‘Cobra Kai’ Recap: Season 5, Episode 8 “Taikai”


This episode, the Sekai Taikai qualifying begins, and the dojos are back in competition with each other. With Silver’s endgame in mind, Daniel, Johnny, and Chozen do their best to prepare their students for what’s to come.

Warning: Spoilers exist in this dojo.

Won’t Back Down

The Sekai Taikai organizers arrive at Cobra Kai. One of them, Gunther, reminds Silver that the selection process is rigorous and that even with the perks Silver can offer, it’s no guarantee he’ll be accepted; it depends on his students. Daniel, Johnny, Chozen, and Amanda show up. When they mention having two All Valley champs, Gunther is confused because Silver lied (surprise surprise). Daniel explains how he and Johnny combine their styles and believe their students deserve a shot, too. Gunther confers with two others and agree to review Daniel and Johnny’s kids. Silver is annoyed, but them’s the breaks.

Later, Sensei Kim is angry because she thinks the rivalry is getting in the way. Silver reassures her it won’t, and Sensei Kim will keep training the Cobra Kais. The students, specifically Devon, are excited about what the tournament could mean for them, but Tory is quiet. She remembers (and we see in flashback) how Kreese wants her to keep staying at Cobra Kai because he just needs a little more time. In the present, Devon notices something is wrong, but Tory says it’s nothing.

The Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang kids are also excited, but Chozen reminds them they need to be able to compete with the best. Johnny tells Miguel he doesn’t need to, not after the last All Valley. Miguel wants to, though. Robby comes over and makes remark about fatherly advice but is only joking. Johnny is glad the two are getting along and are both on the same team.

Karate Showcase

The Sekai organizers begin their evaluations. At Miyagi-Do, Daniel walks them through the general process with small groups showcasing each respective point. He explains some of the history of Miyagi-Do (complete with unhelpful but well-intentioned commentary by Johnny). They move to the Eagle Fang warehouse to show Johnny’s methods. Sam demonstrates by kick smashing a watermelon that goes all over Gunther. Everyone is in panic mode, but Johnny makes a Rocky 4 reference that Gunther VERY enthusiastically understands. Whew.

At the flagship Cobra Kai, Silver uses Kenny to show how quickly his dojo sees progress. He also shows off some fancy tech that helps them see how much power a student is using and to help adjust. Throughout, the Cobra Kais demonstrate other techniques they use in their style.

Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix

The demonstrations wrap up and Gunther offers his comments to each dojo. He points out how even though they are different, they are both equally impressive. To decide which dojo qualifies, they will compete directly, with each dojo choosing a male and female fighter. Tory and Kenny are Cobra Kais picks. Later, Tory visits Kreese to tell him and if she wins, it will only help Cobra Kai. She doesn’t know what to do. Instead of being helpful, Kreese backs down and is done stringing Tory along. She needs to do what’s best for her, which Tory doesn’t like and leaves.

Competition Eve

All of the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang kids are at the LaRussos’. Johnny talks with Miguel, Robby, and Eli. They’re all formidable fighters and Johnny isn’t sure who to pick. He thinks maybe a coin toss to decide (with three coins, obviously). But Robby and Miguel both agree that Eli should be the one. Meanwhile at the dojo, Chozen and Daniel finish up extra training with Sam. While they have faith in her versus Tory, she’s gloomier about how she didn’t expect to be back in karate so soon; she feels like she’s back where she started. Daniel and Chozen tell her about their former rivalry. Chozen explains how Daniel won because he knew what he was fighting for, giving Sam something to think about. As she leaves, she spots the octopus necklace on the ground.

Kenny is also training late, and Silver finds him. Kenny is worried because he’s smaller than most the other students. Silver, who has got be like 6’ 4”, somehow manages to relate. He teaches Kenny a new move called the Silver bullet that takes out an opponent in one shot.

Déjà Vu

Johnny, Daniel, and Chozen’s crew arrives at the flagship dojo, and Mitch is once again being sucked in by the bells and whistles of Cobra Kai. Elsewhere in the dojo, Sensei Kim tells Tory to make her match with Sam quick. Kenny spots Robby helping Anthony. Angry, he goes over to confront Robby, who again tries to get through to Kenny. And again, it doesn’t work. All the senseis talk with Gunther. They will start with the boys, with a local and impartial ref. The first to three points wins.

The first match begins and very quickly we see the ref is in no way, shape, or form an impartial one. Tory notices, too, but stays quiet. Eli isn’t faring well against Kenny, who is fighting dirty. Johnny and Daniel check in with him, and he’s ready to unleash the hawk. They start again but Kenny pulls out the Silver bullet and Eli is out for the count. Cobra Kai wins the boys’ match by forfeit.

Before the girls’ match, Daniel tells Sam that Cobra Kai is fighting dirty and dangerous, and Sam doesn’t have to fight. But she wants to. Tory is nowhere to be found, so Sensei Kim taps Devon as the replacement. The match and accompanying bogus calls begin. During a timeout, a frustrated Sam confers with Daniel and Chozen. Daniel knows points won’t always go their way. Miguel adds that Sam’s the better fighter, while Chozen says she can’t leave room for error. Daniel agrees and tells Sam to make every point undeniable. And she does, gaining the win. While her group celebrates, Devon apologizes to Sensei Kim, who reminds Devon it was her fault she lost, and now Tory is gone. So, Sensei Kim will turn Devon into a leader if she’s ready.


The organizers confer and reveal that Cobra Kai is heading to Sekai. However, they liked how unique Daniel and Johnny’s combined styles are, and they qualified, too! A bit later, Gunther asks what their dojo name is. Daniel and Johnny name each other’s dojos, because even though they work as one, they’re also both. Gunther says no single name is fine for now, but he needs to know soon. (We can think of one name that would work.) Proud of their accomplishment, Daniel tells the kids to go celebrate. Johnny tells Miguel and Robby that no adults will be home, if they want to have a party or something.

So, they party it up, and Robby and Eli seem to be on better ground with each other. Mitch tries to hit on a group of girls that walk in, but one girl seems to only have eyes for Miguel. Sam arrives, octopus necklace in hand, but leaves immediately when she sees Miguel and the girl making out. When she’s outside, Tory shows up. She promises she’s not there to fight and tells Sam that she didn’t actually lose the All Valley.

Cobra Kai season 5 is streaming now on Netflix. Keep up with our season recaps and additional coverage here.

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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