Cobra Kai season 4 recap and season 5 theories

Cobra Kai season 4 premiered on Friday on Netflix, and this year’s story arc and results have us plenty positive for a strong season 5. Showrunners Hayden Schlossberg, Josh Heald, and Jon Hurwitz handled to easily draw out everybody from the unpleasant daytime soap that wound up at the All-Valley Karate champion, leaving some clear good-versus-bad competitions that must equate to enjoyable and furious martial arts action in the next 10 episodes.

Possibly it took an additional season to arrive, however fans might appropriately see the very first 4 years as a totally solved arc including Johnny and Daniel’s careful relationship, spilling into their kid and child’s own dispute and growing. Season 4 — a fantastic cliffhanger regardless of — did end on notes that seemed like the conclusion of an excellent popcorn-movie trilogy, albeit one that leaves lots of area for another big-time follow up to wander.

Not even a week considering that Cobra Kai season 4 premiered, fans are currently rating where things might be headed in the next 10 episodes. Here’s how we see the order of fight for Cobra Kai season 5, which has actually been greenlit by Netflix, even if we don’t understand when it will premiere, or any other information.

[Ed. note: Spoilers for the entirety of the Cobra Kai franchise to date will follow.]

nine teenagers’ faces peer out from the traditional japanese door of a karate dojo

Ruh-roh rensei, the Cobras are coming …
Image: Netflix

Who are next year’s bad people?

Thanks to a bravura efficiency by Thomas Ian Griffith, Terry Silver is formally the huge bad moving forward. However you’d be forgiven for questioning who, precisely, will be along for the flight with him, be that voluntarily or controlled. Season 4 concluded with virtually all of Miyagi-do Karate’s opponents either in considerate locations, or reconciling with their friends and families.

John Kreese (Martin Kove) remains in the penitentiary, framed by previous friend Silver for the savage (however oh-so-satisfying) beat-down of Stingray. (Paul Walter Hauser; once again, truly?) At the competition, we likewise saw Kreese reckon with his past and the corruption his martial arts approach has actually given young minds. It’s not totally a face turn, however Kreese is most likely to require hesitant aid from Johnny (William Zabka) and Daniel (Ralph Macchio) than to be fighting them.

Tory Nichols (Peyton List) rapidly ended up episode 10 understanding that she might have won a repaired bout to make her All-Valley champion over Samantha (Mary Mouser). While that provides a great deal of chance for traditional character dispute, that dispute is with Silver, who did the repairing. Tory will be, at best, a hesitant soldier versus Miyagi-do.

Kenny Payne (Dallas Young) seems intoxicated on his own power and expertise without understanding it, rather like Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña) after his accomplishment at the All-Valley in season 1. He’ll be a crucial figure as Cobra Kai’s authors put in the work to develop a brand-new high school class of competitors, however he’s too brand-new, and likewise a little brief to be among Terry Silver’s lead stormtroopers. Kyler (Joe Seo) is sturdily on Cobra Kai’s first-string of D-bags, however he’s a straight-away meathead fan, not a wicked plotter.

Then there’s Daniel-san’s Daniel-son, Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro), whom Kenny whipped in the locker space at the All-Valley. Although Anthony was exposed to be a bully, scary his moms and dads, Kenny’s enmity would appear to keep him from relying on Cobra Kai or being lured by Silver. Anyway, that particular twist seems to have been used, if not abused, already, vis-a-vis Robbie Keene (Tanner Buchanan). Regardless, there should be action between Kenny and Anthony in season 5, but right now that wouldn’t appear to have legs beyond being a strong subplot.

A teenager in a tuxedo with a white bowtie gets ready for prom, his mother and grandmother are at left and middle

Is Miguel’s (Xolo Maridueña) sojourn really to find his estranged father, or is something else going on behind the scenes?
Photo: Curtis Bonds Baker

What’s going on with Miguel?

Miguel’s departure from southern California — on a bus, to find his (apparently dangerous) father in Mexico — came so abruptly that one must wonder if Maridueña’s continued participation in the show is in some kind of doubt. It sure appears like a writing hedge to explain a character’s absence if their actor and the producers can’t come to terms (think: Bo and Luke Duke allegedly “racing NASCAR” while Coy and Vance took over in The Dukes of Hazzard’s fifth season).

Whatever the case, Miguel appears to have actually completely checked out. (Props to the writers, again, for subverting viewer expectations with the countdown scene to get back to the mat.) Although Cobra Kai went to Okinawa for season 3, sending another main character on a solo journey is still a lot to handle for an ensemble drama. But if Miguel/Maridueña leaving really is a work and not a shoot, there should be adventure galore as Miguel defends himself on the road.

a karate student in white readies himself, his sensei is wearing a black gi and has his back to the viewer

Tanner Buchanan, as Robbie Keene, supplied some of Cobra Kai season 4’s best action and best acting.
Photo: Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

Will Sam and Robbie hook up?

Pity poor Tory; her romance with Robbie had some real heat, and the two showcased some ass-kicking dance moves — literally — at the after-party. But with the fast-paced finale resolving to Robbie’s reconciliation with his dad (“I’m sick of blaming you, Dad!” was the sledgehammer line in an outstanding scene), that puts him back with Miyagi-do and the forces of good. If Miguel is out of the picture, well, that creates natural tension with Samantha LaRusso, and it’s sure to drive Tory bonkers. Because of the ready-made conflict, we’d put the odds at nearly even Sam makes a move on Robbie, or vice versa.

Elsewhere, as delightful as it was to see Hawk — now just plain Eli (Jacob Bertrand) — pick up a championship, it looks like his Samson-esque mohawk is no longer needed. He and Moon are an item again, and somehow Yasmine (Annalisa Cochrane) still seems serious about Demetri (Gianni Decenzo). Kenny and Anthony will likely brawl over newcomer Lia, but that triangle’s a little young to be next year’s romantic anchor. All this means our teenage soap opera could be well more subdued with the smooches next year.


Is Hilary Swank the next throwback guest star?

Cobra Kai has been generous with cameos from The Karate Kid’s theatrical releases, and its pull as a pop culture and social media phenomenon should be a lot stronger after a standout season 4. We currently know that Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto), who had an unexpectedly endearing run in season 3, will return in season 5 to help Daniel deal with Silver. But are there any other characters left, from The Karate Kid cinematic universe, who haven’t made an appearance?

“Any movie that has Mr. Miyagi in it is part of our ’80s canon,” Heald told Polygon. That means that Hilary Swank — star of the lesser-known The Next Karate Kid — is, at least theoretically, on the table. Swank portrayed Julie Pierce in the 1994 movie, which also starred Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi.

“Julie Pierce is very much a character who exists in this world in this universe,” Heald added. “You’ll have to wait and see. And we’ll have to wait and see, you know, when and if Julie enters our Cobra Kai story. But we are big fans of Hillary Swank.”

Not canonical, however, is the 2010 film The Karate Kid, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. That’s altogether a reboot, so Chan’s Mr. Han and Smith’s Dre Parker exist outside of this San Fernando Valley. A year ago, Jon Hurwitz noted (to Slashfilm) that Jackie Chan was referenced by name in season 1. “So I think, in our world, Jackie Chan is an actor and a performer,” he said. “If the characters on our show have seen a movie called The Karate Kid, they’ve seen that one.”

Fans tried connecting the dots long ago considering that Will Smith’s production company, Overbrook Entertainment, was in the credits for seasons 1 to 3, before handing off to distributor Sony Pictures Television Studios last year. Maybe that was behind the Jackie Chan hat tip in season 1, however it’s nothing more.

All four seasons of Cobra Kai are available on Netflix.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.