Karate class is back in session. The third season of has premiered on Netflix, finally picking up where Season 2 left off in the first half of 2019. We now know what happened after Miguel’s (Xolo Maridueña) injury, learned much more about Kreese’s (Martin Jove) backstory, and saw how Johnny (William Zabka) reacted to being ousted from Cobra Kai. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Season 3 of Cobra Kai. If you haven’t watched the new season, which is available on Netflix right now, you should stop reading now. Why would you want to spoil what unfolds in the latest episodes?
In addition to all of the massive story developments in the new season, there are also some surprising characters that pop up throughout the season. Of course, it’s already been revealed that Karate Kid Part II’s Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita) and Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) are reunited with Daniel (Ralph Macchio) during his . The biggest surprise comes later in the season, though.
After she reached out to him on Facebook in the Season 2 finale, Ali Mills (Elisabeth Shue) returns to the franchise for the first time since the original Karate Kid. We learn that she’s divorced her husband and is spending the holidays at home in the valley with her parents, which allows her to reconnect with both Johnny and Daniel.
For Karate Kid fans, this was a moment that most didn’t know could ever happen. Not surprisingly, it was a special thing to witness for the team that makes the show.
“For all of us, it was just a special in person, as we believe it’s going to be for you know the audience watching it at home who is wondering, ‘Will she show up? What will it be like?’ There was a magic in the air,” executive producer Josh Heald told GameSpot. “You’re literally bringing this character from the past and putting her into this evolving story with these guys who have put back on these roles and have been wearing them now for a few seasons. And as soon as she gets back in there, there’s magic there’s goosebumps.”
Of course, it’s not enough for Ali to simply appear. While it’s a great shot of nostalgia, it also has to serve the story. While they’re working to teach the next generation of karate students, both have a foot stuck in the past–Johnny more so than Daniel. With the reappearance of Ali, though, it’s a reminder of how everyone has grown since their high school days.
“It was a dream for us to be able to bring her back into this universe and to do it in a way where there were meaningful moments with both of these guys–you know, that it wasn’t just a Johnny story, it wasn’t just a Daniel story,” Heald explained. “It was really seeing how Ali has affected both of their lives, how she set them both on a course in a certain way. Those high school relationships, sometimes they have a way of imprinting themselves on you and you find yourself either pining away for something or regretting something, and we really wanted to explore that. There’s no better character in this universe to do that with.”
What did you think of Ali’s return to the Karate Kid universe in Cobra Kai Season 3? Sound off in the comments, then go watch the new episodes again on Netflix.