7 Things We Loved (and 4 We Didn't) About Cobra Kai Season 5

7 Things We Loved (and 4 We Didn't) About Cobra Kai Season 5

The latest season of the Karate Kid sequel show is on Netflix and, minor gripes aside, it's still excellent.

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Robby and Miguel fighting.
A rematch fans have been waiting to see.
Image: Netflix

I loved Cobra Kai season 5. Let’s just get that out of the way. Yes, in this article I’m gonna talk about things I both liked and didn’t about the brand new season but, even the things I didn’t like aren’t “bad.” They’re just not as good as the good stuff.

A few bumps and bruises aside, season 5 of Cobra Kai might be my favorite season yet, and that’s saying something. It truly feels like a culmination of everything that’s come before it both on this show and The Karate Kid universe in general. If you’ve watched the show since the beginning, you’ll love to see where all the new characters go. But better yet, if you’ve been a fan since the original 1980s films, you’ll see things you never thought imaginable. All of which still leaves plenty of room for the story to grow and expand in the seasons that follow.

Here are the seven things we loved, and four we didn’t, about Cobra Kai season 5. Full spoilers abound.

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Loved: The Finale - Karate Kid: Endgame

Loved: The Finale - Karate Kid: Endgame

johnny daniel and chosen stand and watch
These three guys AND Mike Barnes. OMFG.
Image: Netflix

They did it. Those sons of a bitch did it. Cobra Kai’s season 5 finale did the impossible, bringing the villains from Karate Kid 1, 2 and 3 together to team up with Daniel (Ralph Macchio) to face off against the ultimate villain, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffin). It was Karate Kid: Endgame! And then, as that epic fight was taking place, it was intercut with every single one of the students having an equally epic brawl, all of which lead to the ultimate showdown: Daniel and Terry, one and one. Finally.

Truly, the finale of season 5 was the best episode of Cobra Kai ever. The culmination of every Karate Kid fan’s dreams. Top to bottom action, suspense, character development, all while pushing the narrative to new and surprising places. Plus it started with Kreese (Martin Kove) “dying” only for him to escape prison at the end? Holy crap. Every second of it was amazing.

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Loved: The Cameos

Loved: The Cameos

barnes ready to fight
Mike Barnes: Furniture salesman.
Image: Netflix

Bringing back Karate Kid Part III villain Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) as a furniture salesman was one thing. Bringing back Karate Kid Part III bestie Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively) and making her the person who introduced Daniel to his wife Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) was even better. Plus, having both of these crucial Karate Kid Part III characters pushing the story involving Terry Silver didn’t feel forced. Of course Daniel would seek out Mike. And who better than Jessica to explain Daniel’s fear of Terry? Just master strokes of story telling and nostalgia, all rolled up into one.

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Loved: Mending Relationships

Loved: Mending Relationships

the two boys standing at the pool
Robby and Miguel make amends.
Image: Netflix

If season 5 was the final season of Cobra Kai, it would have been a happy ending. It takes a while but Sam (Mary Mouser) and Tori (Peyton List) make up. Robby (Tanner Buchanan) and Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) make up. Daniel and Mike make up. Johnny and Robby make up. Robby and Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young) make up, sort of. (Damn, Robby has a lot of beef.) Truly, it was a season of mending fences and it was all very satisfying.

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Loved: Johnny Growing Up

Loved: Johnny Growing Up

the women in nice dresses looking concerned.
Amanda and Carmen after a night on the town.
Image: Netflix

The storyline of Johnny (William Zabka) getting Miguel’s mom, Carmen (Vanessa Rubio), pregnant and him stepping up to the table to be a father was everything we’ve loved about Johnny’s arc through five seasons of Cobra Kai. It’s not something season one Johnny would have done and it was great to see all the steps he took, even if they didn’t pan out. Plus the whole pregnancy thing added a fresh dynamic to the Robby and Miguel feud.

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Loved: The International Tournament

Loved: The International Tournament

kenny leading the cobra kai dojo.
Is Cobra Kai going to the big tournament? We’ll see.
Image: Netflix

They already did the All Valley tournament twice. They’ve fought in school. They’ve fought in homes. They’ve fought in dojos. What could the team behind Cobra Kai think up next? Well, this season we’re introduced to the Sekai Taikai, a super mega international tournament which gave the back third of the season some really compelling drama and the show a place to go next year. An excellent choice.

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Loved: Terry Silver

Loved: Terry Silver

Terry looking ruthless.
Terry Silver. Daddy.
Image: Netflix

Cobra Kai has always had a villain, but it’s never had one truly as evil as Terry Silver. Silver’s arc through this season is just a joy to watch, from the way he finally executes the plan to open more Cobra Kai dojos he first mentioned in Karate Kid Part III, to seeing him manipulate nearly every single character, to the fact his story allows the show to introduce all these new, excellent, characters such as the badass sensei played by Alicia Hannah-Kim. Everything about it worked, even his downfall in the end. It made the finale that much better. Fingers crossed that’s not the last time we see him.

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Loved: Chozen’s Utility

Loved: Chozen’s Utility

chosen showing down with daniel.
Chozen is so great in season 5.
Image: Netflix

When Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) showed up at the end of season 4, it wasn’t clear what he was going to do. Turns out, the answer was “everything.” Chozen acts as Daniel’s moral compass, protector, the comic relief from time to time, the emotional core (that phone call with Kumiko!) and just an unrelenting badass, all at the same time. Short of maybe Terry Silver, Chozen is the MVP of season 5.

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Didn’t Love: Miguel’s Dad

Didn’t Love: Miguel’s Dad

Miguel getting off the bus
Miguel’s story was a low point in the season.
Image: Netflix

As great as the ending of Cobra Kai season 5 is, the beginning is the opposite. The storyline of Miguel going to Mexico to seek out his father makes complete sense, but the execution and impact to the season overall wasn’t great. First of all, the whole idea this family man would let a stranger into his house was so weird. And eventually, when Miguel realizes he’s not a good dude, he’s kind of just back to square one. It’s just not a great way to get the season started and feels less important than it should.

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Didn’t Love: Wheel Spinning

Didn’t Love: Wheel Spinning

tori and Devon fighting.
How many times did these two have to go back and forth?
Image: Netflix

Watching season five did you ever get a sense that things felt a bit repetitive? Like we’d seen these two argue before. We’d seen these other two fight before. We’d seen these characters learn a lesson already. There are a few stretches in the middle of the season that, while entertaining, seem a bit extraneous.

Even Kreese’s story qualifies here. On paper, the idea of his trying to reform and what that means is great, but it’s revisited so infrequently that it can sometimes slow the pace of the show down.

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Didn’t Love: Stingray

Didn’t Love: Stingray

laying in bed
Stringray in the hospital.
Image: Netflix

Let me clarify. As a character, Stingray (played by Oscar-nominee Paul Walter Hauser) rules. I love him. But in season 5, he’s really there just as a deus ex machina. The character people can go to to get information. And he gives it to them no problem. He does get that one cool moment fighting at the end but overall we were hoping for much, much more from the character.

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Didn’t Love: Miyagi-Do Let Downs

Didn’t Love: Miyagi-Do Let Downs

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Image: Netflix

Know who we haven’t mentioned in the entire article? Most of the the characters above. And that’s because people like Hawk (Jacob Bertrand), Demitri (Gianni DeCenzo) and Sam don’t have a ton to do this season. Sam has a bit more, and Anthony (Griffin Santopietro) does too, but for the most part, the Miyagi-Dos get short changed, mostly because they don’t have a ton to do with the main story line of Terry Silver.

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