Best Survivor Winners No. 9: Yul Kwon (Survivor Cook Islands)
How you regard Yul Kwon’s placement among Survivor winners comes down to a few factors, but it mostly boils down to how you view the fact that he had a super idol.
Able to change the results of a tribal council after the votes are read to post-facto negate any votes that went his way, and as nobody tried to burn it before the final tribal council, he was never in danger of being voted out.
While that may be true (and his narrow 5-4 victory may sour some), it should be noted that he was part of a sudden, major disadvantage with a mutiny from Candice and Johnathan Penner.
Despite being down 4-8 in tribal numbers, the Aitu 4 used both their combined strength and strategy led by Yul, as well as Yul’s manipulation of Penner in order to help sway the numbers in their favor. He led the four to overcome all odds to vote out the other eight in order.
With Ozzy winning all but one of the individual immunity challenges, there was never an opportunity to do anything but chose one other person to sit with him at the final tribal council.
He owned up to his strategic, manipulative play against one of the more emotional tribal council competitors in Ozzy.
His victory was narrow, and it did come with the help of a powerful idol, but that shouldn’t disservice the incredible odds he overcame in the first place.