Cobra Kai Season 5: Review+ Ending Explained: What started with a bullying incident at a strip mall has evolved into the ‘Karate Wars’ that have crossed all boundaries. One can forgive audiences for saying that karate has progressed into MMA (besides jiu-jitsu and grappling). Street fights are the order of the day with Japanese weapons coming to the fore in the style battle between Miyagi Do and Tang Soo Do. Yes, there is a battle with lethal weapons that raises the stakes through the roof.
The Valley has transformed into a battlefield despite the terms of the fifty-first All-Valley Karate Tournament followed to the ‘T’. The losers keep their promises, but attempts to play savior (all direct attacks) receive “swift” and merciless “responses.”
This Netflix Original’s fifth season sees new entrants emerge and established players shine. Additionally, fans expecting names from the films to return will not be disappointed.
What does Cobra Kai Season 5 focus on?
Obsession infects Ralph Macchio’s character in Cobra Kai Season 5. Terry Silver follows the Cobra Kai philosophy of striking first, but he does so psychologically and in response to an action. Money is not a factor for the ‘man who always thinks two steps ahead.’
This results in Daniel LaRusso’s paranoia emerging as he portrays an unhinged character battling repressed demons from The Karate Kid 3. The result shares episode four’s title, which permits the show to allow outcomes of the side plots to factor in. Macchio’s role garners sympathy and enhances Thomas Ian Griffith’s limousine-riding, suit-wearing villain.
On other tangents, Johnny Lawrence gets his life back in order and tries to make an honest living. Meanwhile, John Kreese serves time in prison and gets up to his tricks whilst clad in the blue.
To counter Daniel’s backup, Silver flies in seven senseis including Alice Hannah-kim (Sensei Kim) and Tyron Woodley (Odell) to help him “take Cobra Kai to the next level.” Much can’t be said about the former UFC champion’s turn, but Hannah-kim rules as a stone-cold fight queen.
assume your viewing positions! Season 5 of Cobra Kai is now streaming. pic.twitter.com/QiqQueNnLV
— Cobra Kai (@CobraKaiSeries) September 9, 2022
There are swerves, and there are surprises as well. It appears John Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald actually took the memes seriously and provided the Miyagiverse with its portal moment. The trio even had Demetri name-drop a character from a film set in a Galaxy Far Far Away; one that was released a year before The Karate Kid. They may have been obsessed with teasing the fans with subtle pop culture references and succeeded. Yes, this new season has its Lucasesque “Episode 6” moments.
What’s Good about Cobra Kai Season 5?
Cobra Kai Season 5 doesn’t meander after getting past the third episode. The writers wrap up the side plots with conviction and quickly get out of the hole they forced themselves into. Also, by not extending the runtime, the showrunners keep things compact. Tory telling Robby to just skip all the “bs” and kiss her is much appreciated as audiences have heard everything before and know what the end result will be in such a scenario.
Chozen Toguchi is a bright spot in this season, with him delivering absolute gems whilst interacting with the established characters. Starting off with his sky-clad appearance before Amanda LaRusso to his constant focus on being alert and on the offensive; Yuji Okumoto is an absolute scream. Audiences may be guilty of hitting the back button just to rewatch the things he says, as they are so straightforwardly hilarious.
The same can’t be said about his chesslike interaction with Terry Silver, where knowledge served as a weapon. The ‘Head of The Snake’ is dangerously composed, which is backed by Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson’s chilling background score. Thomas Ian Griffith’s turn as Terry Silver is a highlight of the season, which lends weight to the Avengers-like moment. It also drew a cheer from me at the halfway point of the season, as a great evil is nothing in front of the season’s primary antagonist.
The cameos steal the show with there being a Spiderman: No Way Home moment at one point. It’s truly a sight to behold with fan service being done right. Season 5 can have this moment as the writers opted to play with the audiences’ perspective of Daniel’s demons emerging.
Any mention of positives cannot omit William Zabka. From mixing up Google, and Billie Eilish (Rock fans will be thrilled with the latter), and coining a few classic Johnny phrases, none more memorable than “Pandora’s Box”; this ‘FBI agent’ remains THE STAR of the show. His re-entry into the dojo war sees a serious resistance begin.
Finally, this season ensures characters like Bert and Mitch get some time to shine despite being way down the pecking order. There won’t be complaints of any character missing out on time.
What’s Not Good About Cobra Kai Season 5?
The timelines are a bit messed up, and there is no mistake about this as the series progresses in a chronology where flashbacks are clearly marked. Silver set up a new dojo, added more students, shot a commercial, and got it aired in as much time as it took for Miguel to travel from California to Mexico.
The Mexico trip wasn’t great and one wouldn’t miss out on anything major if they fast-forwarded past these points. One wishes they had gone all in or not at all. Will this feature in future seasons? It could be the way they redeem this arc.
Silver’s psychological warfare to cause his foes to self-destruct resulted in lesser actual (but better) brawls. Qualitative and quantitative mindsets will view this in their own way, but the constant karate brawl aspect was missing.
Johnny’s American alpha shines through with his family motivating him. But that still takes away from the grounded reality of this Netflix Original. It’s tough to understand how a pulverized Lawrence overcame 4 of Sensei Kim’s senseis. Having a teammate jump in can show that the former two-time champion had an adrenaline-filled moment. However, Chozen and Johnny struggled to beat Hyan-woo just days back.
It’s quite sad to see that Sensei Kim just entered and confronted Tory. What are the odds that the two would just run into each other in a melee? Also, Devon Lee’s switches from one side to the next were just too quick.
There’s no major child conflict left to drag out the show as the main quartet has no bad blood left.
Cobra Kai: Season 5-Verdict
The tale of a broken hero defending his traditions against an evil calculated maniac and earning support along the way drives home one of Silver’s lessons, i.e. a difference between hearing and listening.
The cycle of getting together and then having disagreements before splitting up is a common theme in Cobra Kai. However, Season 5 bucks the trend. It gathers all the pieces together, picks up in intensity, increases quality, and delivers a definitive endgame.
There will be blood. There will be fire. And when the dust settles, some major pieces will be off the chessboard. #CobraKaiSeason5
— Hayden Schlossberg (@McSchlossberg) September 8, 2022
Nostalgia. Check. Thrill. Check. Family, tradition, and honor. Check. Comedy. Check. With Johnny and Chozen, there are golden moments to provide this show with a balance between funny and intense. Cobra Kai Season 5 doesn’t suffer from show fatigue and remains must-see TV, but one cannot call it the best season.
Cobra Kai Season 5: Ending Explained
The ending saw Chozen emerge alive, despite him collapsing after Silver sliced his back with the katana. Miyagi-Do-Fang used Chozen’s lessons and succeeded in their battle to expose Silver, who was carted off to prison. For those who assume he got taken away for cheating and bribing, StingRay changed his statement and ensured Kreese’s sentence would be the one Silver faces a trial for.
This, and the symbolic breaking of the glass snake at the dojo, is a clear sign that Silver’s reign of terror is over. While he can pay his way out of jail, he may be a non-factor in the karate world, at least in a potential Season 6. Do they even need another season? The ending is quite fitting with the good beating evil…
John Kreese could be back in a big way
Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence tricked Kreese for information and gave him a ‘paper with a lawyer’s contact.’ However, it just contained an expletive and the third line of Cobra Kai’s motto. This could see revenge on the cards and a resumption of Kreese vs Daniel.
An inmate stabbed the former Cobra Kai sensei in jail and ensured the guards took him to the infirmary. Once the doctor discovered that it was jello-O and not blood, Kreese revealed his endgame. He attacked the doctor and the guards, stole the white overcoat, and strolled out of prison with the passcard he picked from the therapist. John Kreese will be a wanted man who will have to lie low, but he can be the one to help Sensei Kim. After all, the one flashback in the show revealed that they may know each other.
John Kreese and Sensei Kim could team up
Sensei Kim’s treatment of Tory Nichols could toss this theory into the trash, but the timing of Kreese revealing he has an endgame and the Korean senseis arriving is telling. Sensei Kim arrives and asks about the whereabouts of Sensei Kreese. It could be what motivated her to make the flight.
Kreese, in the 1980 flashback, winked at a small girl, who was spying on the Americans practicing Tang Soo Do. This could be seen as the Vietnam veteran having a deep bond with the Korean sensei. Something that the showrunners could flesh out with flashbacks.
The two could team up with this being the catalyst to finally introduce Julie Pierce to the Netflix show as the Miyagi Do equal against Sensei Kim.
The Sekai Taikai ensures that the new generation can compete
The likes of Robby, Hawk, Sam, Tory, and Miguel can keep competing, as the Sekai Taikai doesn’t have an age limit. It opens the door for these actors to return as they will be above 18 by the time the next All-Valley comes along. No offense to the likes of Kenny, Anthony, and Devon, but Keene, Moskowitz, LaRusso, Nichols, and Diaz are cornerstones.
But what purpose would they serve in such a tremendous competition without Cobra Kai?
Sensei Kim will be the new primary antagonist
Cobra Kai will need to re-earn its place in the Sekai Taikai, as the video featuring Tory and Silver’s conversation will discredit the dojo’s Grand Champion status. However, at the time of writing, they haven’t been disqualified. Sensei Kim can be the primary antagonist and use the Sekai Taikai people to get her Korean dojo into the event and promote ‘The Way of the Fist’. This, in itself, will be enough to ensure Miyagi Do takes part.
Silver can still bankroll Sensei Kim’s bid for supremacy. Terry Silver is tight with the DA, the knowledge of which makes things even more interesting. Or even the likes of Kreese and Paul Dugan can side with her to keep Daniel LaRusso interested. He will always be involved if it comes to ensuring karate is taught ‘the right way’. Hence, “the karate war” is still on.
Cobra Kai Season 5 is streaming on Netflix.