‘Cobra Kai’ Star Vanessa Rubio on Carmen Coming Into Her Own in Season 3
Netflix began 2021 with the promise of Cobra Kai Season 3 kicking ass, and The Karate Kid sequel is more than living up to the hype. Picking up where Season 2 left off, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña)’s life hangs in the balance after that big school fight, and his mother, Carmen (Vanessa Rubio), grapples with the impact of karate on her son’s life while exploring her relationship with Sensei Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).
Rubio talks to TV Insider about the series, Season 4 already ordered, the next chapter in Carmen’s story, the return of Ali (Elisabeth Shue), and more.
Carmen’s concerns about Miguel’s involvement in karate are intensifying. Does she accept its role in her family over the course of Season 3?
Vanessa Rubio: Absolutely. I think she’s come through the wildest emotional ride out of all the characters in terms of how she feels about this karate thing because it’s affecting the love of her life, which is her son. Not to mention her feelings for Johnny, they grow as well. But yeah, She’s initially trying to protect Miguel from something she feels. I think she literally says in Season 1, “I don’t have a good feeling about this.” It’s difficult for her to have that come to fruition and then have to forgive those feelings of betrayal.
How will Miguel feel about his mother and the Sensei being involved?
I think it’s all in the delivery of how he finds out. I know nothing about Season 4, but in an ideal world I’d be like, “They’re going to sit him down and tell them about it.” I think it’s probably going to be more juicy if he finds out some other way, but we shall see.
What was it like exploring Johnny and Carmen’s relationship?
I think it’s surprising, it’s organic, well-written, and believable. They’re both characters of strong feeling, Carmen and Johnny. They understand those aspects of each other that maybe other characters in the series don’t get to see, like how sensitive Johnny is. Carmen sees it and she identifies with that. So they provide a certain ground for each other, which is really lovely.
Do you think Ali’s presence will shake things up?
Oh. I don’t know. I think it was nice to see Johnny’s character have some closure from that past with the “one that got away,” but we shall see what he does with that information and that new sense of closure. And also what Ali does.
As a fan of The Karate Kid, what was your favorite moment this season?
I love Daniel’s (Ralph Macchio) going back to Japan, I really loved that. Seeing the people who were in The Karate Kid 2 come back. And then as a fan, not as Carmen, even though kind of Carmen still is inside me somewhere, I loved seeing Ali come back and give Daniel and Johnny some really good advice.
There’s a debate over who the show’s real villain is. Who takes the top title?
I would say egos and miscommunication. Why can’t they just talk it out? These guys, geez. They’re headed in the wrong direction. But fortunately I think Johnny and Daniel are headed in the right direction. Who knows what Kreese (Martin Kove) is going to do. But the biggest villain, I guess Kreese has to take it.
The stunts are great. Now that karate’s in the Valley to stay, would you like to see Carmen pick up some tricks at the dojo?
The stunt coordination on the show is amazing. Completely. I would love to see a Carmen’s character throw some punches and kicks for sure. She’d be unstoppable. She’d be a bad ass about it. I would welcome that. I don’t know where the writers are going to take it, so we shall see.
Cobra Kai, Seasons 1-3, Streaming now, Netflix