'Cobra Kai' recap

‘Cobra Kai’ Recap for Seasons 1-5

Fans of “The Karate Kid” will get a kick out of this TV sequel. “Cobra Kai” is a comedy-drama television Netflix series about the reignited rivalry between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence 30 years after the events in “The Karate Kid”. Flashbacks from the original “The Karate Kid” film are sprinkled throughout the series, paying tribute to the show’s roots as well as the late Pat Morita.

Have you not seen “The Karate Kid” movies? No worries, you don’t need to watch the films to understand the premise and enjoy the show. The flashback clips will bring you up to speed. But if you want to enjoy a few inside jokes and hidden easter eggs, we encourage you to stream the movies first.

“Cobra Kai” quickly made its way to Netflix’s top 10 after the release of season 5, so we anticipate that this final season will follow suit. Need a rundown of what’s happened so far? A “Cobra Kai” recap perhaps? Whether you’ve missed a few episodes or just need a refresher, we’ve put together all the need-to-know points from seasons 1-5 so you can adequately prepare for the finale of season 6.

“Cobra Kai” Recap

'Cobra Kai' Recap for Season 1

Season 1

Decades after the tournament that changed their lives, Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso are re-introduced as adults. Johnny is a deadbeat drunk who’s a divorced husband and neglectful father while Daniel is a successful car dealership owner with a wife and 2 kids. All these years later, Johnny still has disdain for Daniel.

At the solicitation of his bullied neighbor Miguel, Johnny agrees to teach him karate and decides to reopen the old Cobra Kai dojo. Johnny recruits more students (Eli/Hawk, Aisha) and trains them with modified Cobra Kai techniques. He teases the students to build motivation. As the season progresses, you can see the Cobra Kai students, once thought of as nerds and outcasts, now turn to hostility and arrogance, giving credence to the “No Mercy” mantra.

Meanwhile, Johnny’s son, Robby starts working at Daniel’s auto dealership to get back at his neglectful father, but keeps his parentage a secret from Daniel. Robby grows closer to Daniel, who eventually trains him using Mr. Miyagi’s karate teachings of commitment, balance, and humility. When it comes to light that Robby is Johnny’s son, Daniel and Johnny get into a fight. Daniel fires Robby and terminates his karate training.

At the 50th All-Valley Karate Championship, Miguel and Eli/Hawk advance to the semifinals while Aisha is eliminated in the quarterfinals. Eli/Hawk dislocates Robby’s shoulder, eliminating him from the competition. Daniel checks in with Robby; they reconcile and Daniel agrees to be his sensei again. In the final round, Miguel and Robby face-off, where Miguel exploits Robby’s injury.

The season ends with Miguel winning the 50th Anniversary All Valley Karate Championship and Daniel revealing his plans to use Mr. Miyagi’s old home as a new, competing dojo, Miyagi-Do Karate. Overall, season 1 boils down to rehashing old wounds between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence that never really healed.

'Cobra Kai' Season 2

Season 2

Season 2 opens with the return of John Kreese, who urges Johnny to let him restore Cobra Kai as sensei. After continued manipulation, Johnny accepts the help of Kreese.

Johnny scolds Miguel and Eli/Hawk for their dishonorable techniques at the All-Valley Tournament but continues to use cruel methods to train the students in an effort to impress Kreese.

Meanwhile, Daniel begins training at Miyagi-Do Karate, where his daughter, Sam, is now the newest recruit. Tired of being bullied, several Cobra Kai students move to Miyagi-Do Karate, where Daniel teaches them teamwork, diligence, and discipline.

A feud unfolds between Sam and a new Cobra Kai student, Tory. Tensions between the two continue to rise when Tory and Miguel begin a relationship. Sam and Robby also begin dating. Later, Sam kisses Miguel at a party, intensifying the rivalry between Tory and Sam. 

Throughout the season, Kreese uses manipulation to re-instill the original Cobra Kai mentality of winning at any and all costs. Johnny eventually grows tired of Kreese’s influence and forces him out.

The majority of this season follows the building animosity between competing dojos Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do Karate. The competition leads to damaged friendships, broken relationships, and beginnings of new characters.

The season concludes with a fight, started by Tory, that breaks out between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do Karate on the first day of school. The brawl ends with Miguel in the hospital in critical condition after Robby kicks him off a second-story balcony. Daniel decides to shut down Miyagi-Do Karate and Johnny steps down as sensei, leading John Kreese to take over Cobra Kai.

'Cobra Kai' Recap for Season 3

Season 3

Everyone is still reeling from the karate fight at school and the accident with Miguel, who is in a coma in the ICU. After the fight, Tory is expelled, Robby runs away, Eli/Hawk is becoming an even bigger bully, and Sam is experiencing trauma from the fight. Angry about what happened to Miguel, Cobra Kai students attack the Miyagi-Do students once again, solidifying the divide between old friends.

Meanwhile, after days of searching, Daniel finally finds Robby and turns him into the police, who incarcerate him in juvenile detention. Robby feels betrayed and terminates his relationship with Daniel. In juvie, Robby grows more destructive and becomes contemptuous towards his dad, Johnny, and old sensei, Daniel. When he’s released from juvie, Tory convinces Robby to join Cobra Kai.

Miguel eventually wakes up from his coma, but the doctors warn that he might be paralyzed for life. Johnny helps Miguel with his recovery and, eventually, he is able to walk again. When he goes back to school, he discovers all the terrible things Cobra Kai has done. He chooses to leave Cobra Kai and urges Johnny to start up Eagle Fang Karate. Johnny and Miguel then enlist some old Cobra Kai students who were kicked out by Kreese.

While on business in Tokyo, Daniel visits Okinawa, where he reunites with his former lover Kumiko, old rival Chozen, and an adult Yuna (who he saved from the typhoon in The Karate Kid Part II). He learns new martial arts techniques and remembers his roots.

After returning home from Japan, Kreese threatens Daniel and his students, which prompts Daniel to reopen Miyagi-Do Karate so his students can defend themselves when Cobra Kai strikes again.

Throughout the season, flashbacks of Kreese’s life in the military portray what drove him to become the vile man he is. A once compassionate man turned hardened by the death of his lover and the abuse of his old captain.

Repeated violent offenses from Cobra Kai lead the students of Miyagi-Do Karate and Eagle Fangs Karate to band together to defeat them once and for all. As they are convening at the LaRusso’s house, Cobra Kai students show up to fight Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fangs Karate. Eli/Hawk realizes what he’s become and switches sides, defending his old friends against Cobra Kai.

The season ends with Daniel and Johnny both showing up at the Cobra Kai dojo to confront Kreese. They see Kreese is training Robby and a fight breaks out. They reach an agreement: whoever loses at the All Valley Tournament will close their dojo. The final episode closes with Daniel and Johnny training their students at the Miyagi-Do Karate dojo to prepare for the championship.

'Cobra Kai' Season 4

Season 4

Newly united senseis Daniel and Johnny struggle to join forces with their conflicting karate approaches. After several failed attempts to merge Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fangs Karate together, Daniel and Johnny decide to enter the All Valley Tournament separately. 

Kreese convinces Robby to officially join Cobra Kai, where Robby then teaches the Cobra Kai students Miyagi-Do so they can learn to defeat them in the tournament. Robby also takes a new, bullied student, Kenny Payne, under his wing.

Eager to defeat Daniel and Johnny, Kreese enlists the help of his former friend, Terry Silver, who is hesitant at first but agrees to help Cobra Kai. As the season goes on, Terry’s domineering attitude and attempt to restore his authority aggravates Kreese. Tensions rise and Terry becomes only more overbearing.

The city’s decision to split the tournament into 2 divisions for males and females forces the dojos to search for additional female students. Cobra Kai recruits Piper while Eagle Fangs recruits Devon Lee.

Amanda discovers Tory’s situation at home and attempts to help her get her life back together, including allowing her to re-enroll at school after getting expelled. This causes even more riffs between Sam and Tory, who end up getting into a karate fight after prom.

When Daniel and Amanda learn that Anthony is bullying Kenny at school, Anthony decides to be a better person and channel his energy into Miyagi-Do Karate. 

Terry attacks Johnny to prove his loyalty to Kreese. Kreese forces him to let Johnny go. Johnny goes home where Miguel nurses his injuries. A drunken Johnny tells Miguel he wants to be a father figure to him, but Miguel is left heartbroken when he accidentally calls him “Robby”.

All three dojos come head-to-head at the All-Valley Tournament. Daniel notices Cobra Kai students using Miyagi-Do moves and reprimands Robby. Robby just wants to win.

The skills competition is first up, where Cobra Kai takes the win. In the male division, Robby and Kenny must face off. Kreese tells Robby not to go easy on Kenny. Robby listens and Kenny ends up eliminated with a broken nose. With a newfound confidence, Eli beats Kyler. Miguel and Eli must compete in the semi-finals, but a mismove leads to a pulled back for Miguel. Medics check on Miguel and clear him to fight but he disappears instead, which causes Eli to advance to the final round against Robby. Using both Cobra Kai and Eagle Fang techniques, Eli wins the boys’ tournament. 

In the female division, Tory beats Devon in the quarter-finals while Sam takes out Piper, leading these two rivals to duke it out in the final round. Daniel and Johnny decide to put their differences aside and both coach Sam in the final round. Terry advises Tory to fight dirty, but Kreese retorts, solidifying the divide between Kreese and Terry. It’s a close match but Tory wins the match, giving Cobra Kai the overall tournament win. Terry then announces his plans to open several Cobra Kai locations.

The season ends with Tory catching Terry bribing an All-Valley Tournament referee, Miguel running away to Mexico City to find his father, Robby reconciling with Johnny, Kreese getting arrested after Terry framed him for attacking a former Cobra Kai student, and Daniel enlisting the help of Chozen to defeat Cobra Kai once and for all.

'Cobra Kai' Recap for Season 5

Season 5

The season starts with the expansion of new Cobra Kai locations after Tory’s All-Valley Tournament win.

At the urging of Amanda, Daniel decides to shut down Miyagi-Do. However, he continues to try to take down Cobra Kai by having Chozen go undercover and infiltrate the dojo. Terry hires new senseis, including Chozen. However, a fight ensues when he is tipped off about Chozen’s true identity.

Miguel runs off to Mexico to find his father. He eventually finds his father, who gives off a good first impression, but his true colors quickly start to show and Miguel realizes why his mother left him. Meanwhile, after reconciling with Robby, Johnny takes him on a road trip to find Miguel. After scouring the city, they eventually find a devastated Miguel and take him home. 

Tory confronts Terry about her win, and he admits to paying off the referee. After learning of Silver’s deception, Tory stays at Cobra Kai, working undercover to thwart Silver and remaining loyal to Kreese.

Sam struggles with some mental trauma from her continuing feud with Tory and breaks up with Miguel to focus on herself, leaving Miguel devastated. Meanwhile, Robby tries to convince Tory to leave Cobra Kai, but her refusal leads to their breakup.

Tensions continue to rise between the Cobra Kai and the old Miyagi-Fang dojo with both the senseis and the students. Terry begins using mind games on Daniel, which causes his life and marriage to fracture. Silver also continues growing his Cobra Kai empire, buying up dojos in the valley. He hires Kim Da-Eun, the granddaughter of his former sensei, to challenge his students to become the best, where they train Cobra Kai students in harsh conditions.

Meanwhile, Johnny and Carmen’s pregnancy news forces Miguel and Robby to put their rivalry in the past.

Kreese deals with the struggles that come with prison. Kreese uses Cobra Kai techniques to stand up for himself after being bullied, earning respect from other inmates.

Amanda learns the truth about Silver from her cousin, Jessica Andrews, and convinces Daniel to stand up for himself, reigniting his passion for karate. Meanwhile, Sam decides to confront her trauma and fight for herself again. Miyagi-Do is now open again and the students reunite.

Both dojos continue to train under very different approaches – Cobra Kai pits their students against each other while Miyagi-Fang teaches lessons about teamwork.

Meanwhile, Silver is looking for leadership in his Cobra Kai students. He wants to take Kenny under his wing, helping to train him and boosting his confidence.

Johnny, Daniel, and Chozen plan to take down Silver, seeking help from Kreese in prison. In exchange for information, Daniel offers to provide Kreese with a good lawyer. Kreese reveals Silver’s worldwide ambitions for Cobra Kai in the Sekai Taikai tournament. However, Daniel retracts his offer, leaving Kreese falsely accused in prison.

When Silver attempts to enter the Sekai Taikai tournament, Daniel and Johnny insist Miyagi-Fang also be considered. During the tournament selection, Kenny defeats Eli, and Sam beats Devon, allowing both dojos to enter the competition.

Tory tells Sam about Silver’s bribery, further dividing them, at first, but Miguel urges Sam to give Tory some grace. Sam and Tory then devise a plan to expose Silver by finding video evidence of the bribery. They succeed in hacking the security system, but when the Cobra Kai students show up, a fight breaks out. 

Meanwhile, drunk Johnny, Chozen, and Mike instigate a fight at Silver’s home. Silver fights Chozen–with weapons. Silver slashes Chozen with a sword, severely injuring him.

Back at the Cobra Kai dojo, Anthony streams the video of Silver’s bribery, revealing the truth to the Cobra Kai students. Daniel defeats Silver using his own “Quick Silver” techniques. The season ends with the students leaving Cobra Kai, Silver being arrested, Chozen being hospitalized, and Kreese escaping from prison.

Ready for season 6?

Now that you’re caught up with our ‘Cobra Kai’ recap, you’re ready for the next season, set to premiere on Netflix on July 18! The 6th season of ‘Cobra Kai’ is the last of the series. Time to see how it all ends for Daniel, Johnny, and Cobra Kai once and for all.

Is ‘Cobra Kai’ for kids?

Rated TV-14 for strong martial arts violence and language throughout, parents are strongly cautioned to screen beforehand. With VidAngel, you can select customizable filters to tailor your viewing experience to align with your family’s needs and values. You can learn more about filtering with VidAngel here. Want to watch ‘Cobra Kai’ as a family without the foul language? Filter it today with VidAngel.

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