Why Daniel Can’t Make Peace With Johnny (Like He Did With Chozen)

Cobra Kai season 3 delivered major breakthroughs between Daniel and his arch-rivals but here’s why peace with Chozen will last but Johnny’s won’t.

Warning: SPOILERS for Cobra Kai season 3.

Cobra Kai season 3 saw Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) make peace with both of his arch-rivals, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto), but LaRusso’s detente with Johnny won’t last like his accord with Chozen will. By the end of Cobra Kai season 3, Daniel and Johnny agreed to unite their students and train together under the combined banners of Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang karate.

Cobra Kai – and much of the overall Karate Kid saga – hinges on Johnny and Daniel being at odds, which began when they met as high school seniors back in 1984. Daniel did actually move on after he beat Johnny to become the All Valley Under 18 Karate Champion at the conclusion of The Karate Kid, but Cobra Kai revealed that 34 years later, that loss still defined Johnny’s spiraling life. Johnny resurrected Cobra Kai to give himself a purpose and, in turn, Daniel made it his new life’s mission to keep Cobra Kai from proliferating in the San Fernando Valley, which he’s been unable to do. The joy of Cobra Kai is seeing Daniel and Johnny continue their feud, and even occasionally teaming up, only to resume their hostilities.

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Related: Cobra Kai Explains What Happened To Chozen After Karate Kid 2

However, Cobra Kai season 3 delivered two breakthroughs with Daniel’s arch-rivals, both of which were brokered by his ex-girlfriends. In Okinawa, Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita) brought Daniel-san face-to-face with Chozen for the first time since Toguchi tried to kill him during the summer of 1985 in The Karate Kid Part II. Although Chozen pretended to still hate LaRusso, he actually took him on a journey of greater understanding in regards to Miyagi-Do and Chozen taught Daniel secrets Mr. Miyagi withheld from him. In the end, Chozen dropped his charade and asked Daniel-san’s forgiveness for the harm he caused 34 years ago. For his part, LaRusso did forgive him; Daniel realized that Chozen has genuinely changed and that they are, in a way, Miyagi-Do cousins since they are both senseis whose senseis were trained by the same sensei.

Daniel vs Johnny

Ali Mills Schwarber’s (Elisabeth Shue) long-anticipated arrival in Cobra Kai also brought Daniel and Johnny together. All three seasons of Cobra Kai have seen LaRusso and Lawrence get together socially and temporarily find common ground before something sparks a renewal of their hatred, but Ali’s return felt different. As the only woman who dated both Johnny and Daniel – and who knows them better than they know themselves in some ways – Ali made them realize that they are more alike than they think and that they seem to thrive off of defining themselves against each other. This time, the message was definitely received.

While Daniel has been distracted by saving his business and his family while Johnny’s main focus was helping his student, Miguel Diaz (Xolo Mariduena), walk again, John Kreese (Martin Kove) has been busily expanding Cobra Kai’s power base. Cobra Kai’s students attacking Johnny and Daniel’s proteges and trashing the LaRussos’ home was the wake-up call for Daniel and Johnny that the only way they can stop Kreese is to team up. This was a realization their students reached before their senseis did, but by the end of Cobra Kai season 3, LaRusso and Lawrence’s dojos stood united.

When he parted ways with Chozen, LaRusso mused, “If only every rivalry could end like this.” However, who knows when Daniel will see Chozen again, and that distance will help maintain their peace. Johnny and Daniel, who are alike in many ways yet still very different men in other important respects, will have to find a way to co-exist as co-senseis and hold back their respective tempers and mistrust of each other. Cobra Kai thrives on Daniel and Johnny remaining at constant loggerheads so try as they might to get along, it’s hard to see how they can ever maintain their peace. But even if they’ll never be best buds, Daniel and Johnny just need to set their own egos aside and work together to beat Kreese in Cobra Kai season 4. That will be easier said than done, but seeing Daniel and Johnny try will be a lot of fun to see.

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Updated: January 7, 2021 — 1:22 pm

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