When Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) announces “Today is a turning point at Cobra Kai,” he means it. Every season of this show has ended in a game-changing cliffhanger. Last season, Sam’s (Mary Mouser) shocking loss to Tory (Peyton List) at the All Valley Karate Championship forces Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny (William Zabka) to close their dojos, Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang respectively. Silver is poised to take over the whole valley with Cobra Kai dojos. But after the abuse that he amassed upon teenage Daniel way back in The Karate Kid Part III, Daniel wants to cut the head off the snake, specifically the cobra.
Silver was the psychotic villain in the original movie threequel, and it’s looking like it’ll take another psychotic villain to stop him. Enter Chozen (Yuki Okumoto) at the end of Cobra Kai Season 4. The main villain from The Karate Kid Part II, Chozen found redemption in Cobra Kai Season 3, ultimately emerging as the good guy after teaching Daniel a secret technique that empowered him to defeat Kreese (Martin Kove) at the end of that season.
However, Chozen can still bring up his psycho villain side, saying that he’s gasoline to Silver’s fire when the two stare each other down. Who knows what other secret Miyagi-Do techniques Chozen might have under his belt? Like with the Season 3 teaser, Chozen’s signature weapon, the Okinawan sai, makes several telling appearances in this Season 5 teaser. Might Silver have some special weapons too? If so, we hope it’s nunchucks. Whatever happens, when these two original Karate Kid villains cross, we expect it to be explosive.
Dropping the Teaser on Cinco de Mayo was Spot On
Meanwhile, like in Karate Kid Part II, Season 5 takes us out of the valley. However, this time it’s not Okinawa. It’s Mexico. At the end of Season 4, Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) set out on a quest to find his absent biological father in Mexico. Johnny promised Miguel’s mom Carmen (Vanessa Rubio) that he would bring him back safely, but in a dramatic move, he’s taking his own estranged son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) along for the search. Talk about throwing gasoline on the fire. Robby and Miguel have been rivals throughout the series, not only for Sam’s affection, but also for the fatherly attention of Johnny, and of course, the fort-plus year feud between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai.
Mexico is a wild card for Cobra Kai. Carmen describes Miguel’s dad as a bad man who doesn’t even know that Miguel is his son. The tensions between Miguel and Robby have always been volatile and being a peacemaker has never been a skill of Johnny’s. “We’re not friends,” explains Miguel, and for once, Robby agrees saying “We never will be.” This won’t end well.
The Karate Kid franchise was built upon rivalries: Daniel versus Johnny (and Chozen), Miyagi (Pat Morita) versus Kreese (and Silver). Cobra Kai has kept that tradition alive. The trailer teases the ongoing rivalry between Sam and Tory. At the end of Season 4, Tory seemed to want to reconcile with Sam, but then kicked her ass in the Championship finale. In the teaser, Tory ponders her All Valley Karate Championship trophy, as if weighing its cost. Meanwhile, Sam is in what might be a dark dream sequence, wearing her Karate gi in front of cheerleaders. She is also battling a sai wielder with her bo staff. Surely, she blames herself for Miguel leaving and the fall of Miyagi-Do.
Conspicuously absent is new footage of Kreese. He appears in a flashback to last season’s conclusion at the All Valley Karate Championship, but was set up by Silver in that gonzo psycho Season 4 finale MacGuffin, and sent to jail. Silver has been Kreese’s primary accomplice in both the films and the series. That betrayal must be avenged.
Other fresh rivalries were percolating at the end of Season 4. There’s Anthony (Griffin Santopietro) versus Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young) in a well-played reversal of bullying. And what of Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser)? After that savage beat down from Silver, will he continue to cower to his sensei? And Devon (Oona O’Brian)? She was introduced towards the end of last season as a promising Eagle Fang, but her story was just beginning.
At least Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) and Demetri (Gianni Decenzo) have reconciled, their comradery restored. Hopefully their friendship can prevail.
The Penultimate Season?
We won’t have to wait as long as usual for Season 5. Cobra Kai has traditionally dropped its new season in its entirety on New Year’s, making for the first big binge of the year. This year, the date moved forward to September 9.
Creator Josh Heald has said that there is an endgame for Cobra Kai but that there would be at least six seasons. Season 6 hasn’t been greenlit, pending the success of Season 5. However will Season 5 mark the beginning of the end? We hope not.
Cobra Kai never dies.
Cobra Kai Season 5 premieres September 9, 2022 on Netflix.