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The Best Thing About Kenny In Cobra Kai Season 5 According To Dallas Dupree Young

Contains spoilers for Season 5 of "Cobra Kai."

Season 5 of "Cobra Kai" hit Netflix on September 9, and one character who continued his rise in screen time and importance was young fighter Kenny Payne (Dallas Dupree Young). Kenny was first introduced in Season 4, Episode 2, "First Learn Stand," as the new kid in school facing bullying from Anthony LaRusso (Griffin Santopietro) and his friends. 

He joins Cobra Kai, and Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) takes the enthusiastic young padawan under his wing, leading to an All-Valley Tournament semifinal match at the end of Season 4 between the two close friends. Unfortunately, Robby gives in to his dark side and injures Kenny with a kick to the nose, but that moment sparks a crisis of conscience in Robby that leads him to leave Cobra Kai and rejoin Miyagi-do.

Sadly, we are denied an Anakin Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi showdown when Miyagi-do chooses Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz (Jacob Bertrand) instead of Robby to face Kenny in the critical faceoff between the rival dojos in Episode 8, "Taikai." Ultimately a combination of an illegal strike, an unnecessarily aggressive one, and a corrupt referee give Kenny the win, and both dojos earn a spot in the prestigious Sekai Taikai tournament. His character's arc takes him from downtrodden innocent to the top of the garbage pile, but what was Young's favorite thing about playing Kenny in Season 5 of "Cobra Kai?"

Dallas Dupree Young keeps Kenny's innocence alive

In an interview with Variety, Dallas Dupree Young said, "The best thing about my character in Season 5 is that you still see that kid in him at times. And you really see that he's a fierce competitor and a leader throughout the entire time. You see that hope in him and see the fight." As the season progresses, he approaches the peak of his Darth Vader arc, growing stronger but still fighting the conflicting influences of his multiple mentors. 

Kenny leads the student exodus from Cobra Kai after sensei Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) is exposed for fixing fights and knocked senseless by Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), but he declines a hug-and-make-up moment with Robby afterward. That still leaves a host of options for Kenny going forward — from a full return to innocence to an ascension to primary series Bad Guy status. 

While it's safe to say he won't end up fitted with a respirator helmet or voiced by James Earl Jones, Young does recognize and appreciate the fight still raging inside his "Cobra Kai" character. "I do feel bad because there are times where Kenny goes too far and he does a little too much," he told Variety. "It's tough because you know Kenny is a really good kid in there."