Cobra Kai Season 4: Why That Big Fight Ended That Way

Be warned that there are SPOILERS ahead for the fourth season of "Cobra Kai," so proceed with caution.

"The Karate Kid" sequel series "Cobra Kai" revisits the rivalry between Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso throughout its four seasons. Though these two men are trying to do the same thing – teach kids karate in a way that will help them in their lives – their past fights have left them unable to see beyond their dislike of each other. In the fifth episode of the fourth season, titled "Match Point," things come to a head.

Despite trying to work together, blending the offensive style of Johnny's Eagle Fang (which comes from Kreese and Silver taking over Cobra Kai) and the defensive style of Daniel's Miyagi-Do, these two rivals can't put the past behind them or be clear-headed at the same time. They decide to work it all out on the mat to decide whose style will win. Since we know the way "Cobra Kai" works, we have to learn this lesson at the big tournament. Before that, however, we get a rematch for our heroes in front of their students. Not the best way to teach the fundamentals of karate, maybe, but it was so much fun to watch!

Win, Lose, or Draw

Josh Heald, creator of "Cobra Kai" with Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the big fight, which ended in a draw. He said:

"It was always a draw for us ... These characters are so passionate, in terms of whose karate is 'better,' in quotation marks. The show is giving you that Yin and Yang, exploring [how] it's not better, it's just different. It goes to that theme over and over again. Giving one of them a win at this stage of their lives, after they've come so far with their exploration of each other's karate, and with their own interpretation of their masters' karate — it would have felt inauthentic."

In a nutshell, this is why "Cobra Kai" works. The creators know these characters as well as (if not better than) diehard fans do. It wouldn't have made sense if they didn't learn from each other, or if we saw one of them win. We know that they'll always be stronger working together. I don't know about you, but I've wanted them to be friends from the minute I saw Johnny's face at the end of "The Karate Kid" when Kreese tells him to do an illegal move. It's at that moment you see that this is a kid who really needs guidance from the man he sees as a father. That moment set the stage for everything after, particularly this season, where the theme was fatherhood and father figures. Johnny may have learned from the wrong father figure, and Daniel from the right one, but in the end, it's all about balance.

If a Man Can't Stand, He Can't Fight

Balance is a lesson all fighters must learn, even Terry Silver, who has the line about having to stand to fight. This is seen in the final episode. Yes, Cobra Kai may have won the tournament, but the fighters were evenly matched. The rivalries were balanced. The winners won because of a bad ref (and a sneaky deal), but those fights could have gone either way and been satisfying. This fight, however, had to end in a draw. They threw everything they had at each other, and no one came away on top, because balance is what both characters need to move on. 

This fight was especially important because from what we can tell from the last episode, both Johnny and Daniel will have to maintain their balance to continue their journey. Johnny is off to look for Miguel in Mexico, and Daniel is revamping Miyagi-Do with Chozen. Daniel will balance the defensive style Mr. Miyagi taught him with the more offensive Miyagi-Do style that Chozen was taught. Meanwhile, Johnny will balance his love for his biological son Robby with his love for his protege/adoptive son Miguel. Before they set off on their own adventures, we get to see them fight and understand each other's styles better. In the end, we even had a few moments of Miyagi Fang! Now excuse me while I try to get the fly in this apartment with some chopsticks.