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2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles37 posts
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: David vs. Goliath
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Ghost Island
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Game Changers
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Millennials vs. Gen X
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Kaôh Rōng
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Cambodia
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Worlds Apart
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: San Juan del Sur
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Cagayan
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Blood vs. Water
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Caramoan
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Philippines
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: One World
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: South Pacific
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Redemption Island
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Nicaragua
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Heroes vs. Villains
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Samoa
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Tocantins
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Gabon
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Micronesia
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: China
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Fiji
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Cook Islands
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Panama
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Guatemala
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Palau
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Vanuatu
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: All-Stars
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Pearl Islands
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: The Amazon
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Thailand
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Marquesas
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Africa
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: The Australian Outback
2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Borneo
33

2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profiles: Pearl Islands

Welcome to the 2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profile series!

In these threads, we encourage in-depth discussion about the "fallen angels" throughout Survivor history, counting down from the most recent to the original. In this context, a fallen angel is the last player eliminated prior to Final Tribal Council.

What allowed these players to make it to the end game? What are the reasons they fell short? Were they legit threats or coattail riders? How close were they to winning? Who would they have won or lost against had they made it to Final Tribal Council? How was their gameplay, narrative, story, edit, competition, and former or later seasons (if applicable)? What's their Survivor legacy? Are they overrated or underrated as a player and a character? Will they ever return?

These threads are meant for in-depth discussion, not low-effort content. We encourage people to post their detailed thoughts after reflecting on these fallen angels and their paths through the game.


Today's topic: Survivor: Pearl Islands fallen angel Jon Dalton.

  • Method of Elimination: Voted out at F3

  • Individual Immunities won: 0/8

  • Tribal Councils Attended: 12/15

  • Votes Against: 7

  • Correct Votes: 9/12


Previous 2019 Survivor Fallen Angel Profile Threads:

32 comments
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level 1
Cirie
52 points · 12 days ago

One of the best characters in Survivor history, Johnny FairPlay is notorious for the cut-throat scheming game he played that characterised the fast-paced entertaining gameplay throughout Pearl Islands. Whilst I think JFP is all-time top tier character, I do think his gameplay is a little overrated for a couple of reasons. Still, generally he was definitely one of the better more strategic players of Pearl Islands, even with the flaws.

JFP started the game on Drake; though he was a volatile presence early on, he managed to settle into the tribe quite well, partly due to their storming start in challenges. By the time Drake went to Tribal Council, he was well positioned in the tribe, set up to be the swing vote between Rupert’s crew of Trish, Sandra and Crista and Burton’s crew of Shawn and Michelle. Jon ended up voting out Burton and when Drake lost the fifth Immunity Challenge, he joined the tribe in taking out Michelle, after she had messed up the strategy in that previous challenge.

Personally, I think Jon made a mistake and overplayed his hand right before the merge – this could have ended up completely screwing his game long-term. Jon joined with Trish to vote out Rupert, not realising that Sandra would rat them out to Rupert in an instant. Whilst getting rid of Rupert was a decent long-term plan, this plan would have split Drake down the middle right before the merge, which would have handed power to a tribe that hated Jon. In addition, not recognising Sandra’s closeness to Rupert highlights that Jon didn’t have an effective grasp on tribal dynamics. Personally, I think, without the Outcast Twist, it’s very, very likely that Jon’s the merge boot.

Thereafter, though, you have to admit that Jon played a very, very effective game and it cannot be denied he took his opportunity at a second chance brilliantly. Jon quickly aligned with Lil and Burton post-merge (as most of the other players really didn’t like him). He played nice with Drake at the merge so that they could get out Savage (without which he would have reaaaally struggled to work with the Morgans) and Ryno and then played an expert Rob C-style game, flipping with Lil and Burton between Rupert/Sandra/Christa and Tijuana/Darrah up until F5.

Personally, I do think that whilst he leveraged his post-merge position brilliantly, there were a couple of mistakes he made. By voting out Rupert at F8, he almost allowed the remaining women to gang up on Burton at F7 and his social game ended up turning off Lil to a horrendous extent, which allowed her to team up with Sandra and Darrah to get rid of Burton at F5 and critically resulted in Lil opting to vote him out at F3 in spite of being the better FTC option. Still, I will give him credit for how well he played F4 – the way he avoided the target there is one the most underrated moves in Survivor history, imo.

JFP was definitely a threat to win in the end; he would have crushed Lil had she ended up taking him or if he had won Final Immunity. As for Sandra, it’s more debatable; I’ve always thought he loses that (Lil, Christa, Rupert and Darrah voting for Sandra), but as he pointed out to me personally, Darrah has claimed she’d have voted for him recently. Still, this is questionable given how much longer after the event it is. I’d put that one to a 50:50 shot. Whilst, I do think he’d have beaten Burton as well, due to the Anti-Outcast sentiment on the jury, I’m not sure he wins many other jury match-ups.

Overall, JFP is one of the best characters Survivor has ever seen and whilst I do think that large parts of his gameplay were very good, I just feel that Johnny FairPlay has a couple too many weaknesses to be considered one of the best to never win. The chief problem is his social game turning far too many people off him; even with the Outcast Twist, pure negative social influence led to him losing Burton at F5 and getting voted out by Lil at F3. Plus, I feel that he was too quick to pull the trigger on Rupert both times he tried to vote him out. I’m still massively glad for his presence on the show though; he is huge, huge reason Pearl Islands is so amazing and for that and his status as a character, he’s definitely in my Top 20 Survivor players of all time.

level 2
Aurora
15 points · 12 days ago

Yeah this idea that Fairplay was a huge jury threat seems to have mostly been perpetuated by Fairplay himself. I've no doubt he beats Lil and probably Burton as well, but other than that, I dunno. Though those were the 2 most likely people for him to end up in the F2 with anyway.

level 2
8 points · 12 days ago

I will disagree on what you consider to be flaws in Fairplay's game. The only one I agree with is his attempt to blindside Rupert with Trish failed bombastically. But even then he was smart enough to have her as a meat shield, and was then able to make Rupert, Christa and even Sandra (who hated his guts) vote out Shawn instead of him. As for the other flaws you mentioned, I disagree. He blindsided Rupert at the perfect time, straight after the other two alpha males had left the game and took control of the game just like Rob C. did before him. However, unlike Rob, he had the perfect ally, someone that was smart enough to be allies with the biggest snake in the game since it was he's best shot at trying to win a jury vote, but also someone that wouldn't betray Jon no matter what. And then, after showing to everyone his true colors, he used the Grandma lie which made everyone (except our queen) forget about the fact that he's Johnny Fairplay and he doesn't play fair. He used it perfectly, first separating the Darrah-Tijuana paring and then the Christa-Sandra paring.

Now comes the final 5, and yeah, Fairplay took a huge blow, losing his closest ally and ending up in the worst final 4 for him to get to the jury (but not to win the actual vote). But I can't really say that Fairplay made a mistake. Burton was the one who really fucked up here, chosing him over Lil for the reward. This was something out of Fairplay's hands, and I can't really blame him for it. Because, as you said, despite having his original game plan flushed down the toilet, he managed to turn Lil against Darrah in the final 4 and it's one of his best moves in the game. He is then positioned in the best final 3 possible for winning final immunity, put against Sandra a Lil.

But of course, Lil, the queen of Squats had to beaten him. Now you said that Jon's biggest mistake was his social game. But you gotta understand, what we saw in the cameras, was Fairplay playing up his villain persona to put on a show for the audience. On the island, he worked hard, he was respected and everyone felt sorry for him because his grandma had just died. For us, he was the mastermind, the villain and the shit talker that insulted everyone. But the jury didn't know that. If Lil had picked him, which would have happened if Sandra wasn't so good at making goats do what she wants, and if Lil wasn't... well Lil, he would have won against Lil. I do think Fairplay gets a bit to high on himself these days, but when he says the played the perfect game, I can't help but agree.

There was nothing he could have done better, except training his squats with Thunder D before going on the show.

level 3
Cirie
6 points · 11 days ago · edited 11 days ago

Gosh, I really disagree with what you’ve written here. The Rupert move was objectively made at the wrong time; it allowed Tijuana/Darrah/Christa/Sandra to team up to take out Burton. Jon got two HUGE slices of luck at F7; firstly Tijuana needlessly told him the plan, then Sandra and Christa went along with the Tijuana blindside when it wasn’t in their best interests to do so. He played F6 well, though I agree.

Secondly, Lil did not flip on Jon/Burton solely because of Burton’s social faux pas of taking Jon on the reward. At F6, Jon, Lil and Darrah went on a reward together and Jon’s behaviour on the reward massively turned Lil off of him. This laid the groundwork for the Lil flip at F5 so FairPlay absolutely deserves criticism for that side.

I’ll agree with you about F4 (as I said in my initial post I LOVED that move). However think about this: Lil turned on him at F5 and bewilderingly at F3 when she had no strategic reason to do so. This was because Jon, socially, turned her off. And this is what I mean by Jon’s social game not being great - Rupert/Christa/Sandra mistrusted him all game (Sandra saying “I told you that Jon’s a snake” at FTC as an example), Savage and Ryno developed a hatred for him that would have seen him out at the merge when he wasn’t a physical threat; even Lil (one of his closest allies) chose to deny him the million at the end. None of the above have anything to do with his edit - they are all tangible, physical bits of evidence we can point to that showcase his social game being sub-par.

But honestly, I feel like you’re ignoring my biggest and most important point - how can Jon have played a perfect game when he was probably out at the merge without the Outcast Twist?

[NB: I haven’t mentioned the Dead Grandma lie in this reply or my initial post. The reason for that is that I honestly feel it’s impact in the game has been overstated because it’s such a shocking moment. I really don’t think it was a big factor behind Sandra voting out Tijuana (and we know it failed at F5 when he tried to get Sandra to vote out Lil...) but given I don’t know Sandra/Christa’s motivations as I’m not them, I’ll concede it could have been a factor]

level 4
2 points · 11 days ago

But that's the thing. We are analysing the game he played. We can't fault Fairplay game for the Outcast Twist saving him. Because then we have to fault most of the people that have made it far into the game. A part of Survivor involves luck. He got lucky and was saved by the Outcast twist. Just like Silas got fucked in Africa and in one new twist he lost all of his alliance and the power he had in the game. And it's not like he was at the best spot with the twist. His former tribe hated him, he had a bad relationship with the Morgans, especially their leader Savage, and of the two people the twist brought back, one was Lil (no explanation needed) and Burton, someone Jon was responsible in getting out of the game. And yet he somehow got in good terms with Burton come the merge, he let Rupert have all the power for the first two votes, and when he was most powerful he blindsided him and secures his alliance with both Burton and Lil. Now you say that this move was too early because the girls could have gotten together to blindside Burton. But that's the thing: They didn't. They didn't like each other, they couldn't work together and Fairplay used that against that, and split up the two parings.

Now the final 5 and 3. See, this is where the edit is fooling you. Lil didn't vote out Burton because it was a good move. Lil voted out Burton because Sandra convinced her to do so. Lil didn't have a clue at what was going in the game at all. She was an emotional and mental wreck, to the point that she voted Darrah at the final 4 when she was planning on taking her to the end. Lil was completely losing it out there, and only one thing kept her (kinda) sane. Family. And this is the reason that Fairplay lost. Sandra had a family to take care of. Lil was an old woman that had family as a top priority in her heart. Jon didn't rub her the wrong way, because Jon being Jon was not the reason Lil voted him out at the final 3. She voted him out because she knew he was going to spend the money on something like drugs, while Sandra was going to use it to help her family. That's why she voted him out, not because of anything he did to her in game, but because Sandra having a family at home to take care of. That's why I can't blame Jon being voted out. He couldn't do anything to stop it, since Lil was never going to vote based on strategy, but based on who needed to win the money. Sandra knew that, and made sure to always talk to Lil and tell her that family was all they had, and when it came to voting, Lil did exactly what only Lil would do, vote out someone that she could at least try to win in a jury vote.

This leads to my last point. The Gradma Lie is actually very underrated as a strategic move since it's always known to be a great moment. I disagree with you. It did exactly what needed to do and Fairplay used the lie in a brilliant way. I don't understand how you can say that it didn't do much game wise when in the final 6 Christa tells Sandra that they should trust Jon since he would never lie on his Grandma's memory, which would lead to her blindside and only proves that the lie made people trust Jon (since he would swear on his Grandma's life that he was telling the truth) and feel bad for him. You were saying that it failed at the Final 5, but you gotta understand that the person behind the final 5 move was Sandra, the only person that didn't fell for the lie because her hatred for Jon was simply too big to feel bad for him. And lastly, the lie's biggest effect was to get Jon, who as you mentioned had been an asshole the entire game, a lot of favor in the jury. This was before All Stars completed the change started in Amazon by Rob C. happening to the game, where lying and manipulating people would become a selling point to get a vote in the jury. But thanks to his grandma being "dead", Jon had a very sad story to tell the jury so that he could then ask for their votes.

Not even counting the fact that his plan was to bring Lil to the end, and it only failed because he sucked at Squats.

Those damn Squats man.

level 1
Dan
23 points · 12 days ago

The era of the best Fallen angels! (Season 3- Season 7).

Hands down the best villain. I say even BETTER then Russell because he had a CHANCE to win the game with against Lil and you can semi argue Sandra.

level 2
Rick
11 points · 12 days ago

You mean he stomps Lil and has a good chance against Sandra?

level 2
I was here when Admins visited /r/Survivor
4 points · 12 days ago

thailand called.

level 3

I will get to her in 2 days.

level 1
23 points · 12 days ago

One of the underrated qualities that exemplifies a lot of great players is a willingness to consider every option. Richard is willing to assess whether or not winning FIC is the smartest choice for him. It’s not, so he doesn’t. Cirie has her 3–2-1 and is the one who was bold enough to propose getting Erik to give up Immunity. Tom and Ian were willing to risk rocks. Rob C. with the game changing flips. I could name any such example. Some of these, like Richard and Cirie, require very unconventional thinking, and these are some of the decisions I rate most highly.

I am of course discussing this to highlight the Dead Grandma lie, which may be the pinnacle combination of character and strategy we have ever seen in the show. Dead Grandma is an absolutely genius game move. It’s brilliant and it accomplished exactly what JFP wanted it to. He got a free reward, sympathy, something new to swear on, a pitch to make at Final Tribal. He planned it before the game ostensibly started and it took outside help to accomplish and he brought it off perfectly. Of the players, only Sandra—whose ability both to lie and to detect lies is borderline unparalleled—appeared to suspect anything was amiss, and ultimately she didn’t contest him on it after the challenge, presumably because the risk to her own position was so great.

And it is made more despicable by its effectiveness. If it had totally bombed it would be remembered as an embarrassment and a pathetic ploy by a weasel. JFP would merely have been disliked, thought of as a joke. And if he had been even a touch less charismatic and appropriately slimy I don’t know if it would have played as well on TV as it does. Instead he catapaulted himself into an ascended villainy not seen before on Survivor, forcing the entire audience to question morality in a game for a million bucks in a novel way they hadn’t yet had to consider. His gleeful malice, his genuine delight at his own line of shit, makes him an absolute legend.

JFP in doing this move also killed the move ever for anyone else. It will never work again. People are on permanent high alert and constantly questioning others’ families and lives and histories. And that is just an added bit of fun on the top, knowing (as he probably already knew even then) that he would be the only one to ever do it.

level 1
23 points · 12 days ago

Lil taking down FairPlay at F3 is funnier than dead grandma imo

level 2
Cydney
5 points · 12 days ago

😂😂

level 1
I was here when Admins visited /r/Survivor
15 points · 12 days ago

thisll be fun

level 1
Angelina
15 points · 12 days ago

Lucifer is the most famous literary fallen angel. Here we have Survivor’s version of Lucifer.

One of the oddest aspects of JFP is, despite his scheming and his ability to run people the wrong way, he’s also EXTREMELY charming when he needs to be. Despite his antics, people kept wanting to take him on rewards.

Despite what the players and producers of Cambodia may want you to believe, the Pearl Islands postmerge operated with voting blocs (Savage’s 4, Rupert/Christa/Sandra, Jon/Burton, and Lill). JFP (and Burton) jumped between the blocs well to continue to accomplish their goals. Their error was going off together on the car reward and leaving Lill to be swayed by Sandra.

JFP, like Cesternino, probably played a bit too heavy for that era, making it so he needed to win FIC to make final tribal.

Producers, if you want to know what a real Game Changer looks like, this is it.

level 2
Wendell
5 points · 12 days ago

Sure, Fairplay had to win FIC, but look at his competition! Sandra and Lil? He probably thought it would be a slam dunk.

level 1
Mayor of Slamtown
7 points · 12 days ago

Watching people react to JFP if you introduce them to Survivor via PI is hilarious. Second perhaps only to Coach if you introduce them via Tocantins, but it's close.


That being said, a lot of the mystique has been blown for me with his presence on social media, including this sub. Oof, it's cringe-worthy.

level 1
Aurora
12 points · 12 days ago

I think Jon came very, very close to winning PI. He was obviously a villain (arguably the biggest and best the show has ever seen) but he didn't seem to be disliked by too many people. Did they all know he was shady? Pretty much. But I think you can tell a lot of the cast at least respected him and if he made it to the F2 he definitely beats Lil and probably beats Sandra.

level 2
Aubry
5 points · 12 days ago

idk, there's no way Sandra, Rupert, or Christa would ever vote for him, so it would definitely be close.

And there's no way he beats Sandra lol.

level 3

Sandra/Christa HATED Lil (Well according to Sandra). Fairplay can be an ass but he still at least tolerable to be around (have heard stories that Sandra And Fairplay rapping happy birthday).

Against Lil. I think everyone vote for him except Rupert and maybe Tijuana.

Against Sandra. He has Burton. Ryan. Darrah. Maybe even Lil if the grandma lie got to her. Even Tijuana can vote for Fairplay.

level 4
Cirie
5 points · 12 days ago

I agree with a lot of what you say here (Christa and Sandra would have both voted FairPlay over Lil imo), but seeing as Lil didn’t vote to bring him to the end, I highly doubt she votes for him to win over Sandra. The real swing vote in a Jon v Sandra F2 is Darrah, imo.

(And personally, I think Tijuana would have definitely voted for FairPlay over Lil. She was voting for the person who played the better game and this was why she voted for Lil - Sandra made the point that Lil put everyone on the jury and this swayed her but Jon would have had no problem arguing that he played a superior game)

level 4
Natalie
5 points · 12 days ago

Against Sandra he gets Burton. I think Ryno prefers Sandra as a person, more honest or something. Rupert, Lill and Christa go for Sandra. Darrah possibly too.

level 4
Aubry
2 points · 12 days ago

Sandra/Christa also hated Fairplay.

Against Sandra, he has Burton, but I think Ryan/Darrah still vote for Sandra.

level 5

They hated Lil and Shawn for that matter then Fairplay.

level 6
Aubry
2 points · 12 days ago

we can't really say how much they comparably hated Lil compared to Fairplay. It's impossible to know without asking them, and even then it's been 15 years so their answer would be somewhat unreliable.

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