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What Fans Really Think Is Behind Robby And Miguel's Beef On Cobra Kai

Contains spoilers for Cobra Kai

Netflix's martial arts comedy-drama Cobra Kai took The Karate Kid franchise and elevated it into a deep, impactful look into past sins, redemption, trauma, and the difficulty of growing up. The story's main characters are ostensibly the grown-up Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence (once again played by Ralph Macchio and William Zabka), but a new generation of karate-themed rivals soon grows to equal importance. 

Johnny's protégé Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) and Daniel's student Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) start the show with problems and storylines of their own, and they're on an inevitable collision course for a variety of reasons. Their respective allegiances with Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do Karate are obviously a factor, and just like their mentors back in the day, they also get swooped in a love triangle when both develop feelings for Daniel's daughter Sam (Mary Mouser). Oh, and there's also the fact that Robby — who, again, is Daniel's favorite student — happens to be Johnny's estranged son.

The ending of Cobra Kai season 2 shows a dramatic showdown between the two, which ends in Robby kicking his nemesis over a railing, causing serious injuries that could leave Miguel paralyzed in season 3. It's pretty certain that we'll hear more about this particular feud when Cobra Kai season 3 drops, but some viewers are already thinking that there's way more going on than a simple battle over love or martial arts supremacy.

Fans think Robby has issues that go well beyond Miguel

It's easy to see Robby as a villainous figure due to the fact that he directly caused Miguel's injury during the season 2 finale. However, a Cobra Kai-themed Reddit discussion points out that Robby's main beef isn't with Miguel at all. Instead, his issues lie with his own father, Johnny. 

"Yes, he pushed Miguel and deserves to face the consequences for that," a fan writes. "But the only reason Robby dislikes Miguel and shows no mercy in the S2 finale is because he believes Johnny cares [more] about Miguel than him. It has never really been about Sam, though he participated in the fight to defend her." 

They then go on to explain that Robby comes from an extremely broken, neglectful home: "Furthermore, Robby is a victim of child abuse — he has been neglected by both of his parents and no one really raised him. None of the kids on the show have it that bad; when they've been bullied, they had at least one parent who cared for them." 

Other fans agree with this analysis. "What Robby did was wrong, but there's a great deal of context to it," one Redditor writes. "It's more than just 'Robby has no honor and is mean.' Robby's whole story is about abandonment." 

Robby loses everything by fighting his issues with Johnny

Cobra Kai makes it clear that Robby is a bit of a broken ace. Though he starts the show as a petty criminal, he's smart and extremely good at sports, and a pretty nice guy to boot. However, a lifetime of abandonment issues is a lot of baggage, and while Miguel's beef might be with Robby, fans think Robby himself is fighting a very different enemy: his own aloof father, who seems oblivious to his son's pain and unable to correct the course of their relationship. 

This makes Robby's season 2 ending particularly awful, because in one single moment of defeat, a very Johnny-like moment of rage causes him to lash out and inflict irreparable damage upon all involved. "Robby lost the fight, the girl, his dad, and his dignity," one fan notes of the fateful moment when Robby decided to attack the unwary Miguel. "I can easily imagine the rage that erupted in that moment. I bet he was imagining Johnny's face as he was kicking Miguel." 

Of course, this action means that even Robby's personal support system — which still amounts to little more than Daniel and Sam — now blames him for what he did to Miguel. 

Hopefully, we'll see Robby deal with his issues and perhaps even gain some much-needed peace of mind when Cobra Kai season 3 drops on January 8, 2021.