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Cobra Kai Season 5 Review: MOST BADASS SEASON YET!!!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kutztown chapter.


To be honest, I wasn’t big on the Karate Kid Franchise at first. However, after watching the first season of Netflix’s Cobra Kai, followed by the next three seasons, , and then watching the Karate Kid films and then rewatching the entire seasons again before season five… YEAH I GOT HOOKED!

Cobra Kai Season Five is by far the best season yet! So good it surpassed its previous season, which is impressive given that it premiered early this year. This season not only gave the 80’s nostalgia and Karate Kid cameos and callbacks fans came to love (I’ll get to that last part later). It also once again provided top notch performances by seasoned actors and actresses William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Thomas Ian Griffith, Martin Krove, Courtney Henggeler, and Yuji Okumoto; followed by its younger actors and actresses Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Peyton List, and much more.

This season pulled no punches when it comes to the fantastic choreography of its fight scenes. It was fast paced, intense, emotional, and very character driven. One of my favorites has definitely been the final fight between Daniel LaRusso and Terry Silver. Speaking of which, the entirety of this season was for our heroes to take down Terry Silver and Cobra Kai after their “supposed” victory at the All-Valley Tournament from last season. While Daniel tries various plans to take Silver down, which includes bringing his foe turned friend Chozen into the war, Johnny tries to amend his damaged relationships with his son Robby, and student/surrogate son, Miguel. Johnny is also trying to better his role as a father as he once again is having another child with his girlfriend, Carmen Diaz.

It’s no secret that Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso are the heart of the show as this season really brought their character growth to new heights. Finally, we no longer see them at each other’s throats this season, which was a breath of air after so many fights they had from its first film to its previous seasons. Both Johnny and Daniel learn that no matter how hard life throws at them, whatever surprises may come, or whatever obstacle that tries to stop them, they must NEVER give up the fight and more importantly remembering what and who they’re fighting for. This show has always blurred between heroes and villains when it comes to these two senseis, but this season shows them at their very best as the heroes they’re meant to be.

While we’re talking about heroes and villains, let’s get into Terry Silver, John Kreese, Chozen Toguchi, and Mike Barnes. Thomas Ian Griffith gave a frighteningly compelling performance as this season’s biggest big bad. He’d already proven how ruthless he is by using psychological and emotional manipulation against his enemies last season, but this season he really showed his brutal strength and skill in his karate against his opponents including Chozen. Chozen’s time in this season was a crazy and fun wild ride! He not only kicked ass this season, but he also made audiences laugh our butts off with his humor. Cobra Kai is a drama and action show, but one of its most famous genres is its comedy and Yuji Okumoto’s comedy was on the ten scale of the laugh-O-meter this season! I’m still laughing when he trained the students in the hiding egg game! 

Humor and action aside, Chozen offered great wisdom to the Miyagi-Fang students along with Daniel and Johnny on what true strength is both in karate and in life. Now for Mike Barnes, I got to say… WOW! Just Wow! I, along with other Cobra Kai fans, thought of many theories as to how Sean Kanan’s character would play out after the events of The Karate Kid Part Three. But never would I imagine that the infamous “Karate Bad Boy” would be a furniture tycoon! Plus, he’s not even playing the dark side of the dojo anymore! Like Chozen and Johnny, Barnes put his past behind him and started a new life, albeit was interfered by Daniel’s initial assumption of him and later Silver’s ire(figuratively and literally). 

In the end the former bad boy got his time to shine in the season finale and got his justifiable payback against Silver by “borrowing” his priceless Rembrandt. Lastly there’s Kreese, after season four many fans have thought that his time in jail would be another stepping stone to his redemption arc. However, after the final events of the season finale, signs show that he’s not out of the fight yet, but what will his escape mean for a possible season six. Will he reclaim Cobra Kai now Silver’s the one in handcuffs? Will he start his own dojo in order to compete in the Sekai Taikai tournament? Or will he finally hang up his ghi and move forward with his life? I guess we’ll find out once season 6 is officially confirmed.

Finally, we can’t forget the lovable teens! Though most of their characters took a small step back this season, its main hitters Miguel Diaz, Robby Keene, Samantha LaRusso, and Tory Nichols have shined in their respective character arcs. Both Miguel and Sam try to figure out what kind of person they want to become for the future and each took their time with Miguel learning about his father and Sam temporarily breaking up with Miguel and taking a break from karate. Both went on a journey of self in order to figure out what they really want in life, which actually helped them both mature as individuals and as a couple. Robby struggled with his own guilt considering that his actions from last season helped lead Cobra Kai to victory. The consequences of his choice came to be as he sees his friend and mentee, Kenny Payne, take his lessons of hate to heart in his time at Cobra Kai. Thinking that walking away was the best option, Robby learned from both Johnny and Daniel that you can’t walk away from the people you care about or the mistakes you made and that no matter how hopeless the situation is, there’s always a chance to make things right and you gotta face it head on. Both Robby and Miguel did just that this season as they’ve finally ended their rivalry before it could get worse, thus beginning their newfound friendship & eventual familial bond with Johnny and each other. 

Lastly, there’s Tory who out of all the teenage characters struggled the most with her internal & external conflict with Cobra Kai. After learning Silver cheated at the All-Valley Tournament last season, Tory wanted nothing more than to take Silver down & bring Kreese back. Unfortunately, Kreese’s “guidance” had only added more weight to Tory’s conscience as she’d lied to the people she cares about & getting people she knows harmed by Silver’s hands. Kreese’s “channeling your anger into fists” creed had always followed Tory ever since she stepped into the dojo. Sadly, that advice led to a bloody conclusion when new co-sensei, Kim De-Eun forced Tory to punch a stone built dummy till her hand breaks as punishment for bowing out the Sekai Taikai tryouts. Peyton List gave a heart pounding & heartbreaking performance in that scene, I shed a tear when Tory fell to her knees cradling that broken bloody hand of hers.

And finally, who could possibly forget all the cameos and callbacks to the OG Karate Kid films that played out this season? I can go on & on, but I’ll only limit it to four. First off, I cannot believe that Robin Lively’s Jessica Andrews (who was last seen in Karate Kid Part Three) was Amanda LaRusso’s cousin! This show knows how to pull up surprises, but this one by far is the most favorable as Jessica’s brief time helped her distressed cousin to understand Daniel’s grudge against Silver. Then there’s Daniel’s first fight against Silver as when his fists hit a wall his knuckles bleed. That callback was a dark moment as it callbacked to Daniel’s time as a Cobra Kai student trained under Silver from its third film. That moment nearly led Daniel to a dark path back then & it seemed fitting for that moment recreated in Daniel’s present as it pushed him to his breaking point and then defeat. 

Now this third favorite of mine I don’t know if I call it a callback, but I LOVED the Johnny and Chozen scene! Before confronting the new senseis, Johnny and Chozen try to one-up each other by bringing up memories about Daniel in their time as antagonists. It was hilarious and moving as they reminisced their disdain to admiration towards Daniel’s karate skills and character. Chozen was the definitive winner when he told Johnny the new karate technique he taught Daniel in season three against Kreese and again against Johnny from last season. 

Last but not least my favorite callback, and pretty sure everyone’s favorite by now, is Daniel’s iconic Crane Kick technique. It’s been many years since Daniel has done the crane kick since the first karate kid film, and the only other times he’s done it was as a gimmick in season 2 to help draw customers in for his auto shop. Now seeing it again only using it as the final blow to strike against Silver in the season finale was mind blowing to watch. It’s not the kick itself that’s amazing, but the way how it’s well executed as it not only served as a mere callback, but as a staple to Daniel’s character arc from its original films to Netflix’s series.

If you haven’t watched the new season yet, I recommend watching it right now & rewatching it because this season delivered extra nostalgia, extra action, and extra heart! Here’s hoping we hear confirmation for season six soon, fingers crossed!

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Meaghan Torres

Kutztown '23

My name is Meaghan Xenia Alexandra Torres, I like to be called Alex. I’m a Christian, Autistic, & I’m studying for writing and art in Kutztown. I enjoy movies, books, tv shows, chocolate, swimming, writing, art, and spending time with my family & friends