Survivor Island of the Idols finale: Can Dean Kowalski win the game?

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

After starting out by DKChillin, Dean Kowalski has been making a big push as of late. Can his laidback style help him win Survivor: Island of the Idols?

There were 19 players who had a confessional to introduce themselves to the Survivor world in the premiere episode of Island of the Idols. We even got to re-introduce ourselves to Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra, who served their role as mentors in addition to hyping up the show’s ongoing lore.

The only player of the 22 people who fit into that role at one point or another to not showcase their personality or have their thoughts portrayed in a confessional was Dean Kowalski. It wasn’t until the third episode before we got to see his name displayed on the screen, yet he’s become one of the most visible players late in Island of the Idols. 

With just five players in the finale, we have one simple question today; can Dean Kowalski win Survivor: Island of the Idols?

Dean’s chances of making Final Tribal

Dan Spilo should have been removed at the merge. Him getting taken out at Final Six dramatically affects Dean’s chances of making the Final Tribal Council not just because he has one fewer round to pass, but because he doesn’t have to make one of the most boneheaded moves in the game; trying to force others to vote him out so he can use his fake Legacy Advantage.

Dan’s ejection from the game has also forced us into a timeline where Janet can only use a Hidden Immunity Idol at the next Tribal Council. Because Dean learned the “jury management lesson” by playing a game of 50/50 for an advantage, he now has an Idol Nullifier and knowledge that Janet Carbin has a Hidden Immunity Idol.

With Janet illustrating why she’s a threat at the most recent Tribal Council and Dean knowing she has the idol, he has all the info he needs to slide into the Final Four with a willing group. From there, he’s likeliest to win individual immunity of the group remaining (besides Noura), but even if he doesn’t win it, I doubt others will want to risk him making fire and building his resume.

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Dean Kowalski’s chances of making the Final Tribal Council are relatively high, I gather.

Dean’s chances of receiving votes at Final Tribal

Here is where things get tricky for the last remaining member of old Lairo; it’s extremely hard for him to gain the majority of votes at the Final Tribal Council. Not only has he been responsible for zero of the eliminations after the merge, but he’s been a party to eliminating all of his fellow Lairo castaways, and by tattling to Tommy, he ruined his, Elaine’s, and Karishma’s games.

Not only that, but he has made an enemy out of Noura, which may present a problem for him at the Final Tribal Council, whether she is on the jury or sitting beside him. I feel like their negativity towards each other will drag him down like a reverse Phillip Sheppard situation, making it easier for whoever’s the third party to win.

Outside of Kellee, who has an outside relationship with Dean’s ex-girlfriend, I cannot foresee him getting many votes. Over Dean, I could see Jamal, Aaron, Missy, Elizabeth, Karishma, and Elaine voting for any combination of Tommy, Noura, Lauren, or Janet instead. Because Dan’s been eliminated, even if he sits beside Noura and she doesn’t attack him, I think Tommy, Elaine, or Janet win.

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Right now, the biggest move he has outside of the 50/50 advantage draw at the Island of the Idols is him making a fake of his Legacy Advantage gifted to him by Jamal. However, little does he know that not only was he gifted a fake in the first place, but it was done so to put a target on his back, yet nobody else in the game thought he was big enough a threat to be worth going after.

If he does use his Idol Nullifier to take out Janet, it does bump up his resume to one move and one individual immunity win. That’s not nothing, but I don’t think he’s garnered a social game capable of earning a majority vote. When Tommy was surprised that Dean was capable of making moves with the Idol Nullifier grab, it should have been a red flag that most others in the game don’t see him as a threat to win, either.


I expect that Dean has a pretty decent shot at making it to the Final Three, considering the targets ahead of him. However, it would be an absolute shocker to get more than a couple of votes at most, with the option of being a zero-vote finalist not too far removed as a possibility.

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You just don’t bury a winner so deep under the sand as to not debut their character until episode 3. There’s so much we don’t know about Dean Kowalski, the human, let alone Dean Kowalski, the Survivor: Island of the Idols castaway or supposed endgame potential threat.