Cobra Kai’s season 3 premiere episode “Aftermath” picks up where season 2 ended, and everyone continues to feel the aftermath of the brutal karate riot at West Valley High that left Miguel in a coma and on life support.
The consequences will be faced by Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai, whose rivalry caused chaos. As Johnny gets drunk, punches, and gets arrested, Daniel and Amanda go to an urgent PTA meeting after Sam is suspended for two weeks.
While the Karate Kid movie simply paints its characters in shades of gray, with some more leaning towards their aptitude for villainy, it is clear that the protagonist of the story is Daniel and Johnny plays the role of the antagonist.
For one thing, the theory goes that Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is the real bully that he was, a violent sociopath who chooses every fight and moves to a California town and starts tormenting a local boy and his friends.
The theory further states that the tragic figure in the story is actually Johnny (William Zabka), who was a reluctant and imperfect hero.
In turn, the theory further states that receiving the severe beating was Daniel’s fault, as he hit his head where he shouldn’t have and by hitting him, Johnny was simply trying to contain Daniel’s fury.
For years, many Karate Kid fans have put forward points for and against the theory, debating how Johnny was a bully who kept targeting Daniel even as the latter tried to avoid fights or how Daniel deliberately created chaos for his nemesis.
Even though the two warring factions fans of the franchise and even more so of its Cobra Kai prequel have yet to come to a standstill, one side may now find solace in the fact that Daniel’s theory was the real bully. It is now officially canon in The Karate Kid universe.