WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of Cobra Kai.
In The Karate Kid franchise, two of Daniel LaRusso's (Ralph Macchio) most notable traits have always been discipline and loyalty. It's what he tries to teach his students in Miyagi-Do in Season 2 of Cobra Kai as well, especially his daughter, Sam (Mary Mouser), and her crush, Robbie (Tanner Buchanan), who just so happens to be the son of his eternal rival, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).
But when Daniel gets caught back up in the rivalry with Johnny and Cobra Kai, this time he loses his composure and forgets how to prioritize the important things in his life. As a result of his petulant behavior and surprisingly egotistical ways, by the time the new season wraps, Daniel's dealt a crushing blow that leaves him effectively broken.
Daniel has always been about family, something instilled in him in the original trilogy from the '80s. Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) was more than a sensei to him, he was a father, and this further inspired Daniel to be a good dad when the time came. Now, he's truly become a family man, going from the doe-eyed hopeless romantic doing crane kicks to a savvy businessman who runs the San Fernando Valley when it comes to car dealerships. But for some reason, he can't let go of the past and keeps allowing Cobra Kai to get under his skin, even when they're not trying.
While his reason for reopening Miyagi-Do is partly to teach kids karate isn't for violence or "to be badass," as Cobra Kai suggests, a lot of it stems from the narcissist within, and Daniel's obsession with always showing Johnny up. The obsession really takes a toll on Daniel's wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler), as he's missing important meetings and isn't pulling his weight on the job.
She has to pick up the slack, and even tells him he can't "put a bandage on an open wound" when her frustrations boil over. Even his romantic attempts at dinner fall short because Amanda realizes Danny cares more about beating Johnny than fixing his family, and all these make-up attempts lack substance.
Things get even more disastrous in the finale, when Sam gets into a massive brawl at school and Robbie ends up nearly paralyzing Johnny's top student, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña). Amanda holds Miyagi-Do just as accountable as Cobra Kai, but seeing as she can only control one aspect of this feud, she warns Daniel he has to shut it down or else. That's right, she drops an ultimatum to choose between her or the dojo, made all the worse by the two just having made up the night before.
Seeing Sam cut and bruised sends Amanda over the edge, not to mention all the injuries to the other students. At this point, Daniel no longer thinks of nullifying Cobra Kai's threat in the Valley, because he's finally accepted his immaturity and jealousy is costing him his marriage and endangering children.
Seeing all his students on the verge of expulsion, as well as Miguel's situation, clearly means he's failed Miyagi as well. He understands he has to leave karate behind and shut Miyagi-Do down because, after weaponizing these kids, it's created a pathway to anger inside him which would disappoint his esteemed sensei. Daniel may not have recognized it before, but he's turned into the very thing he hates -- a Cobra Kai -- and is now desperate to erase this stain from his life.
Starring William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Mary Mouser, Tanner Buchanan and Martin Kove, Cobra Kai is currently available on YouTube Premium.