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Cobra Kai Season 5's Strangest Finale Twist Explained By Showrunners

We certainly weren't expecting that Season 5 cliffhanger from Cobra Kai, but the showrunners are breaking it down for us.


The newest season of Netflix's Cobra Kai is out in the world and after a Season 4 that felt like a bit of a downgrade, the latest batch of episodes is a serious return to crane-kicking form. The fights are top-notch, the drama is thick, and when it all wrapped up, there were plenty of questions about what comes next, should the show be renewed for Season 6. The biggest question has to do with the most ridiculous cliffhanger the show has pulled off yet.

Warning: The following contains spoilers for all of Cobra Kai Season 5. If you've yet to watch the new episodes, look away now. Otherwise, you're definitely going to be spoiled.

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Throughout Season 5, sensei John Kreese (Martin Kove) was locked up for the attempted murder of Stingray (Paul Walter Hauser). Chances are you'll recall those events unfolding at the end of Season 4--along with the fact that Kreese is actually innocent. He was framed by his former friend Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith).

However, as Season 5 comes to a close, the truth is revealed and Silver is taken into custody. Naturally, you might think that means Kreese would be released by the cops. That's not the case, though, as it's revealed that he actually escaped prison after faking his own death. Seriously, Kreese faked his own death to get out of jail and is now seemingly on the run.

How did we get here? Well, as co-showrunner John Hurwitz told GameSpot, we shouldn't actually be that surprised. "It's Karate Kid/Cobra Kai tradition for Kreese to fake his own death," he joked. "So that's something that he likes doing. We enjoy it when he does it, and we thought it would be a real fun thing to have in the finale."

Hurwitz isn't wrong. In Season 1, it was revealed that everyone thought Kreese was dead, only for him to pop back up at the end of the season, setting up his return to the Cobra Kai dojo. Now, he's done it again, only the stakes are much bigger. After all, he's now a fugitive on the run.

Co-showrunner Hayden Schlossberg elaborated a bit more on the decision to have Kreese make a run for it, explaining, "We joke about the karate soap opera and we love these big huge finales and big cliffhangery moments. And, you know, we knew that Kreese was going to be in jail this season. And there's different ways that he could leave jail, different approaches. We wanted one that would be very entertaining and I think that our goal with his story this season was to kind of give fans different fulfilling stories for his character."

Those stories stem from the kinds of stories viewers want to see from the Kreese character, including a possible redemption. "There's this redemption story that he's kind of following from the past couple of seasons, that he cares about Johnny," Schlossberg continued. "You see that there's humanity in there. It's that Darth Vader story. Will he turn good?"

That piece of the story can also clearly be seen in Kreese's interactions with Tory (Peyton List), a student he has seemingly grown to truly care about--much like he did Johnny (William Zabka) when he was younger. Of course, there's no guarantee Kreese will end up ditching his villainous ways. Per Schlossberg, the reason for keeping him a bad guy is pretty simple. "Fans like their John Kreese to be pure evil," he said.

So don't expect any immediate resolution one way or the other, as the showrunners "like to play with both and make people wonder," Schlossberg told GameSpot. Moving forward, though, Kreese's status on the show is going to be a complex one. After all, Cobra Kai is seemingly dead in the water and there's no way he can publicly resume control of the dojo. Then again, he's clearly cheated death before, so whatever he pulls off in Season 6, should the show be renewed, should be interesting.

All five seasons of Cobra Kai are available on Netflix now.

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