Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Cobra Kai Season 4 Character That Fans Agree Is The True Villain

The following article contains spoilers for "Cobra Kai" Season 4, Episode 10

The original "Karate Kid" movie paints its characters predominantly in black and white. You have the underdog protagonist Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who learns the ways of Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) to become the All-Valley champ. He has to go toe-to-toe with the villain — Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) — who practices the ways of Cobra Kai, which is far more vicious. There isn't a ton of complexity to be found, but that all changed with "Cobra Kai."

Instead of making Daniel the hero once again, we're instead placed in the shoes of Johnny. He's a washed-up guy trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life, which typically puts Daniel in a more antagonistic role. As the series goes on, all of the characters are painted in shades of gray rather than black and white, and that goes double for the new teenage characters trying to figure out where they fit in with all of this.

As such, it's difficult to designate any singular person as an outright "villain." Even the characters you can't stand, you can at least kind of see where they're coming from. However, in the aftermath of "Cobra Kai" Season 4, it's clear some fans think there's one character who's beyond redemption.

Cobra Kai fans agree the referee at the All-Valley tournament is despicable

Everything in "Cobra Kai" Season 4 leads to the All-Valley Karate Tournament. It's when Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai go head-to-head once and for all to determine which school will be allowed to remain open. It's the ultimate test to determine whose principles are stronger. Is Daniel's belief that karate should be used defensively preferable, or will John Kreese's (Martin Kove) more aggressive methods win out in the end? 

It all comes down to the final battle, and as expected, Kreese and Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) have a few dirty tricks up their sleeves. It isn't enough for the students to fight one another to determine who's the best fighter, Silver has to up the ante somehow. He does so by offering the referee a bribe, which the ref accepts. 

It's caused the ref to earn the ire of countless "Cobra Kai" fans, who have gotten onto a single Reddit thread to voice their displeasure of his actions. It was started by u/Jackol4ntrn, who wrote, "Everybody here talking about redemption arcs and fighting demons of the past... this guy however deserves no sympathy" in reference to the ref. While some were quick to criticize the man, others tried to find rationale within his decisions, like u/TomA0912: "To be fair if some psycho who could kick the s*** out of me with little effort offered me a decent amount of money I'd probably do the same. In reality it's a local under 18 tournament not the international champs."

Whether you accept the explanation or not, it's hard not to hate the ref for his decision, especially when considering its impact on the tournament.