Does John Kreese die in Cobra Kai season 5?

Cobra Kai. Martin Kove as John Kreese in Cobra Kai. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022
Cobra Kai. Martin Kove as John Kreese in Cobra Kai. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022 /

It’s another whirlwind storyline for John Kreese (Martin Kove) in Cobra Kai season 5. The iconic Karate Kid villain returned in the Netflix series starting with season 1, coming back to help run the titular dojo. Fans of the movies will remember him from the first three installments, serving as Johnny Lawrence’s (William Zabka) Sensei and an enemy of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). In the sequel show, Kreese is still just as bad as he was in the films, though there’s another villain who becomes even more powerful.

Kreese enlists the help of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) to join Cobra Kai in season 4, but that only backfires when Silver betrays him. In the finale of the fourth season, we see that Silver set Kreese up, beating up Raymond “Stingray” (Paul Walter Hauser) in exchange for membership to the dojo. All Stingray had to do next was tell the cops that Kreese was the one who assaulted him. Kreese is framed, arrested, and thrown in prison.

In Cobra Kai season 5, Kreese is behind bars, but he’s adamant on not staying there for long.

Spoilers ahead for Cobra Kai season 5.

As we learn in season 5, Kreese has been working with Tory Nichols (Peyton List) ever since she found out that Silver bribed the rep at the All Valley tournament in order for her to win. But their alliance doesn’t last long, as Kreese decides he doesn’t want to help her.

Kreese is doing alright in prison, wrecking havoc as you’d expect. He breaks out his karate moves on his fellow inmates and despite the other men stealing his Jell-O and bullying him at the start, he gets them right where he wants them eventually.

He briefly considers working with Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny when they come visit him in jail looking for answers and help to take down Silver, but that doesn’t go over too well. They hate each other too much to ever be on the same side successfully.

There’s a turn in Kreese’s behavior once he realizes there’s a slim chance he’ll get out of prison anytime soon. During a conversation with his therapist, he seems like he’s given up completely. And at the start of the finale, he’s stabbed by one of the inmates. He lays on the floor, seemingly unconscious, with a patch of blood on his chest. Police officers rush in, but it might be too late.

Does Kreese die or survive in Cobra Kai season 5?

It’s not until the end of the Cobra Kai season 5 finale that we learn what actually happens to Kreese. To answer the big question — no, Kreese does not die. And he’s in pretty good shape at the end of the season. How, you might ask? Well, he played a huge trick.

As it turns out, Kreese planned the “stabbing” and actually fakes his death with some red Jell-O! That’s right, the prison snack that is referenced a few times throughout the season actually does have some significance in the end.

How does Kreese escape prison in Cobra Kai season 5?

At the end of the finale, we see Kreese’s body being wheeled in on a stretcher for a medic to examine. But when the doctor starts poking around the “blood” and sees how sticky it is, he realizes it’s not blood at all. He takes a lick from his glove and declares there’s melted Jell-O on Kreese.

Upon this discovery, Kreese gets up and starts fighting the doctor and police officers, taking them out with his impressive karate moves. He steals the medic’s uniform and waltzes out of the jail, using a stolen ID card from his therapist to open the door. He walks out into the real world as the episode ends, meaning he has successfully escaped prison!

And that’s how Cobra Kai season 5 concludes. We have no idea what Kreese’s plan is, but he’ll probably need to go into hiding. Perhaps in another country. Whatever he does next, we can’t help but wonder if he’ll be involved in karate again. Will he be a bad guy, or turn into a good guy, if Cobra Kai season 6 happens? So many questions!

Cobra Kai has not been renewed for a sixth season at the time of this writing, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed the story isn’t over yet. Be sure to watch all 10 episodes of season 5 while we wait for any news regarding the show’s future.

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What do you think of John Kreese’s big twist at the end of Cobra Kai season 5? Let us know in the comments below!