We're down to the final four, who get extensive introductions, showing their beginning weigh-in and how bummed they all were about being fat. But then...the miracle of The Biggest Loser begins. They start to work. And sweat. And cry. And yell. And get yelled at. Eleven weeks later, they're machines. Not to mention that the trainers are now yelling approvingly rather than rebukingly. We watch the physical transformations all sped-up and of course everyone looks amazing.
Which brings us to the elimination room following Allen's boot-off from last week's show. Everyone's pretty stoked to be in the final four. Ali tells them they're all going home for 60 days before coming back for the final weigh-in, which will help determine who the final three are going to be. (I still can't believe they're not having a bring-someone-back week on a season whose theme is second freakin' chances.) Liz remarks that this 60 days at home is a trial run. Then there's a lot of reflecting on the fact that they're doomed if they don't apply the lessons they've learned at the ranch to their lives at home. Amanda, however, is still flying high on the fact that she's in the final four, and doesn't seem as worried. In fact, she screams with glee.
Naturally, still being in the game at this point means that you get to ride home in a limo. In the car, Rudy reflects that he's missed everything about his baby daughter's babyhood. This of course sucks, but he's hoping that the additional time he'll now have with her because he's not going to die an early death will make up for it. Liz is wearing a very well-coordinated outfit. Everyone enters their respective welcome-home parties and people go wild. Rudy even has Sean from the Red team at his party, and Liz has a full-on cheerleading squad going for her. Danny acknowledges how hard his absence has been for others, like, oh, say, his wife. So he's brought home a gift! He asks her to renew their vows and OMG, that is just spectacularly sweet, I love him. DH starts tearing up. Amanda cries to her loved ones about how hard it's been. Everyone announces their loss numbers and their people go crazy.
Now it's time for the obligatory profile of how difficult it is for the contestants at home. Danny has figured out that The Biggest Loser is not just about weight loss, but about getting your mind right and healing what's wrong. When he struggles, he likes to drive around in dangerous weather conditions, keeping just one eye on the road as he hashes out his fears to the camera. (Great job, buddy. Add years to your life by getting healthy, and then die in a horrific car crash. What a plan.) His big thing is that his life has been filled with weight ups and downs. What causes him to let himself go? He hasn't figured it out yet. Meanwhile, Amanda is scared. She's in the "honeymoon phase" of being home and is waiting for reality to set in. She goes to the gym with her BFF Brian. He encourages her to realise that she's not "that person" anymore (i.e. fat and scared Amanda). She asks him how she can make sure that she never goes back, and he...has no answers for her.
Rudy is thinking of his older sister Karen. As we found out in a recent episode, he was 12 and she was 14 when she was diagnosed with cancer; she fought hard, but didn't make it. We see pictures of Little Rudy and OMG, he looks exactly the same, but cuter. He says that the moment his sister died was when his battle with weight started. To his credit, he realises he has issues, and he realised he has a habit of hiding and staying away from them. Now he's using gong to the gym and working out as a substitute for eating, but this isn't the answer...although it sure as hell is a better option. He knows he has to actually deal with his problems, but facing issues is his Waterloo, so that's not going to be easy. He and his wife relax by the side of the pool and talk things out a bit. I think it's good that he can see what's going on with himself.
Liz and her husband Jimmy have big issues to work out, issues that have been there for years. She became bitter and resentful, but the nice thing is that she isn't like that any more. They take a walk and discuss stuff. She talks about the lack of adventure and fun in their lives, and he says that yes, he misses that, it's why he fell in love with her. He starts to interview about their history together but gets emotional and has to leave the interview so that America won't see him cry. Men can't do that, doncha know.
Doorbells ring! 'Tis the season, and Biggest Loser elves have been busy depositing packages on doorsteps. Everybody gets a customized DVD with a video message from Bob and Jillian and some clips of their original interviews right when the show started.
On Liz's video, Bob reminds her that she needs to ask for help. We then see Large Liz talking about how she doesn't feel sexy and doesn't want her husband to touch her. She was terrified that he was going to come home one day and say that he wants out. When the video finishes, Jimmy tells Liz that he's proud of her, which appears to be a very big deal for him to do. For Rudy, Jillian tells him that his time at home should be spent practicing how he's going to live the rest of his life, because he deserves it. And can I just say that Rudy's baby girl is SOOO CUUUUTE! Rudy's interview reveals, to anyone who can do basic math, that he and his wife had their first child a few years before getting married. Which of course is totally cool, I'm not making a moral judgment; I just personally find it amusing that someone who is such a traditional "man's man" kind of guy who chops firewood for his family and seems to live in a log cabin in the woods didn't do things in the traditional order. :) After Rudy's video, he and his wife exchange happy looks and he gets in some good zrbts on his baby's tummy. Good times.
Bob has thoughtfully put some additional goodies into Amanda's care package: the magical cure-all substance known as Extra Sugar-Free Gum. She passes it all around the living room so her whole family can get in the gum-chewing action. Yes, folks, the product placements do not stop just because the contestants are home; they just get lamer. Bob tells Amanda that she can do anything (well, of course that's true now that she has GUM on hand). Large Amanda interviews that she is always sad and hides it all the time. Naturally, her parents start crying at this revelation - I know I would if that were my kid. Bob wraps up the pep talk with his beloved Amanda by telling her that she has "It." My heavens, he sounds like Simon Cowell.
For Danny, Bob reminds him that he was a man who had given up, but that now he has clarity. He also tells Danny's kids that they have a hero for a father. Jillian tells Danny that he's the definition of resilience and that he needs to move through the fear. When the video's over, Danny's wife tells him that he's always been a hero, even when he was fat. The look in his eyes clearly says: "Honey, I'm really happy you believe that, but the fact that you do is making me doubt your sanity." He smiles at her anyway, though, because he's totally into her. Aw.
After that, we get a symphony of ring tones as Bob and Jillian call up the contestants on their cells. The trainers break the news that the Losers will be doing one more thing...and it's huge...yes, it's big...can they guess what it is...because it's huge...yes...it's...a...marathon! "I don't run!" protests Rudy. No one can really be that totally surprised, since this was the final challenge last season. They all still look scared shitless, though. "I love you too, Bob," says Amanda as she hangs up, but you know she's really thinking, "Oh fuck off, you sinewy tattooed bastard."
We then get some extra time watching Danny's home life, because we need some more product placement. He and his kids play Biggest Loser on the Wii. But that's not all - Curtis Stone shows up to make good on Danny's prize from, I think it was last week? As expected, Danny's wife is REALLY enthusiastic about this prize and her voice gets all flirty and starstruck as she talks to Curtis. Danny's daughter clearly hasn't hit puberty yet, though, because she is totally untouched by Curtis's magic sexual charisma. In fact, she looks disgruntled as all hell as they cook some food, it's pretty funny. Danny's wife takes a break from the Curtis worship to look freaked out as her son slices up vegetables with a wicked-looking knife. (Hell, I'd be nervous about that, too.) Anyway, at the end of it, they all have some really delicious-looking baked potatoes. Like, I SERIOUSLY want one of those. The wondrousness of this baked potato is amplified by the fact that it contains only 290 calories instead of the 850 you'd get with your usual baked potato with all the bacon and cheese and stuff. Curtis then chucks the 850-calorie potato into the garbage as he leaves. Nice job, dude. You don't think there's anyone around who's hungry and broke and could have used that food?
Since it's getting kind of boring just following the contestants around at home in their daily lives, the show brings in Jillian and Bob to visit the contestants and liven things up a little. Surprise! Jillian discovers that Liz is totally isolated. She's in the middle of nowhere, and her husband goes off and travels during the work week. Amanda is freaking out about discipline and counting calories. Danny, his wife, and Jillian have a little couples therapy session sitting at the kitchen table. He's having trouble integrating back in with his family, and his wife is just a big ball of insecurity - clearly she has her own issues. Rudy is going full-tilt in his life but still doesn't have much time to work out. Furthermore, his older daughter missed him so much when he was on the ranch that she doesn't want to let him out of her sight - he has to sneak out of the house when she's asleep if he wants to go anywhere. (Poor little sweetie.) So things are tough all over. Jillian takes Danny to the gym and kicks his ass; he's having trouble focusing. Then she runs with Liz and they chant "It's never too late to make a change!"
Meanwhile, Tara from last season is volunteering at a Long Island food bank. And you should, too. Well, maybe not Long Island if that's not where you live, but you know what I mean. I bet the people Tara's helping will be mightily pissed off when they watch this episode and see Curtis Stone throwing a perfectly good potato into the trash.
We also get a peek at Erin, who appeared on last season's finale, competing with Amanda for that last spot on the ranch for this season. She's been working hard and has lost 42 pounds, which is great. This leads to a flurry of product placements. First, we find out that Erin's success is at least partly due to having spent some time at the Biggest Loser's resort, "Fitness Ridge". Then Erin, Bob, Amanda, and Amanda's family and friends all head over to a bunch of sheltered picnic tables for some delicious Subway sandwiches. Bob preaches the benefits and convenience of Subway menu goodness. "That's easy!" enthuses Amanda.
FINALLY, we get on to marathon training. Based on how people look running, DH predicts Amanda for the win.
But we don't get much of that before heading back to the ranch. Everyone is looking noticeably slimmer, and Danny now looks like the love child of Hugh Grant and Brian Mulroney...but in a good way. Seriously, his face looks awesome. Ali builds up the marathon by telling them they'll be going through all kinds of different terrain. And everyone who finishes will get $10K to go to the charity of their choice, courtesy of Biggest Loser Protein - another plug! Man, they're really piling them on this week.
It's pretty clear right at the outset that Rudy has this thing nailed. Amanda keeps pace with him for a while out in front, but eventually he takes the clear lead. His goals today are three-fold: a) to win, b) to run the whole thing, no walking, and c) to do it all in less than five and a half hours. DH: "Tara would kick all of these people's asses." And speak of the devil, Tara jumps out from behind a tree and surprises Danny and Liz. Tara looks like she's put some weight back on from the finale, but she can still run! Liz tells her that she loved sitting at home last season and watching Tara pull that car. I'm certainly with Liz on that one; Tara is indeed an ass-kicker of the highest quality. Meanwhile, Rudy is met by his old partner in Blue, Dina! She looks lovely and he's delighted to see her. They run together. Amanda's surprise running mate is her BFF Brian, and she's thrilled when she hits the halfway point.
But it's not all fun times. Danny's hip and knees are killing him and Liz's knees aren't too happy, either. She considers leaving Danny behind as he slows to a walk, but she doesn't know if she can do it on her own. However, she decides to stick with him. Amanda starts to whine, but Tara shows up - having left Liz and Danny, evidently - and bolsters her spirits by calling her 'pumpkin'. This gets Amanda to mile 17, at which point she goes into full-on whimpering mode. (I may snark about how annoying Amanda's whining is, but I also must admit that she is sooo much more fit than me, and is doing a marathon, which I wouldn't have a hope in hell of finishing without dropping dead.) And although Tara's left Danny and Liz, they're not alone - their spouses meet them at the 13-mile marker. They all have to wait for a bit, though, because Liz needs to dance around the marker, which is hilarious. Up at the 22-mile marker, though, Rudy is starting to talk about walking. Dina, still smiling her glorious smile, keeps him going.
Danny's pain is pretty bad now. Amanda walked for a bit but then breaks back into a run, thanks to Tara and Brian pushing her, and her desire to not quit. Rudy is lumbering pretty painfully, but he's still in a run, and he's very close to the finish. Bob meets him at the 25-mile marker looking unbelieveably perky. To celebrate the beginning of the last mile, Rudy and Dina do a knuckle-bump, and then we flash back to that one last mile that everybody did on the first day. Cue the inspirational Biggest Loser symphony music. Rudy: "Who picked a finish line 26.2 miles away from a starting line?" DH: "Pheidippides." Despite his complaints, though, Rudy is the first to finish. Helen and Mike from last season, along with Ali, are waiting for him at the finish line, which he runs through. His time is 5:12:41. All goals achieved! Way to go, Rudy.
Next to have the moment of triumph is Amanda. Bob goes back to the 25-mile marker to wait for her, and is - if possible - even more perky now than when he met Rudy. Bob points out the finish line to Amanda and she gets giddy. Her time is 5:28:27, and she screams in triumph. Ali then points out that we have two more people coming along soon. However, it turns out that they're 10 miles back of the finish line, so "soon" for Ali is relative to, like, a week-long cruise or something, I guess. In fact, Danny and Liz are really struggling. They have to rest and get their knees iced at a hydration station. Danny is seriously considering quitting, but then has a big epiphany. He decides that quitting is what got him to 430lbs, so he's going to keep at it. He reflects that all season, he's been the one to encourage Liz not to quit, but now she's the one encouraging him. He feels it was destiny that he and Liz were partnered up. It's all feel-good from here, people, because the miles are now flicking by. Jillian meets them at the 25-mile marker, and Liz reflects on the craziness of how the last mile almost killed them on the first day. I reflect on how cruel it is to make them do the last stretch of the run on freakin' SAND. Danny and Liz link arms as they hit the finish line together. Their time is 6:55:22. Nice.
Everyone plays up the importance of the weigh-in as we go into that. Naturally, since the contestants have had 60 days to drop more weight, there are a lot of excellent milestones to note:
- Rudy drops below 275lbs
- Danny drops below 250lbs
- Amanda drops below 175lbs
- Amanda and Liz hit the 30% mark for total weight loss
- Rudy hits the 40% mark for total weight loss
- Danny hits the 45% mark for total weight loss
- Amanda and Liz hit the 75lbs mark of total weight loss
- Rudy hits the 175lbs mark of total weight loss
- Danny hits the 200lbs mark of total weight loss
- Rudy goes from clinically obese to obese
- Danny goes from morbidly obese to obese
- Amanda and Liz go from obese to overweight
In the end, Danny kicks everyone's ass commandingly, and Amanda and Liz fall below the yellow line. It's up to America to vote for which of the ladies they want to see competing in the final three. Amanda and Liz plead their cases to the viewing audience. Liz says she knows she has it in her to win this, and plays the age card. Amanda asks people to let her finish what she started, and promises to make America proud. I suspect Amanda will be the one to go through. Assuming I'm right, here are my final predictions:
- Mo: 26.66%
- Alexandra: 30.40%
- Daniel: 30.50%
- Dina: 31.37%
- Shay: 35.31%
- Julio: 35.68%
- Liz: 37.14%
- Sean: 38.27%
- Abby: 38.62%
- Allen: 39.48%
- Antoine: 39.93%
- Tracey: 41.22%
- Rebecca: 46.18%
- Amanda: 37.66%
- Rudy: 51.33%
- Danny: 58.78%
And may I just say that I would be delighted with these wins. I think Rebecca has worked super-hard and completely deserves the at-home prize, and I love Danny, I think he's awesome.
Can't wait for next week!
For anyone who, like me, is a total geek and wants to see how I arrived at my finale weight loss predictions, read on.
I came up with predictions as accurately as I could. Firstly, I'm working on the assumption that how the contestants do at the ranch is not a true indicator of what we can expect out of them for the finale. An accurate prediction for a contestant's finale weight has to be based on how the contestant does at HOME. That means that we need to know:
- What the contestant weighed when they left the ranch
- When the contestant left the ranch
- What the contestant weighed after being at home for a while
- When the contestant was weighed after being at home for a while
- How much time there is between the time they were weighed after being at home and the finale.
For some contestants, we have pretty much all of this information. For others, not so much. So some of my predictions are going to be more likely to be accurate than others.
For figuring out timing, we have the following information:
- Daniel's weight at the Season 7 finale was 312 pounds. His starting weight on day one of Season 8 was also 312 pounds. It's therefore reasonable to conclude that Season 8 started filming pretty much immediately after the Season 7 finale, which means May 12 = day one.
- The first show of Season 8 was aired on September 15.
- Bob tweeted on August 11 that they are about to wrap up Season 8.
- During the marathon-preparation scenes on this week's episode, Rudy's calendar showed that the marathon was taking place on Saturday the 10th of something. Taking a look at the 2009 calendar and eliminating any months before the season started filming, this means the marathon took place on October 10. (This works perfectly, as October 10 is exactly 60 days after Bob's tweet on August 11 that they were wrapping things up.)
- Somewhere I read an interview or something where Mike Morelli from Season 7 said that he was completely wiped for two days after doing the marathon. I therefore think they did the final weigh-in a few days after the marathon, so let's say October 13.
So. If Week 1 began on May 12, then the assumption is that Week 1 ended on May 19. The Week 1 show aired on September 15, which gives us a difference of 17 weeks. However, we also know that Week 11 ended on August 11, and the Week 11 show aired on November 24, which gives us a difference of 15 weeks. So sometime between the beginning of filming and the Week 11 wrapup, they gained two weeks. I'm going to guess, based on the outrageously good weight losses we saw in the Week 1 and Week 2 shows, that those two "weeks" were actually two weeks long each. I could be wrong about that, but if I can't work with what I know, I have to make guesses.
What does this all mean?
- Alexandra's last day on the ranch was May 26, giving her 28 weeks until the finale.
- Antoine's and Sean's last day on the ranch was June 16, giving them 25 weeks until the finale.
- Julio's last day on the ranch was June 23, giving him 24 weeks until the finale.
- Mo's last day on the ranch was June 30, giving him 23 weeks until the finale.
- Dina's last day on the ranch was July 7, giving her 22 weeks until the finale.
- Abby's last day on the ranch was July 14, giving her 21 weeks until the finale.
- Tracey's last day on the ranch was July 21, giving her 20 weeks until the finale.
- Shay's and Daniel's last day on the ranch was July 28, giving them 19 weeks until the finale.
- Rebecca's last day on the ranch was August 4, giving her 18 weeks until the finale.
- Allen's last day on the ranch was August 11, giving him 17 weeks until the finale.
- Amanda's, Danny's, Liz's and Rudy's last day on the ranch prior to the 60-days-at-home thing was August 11, giving them 17 weeks until the finale.
She weighed 296lbs when she left the ranch on May 26. Her episode aired on September 15, when she was profiled as being 249lbs. Assuming her profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means she lost 47lbs at home over 15 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 13 weeks left to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 215lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 30.40% and a BMI of 32.7, which is obese.
She weighed 201lbs when she left the ranch on July 14. She was interviewed on the Ellen show on November 3, when she was profiled as being 161lbs. That means she lost 40lbs at home over 16 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 5 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 152lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 38.62% and a BMI of 26.1, which is overweight.
He weighed 230lbs when he left the ranch on August 11. He was interviewed on the Jay Leno show on November 24, when he was profiled as being 200lbs. That means he lost 30lbs at home over 15 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 2 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 197lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 39.48% and a BMI of 27.5, which is overweight.
She weighed 186lbs when she left the ranch on August 11. At the final weigh-in around October 13, she was 170lbs. That means she lost 16lbs at home over 9 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 8 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 156lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 37.66% and a BMI of 25.2, which is overweight.
He weighed 330lbs when he left the ranch on June 16. His episode aired on September 29, when he was profiled as being 262lbs. Assuming his profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means he lost 68lbs at home over 14 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 11 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 220lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 39.93% and a BMI of 29.8, which is overweight.
He weighed 256lbs when he left the ranch on July 28. He was interviewed on the Jay Leno show on November 10, when he was profiled as being 224lbs. That means he lost 32lbs at home over 15 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 4 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 217lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 30.50% and a BMI of 33.0, which is obese. It also gives him a total weight-loss percentage from his start at the beginning of the previous season of 52.20%.
He weighed 288lbs when she left the ranch on August 11. At the final weigh-in around October 13, he was 229lbs. That means he lost 59lbs at home over 9 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 8 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 177lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 58.78% and a BMI of 24.7, which is normal.
She weighed 218lbs when she left the ranch on July 7. Her episode aired on October 20, when she was profiled as being 188lbs. Assuming her profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means she lost 30lbs at home over 14 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 8 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 174lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 31.37% and a BMI of 29.0, which is overweight.
He weighed 364lbs when he left the ranch on June 23. His episode aired on October 6, when he was profiled as being 299lbs. Assuming his profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means he lost 65lbs at home over 14 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 10 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 262lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 35.68% and a BMI of 35.5, which is clinically obese.
She weighed 198lbs when she left the ranch on August 11. At the final weigh-in around October 13, she was 182lbs. That means she lost 16lbs at home over 9 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 8 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 168lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 37.14% and a BMI of 26.3, which is overweight.
He weighed 312lbs when he left the ranch on June 30. His episode aired on October 13, when he was profiled as being 279lbs. Assuming his profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means means he lost 33lbs at home over 14 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 9 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 260lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 26.66% and a BMI of 33.4, which is obese.
She weighed 206lbs when she left the ranch on August 4. She was interviewed on the Jay Leno show on November 17, when she was profiled as being 157lbs. That means she lost 49lbs at home over 15 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 3 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 150lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 46.18% and a BMI of 24.2, which is normal.
He weighed 296lbs when he left the ranch on August 11. At the final weigh-in around October 13, he was 253lbs. That means he lost 43lbs at home over 9 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 8 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 215lbs. This gives him a final weight loss percentage of 51.33% and a BMI of 26.2, which is overweight.
He weighed 405lbs when he left the ranch on June 16. His episode aired on September 29, when he was profiled as being 324lbs. Assuming his profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means he lost 81lbs at home over 14 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 11 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 274lbs. This gives him a final weight-loss percentage of 38.27% and a BMI of 29.8, which is clinically obese.
She weighed 376lbs when she left the ranch on July 28. She was interviewed on the Jay Leno show on November 10, when she was profiled as being 320lbs. That means she lost 56lbs at home over 15 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 4 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 308lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 35.31% and a BMI of 46.8, which is morbidly obese. (This is a vast improvement over her starting BMI of 72.4.)
She weighed 194lbs when she left the ranch on July 21. Her episode aired on November 3, when she was profiled as being 153lbs. (She was interviewed on Jay Leno, but would not tell him how much she weighed.) Assuming her profile was filmed the week before the episode aired (a big assumption), that means she lost 41lbs at home over 14 weeks. Based on that rate of at-home weight loss, with 6 weeks to go until the finale, I project a final weight of 140lbs. This gives her a final weight-loss percentage of 41.22% and a BMI of 25.6, which is overweight.
My projections are based on the following equation:
X = weight upon leaving the house
Y = percentage of weight loss at home
Z = number of weeks they had at home to lose the weight we know about
N = number of weeks until finale