Why Demetri Is The Show’s True Moral Center (& Not Daniel)


The moral center of Cobra Kai isn’t Miguel or even Karate Kid protagonist Daniel. The heart of the show is actually Gianni Decenzo’s Demetri.

Demetri is the true moral center of Netflix’s Cobra Kai. In The Karate Kid sequel series, Gianni Decenzo plays Demetri, a nerdy classmate and social outcast at Miguel’s high school. He’s one of two students – the other being Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) who hangs out with Miguel (Xola Maridueña) through much of season 1.

Demetri tried to give karate a chance in season 1, but he disapproved of Cobra Kai and the way Johnny (William Zabka) ran the dojo. He later changed his mind, but an encounter with Kreese (Martin Kove) once again kept him from wanting to be involved. Later events caused him to turn his attention to Daniel Russo (Ralph Macchio) and Miyagi-do. His style of teaching challenged Demetri considerably, but the character stuck with it and learned a lot from training alongside Sam (Mary Mouser) and Robby (Tanner Buchanan). As season 2 progressed, the rift between him and his best friend Hawk widened until a fight erupted between them in the season 2 finale. The battle ended with Demetri emerging victorious over Hawk.

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Related: Cobra Kai: Daniel May Not Be The Only Miyagi-Do Sensei

Demetri has played an integral role in Cobra Kai thus far. In fact, he’s been the show’s moral center. In the beginning, it may have appeared that this role would go to Miguel or Daniel, but it was not so for either of them. Much like Daniel in the original Karate Kid movie, Miguel started out as an innocent, relatable high school student who had trouble with bullies, but Cobra Kai changed him in the second half of season 1 through the negative influence that Johnny had on him. Miguel has gotten back on the right track in season 2, but should no longer be considered the show’s moral center. Nor should the original Karate Kid because the rivalry with Johnny has caused Daniel to make questionable decisions in season 2.

There are similar issues with Johnny and Sam. Johnny is trying to be a better person than he was before, but he doesn’t really make significant progress in his journey until the end of season 1 when he realizes what Cobra Kai’s “No Mercy” philosophy has done to his students. As for Sam, she’s a good-natured character who takes issue with Cobra Kai and how Miguel behaves in season 1, but she has made a number of notable mistakes over the course of the series.

Unlike Sam, Demetri is a character who has always stood by his principles. Sam disliked the way Aisha (Nicole Brown) was treated by her friends but chose to do nothing about it, whereas Demetri is a character who has remained true to who he is throughout the series. He’s also not ashamed of himself, a trait which was on full display in a season 2 episode when he exposed both his own and Hawk’s geeky history in front of a large gathering of people. Furthermore, he believes Cobra Kai is wrong and hasn’t really wavered much in his opinions. His moral foundation has remained strong throughout the series. Demetri, much more so than the other characters on Cobra Kai, can be counted on to do the right thing when a moral dilemma presents itself.

More: How Karate Kid 4 Can Connect To Cobra Kai (& Why It Hasn’t)

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Updated: November 18, 2020 — 8:52 pm

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