Peyton List’s character debuted on the series as the badass fighter Tory, and introduced herself as “Tory with a Y” — which is remarkably similar to Ali Mills introducing herself as “Ali with an I” to Daniel in The Karate Kid. However, rather than being a hint as to Tory’s parentage, Cobra Kai creator Jon Hurwitz revealed in a DVD set her name was an inside joke for Karate Kid writer Robert Mark Kamen. Kamen named Ali Mills after his daughter Ali (with an I), but he also has another daughter named Tory (with a Y), so the show writers decided to give her a little nod as well.
Meanwhile, The other popular theory surrounding Ali was that she would swoop in to save the paralyzed Miguel. It was established in season 1 that she is a successful pediatric surgeon, so she was theorized to be the perfect person called in for the job of patching up Johnny Lawrence’s star student. For a moment in season 3, Johnny seems to even buy this theory as he lingers on the back of a mysterious blonde doctor about to operate on Miguel. As it turns out, Johnny is just as faked out as the rest of us, and we never get to see Dr. Mills’ handiwork in the operating room.
Instead, Ali Mills’ return is relatively mundane by Cobra Kai standards; she’s simply home visiting family during the holidays. Yet, Ali’s appearance still has a big impact on Daniel and Johnny.