Kellee Kim pulled off one of the greatest pre-merge blindsides in recent Survivor history, earning her the title of episode 7’s MVP.
In this modern era of Survivor, blindsides are not hard to come by. The big play mentality has taken over this show, and although it makes for entertaining moments, it often leads to overambitious and brash decisions. In episode 7 of Survivor: Island of the Idols, Kellee Kim not only made a big move happen, but it was also a smart move.
Coming into this past episode, Kellee put herself in a great position. She became a key member of the Vokai majority alliance thanks to her approachable personality and strong understanding of this game. In addition to that, she had a temporary idol that she so cleverly hid, but only had one more Tribal Council to use it.
Sometimes the best move with a temporary advantage or idol is just to let it expire as we saw Ron Clark do with his Advantage Menu in Edge of Extinction. The fear is that playing a secret advantage or idol will actually do more harm than good as it could paint the castaway as a serious target.
Kellee found a way to use her idol without raising any suspicion. The most successful big moves in Survivor happen when the other players don’t know who actually made them. Kellee was able to get the result she wanted without anyone knowing that she tricked her majority alliance.
First of all, her good social game allowed her to know the original plan, which was to put every vote on Dean. Since the swap, Kellee has developed a secret bond with Dean, keeping him as a potential number. She realized that Dean is someone who she can both trust and influence, whereas Jamal and Jack have their own agenda.
Taking into consideration her expiring idol, Kellee saw the opportunity to make use of it in a way that would benefit her game. I loved her brilliant decision of giving Dean the idol right before Tribal Council. If she gave it to him early, her plan would have depended on Dean’s acting ability, but Kellee wisely wanted the lowest margin of error possible.
One of the most underrated parts of this blindside was Kellee’s ability to convince Noura to deviate from the gameplan. She played off of the legit concern that if Dean plays an idol, he might write down Noura’s name. We don’t know exactly how Kellee got both Dean and Noura to vote for the same person, but the fact she was able to convince two dramatically different personalities to write down the same name is phenomenal!
Kellee executed her brilliant plan with precision accuracy. Her shocked reactions at Tribal Council helped to keep up the facade that she had nothing to do with the vote. Not only is she still on good terms with the Vokai majority, but she painted Noura as a bigger target and gained a close ally in the process.
Beyond the miraculous blindside she pulled off, Kellee made a significant and passionate speech at Tribal Council. As moving and human this moment was, it also helps her strategic game in the process. Her speech, along with Janet’s, put the guys at ease about an all-female alliance. Even if a women’s alliance doesn’t end up forming, this Tribal Council did help take the target off of the strategically minded women still in the game.