
  • Daniel hits a Karmic Jackpot as it turns out the little girl he saved from the hurricane in the second film is now a high-ranking member of the car company he needs to save his business. Kumiko naturally sees this as proof of her aunt's philosophy of the good you put into the world coming back to you.
    • In the same episode, it's revealed that Chozen has changed exponentially for the better. While he's initially cold to Daniel, it's mostly just a front and they manage to part on good terms, with Chozen not only gifting him an ancient Miyagi-do scroll, but also teaching Daniel some new moves that later help him defeat Kreese. Finally, it was revealed that Chozen and Sato mended fences.
    • The sheer fact that Chozen, one of the cruelest antagonists of the franchise, parts ways with Daniel on better terms than Johnny Lawrence in less time is heartwarming too. Even Daniel lampshades this, which in turn causes Chozen to seem surprised that Daniel still has ongoing grudges.
"King Cobra" (3x06)
  • In Johnny's abandoned 80-page message to Ali he says that he isn't a good parent but then concedes that Miguel seems to like him as a counterpoint, reinforcing that he thinks of Miguel as his son.
  • When Kreese kicks Mitch out of Cobra Kai after losing to Kyler, Hawk voices his objections to this, as Mitch has been a dedicated member of the dojo. It also shows that while Hawk often treated Mitch like a lackey, he does care about him and considers him not just a Cobra Kai fighter who's paid his dues, but a friend. Now compare that to Kyler's response when Hawk disposed of Brucks.
"Obstáculos" (3x07)
  • After being an unrepentant, cruel Alpha Bitch for all of season 1, Yasmine reveals that she Took a Level in Kindness when Kyler draws a giant penis on Demetri's arm cast. Yasmine reverses Demetri's humiliation by signing "I love your BIG dick - YAS" on it, as she now knows what it's like to be hurt and helpless, with everyone laughing at you. And to think that in season 1, she wouldn't have been caught dead talking to him. She has changed so much that Sam and Miguel even caught the pair making out in the hallway!
    • Demetri also states that he knows how it feels to go through what Yasmine did. Hell, their small conversation after she signs his cast is adorable.
  • Daniel helping Sam overcome her trauma and promising to always be there for his daughter no matter what.
    • On a meta level, the fact that the show's creators managed, once again, to reference the events of The Karate Kid Part III in a way that was appropriate to their own story just shows how much they love the entire franchise, including the movies that aren't so highly regarded.
"The Good, The Bad and The Badass" (3x08)
  • Even though the school brawl has resulted in the All Valley Tournament being canceled, the other committee members don't blame Daniel at all and understand that the decision is a result of the city council overreacting to what happened. Ron even asks for Daniel's help to convince the council to overturn their decision.
    • After Johnny, Daniel, and Kreese have failed to convince the city council to un-cancel the tournament (and in fact, their bickering only served to further alienate the council), Miguel unexpectedly emerges to give a Rousing Speech about what the tournament (and martial arts) mean to him and his fellow students followed by Sam getting up to support him. The councilors are so moved that they immediately (and unanimously) decide to reinstate the tournament. Miguel succeeded where three old masters failed, proving that he is indeed the All Valley Karate champion, both on and off the mat.
  • Miguel managing to reconcile with Sam.
"Feel The Night" (3x09)
  • Johnny and Carmen finally start a legitimate relationship with each other. While the two are uneasy with what this could mean for Johnny's relationship with Miguel, they are clearly happy and comfortable around each other. This is shown enough so that despite hearing Ali is no longer married (and seeing that she is still smoking hot), at no point does Johnny make an actual move on her.
  • Miguel and Daniel finally interacting with each other and finding out they have a lot of common ground. This is something a lot of fans have hoped to see ever since season 1, considering their similarities (both having been poor fatherless kids who turned to karate for solace, and both being All-Valley Tournament champions). Daniel sees who Miguel truly is after having judged him as Cobra Kai's top bully (though that was more because of a chain of events than anything else), and Miguel sees that Daniel isn't at all the arrogant asshole that Johnny painted him as.
    • Even after Daniel fills in Miguel on some of the unsavory details that Johnny didn't mention when telling him about the events of the first film, Miguel's opinion of Johnny doesn't change and he understands that Johnny's behavior was just due to a combination of being upset over Ali and Kreese's corrupting influence. Daniel, in turn, decides he's cool with Miguel dating his daughter (as long as they keep the sparring light!).
  • Johnny and Ali's reunion is full of this. It starts off with a simple lunch where both of them happily reminisce about high school and discuss the struggles they've had as adults before the two go to Golf 'n' Stuff and enjoy all the activities there just like the old days. The two of them have so much fun that, rather than leave him to go to her parents' Christmas party, Ali invites him to accompany her.
"December 19" (3x10)
  • While the brawl is pretty brutal overall, it's heartwarming that Miyagi-do and Eagle Fang's disagreements with each other go away the second both groups are attacked by Cobra Kai. During the fight, we're treated to moments such as Bert and Nathaniel teaming up (alongside Demetri helping them) and Mitch encouraging Demetri to get up after a nasty hit and keep fighting.
  • After many years of enmity and rivalry, Daniel and Johnny make peace thanks to Ali. What leads to this is Ali assessing that Daniel and Johnny are more alike than they admit and they see parts of themselves in the other and don't like what they see. Daniel and Johnny realize their faults, much to Ali's delight, and part on better terms, with Johnny referring to Daniel by his first name after referring to him by his last name for so many years.
  • Daniel and Ali reconciling after 30 years. Daniel apologizes to Ali for how their relationship ended, but she reassures him that all of the good times they shared together far outweighed the bad. Daniel takes this to heart and agrees and the two share one last hug.
  • Demetri is briefly seen trying to protect Bert and Nathaniel from the Cobra Kai students during the house assault.
  • Tory smashing Miyagi's picture doesn't seem like much, but it was enough for Samantha to remember that she must fight back - and that's exactly what she did. Think about it. It was confirmed that she considered Miyagi an honorary grandfather when she was younger, and there's a chance their bond was almost as strong as his and Daniel's. This response would have been exactly Daniel's if he was cornered in fear and saw the picture of his father-figure getting smashed by an opponent.
    • On top of that, she may have also been thinking about her father and how much Miyagi meant to him in the first place. Sam has already been shown to be a Daddy's Girl, so seeing the photo smashed would have certainly hurt her dad.
  • After Hawk finally realizes the errors of his ways, he attacks the Cobra Kai student who was holding Demetri in a lock. Hawk then apologizes to Demetri for everything he did and Demetri, realizing his best friend Eli is back, immediately forgives him and initiates a handshake. They then team up and turn out to be quite a formidable team, with Hawk's strength complementing Demetri's agility to curb-stomp the other Cobra Kai students.
    • Exactly what is it that spurs Hawk's Heel–Face Turn? Seeing Miguel, Mitch, Bert, and Demetri, all of whom he had counted as his closest friends, in pain from being attacked by his fellow Cobra Kai members and Kyler, who had tormented him before he joined Cobra Kai, bragging about the damage they're dishing out.
    • Tory warns Hawk that he should watch his back after his Heel–Face Turn. Demetri counters that he doesn't need to, as he has friends to watch his back for him. Narm? Sure. But it really shows how their friendship is on the mend, and Demetri is expressing his feelings in the best way that his socially awkward self can manage.
  • When Johnny visits Miguel's apartment after the Christmas party and finds one of his top students all battered and bruised, his first instinct is to confront Kreese, who allowed (or even sent) his Cobra Kai thugs to attack his and Daniel's students.
    • The reason he was going to Miguel's apartment because he realized something after his day with Ali: he was in love with Carmen and wanted to openly reveal his feelings for her. Before he could confess, he finds Carmen's own son beaten to a pulp. He was caught off guard, considering how much of a son Miguel has become to him and like any parent or Parental Substitute, demands to know who did this to him.
  • We finally get the full explanation for Terry Silver's Undying Loyalty to Kreese. In Vietnam, they were in a Green Beret team that was captured, and their captors forced pairs of soldiers to fight to the death. When Terry is ordered to fight their company commander, it's clear that he doesn't stand a chance, so Kreese volunteers to take his place. It was entirely likely that Kreese would be killed in that fight, and even if he survived, he'd have to kill his own commander, but he didn't hesitate to lay down his life for his friend. Small wonder that Silver remains adamantly loyal to Kreese, even decades later.
    • Consider also the start of Part III where Silver asks Kreese how many times the latter saved his ass in Vietnam, and Kreese replies "I don't know, I lost count". While Kreese may have just been exaggerating to tease Silver there, the possibility remains that this will only be the first time that Kreese comes through for Silver.
    • It's implied that Terry Silver's signature hairstyle is to honor the memory of Kreese and Silver's fallen friend, "Ponytail".
  • Daniel and Johnny end the season joining forces, working together to teach a combined class of their students to prepare for the tournament. What makes the moment especially beautiful is seeing the fighters who had been divided by Cobra Kai rejoin each other side by side — Demetri with Hawk, Chris with Mitch, Nathaniel with Bert, Miguel with Sam, and last but not least, Daniel with Johnny.
    • Hawk’s presence at the dojo also means that Johnny has welcomed him back into the fold even after he had continually forsaken him for Kreese during the season.
  • This is the closest one to a happy ending in the show. Sure, while Kreese is still at large and has Tory and Robby in his hands, Daniel and Johnny are finally working together like we always wanted them to be. With the students no longer fighting each other, they would truly be a formidable team against Cobra Kai. Compare that to the tear-jerking second-season finale in the wake of the school brawl (two completely shattered men sharing a completely silent elevator ride in the hospital, where one student from each side ended up), and this moment becomes even more poignant.

  • The overwhelmingly positive reaction the series has gotten for being a great example of a modern take on a classic piece of beloved nostalgia, and how to do it right when so many revived IPs have been getting it wrong. Instead of depicting Johnny and Daniel as out of focus, past their prime, and/or making them the butt of numerous "Haha, they're old now!" jokes, it shows that both of them still have room to change and grow as individuals and both of them still have a lot to offer the younger generation that has put trust in them. The showrunners' love for the original films is readily apparent with the way it treats the story and characters with the utmost respect (without coming off as overt pandering), and it succeeds grandly in getting old fans and brand-new viewers alike to care equally about both the familiar older characters and the newcomers.
  • While most people who watched the original film pegged Johnny Lawrence as little more than a jerkass bully, his actor William Zabka actually felt enough sympathy for Johnny to come up with a backstory that explained how he came to be such a jerk in the first place, and believed that deep down, there was a decent guy hiding underneath that unpleasant exterior. 34 years later, his personal Fanon would become official canon, and Zabka would have a chance to show the fans a nobler side of Johnny that they got only the smallest glimpses of in the movie.
  • The entire show is a labor of love for both William Zabka and Ralph Macchio. Their friendship and love of making the original movies are what started it. Together, they executive co-produced it, meaning that they're putting in time and money behind the camera as well as in front. And it shows in both the nostalgia and thought put into the show.
  • The Miyagi-Do dojo features several items - pictures of Miyagi's ancestors, the "Karate is for defense only" scrolls, the little drum, etc. - brought over from Okinawa. Given that the show's focus on Johnny makes referencing the events in Okinawa difficult, it's nice to see the second film acknowledged in subtle ways before Okinawa made an appearance in season 3.
  • The first season alone got quite a few actors from the franchise saying they'd love to make an appearance sometime, including several from the latter two terribly-regarded films that no one could blame them for wanting to forget. And the producers actually took them up on it, with appearances by Kumiko and Chozen in Season 3, and Terry Silver set up for Season 4. Even Hilary Swank has gone on the record to say that she'd love to see Daniel and Julie interact someday.

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