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Nightmare Fuel / Cobra Kai

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"A true cobra feels no sympathy for its meals."
Sam: Is that the only way you know how to fight? DIRTY?!
Tory: This isn't a tournament. (Shifts her spiked bracelet from her wrist to her knuckles) There Are No Rules!
[Sam shudders.]
— An unnerving change in strategy, "No Mercy"

STRIKE FIRST, STRIKE HARD, NO MERCY!! The Badass Creed of Cobra Kai has now gone Up to Eleven. Fear may not exist in this dojo, but brutality definitely does. Are you ready for it?

All spoilers on this page are left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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    Season 1
"I'm sorry, I never should have gotten involved."
  • A drunk - and raging - Johnny slamming on Yasmine's car is quite frightening, even before considering how scary it is to crash your car in the first place. Given how Johnny looked, his tone, and what he was saying, the girls had every reason to think he could have been a sexual predator or a serial killer. Yasmine even alludes to this during her Skype conversation with Sam and Moon, referring to Johnny as a "meth-head zombie" and saying that if she hadn't "gunned it," they would all be "chained up in his basement right now." Though Sam later gets busted for how the girls fled the scene of the accident, can you really blame them?
    • Even though we only see it rarely and not without good reason, Johnny himself is terrifying when he gets violent. After all, he is a master of Cobra Kai karate, a method of fighting designed to do maximum damage, and he never holds back when he fights. Just ask Kyler and his friends, or Louie and his biker goons what happens when you make Johnny truly angry. Hint: Unless you are an exceptionally skilled martial artist, you're going to get a No Holds Barred Beat Down even if you outnumber him several to one.
    • A very chilling moment is when he first instructs Miguel on how to punch. He instructs him to hit his opponent as if he actually wanted to hit someone behind him, demonstrates by hitting a mannequin between the eyes, and then calmly explains "Strike here, you bloody his nose. Strike here, you break his teeth. Strike here, you could severely damage his trachea". While he quickly adds "Obviously, that's only for extreme situations", he just taught a kid how to potentially kill someone with one hit.
  • Miguel being on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Kyler and his gang is not just hard to watch but quite scary as well. This scene is a reminder of just how vicious bullies can be.
    • Carmen discovering her son beaten unconscious being carried by a stranger (Johnny Lawrence) to her home. Her rage directed at Johnny in many ways epitomizes what a parent fears most happening to their child.
  • Several of Johnny's Training from Hell methods count. Imagine being someone out of shape and tossed into a pool with your hands bound and only able to use your legs to not drown, being chased by angry dogs that could tear you apart (even Hawk was terrified of the dogs), and having to balance across a beam right above lethal sharp metal. Though it was Played for Laughs, these methods could have killed, let alone seriously injured, the students.
  • No matter how funny or awesome a moment it was, imagine someone like Aisha casually yanking on your underwear and lifting you a good foot into the air. Yasmine's earsplitting scream cemented just how brutal that wedgie was.
  • The Cobra Kai dojo proves to be this during the All Valley Tournament.
    • Though a Moment of Awesome, the Cobra Kai entrance was chilling. They gave the impression of a dojo just waiting to tear apart their opponents during the tournament, and most frightening of all, Miguel does tear apart his opponents, winning the tournament for Cobra Kai. No Mercy indeed.
    • Special mention goes to Hawk. Put yourself in the gi of an opponent not only going up against someone who not only looks like a vicious and bloodthirsty maniac, but fights like one too.
    • Miguel's performance during the All-Valley Tournament, though impressive, was arguably the most terrifying. Imagine going up against a No-Nonsense Nemesis who will do anything to win and is exceptionally skilled at their craft. That is Miguel as a martial artist. Crosses over into Tear Jerker as well, when you consider how this kind boy who won Sam's heart is now driving her away with what a monster he has become.
      • Miguel's comment to Sam - "Watch what I do to Robby in the finals" - cements just how terrifying Miguel has become when he perceives you as his "enemy".
    • Johnny's students aren't as bad as Johnny and his own friends were - they're worse. When Bobby injured Daniel's leg, he didn't want to fight dirty. Kreese had to intimidate him into making the illegal attack, and he apologized profusely to Daniel before they were even off the mat. Kreese is also the one who ordered Johnny to sweep Daniel's leg - Johnny, too, clearly didn't like the idea, and accepted his defeat gracefully when Daniel managed to win anyway. Flash forward to Cobra Kai - aside from the Crane Kick and kicking Xander Stone in the face, every unsportsmanlike action of the Cobras in the tournament is their own idea, in spite of Johnny's objections, and neither Hawk (the one who illegally injures Robby) nor Miguel (who updates the "sweep the leg" part to "pound the shoulder repeatedly") is the least bit sorry about it.
  • In the final scene of the season, Kreese's advancing silhouette against the flame-orange LA sunset, like a devil emerging from the gates of hell (indeed, no less than Martin Kove himself has described this scene as "...and then I drop in as Lucifer"). It doesn't help in the least that the man (1) epitomizes everything that Johnny loathes about what his students have become and (2) was thrilled at those same results.
    • In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Johnny is shown swallowing as his eyes are wide open with fear. You can almost see him think back to the moment when Kreese almost choked him to death after he lost to Daniel; even after all this time, and with Kreese being much older now, Johnny still fears him.

    Season 2
  • From the Season 2 teaser, during an apparent outdoor training session with Cobra Kai, Kreese callously orders one of the students to Finish Him!.
    • Rather ominously, instead of fiercely barking or shouting that order like in the original film, Kreese delivers it in a more subdued tone.
  • John Kreese himself is nothing less than a demon. He is a master of Cobra Kai karate and has none of Johnny's scruples. Not only is his training more brutal, but he uses techniques that an actual drill sergeant would use besides being Drill Sergeant Nasty. He encourages the students to think of themselves as siblings and a unit. Not a bad idea in and of itself, but with Kreese calling their shots, it can (and does) lead only to tragedy.
    • In season 3, Daniel even refers to Kreese as a "demon" in one furious moment with Johnny.
  • The last few minutes after the fight, first when Miguel goes over the railing, then his hits against the lower railing and stairs, and the shots of his broken body, first on the stairs and then on the table. Every parent's nightmare.
    • Even worse, since Carmen is an X-ray technician and regularly deals with shots of bones, as the doctor on Miguel's case points out.
  • Just the entire final fight in general. A No-Holds-Barred Beatdown between two dojos in the middle of a crowded school is a "pussy" way of describing the fight. Any catharsis and excitement that may come from it is quickly washed away by the true realization of what happens when you get a bunch of pissed off teenagers who hate each other in enclosed quarters when they all have legitimate karate training. It's brutal and simply unrelenting, with no one able to stop it. Forget about a simple rivalry between two senseis and their fighting philosophies, the conflict has become a gang war. Even from the Miyagi-Do side, the violence and lack of restraint were so bad that Mr. Miyagi must have turned in his grave. And when the dust has settled, almost everyone is worse off - Johnny and Daniel abandon their respective schools, one fighter from each side is in the hospital, and the rest are injured, traumatized, on the run from the law, or have vengefully succumbed to Thug Dojo thinking of the only true victor here... Kreese.
    • During the brawl, a teacher actually tries to intervene and is (very quickly) knocked out cold. This particular moment of violence was so brutal that for a couple of seconds, even Hawk was shocked.
    • Speaking of Hawk, there's also the sequence where he chases and stalks Demetri in the school hallways, all with a terrifying Slasher Smile on his face as Demetri (vainly) tries to hide.
    • Tory pulling Sam By the Hair onto the stairway and slicing her arm with her spiked knuckles? Not a Cat Fight. And the only reason those spikes caught her arm was because of Sam's prodigious karate training, Tory was aiming for her face. Those spikes could easily have left permanent disfiguring scars, especially with someone as trained, strong, and psycho as Tory behind them.

    Season 3
"You started this, now let's finish it."

  • Want to know just how scary Johnny is when he's angry? The aftermath of the chop shop fight, when he's royally bad-copping one of the thugs for information on Robby. If Daniel had somehow forgotten (from the first Karate Kid) just how dangerous Johnny was in that state, the reminder came through loud and clear here.
  • Hawk breaking Demetri's arm. Seeing Demetri beg for him not to do it and then hearing him scream in absolute agony when it happens, capped with Sam's heartbroken expression — and it doesn't help at all knowing that even if Sam hadn't been too terrified to intervene, the remaining Cobra Kais would have outnumbered her by enough to beat her down anyway. The moment is so awful, even Hawk himself seemed uncertain about what he did.
  • Hawk versus Brucks in episode 6. While the initiation sparring session was going as smoothly (and brutally) as you'd expect by Cobra Kai standards, the situation escalates when Hawk volunteers to fight one of the new initiates, who happens to be Brucks, one of his former bullies. An overconfident Brucks starts ready to land an easy win against this insecure kid with a scarred lip, and quickly becomes an unnerved deer thrown off by his opponent's ominous tattoos. Brucks fails to land even one hit as Hawk delivers a one-sided beatdown on him, and eventually begs for the match to stop. It ends with Hawk pulverizing the downed Brucks relentlessly, spitting on him afterward for good measure. It comes to no surprise that Hawk's other former bully, Kyler, is now too frightened to look him in the eye, because this wasn't a kid he can pick on anymore; this is a psycho who dares Kyler to give him an excuse to punish him next. Hell, even Tory was unnerved after this.
    • On that note, while Kreese frequently reminds his students to "finish" their opponent, he didn't even get to finish his sentence before Hawk starts caving in Brucks's face; you really get a feeling of how badly Hawk wanted to unload on his former bully.
    • What makes this even more horrifying is that Kreese gestured the flags to be put away so Hawk can beat up Brucks until he is finally satisfied. Most Real Life instructors wouldn't let a rage-filled student anywhere near the mat. But this is Kreese, who was perfectly willing to let Hawk possibly kill Brucks just to allow his anger to go further down a dark path. While most of the students couldn't look at the beatdown, Kreese had a very smug smirk as he watched this and casually asks someone to pick Brucks up.
  • The brawl in the season finale begins with Bert casually walking out the LaRusso's front door to investigate a cat everyone heard, only to suddenly return crashing through the kitchen window, revealing that the "cat" was the Cobra Kais, who are now emerging through every opening to assault all the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang students. That's a straight-up horror movie nightmare.
  • Kreese outright attempts to murder both Johnny and Daniel in the season finale. He comes close to killing Johnny by nearly choking him to death before he's saved by Daniel. If there was any doubt in his intentions, Kreese remarking "it's time for you and Miyagi to reunite" to Daniel right before attempting to stab him with broken glass gets the message across loud and clear. Kreese is such a psychopath he was willing to kill these two men for daring to defy him.
    • Even more horrifying, thanks to the music in the scene and the look on Daniel's face, he was about to give up any shred of good inside of him. He looks to Johnny, who nods to him. If it hadn't been for Sam and Miguel showing up when they did, there's a good chance Daniel would have straight-up murdered Kreese without even thinking of the consequences. It's not just that Kreese was a psychopath, but Kreese almost completely made Daniel into a murdering psycho like him.
    • To make it even worse, Kreese nearly kills Johnny in front of Johnny's own son. Sure, Robby was unconscious at the time and wouldn't see Johnny's death, but that only makes it more terrifying because Robby would have been completely helpless to stop it. Crossing over with Tearjerker, imagine the crippling guilt you'd feel if your parent was murdered because they were distracted by worrying about you after they accidentally knocked you out because you were attacking them.
  • The North Vietnamese soldiers' treatment of their POWs: the blood sport entertainment of having pairs of POWs fight each other along a narrow bamboo bridge above a deep pit full of snakes. Made still worse by the Fridge Horror idea that this ordeal may well have inspired Kreese, in the manner of an evil Batman, to use snakes as his symbol.
  • While it's hard to sympathize with Tory's landlord after he tried to goad her (a minor) into performing sexual favors to be more lenient on her family's rent, the scene where Kreese threatens to cut off his finger with a cigar cutter is chilling. The landlord is clearly terrified and begs Kreese to let him go while the latter casually makes his demands to leave Tory alone. And Kreese wasn't even doing this to be a "white knight" for her or even because he was angry on Tory's behalf, he just did it because he wanted control over Tory.
  • Sam's nightmare of fighting Tory at the Miyagi-Do dojo, which ends with Tory outright murdering Sam by drowning her in the pond. One can only imagine Daniel and Miguel's reactions if she tried that for real.
    • Sam's midseason psychological trauma is bad enough, but then Tory attacks her at home in the finale.
  • During the home invasion, Tory has completely lost it in her vendetta with Sam. It was bad enough when she tried to maim the poor girl, but now she has murder in her eyes. She’s gone full predator, and doesn’t seem to care about the consequences it may have on her family or even herself. Even her lines before the fight are dripping with crazed fury.
    Tory: It’s too late! This ends tonight! NO MERCY!


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