Cobra Kai season 5 proves that the show has forgotten who its main character is. Arguably the Cobra Kai season with the highest stakes yet, Cobra Kai season 5 saw Daniel, Chozen, and Johnny facing the power of Terry Silver’s expanded Cobra Kai dojo. Even without a tournament, Cobra Kai season 5 managed to deliver several great action sequences and changed the balance of power in the show – but it did so at the cost of sidelining one key Cobra Kai character. With Terry Silver and Daniel LaRusso at the center of season 5, Cobra Kai has made The Karate Kid’s legacy characters the focus of the show – which is a problem.
Between enemies from Daniel LaRusso’s past and the many original Cobra Kai characters, Cobra Kai has lost track of who its most important character is – Miguel Diaz. While Cobra Kai has always focused on a relatively large set of characters, the show was built on Miguel’s story and how the “new kid” changed Johnny Lawrence’s life forever. Cobra Kai season 1 is very much a Miguel story, and a similar thing can be said about Cobra Kai season 2. However, from Cobra Kai season 3 onward, Miguel was sidelined. That is not to say Cobra Kai has completely forgotten Miguel, only that his role in the story now seems small compared to the early seasons of Cobra Kai.
Miguel Was Clearly The New Karate Kid In Cobra Kai
Cobra Kai has mirrored The Karate Kid since its very first episode. In a genius flip of expectations, Cobra Kai season 1 made Johnny Lawrence the new Mr. Miyagi – a reluctant sensei whose life takes a turn after a new neighbor moves into his building. Cobra Kai season 1 was not subtle with its Karate Kid references, and the moment Miguel meets Johnny plays almost exactly like when Daniel met Mr. Miyagi. Miguel was the new kid in school who was being bullied and had no friends, meaning that he was clearly the “karate kid” of this new generation. More than making a thematic callback, Miguel’s entire arc in Cobra Kai season 1 mirrors Daniel’s in The Karate Kid.
Just like Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid, Miguel Diaz found karate a positive way to deal with the struggles of being the new kid in a school. Johnny’s improved Cobra Kai teachings made Miguel more confident, it helped protect Miguel from Kyler and the rest of the bullies, and gave Miguel the opportunity to become a karate champion. The Cobra Kai season 1 finale very much repeated The Karate Kid’s tournament, and it saw Miguel and Robby settling their differences in a fight just like Daniel and Johnny had done 30 years ago. Miguel’s victory in Cobra Kai season 1 is more bittersweet than Daniel’s in The Karate Kid, but still, Miguel was Cobra Kai’s main character.
Cobra Kai Didn’t Know What To Do With Miguel After The School Fight
Miguel’s personal journey, his relationship with Sam, and his rivalry with Robby all culminated in Cobra Kai season 2’s school fight. Arguably the best fight sequence in the whole show, Cobra Kai’s school fight took the characters’ rivalries to a dangerous level and made their clashes personal. More than a great fight scene, Cobra Kai season 2’s school fight served as a conclusion to Miguel’s story. After diving deeper and deeper into Cobra Kai and absorbing John Kreese’s teachings, Miguel had become too different from that kid Johnny had helped a few months ago. Miguel showed mercy to Robby, which tragically led to Miguel’s critical injury in what was Cobra Kai’s most shocking cliffhanger.