“Day One I’m Going Zero to Sixty and I’m Staying at Sixty the Whole Way Through” – Ciera Eastin in her Gordon Holmes Interview.
Everything Ciera was saying in the pre-season was all wrong. At times, it was preposterous. Just check out the quote above. Going from zero to sixty on day one is never a smart move and for someone of the caliber and experience of Ciera Eastin in the game to not know that, it is just absurd. She should surely know by now that the early stages of the game are all about hanging back and letting the chaos erupt around you. She was also talking heavily in pre-season about fighting for her place in the game when she finds herself at the bottom. And that’s not the worst thing in the world, but you need to go about something like that subtly, not emphatically, which is what Ciera was definitely planning on doing. Just look at the last time she found herself on the bottom; Second Chance when she was screaming at everyone “Make Big Moves!”
Think of it this way. Who were the players on Mana that were the safest throughout both of tonight’s two eliminations? Hali, Malcolm, Caleb…even Jeff Varner! What do they all have in common? They were all hanging back and just going with the flow of where the vote was going. We’ll speak tomorrow in our episode review about how much of an improved game Jeff Varner is playing right now, but for now we’ll use him as the perfect juxtaposition to what Ciera should have been doing. While players like Ciera, Tony and yes, even Sandra, were making targets of themselves, Jeff Varner was just sitting back, taking it all in, even laughing! That is exactly what Ciera should have been doing with her approach to this season. Taking it all in and just laughing. But Ciera came in like she had something to prove. A season titled Game Changers and “that’s me” Ciera would say in her interviews. But for whatever reason when she got on the island of Fiji, she felt as though she had to prove exactly why she was a Game Changer and unfortunately for her, it was far too early to do so.
Pre-Season Thoughts and Prediction for Ciera
Shot In The Dark Prediction: 19th place.
“I love Ciera, but I just wonder if it’s too soon for her return. She just played in 2015 and she didn’t do amazingly well. Yes, she avoided tribal council until Day 16 and made a good move to eliminate Woo when she got there, but she was always on the bottom and didn’t really have that much wiggle room. The other players in the game just never seemed to fully trust Ciera and it was probably down to that massive past reputation she came into the game with. I have a feeling Ciera might suffer the same fate as she did in Survivor Cambodia and do even worse this time, particularly because I think she is a very easy person for others to get behind as an easy vote early on”. Read more -> Season 34 Cast Assessment
It seems I hit the nail on the head with this one, predicting Ciera to go home in 19th, just 1 spot off of where she actually went home. But a key update is definitely needed to this pre-season declaration, so here it is…UPDATE: I no longer love Ciera. Her gameplay is just far too frantic and unfortunately she thinks she is way better at the game than she is. The game isn’t all about making big moves. Just read Why Jeff Probst Needs To Stop Telling Contestants To Make Big Moves per example. This is exactly where Ciera went wrong with her approach to this season. You have to go with the flow and not be the one to immediately throw people under the bus which was Ciera’s first mistake of the evening.
Throwing Names Out Too Early On
Coming into the game, Ciera’s approach was all wrong and it was almost as though she lost it before it even started. However, she made it even worse for herself when she immediately threw names under the bus. Now throwing a name like Aubry or Hali wouldn’t have been terribly detrimental to her game, but nope she goes for Mr. Paranoia himself, Team TV, and calls out Tony Vlachos. Of course that was going to make Tony paranoid and of course she was instantly going to become his instant target.
Coming into the game, Ciera’s too biggest detriments were going to be her inability in challenges and her ginormous reputation. But that isn’t what scared people off and scared them into voting for her. What made players like Tony, Caleb and Varner afraid of Ciera early on was the fact that it was three days in and she was already scheming intensely; already plotting to send people home. This was just a massive misread on the part of Ciera and something that she should have known not to do. This is her third time playing after all!
Instead of throwing names out so nonchalantly, perhaps what Ciera should have been doing was trying to make emotional bonds with the people around her.
Not Making Enough Bonds
It is clear that in those first three days, no one felt like they could trust Ciera. If they did, she wouldn’t have been voted out so emphatically, 9-1. Out of the gates, there were three big targets on Mana that you could easily point to as potential targets – Sandra, Tony and Ciera. But where Ciera lacked in comparison to Tony and Sandra was in her ability to make emotional bonds with her tribe-mates. Tony immediately lost people with his crazy idol hunt and paranoid behaviour, but he also won people over with his comedic relief and fun personality. Tony immediately had Caleb, Malcolm and Aubry all wrapped around his finger. Who did Ciera have? Similarly, as Sandra said herself at tribal council “Jeff, I’m just too damn likable”. And it’s true. Everyone on Mana seems to love Sandra so far and instead of being the person that should have been everyone’s number one target, it’s almost like she’s in charge! That’s because Sandra does a fantastic job at getting people to trust her, perceive her to be nonthreatening, and by proxy everyone wants to keep her around! Ciera claimed in confessional that she was playing like Sandra by saying “I’m fine with anyone as long as it isn’t me” but that couldn’t have been further from the truth because she had just thrown Tony’s name out three hours earlier!
In short, perhaps the greatest detriment to Ciera’s game in the first three days of Survivor Game Changers was her inability to make good enough social bonds that would keep her in the game for the long haul.
The Architect Of Her Demise
Ciera could easily be thought of as the architect of her own demise this season, but it really wasn’t that simple. It was Tony Vlachos who first threw the idea of voting out the former Cambodia contestant and it was Tony again who rallied the troops to send her packing. In the scene by the water well, the Cagayan winner was persuasive in coming up with sound reasons as to why the Blood vs. Water contestant should go home and within minutes he had Malcolm, Sandra, Caleb and Jeff Varner all on board. After that, Sandra Diaz-Twine went down to the water to fill in the rest of the crew and that was that, Ciera was sent home 9-1.
Conclusion & A Ciera Sendoff
Overall, even though the edit didn’t really do Ciera Eastin justice in her boot episode, it is pretty clear why she went home. The most glaring factors to the Oregon native’s elimination from the game were her inability to make social bonds at the start, her unnecessarily early strategizing and her faulty approach going into the game.
Ciera, you will forever be remembered fondly for your amazing play in Blood vs. Water, but you should have come into this game a little less over-confident. And believe it or not, The Mastermind hopes to see you play again sometime soon, especially if that season is titled Heroes vs. Villains 2. For now, the impact you make on Survivor Game Changers will be minimal and very likely less than any other player, but it was still nice to see you come back a third time and give it your all.
Be sure to check out all of our upcoming articles! See you soon!
1. Survivor Game Changers Premiere Recap, Edgic and Analysis
2. Why ____ Was Voted Out (Second Eliminated Castaway)