Cobra Kai season five spoilers follow.
Up to now Cobra Kai‘s most shocking fight remains the high school brawl of season two. You know, the one where Robby (Tanner Buchanan) kicked Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) over a second floor railing, putting him in a coma. It still gives us goosebumps.
Miguel sails through the air in grandiose slow motion, his face a twisted scream that twists and turns frame by frame before his back creaks over the railing and he lands roughly on the stairs.
It was like the tense dramatic scene it sounds like, heightened by the chaos of the massive fight that preceded it, Miyagi-Do versus Cobra Kai.
Sure, we now know he survived, but that season two cliffhanger was excruciating. Just like Miguel’s temporary paralysis. The consequences of that event reverberated in the following seasons.
Does that mean they went light on the fights? Absolutely not. The show is steeped in rivalry, old and new, but none that carried the same weight – until now.
Cobra Kai’s newest head, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), is different from his predecessors. While both Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and John Kreese (Martin Kove) differ in their levels of manipulation, scheming and brutality, they both knew where the line was.
Kreese’s line was a lot further out than Johnny’s, but it still existed and while No Mercy is his mantra, attempted murder doesn’t seem quite his method. The same cannot be said of Silver.
We felt that his mean streak was sharper and more acute than Kreese’s. If his treatment of Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser) didn’t help seal that impression, he certainly did.
However, the devilish sensei went one step further during his extreme battles with Miyagi-Do’s sensei Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Don Okumoto).
Finding himself on the losing side of a karate showdown didn’t seem like a good fit for Silver. Since defeat is not a word he would like to associate with, he does the only logical thing (that is, logical by his standards). Desperate, he reaches for his sword.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen weapons being used in Cobra Kai. Anyone remember Tory’s fierce knuckle rings?
However, this is the first time anything with such a lethal capacity has been used. Chozen responds to his threat by withdrawing his sai (Japanese daggers) and uttering the words:
“I’m not afraid to kill.”
To which Silver replies:
“And I’m not afraid to die.”
With those few words and deeds Cobra Kai raises the stakes higher than ever before.
What follows is a quietly understood, death-defying struggle that soon becomes increasingly bloody.
Chozen does more than stand his ground. He outright dominates until Silver gets a lucky swipe.
With that apparently serious cut on Chozen’s arm Cobra Kai indicates that nothing is off limits and that one of these men really won’t make it alive.
This crack is followed by another, hampering Chozen’s ability to fight. Miraculously, he became best Silver. Holding a dagger to Silver’s throat, Chozen falters, presumably his honor compelled him to give Silver a chance. An opportunity he doesn’t seize.
Instead, he urges Chozen to kill him.
“I was always meant to die on the battlefield,” he tells Chozen. However, when Chozen hears Johnny screaming in pain from a distance, Silver can claim the upper hand.
With Chozen’s back to him, Silver savagely draws his sword across his back and makes a deep cut. Chozen falls into the nearby pool, his blood flows into the water and turns red and there he is left to die.
Demetri Actor Gianni DeCenzo Didn’t Lie When He Warned digital spy: “It’s getting violent.
“I think this is the most bloodshed we’ve seen in any last season.”
At this point it can be assumed that if Chozen is not already dead, he will become Cobra Kaithe first fatality. It’s a shocking reminder of how dangerous a situation they’ve all placed themselves in and how out of hand simple rivalry can be.
Chozen’s fate adds heaviness to the scenes that follow, while his harrowing situation lingers in mind as the rest of the story unfolds. It’s uncomfortable and sad and tense. It’s good TV, that’s it.
Imagine our mixture of joy and disappointment when in one of the final scenes he steps out of the limo with blood-soaked bandages and claims his injuries are nothing more than “flesh wounds.”
What’s worse is that his wounds are so minimized that Johnny didn’t even make it a priority to get him to the hospital before meeting his girlfriend Carmen.
Viewers literally saw him floating in a pool of his own blood and suddenly it’s a slap-a-plaster-on-it affair?
Chozen is an iconic character, so his survival is reassuring to fans of the show. Likewise, being such a fan favorite, a loss on this scale would have added more intrigue to the rivalry that has been bubbling since season one.
Likewise, if he was never destined to die, the showrunners could have at least put him in a critical position, like they did with Miguel in season two. It may not have the same effect his death would have, but a cliffhanger at that level would certainly have kept the tension that was created when he was injured.
Instead, the show makes a mistake by undoing its seriousness, missing the opportunity to marinate in an impressive moment.
Cobra Kai is available on Netflix.