Ever since it first launched as a YouTube original series back in 2018, Cobra Kai has been a thoroughly modern continuation of the Karate Kid saga, bringing nuance to conflicts that had previously been black-and-white, showing a more human side to the antagonist Johnny Lawrence, and introducing a new generation of characters to help continue the story.
But it has also always paid respectful homage to the original movies, which means plenty of '80s nostalgia, loving references to Mr. Miyagi (and by extension the late Pat Morita), and an increasing number of familiar faces returning to the Valley. These have included the villainous sensei John Kreese, reformed-baddie-turned-baddie-again Terry Silver, and baddie-turned-goodie Chozen.
Season 5, which just dropped on Netflix, also features a cameo appearance from a friendlier face: Jessica Andrews.
Who is Jessica Andrews, played by Robyn Lively in Cobra Kai?
Jessica was a close friend of Daniel LaRusso while he was preparing for the All Valley under Terry Silver's tutelage during the events of The Karate Kid III. While Jessica was originally conceived as a potential new love interest for Daniel, the age difference between Lively and Ralph Macchio (the former was 16 and the latter was 27 at the time of filming) led to the pairing being rewritten in the script to be platonic instead, with Jessica referring to an ex-boyfriend in Ohio with whom she may want to get back together.
While that movie ended with Jessica leaving California and going home to Ohio, it turns out that she and Daniel did in fact remain friends. In episode 5 of the new season, Jessica once again proves to be a centering influence on Daniel while he is spiralling, even if they aren't in the same room together. It's revealed that she actually introduced him to his wife, Amanda, who is her cousin.
It's also as great a place to bring Jessica back as ever—she can tell her cousin, Amanda, about her own memories and experiences of Terry Silver basically being a menace and tormenting Daniel's life back in the '80s. She was around for the madness of Karate Kid Part III, after all.
Jessica isn't the first female lead from one of the Karate Kid movies to show up in Cobra Kai: Elisabeth Shue reprised the role of Ali Mills, the love interest of both Daniel and Johnny from the original movie, in a two-episode arc during the show's Season 3.
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