So, despite the fact that I told the VCR to stop taping five minutes BEFORE 8:00, it still cuts in well after the show had already begun. F**k. The contestants appear to already have flown to the American Olympic training facility in Colorado, as they're outside in thick coats and team colour-coded hats. Ali is telling them that this week, TWO people are going home. They'll be weighing in as individuals, and there will be a yellow line...and a RED line. The one person who falls under the red line immediately goes home. The two other people who fall under the yellow line will be up for elimination. Everyone looks glum. Sunshine is particularly freaked out because it's sort of like the first challenge, where two teams were instantly booted out, and she was on one of them. Instant booting gives her flashbacks.
To lift everyone's spirits from this news, Ali brings out Allison Jones, who has been named to the Paralympic team a staggering four times. Her two events are Alpine Skiing and Road & Track Cycling. She was born without one leg and has always been involved in sport. This will be her fifth Paralympic Games. Cool. We also see that everyone's hats are different. Unsurprisingly, I like the ones which look hand-knitted the best. :) Allison takes a torch and they all walk over to where a big cauldron torch is, letting each contestant carry the torch in turn. They all feel pretty amazing about that. Allison then lights the big cauldron just as if it were the actual Olympics and the US was hosting it. Ah, the arrogance. To top it off, everyone starts chanting "U-S-A". "That sparked a torch in my heart," O'Neal tells us, "Let the games begin."
(What this all really means is that we shouldn't be surprised when the show gets cancelled next week because the Olympics are on.)
We get a flash clip of Max working out during the ad for Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge resort!
So everyone takes their colour-coded luggage into their rooms at the training centre. "It's crazy that being fat actally got me to the Olympics," says Lance. Dude, the Olympics are in Vancouver. You are in Colorado. YOU ARE NOT AT THE OLYMPICS! Seriously, what is with the delusions of grandeur? Everybody gets a flag signed by all of the resident athletes. O'Neal talks about the pervading attitude in this place of enthusiasm and striving for the best.
Big-ass kitchen. Jillian says the players will be eating the food Olympians eat while they're here. So the nutitionists talk to them about their food. We hear that Olympians have a daily caloric intake of 1600 to over 8000 calories, depending on the sport. Everyone's eyes get all big at the 8,000 calorie number, because that's just insane. (However, I don't think it holds a candle to what Michael Phelps had to ingest at his training peak). The nutritionists talk about different diets being appropriate to different people. We see a speed skater's meal, a weight lifter's meal, a judo fighter's meal, and the guy explains why everything's there on the plates. The nutritionists wind up by saying that they're at the contestants' disposal.
Stephanie notices some desserts in a serving carousel, and confesses she has a sweet tooth. Then - what a shocker - Bob says he would rather she have Extra sugar-free gum. Stephanie agrees that it's a better option for her. Yes, even when off the ranch, the product placements do not stop.
Meanwhile, Koli is really bummed about John. Like, really, disproportionately bummed. He can't get over it. He talks about how John has so many more reasons to be on the show (wife, child) than he himself (who has "nothing") does. He accurately notes that he has a kind of "survivor's guilt" about still being on the show, and says that maybe this goes back to how he values himself. Sam agrees that that's what's going on here. (Ya think? Koli is completely down on himself, which is so too bad because he seems like a really great guy.) Koli says that he keeps fighting the growth he needs to go through during this process. He wants to run away, like he always does. He's never done anything for himself and somehow needs to let the walls down. He also needs to cut out his annoying habit of fiddling with his beard.
We head to the gym to meet some Olympians: gold medallist alpine skiier Julia Mancuso, who's been skiing all her life and loves to be fit; and freestyle skiier Jeret "Speedy" Peterson, who has a special move called The Hurricane, which has three flips and five twists. The contestants will be working out with these people. They're fairly awed. Speedy puts them through a circuit, going from station to station, no stops in between. There's some boxing, situps, running fast in ladder squares, hula hoops, etc. Melissa is completely stoked. Julia can do hula hooping while balancing on one leg on a half-ball thing (later discovered to be a "bosu ball"). Daris does push-ups with Bob on his back. Ashley trips on the ladder and Jillian wants her to do push-ups as punishment. We also see, by looking at Julia, that it must be very cold in the gym, cuz...chicken's done! ;D To DH's credit, though, that's not what he notices about her. Instead, he says, "My god, her feet are so quick." Sherry says that the altitude of Colorado is getting to her. Speedy attempts to give everyone a break, but Bob nixes that idea pretty quickly. The idea of circuit training is to keep the heart rate up. It's "relentless" and "intense", interview the players. Even "horrible", according to Michael, before we see a clip of him pounding the floor in frustration. But they get through it. At the end of it, Speedy says the contestants make him feel like a wuss. :) He says that they're an inspiration to him, and they'd better be an inspiration to themselves.
Bonus video: Julia demonstrates to the female contestants how wicked awesome she is by getting onto an exercise ball in one leap and STAYING ON THERE TOTALLY BALANCED. The contestants watching her are amazed. Julia then reveals the obstacle course they'll be going through (timed, of course). For some reason, all the ladies (Jillian included) have hilarious tiaras on their heads. Their mouths are all completely agape (Jillian included) as they watch Julia demonstrating all the stages of the obstacle course. We then see the ladies going through it and some bits are especially hilarious, such as Miggy being so incapable of getting the hula hoop going that she moves it around with her hands instead. :) Sherry, on the other hand, is surprisingly decent at the hula hoop. The winner is Sunshine with 41 seconds, and as a reward she gets to be the first to check out Julia's gold medal (looks like a donut, so it must be from Torino). She even gets to put it ON! That's cool, man.
Bonus video: Michael is very frustrated trying to do a handstand with his feet on the wall because the floor is wet and he keeps slipping. This is actually the part where he pounds the floor in frustration. Speedy hunkers down and tells Michael he can do anything if he puts his mind to it. However, he follows up this pithy cliche with some good stuff - Speedy reveals that he gets p***ed in workouts, too, all the time, you just have to work through it, that it's almost all mental. He then references the lazy viewing audience sitting on their asses, quitting their weight loss resolutions after two weeks, watching Michael really doing it. He calls Michael a champion, and Michael says he guesses he doesn't give himself enough credit for everything he's accomplished so far. He tells Speedy that Jillian wants him to lose 300lbs by the end of the show (which, incidentally, would put him down to an overweight BMI and give him 57.03% of weight loss), but that he can't even remember being under 300lbs. He did come close, though, once in junior college, hitting 301. He says his problem is that he sets goals for himself which are too high, and when he comes up short, he gives up. Speedy draws parallels between them: Michael's goal is 299lbs, Speedy's is a gold medal. Speedy tells Michael to think of his goal like a ladder. Michael reveals that he gets so burned out sometimes, and Speedy tells him that yeah, that happens - and look at all the other contestants, who are going through the same thing. Speedy tells Michael that even though they're all competing with each other, they're still a team. They have to support each other, because in the end, nobody's going to lose. He urges Michael to use his stubbornness to keep him going, and then they keep going on the workout. Wow, this Speedy guy is good. And yes, Michael ends up doing the wall stand for a count of ten. Right on.
Bob has sussed that Koli doesn't think he deserves to be here. They have a talk after the workout. Bob tells him not to get wrapped up in all that 'not deserving to be here' stuff. He says he thinks Koli is fantastic, and that when Koli sees himself the way Bob sees him, he'll be invincible. Sadly, it's clear that Koli is not buying it.
Speedy shows us how to do lunges and tells us to do them while the commercials are on.
Pop challenge! Ali says that being a champion comes down to pushing harder than everyone else. To illustrate this point, she brings out Olympian J.R. Selsky to show them how the challenge is going to work. He's a short-track speed-skating Olympic hopeful, competing in three different events. He's been speed-skating for 16 years, but was recently in the hospital, as he managed to slice up his leg with a skate blade during the Olympic trials. The scar is indeed a nasty-looking thing, he must have bled like crazy. However, he bounced back. He says that you always have to get back up, no matter what situation you're in. Hopefully Koli's listening to this.
So each person has a slide board and they need to slide back and forth. Every time they hit a side they get a point. They have to get to 500. Top three people (gold, silver, bronze) get prizes: some kind of advantage in the main challenge. J.R. demonstrates how the slide board works, and we see that it's basically a speed-skating simulator. Miggy doesn't look too hopeful about her ability to do well here. However, she needn't worry, because she, O'Neal and Darrell have to sit out for medical reasons. As we get started, there's a lot of slipping. Melissa's the first one to 100. But about 25 away from the finish line, Sam catches up, while Melissa can't catch her breath. J.R. limply tells people to push through the pain. (Yeah, cheerleading is not his forte.) Melissa tries to distract Sam by trash-talking. It doesn't work. Instead, she falls, and Sam takes the lead, winning. Melissa comes in second and gives Sam a congratulatory hug. Sunshine and Lance battle it out for third place (as Melissa snaps at Lance to "Focus!"), and Sunshine edges Lance out! Nice. O'Neal goes wild and Sunshine cries with joy. And for heaven's sakes, there's an actual podium and cheezy medals for the top three.
Bob and Jillian tell us to support the American athletes financially, and cheer them on at the Olympics. Sorry, but I won't be. :)
Next stop is "Garden of the Gods State Park". It's apparently gorgeous, "something that only the gods could make," says Sam. Ali introduces them to Kelly Underkofler, who will be competing in her third Paralympics this year. She doesn't have a left arm. Miggy interviews - against a totally fake winterscape background - that being obese means having problems moving, so it's a bit humbling seeing the Paralympians achieve what they do.
The challenge is a biathlon, only with running instead of cross-country skiing. Lance gloats about the shooting component, since he has a lot of gun experience - he actually hunts food for his family's meals. (I guess if you can't help bring in the bacon with a commercial diving job, the least you can do is bring in the venison with a rifle.) So the contestants have to run around the field they're in. After each lap, they get to take a shot on someone else's target. Whenever you get five shots on your target, you're out. Kelly shows them how to use the laser gun. Sunshine, as the bronze winner from the pop challenge, gets to assign one shot to someone's board right before they start. Melissa gets to assign two shots, and Sam gets to assign three shots. Sunshine gives hers to Sam. Melissa gives both of her points to Sam also. In return, Sam gives one shot to Sunshine and one to Melissa. Melissa interviews about the pointlessness of these choices and how all three of them just kind of shot themselves in the foot. (Groan.)
The prize for winning is immunity. Darrell says that he totally wants immunity this week. This trip has been like a vacation, and two people are going home instead of one. He wants the security of immunity. Everyone targets Lance right off the bat - Sam, Lance, Daris, Koli, and - finally - O'Neal. Melissa is out next thanks to a final shot from Andrea. (Hm. Guess the rest of the house doesn't want Red to have immunity again?) Then Andrea does the final shot to take out Miggy, then Daris. She's on a big executioner high now, boy howdy. :) Stephanie takes Michael out before he can get a chance to take a shot, despite the fact that he asks her to wait so he can do another shot. Cheryl takes out Andrea. Sam takes out Sunshine. O'Neal takes out Koli. O'Neal says the only thing that compensates for how slowly he makes it around the field is his shooting ability. Then he takes out Sam. :) Darrell takes out Stephanie as revenge for shooting his board. Cheryl takes out Sherry. Ashley takes out Cheryl. Only O'Neal, Darrell and Ashley are left. Ashley figures she can take out the guys since they have knee problems, but is taken out by Darrell. Ashley is bummed, but says she feels good to have been up so high on the board. What she's failing to notice, however, is that this is not a best-person-wins game, it's a threats-go-out-first game. That's why the bad-knees guys are left: Darrell and O'Neal. Darrell interviews that he never felt his knees during the challenge and that he now has strength and stamina he hasn't felt in twenty years. (Love that.) It's EXTREMELY close, they actually aim their guns at each other's boards at the same time! But it's O'Neal for the win. Sunshine is totally proud.
The contestants head back to the ranch...with gum. However, the Olympians are still stalking them! They see Rockne "Rock" Brubaker, pairs figure skater, waiting for them at the 24-Hour Fitness that they've gone to for the last chance workout. They're doing a boot camp class, which, naturally, 24-Hour Fitness is great at. (Thank you, paid sponsor.) Bob remarks that the workout should be easy, now that they're back down at sea level. Miggy vows to give it all that she has, and then all that she doesn't have. Jillian makes Sam freakin' wheelbarrow on the treadmill! Michael points out that he has to lose 17lbs this week if he wants to beat Rudy's record of dropping 100lbs in seven weeks. Bob has a moment with O'Neal: he gets O'Neal to stand on a bosu ball all by himself, doing SQUATS. Sunshine is completely vorklempt about this. As am I. That was awesome. Bob testifies that it's all about giving people ownership of their bodies again.
Bonus video: Everyone's back at the ranch and worried about the two lines. Everyone sits around and talks about how there was some slacking off this week and they're all scared. Melissa reveals to Ashley that she had pancakes and didn't count calories. Ashley interviews that this bad decision-making surprised her.
As we go to commercial, Jillian tells us to get the hell off the couch and apply to be a contestant for season 10.
Onto the weigh-in. With two lines this week, everyone's feeling the stress. But I love Michael's precious little shruggy shoulder action as he quips, "No pressure" in response to Ali telling him he needs to lose 17lbs to beat Rudy's record. He doesn't make it, but odds are that he'll hit 100lbs next week - probably beating Rudy anyway since he'll most likely have lost more than Rudy's seven-week total of 101lbs. Koli seems to have found a bit of self-worth. Miggy squeals like a little girl at her success on the scale, very cute. Andrea at last gets a good number. (Yay!) Lance looks a lot thinner as he goes up.
For a long time, it looks like Darrell's toast. But Melissa gets on the scale and gains a freakin' pound. DH points out that this may be proof that she's actually been telling the truth about not throwing weigh-ins all along, and we all doubted her. I am willing to concede that this could be true, but I still think it was all very fishy. Jillian is wearing a glum and reflective expression which suggests she may be thinking the same thing.
Melissa is pretty fatalistic about things, noting that she's closer to her goal weight than anyone else and has fewer health problems than anyone else. Most of what she's thinking about right now, though, is making sure Lance doesn't slack off. She asks everyone to motivate him, and says that he canNOT come home before he hits 250lbs. "I'm going home, don't follow me," she orders him. "Yes, ma'am," comes the response. Wow, there's some dysfunctional relationshipping right there. Is she his wife or his mom? DH and I both agree that being alone on the ranch could end up being extremely good for Lance.
- Sam drops below 300lbs
- Daris drops below 275lbs
- Stephanie drops below 225lbs
- Miggy drops below 200lbs
- Koli and Darrell hit the 75lb mark of total loss
- Andrea and Daris go from morbidly obese to clinically obese
- Miggy moves from obese to overweight
- O'Neal, Lance, Miggy, Cheryl and Stephanie hit the 15% mark of total loss
- Daris hits the 20% mark of total loss
With Melissa gone, we turn to the two people who fell below the yellow line: Cheryl and Darrell. I would prefer to see Cheryl go. Firstly, because I really like Darrell (not that Cheryl sucks in any way, but I just really like Darrell); and secondly, because he needs to be there more: he has health issues, way more weight to lose, and I absolutely believe that Cheryl has the capability to kick serious ass at home at this point - she is a rock underneath that meeky exterior. I'm actually pretty stoked for Darrell's chances here, because I think the other contestants will probably see things the same way...however, there IS no vote tonight. Instead, there's an elimination challenge. What?!? That's BULLSHIT. Sherry's relieved, though, because it takes her off the hook of having to vote, which she definitely wasn't looking forward to. (I imagine she's close with both of them.)
The challenge is to balance some kind of torch stem on your head. Above the torch stem is an actual lit torch, which is set up so that if the stem falls off, the flame will go out. Crap. Darrell's toast. It even involves bending your knees. Predictably, Darrell starts wincing in pain pretty much instantly, while Cheryl looks tough as HELL. (Good on her...but I still want Darrell to stay.) Tears start running down Andrea's face watching this, as it looks pretty hopeless for Darrell. I'm close to tears, too. Daris is worried because Cheryl's torch stem is angled and kind of off, but I think they threw that in in an attempt to make the contest seem closer (and therefore more suspenseful) than it actually is.
Even worse, just as we're about to find out who wins, a "to be continued" sign flashes up on the screen. Oh, fuck OFF!
Time to focus back on Melissa, though. She extols the virtues of Bob Harper The Training God as she makes her exit. (Take that, Jillian.) At home, she's down to 175lbs, which is awesome. She's been basically living as a single mom and dealing with work, all while implementing her new lifestyle. So it's a struggle. However, one advantage she has is that she's fallen in love with boxing. (Why does this seem oddly appropriate.) Also great is that her children come to the gym and work out with her. Her son Wyatt thinks his mom looks "HOT!" And that's...more than just a little icky. Melissa talks about wanting to pay things forward. She hopes we'll identify with all her struggling with her weight on the scale and realise that weight loss is still possible even when some weeks blow goat. Her goal is 145lbs, which sounds totally do-able.
|#||This wk %||Overall %||This wk lbs||Overall lbs||BMI|
|1||Sam (3.87)||Daris (20.81)||Sam (12)||Michael (94)||Miggy (29.4)|
|2||Miggy (3.40)||Sam (19.89)||Michael (11)||Koli (77)||Melissa (32.1)|
|3||Daris (3.18)||Koli (19.11)||Daris, Koli, Lance (9)||Darrell (75)||Cheryl (32.8)|
|4||Lance (2.87)||Sherry (18.81)||Sam (74)||Sherry (33.4)|
|5||Koli (2.69)||Darrell (18.16)||Daris (72)||Stephanie (33.6)|
|6||Andrea (2.67)||Michael (17,87)||O'Neal (8)||O'Neal (64)||Sam (36.3)|
|7||Michael (2.48)||Miggy (17.08)||Andrea, Miggy (7)||Ashley (63)||Lance (38.1)|
|8||Sunshine (2.45)||Ashley (16.84)||Lance (60)||Sunshine (38.6)|
|9||O'Neal (2.40)||O'Neal (16.45)||Ashley, Sunshine (6)||Andrea, Stephanie (43)||Daris (39.3)|
|10||Ashley (1.89)||Lance (16.44)||Andrea (39.9)|
|11||Stephanie (1.78)||Stephanie (16.29)||Darrell (5)||Miggy, Sherry (41)||Koli (43.0)|
|12||Sherry (1.67)||Cheryl (15.86)||Stephanie (4)||O'Neal (45.3)|
|13||Cheryl (1.55)||Melissa (14.59)||Cheryl, Sherry (3)||Cheryl, Sunshine (36)||Darrell (48.5)|
|14||Darrell (1.46)||Andrea (14.43)||Ashley (51.7)|
|15||Melissa (-0.51)||Sunshine (13.09)||Melissa (-1)||Melissa (34)||Michael (54.0)|
It looks like the show will be pre-empted for the Olympics. Hopefully we'll be back the Tuesday after that.
Potential milestones next show:
- Lance could drop below 300lbs
- Andrea could drop below 250lbs
- Sherry could drop below 175lbs
- Andrea could hit the 50lb mark of total loss
- Daris and Sam could hit the 75lb mark of total loss
- Michael could hit the 100lb mark of total loss
- Andrea and Sunshine could hit the 15% mark of total loss
- Darrell, Sherry, Sam, Michael and Koli could hit the 20% mark of total loss