By Peter Veunnasack
Where do I begin? How about starting with April 8, 2022 when I asked Ralph Macchio and William Zabka if they could describe Season 5 in one word? Ralph says “Awesome!” followed by William’s “Mind-blowing!” in the same cadence Johnny saying “..smartphone” in episode 2×08 “Glory of Love”. He goes on to continue giving me more words! One comment he makes that completely agree with is that every season of Cobra Kai has been “it’s own thing”. Back in June I was a guest on “Kicking It With The Koves”, a podcast hosted by Martin Kove and his twins Jesse and Rachel Kove. The one-word description came up again and Martin describes Season 5 as “Mayhem!”. Kudos to the three of them for being able to give an answer while being put on the spot. I couldn’t think of just one! I thought of a plethora of words! “Intense!” “Chaos!” and the phrase “I need a cigarette!” all come to mind. And I don’t even smoke cigarettes! But after my initial watch, I processed as much as I could while on a family vacation and I thought about all of the moments that made me smile, or that made me happy. I would describe Season 5 as “Maturation”.
Season 5 starts off by showing a different side of Chozen we’ve never seen before. And I think it sets a tone. Immediately I thought to myself that they have my full attention. Some of our characters matured, and some start to learn things from one another. This is definitely me piggy-backing on my one-word description of Season 4, “Growth”. One of the things I often do when I watch an episode of Cobra Kai, I try to see who wrote the teleplay and who directed the episode. To my surprise, creators Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald and Hayden Schlossberg, took a backseat in both departments! Based off of memory, all of the directors have worked on previous seasons, with the addition of a new name on the writing team! But make no mistake, “The Guys” as other writers refer to them as, have their fingerprints all over this. The comedy continues with many “Peak Johnny” moments, a term as my friend Sensei Pi’ilani coined, but also some heaviness. What the show also continues to do is give us these moments of levity when it’s really needed. And within those moments of levity, we also see the maturation of our characters where you’d expect some dialogue action to go one way, but it goes another. They continue to use our expectations against us.
By the fifth season, you would think you’ve pegged what’s become a Karate Kid or a Cobra Kai staple. Wondering what episode a fan favorite background character might show up in, how a certain home electronic breaks, which, if any, of the legacy characters return? Some people watched the two trailers and saw the first look photos and thought too much was revealed. You guys have no idea! “The Guys” have a good pulse on our fandom. You know the epression “fan service”? ‘That’ is not a bad thing in our fandom. Jon, Josh and Hayden are the hugest fans of the Miyagiverse! Hayden once said Season 5 is the “What if Cobra Kai won in The Karate Kid Part III?”. Jon Hurwitz had this to say about the second trailer:
Season 5 also takes our characters and puts some of them in a different settings, and the blocking and framing of other scenes makes you feel like this is their two part movie sequel to that third film! And it wouldn’t be Cobra Kai without fighting. The kicks, punches and action all deliver as usual. There is a few instances that come to mind where the tension was so thick that I found myself on the edge of my seat. If you are somewhat active on social media, you’d know how we all love our memes and screengrabs. I think content creators will have a field day with the dialogue! So many great quotes, quips and badass one-liners, that it takes you back to the days of the cheesy 80’s and 90’s action films we enjoyed watching! I mean, come on. The Fist has a sensei with hair like Goku and an eye patch. An eye patch! The season is filled with heart, comedy, action but also with sadness, heartaches and pain. You can expect some set ups from previous seasons to be paid off, some great call backs from some of your favorite moments on the show ‘and’ the films. My advice is to go in and expect awesome fights, great dialogue, intricate story telling, and most of all, character integrity.
Listen to the audio podcast here or watch the full interview below.
Audio on podcast: “Cobra Kai Moves to Netflix”