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USA Insider Snake in the Grass

Before Watching Them Play 'Snake In The Grass,' Learn How Yul And Earl Won 'Survivor'

Who is the Snake on this episode of "Snake In The Grass"? Figuring out how Yul Kwon and Earl Cole won "Survivor" may help viewers determine who is faking.

By Becca van Sambeck
Split image of Snake In The Grass' Yuri and Earn

One of our favorite aspects of the new USA Network series "Snake In The Grass"? That you get to see several beloved reality TV legends return to the screen — this time to compete in a game of both wits and physical strength.

How to Watch

Stream all eight episodes of "Snake in the Grass" on Peacock.

The series, which premieres Monday, Aug. 1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network, drops four people into the jungles of Costa Rica, where they must solve various challenges to earn clues. These clues reveal the identity of the Snake on the team: The person who is actively working to sabotage the other three members. If the team identifies the Snake, the three share a $100,000 cash prize. If they don't, the Snake takes all.

Two "Survivor" legends will go head-to-head in an episode of "Snake In The Grass": Yul Kwon and Earl Cole. To figure out which one may be the saboteur, let's look back on how they won "Survivor."

Yul Kwon's Time On 'Survivor'

Yul Kwon is credited as the first Asian American winner of "Survivor," competing on Season 13 in 2006. The season, set in the Cook Islands, sparked controversy for initially splitting the contestants into tribes by ethnicity. Kwon quickly bonded with a fellow member of his tribe, Rebekah "Becky" Lee, which led to a successful alliance throughout the show. The initial tribes were eventually disbanded, and Yul and Becky became part of the Aitutaki tribe, which eventually led to them forming the Aitu Four Alliance.

The Aitu Four Alliance seemed to have the odds stacked against them but thanks to Yul's keen analytic mind and clever strategies, they made it to the final four. In the end, he was crowned "Sole Survivor," thanks to his brilliant, strategic gameplay.

Many "Survivor" fans felt he could be quite cold, however, per "Entertainment Weekly" — which pointed out that his teary, passionate declaration to donate any potential winnings to ALS research in honor of former "Survivor" castmate Jonathan Penner and his wife, Stacy Title, who has the disease, in an episode of "Survivor: Winners At War" in 2020, would change viewers' opinion on him.

"My first discernible memory of Jonathan is seeing him running away with the chicken I had just retrieved from the ocean [on the show]. In the chaos of the marooning, a chicken had flown off the ship into the water, and my tribemate, Cao Boi, yelled at me to go fetch it. Mind you, I had been seasick for hours and was so disoriented that I would probably have done something stupid like jumping into the ocean if someone had told me to. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what I did ... So my friendship with Jonathan didn’t exactly start off on a positive note. I definitely would have voted him out over Sekou. But now, he’s one of my closest friends. I don’t know what to make of all this except that I’m never going to jump off a ship to catch a chicken again," he told the outlet of their friendship.

While Yul showed more emotion and continued to play smart, he ultimately came in 14th during that season.

Earl Cole

Earl actually has a special designation on "Survivor": He's the first unanimous winner ever. Even crazier? He hadn't watched the show before appearing on the 14th season of the show in 2006, which took place in Fiji.

"I had never seen the show and didn't have any past situations to refer to, as many other people do," Earl later told "Entertainment Weekly." "It was just raw gameplay of adaptation, observation, and figuring out how to survive, day by day."

It was Earl's charm and leadership skills that led him to take the title of "Sole Survivor" at the end of the season, although his solid alliance with Yau-Man Chan also helped. He started out as planning strategy for the Ravu Alliance, before eventually creating an Alliance of Six to take on the Horsemen alliance. By the end, he had never won individual immunity and only had been voted against at the Tribal Council once. Clearly, Earl knew how to play the game and win people over, even if he didn't have previous show knowledge to help him.

"I never regretted going on the show. Ever. No matter how hard it got, I knew I was made of the right stuff to win. I stayed positive and stayed focused. Even after the show, I was proud of what I did, win or lose. Fortunately, I did win, so that made it even better," he told "EW."

Tune in on Monday, August 1 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network for the "Snake In The Grass" premiere.

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