'Cobra Kai' Season 2 recap: Why the return of John Kreese was one of the best things about the finale
Presumed dead after 'The Karate Kid' series, the ruthless karate master returns in the second season and makes an immediate impact in the series.
Admit it. One of the best things in the final episode of 'Cobra Kai: Season 1' was the re-introduction of John Kreese (Martin Kove), the original 'bad sensei' of Cobra Kai. We last saw him defeated and dejected in 'The Karate Kid III' (1989) before now.
For those of you who are familiar with 'The Karate Kid' movie series, it's evident that Johnny (William Zabka) hates Kreese after his defeat to Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) in the final of the All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship.
Fast forward 35 years and a bitter Johnny has somehow found a sense of purpose thanks to his constant interactions with Miguel (Xolo Mariduena). While his decision to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo surely ticked off Daniel, the fact that he found peace in doing the one thing he was good at also showed the viewers that Johnny wasn't all that bad, rather a victim of being influenced by the wrong people.
Speaking of wrong, Kreese's arrival may have pleased the fans, but not Johnny as he launches into an all-out assault against his former mentor only to be effortlessly put down. Presumed dead, Kreese was apparently following the developments and realizing that the dojo was open, comes back in to rejoin, but Johnny refuses. A bit of apology about the things in the past eventually sees Kreese as part of the Cobra Kai once more.
Little did Johnny know that Kreese's actions were fake and that his original plan was to take control of the dojo. In the last episode, Miguel's accident after his showdown with Robby, not only results in Johnny going back to being distraught again but also losing control of Cobra Kai after Kreese takes over the dojo. Kreese managed to upstage him after convincing the landlord that he would handle things better than Johnny.
In short, nothing much has changed for Kreese. He still comes across as a man with sheer contempt towards Daniel, and despite having a soft corner for Johnny, who was once his top student, his passion for reigniting the Cobra Kai creed means that he would stop at nothing to gain control of the dojo.
Talking to MEAWW about Kreese's character, the creators Jon Hurwitz, Josh Heald, and Hayden Schlossberg felt that the decision to let Kreese have his dojo back had a lot to do with the long history he had. "He was one of the co-founders of Cobra Kai. During his time in Vietnam, he saw a lot of challenges and his passion for karate dates back a long time," says Hurwitz.
Adding to it, Heald felt that while taking over the dojo wasn't necessarily his intent, the idea was to bring back to life every creed that was written on the walls of his dojo.
Whether 'Cobra Kai' sees a third season or not, it has established one thing- Kreese is undoubtedly the most impactful character in the series and is not a passing mention. If there is a season 3, will we see Kreese be the one that goes against Daniel's Miyagi-Do karate given his apparent hate? Or will there be a more human angle introduced to the character? Only time will tell.