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Why Cobra Kai fans think Daniel's son was missing in season 2

Cobra Kai picks up decades after the beloved '80s film The Karate Kid. This time, the primary focus is on the original film's antagonist, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). Lawrence is still haunted by losing the karate tournament all those years ago, and now, he leads a new group of outcasts by teaching them karate at the new-and-improved Cobra Kai dojo. But the influence of John Kreese (Martin Kove), who wants the facility to maintain its ruthless ethics, is still present.  

Many initially tuned in to see how Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) have grown up over the years — but with three seasons of Cobra Kai now available on Netflix, the show has expanded into exciting, fresh territory, and introduced new characters. That includes Daniel LaRusso's son, Anthony (Griffin Santopietro). While Anthony played a significant role in season 1, he was largely absent for the second season. He's mostly obsessed with video games and doesn't care much for karate (or any kind of exercise for that matter), much to the chagrin of his father. And then, he disappears for a while. Why is that? Prior to the release of the show's third season, Cobra Kai fans had an idea.

Fans believed Anthony LaRusso would have a big arc in season 3

In a Reddit thread started by u/Ethan_But_, many Cobra Kai fans noted how Anthony didn't have much character development throughout the first two seasons of the show. They even pointed out how he was sent away to summer camp for much of season 2, theorizing that perhaps he would undergo a serious change while away at camp and come back as a completely different person, one who would be at odds with his father's philosophy in season 3. 

Redditor u/ItalianLion2000 suggested Anthony would have some serious character development in season 3, and that idea all came back to one critical line he had at the beginning of season 2. When Daniel tries to get Anthony to join Miyagi-Do instead of going away to camp, Anthony asks if it's still just "chores," or if they practice actual karate. That line suggested Anthony could be interested in practicing karate, but he just doesn't want to do what he views as a bunch of pointless chores. The Reddit user then theorized that John Kreese, who's still lurking around the Cobra Kai dojo, would lure Anthony in.

Fans were wrong about Anthony

In actuality, Anthony does come back for Cobra Kai season 3, but not in the way fans expected him to. The actor who plays him, Griffin Santopietro, returned in only a guest-starring capacity, appearing in just one of the season's ten episodes. Anthony is thinner when he comes back from summer camp, so theorizers were technically correct in guessing that he'd be different when he showed up again, but they were wrong about everything else. Anthony's return is a far cry from the major narrative arc fans thought he would have in season 3 to explain his absence from season 2. 

Anthony having even less screen time in season 3 than he did in season 2 has sparked much conversation amongst fans. On one hand, there's frustration that he's even around at all if he's only going to be shoehorned into scenes. Uproxx writer Dustin Rowles went so far as to call Anthony the worst character in Cobra Kai, stating in an opinion piece published shortly after season 3 hit Netflix that Anthony is the show's "one glaring, weak link." 

On the other hand, there's hope that Anthony's role being diminished even further in season 3 just means that season 4 will mark his epic comeback. Redditor u/Emigs1027 wrote in the Cobra Kai subreddit, "In my head I'm thinking season 4 wraps up the Kreese storyline, and if the show continues, I think some type of storyline with Anthony could naturally be where the story goes next. Maybe the Samantha/Miguel class graduate or something by that point in a small time jump, idk. Almost would remind me of how they used Anthony Soprano in The Sopranos. Small side character for the first few seasons and then he starts to get his own arc."

Whatever might happen to Anthony LaRusso moving forward remains a mystery, but Cobra Kai fans will undoubtedly tune in to the show no matter what.