"Cobra Kai" has built a reputation for upping the ante on ridiculousness in every successive season, and Season 5 is no different. Arguably the show’s biggest and boldest installment to date, Season 5 features a ton of tense karate action, personal drama, character growth, and absurd circumstances. If you thought the show couldn’t get any more wild after the school brawls, home break-ins, and stolen trophies of the previous seasons, "Cobra Kai" has a lot of surprises left in store.
The story picks up right where Season 4 left off, with Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang Karate both forced to close their doors after losing to Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) and Cobra Kai at the All-Valley Tournament. Silver quickly begins a massive expansion of the villainous dojo, even bringing in strong sensei from overseas to help him train his students. Faced with the possibility of Cobra Kai spreading its harmful ideology worldwide, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) are once again compelled to join forces to stand against Silver, all while dealing with a bevy of family issues. Fortunately, they get some serious help from reformed "Karate Kid Part II" villain Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto), who takes center stage in Season 5.
"Cobra Kai" Season 5 is filled with disparate story threads that all come together for a spectacular finale, wrapping up most of the major plotlines and setting up some exciting potential for the future. Here’s what it all means and where the show could be headed.
The end of the dojo war?
After five long seasons, it seems that Cobra Kai’s long standing dojo war may finally be over. Terry Silver monopolizes karate classes in the valley just in time to get sent to prison, and his students depart in a mass exodus after discovering that he’s both a cheater and felon. While it’s unclear exactly what will become of his many dojos, it seems that he won’t be around to continue teaching his abusive style to kids any time soon. Additionally, Johnny and Daniel’s rivalry is already mostly quenched by the time Season 5 starts, and they become true friends by the finale. So the dojo war must be over… right?
Well, that still remains to be seen. By the end of Season 5, there are basically no kids left to carry on the tradition of evil karate. Tory (Peyton List), Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young), and Devon (Oona O’Brien) — the last three main characters enrolled in the dojo — all repent for their harmful ways and make amends with the good guys by the time Episode 10 concludes. It seems certain that Silver will serve hard time for his crimes, and while John Kreese (Martin Kove) does escape from prison by the end of Season 5, he’s in no position to start teaching children again. Still, some things remain murky. Will Kreese somehow reclaim the dojos? Will Johnny? Will new evil sensei Kim Da-Eun (Alicia Hannah-Kim) take the reins? The war may be over, but there’s still an aftermath to deal with.
Who’s going to prison?
Part of the reason why it’s so hard to know what exactly will happen after "Cobra Kai" Season 5 is that most of the characters are now in uncertain legal trouble. Is Terry Silver in big trouble for beating Stingray to a pulp, framing Kreese, and swindling sole ownership of the dojos? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean that Johnny, Chozen, and Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) couldn’t also face charges for trespassing and assault, or that the countless kids involved in the climactic dojo brawl won’t get in trouble.
Kreese was only in jail in the first place because he was framed, which should mean his vindication. But now that he’s assaulted multiple prison guards and escaped, it’s unlikely that Silver’s arrest will fully wipe his record clean. It’s also worth noting that Stingray could be in huge legal trouble for confessing to giving a false testimony on the stand against Kreese, especially since he received so many monetary rewards for his lying. "Cobra Kai" doesn’t really deal with any of these potentially messy implications in the Season 5 finale, though. Silver is the only one shown getting handcuffed, and all the good guys seem to make it out scot-free. But that doesn’t mean that the legal ramifications of the events of Season 5 couldn’t cause some additional problems as the story moves forward.
Kreese’s confusing fate
While plenty of characters break the law at the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, John Kreese’s case is particularly interesting. For most of the finale, it’s implied that he might be dead after a brutal stabbing in prison. And given the widespread harm Kreese has wrought throughout his life, an unceremonious end of that nature almost seems fitting. However, the final scene of "Season 5" shows that Kreese isn’t quite done on this mortal plane just yet.
After besting a number of his fellow inmates in a brawl, Kreese earns their loyalty. This allows him to stage a fake stabbing. When two of the other prisoners start arguing, Kreese makes a show of getting in between them to stop the fight, but his only reward is a quick round of shanking. After being taken into a less secure medical area, it’s revealed that the blood on his shirt isn’t blood, but red Jell-O — a callback to earlier in the season. The only way this plan would have worked is if both arguing prisoners were in on it from the start, which seems to be the implication. Kreese then dispatches the surrounding guards and escapes using a keycard stolen from the prison psychologist.
With Terry Silver likely heading to jail himself, Kreese looks primed to return as the Big Bad of the show going forward. However, he also seems to genuinely want a shot at redemption. It remains to be seen if he’ll get one.
Mr. Miyagi’s legacy prevails
The shadow of Pat Morita’s Mr. Miyagi has always loomed large over "Cobra Kai." His absence is particularly felt in Season 5 because of Terry Silver’s expanded role as the show’s ultimate evil. Season 5 establishes three distinct layers of power levels among its martial artist characters, almost as if it’s some kind of fantasy anime. There are the teenagers, the mid-level sensei, and the super sensei, with Terry sitting pretty on top.
Any fan of "The Karate Kid" would probably put good money on a prime Mr. Miyagi having the edge on any of the "Cobra Kai" characters in a fair fight, but he’s sadly not around to stand up against Silver. Or is he? Over the course of Season 5, Silver defeats both Daniel LaRusso and Chozen Toguchi in one-on-one duels, though both fights have asterisks. Chozen is still decently inebriated when he faces Silver, and Daniel is completely ambushed. But in the season finale, Daniel is victorious in his rematch, thanks to Chozen having softened him up beforehand.
In the end, it takes both Daniel and Chozen to take Silver down, which is kind of poetic. As the two most direct descendants of Mr. Miyagi’s karate style, they combine to form some approximation of what the old master was capable of. In this way, it’s almost like Mr. Miyagi himself defeats Silver and Cobra Kai, which makes it especially significant that Daniel finishes the villain off with a crane kick.
No more rivalries
From the start, "Cobra Kai" has been a show about rivals and rivalries. Johnny re-opens the Cobra Kai dojo because he’s still not over losing to Daniel in "The Karate Kid." Daniel, in turn, starts training new Miyagi-Do students because of the same rivalry. As the show progresses, numerous other storylines emerge in the same vein, from Miguel and Robby’s mutual hatred to the beef between Sam and Tory.
By the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, pretty much all of those rivalries have melted away. Daniel and Johnny are friends, Miguel and Robby make amends, Tory and Sam join forces, and even the dojo war itself seems to end with the arrest of Terry Silver. Even the smaller rivalries, like the one between Robby and Kenny Payne, are quashed by the end of the season. With Kreese escaped from prison, there’s still a potentially villainous force on the loose, but "Cobra Kai" might be better off exploring a different kind of rivalry going forward.
The main storyline still left hanging at the end of Season 5 is the international karate tournament known as the Sekai Taikai, to which all three main "Cobra Kai" dojos are invited. For a while, it looked like the show’s main rivalries would play out there, but now that everyone’s friends again, the tournament could be even more interesting. A friendly rivalry can be just as compelling as a hateful one, and the characters now have a chance to learn from each other and become even stronger.
An unconventional family
As much as "Cobra Kai" is a show about karate, it’s also a show about family. When Season 1 begins, Johnny’s family is broken. He lives alone, in squalor, with no real connection to his son. After meeting Miguel, he starts to (slowly) get his act together, taking advantage of his second chance at being a father figure. On the flipside, Robby, who’s also largely on his own, takes to Daniel as a father figure. Such begins the tangled web of blood and chosen family relationships that eventually encompasses nearly all of "Cobra Kai."
During one attempt to make Miguel and Robby get along, Johnny says he wants them all to be a family, but "maybe not the traditional kind." In truth, the "Cobra Kai" cast has become increasingly interwoven with each successive season, and by the end of Season 5, it really feels like almost every character fits into this expansive "family" in some way.
With Johnny and Carmen having a baby and potentially getting married, that makes Miguel and Robby brothers. And with Miguel dating Sam and Robby dating Tory, they’re each tied into the "family" dynamic as well. That connects the Diaz, Lawrence, and LaRusso families, because if Johnny becomes Miguel’s stepfather, and Miguel is kind of like an adopted nephew to Daniel as well, then that makes Daniel and Johnny brothers of a sort. Even Chozen gets added to the family tree through his and Daniel’s shared history with Mr. Miyagi.
Wrapping up the Karate Kid saga
There are still some plot threads left dangling in the wind after the events of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, but the season finale still manages to feel like a full-circle moment for the entire "Karate Kid" saga. The only thing missing is an appearance from Hilary Swank’s Julie Pierce, star of "The Next Karate Kid." but when it comes to the original trilogy starring Mr. Miyagi and Daniel LaRusso, "Cobra Kai" Season 5 ties up pretty much every loose end.
The events of the first film are finally and fully laid to rest with the brotherly bond established between Daniel and Johnny. Miyagi-Do continues on to the next generation, and Cobra Kai is defeated. "The Karate Kid Part II" also receives a second pass with Season 5’s extensive arc for Chozen. And of course, Daniel finally puts Terry Silver in his place (for good?), facing the trauma he caused him in his youth and defeating him with Mr. Miyagi’s signature move, the crane kick.
Even the earlier plotlines of "Cobra Kai" feel mostly wrapped up by the end of Season 5. The original generation of teens — Robby, Miguel, Sam, and Tory — now have their own acolytes in Kenny and Devon, among others. In this way, Season 5 feels like the end of a cycle, and while there’s still an international tournament to attend, the story feels like it’s properly entering a new chapter. Even Mike Barnes gets a bit of redemption.
Romance in the air
One of the smaller storylines at the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 5 involves Chozen’s secret love for Kumiko (Tamlyn Tomita), the woman he grew up with in Okinawa. Chozen confesses his feelings to Johnny during their booze-soaked night out in Episode 9, and Johnny leaks the details to Daniel. After receiving encouragement from them both, Chozen calls Kumiko and confesses some level of his feelings. But with all the excitement that occurs directly after, this plotline is left hanging after the finale.
It would be cute to see Chozen and Kumiko get a happy ending together, especially given all they went through in "The Karate Kid Part II." Chozen was undoubtedly a terrible person in his youth, but that’s partially due to the harmful influences he had in his life. Either way, he’s clearly repentant and makes a meaningful redemption journey in "Cobra Kai" Season 5. After surviving an almost fatal duel with Silver (a highlight of the whole show), Chozen definitely deserves some time to rest, and it seems likely that Kumiko would be interested in joining him.
Many of the other big "Cobra Kai" romance storylines come back to a point of balance by the end of Season 5. Daniel and Amanda’s marriage is stronger than ever, Johnny makes real strides to be a better man for Carmen, Sam and Miguel get back together, and so do Tory and Robby. After so much drama, it’s nice to see everyone happy.
The cost of rage
Terry Silver gets a big promotion from co-villain to Big Bad in "Cobra Kai" Season 5, and he presents a very different kind of evil than that of John Kreese. Measured and calculated in almost every area of his life, Silver is obsessed with dominance on a big-picture level. His plans are global — fitting for a man of his considerable financial resources. But in the Season 5 finale, we also see the manic persona Silver wears in "The Karate Kid Part III."
Thomas Ian Griffith truly stands out in Season 5, and he has a particularly great performance in the final episode. You can see something shift behind Silver’s eyes when Johnny, Chozen, and Mike Barnes break into his house — a flicker of the rage and ego hidden beneath his veneer of civility. "Any violence inflicted upon you herein will be justified," he declares calmly, but his subsequent actions betray his genuine excitement at seeing his enemies show up.
At his core, Silver wants an excuse to fight. It’s the reason he leaves his quiet, rich life in "Cobra Kai" Season 4 to team up with Kreese again. All the wealth he’s acquired through nefarious means is hollow without the ability to demonstrate his actual strength, so he challenges Chozen to a sword fight. And even after nearly losing, Silver seems okay with death. "I was meant to die on the battlefield," he says to Chozen before striking him with a dirty blow. It’s this duplicity in Silver — the claims of honor with the acts of cowardice — that ultimately leads to his downfall.
Let’s be real for a moment — "Cobra Kai" can be a pretty silly show. It’s a series where characters have hyper-serious conversations about the ramifications of teenage karate tournaments, where fights break out constantly and randomly, and where nobody ever seems to go to their actual jobs. But there are some levels of absurdity that the show generally refuses to cross. No one gets murdered in "Cobra Kai," for instance — at least, not any of the main characters.
The ending of "Cobra Kai" Season 5 sticks to that principle, but it sure puts the characters in some pretty hairy situations — especially Chozen and Johnny. Silver seems determined to have both men killed and use their invasion of his home as a basis for self-defense. And he probably would have gotten away with it too, if not for Johnny’s unborn kid.
While getting beaten to a pulp by Silver’s squad of villainous sensei, Johnny drops the ultrasound photo from his appointment with Carmen. Seeing the picture ignites some kind of adrenaline burst within him, allowing him to dispatch his foes (with a little help from Mike Barnes). Is this realistic? Probably not. Adrenaline can’t heal broken bones, and it definitely looks like Johnny would have some of those after the beating he takes. But it’s still satisfying to see him rise victorious. "Cobra Kai" Season 5 raises the stakes but stops short of real tragedy, which is for the best.
Good truly wins
Perhaps the most shocking thing about "Cobra Kai" Season 5 is that good truly wins. Nearly every piece of the story ends in a triumphant way. Silver loses, his students abandon the dojo, everyone makes amends, and nobody dies. It’s almost like a fairy tale, albeit one with a lot more karate.
In the world of "Cobra Kai," though, this isn’t out of place. Throughout the show, evil has only ever won when employing dirty strategies. Sam loses "Cobra Kai" Season 4’s All-Valley Tournament because of a corrupt referee, for instance. Silver defeats Chozen with a sucker-punch (or sucker-slash, as it were). In this world where balance is an absolute aspirational value, the only thing holding most characters back is their own issues. But in Season 5, those issues mostly get resolved.
Robby reconnects with his father, who gets his own life fully together in turn. Sam and Tory admit their past mistakes and move forward, as does Chozen. And in the final moments of the season, the Cobra Kai dojo is defeated by the revelation that Silver is actually a duplicitous snake. Yes, the good guys win in "Cobra Kai" Season 5, but they win by redeeming the villains, not by dominating them. Silver is the only character not offered some kind of redemption in the season, and it’s no coincidence that he’s also the only one left in chains.
One more tournament
For all the closure seemingly provided by the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, there are still some things left unresolved. The biggest hanging storyline involves the Sekai Taikai — the massive international karate tournament that Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang earn admittance to. That sure sounds like the kind of event that would be a perfect send-off for the show, but that remains to be seen.
There are still some lingering questions that could be answered in a final tournament arc. Julie Pierce, the only major character from the "Karate Kid" movies yet to appear in the series, could finally show up and share Mr. Miyagi stories with Daniel. Miguel’s father — a Season 5 highlight thanks to actor Luis Roberto Guzmán’s stellar performance — could return as the backer of one of the tournament’s other entrants, given his connections to professional fighting. And, of course, Kreese could show up to screw everyone over, or possibly to actually redeem himself once and for all.
What makes the international tournament plot so interesting is the newly mended relationships between the main characters. It would be fun to watch Tory and Sam actually bond over a sparring match, or see Miguel and Robby team up in some kind of two-on-two. "Cobra Kai" Season 5 is at its best when it lets the characters really get to know each other and push each other to change for the better. With luck, we haven’t seen the last of that.