TELLY TALK TODAY #11—MY REVIEW OF COBRA KAI: SEASON 5, EPISODE 4.
Greetings and bienvenue, all.
In this installment of my Telly Talk Today series, I’ll be reviewing Cobra Kai: Season 5, Episode 4, “Downward Spiral.”
First things first, though.
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With that in mind and without further ado, as follows is my review of Cobra Kai: Season 5, Episode 4, “Downward Spiral.”
*BE WARNED: MILD TO MEDIUM SPOILERS FOLLOW*
• SUMMARY •
Johnny gets a visit from Shannon, who arrives to pick up Robby so that he can spend the summer with her grandparents. Shannon is impressed by the renovations to Johnny’s apartment and, after learning that Carmen and Johnny are expecting a baby, suggests that Johnny get a job as a rideshare driver.
Johnny gets the job but is very bad at it. When he receives one-star reviews for every service that he undertakes, he contemplates quitting. However, he later gets inspiration from a pawnshop owner to continue working for the sake of his family, even though the going might get tough.
Meanwhile, the teens of Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang get into a feud at a local waterpark and select participants to race down a waterslide to determine which dojo will get to stay at the park. Cobra Kai wins by cheating, which causes a fight between both factions that ends when all of the teens are evicted from the area.
Daniel and Amanda attend a charity auction as part of Amanda’s plan to become a member of the charity’s board. When they arrive, they discover that Silver is hosting the auction. Silver begins playing mind games with Daniel by outbidding everyone on bonsai trees that Daniel submits to the auction and leading Daniel to believe that he has been demeaning Amanda to the charity’s leader. This causes Daniel to attack Silver in front of the attendees, embarrassing both Amanda and himself.
Furious at Daniel for ruining her chance of earning a board spot with the charity and for refusing to put his rivalry with Silver to rest, Amanda leaves Daniel and takes their children to spend some time at her mother’s house in Ohio.
• MY THOUGHTS •
o The opening dream sequence. Enough said. 🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣😂
o In another show, the burning of Mike’s store last episode would’ve been the cattle prod that galvanized Mike into joining Daniel and Chozen’s war on Silver. In fact, the arson gives Mike BETTER reasons to oppose Silver than either Daniel or Chozen has right now. I’m glad, however, that the writers didn’t take that direction. Daniel and Chozen against Silver is a ridiculous enough story as it is. Adding another party into things really would’ve taken things into an ostentatiously over-the-top direction.
o I found it a little too unrealistic that both Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang just so happened to be at the water park at the same time for another plot-conveniently provoked fight. Their whole stay-on-your-side agreement rings as eyerollingly juvenile until you force yourself to recall that these are, after all, only kids.
o Equally eyeroll-inducing was the resumed focus on the Robby/Miguel rivalry. The drama between those boys has simply lasted WAY longer than its sell-by date, particularly considering that it all could’ve and should’ve been resolved either at the end of Season 1 or early on in Season 2. Watching the two of them have yet another misunderstanding and get into yet another (though verbal) fight is just downright cringey at this point.
o Sam and Miguel appear to have officially entered that tried-and-true awkward phase where people who’ve broken up feel like they’re walking on eggshells whenever they try to talk to each other about literally anything.
o Anthony LaRusso remains one of the most annoying characters in this show (following Sam and Daniel). I’m probably supposed to feel badly about how Kenny is now bullying him like he formerly bullied Kenny. I’m probably supposed to dread Kenny’s slow turn to the Cobra Kai dark side. And I’m sure that before the Season is up, Kenny’s behavior will grow tragically out of control. But for now, I actually find him rather entertaining. He doesn’t do one thing in this episode to Anthony—or Hawk, for that matter—that was not done to him by them. Seeing the playing field levelled doesn’t bother me at all.
o Silver’s flaunting of his never-ending collection of rare wine never fails to entertain!
o Equally entertaining is Silver himself. Last episode, he was jokingly referred to as a “Bond villain.” That descriptor is hilariously on point—from his eternally black wardrobe to his devious smile to his foxy tactics and dialogue. It is a riot, it is watchable as heck, and I am totally here for it.
o Johnny as a rideshare driver could be a show unto itself, and I would tune in for every last episode. The montage of his working as a cabbie and food delivery man was FIRE and kept me laughing at the top of my lungs the whole time.
o Johnny’s growth arc as a father this Season has also been quite wonderful. From the jump, one of Cobra Kai’s major premises has been the comeback and maturation of Johnny Lawrence. Watching him learn—from the pawnshop dealer, of all people—what it means to sacrifice for the sake of one’s children was a story beat riddled with levity but one that also lands profoundly.
o Daniel, however, seems to be this Season’s designated man-child. The way that he succumbs to Silver’s obvious provocation is maddeningly stupid. Daniel’s entire creed has been an aversion to striking first, yet his refusal to stay in his own lane or put aside his self-instigated rivalry with Silver for even one hour enables Silver to play him like the fool he emulates.
o The shouting match between Daniel and Samantha doesn’t hit as hard as it should and resembles a bad break-up between thirteen-year-olds—but that’s largely because of the total absurdity of Daniel’s position. Amanda was one hundred percent correct here. Nearly every problem that has befallen the LaRusso family since Season 1 has been Daniel’s fault. Cobra Kai wouldn’t even have metastasized into the threat that it is now if Daniel had been willing to end his rivalry with Johnny, stick to his own job as a successful car dealer, and allow Johnny to realize his vision for a reformed Cobra Kai that teaches bullied kids self-defense and self-confidence. Daniel couldn’t let Silver go for even one day, and it has now cost Amanda a job that she very much wanted. He honestly owes her the world’s largest apology, not yet another deflection of blame onto someone else.
o In the end, this episode’s clever double-meaning of a title—a play on the waterpark story as well as Daniel’s descent into instability and the descent of his marriage—is quite poignant.
• BRASS TACKS •
“Downward Spiral” is another very good episode. It is, however, kept from greatness by the resumed Miguel/Robby drama as well as the spotlight that it places on Daniel’s childish mishandling of his feud with Silver and his marriage to Amanda.
• MY RATING •
I give Cobra Kai: Season 5, Episode 4, “Downward Spiral,” three and a half cronuts out of five.