Game Fail: Why Stephen Fishbach and Ciera Eastin Lost Survivor
John Powell – GlobalTV.com
Although not as bad a hard luck story as Amanda Kimmel, Stephen Fishbach seems to always be the best man and never the groom. Finishing in second place to J.T. in Tocantins and now failing to make the grade in Cambodia, Stephen just cannot close the deal.
It isn’t for lack of trying either. As he displayed in Tocantins, Stephen has a sound tactical mind. Where he tends to fall short is during the challenges and sometimes the social aspect as well, depending on the complexion of his tribe.
Cambodia confirmed that Tocantins is Stephen’s albatross. Coming so close to winning it all has obviously haunted him since Probst counted the votes that fateful evening. This time, there was no way he was going to be anyone’s sidekick or thought as such. What that attitude did though was open the door for some reckless gameplay including telling so many people what his super power was.
During her second chance not much has changed for Ciera Eastin. Still as impetuous as she ever was, Ciera completely forgot one of the first rules of Survivor: Sometimes it is best to swallow your pride and bite your tongue. Already on the outside looking in, Ciera continued to upset those in power making her situation worse and worse with each criticism and each attack at Tribal Council. Realizing her mistake, she tried to apologize but it was too little, too late. By casting blame, accusing others of not playing the game, she gave her rivals all the ammunition they needed.
If she had shifted into the background, did some reconnaissance, uncovered and exploited any cracks in the core alliance, she could have better secured herself and her game.
From the very start, Stephen came to fight. Before his tribe had even finished setting-up camp, he was already scouring the outlying area for the Hidden Immunity Idol. Alas, everyone saw right through his ploy and excuses.
Preoccupied with how his experience in Tocantins concluded, Stephen couldn’t bring himself to really trust anyone who reminded him of JT. Joe became his priority target despite the need for his tribe to win challenges to ward off a visit to Tribal Council.
Aligning with Kimmi, Jeremy and Monica, Stephen supported the plan to dump the untrustworthy Monica but after the second tribal swap, Stephen continued his obsession with Joe and lobbied hard for him to be voted out. Stephen was quickly reminded though who held the true power at camp when his plan was thoroughly disregarded.
He could have also played his super power much better. By revealing to so many how it worked he made himself an even bigger target than he already was.
What little we saw of Ciera’s scheming this season was a mixed bag at best. When the tribes were jumbled a second time, Ciera aligned herself closely with Kass and became the subject of discussion when Andrew suggested they pretend to target Ciera while really voting Spencer out.
Instead of diplomatically expressing her opposition to the plan and finding a compromise, she publicly took Andrew to task. In the end, she did manage to flip the vote and take out Woo but that only put her Abi and Kass at the bottom of the pecking order.
When the tribes were merged, Ciera joined forces with Kelley, Kass and Abi but they failed to secure the support of Keith or Joe and were unable to protect Kass at Tribal Council.
After all her finger pointing at Tribal Council, Ciera struggled to procure more votes on the Reward Challenge trip to the spa. In the end, it was Stephen who convinced Jeremy and Spencer to join the women to send Kelly packing.
Ciera did make another run at gathering more allies. The damage to her game had already been done though.
Stephen Rating: 3.5 / 5
Ciera Rating: 2.5 / 5
Not on the same wavelength as any of the athletes or jocks and constantly overwhelmed by the need to fit in, Stephen stepped out of his comfort zone in Cambodia. He put a lot more effort into camp life, chores and his rapport with the other tribemates.
Despite making great strides, Stephen could never shake the feeling of being the odd one out and his relationships reflected that fact.
Ciera’s social gameplay was very one dimensional. More often than not, instead of being open to anyone who could provide her with a support system, she strongly gravitated towards only the women thus limiting her sphere of influence.
Primarily siding with Kass, an enormous untrustworthy threat who was almost guaranteed to be targeted sooner rather than later, was an immense tactical mistake.
Accusing others of not playing the game just because they weren’t being aggressive or assertive up to that point offended many of her potential allies. It was not the way to convince others to jump ship and join her side.
Stephen Rating: 3 / 5
Ciera Rating: 2 / 5
Everyone loves an underdog. He wasn’t one of the cool kids or one of the jocks. Even though Stephen had some cringe-worthy scenes this season, you had to sympathize with his plight. He managed to go with the flow, finding a place for himself no matter how the sands shifted.
Against all odds he made it to jury, especially considering how everyone knew he was a strong strategic threat from his time on Tocantins. I am quite surprised the other players didn’t see him as more of a threat earlier on.
Never really edited or portrayed as a contender, Ciera was a vessel for drama this season. Her impulsive nature and rash gameplay stirred things up. Good for us watching, bad for her playing. What I really hope is that years from now, Survivor is still on the air and Ciera is brought back to play being a little older and a little wiser.
Stephen Rating: 4 / 5
Ciera Rating: 3.5 / 5
Stephen: Final Castaway Rating: 10.5 / 15
Ciera: Final Castaway Rating: 8 / 15
Powell’s Picks: Episode 10
Who played it cool and who proved themselves to be a fool? Every week John Powell makes his picks for the worst and best players of the week.
Bronze Amateur: Jeremy Collins
He has made great decisions thus far and is playing a strong, patient game. Using the Hidden Immunity Idol on Stephen was a mistake as the next Tribal Council proved. Two is far better than one. Jeremy should have hung onto that security especially with this unpredictable bunch.
Silver Amateur: Ciera Eastin
She knew she was in serious danger and yet she gave up her chance at Immunity.
Gold Amateur: Stephen Fishbach
No idea why he split his advantage. He let his past dictate his present and that cost him his future in the game.
Bronze MVP: Kelley Wentworth
Kelley has found her second life by not only finding the Idol but repairing bridges with the others.
Silver MVP: Joe Anglim
Even though he lost Immunity, he fought hard to stay in the game.
Gold MVP: Spencer Bledsoe
A good move at the right time for his game. The question is will he be able to smooth things over with the others?