"Maintaining some kind of a thumb on all this different personalities that I care very little about is exhausting." - Richard Hatch

The two men were clearly the smartest players in the game, that's manifest to me. But not that smart - they made some huge tactical errors.

First off was Burton wavering on Lil in the final six episode. If Lil thinks she's going to the final two...well, let her think that. What's the harm? At the very least Burton loses her vote in the end if he wins Immunity and keeps Jon, and at best he is guaranteed a final two spot, with Jon and Lil both picking him to go to the top. It was Burton wavering with Lil that planted the seeds of doubt in her mind.

Secondly, it was a big tactical error to suddenly turn on Darrah on Day 34. It was unnecessary to bring it up so early in that three day cycle. You left Lil with a good 48 hours plus to think about the implications of the vote. They would have been better off to stick with the Sandra plan to Lil's face, and wait until after the Immunity Challenge to spring an alternative plan on her, IF (and only if) it was necessary. With Darrah turning out to win, the whole discussion was moot...and simply served to plant more doubt in Lil's mind.

But the biggest error really was the Reward Challenge. What needed to be done was for Burton to suck it up, and take Sandra on that challenge. She's the only one who had not benefited from a reward, and more importantly it would break up the possibility of a female alliance being discussed unsupervised on Day 34. It would impress Lil that Burton was that generous to give Sandra a reward, and maybe would have kept her in line. It certainly would have sealed off any sort of female alliance taking hold.

I can understand the guys being cocky - they have been the best two players out there, clearly - but they took a desire to hang out alone over working out the best strategic plan. Over considering every person on the tribe, and what their motivations and thought processes were. Hey Jon - you aspire to be like Rob Cesternino? He wouldn't have made the same mistakes.

As for Sandra...god, how stupid and immature can a person get? Oooo, these bad people want to vote you out? Well, I guess the smart thing to do there is...hide all the tools. Yeah, that'll help you! I guess the lesson here is "If you're going to lose, be as sore a loser as possible." Between that and dumping out the fish, she's behaving like a spoiled six year old who throws a tantrum when things don't go her way. I'd take anybody (other than Lil that is) as the winner over her.

Oh, and what kind of ridiculously biased Immunity challenge was that??? To explain - the challenge was to advance across a series of planks that a contestant would unlock by retrieving a floating ball with a key attached sitting in a tall thin glass tube. One would get the ball by pouring in water from a canteen to make the ball float upward, and the water from the canteen could only be retrieved by going back to the beginning of the course. So think about it - Darrah has the thinnest arms! And the show reveled in this fact! Jeff said during the challenge "All that weight loss is coming in handy." Gee, ya think Probst? You think that someone with thin arms who can reach deeper into the tube than others, thus necessitating less trips to get water, would have a manifestly obvious, physical advantage on the others? Could it be? Bah...Darrah had this challenge handed to her on a silver platter.

Funniest Quote: Here's an unedited transcript of what Jeff said at the beginning of the Immunity Challenge as he took the Cutlass from Darrah "Darrah, I need this back. Back to back it's been on your...back. Immunity, back up for grabs." The challenge, if you think back, was to sing Baby Got Back and Back in the USSR, with accompaniment by the Backstreet Boys.

Honorable mention though goes to Lil, as Jon tried to talk to her after the Immunity: "You two stop playing tag team on me." Ooooo...wrestling reference Jon! Can ya dig it??!?!?!

So the last episode...well, I'm not going to talk around spoilers anymore. The article I want to write is about who will be the final two, and who will win. The sure information has been out since about the final seven, and the vague rumor of the last two since before the show started. So...don't read further, if you don't want to know the final two.

No REALLY...this is about 99.9999% sure of being correct. I am about to tell you the final two. Don't - DON'T read further unless you don't want to know. I will understand...

Last chance..........

So don't say I didn't warn you.

Darrah: "It's gonna turn out real good."
Lil: "Yeah, I wish I could have that same feeling."

The final two are Lil and Darrah. Whoop-dee-do, huh? Rumor is Sandra is final three. God I hope not...I wish for Jon to make the vaunted final three spot. He's the best player out there - even if I dislike him - and he deserves at least that.

But the only thing spoiler sites can't know for sure is who actually wins the thing. Burnett claims that only himself, Les Moonves, and a couple of other higher- ups at CBS know for sure in advance. There has even been speculation that the camera operator that films the final votes is none other than Burnett himself, just to keep the lid on the drum that much tighter.

Well in fact, the other people that know...that must know...are the editors.

See, aside from any considerations of game play, the editing has pointed to Darrah from Day One. Consider...

1. Here's something obvious - it's right in the opening credits of the show! Watch the start, just after the shots of cannon fire, before the Musketeer Role Call of the players. Darrah and Nicole are jumping into the water. It was repeated again in the "coming up next week" blurb for the finale. It's simple - first and last finishers.

2. During the usual introduction in the first seconds of episode one, there was a zoom-in on Darrah sitting silently below deck on the boat. Jeff's voiceover was "and in the end..." The same trick was employed in the Marquesas - when Jeff's voiceover said "only one will remain" the camera focused on Vecepia.

3. Here's three separate quotes from Jeff as he explained the start of the game before they jumped off the boat. Each quote not in brackets was spoken when the camera focused in tightly on Darrah and Darrah alone:

- We're starting right now.
- (what I can offer you is the opportunity to) Control your own fate.
- (you can get the essentials you need to) Help you survive 39 days.

All these editing points I spotted back in September, armed with the spoiler that the final two would be a younger and an older woman.

So that's the editing point of view. What about what we've seen over 13 1/2 hours of television, plus what's been gleaned from interviews of booted contestants?

Put it all together, and here's my predictions. History has told us that guessing jury votes in Survivor is a ridiculously inexact science. This is why I have never done it in any Survivor article I've written. BUT...this one is more cut and dried than any I have seen.

RyanO - Had a lot of time to sit there, has listened to lots of arguments. Still, it really boils down to the original alliance he had, which was never betrayed. VOTE: DARRAH.

Rupert - He is a big time wild card. There's a very good chance Darrah could get there by winning all of the Immunities, and Rupert would respect that competitive fire. He was voted out by Lil, who he figured on having some trust with. Still...it's like chaos theory here, but I pick him to VOTE: DARRAH.

Tijuana - Like RyanO, pretty much a no brainer. Seemed quite damn tight with D. Should be a lock to VOTE: DARRAH.

Christa - She hates them all. Has attitude from here to Timbuktu. But she understands that they all came there to play a game, and will probably vote for the best game player, regardless of what she might think of the person. Add in some resentment at Lil the Outcast being there, and it's VOTE: DARRAH.

Burton - This is a toughie. He was close to Lil through the game, was a fellow outcast, and could feel bad upon reflection for voting her out. On the other band, aside from the vote this week, she rode the coattails of Burton. VOTE: ........LIL? MAYBE???

Jon - He'll be plenty pissed he doesn't make at least third. I think he knows that if you can't win, the spot to go is third. Not second - crappy people always get brought along to beat in the final two, but the best players come in third because no one can win against them. Think Rudy, Lex, Kathy, The Robasu. So fourth will gall him...if in fact that's his spot. Still, in the end like his idol Rob Cesternino he will vote purely upon who played the game the best. Darrah was in a minority since the merge, and won a bunch of Immunities...and if she wins the last two competitions there should be no doubt VOTE: DARRAH.

Sandra - In a weird way, she will approach this from a similar perspective as Jon - who was the best player, pure and simple, even if you can't stand the contestant personally. Darrah is clearly the better player...and combined with her promising Lil this week that she would vote for her in the final I say VOTE: DARRAH.

I think the Outcast factor will play a part in the voting too - all the booted contestants seem to be playing that down in exit interviews, but it's gotta enter into their heads that Darrah survived the full 39 days without a 10 day break in between.

There has been talk that no one could win against Lil because she's so nice, no one dislikes her, and on and on. In other Survivor games, this might be a valid point.

But have these people really put a high priority in their game play upon being nice to each other? In many cases, there's no love lost between them. And with so many people scheming, lying, backstabbing - and thinking constantly about the best way to do that - are they going to hand the million to the person who was the single worst player at accomplishing these goals? Who turned to others on a consistent basis for voting strategy instead of coming up with one of her own? Moreover, is the overall mood of this jury who all worked so hard at scheming going to be to hand the money to someone purely and exclusively because they are NICE??!??! Not a chance.

Like it or not, Darrah will win the show....I think 5-2 or 6-1 (or even - dare I say - 7-0!) but it won't be 4-3. In essence, it's really Jenna and Matt all over again. One was not the best player in the entire game, yet won a bunch of Immunities, and had a better grasp of what was going on day to day than her opponent. The other was clueless at how to play the game, got to the top with some dumb luck (like being voted back in) and generally wasn't the best strategist of the two that are left.

It's a sad, sad, deathly depressing finale to the show. Maybe that's why I've been so down on this series. All I can say is...people thought Jenna was an unworthy winner? Hah! In a vote between her and the this final two I'd take Jenna in a heartbeat. Jenna played a GREAT GAME (oh, here I go defending the Jenna-wins, Matt-loses thing again) and bizarrely a better game than either of these final two opponents. And many people thought her play was terrible. God, what does that say???

Well, it says that Survivor isn't a meritocracy. Like we didn't know that before.

Of course...if I'm wrong...???? Boy, I would be the first person to laugh. But I just can't see it any other way, for the life of me.

We'll see if I'm right!