This is an unspoiled review of all 10 episodes of Cobra Kai: Season 5, arriving Friday, September 9 on Netflix.
Cobra Kai’s fifth season breaks with tradition with the last two rounds, which premiered at the end of the year, with its debut in September and the conclusion that, for the first time, it feels like a virtual shutdown in case the series doesn’t come back again. It’s because of things looking a little clean and tidy at the finish line that Season 5 feels a little less organic than what came before. However, in true Cobra Kai fashion, there are still plenty of crowd-pleasing moments, an abundance of heart-melting emotions, and some cheerful use of franchise legacy characters that help make these 10 “Summer Vacation” episodes all the more triumphant.
This is the first post-All-Valley Tournament story since the show’s second season, so, like that year, there are consequences to deal with, regrouping and recovery to overcome, and healing needs to happen. Wealthy Terry Silver and attached to Thomas Ian Griffith is now in charge of Cobra Kai and has big plans to expand the dojo. Meanwhile, Peyton List Tori and Sam Marie Moser were dazed by the championship match, even though it was Tori who claimed the win.
Daniel from Ralph Macchio and Johnny William Zapka are in the dumps because they should both shut down now, but while Johnny, who was just happy Chris in prison, sees it more as a clean break, Daniel becomes obsessed with bringing down Silver, who, like We know very well, that he is usually a few steps ahead of poor Daniel. On top of that, Johnny is now more future-minded than ever, having to think about the future in ways he never expected while also wanting his son Robbie (Tanner Buchanan) and surrogate son Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) to make up. As usual, Cobra Kai is filled with drama born of simple misunderstandings but also earns hell from its calculations and compromises with creative tricks and rewarding exchanges.
Just being at a point now where Daniel and Johnny can act as complete friends, and seeing the actual benefits in each other’s style (this season has a fun element as the two seem to have been swapping roles for a while), is incredible. The same can be said for Daniel and Shozen (Yuji Okumoto), and in fact it is Shozen’s role this season that shines the most. Whether serving drama or comedy, Chozen becomes more of a character in Season 5 as the bizarre “Ride or Die” Daniel vs. Terry Silver. Although this year’s show is firmly rooted in the events of the third installment of The Karate Kid (there’s even a new villain who brilliantly emerged from a throwing streak in this movie) Chozen remains a surviving part of the second movie that’s still worth exploring here.
The fact that Daniel and Shuzin recently left each other on “good” terms was not enough. The series is set to make them BFFs, and that’s one of the major hits. It’s a very beautiful game to showcase and is probably the best way to honor a movie series that uses the stupid rage of teens for action. These messages are meant to spread throughout the show as well, right down to Robbie, Miguel, Tori, Sam, Kenny, Kenny to Dallas Dupree Young, Anthony Griffin Santopetro and so on. There’s even a brief moment in Season 5 when LaRusso Auto employees, Louie and Anoush… are surprised… only to make up after several minutes. Whether it takes years or minutes, the theme here is always understanding and tolerance.
Well, maybe not when it comes to Terry Silver, this year’s colossal villain. Yes, you may have to put up with Daniel making some massive mistakes for a while, all because he can’t see how silver is causing him to sabotage himself, but things eventually fade and people’s heads are set right. And not just Daniel, for that matter. He learns from his mistakes, but, well, others start to get more on his level, seeing the real and dangerous damage Silver can do. It’s no surprise that Shawn Kanaan’s “Karate Bad Boy” Mike Barnes will return this year, as it was already announced (although Mike Barnes is Function It might surprise you, in its own way) but Cobra Kai still has more Part 3 tricks up his sleeve, from engraving to redemptions. Cobra Kai is nothing if not meticulous when it comes to Miyagi’s verse.
Five seasons in Cobra Kai and there is a definite style of play, although it still has room for twists and turns. As Martin Kove’s Kreese spends his days in prison (framed by Silver for beating up Stingray), we’re left guessing whether or not this is the time for him to do some actual soul searching. And just as season four gave Robbie an apprehensive kid to direct in Kenny, season five allows Oona O’Brien’s Devon to emerge from the ashes of All-Valley, ready to make Tory’s life even more complicated. There’s still plenty of gold to mine here, in what seems like the penultimate season, it’s hard to fault Cobra Kai too much for the epilogue of this set of rings.
This does not mean that things are not explained, or that there are gaps in the plot, because it is still there. There’s a moment of really poor decision making on the part of our heroes that feels like it should lead them down a completely different path than it is now. The series seems to be unsure of itself as Season 5 is all about final rule and things are wrapping up much cleaner than expected. This does not mean that there is no path towards Season 6, since a very big story opens up for our heroes in Episode 8, but there are only elements from this ending like EndFinish if necessary. You never know with Netflix. Of course you I can not Wrap this up without bringing in Hilary Swank, right? You just have to.
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