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

How Cobra Kai Season 5 Changes Everything We Know About Mike Barnes

Contains spoilers for "Cobra Kai" Season 5

As fans suspected and "Cobra Kai" Season 5 first-look images finally revealed, the last remaining antagonist of Daniel LaRusso's (Ralph Macchio) "The Karate Kid" movies finally returns in the new season of "Cobra Kai." Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) is arguably the mightiest foe Daniel faces on the tatami in all three movies, and his ominous, black-clad look in the first-look image seemed to prove that the ruthless character hasn't exactly mellowed over the decades. 

When Daniel and Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) track Mike down as part of their mission to take down Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), the show introduces the former "Bad Boy of Karate" as an ominous figure with a car trunk full of dangerous-looking power tools. "Murderous criminal gang leader" is the general vibe here, and while it's pretty close to what a fan of "The Karate Kid Part III" might expect from an adult Mike, "Cobra Kai" Season 5 soon changes everything we knew about Mike Barnes. Here's how. 

Mike Barnes is a changed man

"Cobra Kai" Season 5 manages to subvert the audience's expectations about Mike Barnes no less than two times. His introduction in Episode 3 soon reveals that while Mike might look like a murderous mob boss, he's actually grown into a very nice dude. Mike now co-owns a cool furniture store, and has been regretting his past actions so much that he hasn't even contacted Daniel to make amends, preferring to stay out of his former enemy's life while quietly admiring his success in the car dealership business. Now that he has the chance, Mike delivers a heartfelt apology to Daniel the second he sees him, despite the fact that Daniel treats him like scum at first. 

Even when Chozen mistakes the play-fighting between Daniel and Mike for a real battle, and attacks Mike after taking down a group of the store's employees, Mike's still reasonably understanding. He even ends up selling Chozen a sweet couch, though to be fair, he does rather pointedly mark up the price by nearly half. 

In Episode 10, the show delivers yet another twist when it turns out that Mike's the guy who hijacked Daniel, Chozen and Johnny's (William Zabka) party limo in Episode 9. However, once again he's no villain, nor aligned with Cobra Kai. He's just understandably angry at Daniel's crew because after they contacted him, his store burned down and he lost everything. The second he finds out that Terry is behind the arson, he's happy to team up with Chozen and Johnny on a mission to take down the villain. Mike even saves Johnny's life in the final battle with some sweet moves that show he hasn't lost his touch. 

Thanks to his reformed adulthood ways, Mike is Daniel's third and final old adversary to turn a new leaf, and seeing him storm Terry's house with the other two is a fun way of closing the circle.