Cobra Kai 4×09 “The Fall” is basically the episode where everything that’s been building for the entire season starts simmering in the same pot, a pot that’s surely going to explode in the season finale.
It’s to be expected, really. These kids – and the adults too – have been working towards this the entire season. And with the new rules (and Carrie Underwood, let’s not forget this episode has Carrie Underwood singing, all the sudden, because that makes about as much sense as this show ever does) coming into play, the tournament looks very, very different from what we’ve seen before.
This episode, however, also underscores some of the biggest issues with this season. And no, I’m not talking about Daniel and Johnny being basically two kids who cannot manage to behave even when things are serious. I’m talking about the way the show handles female characters.
Johnny and Daniel in particular, but Miguel, Robby, even Hawk, have gotten a chance to become fully realized characters during the run of Cobra Kai. They’ve had their ups and downs, certainly, but they’ve gotten to do good things and bad things and most importantly, they’ve gotten to do things for themselves, for their own journey.
The female characters, however, often end up with stuff happening to them to advance the plot. Moon is there to …eh, kiss Hawk and make his story more compelling? Aisha gets a cameo, and that’s it? Amanda is a good mom, except she’s not always a good mom, and yet we know very little about her life other than she’s a mom and a wife. Carmen gets about the same as Amanda, except she and Johnny aren’t married.
Sam and Tory get to do more, be more, but do they really? Sam is stuck between Miguel and Robby, between her dad and Johnny and she cannot decide what she wants to be, much less who she wants. It might be an interesting storyline if the show didn’t spend so much time with her either in the middle of a love triangle or fighting with another woman.
Tory, on the other hand, ends up being a conduit for Kreese. She has her own issues, but they are rarely explored in the context of who she is, instead we see them peripherally through other people. And four seasons in, particularly considering how much time we’ve spent with Johnny and Daniel and their childish fights, it’s sad that the show cannot give the women more.
Sure, Cobra Kai is entertaining, and we are really invested in the lives of these people, childish antics aside. We want Johnny and Daniel to be friends. We want Robby to get along with his dad. We want Miguel and Johnny’s relationship to be all that they both need it to be. We want Tory to be okay, and we want Sam to be who she wants to be, her parents expectations be dammed.
But we also want this show to remember that nostalgia can get you so far, and it’s given us about as much as we can with Cobra Kai. And yes, we’ve gotten some good writing, but that needs to be consistent and across the board if we’re going to continue enjoying this show the way we’ve enjoyed it.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Cobra Kai 4×09 “The Fall”? Share with us in the comments below!
Cobra Kai season 4 is available to stream on Netflix.