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Cobra Kai Season 2: New Trailer Teases Long-Awaited Rematch

Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso will face off once more in the second season of Cobra Kai — and this time, there will be no rules.

The second trailer for the hit YouTube Premium series' sophomore season dropped today, and it is — in a word — intense. Emotions are running high, tensions are escalating, and the return of his old mentor John Kreese (Martin Kove) is bringing out the absolute worst in Johnny (William Zabka). Meanwhile, Cobra Kai's resurgence is having the effect of throwing Daniel (Ralph Macchio) severely off balance, and the clash between his newly reformed Miyagi-do dojo and the Cobras is moving away from the realm of "heated rivalry" and edging ominously toward "all-out war."

The spot begins right where the final scene of season 1 left off: with a drunken Johnny, having just taken home the trophy at the 50th Anniversary All-Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament, confronting Kreese in his dojo. Johnny may have been feeling a bit conflicted after achieving victory by instructing his student Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) to exploit an injury in order to defeat Robby (Tanner Buchanan) — who happens to be his son, and who had trained for the tournament under his old nemesis Daniel. But any crisis of conscience he may have been experiencing seems to fly out the window as Kreese reappears. "Cobra Kai is back where it belongs... back on top," says Kreese. "But the real story's just begun." Johnny, looking none too pleased to see his sensei, remarks, "I thought you were dead." Suddenly, Johnny throws a punch — but Kreese, despite being a decade or three past his prime, reacts with deadly quickness, blocking the punch and tossing Johnny like a rag doll into one of the dojo's glass installations. "Cobra Kai never dies," Kreese's voiceover intones, and Johnny's face registers that this is the response he had hoped for.

The spot then takes us to the home of Daniel, who — despite first being seen meditating — appears to be feeling anything but peaceful. "Ever since the tournament," his narration says, "all I've been thinking about are ways to destroy Cobra Kai." He's shown to be talking to his wife, who admonishes him, "By opening your own dojo? Don't you have to balance it?" "Balance is my thing," Daniel cheekily responds — but as that creepy cover of Bananarama's "Cruel Summer" which anchored the first trailer creeps onto the soundtrack, we see the kind of trouble brewing which would threaten to disrupt the balance of the late Mr. Miyagi himself.

"We've got some new recruits," Johnny's voiceover says, as we see him and his students showing off before a crowd in an event that looks more like a WWE match than a karate demonstration. "Cobras," Johnny shouts, "show them what real karate looks like!" Apparently, real karate looks like breaking four stacked, flaming boards as spotlights swirl around and the crowd cheers, as Johnny himself is seen doing just that. Daniel is then shown talking to his daughter and student Samantha (Mary Mouser), who pegs the Cobras as "this insane karate cult that's brainwashing half the school." "That's why I'm opening up Miyagi-do," Daniel replies, and then we get a moment of levity in the form of a nice callback to The Karate Kid. Daniel and Robby are seen building, and then painting, a fence with familiar up-and-down strokes; then, sanding a wooden deck in just as familiar a fashion. Finally, after a brief montage featuring Miyagi-do's own new recruits, Daniel shows Robby the vintage car that Mr. Miyagi once gave him for his birthday, prompting Robby to deadpan, "Something tells me there's a can of wax in my future."

We then see the two dojos undergoing their unique forms of training, and Miguel making a friend in the form of new student Tory (Peyton List, Light as a Feather), who promptly hands the Cobras' star pupil his own ass during an exercise. Then, an exchange pointing up the differences in the dojos' philosophies: Kreese confronts Daniel in his backyard, telling him, "You'd better hope that your soldiers are ready." Daniel's (quite reasonable) response: "They're kids!" But a subsequent shot sees Kreese exerting more of his nefarious brand of control over Cobra Kai's students, as he tells the particularly volatile Hawk (Jacob Bertrand), "The fight is only over when you say it is." A montage then teases a series of confrontations between Miyagi-do and the Cobras — not at any tournament, but in public places (with one shot showing Robby being threatened at knifepoint). 

Then, we see Daniel angrily confronting Johnny in front of all the Cobras: "A sensei doesn't teach destruction and disrespect!" A snippet of a conversation between Johnny and Kreese then reveals that Johnny may not be entirely comfortable with how things have been escalating. "We need to talk about what you've been putting in my kids' heads," Johnny says, to which Kreese replies, "Same lessons I taught you." The voiceovers of Johnny's students finish the thought for him: "Strike first... strike hard..." Cut to Tory, pinning a fellow student to the floor in the stairwell of the high school as horrified students look on. "No mercy," she says, delivering a brutal blow as the spot segues into its closing montage.

"These things don't end well," Samantha's narration says, and the final shot teases what we've all been waiting for: Daniel and Johnny, alone, face to face in Daniel's home. "You wanna finish this?!" Daniel shouts; "Bring it on," Johnny coolly replies, and the two finally come to blows, cutting to the title card as Johnny delivers a kick to Daniel's face in revenge for that tournament loss all those years ago.

All we can say is, holy crap. Cobra Kai was deservedly a breakout hit for YouTube Premium last year, the rare series to notch a perfect 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for its first season. It has laughs, heart, action, and drama all in equal measure, and season 2 appears to be somehow ramping up all of these. Will Kreese's increasing control over the Cobras cause Johnny to veer down an even darker path? It seems likely. Will the Cobras' hold over his daughter's peers cause Daniel to betray the principles of Miyagi-do karate? Almost certainly. Will there be blood? Dear reader, we're just as anxious as you are to find out. Cobra Kai season 2 drops in its entirety on YouTube Premium on April 24.