Jumping right in with my unfiltered, raw reactions to the ten episodes of Cobra Kai Season V.
Episode One: “A Long, Long Way From Home”
I’m thrilled Robby and Johnny are finally bonding. This has been a long time coming.
I hate seeing Miguel get taken advantage of, especially when he could probably beat them all if he were still living by Cobra Kai’s strike-first mentality.
Seeing Miguel use his karate when attacked in that dark back room was satisfying, though!
And nice to see Robby stay and help his dad get revenge on Miguel’s scammers.
Episode 2: “Molé”
I’m pretty scared that Miguel’s dad is going to get him hurt. This show can be unpredictable at times so you never know.
Johnny speaking Spanish. “Quiero un hombre.” LOL!! They constantly find new and creative ways to make Johnny look like the loveable idiot.
Johnny vs. the MMA fighter was great. I wish Johnny had won more fairly, but that was more realistic. MMA fighters are legit.
Loved seeing Miguel tearfully reunite with Johnny.
Chozen is discovered but then he wipes the floor with Silver’s mall cop senseis. Awesome! “You will beg for mercy.” STANDING OVATION!
Episode 3: “Playing With Fire”
Johnny and Carmen getting pregnant is pretty predictable and ‘normal’ but still very cool. Johnny’s second chance to do this after his repentance will be something to enjoy. On a minor note, I’m definitely glad he’s updating his apartment.
I confess while I’m not “reviewing” these episodes, I find myself quite annoyed by Sam’s “I need to find myself” excuse to break up with Miguel. This show is so wild and novel, that I expected something less tired and cliché. Miguel dropping the octopus and weeping broke my heart.
The subplot with Mike Barnes is fantastic so far. They really pulled a curveball there to me. I just assumed that Silver was going to bring in Barnes this season as an expert sensei, just as Kreese brought Silver back into the fold. Barnes would be a bad guy and contribute to bringing back Daniel’s demons from 1985. But nope, Barnes is great! (Unless there is a misdirection here.) He’s extremely likable! Total opposite from Karate Kid III. Lawrence, Chozen, Barnes…Cobra Kai has caused us to love all of them. Amazing!
Episode 4: “Downward Spiral”
Johnny as an Uber driver. LOL!
We are five seasons in and I have never once mentioned the pawn store owner. Which is a shame. He’s only in a handful of episodes, but he is low-key a great character. Funny, snarky, likable. He handles Johnny in a match of wits every time. But his speech here about doing whatever it takes to support family is quite poignant.
I haven’t said much about Silver yet, and I need to rectify that. He’s playing a great villain in this season, though at times he is a bit cartoonish. The scene where he gets Daniel to strike him at the charity auction is borderline absurd, but I’ll deal with that more below. I continue to be very entertained by it all, especially the Silver-Daniel rivalry and dynamic. Despite the things that cause me to furrow my brow. As I’ve said several times in these reactions, Cobra Kai isn’t supposed to be Citizen Kane. For what it is and does, it fires on all cylinders. Sometimes, though, even my passion for the series can’t deny the cheesiness.
The scene where Amanda leaves with the kids is tough to stomach, but that is the opposite of absurd. That’s pretty dang real.
Episode 5: Extreme Measures
Watching Miguel and Robby be cold to each other was tough. I want them to be friends! But I thoroughly enjoyed their fight. And reconciliation. And for Johnny to have gotten that idea from Daniel…nice touch.
Speaking of that, Daniel and Johnny’s scene where they hash out what’s going on with Daniel since his family left was perhaps my favorite Daniel-Johnny scene of the series. And keep in mind, these are my favorite scenes and I love this show about as much as a person can. So that’s quite the superlative.
But I loved it because it was a complete change of pace for them. It wasn’t comically antagonistic like normal. It was genuine and humble and, dare I say it, the moment I think they actually became friends. The frenemy thing is now in the past for them. That storyline is over. I’m so glad. This sort of happened at the last All-Valley. But then it was left hanging because the other subplots meant they weren’t even around each other. It was cemented here. I definitely cried some tears at this scene.
Over in Ohio, Daniel’s ex from Karate Kid III is Amanda’s cousin! Awesome. I did enjoy the Ohio scenes, especially Sam and Anthony bonding. We hadn’t gotten any of that so far.
Watching Daniel lose so badly to Silver in Stingray’s apartment was near impossible to digest. It reminded me of Batman losing to Bane. Or Hulk to Thanos. Even somewhat reminded me of Ernest losing to Lyle Alzado. These scenes kill me. I can’t rewatch them and have to fast-forward in subsequent viewings. But this knife twist was needed for the overall plot.
Episode 6: Ouroboros
Johnny and Chozen teaming up is just perfect. 5-star entertainment. I need more of them working together. When they bond over their pasts with Daniel and both end up complimenting him over and over, I was in my happy place. Just sublime writing and acting.
Kreese beating people up in prison is awesome. Even though I hate him I still enjoyed that.
The end of this episode is the Avengers Assemble moment and I’m here for it! Just a perfect way to bring Daniel back to the fight and Miyagi-Do back to life. Daniel, Johnny, and Chozen, all senseis together!
Episode 7: “Bad Eggs”
The Chozen-working-with-the-students scenes are fantastic, especially since Anthony figures out how to win the challenge.
And I adored the scenes with Daniel and Johnny sizing up Kreese in prison and outsmarting him. You better believe I laughed and stood and clapped when Daniel passed him the NO MERCY note instead of his lawyer’s phone number.
Episode 8: “Taikai”
I don’t know what to make of this Sekai Taikai business. I mean, it feels like a repeat of the All-Valley. Except not as good. They’ve pushed Kenny to the fore in Cobra Kai’s dojo, but he wasn’t even around until Season 4. His rivalry is with Anthony to me so I wasn’t super pumped about him taking on Hawk. And Sam didn’t fight Tory again, which I guess was good since they’ve fought so much. Yet Sam vs. Devon wasn’t exciting at all. Devon is also a novice and a newer character.
Still, this episode was overall a winner in large part because Johnny and the leader of the Sekai Taikai sponsors bonded over Rocky IV. Cobra Kai has given us an avalanche of these moments and they are all gold. Just perfect entertainment. Recalling Rocky on the snowy mountain, yelling “Drago!,” Johnny quoting Balboa about change, etc. My brain and heart can barely handle all of this! I’m laughing tears, clapping, and rolling all at the same time.
I doubt it’ll happen because the Creed movies are dramas more than comedy dramas, but I’d burst if Creed III referenced Cobra Kai or Karate Kid somehow. I’ll make a fool of myself in the theater if they do.
Episode 9: “Survivor” and Episode 10: “The Head of the Snake”
Putting these together for obvious reasons.
First, Johnny, Daniel, and Chozen singing “Eye Of The Tiger!”!! I’m glad I watch these alone because no one would be able to stand all of my clapping, laughing, hooping, and hollering. They constantly do things for the fans of the originals, and fans of the 80s in general. It’s amazing to behold.
Then, Chozen leaving that message for Kumiko. Tears!!!
OK, so with Barnes hijacking the bus that the Avengers are on, that’s another moment of almost too much absurdity. That was my first reaction. But, the fact he was on some kind of hard drug makes it more believable. And the lesson really in this season on this note (which also includes the conversation between Silver and the granddaughter of his mentor about taking over the world with Cobra Kai, as it sounded like two cartoon villains talking), is that the real world at times is absurd. So it’s not that big a deal to me when it happens in fiction.
Sometimes you cannot advance plots without suspending normal behavior a bit. And sometimes writers try too hard to explain why everything happens the way it did so the audience is 100% satisfied that it’s realistic and coherent (read: the lengthy expositions at the end of the Harry Potter books). But both real life and fiction prove this isn’t necessary. So Barnes stealing the bus is insane, but it could happen in real life. Even if not, it’s TV I’m watching here. If I wanted real life I’d turn on the news.
Regardless, I completely enjoyed the subplot when Barnes, Johnny, and Chozen all team up to go fight Silver. Again, fans of the original trilogy had to be supremely entertained at this moment: All three of Danie’s tormenters from three different movies and parts of his life are all together, ready to fight. And to fight for good! They are in part defending Daniel! This is some of the coolest TV stuff ever.
The kids teaming up to use technology to take down Silver was wonderful. Eli, Demetri, and even Anthony are all nerds with technology and I love that this is put to good use here.
Johnny coming back to life after seeing his child’s sonogram and destroying all of Silver’s senseis is on the Mt. Rushmore of best Cobra Kai moments to me. Just sublime. Amazing stuff. JOHNNY #LEGEND LAWRENCE!!!
And Daniel getting his revenge on Silver. Just like Batman. And Ernest. That was about as perfectly done as possible. I love that they didn’t belabor the fight by having Silver get the upper hand at first. That was the right call. Daniel just goes right in and uses Silver’s techniques and destroys him quickly. Complete with callbacks to Karate Kid III. I’ve said it over and over, but Cobra Kai has utterly redeemed one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I will be watching III every time I watch through the Karate Kid movies now.
And to end with the Crane Kick!! I’m crying tears of joy right now as I type.
Lastly, I’ll add that some small moments after the climax were well-done, too. Like Kenny not wanting to talk with Robby about it all yet. If Kenny had apologized I think that would have been too much. It was real to me that he needs time to get over all of what he just witnessed. And this leaves the door open for him to follow Kreese in Season 6.
Similarly, I’m glad Tory cut off Robby’s apology. In these moments there is too much apologizing sometimes, and that doesn’t suit Tory anyway to me. The contrite scene was left to Miguel and Sam and that was appropriate and fantastic.
And Kreese. Oh, Kreese. His escape may be the most absurd thing in the whole run of five seasons. But I still look forward to seeing what’s next with him out of prison now.
This season definitely only enhanced my love for the show. It broaches on being ridiculous at times, but it makes it work. All of it works. I love every character, nearly every plot, and nearly every line of dialogue. And tons of people agree.
I am ready for Season 6!