Warning: Spoilers For Cobra Kai Season 4 Below!
Netflix’s Cobra Kai is headed into season 5, and it could involve a three-way war between Johnny and Daniel, Terry Silver, and John Kreese. Cobra Kai season 4 debuted on Netflix on December 31st, 2021, with the All-Valley Tournament as the center of its conflict. Per the agreement between the teachers of the three karate schools in season 3, the losing dojo would be required to close down forever.
Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) elected to team up and teach the students of Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang together. Despite the extreme difficulties the two had in working together, they managed to bury the hatchet at last at the tournament. However, it was too little too late, with Cobra Kai emerging victorious (albeit through bribery on Silver’s part.)
Despite this, it ended up being a pyrrhic victory for John Kreese (Martin Kove) when he’s betrayed by his associate Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith). Meanwhile, Daniel is also determined to bring down Cobra Kai despite his vow, and enlists the help of his old enemy Chozen (Yuji Okumoto). The cliffhanger ending of Cobra Kai season 4 sets up quite a battle for season 5. Considering the rift between Silver and Kreese, it might even end up with three sides instead of two. Here’s how the conflict could shape up ahead of Cobra Kai season 5.
Kreese Is Likely To Double Down On No Mercy
Silver framing Kreese for murder and getting him arrested leaves them as enemies by the end of Cobra Kai season 4. It goes without saying that the last thing on Kreese’s mind when he gets out is going to be joining forces with Silver again against Daniel and Johnny. However, Kreese might actually learn a bit from Silver’s methods in how he usurped control of Cobra Kai. It’s also likely to reinforce Kreese’s principle of “No Mercy“.
Kreese developed this mindset as a result of his experiences in the Vietnam War. In bringing Terry Silver back into the fold for the All-Valley Tournament, he knows he made a serious mistake. In his mind, that mistake was believing he could trust anyone to be on his side in such a conflict. While Kreese obviously will have revenge on Silver on his mind in Cobra Kai season 5, he might return with a total lack of empathy for his new enemy.
Why Kreese (Probably) Still Won’t Join Forces With Daniel and Johnny
Going into Cobra Kai season 5, Kreese will share a common enemy with Daniel and Johnny for the first time ever in Silver. While this could hypothetically lead to the three joining forces, their history seems to indicate the opposite will happen. Daniel has always seen Kreese’s Cobra Kai teachings as dangerous and unhinged. With Kreese only likely to lean even more into his “No Mercy” mindset after getting out of prison, Daniel probably won’t be any more trusting of him. Then there’s the long history Johnny has with Kreese.
As a former student of Cobra Kai’s founder, Johnny sees how manipulated he was as his young student. Of course, Johnny’s initial re-founding of Cobra Kai and later formation of Eagle Fang weren’t lacking in Kreese’s didactic approach to training. Still, for as questionable as Johnny’s own training methods are, he no longer looks to Kreese as a mentor but as an enemy. However much Daniel and Johnny might see Silver as even more of a dangerous influence than Kreese, that latter is still a toxic sensei in both of their eyes. Of course, the two also had a hard enough time teaching side-by-side in advance of the All-Valley Tournament, culminating in a sparring match. While they eventually settled their differences, Johnny and Daniel’s distrust of Kreese remains mutual. With Johnny and Daniel probably not seeing the enemy of their enemy as their friend, the battle of Cobra Kai season 5 might take a very complex approach.
Theory – Cobra Kai Season 5’s Conflict Has Three Sides
Daniel and Johnny standing against Silver is a given in Cobra Kai season 5. The same goes for Kreese’s new enmity with Silver after his Machiavellian betrayal, while Silver has taken Kreese’s old slot as Cobra Kai‘s main villain. This leaves Cobra Kai season 5 in an interesting position, with its story potentially involving Silver battling Daniel and Johnny on one side and Kreese on another. In truth, this isn’t that big of a switch-up for the show.
Cobra Kai has consistently excelled at keeping all characters in a grey area of morality. For the first time, Johnny became a protagonist as he’d never been before in season 1. Meanwhile, characters like Robby (Tanner Buchanan), Tory (Peyton List), and Eli (Jacob Betrand) have all gone back and forth on being protagonists or antagonists. Even when they’ve been on the side of Cobra Kai, the show has always looked at their tough situations from a sympathetic perspective. The point is, Cobra Kai has always been reticent to portray any of its characters, even Kreese or Silver, as pure evil.
A three-way battle in Cobra Kai season 5 could be the latest way in which the show keeps viewers guessing. Silver’s defeat is something everyone recognizes as a necessity, but how and why that goal must be achieved is not. Kreese might even be more compelled to kill Silver for his false imprisonment, rather than the more peaceful method Daniel is likely to abide. Johnny is more in the middle, but his and Daniel’s new alliance probably makes him more willing to play ball with Daniel’s strategy. All of this leaves the battle of dojos moving into Cobra Kai season 5 likely to take the form of a triangular conflict.
The ending of Cobra Kai season 4 left nearly all of the major characters shaken and looking for answers in different ways. Tory and Robby both come to realize the error they’ve made in aligning with Cobra Kai. Miguel (Xolo Mariduena) also heads to Mexico City to find his father, with Johnny following to bring him home. In addition to how the season ended for Daniel, Johnny, Silver, and Kreese, everyone on Cobra Kai is in a position of re-evaluation. Morally ambiguous battles and characters switching sides has been the norm on the show before. Building from that, Cobra Kai season 5 could have its most complex arc yet – a battle of martial arts mentors with different goals and coming at one another from different angles.
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