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Small Details You Missed In Cobra Kai Season 5

"Cobra Kai" Season 5 is an action-packed thrill ride — arguably the show's most expansive and exciting installment yet, but also one that prioritizes its many character arcs. Where Season 4 is slow and methodical, gradually building up to the climactic All-Valley Tournament, Season 5 is a sprawling epic that covers a tremendous amount of ground in just 10 episodes. It takes half the season just to introduce and re-introduce all the characters, but don't worry — everyone more or less gets their due.

That's not to say that "Cobra Kai" Season 5 is perfect by any means, but it satisfies in most of the ways it needs to. Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) gets a full arc alongside Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), making them a proper trio. Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) does some soul-and-father-searching in Mexico, Sam (Mary Mouser) and Tory's (Peyton List) story comes to a head, and Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) reigns over the whole season as the best villain the series has seen yet.

With so much going on in the forefront of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, however, it's easy to miss a lot of the smaller details. The season is filled with setups and callbacks, throwaway lines that have hidden significance, and thematic overtones that aren't immediately apparent. Here are some little touches you may have missed in "Cobra Kai" Season 5.

Strange(r) Things

It's no secret that "Cobra Kai" has become one of Netflix's biggest shows. The series has received high praise from fans and critics alike, and Season 5 makes it one of the longer-running original scripted series on the streamer to date. It makes sense, then, that the series shares some things with "Stranger Things," another of Netflix's biggest properties. Some of these similarities are likely incidental. For instance, both shows feature multi-generational casts and build a lot of drama off of the interactions between characters of different ages. But there are a couple of specific moments in "Cobra Kai" Season 5 that evoke "Stranger Things."

The first moment comes when Sam spends some time in a sensory deprivation tank at the suggestion of her friends. In her dream-like state, she enters into a black void where she faces various people from her life. This is incredibly similar to the experiences of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) in "Stranger Things." Eleven often uses a deprivation tank to enhance her psychic abilities, and the sensation manifests as her psychic projection standing in a black void.

Later on in the season, Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser) reveals Terry Silver's secrets to the Miyagi-Do crew in the form of a Dungeons & Dragons game. Of course, paralleling the plot of your show with some lighthearted tabletop roleplaying is also a trend originally made famous by "Stranger Things."

Demetri's summer job

At the beginning of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, Daniel LaRusso makes a difficult decision and closes down his Miyagi-Do dojo — a condition of the bet he lost to Terry Silver in Season 4. His students are understandably bummed out, and Demetri in particular has one throwaway line about needing to a get a summer job instead. It's an easy line to miss, but it foreshadows a funny scene later on in the season.

After returning from Mexico, Johnny decides to get a new phone so that he can properly join the gig economy of ride sharing and food delivery. He gets a knock on the door from the tech guy who's supposed to help him set it up, and of course, it's none other than Demetri. This might seem like it comes from out of nowhere if you missed Demetri's earlier line about getting a job, but if you caught that detail, it makes a lot of sense. Working the fictional equivalent of the Geek Squad desk is perfect for Demetri, and the scene gives him a fun excuse to butt heads with Johnny again, just like in the good ol' days.

Johnny still doesn't understand technology

One of the big running gags in "Cobra Kai" is that Johnny Lawrence just doesn't understand modern technology. In the past, he's struggled to understand Facebook, Google, and laptops, among other things. That confusion carries on into Season 5.

He calls Google "Goggle" in an exchange with Daniel. He plugs every existential question he encounters into the internet. He achieves the worst-reviewed Uber profile ever in record time. But one particular scene calls back to Season 2 in an especially fun way. While delivering food orders around town, Johnny drops a box of taquitos off to the owner of a local pawn shop — a character who fans of the show will surely recognize. In Season 2, the same guy sells Johnny his first computer and subsequently has to help him figure out the basics of how it works. The pawn shop proprietor plays the exact same role in Season 5 by helping Johnny fix an issue with his new smartphone. It appears that some things never change.

Still, Johnny manages to effectively apply his tech at a few points in Season 5. Not only does his phone help him find employment, but he uses the treasure trove of knowledge on the internet to prepare for the coming baby and to try to help Robby and Miguel reconcile. Not all of these plans work out, but it's nice to see him try.

The octopus necklace

Miguel and Sam have a bit of a rollercoaster arc in "Cobra Kai" Season 5. Sam gets upset when Miguel leaves for Mexico without saying anything, and when he gets back, he tries to make it up to her. He goes jewelry shopping in hopes of finding a gift, and he settles on a peculiar piece — a necklace with a pendant in the shape of an octopus.

There's no flashback scene or added explanation to give context, but fans of the show should recognize the significance of the necklace to Miguel and Sam's relationship. During their first date in "Cobra Kai" Season 1, Miguel wins a giant stuffed octopus and presents it to Sam jokingly as a gift. It becomes a symbol of their relationship moving forward, so it makes sense that Miguel would choose an octopus necklace, and it hurts to see him throw it away. Fortunately, Sam stumbles upon it later on, and the two get back together by the end of the season.

Miguel is the strongest fighter

There are a lot of capable karate practitioners in "Cobra Kai." In a show where fierce fighters who cover a range of ages and styles throw down in almost every episode, you'd think it would be easy to tell how everyone stacks up against each other. But "Cobra Kai" does a good job of keeping things even. Sam beats Tory, but with help from her friends. Then Tory beats Sam, but with a dirty ref. Nearly every fight in the show hints toward a clear way that the loser could have won, perpetuating debates about who's really the strongest.

One of the biggest debates centers on whether Miguel, Robby, or Hawk is the strongest of the main teenage boy characters. They each get moments in the spotlight, and they've faced off against each other a number of times. But in a subtle way, Season 5 seems to confirm that Miguel is actually the best fighter of the three. At Johnny's urging, Miguel and Robby hash out their beef in a no-holds-barred battle midway through the season, which ends in a mirror of their Season 2 school duel. It's clear that Miguel has Robby on the ropes, even after they both give it their all.

Later, in the season finale, Miguel goes toe to toe with Kenny (Dallas Dupree Young), who defeated Hawk several episodes prior, and seems to get the best of him as well. In short, Miguel's not the one you want to mess with.

How Amanda met Daniel

Every main character gets some time for growth and development in "Cobra Kai" Season 5, including Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler). In Episode 5, she takes a well-deserved break from her husband's crazy karate drama to reconnect with family — specifically, her cousin Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively), who devoted fans will recognize from "The Karate Kid Part III."

If you're not intimately familiar with all the movies, this connection might tornado kick right over your head. But Jessica doesn't just provide an unexpected cameo — she also explains how Daniel and Amanda originally met. While catching up at a local bar, the two women discuss how Jessica put her cousin in contact with Daniel when she first moved to California. Jessica moved back to Ohio after the events of "The Karate Kid Part III," but she and Daniel clearly remained close enough of friends for him to act as a point of contact for Amanda.

While a small detail, this is a fun inclusion because it finally connects Amanda to the larger "Karate Kid" timeline. It also gives Jessica — a character who doesn't really get to do much in the original film — a slightly more important role in the franchise than she previously held.

Is Chozen a wizard?

When Chozen Toguchi first returns in "Cobra Kai" Season 3, he's presented as an almost unnaturally powerful fighter. He teaches Daniel secret techniques of Miyagi-Do that end up helping him defeat John Kreese (Martin Kove), and overall, he presents himself as a true master of his martial art. In Season 5, Chozen is every bit as strong, to the point that he downright breaks the laws of physics a couple of times.

In Season 5, Episode 7, Chozen has the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students undergo a training exercise where they each must protect an egg from his attacks. Nathaniel (Nathaniel Oh) and Bert (Owen Morgan) decide to take their eggs to the floating platform in the middle of the dojo's koi pond, which works great until Chozen emerges from beneath the surface of the water and throws them in. Here's the thing, though — It's a tiny pond. There's no way even a master of Chozen's caliber could have fully submerged himself without them noticing. Later on, he steals the egg right out of Sam's backpack despite never having appeared anywhere near it for the entire exercise.

Moments like this are primarily meant for comedic effect, and "Cobra Kai" certainly gives its other characters some physics-defying opportunities, too. But Chozen in particular steps so far outside reality that the only explanation is that he's using some kind of magic. And honestly? If that's the case, more power to him.

The return of the Hawk

Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz (Jacob Bertrand) has a rollercoaster of an arc through "Cobra Kai." He starts the show as a quiet kid who's the target of frequent bullying. Then he starts learning karate and gets a flashy mohawk and couple of tattoos, eventually becoming one of the best teenage fighters in the valley. His desire for respect takes him all the way to the darkside and back again, and in Season 4, he becomes the target of a brutal Cobra Kai attack that leaves him hawk-less.

You may notice that Hawk's signature hawk grows back just in time for a crucial fight in Season 5 — his duel against Kenny for the recognition of the Sekai Taikai committee. It's particularly symbolic because both Miguel and Robby choose Hawk to represent them in the fight, which narratively acts as a kind of rebirth for the character. Of course, Hawk ends up losing the fight, but even then, the mohawk maintains a high level of importance.

Later on, Hawk is shown to have removed the green color from his trademark hairstyle — a color he adds specifically for the fight. When asked about the change, he says that the green "didn't really work," and that he's "still figuring it out." It's a nice touch, exploring the superstition Hawk has built up around his hair and showing a small glimpse into his inner psyche and competitive approach.

The Legend of Stingray

When the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students come to Stingray for help at the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, he's wearing an interesting t-shirt. If you've played the original "Legend of Zelda" or are simply familiar with the memes, you'll probably recognize the phrase "It's dangerous to go alone, take this" printed on the shirt. The line is spoken by the NPC who gives Link his sword in the NES game, and it's become iconic in the decades since.

This choice of clothing can be interpreted simply as a good choice for D&D night, which is what Stingray is up to at the time. However, there's actually a decent bit of thematic depth that we can read into the shirt. On one level, the line is an echo of the resounding Season 5 message that doing hard things alone is almost never a good idea. Be it Johnny and Daniel or Tory and Sam, the season makes a point of showing that "going alone" is usually a mistake. This is especially relevant for Stingray, who cuts himself off from his former friends out of fear and only speaks out against Terry Silver after being bolstered by them.

The shirt can also be read as a foreshadowing of the sword fight that takes place between Chozen and Silver in the "Cobra Kai" Season 5 finale — a tease that Chozen's habit of bringing his sai everywhere with him is actually a smart idea.

Chekhov's swords

Though the duel between Daniel and Terry Silver is the proper final battle of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, the real action climax is the sword fight between Silver and Chozen Toguchi. No prior battle in the show can match it in terms of absurdity or stakes, and if you were watching the whole season closely, you may have seen it coming.

Early in Season 5, when Chozen is still undercover as a sensei at the main Cobra Kai dojo, he's invited by Silver for dinner at his house. While he's there, the villain shows him his impressive collection of swords, including one that he later uses to nearly fight Chozen to the death. This is about as true an example of "Chekhov's gun" as you can possibly get, save for the fact that it's a sword instead of a gun. The narrative principle associated with playwright Anton Chekhov asserts that a gun seen hanging over a fireplace in the first act of a play must be fired in the third act. In "Cobra Kai," Silver's swords are literally presented as display pieces, exactly as a gun would be if hung over a fireplace.

This clever use of the old trope foreshadows Chozen and Silver's eventual duel, and it makes it all the more satisfying when it finally happens.

The foreshadowing of the Tiger

"Cobra Kai" Season 5 does a fair bit of foreshadowing, including one musical allusion at the end of Episode 9. Chozen, Daniel, and Johnny get back in their rented party limo to head to another bar, leading to a drunken singalong to the Survivor's iconic '80s hit "Eye of the Tiger."

On a purely surface level, this song is almost too appropriate. As the Oscar-nominated theme song of "Rocky III," it fits perfectly for the three sensei, all of whom have been on journeys of self-discovery throughout the show. In other words, they haven't lost their grip on the dreams of the past, and they've certainly risen up the challenge of their rivals.

However, there's a second level of meaning to the choice of song that foreshadows the events of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, Episode 10. Survivor vocalist David Bickler sings, "And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night." The song continues, "and he's watching us all with the eye of the tiger." These lyrics play just as it's revealed that the limo has been hijacked by an unseen, presumably malicious force, intercut with shots of Terry Silver acting villainous. In the end, it turns out to be Mike Barnes, not one of Silver's agents, who's behind the wheel, but the song's lyrics are clearly meant to imply that the Big Bad is the one "stalking" our heroes. Given Johnny's outspoken obsession with "Rocky," the whole sequence is spot-on.

Strong roots

In the final battle between Daniel and Terry Silver at the end of "Cobra Kai" Season 5, Silver taunts his opponent by saying that Miyagi-Do will soon be extinct. Daniel isn't fazed by this. "The roots are strong," he says, striking a combat pose, "so the tree will survive." While not quite the original phrasing, the sentiment of Daniel's statement echoes Mr. Miyagi's own words of encouragement from "The Karate Kid Part III."

In the movie, Daniel is led down a dark path by Silver's manipulative schemes, but he eventually realizes the error in his ways. Feeling weak and broken, he returns to Mr. Miyagi with a mountain of guilt at all that he's done, but his mentor doesn't allow him to wallow in shame. Instead, he shows him the special bonsai tree broken by Mike Barnes earlier in the film, which Mr. Miyagi has repotted and helped to flourish. Daniel is astonished that the tree is doing so well. "Make it because have strong root," Mr. Miyagi says, "just like you."

By invoking this bit of wisdom from his old teacher, Daniel isn't just calling to mind Mr. Miyagi's training. He's specifically conjuring the feelings that allowed him to defeat Silver's schemes as a kid, so that he can defeat him once again, as an adult. And clearly, his strategy works.

Mr. Miyagi beats Silver in spirit

It would have been great to see Mr. Miyagi himself best Terry Silver in "Cobra Kai," but sadly, due to Pat Morita's passing in 2005, that's not possible. However, the Netflix series still provides Mr. Miyagi with a kind of spiritual victory, as it's the two best students of his karate style who ultimately take Silver down.

While Chozen isn't especially loyal to Mr. Miyagi's principles when he's first introduced in "The Karate Kid Part II," he grows into a true master of Miyagi-Do. And he very nearly beats Silver singlehandedly on the merits of that training, only losing to a dirty trick. When Silver shows up to face Daniel at the Cobra Kai dojo, he's already worn ragged from his battle with Chozen. As such, he's no match for Daniel, who defeats him for good using a combination of Miyagi-Do and Silver's own, more aggressive tactics.

By having Chozen and Daniel basically tag team Silver, the show pays major tribute to Mr. Miyagi's teachings. He wasn't there to stop the villain personally, but his style is the weapon that ultimately brings Silver down.

So much parallelism

"Cobra Kai" has always been a show that enjoys narrative parallels, but Season 5 takes things to a whole other level. There are some obvious cases, like how Miguel and Robby's rivalry-turned-friendship acts as a sped-up version of Johnny and Daniel's arc, or how there are a half-dozen mentor-mentee relationships that mirror each other across the cast. Season 5 adds additional parallelism, however, in the form of its many reformed villains.

By bringing Johnny, Chozen, and Mike Barnes together, "Cobra Kai" makes a team of Daniel's three main rivals from the original film trilogy. And while some get more screen time than others (sorry Mike), their journeys parallel each other, and Daniel's, in several ways. Like Johnny, Chozen wallowed in self-loathing for years, albeit with a bit more remorse. And like Daniel, Mike found solace in the joys of being a small business owner.

Additionally, Season 5 adds layers to the show's existing family parallels. Johnny and Miguel's relationship continues to mirror Mr. Miyagi and Daniel's surrogate father-son bond, especially after Miguel sees what kind of man his biological father really is. And Tory gets to skip the years of anguish felt by the "Karate Kid" movie villains by admitting her mistakes to Sam and seeking peace. There's a lot of silliness in "Cobra Kai" Season 5, but there's also a lot of intentionality in the writing, and it's fun to see how the huge web of characters is all woven together.

The root of all evil

Where "Cobra Kai" Season 4 is a story about division and failure, Season 5 is a story about unity and redemption. By the end of Episode 10, nearly every character has been redeemed to the side of good. Even Kreese gets a bit of an arc in prison, though it's unclear just how much of that is just a performance. The only character not to get any redemption at all is Terry Silver, who walks away in handcuffs shortly before the final credits roll.

What's the moral to be taken away from this? Could it be that the love of money really is the root of all evil? As an evil billionaire, Silver is a very different kind of villain than Kreese. He succeeds in his aims simply because he has the resources to do so, and he seems nearly unstoppable because of how much money he has. Silver pays off referees, buys up dojos, and even makes charitable donations with the intention of furthering his own nefarious goals. But when all is said and done, all that money doesn't buy him victory. All it gets him is the only arc in "Cobra Kai" Season 5 that doesn't end in redemption.