The rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence is one of the main stories of Cobra Kai, and it took one particular character to make peace.
The rivalry between Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso seems to have finally cooled down by the end of Cobra Kai season 3, and it’s all thanks to one particular character – Ali Mills, the love interest in The Karate Kid. Form a certain point of view, Ali was the initial spark that lit the feud between Daniel and Johnny. Now, in the show’s third season, she’s the only one who can properly create peace between them.
Ali was a major player in the The Karate Kid and an important part of the film’s core conflict. After breaking up with Johnny, Ali meets and becomes romantically involved with Daniel. Johnny is enraged by this development, which begins the torment visited on Daniel from Cobra Kai. Eventually he triumphs over their bullying with the help of Mr. Miyagi, though not before adding a bit of his own fuel to the fire. While Ali doesn’t wind up staying with either Daniel or Johnny, she certainly plays a major role in their rivalry.
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After being teased throughout the show’s first two seasons, Ali finally returns in Cobra Kai season 3. Her appearance culminates in a dinner party scene with Johnny, Daniel, and Daniel’s wife Amanda, where the four share a pleasant night of nostalgia and needling one another. Before they part ways, Ali gives both senseis a much-needed lecture on their childish feud, reminding them that neither of their versions of The Karate Kid are the truth. Prompted by her speech, both men acknowledge their own role in what happened and seem to finally reach a mutual understanding. The season ends with Johnny and Daniel teaming up to defeat John Kreese.
There are a few reasons why Ali was the only person who could finally create peace between Johnny and Daniel. As the initial cause of their mutual hatred, Ali has a unique perspective to offer on what actually went down between the three of them and why they’re each partially to blame. Both men’s version of the story had become so warped and hardened by the passage of time that they needed the input of someone who was also there to set them straight. Because Ali knew them both so well and experienced the whole saga firsthand, they can’t discredit her perspective.
It also helps of course that both Daniel and Johnny hold Ali in incredibly high respect – perhaps the only person up until this point in the story for whom that can be said. They both loved her in different ways and she cared for them as well, which makes it impossible for them to disregard her words or her opinion of their relationship. Seeing her again makes them both realize how frivolous it is to hold onto old grudges from the past. Hopefully, Cobra Kai season 4 will have some fun tag-team action with Johnny and Daniel finally on the same side.
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