Cobra Kai Keeps Forgetting Who Its Main Character Is

Cobra Kai season 5 proves that the show has forgotten who its main character is. Arguably the Cobra Kai season with the highest stakes yet, Cobra Kai season 5 saw Daniel, Chozen, and Johnny facing the power of Terry Silver’s expanded Cobra Kai dojo. Even without a tournament, Cobra Kai season 5 managed to deliver several great action sequences and changed the balance of power in the show – but it did so at the cost of sidelining one key Cobra Kai character. With Terry Silver and Daniel LaRusso at the center of season 5, Cobra Kai has made The Karate Kid’s legacy characters the focus of the show – which is a problem.

Between enemies from Daniel LaRusso’s past and the many original Cobra Kai characters, Cobra Kai has lost track of who its most important character is – Miguel Diaz. While Cobra Kai has always focused on a relatively large set of characters, the show was built on Miguel’s story and how the “new kid” changed Johnny Lawrence’s life forever. Cobra Kai season 1 is very much a Miguel story, and a similar thing can be said about Cobra Kai season 2. However, from Cobra Kai season 3 onward, Miguel was sidelined. That is not to say Cobra Kai has completely forgotten Miguel, only that his role in the story now seems small compared to the early seasons of Cobra Kai.

Miguel Was Clearly The New Karate Kid In Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai has mirrored The Karate Kid since its very first episode. In a genius flip of expectations, Cobra Kai season 1 made Johnny Lawrence the new Mr. Miyagi – a reluctant sensei whose life takes a turn after a new neighbor moves into his building. Cobra Kai season 1 was not subtle with its Karate Kid references, and the moment Miguel meets Johnny plays almost exactly like when Daniel met Mr. Miyagi. Miguel was the new kid in school who was being bullied and had no friends, meaning that he was clearly the “karate kid” of this new generation. More than making a thematic callback, Miguel’s entire arc in Cobra Kai season 1 mirrors Daniel’s in The Karate Kid.

Just like Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid, Miguel Diaz found karate a positive way to deal with the struggles of being the new kid in a school. Johnny’s improved Cobra Kai teachings made Miguel more confident, it helped protect Miguel from Kyler and the rest of the bullies, and gave Miguel the opportunity to become a karate champion. The Cobra Kai season 1 finale very much repeated The Karate Kid’s tournament, and it saw Miguel and Robby settling their differences in a fight just like Daniel and Johnny had done 30 years ago. Miguel’s victory in Cobra Kai season 1 is more bittersweet than Daniel’s in The Karate Kid, but still, Miguel was Cobra Kai’s main character.

Cobra Kai Didn’t Know What To Do With Miguel After The School Fight

1 comment
  1. The character continued to grow and became the best of the young martial artists. As evidenced by Kenny’s fear of him at the end of Season 5. Miguel has that unbreakable aura of not only a champion but of a man who has overcome what would have killed others. Much as Bruce Lee being told he would never walk meant a fight was often won before it started.

    The biggest issue with Miguel is Xolo was picked up by DC for Blue Beetle at the end of S2 and now it’s completed, he has not only the best acting and action chops of the kids on the show but the most upside and oldest look. He needs to move on and win the Sekai so Miguel becomes a famed fighter/only returns occasionally.

    The right character going forward is Kenny, especially if they kill off his brother in gang war violence. That would force all the adults of the show, Kreese and Silver included to come together to stop this prodigy from succumbing to vengeance. A darker season finale perhaps than expected but more satisfying than a simple tournament.

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