The issues with Cobra Kai season 3


Beck Iannucci

CW: ableism, mentions of death, underage drinking, fire, anxiety attacks

Like many of you, I have been keeping up with the Cobra Kai series, a modern take on the Karate Kid franchise. The show’s main idea is to take Johnny and Daniel as adults and follow where they’ve been, along with their kids. But with Miguel, a Cobra Kai student, having gotten hurt last season, this season takes an uncomfortable turn. Miguel is now in a wheelchair and everyone seems to be upset about it. Understandably, Miguel is having a hard time adjusting. This is to be expected because he’s never had to do physical therapy before and new experiences can be challenging.

The problem starts with grown up Johnny. He’s extremely broken up about Miguel’s injury. Again, makes sense because Miguel got hurt while doing karate and Johnny taught him karate. But lighting a wheelchair user on fire to get them to walk is beyond disgusting.

Listen, this show has many instances of underage drinking (yes the actors aren’t underage but the characters are) and started talking about anxiety disorders many episodes in without a warning — I do mean without a trigger warning but it also felt so out of place. Yes, not being able to sleep is an anxiety symptom, but it feels like something that was thrown in that didn’t need to be.

While I found the talk about anxiety triggering, I’m more pissed off about how sh*t they wrote Miguel’s recovery and Johnny’s attitude. I don’t understand why I always hear so many nondisabled people acting like being in a wheelchair is the end of the world. Miguel could have DIED! Be happy he’s alive! Like, Jesus Christ, you still have the person you care about. Isn’t that enough? I don’t use a wheelchair myself, but I had a family member who did and people always said it was no way to live. Wtf? And Miguel gets over the fact that Johnny almost killed him by lighting him on fire way too quickly. Not to mention that when Miguel comes back to school walking everyone claps for him. This man is lucky to be alive right now. You better have clapped even if he was in a wheelchair — through randomly clapping at people only happens in movies.

The point is, it feels like we glossed over this treatment way too quickly. To make it worse, the fire scene isn’t the only instance of ableism. Johnny holds a magazine above Miguel’s head, trying to get Miguel to reach for it, and Miguel falls out of the wheelchair. Honestly, this show is so sh*t now that I can’t imagine how it’s going downhill for season 4. I’m not going to find out though, because I want to part in this.