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Despite delivering a final blow to the decades-long martial arts rivalry between Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), Season 4 of Cobra Kai (now streaming on Netflix) still ends with Daniel at one of the lowest points he's ever seen throughout the Karate Kid sequel series.
***WARNING! The following contains major plot spoilers for the final episode of Season 4***
Faced with the prospect of giving up his dojo and stepping down as its sensei just when Cobra Kai plans to expand throughout the Valley under the nefarious leadership of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), Daniel visits Mr. Miyagi's grave in the hope of receiving guidance on how to move forward. He wants "to do whatever it takes to stop them...even if that means going on offense."
"I know this isn't your fight and this is a lot to ask," he continues, "but will you help me finally put an end to Cobra Kai?" The camera then pans over to reveal enemy-turned-ally Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto), who was previously featured in Season 3 of the show. Daniel's erstwhile opponent from The Karate Kid Part II is back and ready to take on the no-good-very-bad dojo, which is only set to get more ruthless as Silver assumes control after framing Kreese for attempted murder and landing him in jail.
"Daniel, who we find at the ultimate depth of his loss, is feeling defeated and feeling like he made a deal with the devil. He’s realizing that to allow Miyagi-Do to be extinguished this way doesn’t sit well," co-showrunner/executive producer Josh Heald explained to TVLine. "There are times where the fight has to change, and what better moment than for Chozen to come back into this story and to lean into that part of Miyagi-Do. Chozen is somebody who ties into the more aggressive past where fighting wasn’t about a contest, it was about life and death. He still feels like he owes Daniel some help, and he wants to make amends even though Daniel has forgiven him. From that alone, I feel like audiences can infer the energy with which Season 5 is going to begin."
The fifth season, which was green-lit by Netflix back in August, has already completed production, which means we could see it drop sometime this year. "There are quite a bit of storylines that start spinning very fast and very aggressively as we enter next season," Heald teased, heavily hinting that the scroll Chozen gave to Daniel in Season 3 will play a bigger role down the road. "There’s always a chance you’re going to find out more about that scroll or more about the history of Miyagi-Do, but there’s nothing we can tease at this time."
Then there's the kids at the heart of all that karate chaos. Hurwitz teased Tory (Peyton List) will be at a very interesting place heading into next season, after finally becoming a champion only to learn the fight was fixed after she overhears Terry Silver paying off the referee: "How is she going to respond to that? She felt like she had something special and pure, and she can go in any number of directions off of that kind of bombshell."
Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) and Johnny (William Zabka) also end the season heading in different directions, with Miguel off to Mexico to try and finally meet his long lost father — while Johnny vows to follow him, find him, and keep him safe. That should make for one heck of an adventure when the new season kicks off: "In a way, Miguel’s decision is a split-second one, and in a way, it’s something that’s been brewing the whole season. By the time they realize they’re on different pages, it’s too late."
Season 4 of Cobra Kai is now available to stream on Netflix.