Warning: SPOILERS for Cobra Kai Season 5The surprise appearance of a legacy character from The Karate Kid Part III in Cobra Kai season 5 is a stroke of genius. Cobra Kai season 5 picks up from the season 4 ending where Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) and the snakes' dojo emerged victorious at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament. Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler) is furious when Daniel (Ralph Macchio) flies in Chozen Toguchi (Yuji Okumoto) to help him fight Silver instead of accepting defeat. Amanda actually leaves Daniel and returns home to Ohio, which is where Karate Kid Part III's surprise comeback kid is finally joins Cobra Kai.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Cobra Kai already let the cat out of the bag that Mike Barnes (Sean Kanan) is in season 5. "Karate's Bad Boy" was Daniel's opponent and enemy in The Karate Kid Part III, and he was expected to be the film's lone return in Cobra Kai season 5. LaRusso expected a resumption of hostilities when he sought out "Mike F******* Barnes" but, to Daniel's astonishment, Mike has undergone a total 180 in the 30+ years since they fought for the 1985 All Valley Championship. Barnes is now a happily married and successful businessman who owns a thriving furniture store, just as Daniel owns LaRusso Luxury Autos. Of course, Cobra Kai had some fun teasing that Barnes was still nefarious until Daniel embarrassed himself before learning the truth. After Terry Silver burned down Barnes' business, Mike, Chozen, and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) later join forces in a Cobra Kai team-up of all three of Daniel's Karate Kid movie rivals.
Related: Why Cobra Kai Season 5's Trailer Hid Mike Barnes
Amazingly, Cobra Kai season 5 had another Karate Kid III familiar face kept completely under wraps until she appeared in episode 5, "Extreme Measures,": Jessica Andrews (Robyn Lively)! Jessica was Daniel's friend in The Karate Kid Part III, and she was victimized by Terry Silver and Mike Barnes just as LaRusso was before Jessica went back home to her native Ohio. In Cobra Kai season 5, Jessica is revealed as Amanda LaRusso's cousin (her former surname was Steiner), and they reunite when Amanda leaves Daniel and returns to Ohio with her kids, Samantha (Mary Mouser) and Anthony (Griffin Santopietro). But this being Cobra Kai, Amanda and Jessica can't even go to a bar without somehow getting in a "fight over nothing" with their high school rivals.
Jessica Andrews Is The Best Of Cobra Kai Season 5's Karate Kid 3 Callbacks
Along with being unexpected, Jessica's comeback in Cobra Kai season 5 is ingenious because of how she factors into Daniel and Amanda's backstory. Cobra Kai reveals that it was Jessica who put Amanda in touch with Daniel when she first moved to Los Angeles. Daniel and Jessica were never actually romantically involved in The Karate Kid Part III (because Ralph Macchio was a decade older than Robyn Lively when they shot the film), but Andrews and LaRusso evidently stayed in touch over the years. Thanks to Jessica introducing Daniel to her cousin, he met his wife. This literally makes Jessica part of Daniel's family.
Jessica also plays a crucial role in Cobra Kai season 5 because she makes Amanda understand exactly what kind of threat Terry Silver is. Jessica explained how Silver and Mike Barnes terrorized her, and abused and manipulated Daniel to separate him from Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita). Thanks to Jessica, Amanda came to fully understand just who and what Daniel was up against in Terry Silver, and it prompted her to return home so that she could support Daniel in taking Cobra Kai down. After five seasons of wondering when Jessica would finally appear in Cobra Kai, her comeback was worth the wait. Even better, Jessica Andrews is still helping Daniel and making his life better from afar.
Cobra Kai Season 5 is streaming on Netflix.