(vague spoilers ahead)
In the year between season 3 and season 4 I finally got around to watching the original three Karate Kid movies (having only ever seen the Jackie Chan/Jaden Smith remake) and they were very good. Yes, even the third one which I gather is widely disliked in some quarters. So I had a much better understanding of who Terry Silver was, for a start! Also, wow, Thomas Ian Griffith has aged staggeringly well hasn’t he?
It’s a shame to think that Daniel, the cute plucky hero from those three movies grew up to be a shitty parent but he really did. Finally he gets a harsh calling-out on it in this season when a child psychologist (played by Ralph Macchio’s actual daughter!) sits down with him and Amanda and starts asking the hard questions. She is absolutely correct in that the Larusso parents love their daughter more than their son, or at least show their daughter much more love, and this season makes it clear that Anthony turning out to be a shitty, spoiled bully is almost entirely the fault of his mum and dad.
Towards the end of this season we see Daniel finally try and discipline his son instead of just ignoring him, snapping his ipad in half with his bare hands, but it’s occurred to me this isn’t good parenting either: really all that will do is teach Anthony that violence is the fastest way to solving your problems. Not great, especially considering every single person in this show defaults to karate whenever they have the slightest issue with anyone else.
I’m looking very forward to seeing that parental relationship evolve, as well as all the other parental relationships in the show: Johnny and Miguel, Johnny and Robbie, Miguel and his biological father (who I really hope turns out to be a new character instead of someone we already know, as some people are suggesting), Sam and her parents, oh and I guess Amanda and Tory sort of almost counts as a parental relationship now too.
It was nice to see the tradition of “unexpected character pops up at the very end of the show” continue! I won’t spoil who it was, although I do admit that with all the multiverse shenanigans going on in media lately I half expected a portal to open and Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan to walk out.