Cobra Kai (Season 5)

Released: 9th September 2022
Director: Joel Novoa, Steven Tsuchida, Marielle Woods, Steve Pink & Jennifer Celotta.
Starring: William Zabka, Ralph Macchio, Courtney Henggeler, Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Peyton List, Vanessa Rubio, Thomas Ian Griffith, Martin Kove

Fear does not exist in this dojo and by the looks of it neither does negative reviews. Season 5 of Cobra Kai continues to defend its All Valley trophy and cement itself as one of the best television shows in the world today. The stakes are much higher and the drama is even more intensified as Daniel LaRusso, Johnny Lawrence and all their students are back on the mat with 10 more episodes of incredible storytelling.

I can only describe this show as the gift that keeps on giving as every season has been thoroughly entertaining, even if it has all circled around a karate tournament for under 18s. That’s where the show is at its best though in that it’s so over the top at times and goes to ridiculous lengths that it’s actually very exciting.

The latest season is like a firework display in that every single episode slowly builds up to the thrilling finale at the end that does not leave you disappointed in any way.

Season 5 picks up in the aftermath of the All Valley tournament shown in the last few episodes of season 4. Now in firm control of the karate scene, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) is looking to expand his Cobra Kai franchise and make it the biggest dojo not just in California but in the entire world. Silver returns once again as the narcissistic villain who has had a vendetta against Daniel LaRusso that has spanned a series of chaotic events. Thomas Ian Griffith is so outrageous that you want to see more of his wicked schemes and all he’s got planned as he plays the role so well.

There seems to be no end to Terry’s madness that is unless you try to ignore LaRusso who is mastering up his own way at taking down Silver and Cobra Kai. By doing this he recruits Chozen (Yuji Okumoto) an old enemy turned friend who has vowed to help in the battle. I only got two episodes in when I realised that Chozen was going to be the heart and soul of season 5, he really is such a fantastic character. From silly little gags of him buying a couch to deep heartfelt moments with other characters, he is developed in more ways than one and is one of the major highlights to season 5.

The character development doesn’t stop with Chozen though, almost every main character goes through some sort of transition and the payoff for each one is played out remarkably well.

William Zabka continues to perform at his best with the character of Johnny taking a step in a more down-to-earth direction for the vast majority of the season. Sure we still get the odd joke of him not being up to date with the modern world but his growth across the season again shows how much Zabka thrives in the role.

As I mentioned above, the stakes have never been higher here and the fights seem to be more brutal as well. The kids aren’t doing it for points anymore, they are doing it because their own both sides of a war and that’s demonstrated with the lengths they go to in ensuring which side has the upper hand.

With Daniel, Johnny and Chozen joining together to take down Silver there seems to be one very important man missing in the equation: John Kreese. As seen from the trailers, Cobra Kai’s founder is living out his days in prison whilst everything continues on without him having any influence, well that’s what they believe. Kove, albeit in a more limited role to previous seasons is still as menacing as ever despite being behind bars and his story is very fun to watch.

The writers understand what’s needed to make a good television show, just when you think you’ve figured out what’s about to happen next they throw a curve ball and spiral the show in another direction. There’s moments of the show that are hilarious and there’s also moments that are genuinely some of the most dramatic and most beautiful scenes I’ve seen in a long time. Themes of loyalty, revenge, friendship, family, fatherhood and everything else in between are all fitted in and dealt with so well. I struggle to find any criticism I have with it I enjoy it so much. It continues to be be true to the Karate Kid franchise whilst creating its own legacy from within with its phenomenal direction.

Cobra Kai gets all 3 points and is the winner once again with a fifth season that is continuously evolving. Ensuring that we are hit with something enormous, the show is taken to new levels of intensity that leaves us on the edge of our seats waiting to find out what happens next.

A massive “Yes Sensai!” from me on this one, 10 well written television episodes that offer more than just karate kicks and bonsai trees.

Rating – 9/10

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