Did ‘Survivor 39’ Contestant Kellee Kim Make One of the Biggest Moves in the Franchise’s History?

*SPOILER ALERT* This article contains spoilers from Survivor 39: Island of the Idols Episode 7.

In one of the most daring moves ever, Kellee Kim gave her immunity idol to Dean Kowalski and orchestrated a perfectly executed blindside. While some fans disagree with her choice and think she just wants to make a big move for the sake of it, others believe she made the best strategic play they’ve seen from a newcomer.

Does Kim’s unforgettable move deserve a spot in one of the best moments in Survivor history, or did she make a costly mistake?

Kellee Kim
Kellee Kim | Robert Voets

‘Survivor 39’ contestant Kellee Kim gave Dean Kowalski her idol

After Lairo lost yet another immunity challenge, it seemed like the tribe unanimously decided to vote Dean Kowalski off the island. However, Kellee Kim wanted to keep the basketball player because she felt it was best for her game.

As a result of a successful trip to the Island of the Idols, Kim earned an immunity idol, which would not be valid after this Tribal Council. Not wanting to waste the idol, she hatched a plan to give it to Kowalski and convinced him to vote off Jack Nichting.

Kim also told Noura Salman to vote alongside Kowalski, and then put on an Emmy-Award winning performance for Council. Once the basketball player pulled out the idol, she dropped her jaw in feigned surprise.

Kim also wrote Kowalski’s name down, so it appeared like she voted with the majority and had no idea about the immunity idol. Her plan worked, and Nichting was eliminated right before the Merge, becoming the first member of the Jury.

Why ‘Survivor 39’ fans believe Kellee Kim made the wrong move

Some viewers criticized Kim’s move as they think she has nothing to gain by using the immunity idol or choosing Nichting to eliminate. Additionally, the competitors on her tribe may begin to get suspicious, and if Salman gives up Kim to save herself, then she will join Nichting in the Jury next.

Finally, she made a deal with the graduate student that they would get each other to the Merge, and Nichting could have been a loyal ally moving forward.

However, other fans are praising Kim’s move and calling it one of the best by a newcomer.

Why ‘Survivor 39’ fans believe Kellee Kim made a great move

Viewers who love Survivor for the strategic gameplay appreciated Kim’s move because she hit several birds with one stone. For example, eliminating Nichting separated him from Jamal Shipman, his staunch ally, preventing them from reaching the Merge together.

Additionally, she saved Kowalski, who only has loyalty to her after getting blindsided from old Lairo with the Chelsea Walker vote and then his entire tribe voting to eliminate him.

Finally, without even planning it, Kim flushed Shipman’s idol out by forcing him to play it after Kowalski played his. Some fans are going crazy on social media over the MBA student’s move, claiming it cemented her as a returnee for a future season, possibly another installment of Second Chances.

To see if Kim made a great move or if it will come back to bite her, watch Survivor 39: Island of the Idols Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.