Cobra Kai Season 5 Ending Explained (In Detail)

Warning: SPOILERS for Cobra Kai Season 5’s Finale – “Head of the Snake”The ambitious and wildly satisfying Cobra Kai season 5 finale not only saw Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) defeat the head of the snake, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), but it also concluded many of the stories Cobra Kai has told since season 1. Cobra Kai‘s season 5 finale was a multi-layered and massively complex jigsaw puzzle, but the big picture was that Terry Silver and his plans to turn Cobra Kai into a global organization had to be stopped. Cobra Kai season 5’s slam-bang payoffs included callbacks for fans of The Karate Kid movies but also teased how the story can continue in Cobra Kai season 6.


Terry’s ultimate master plan was to break out of the San Fernando Valley and bring Cobra Kai to the masses worldwide. Silver dreamed of kids all over the world being taught the “Way of the Fist,” which was a promise he made to his own sensei, Master Kim Sun-Yung, in the 1970s. To achieve this, Silver sought to enter Cobra Kai into the Sekai Taikai, the prestigious international karate tournament. But Daniel and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) also entered Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang’s students into the running, and all of their dojos were accepted into the Sekai Taikai. After Silver’s new sensei, Kim Da-Eun (Alicia Hannah-Kim), tortured Tory Nichols (Peyton List) using Terry’s “Quicksilver” method, Tory finally confessed to Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) that Silver cheated at the All Valley Karate Tournament so that Nichols would win the championship. Sam and Tory then teamed up to lead their friends into exposing Silver’s corruption and bringing down Cobra Kai at their new Encino dojo.

The Sekai Taikai storyline was a seed planted for the future because all roads in Cobra Kai season 5’s finale led to an attack on Terry Silver on multiple fronts. Johnny joined forces with Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) and Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) for a home invasion on Terry Silver and the Way of the Fist. Meanwhile, Cobra Kai’s students led by Kenny Payne (Dallas Dupree Young) and Kyler (Joe Seo) rallied to defend their dojo from Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang. Daniel, his wife Amanda (Courtney Henggeler), and Carmen Diaz (Vanessa Rubio), sped to Cobra Kai’s dojo with Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser) to save their kids. And while all that was happening, John Kreese (Martin Kove) staged a daring prison break. Cobra Kai season 5’s finale, “Head of the Snake,” was glorious, action-packed chaos, and here’s what it all means.

Daniel Finally Beats Terry Silver And Shows Miyagi-Do Is Better Than Cobra Kai

The Cobra Kai season 5 finale was loaded with countless karate fights, but the pivotal showdown was the rematch between Daniel LaRusso and Terry Silver. This grudge goes back to the events of The Karate Kid Part III set in 1985, and Silver beat and humiliated LaRusso earlier in Cobra Kai season 5. But this time, with all of their students and the LaRusso family looking on, Daniel-san proved he is better than Terry Silver. Terry had already fought (and won) a grueling swordfight with Chozen, and he was worn down, but this turnabout was fair play considering the weakened state Daniel was in when Silver beat him in episode 4 of Cobra Kai season 5.

The key to Daniel’s victory over Terry was his recalling the lessons Silver taught him when LaRusso briefly joined Cobra Kai in The Karate Kid Part III. Flashbacks of Terry’s ruthless “Quick Silver” method and his three rules of how to beat a man helped Daniel-san use those same tactics on the towering billionaire. Daniel also blocked Terry’s attempt to strike at his torso with the “Silver Bullet” punch he taught Kenny Payne. But ultimately, it was Miyagi-Do’s defensive and counter-attack style that felled Silver, and Daniel-san delivered the coup de grâce by landing his first Crane Kick since 1984 to finish Terry, who was planning on hitting LaRusso with Tory Nichols’ All Valley trophy. LaRusso’s epic win validated Miyagi-Do and showed Cobra Kai’s students that their wealthy sensei’s “Way of the Fist” was not the best way.

Stingray & Tory’s Confessions Were The Key To Taking Down Terry Silver

Terry Silver couldn’t just be beaten physically, the ponytailed mastermind’s criminality also had to be exposed. When Tory, Sam, and their friends broke into the Cobra Kai dojo, their original plan was to upload video proof that it was Silver who attacked Stingray, not Kreese. But the file was corrupted, so Tory decided to reveal to everyone that Silver bribed the referee at the All Valley and that Nichols didn’t win the championship fairly, a truth that haunted her all throughout Cobra Kai season 5.

The melee between Cobra Kai’s students and the Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang squad boiled down to protecting Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro), who held the tablet uploading the damning footage of Silver admitting to Tory that he bribed the referee. When Cobra Kai’s students finally saw the playback, they realized Terry Silver was a liar and a fraud. Daniel beating Terry cinched a mass exodus of kids quitting Cobra Kai, including Kenny and Kyler.

But while Tory’s confession changed the hearts and minds of her peers, it’s Stingray’s own confession, and his recanting of his testimony that framed Kreese, that could put Terry Silver behind bars. Kreese used Tory to secretly alert Daniel that Terry made Stingray lie at the trial, but fear of Cobra Kai’s sensei kept Stingray quiet. Tory finally told Sam everything she knew about Stingray and Terry’s frame job on Kreese. Silver’s criminal acts are soon to be a matter of public record and his lawyers will be “very busy.” With Silver’s students deserting him, this effectively puts an end to Terry’s dream of Cobra Kai’s global domination via the Sekai Taikai.

Season 5’s Finale Was Full Of Karate Kid Movie Dream Team-Ups & Fights

Cobra Kai season 5 overflowed with callbacks to The Karate Kid Part II and III but the best was saved for the finale when Johnny, Chozen, and Mike Barnes joined forces to face Terry Silver and the Way of the Fist senseis. This meant all three of Daniel LaRusso’s Karate Kid movie rivals teamed up against the uber-villain of The Karate Kid Part III. Terry Silver’s Highlander-homage sword fight with Chozen (which Terry won by underhanded means) was built up since the start of Cobra Kai season 5 when Toguchi briefly infiltrated Silver’s dojo.

Meanwhile, Johnny was left to fend for himself after Barnes was taken out of the fight, but he found a new gear when Lawrence realized what he had to fight for: his new baby with Carmen and his sons, Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) and Miguel Diaz (Xolo Maridueña), who are now united. With a resurgent Mike Barnes’ help, Johnny took down the Way of the Fist, who were literally trying to kill him. Johnny and Mike never met in The Karate Kid movies, but seeing Sensei Lawrence team up with Barnes, “Karate’s Bad Boy,” was one of the highlights of Cobra Kai season 5’s finale.

Cobra Kai Had 2 Traitors (Neither Was Devon)

Devon Lee (Oona O’Brien) joined Cobra Kai in season 5, but while the finale exposed two traitors, neither was Devon. Mitch AKA Penis Breath (Aedin Mincks) sold out his friends to join Cobra Kai because Terry Silver’s outfit had amenities like free merch, a juice bar, and girls training in the dojo. Mitch’s rationale for turning was everyone at Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang called him “Penis Breath,” and that he never actually wanted to leave Cobra Kai to begin with but just followed along with his friends. Tory technically did turn on Cobra Kai, but in her mind, she’s no traitor. Rather, she’s loyal to her Cobra Kai sensei, John Kreese, and Tory only wanted to take down Terry Silver and make her peers see him as the liar he is.

As for Devon, she ended up joining Cobra Kai because Silver bought the dojo she was training in after Eagle Fang shut down and turned it into a Cobra Kai dojo. Master Kim Da-Eun saw potential in Lee as a replacement for Tory, whom she didn’t trust (and rightfully so). Devon chose to remain in Cobra Kai because she wanted to excel at karate, and it was now the only option in the Valley, thanks to Silver’s business dealings. But in Cobra Kai season 5’s finale, Devon cemented her new friendship with Tory by teaming up with fight Master Kim.

Cobra Kai Season 5 Finale Settled All The Students’ Rivalries

By the end of Cobra Kai season 5, all of the rivalries between the show’s huge teenage cast since season 1 have been settled. Robby and Miguel buried the hatchet midway through Cobra Kai season 5, and this set the stage for Samantha and Tory to also resolve their differences. Sam was initially incensed when Tory confessed to her that Silver cheated at the All Valley on her behalf, but after LaRusso cooled down, she decided to help Tory expose Terry Silver. Miguel/Robby and Tory/Sam are no longer at each other’s throats by the end of Cobra Kai season 5, and this follows the example set by Johnny and Daniel, who remarkably never came to blows in season 5.

When Kenny saw Silver exposed as a crook, it was a blow that made him rethink his animosity towards Robby, although there’s no peace (yet) between Kenny and his ex-bully, Anthony LaRusso. Speaking of bullies, both Eli “Hawk” Moskowitz (Jacob Bertrand) and Demetri Alexopoulos (Gianni Decenzo) faced down Kyler, their former bully since Cobra Kai season 1. Cobra Kai season 5 ended with a whole new paradigm for the students of West Valley High since they are no longer members of rival karate gangs, at least for now.

Kreese’s Prison Break And What It Means For Johnny

Sidelined in prison throughout Cobra Kai season 5, John Kreese executed a Hannibal Lecter-like prison break and reestablished himself as the series’ main villain in the wake of Terry Silver’s defeat. Kreese was targeted in the joint by his fellow inmates, but the wily old sensei turned the tables and made his tormentors his followers. Thanks to the ingenious application of strawberry Jello, which substituted for blood, Kreese faked his own death via a shanking. John then attacked the unsuspecting medical staff and escaped prison by posing as a doctor, using the ID of the prison’s psychiatrist to penetrate the locked doors.

Kreese’s time in prison forced him to delve into his lifelong trauma, but he emerged utterly unrepentant about his past crimes. John blames his enemies like Terry for his problems, but he remains fixated on Johnny Lawrence, who he still feels is the son he lost. Kreese doesn’t know (yet) that Johnny now has a family with Carmen, Miguel, and Robby, and it’s not unclear what John will do next. He could certainly attempt to make Cobra Kai rise from the ashes a third time. Cobra Kai season 5 teased that Kreese is now going to “write his own ending,” and Cobra Kai season 6 could be the final chapter in Kreese’s story with Johnny.

Season 5’s Ending Felt Like A Series Finale – Will There Be A Cobra Kai Season 6

By the time Cobra Kai season 5 is over, it feels like the series just had its finale. Cobra Kai season 5’s ending was the first time the LaRussos finally emerged triumphant and received an unabashedly happy ending. While Kreese’s prison escape was a cliffhanger, it seems like Daniel’s problems are now over. LaRusso, Johnny, Chozen, and their students brought down Cobra Kai, exposed Terry Silver as a criminal, and saved the Valley. The kids are now largely united, with old rivalries put to bed. Daniel-san is free to reopen Miyagi-Do if he wishes, same with Johnny and Eagle Fang, and they could potentially welcome all of their old students plus the former students of Cobra Kai. Even Mike Barnes stole one of Silver’s Rembrandt paintings to help him with his dire financial situation after Terry burned down his furniture business.

Cobra Kai’s producers have a master plan for season 6 and beyond, including footage already shot for the next season and an endgame for the entire series. Cobra Kai season 5 wasn’t that endgame, but it does feel like the producers wrapped up old business and are hedging their bets in case Netflix doesn’t renew them for season 6. If Cobra Kai season 6 does happen, the biggest thread left hanging is the fact that Miyagi-Do, Eagle Fang, and Cobra Kai are all still entered in the Sekai Taikai. Cobra Kai season 6 could potentially take the series internationally and put Sam, Tory, Miguel, Robby, Hawk, and the other students’ karate skills on a global stage.

Cobra Kai Season 5 is streaming on Netflix.

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