Sam (Mary Mouser) and Miguel (Xolo Maridueña) experienced quite the relationship roller coaster in Cobra Kai Season 5, but ultimately, they were better off for it.
In Episode 3, “Playing with Fire,” Miguel’s doing everything he can to smooth things out with Sam. He actually gets some excellent advice from Johnny (William Zabka); “If you own up to your mistakes, you always have a shot of making things right. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Just be honest with her.” So that’s the plan. That and buying Sam a piece of expensive jewelry, an octopus necklace throwing it back to the stuffed octopus Miguel won for her on their first date. Trouble is, Sam’s got a different plan. Miguel apologizes and so does she, but Sam’s also come to the conclusion that she needs time to find herself, so she breaks up with him.
It’s an incredibly heartbreaking beat of Season 5, but it turns out, it was the right choice. After spending the rest of the season growing as individuals, not only do Sam and Miguel decide to get back together, but they also end Season 5 by saying “I love you” to one another, a game-changing sentiment their character arcs earn.
While on Collider Ladies Night, Mouser took a moment to address the evolution of Sam and Miguel’s relationship with a heavy emphasis on where they land at the end of the season. Turns out, the “I love you” beat” actually came as a bit of a surprise to Mouser due to what she was originally told about the Season 5 progression of their relationship status. She explained:
“It was a surprise. And hopefully I’m not completely outing everybody here, but I am pretty sure that is not originally how the season was gonna end. I’m pretty sure they were going to end still broken up. I don’t know [at] what point that changed. It might have been very early on, it might have been before we even got fully there and it was in the writers room, but there was a point at which they weren’t going to have that moment and the breakup was the breakup, and that was how it was [told] to me.”
Mouser also explained how the Season 5 production schedule enhanced the element of surprise when it came to the “I love you” exchange in Episode 10, “Head of the Snake”:
“The ‘I love you’ scene was the very last scene with dialogue I filmed from Season 5. We rarely get to have that because we shoot so out of order to make everything happen. We also typically shoot two episodes at the same time, so we’re shooting Episodes 1 and 2 at the same time, and then we’re shooting 3 and 4. This season we did it a little different. We only shot 1 and 2 together and then everything else was linear. But so rarely do we get to have a finale moment like that. I didn’t know we were going to fully get there.”
Mouser continued by revisiting her experience filming the Episode 3 break-up scene and how it teed up the catharsis of that final scene in Episode 10:
“The breakup scene was incredibly difficult for me. I actually had one of our PAs standing by with Gatorade because I was dehydrated because of how hard I was crying. It was so therapeutic and it was so cool, and it was awesome to get to work with Xolo and get to have a scene like that, but specifically for Sam and Miguel, it was having this, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know where it goes from here.’ And it felt so true to where we were at where it was like, I don’t know what’s next for us. And so having that come-together moment at the very end, I didn’t really see it coming, but it felt so good to get to have it. It felt so good to just post up on that car and just be leaning there talking to him. And again, it was one of those moments where I looked up at him and I was like, ‘Oh my god, dude, you’ve grown up,’ you know? I’m having a scene with you now and I felt the same thing with Sam. I was like, holy crap, she’s grown up! This is a moment that she could be having a first ‘I love you’ and it feels so true and not like puppy love.”
Mouser also emphasized the importance of having Miguel and Sam say “I love you” to each other rather than reaffirming their relationship via a physical display of affection:
“That’s also such an important message for me that I think I would have really loved to see on screen, and it’s out there, but getting to see it with this character that settles a lot of her battles with her fists in a way, which we don’t get to see a lot of women in media do, which maybe that’s for the best, but she figures it out. But it was very cool and special to have it be the words and not just a kiss and not just a physical hug, holding hands [when] they came back together, but actually sharing those kinds of big words felt very grounding.”
Looking for more from Mouser on Cobra Kai Season 5? Be sure to check out her episode of Collider Ladies Night below: