Survivor: Game Changers lived up to its name on Wednesday night, kicking off the premiere with not one, but two eliminations.
But in a season full of returning players bringing their A-game, Ciera Eastin and Tony Vlachos got the early boot, after their tribe, Mana, lost both immunity challenges.
ET hopped on the phone with the pair on Thursday morning, where they reflected on what went wrong -- and revealed whether they would play again.
"It's so sad, because I definitely felt like Game Changers was meant for me, and unfortunately, it just didn't end up happening," said three-time player Eastin, who was known for the line, "Let's play the game."
"I think just the title of the season being Game Changers, it's not just a fan favorites. It's not just an All-Stars. Game Changers puts a whole new pressure on the season, to live up to that. Especially someone like me, who in my past seasons, I talk about playing the game and playing to win, I definitely felt a large amount of weight on my shoulders," she added.
Eastin was the first player to be voted out during Wednesday's premiere, after her tribemates put a target on her back for coming on too strong and talking strategy too early. But according to Eastin, her elimination was a result of one player having it out for her from the beginning.
"I definitely don't want to take away their perspective of what happened, but what I believe happened was I knew Malcolm did not want to work with me. He made it pretty clear," she recalled. "I tried to talk strategy with him a few times, and he's very, like, standoffish. He's great, but I could tell he didn't want to work with me. He had Aubrey and Hali and Caleb in his pocket. It was like they were going to do what he did."
"It's not like I hit the beach and was like, 'Hey, everybody,' like throwing everybody's names around. I really was not. I stuck with what people were saying they wanted to do, and the main names that were being talked about were obviously Tony, because he was walking around saying he was looking for an idol. So for me to say, 'I want Tony gone,' you know, sure, but everybody was saying that."
Eastin does recognize the moment she lost the game, however.
"The one thing I would've done differently is... at the conversation that I walked into, when they were talking about getting rid of Tony, I made a comment, and they said to me, 'What if Tony has the Hidden Immunity Idol?' and I said, 'Well, then we could always get rid of Caleb, his right-hand man.' And there were people in that conversation who were working with Caleb," she explained. "Obviously I didn't know this at the time, but if I could go back..."
Though Eastin was the first to go, she does feel justified that Vlachos followed right behind her.
"I wanted Tony to do well, but my thing was this: I knew that was going to happen," she said. "It was, like, extremely evident that that was going to happen. They were all talking about getting rid of Tony. It's not like I completely pulled it out of nowhere. So I knew if I lost, he'd be the next one to come."
Vlachos, meanwhile, still hasn't gotten over his quick exit.
"Aw, man, they got me," he told ET, revealing that his high-energy, larger-than-life behavior was part of his strategy.
"I believe that if I tried to play under the radar, then they would've been like, 'Tony's up to something. That's not Tony's character to be that quiet. He's up to something, he's up to no good,' and I think that would've hurt me more," he said. "If you really look at the show, it didn't really hurt me that I was up, all in your face, kind of clowning around, running around the jungle looking for idols, building a spy bunker. That didn't hurt me. What hurt me was me overhearing Troyzan talking to Sandra, mentioning my name, and then me confronting Sandra, and that's what pitted us against each other. And that was my downfall, but all the other antics and the shenanigans, that's what they expected of me. They're like, 'That's Tony being Tony.' And that's exactly what I wanted. I didn't want to be the elephant in the room, trying to hide behind a little leaf."
At the end of the day, Vlachos says his spy bunker -- an updated version of the spy shack that won him the title of Sole Suvivor on Cagayan -- was not a success.
"I was still working on the renovations," he confessed, before mentioning that he had no regrets.
"The timing was off for me, working on my spy bunker when Sandra and Troyzan came walking, and I heard my name being thrown out there. On Cagayan, I had a lot of good luck. This time, I had a lot of bad luck, where I heard them say my name, and then I confronted them, and they made up some lie about looking at the tide... that right there just spiraled everything out of control for me," he recalled. "I know right there and then that they were lying to me, and now that we've seen the show, they weren't necessarily talking about getting me out, but then again, I'm not supposed to know that, when I'm out there in the show. My feeling was, they were talking about me, and and they lied about it to try to cover it up, and at that point, it was me against her, and that's what ruined the game for me."
And while there was talk of him and Sandra working together until the end, Vlachos "wouldn't say" he'd take the two-time winner to the final three -- but did want to go "deep with her." "I truly did believe that in order for me to win the game or have a chance to win at the final council, I would have to be sitting next to another winner," he said. "So that pitch was genuine, it was real, and Sandra agreed with it at that time. We were strong. We really wanted to work together at that point in time, we really did."
Now, Vlachos thinks Sandra might be headed to the final three with Jeff Varner and Troyzan.
"I've seen them real close together, so I'm thinking they can go real deep and maybe all the way. That was my initial thoughts. I'm like, 'Wow, Sandra, she's got skills. The girl's got skills,'" he said. "I'm thinking she might [win]. From what I've seen on how she gathered all the troops...that just goes to show the power that Sandra had. The power of her social game was intense."
Eastin, meanwhile, is hoping an old Blood vs. Water friend takes it home.
"I'm rooting for Brad," she admitted. "As far as a final three goes, [I don't really know], but I'm definitely pulling for Brad to take this one home for the Culpeppers."
As for whether Eastin or Vlachos would come back to Survivor after their early exit on Game Changers, both agree they need "a little space."
"Today? No, because I just watched myself get booted off. So, maybe two months from now, I'll be calling up CBS begging them, 'Please, let me play again,' but right now, I think my time is over," Vlachos said. "I think I was a one-hit wonder, it was good while it lasted, and I think I learned my lesson this time around."
"I really hope I get the opportunity to play again. I know some people are so sick and tired of seeing me out there, but like, for my own selfish reasons, I know I can win. I just have to tweak a few different things, and go into the game a little differently, and I think that this time, I just went back too soon," Eastin confessed. "I think maybe I need a little space to, like, collect my thoughts and get my head right."
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.