Cobra Kai’s Thomas Ian Griffith Discusses The Season 5 Finale’s Cool Callback To The Karate Part III

Thomas Ian Griffith on Cobra Kai
(Image credit: Netflix)

Major spoilers for the Season 5 finale of Netflix’s Cobra Kai lie ahead, so read at your own risk!

Another season of Cobra Kai has come and gone, and this one was certainly one for the books. Not only did Season 5 expand on the stories of Johnny Lawrence, Daniel LaRusso and their students, but it also furthered the journey of villainous sensei and businessman Terry Silver. Thomas Ian Griffith gave a masterful performance as the grinning antagonist, and the actor seems to have enjoyed how the season played out. On that note, he shared some thoughts about the finale’s cool callback to The Karate Kid Part III

Cobra Kai Season 5 ended with a wild, karate-filled night, which saw the teens and adults of Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang make their final stand against Terry Silver and the titular dojo. The game-changing episode culminated in a fight between Daniel and Silver, which saw the former come out on top. And LaRusso finished things with his iconic crane kick, a move that Silver shrugged off in Part III years ago. Thomas Ian Griffith was pleased with the moment and recently weighed in on its significance:

Oh, it’s the ultimate full circle. I mean, for me, Thomas, it just felt like a great ending to this rivalry, you know, because of how he taught him during his youth to now coming into trying to manipulate his life. Ending that way just felt Shakespearean. I love that the writers committed to Terry going down with his passion and beliefs, and Ralph — halfway through the season, Ralph lost his way, and Terry was able to take advantage of that, both mentally and physically. At the end of it, with everything backfiring and the thought of Cobra Kai completely collapsing, he sort-of went a little mad. That took him off his game, for Daniel to use his way of martial arts and philosophy to defeat Terry. And of course, the crane kick is the ultimate punctuation mark.

Many fans would probably agree with the actor’s take on the pitch-perfect callback. Watching Daniel finally take down the man who manipulated him was emotionally satisfying enough, but the character’s use of the crane kick made it even more impactful. Of course, some may be wondering why Silver wasn’t able to dodge the move, given that it’s not exactly subtle. Well, Thomas Ian Griffith also shared his take on that while speaking with Uproxx:

[Laughs] Well, we’re in a wonderful make-believe scenario, and I think that’s the best way to answer that question. This is an absurd show, I mean, it’s life and death about a kids’ karate tournament. But that’s the beauty and the success of the show because you can go, ‘It’s ridiculous, and I’m just along for the ride, and oh, they’re taking it so seriously.’

Honestly, when you’re watching a show as entertaining as this, sometimes you just have to give in and throw that kind of thinking out the window. I suppose some will watch and ask, “Wait, shouldn’t Terry have seen that coming?” As for me, at that moment, I just went “Whoa, Daniel just crane-kicked Silver into a glass Cobra Kai emblem!”

The events of the franchise’s third theatrical installment have loomed large over the past two seasons of Netflix’s sports soap opera. Season 5 really kicked things up (no pun intended) a notch by reintroducing Sean Kanan’s Mike Barnes and Robyn Lively’s Jessica Andrews. The 1989 film was panned by critics and general audiences, but fans have appreciated seeing the likes of Mike, Jessica and Silver. Thanks to the show, even Ralph Macchio views Part III a bit differently now

That’s definitely a testament to the efforts of the show’s creators – Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. As Schlossberg previously explained, their goal is to honor Karate Kid lore even as the show expands, and the crane kick moment is a firm example of that. The producers will probably continue to deliver such moments as the show progresses and, hopefully, maybe another one or two can still include Thomas Ian Griffith’s delightfully devilish villain. 

All five seasons of Cobra Kai are now streaming, so grab a Netflix subscription if you haven’t already. And if you’re so inclined, check out CinemaBlend’s ranking of the most vicious Karate Kid villains to see where Terry Silver stands.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.