Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Daniel LaRusso's 7 Best And 7 Worst Moments In Cobra Kai Season 5 Ranked

"Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy." These are the lessons taught to the students of Cobra Kai, and the main reason why our favorite karate kid Daniel LaRusso hopes to dismantle the dangerous dojo in Season 5 of the hit Netflix show. Alongside him are his old rivals Johnny Lawrence and Chozen Toguchi (from the first two "Karate Kid" films, respectively), who have both changed their ways and now contribute to the fight against Terry Silver's sadistic form of Cobra Kai. Daniel, like so many '80s heroes before him, often unites the "Cobra Kai" cast for the good of their hometown, but that doesn't mean he's always got his own life together.

With Season 5 of "Cobra Kai" out and kicking, we're ranking Daniel LaRusso's highest highs and lowest lows of the season. Trust us — there are plenty of them. Like some of the best action heroes out there, Daniel isn't immune to controversy, but he always rises above his circumstances to overcome his demons and prove that he's "the best around." So, ready your crane kicks, because it's time to dive in and rank Daniel's best and worst moments from "Cobra Kai" Season 5. And yes, there will be major spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution.

Best: Daniel and Chozen stand up to Silver

Hoping to get the inside scoop about what Cobra Kai is up to, Daniel enlists the help of "Karate Kid Part II" nemesis-turned-friend Chozen Toguchi to infiltrate Terry Silver's new-and-improved Cobra Kai. Undercover, Chozen attempts to hold a position as a sensei in Silver's ever-expanding dojo, though the Vietnam vet sees through the karate master's facade. In the aftermath, Silver buys his way into the country club that Daniel and the LaRusso family frequent, and makes himself known to Daniel at the bar. Though Silver tries to belittle Daniel, he stands up to the Cobra Kai master, and, with Chozen by his side, vows to take Silver down for good.

Though Daniel wouldn't exactly stay on the straight-and-narrow when dealing with Silver, he kept his cool here, especially given their complicated history. Here Daniel proves that he isn't one to give up, at least not without a fight, and that no matter the odds, he's willing to fight for what is right. It's a great moment, especially when Chozen intervenes, claiming that if Silver is fire, he is "gasoline." There's a lot to love about this brief encounter, especially Silver's attempts to dismiss Daniel's threats as nonsense. Naturally, Daniel lives up to his words, and (despite a few hiccups along the way) he manages to come out on top, just as he always does.

Worst: Daniel almost gets beat up on the side of the road

In the final episode of Season 5, Daniel, Chozen, and Johnny Lawrence are out celebrating the conception of Johnny and Carmen's child when they encounter another of Daniel's one-time enemies, Mike Barnes. Mike makes it clear that he blames Daniel for the loss of his business, but, after they explain that it was Silver who burned it to the ground, Mike enlists Johnny and Chozen to follow him to Silver's home and take him down. The problem is, most of them are intoxicated. While the rest of the guys go to confront Silver, Daniel is left behind after refusing to "strike first," which results in him attempting to catch a ride from a bunch of guys in a truck. Unfortunately, these guys aren't too friendly.

To be fair, Daniel arrives from out of nowhere, smelling like booze, and demands a ride from a group of strangers. It's actually a miracle he doesn't get the hell beaten out of him, but thankfully the Cobra Kai turncoat "Stingray," Daniel's wife Amanda, and Carmen arrive just in time to pull Daniel out of the sticky situation. In a season chock full of bad Daniel moments, Daniel nearly getting pummeled by a bunch of angry dudes after demanding a ride definitely makes the list, especially since the original karate kid had shown so much growth in the previous few episodes.

Best: Daniel and Johnny's talk

When his family leaves to visit in-laws in Ohio (and take a break from all the karate craziness), Daniel decides that it's time to take Terry Silver down for good. Surprisingly, it's Johnny Lawrence who calms Daniel down, calling him out for being intoxicated and a bit erratic. Johnny tells Daniel that his family will return and things will go back to normal, while also doubling down on his decision to remove himself from all things Cobra Kai to focus on his ever-growing family. Thankfully, Daniel takes Johnny's advice and goes home to focus on rebuilding his own family, but not before helping Johnny with a problem of his own.

Although Daniel shows up at Johnny's drunk, there's no question that this moment is one of his best in Season 5. Here, Daniel gets some much-needed perspective from an unlikely source, further cementing the fact that he and Johnny — his one-time enemy — are now close friends. One of the things that the fifth season of "Cobra Kai" does right is showing how far our favorite characters have come, reminding us that even the most bitter of rivals can become friends. While that may never happen for Daniel and Silver, the fact that Daniel and Johnny have gotten past their differences is paramount.

Worst: Daniel and Amanda fight about karate (and Chozen)

You know the fifth season of "Cobra Kai" is going to push your favorite characters to the limit when the very first episode opens with a fight between Daniel and Amanda LaRusso. After walking in on a very naked Chozen, Amanda demands that the karate feud between Daniel and Cobra Kai end, especially after their loss at the most recent All Valley Karate Tournament. Amanda pleads with Daniel to finish the war, to which he explains that he will, and that he needs Chozen to do it. While this isn't the worst fight that Daniel and Amanda have during Season 5, it's the start of a recurring trend of animosity and tension that continues to rise between them.

Longtime "Karate Kid" fans know Daniel well, but Amanda's words manage to ring true regardless. Daniel has a hard time letting things go — whether they be old rivalries or new grievances, he certainly knows how to hold a grudge. Just think about how long it took him and Johnny Lawrence to become friends. Daniel's struggle with Silver's brand of Cobra Kai drives his entire Season 5 arc, taking him to some of the darkest places he's ever been. Thankfully, Daniel and Amanda's story doesn't end there, though this first fight is only a taste of what's to come.

Best: Daniel returns to Miyagi-Do

After being beaten by Silver, Daniel decides to quit karate for good, hoping the Cobra Kai problem will solve itself. Thankfully, his family and friends recognize the issue with this plan, with his wife Amanda, daughter Samantha, former rivals Johnny and Chozen, and former protégé Robby Keene all uniting to bring Daniel back into the fold. After remembering his duty to his students (and to the greater San Fernando Valley), Daniel returns to Miyagi-Do, ready to take down Cobra Kai for good. Of course, he knows it won't be that easy, but taking these first steps back into the world of karate makes all the difference.

It's ultimately the old words of Mr. Miyagi that spur Daniel on to reclaim his place at Miyagi-Do. As Amanda recounts a moment she had with Daniel's old sensei, Daniel recalls his own failures and how he's terrified of making the same mistakes. Rather than let him stew, Robby reminds Daniel of the way he changed his life and how he helped a broken kid find his place in the world — just like Mr. Miyagi did for him all those years ago. With their teacher/student bond restored, Daniel reclaims his place as one of the leaders of the Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang dojo, reminding the students that no one is above failure but that we can all rise above it.

Worst: Daniel drinks his troubles away

Following a huge fight with Amanda (more on that in a bit), Daniel looks for answers at the bottom of a bottle — or, more accurately, a bunch of bottles. After being humiliated by Terry Silver and losing his family (at least for a time), Daniel feels aimless and powerless to stop the spread of Cobra Kai. Even a rousing speech from Chozen can't change Daniel's defeatist attitude. Things snowball when Daniel encounters Stingray, who Silver used to get rid of John Kreese and establish his new Cobra Kai empire. It's here that the cracks in Daniel's armor become clear.

While confronting Stingray, the intoxicated Daniel nearly loses control again, sending the Cobra Kai wannabe to the ground — and breaking his PlayStation. This brief bender might not be the absolute worst thing that Daniel does in Season 5, but it's not a great look, either. With how on edge Daniel is because of Silver's tauntings in the first half of the season, we're thankful the Miyagi-Do master didn't dive even further into his own personal darkness. It no doubt helps that Daniel has a solid group of friends to help him when he departs from rational thought, though they can't stop him from losing control on occasion.

Best: Daniel makes peace with Mike Barnes

With the re-introduction of Terry Silver in Season 4, fans wondered if we'd get to see any other supporting characters from "The Karate Kid Part III," especially after Silver implied he had others to call. In Season 5, a bunch of "Part III" characters return to the fold, with the most anticipated of the bunch being Mike Barnes, one of Silver's former students who helped terrorize Daniel in his youth. Believing that Silver will conscript Mike into his Cobra Kai army, Daniel and Chozen investigate him, only to learn that he left karate behind ages ago and reformed his life — he now owns his own furniture store.

As he does with most of his former enemies (at least those who were also young during the movies), Daniel makes peace with Mike following a brief confrontation. Despite Chozen attacking Mike, the two become friends. Daniel learns that Mike was manipulated by Silver just as Daniel was, with lofty promises of co-owning Cobra Kai. Eventually, Mike got out and put his life back together, and although Silver would go on to burn down his furniture store, Mike is now a much better guy than he was all those years ago. As with Johnny and Chozen before him, Daniel buries the hatchet with Mike, starting a new chapter in their strange karate-fueled relationship.

Worst: Daniel gets beaten by Silver

We've all waited a long time for a true karate showdown between Daniel LaRusso and Terry Silver. Halfway through "Cobra Kai" Season 5, Daniel faces Silver in combat after arriving at Stingray's home to apologize for his earlier outburst. To his surprise, Silver is there waiting. He fails to effectively defend himself against Silver's attacks, suffering one of his worst defeats in the history of the franchise. As if losing to Silver wasn't bad enough, this defeat sends Daniel into a downward spiral, making him question all his karate-related decisions.

This loss isn't just physical in nature — though the physical beating is pretty brutal — but also spiritual. Daniel's Miyagi-Do style is beaten by Silver's brand of Cobra Kai karate, and it isn't a pretty outcome. Daniel's beating serves as something of a wake-up call to the way he's been acting concerning the San Fernando Valley karate war, but he unfortunately takes the wrong message from his failure, choosing to quit the fight altogether (more on that later). Still, Daniel's first duel with Silver wouldn't be the end of the "Cobra Kai" story, and he would eventually prepare himself for their inevitable rematch.

Best: Daniel and Johnny trick Kreese

After Daniel gets back into the fight, he and Johnny Lawrence decide to visit their old enemy and former Cobra Kai sensei John Kreese to get the scoop on Terry Silver's endgame. At first, Kreese doesn't play ball and instead opts to keep his Cobra Kai cards close to his chest. That is, at least, until Daniel makes him an offer he can't refuse: He'll help him get out of prison and clear his name. After some convincing, Kreese finally reveals that Silver hopes to enter Cobra Kai into the Sekai Taikai — an international karate tournament recognized all over the globe — and franchise the dojo all over the world. Silver wants the power to mold the minds of the world's youth, which is a scary thought indeed.

Rather than our heroes falling into the classic "making a deal with the devil" trope, "Cobra Kai" flips the script as Daniel takes a play out of Johnny's book and tricks Kreese, instead leaving him to rot in prison where he belongs. While Kreese doesn't stay there in the long run, he does fall right into Daniel's trap. It's a smart move by Daniel and Johnny to manipulate one of the Miyagi-Verse's most prolific manipulators, forcing him to give up his only leverage in the process.

Worst: Daniel loses control at a charity auction

One of the absolute worst moments in all of "Cobra Kai" Season 5 is when Daniel and Amanda attend a charity auction at Terry Silver's home. Unaware that Silver is the host, they show up with selfless goals in mind — well, mostly. Amanda also wants to be on the charity's board, so there's that. That all flies out the window the moment Daniel lays eyes on his nemesis. Silver is mostly pretty cordial, and Amanda is almost taken with the Cobra Kai master as he sweet-talks her and other members of the local charity. But, in a moment of anger, Daniel confronts Silver, only for Silver to play the Miyagi-Do master like a fiddle, provoking a "strike first" response from Daniel.

Like the snake that he is, Silver manipulates the event and makes it seem as if Daniel legitimately attacked him, which isn't exactly true. Still, there's no denying that Daniel is at fault here. Not only does he fall into Silver's trap, but he adamantly justifies his behavior and doubles down on it, going as far as accusing Silver of character assassination in front of the board's president. This eventually leads to the biggest fight between Daniel and Amanda, and it reminds us just how far Daniel is willing to go to put an end to Cobra Kai.

Best: Daniel and his dojo enter the Sekai Taikai

After John Kreese reveals Terry Silver's plan, Silver immediately makes the arrangements to have Cobra Kai tested by those in charge of the Sekai Taikai. In an exciting turn of events, Daniel, Johnny, Chozen, and Amanda arrive at Cobra Kai to have the Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang dojos tested by the same Sekai Taikai group, hoping to out-perform Cobra Kai in the process. This invasion takes Silver off guard and forces him to take Daniel, Johnny, and their kids a lot more seriously than he had before.

Here, Daniel and Johnny are given their moment to shine as they brag about how their students are actually more impressive than those in Silver's dojo. Watching Daniel and his allies stand up to Silver with actual ammo behind their disruption is one of the best moments in all of Season 5, and reminds us that our heroes still have tricks of their own up their sleeves. After a few rematches, both the Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang and Cobra Kai students make it into the Sekai Taikai, setting up what will undoubtedly be the showpiece event of Season 6.

Worst: Daniel quits the fight

One of the worst moments of Season 5 — and Daniel's entire arc on "Cobra Kai" — is when he throws in the towel and turns his back on the fight. Not only does Daniel turn his back on stopping Terry Silver's villainous scheme, but he rejects karate and the teachings of Mr. Miyagi as a whole. While Daniel has gone down dark paths before, namely in "The Karate Kid Part III" in which he joins Cobra Kai and studies under Terry Silver, this is the deepest that he has ever sunk. Removing himself from karate entirely certainly doesn't help him get over his previous defeat.

As we mentioned earlier, this wouldn't last and Daniel would soon return to the fight, but the fact that he gave up so easily after a few bumps in the road is a bit dramatic. With everything the LaRusso family has been through, including a Cobra Kai home-invasion, you'd think that Daniel would be able to muster up the courage to continue the fight despite being beaten by a fiend like Silver. Unfortunately, it was more than Daniel's face that was bruised — his ego took the biggest hit from the defeat.

Best: Daniel beats Silver

Daniel's best moment in Season 5 is his final duel with Terry Silver. With all the students watching on, Daniel takes on Silver once again, though this time he honors the teachings of his former mentor Mr. Miyagi. Rather than striking first, Daniel plays up his defense against Silver before using the Cobra Kai sensei's own "Quicksilver method" — which Daniel learned way back in "The Karate Kid Part III" — against him, taking Silver off his game and humiliating him in front of his students.

After years of hoping we'd see it again, Daniel uses his famed crane kick to take Silver down, sending him hurtling backward through a Cobra Kai-shaped piece of glass. Silver's defeat, paired with the revelation that he's a liar and a cheat, drives his wayward students away as they throw their Cobra Kai gear back in his face. Victorious, Daniel reunites with his family and his students as they walk away from Cobra Kai, seemingly forever. With an epic showdown like this, it's hard to picture where a follow-up season of "Cobra Kai" could take us, but one thing's for sure — Daniel LaRusso is at the top of his game.

Worst: Amanda leaves Daniel

No moment in "Cobra Kai" Season 5 is worse than the blow-up fight between Daniel and Amanda in the fourth episode. A true turning point for Daniel, he finally realizes how karate has hurt his family and forged a rift between himself and his wife. After that horrific moment at the charity auction, Amanda confronts her husband about his anger and mistrust of Terry Silver, only to end the conversation by leaving their home with their children. As Amanda embarks on a journey of self-discovery, Daniel hits the booze. It's a sad development, and Daniel's lowest point in Season 5 by far.

Although Daniel is right that Silver manipulated the situation so that their marriage would be attacked, Amanda is spot-on when she calls her husband out for not being able to let things go. Petty rivalries and fragile egos are what consistently get Daniel into trouble, and that's been apparent since the first film. Thankfully, Amanda's time away with her cousin (Robyn Lively's Jessica Andrews from "The Karate Kid Part III") gave her some perspective on what Daniel was going through. Though their fight was pretty bad, it ultimately made their marriage stronger.