Kreese's Biggest Mistake According To Cobra Kai Fans

The '80s were crammed with legendary movie villains, but the fact that a school bully who knew karate belonged in the same conversation as Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and the titular thing from "The Thing" is still borderline unfathomable. Nevertheless, William Zabka's Johnny Lawrence from "The Karate Kid" was the template thug from which all high school foes were crafted in the following years. Even with all his cruel and face-punch-worthy deeds in the first movie, though, some credit (if you could call it that) has to go to the man who made him.

Martin Kove's perma-frowning John Kreese has been a menace since day one. Manipulating Johnny and putting the fear in Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), it was only at the hands of bonsai tree enthusiast Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) that he was shamed in front of his own students. Keen to settle the score, Kreese went as far as to fake his own death to exact revenge with the help of Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith), only to fail again. 

Decades later, Kreese's obsession with Cobra Kai and crushing his opponents remain as strong as ever. However, fans have agreed that this issue is the villain's greatest flaw. For a teacher so set on his essential rules, there's one that he should forget about entirely if he's ever to overcome what he's never succeeded in.

Fans think Kreese has been undone by his own belief in showing no mercy

The Cobra Kai founder has always been about three key fundamentals: strike first, strike fast, and no mercy. However, in almost every showdown where we've seen the bitter old sensei lose, it was his opponent's willingness to take a page out of Kreese's own book that led to his defeat. From Miyagi's nose-pinch in the past to a more recent stand-off with Daniel LaRusso, fans on Reddit have been relishing in Kreese's tough learned lesson that "no mercy" works both ways.

Over at r/CobraKai on Reddit, one fan posted a screengrab of Kreese with a horrified look on his face after being brutalized by Daniel in the chaotic Season 3 finale. As for the caption, they wrote, "Am I the only one who loves this frightened look on Kreese's face?" Other users pointed out a delicious irony of the moment. "Decades of teaching students not to give mercy in a fight was finally gonna backfire in his face ..." wrote u/WeirdIndependence14. Basically, Kreese told everyone that he doesn't play by the rules and expects no mercy, and his rivals have been more than happy to turn that right around on him. As u/Ornery-Lengthiness put it, "HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO TEACH YOU THIS LESSON OLD MAN."

Incredibly, it seems as though these defeats may have sunk in for Kreese. After showing a hint of mercy in the final round of the All-Valley Tournament between Tory (Peyton List) and Samantha (Mary Mouser) in the Season 4 finale, could the worn-down warrior finally be in a position to break old rules and build new alliances in the future instead?

Could Kreese throw away his own rule book in Season 5?

The chances are that when we're reunited with John Kreese in the upcoming installment of "Cobra Kai," he'll be watching his former empire expand from behind bars given how Season 4 played out. After showing a bit of humility to the opposition and the Cobra Kai students, Kreese was taken out by his old friend, leaving his world in ruin and Silver gaining complete control. His former ally showed no mercy and now look where it has gotten him. With that in mind, could the intense teacher be about to learn from his mistakes and do the unthinkable by allying with Daniel and Johnny?

As the old saying goes, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," and right now, Kreese needs as many friends as he can get. It almost looked like he was going to gain one after his apologetic talk with Johnny at the end of last season, suggesting hatchets could well be buried. Seeing Kreese as the long-in-the-tooth loser licking his wounds on the side of Miyagi-Do/Eagle Fang could make for a jaw-dropping twist. That would also align with how Martin Kove himself sees the character. 

Speaking to The Wrap about the differences between the Kreese we first met in "The Karate Kid" movies and the Kreese of "Cobra Kai," Kove said, "There is vulnerability coming up." Perhaps that will come to pass in Season 5, or maybe the old saying is true and Cobra Kai really does never die.