Cobra Kai Season 5 Episode 1 review – Karate kids embark on mission to Mexico

Chris Tilly
cobra-kai-season-5Netflix

Cobra Kai is back in a new season where alliances are crafted, loyalties are tested, and violence lurks around every corner. But it all kicks off with an episode that splits the characters up, and sends half of them to Mexico.

Season 4 of the belated Karate Kid sequel ended in action-packed fashion, with John Kreese and Terry Silver’s villainous Cobra Kai battling Daniel LaRusso’s Miyagi-Do and Johnny Lawrence’s Eagle Fang at the All-Valley Tournament.

Beatdowns were administered, bones were broken, blood was spilled, and thanks to some questionable refereeing, Cobra Kai emerged victorious.

The drama wasn’t done there however, as the series ended with Terry framing Kreese and sending him to prison, Daniel enlisting Karate Kid II villain Chozen to help him defeat Silver, and Miguel heading to Mexico to find his father. Putting all the pieces in place for Season 5 of Cobra Kai. Which kicks off with an episode entitled “Long, Long Way From Home.” Just beware of MILD SPOILERS for Episode 1 ahead

Johnny Lawrence’s Mission to Mexico

Miguel’s trip to Mexico to seek out his his biological Dad should be a journey of self-discovery. But he finds himself in trouble from the off, first at the hands of some violent thieves, then through a case of mistaken identity.

Wanting to do the right thing by both Carmen and Miguel, Johnny heads South to find him. He also sees an opportunity for some father-son bonding, so he brings Robby along for the ride. Just without mentioning that they are searching for Robby’s mortal enemy. Meaning their trip goes about as well as Miguel’s.

Johnny is already a fish-out-of-water in modern times, and seeing him in a foreign land only exacerbates the issue, resulting in some of the episode’s funniest scenes. But father and son do ultimately bond, thanks to a kick-ass fight sequence. While after a few false starts Miguel gets closer to the truth, which we already know won’t end well.

Cobra Kai shows “No Mercy”

Thanks to his incarceration, there’s no Kreese in this episode, allowing his friend-turned enemy to take center-stage. Indeed Terry Silver casts a long shadow over Season 5, and not just because of his substantial pony-tail.

Episode 1 kicks off with a Cobra Kai commercial in which Terry announces a “new era” for valley karate, his flagship Encino dojo just the start of plans for expansion throughout the region and beyond. He also imports a team of sensei’s from abroad, led by a karate master who looks set to be one of this season’s major villains.

Silver’s success contrasts with Daniel’s failure, with his team defeated, and Miyagi-do closing down to take the target off his student’s backs. But heroes don’t give up that easily, and following some encouragement from his enemy-turned-friend, Daniel starts thinking like a serpent, because as Chozen states, that’s the only way you can catch a serpent.

The Verdict – is Season 5, Episode 1 of Cobra Kai good?

Terry Silver brainwashed Daniel in The Karate Kid III, and LaRusso is worried he’s doing the same to the students of Cobra Kai, as well as any other kid who falls under the spell of his ever-expanding empire.

That appears to the the driving force behind Season 5 of Cobra Kai, one that nicely dovetails with the plot of the third film. Meaning we’re expecting flashbacks, callbacks, and traumatic scenes in which knuckles bleed.

So while Episode 1’s Mexican vacation is a fun sub-plot that’s the source of big laughs, quality action, and some solid character development, one hopes that Johnny’s dysfunctional family will return to the valley soon, as the real action is happening back home…

Cobra Kai will premiere on Netflix September 9, when we’ll be posting a spoiler-filled review of the entire season.

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