If a hero who lives too long becomes a villain, what happens to villains who overstay their welcome?
They become pathetic.
Cobra Kai shouldn’t let such a fate befall Kreese.
One of the things so refreshing about Cobra Kai compared to other revivals is its understanding of the old guard characters.
A lesser version of Cobra Kai would have completely leaned into the meme of Johnny Lawrence was the true hero of The Karate Kid and Daniel LaRusso was the villain.
How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney Stinson would have loved that series.
Cobra Kai didn’t take the easy route. Instead, it gave us a compelling character study about two flawed men who are capable of both heroism and villainy.
With the show wanting you to root for both Johnny and Daniel, someone else had to step in and claim the role of the evil menace Johnny and Daniel must defeat. There was only one person for the job.
Considered a quintessential 80s film villain, Sensei John Kreese returned to haunt Johnny and Daniel on Cobra Kai Season 1 Episode 10.
During Cobra Kai Season 2, Kreese conned Johnny out of the dojo and turned most of the students against him.
On Cobra Kai Season 3, Kreese attacked Daniel (professionally and personally), seduced Robby to the dark side, and nearly killed Johnny.
Despite the efforts of Johnny, Daniel, and Amanda, Kreese’s reign of terror has continued unchecked. Things have gotten so far out of hand, Daniel contemplated killing him on Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 10.
Sam and Miguel showed up before Daniel could cross that line. Then Kreese proposed a way to settle things for once and for all. He’ll leave town if Johnny and Daniel’s dojos defeat Cobra Kai at the All Valley Karate Tournament.
Going into Cobra Kai Season 4, Kreese seems to be in a strong position, but he’s running out of narrative road. When the road ends, it could have negative consequences for the show as a whole.
If Kreese wins the tournament, it will keep Cobra Kai in limbo. Kreese will still be a menace, and Johnny and Daniel will have to keep coming up with ways to defeat him. The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote comparisons will write themselves.
Dragging the conflict out for too long risks making Johnny and Danny too incompetent, and the audience will lose all sympathy and investment in them.
Kreese scoring too many victories will make the show annoying to watch. Invincible villains aren’t any more fun to watch than invincible heroes.
To bring up an example, Demetri would approve of, remember how annoying it was to see Ramsay Snow do nothing but win over and over again on Game of Thrones? His winning streak was so prolonged, it lessened the satisfaction of seeing him receive his comeuppance.
Cobra Kai doing the same with Kreese would be just as bad to watch.
Kreese losing the All Valley Karate Tournament doesn’t solve the narrative problems either. Knowing Kreese, he isn’t going to walk away like a good sport.
He’ll probably have some sort of Plan B he’ll put in motion after the tournament, but the Kreese saga should come to an end shortly afterward (and hopefully, it all transpires during Cobra Kai Season 4 instead of stretching it out to the end of Cobra Kai Season 5).
Kreese will lose all credibility as a villain if he gets defeated too often. It won’t be exciting to watch, and it lessens the quality of the show.
It’s better to bring his story to a close at a natural endpoint rather than playing out the same storyline over and over again to diminishing returns.
The strongest argument for keeping Kreese on Cobra Kai is there’s no one else who could fill in the void he would leave behind.
Johnny’s stepfather, Sid, and Daniel’s business rival, Tom Cole, don’t have any ties to the karate plotlines, so it seems unlikely they would be suitable replacements.
Since Robby and Tory are teens, they can’t pose a threat to Johnny and Daniel the way an adult villain can. Also, to permanently cast Robby and Tory as the villains would undermine Cobra Kai’s message of redemption.
Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 5 revealed Chozen from The Karate Kid Part II had a change of heart and became a better person after the events of the movie, so he’s out of the running.
On Cobra Kai Season 3 Episode 10, Kreese made a phone call to his old pal and The Karate Kid Part III villain, Terry Silver. It looks like Silver will play a big role on Cobra Kai Season 4.
Silver could potentially take over as the primary villain. However, his close ties to Kreese could make him far too similar to Kreese and negate the purpose of bringing in a new villain.
It might be in Cobra Kai’s best interest to develop an entirely new villain in the background while Johnny and Daniel are still focused on Kreese.
Of course, all this might be premature speculation because it will be a while before we know if there will be a Cobra Kai Season 5. Plus, the Netflix gods are fickle.
Regardless, Kreese’s story should come to an end sooner rather than later. There isn’t much left he can do to Johnny and Daniel without being repetitive. His story should end on a strong note, even if it means losing an iconic villain.
Over to you, TV Fanatics!
Do you think Kreese’s time on Cobra Kai should come to an end?
Who else could take his place as Cobra Kai’s primary villain?
Hit the comments below.