To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Cobra Kai is a martial arts dramedy series created by Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine), Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg (American Reunion). Featuring an ensemble cast that includes William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Martin Kove, Yuji Okumoto, Sean Kanan, and Thomas Ian Griffith reprising their roles from the films alongside newcomers Xolo Maridueña, Mary Mouser, Tanner Buchanan, Courtney Henggeler, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni DeCenzo, Peyton List, Vanessa Rubio, Oona O’Brien, and Dallas Dupree Young. Cobra Kai is a sequel to the original four The Karate Kid films by Robert Mark Kamen (Taken). After the events of the previous season Daniel, Johnny, and Chozen attempt to halt Terry Silver’s plans to expand Cobra Kai across the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley.
The season starts with a brief Cobra Kai commercial where Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) explains that the dojo is expanding across Encino. He touts their state-of-the-art equipment and facilities as well as having the first female All-Valley Tournament champion (Peyton List). At the LaRusso home, Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) is swimming in the family pool. When Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) comes to check on him she realizes that he is completely naked when he gets out. She complains to Daniel (Ralph Macchio) since she did not know that he would be staying with them.
In Mexico, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) departs a bus and begins looking for a signal for his phone. He runs into some locals and asks for directions. After telling him where to go, the gang steals Miguel’s backpack and forces him to pay them to get it back. Miguel reluctantly gives them money and walks away dejectedly. Elsewhere in Mexico, Johnny (William Zabka) and Robby (Tanner Buchanan) pick up some supplies at a local tienda before they continue their search for Miguel.
Cobra Kai continues to be a prime example of how to properly reboot an 80s IP as a television series. For a show like this to make it to five seasons is unheard of. The series has moved well beyond its initial premise of Johnny Lawrence being the sensei and mentor to Miguel in the same vein that Mr. Miyagi was to Daniel. The series and its characters have evolved with more and more people returning from the films. This is the best way the show can continue to flourish and keep its status as one of Netflix’s most popular series, seeing as they have a knack for canceling shows that don’t get that many views – no matter how good they are! (Bring back G.L.O.W. you cowards) Needless to say, Cobra Kai looks to be here to stay and potentially setting up more series and films set in the Miyagi-Verse.
Season 5 looked to have a lot of storylines on its plate to wrap up. Miguel went to Mexico to find his dad, Kreese (Martin Kove) was framed for beating Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser) and went to jail, Tory found out Silver paid off the referee and Sam (Mary Mouser) should’ve won the All Valley tournament, and Daniel and Johnny had to close down their dojos. Getting to all those storylines plus everything else fans were expecting was going to be hard and as expected certain things had to be pushed to the side.
The plotline about Miguel finding his dad only lasted two episodes and we never truly find out what kind of criminal activity he is involved in. Hector (Luis Roberto Guzmán) never even realizes Miguel is his son. After many seasons of wondering who Miguel’s dad could be Cobra Kai failed to deliver in this aspect. While it wasn’t promised, many fans believed that Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) would finally make his appearance this season. With Silver wanting to expand Cobra Kai he needed to add more senseis to his dojos and since he had a history with Barnes it was believable that he was Silver’s old friend. While we do get karate’s bad boy this season, it’s only for two episodes. It was enjoyable to see that Barnes has turned his life around, it would have been better to have him spend more time with the adult characters than he did.
There are still many enjoyable moments to be had this season. There is a brief appearance from Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively) last seen in The Karate Kid Part III. She is revealed to be Amanda’s cousin and the one who set her up with Daniel. Sensei Kim Da-Eun (Alicia Hannah-Kim) is a great addition to the series and is being set up as the potential next big bad for Season 6. It was her grandfather Kim Sun-Yung that developed the fighting style used by Captain Turner, John Kreese, and Terry Silver. There is also the international Sekai Taikai tournament being set up for next season. We all felt we would eventually leave the valley for some Kumite-style tournament, and it looks like we’re finally there. Maybe we’ll see Julie Pierce (Hilary Swank) has a dojo entered in the tournament as she is bound to show up eventually.
While there are a few missed opportunities and short-changed storylines, Cobra Kai continues to prove to fans that the Miyagi-Verse is in good hands. The characters grow and evolve with each season and I can’t wait to see how their story will continue. I give Cobra Kai Season 5 a Good 4/5. I don’t know how many more seasons of Cobra Kai Netflix can squeeze out, but the Miyagi-Verse is prime for prequels and spinoffs.