TV Review: Cobra Kai Season 5

Netflix released the fifth season of The Karate Kid sequel series Cobra Kai on September 9th. The season picks up after the events of the fourth season, and brings with it new characters, new adventures, and plenty of awesome karate fight scenes.

Right off the bat, season five gets many things right. The fights are bigger and better, the stakes are higher, and the characters grow in ways unimaginable four seasons ago. That said, it’s not perfect, with some aspects leaving a bit to be desired and others feeling out of place.

The Story

This season focuses less on training for an upcoming tournament and more on personal relationships. Daniel LaRusso, the original Karate Kid, has an entire arc that involves his relationship with his rival, Terry Silver, and putting up with him both physically and mentally. Johnny Lawrence, the series’ other protagonist, spends a good majority of the season not even focused on karate at all, focused instead on his family. While karate scenes are fun and exciting, these elements of the story led to some amazingly heartfelt scenes.

This season has its fair amount of plot twists too, as any good season of television does. Some land really well, while others can be seen coming from a mile away. Still, the suspense leading from episode to episode is enticing and is sure to keep you invested.

The Characters

One thing that Cobra Kai has always done well is integrating the characters from the original trilogy of films with a new cast of characters, and this season is no exception. Daniel’s character arc takes him to new lows that we simply haven’t seen him go though before, including the original trilogy of films. Johnny has more growth than I thought possible as he learns what he’s fighting for. And for once, these two characters are fully on the same side, allowing them to focus on the conflict at hand instead of their petty rivalry.

The new characters on the other hand, mainly the new karate students, seem to be going through a lot of the same as previous seasons. Two characters who are dating have relationship troubles. Good guys become bad guys, bad guys become good guys. Someone new learns karate. Two characters that hate each other share a moment of understanding. While all enjoyable, after five seasons it begins to feel like the writers are going through the motions with some of these characters.

Let’s talk about some guest characters. The season brings in people from the original trilogy, mainly The Karate Kid III, who seem really out of place for the story, almost as if the writer’s cared more about the character showing up than the actual plot. On the other hand, one particular character from The Karate Kid II, who up until now had only had a few cameos, takes center stage for the season and absolutely shines, and feels right at home with the rest of the cast.

The Action

The fight scenes in this season are incredible. We get to see match ups between characters we never would have thought we’d see share the screen. We see fights in new and exciting locations. We even get to see swords. It only took five seasons, but we actually get to see swords in the show all about the martial arts. Truly incredible.

The downside is the writer’s seemed to play it too safe. Many of the fights either end in a draw or in a meaningless victory. One particular fight scene in the finale seemed to have enormous stakes in the grand scheme of things, but about twenty minutes later, we learn that none of it really mattered anyway. The action was enjoyable to watch, but at times I felt it was used more as something fun to watch and less as a mechanic for storytelling.

Final Score

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cobra Kai Season 5 earns a solid 4 out of 5.

Cobra Kai Season 5 is another great addition to the series, and will no doubt lead into a sixth season in 2023 or 2024, though no further seasons have been announced as of now. While not perfect, almost every main character (and even some minor ones) get their time to shine, the story is enticing and suspenseful, and the action is better than it’s ever been. If you’re a fan of the first four seasons or of the original Karate Kid movies, you’re sure to have a good time with Cobra Kai Season Five.

Have you watched the newest season of Cobra Kai? What are your thoughts? Share them below or over on the Boss Rush Discord.

Brad Melville is a junior writer for Boss Rush Network. Brad is a huge fan of video games, especially Pokémon, and loves relaxing with some TV or a nice movie when he can. Some of his favorite video games are Pokémon Platinum, Banjo-Kazooie, and Breath of the Wild. You can follow him on Twitter, where you can find him ranting about superheroes, complaining about TV shows, or giving his hot takes about Nintendo.

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