Based on the classic ’80s Karate Kid movies, Netflix’s new hit Cobra Kai is a nostalgic homage to a time when the San Fernando Valley was teaming with Karate dojos, as teenagers either wanted to emulate Daniel Larusso (played by Ralph Macchio), or date him. The series stands as a roundhouse kick-to-the-face reminder of movie tropes from yesteryear, pitting the “good guys” against the “bad guys” and demanding that you suspend all sense of reality, in favor of simply enjoying the show. While the series may not sweep the major awards shows for its originality or acting, that’s not what Cobra Kai aims at — it’s about good, old-fashioned entertainment.
But some fans have found certain character arcs leaving them disappointed. Specifically, the story arc for resident bad girl Tory has some wondering how or if her character will get the redemption she deserves. As Polygon notes, the writers took Tory’s character, which had no real development in season two, and gave her a heartbreaking backstory that only makes what Reddit user travelingrace described as “flat in her villainy,” meaning she’s simply bad because she’s a bad person, which fans struggle to believe.
Tory's behavior is too aggressive considering her backstory
We’re going to dig in to the back story here, so, due warning: spoilers below, for those who’ve not yet caught up on the show.
At the beginning of the season, we learn that Tory, played by Peyton List, has a tragic home life. As summed up by CBR, her mom is severely ill, leaving Tory to act as nurse to her mother, look after her little brother, and take on the role of breadwinner for the family. Working two jobs, getting harassed by her landlord, and expelled from school, her only champion is uber-villain Kreese, who gives Tory an outlet for her anger: karate.
The softer side of Tory, the one that leads her to provide for her family, doesn’t seem to match the disdain she holds for her rival Sam. The final straw seems to come when she leads the charge to attack her rival’s karate dojo for no reason other than blind hate caused by jealousy. Reddit user EatCakeGirl44 points out that Tory’s behavior is so “criminal and psychotic,” that it may not leave room for redemption, “after the amount of intentional damage she’s inflicted on others.”
However, plenty of fans still sympathize with Tory, seeing her as a troubled girl that needs help and guidance. Redditor __Haku__ notes, “Tory hates Sam … because she wants what Sam has (a privileged life) … I see her behavior as wanting to prove to herself that she’s better than Sam.”
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