Who is Jessica in Cobra Kai season 5? The surprise Karate Kid 3 cameo explained

Cobra Kai
(Image credit: Netflix)

Who is Jessica in Cobra Kai? Long-time Karate Kid fans may recognize a familiar face during the fifth episode of season 5 – though others might be baffled by the sudden arrival of Amanda’s cousin and her history with Daniel. So let’s dig into a welcome surprise and a LaRusso retcon.

Who is Jessica in Cobra Kai?

Cobra Kai

(Image credit: Netflix)

Jessica, played by Robin Lively, is revealed to be the cousin of Amanda (Courtney Henggeler) and turns up as a shoulder to cry on in Ohio during Amanda’s temporary split from Daniel. Those with a black belt in Karate Kid lore, however, will know her best as Daniel’s friend from Karate Kid Part 3.

In the 1989 film, she worked at a pottery shop opposite Mr. Miyagi’s bonsai store. Daniel and Jessica struck up a friendship and the pair were later terrorized by Terry Silver and his karate protégé Mike Barnes. After a falling out with Daniel and eventual reconciliation, she then returned to Ohio to reconcile with her boyfriend and hasn’t been seen in the series since.

In Cobra Kai, Jessica recounts her hidden past with Daniel to a surprised Amanda at a bar. She also fills her cousin in on a certain Terry Silver, the antagonist of both Karate Kid 3 and Cobra Kai seasons 4 and 5. 

For newcomers, the show even interjects a handful of scenes from Karate Kid 3 to hammer home the point, including Jessica being assaulted by Mike and Terry’s actions creating a rift between Daniel and his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. Thanks to Jessica’s history lesson, Amanda finally begins to understand Daniel’s ongoing rivalry and obsession with Terry Silver.

That marks Jessica’s one and only appearance (so far) in Cobra Kai – so we may never find out if Jess told Mandy about Daniel’s date mix-up in Karate Kid 3. That was awkward. Still, it was a fun reunion and one that, crucially, moved the plot forward while also being a welcome reward for Karate Kid fans.

For more on the series, be sure to check out our complete breakdown of the Cobra Kai season 5 ending as well as a larger look at Mike Barnes in Cobra Kai season 5.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.