Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't hold back

Bonus video: Sam expresses gratitude for not being voted off, and vows to keep other people working. He's kind of glad that Drea is gone, though, since she has more weight to lose and thus represents a threat to him. Koli knows Sam doesn't have too much more weight to lose but still wants both of them together in the final four. Ashley, however, is just starting to realise how much she relied on Drea and now feels totally on her own.

Sunrise on the ranch. (It's crazy how they try to make this all poetic and meaningful and stuff.)

The "beautiful Ali Sweeney", according to Sam (Steph's gonna kill him), shows up at the ranch with a new surprise. It's a day-long temptation. There's a room upstairs which is stacked with food - some healthy, some unhealthy. This is the only source of food for the day, because the kitchen is closed. This freaks Michael out. After all, he's hungry! And was also not listening when Ali told him there's an entire room full of food for him to choose from! At the end of the day, the person who has scarfed back the most amount of calories gets the only vote at this week's elimination. If, however, the temptation winner falls below the yellow line, it's everyone-votes elimination as usual.


O'Neal points out how powerful it is to have just one person making the big decision.

So just how tempting is this room of food? VERY tempting. The room is absolutely crammed with goodies, which apparently smell fantastic; or, as O'Neal describes it, "It hit me like a overhand right!" We're talking fried foods, cookies, cakes, fries, donuts, chocolate, etc. But there's also fruit, veggies, string cheese, rice cakes, egg white omelettes, that kind of thing. Victoria calls hte temptation a reflection of what they're going back into when they leave the house. O'Neal starts off with a healthy cereal breakfast. Sunshine also decides to eat what she normally eats.

Sam apparently has the biggest calorie budget of anybody in the house: 1,800 a day. So if everyone eats the way they should, he'll win by default. But later he and Koli start talking about strategy. Sam, who's been under the yellow line twice recently, is really nervous. He thinks that if he's under again this week, he's toast, unless the person with the voting power is Koli. He actually talks Koli into stuffing his face so that they can stay on the ranch together. "I'm about to eat today, whoo!" Koli cries out. He decides not to play it safe at ALL. So he really goes for it. Really, really, REALLY goes for it. Like, I want to throw up watching him gorge himself.

Lunchtime! Daris reflects that his relationship with food is totally different now. He's not eating to get full anymore, he has a calorie count he has to stick to. Michael looks verrry speculative as he enters the room for lunch and looks around. Like, mad scientist speculative. Like, the combination of the expression and the hair is giving him a striking resemblance to Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown. He is figuring, since he's been a huge temptation player in the past, that everyone will think he's going to go for it today. But...psyche! He isn't. He might've, if the prize had been good, but he doesn't want the responsibility of ending someone's time at the ranch. So he contents himself with some lovely looking asparagus and other assorted healthy foods. Well done, Michael. He does some bad acting, though, trying to convey the impression that he's gorged himself.

Victoria has struggled with a food addiction in the past. but she's trying to change her ways. So it's asparagus for her, too. Good girl.

Koli is really enthusiastic about lunch. We get a closeup of him eating all the meat off a chicken wing in one bite. (Apparently this is his big talent.) Why are they grossing us out like this?

What I think is really cool is that we see the contestants guessing at their calorie counts for these meals, and then we see the actual numbers, and they're all REALLY spot-on! Which means hooray for everyone, even Koli, because they clearly are very well-educated about the nutritional content of food.

At dinner, Ashley is getting really tired of resisting all the awesomeness of the food. She's battling with herself and uses the tongs to fiddle with the fries platter a whole lot while she ruminates on whether to cave. Finally she succumbs and eats one taquito...and it tastes like crap. "Damn taquito!" she cries. O'Neal, however, manages to resist the enticing lure of fries and, even tougher to resist, cookies. He even takes the buns off the two burgers he goes for. ("I didn't want those fries, I just wanted them to make the burger look good," he quips. :)

Koli's dinner, naturally, is a very different story. ("Smells like fffat!" he announces as he enters the room.) He is here at the ranch for himself. Oh, and maybe also Sam. For his part, Sam says he would fall on the sword for Koli, so that apparently makes it okay for him to get Koli to pack on the calories for Sam's benefit. (DH just gets really sad watching all this and knowing that there's a rift coming between the cousins due to Koli's machinations a few weeks ago getting Steph booted off the ranch.) More Koli gorging footage. Gag. Once done, Koli confesses that he feels awful after all this and can tell that he's hurting his body.

Bonus video: Lots of footage of Michael making 'hmmm' noises whilst looking at the temptation food. He eats healthy food, but also tries to be extremely sneaky to make others think that he's gorging. He drinks lots of water to make him feel full and give off really good belches once he's back outside the room, and also empties the buffet tables of majorly unhealthy stuff like fries and chocolate cake to make people think that he's taking this stuff. He doesn't eat this food, of course, but he has to get rid of it somehow, so he HIDES IT IN THE CABINETS AROUND THE ROOM. OMG. He meets Victoria when he gets out of the room and does his big 'Groan, I'm so full' act. She kind of buys it, and then notices the big slice of chocolate cake missing from the whole when it's her turn to go in. She is not the only one, either - Sunshine, Daris, and O'Neal all take note of the missing chunk of chocolate cake. Later, Michael proves himself to be oh such a snake by asking Sunshine whether the cake was "intact" when she got there. Of course it wasn't, so he says it must have been Victoria who ate it! DAWG! This snowballs - Sunshine starts quesitoning where vicky's head is at, and then she talks to Ashley, and they told two friends, and so-on, and so-on, and...and... Finally, Michael's totally busted when Ali announces the temptation results. She tells everyone that he stole a piece of cake. He admits to hiding it to try and get other people to eat the cake (since they might be more inclined to have some if they saw that someone else had been eating it first). This pisses Ashley off, and she makes a mental note to never trust Michael again.

As the sun sets, Ali shows up again to tell people how the temptation went. We see that people did pretty darn well, managing to resist nicely. But of course there is only one winner. Everyone's eyes start bugging out as she goes over the list of what Koli ate. He and Sam are really happy. However, as Michael points out, anyone who falls below the yellow line with Sam is doomed.

Koli is worried - as he damn well should be - about his potential weight gain this week with all those calories sitting on him. So he straps on the boxing gloves and works out, with Sam encouraging him, calling out things like "Hash browns!" and "Bacon!" :)

Regardless of how hard Koli works out, though, he is dead meat, because here come the trainers. Jillian feels a weird vibe as soon as she walks in the door. Michael starts off the temptation explanation, and of course Bob and Jillian are immediately pissed off. Jillian makes an excellent point in an interview that this just indicates how condependent and attached Koli is to Sam. I happen to agree with her. After all, she points out, Sam doesn't even need to be here anymore - he looks fantastic, is seriously committed to a healthy lifestyle, and is just a few pounds away from not even being obese anymore. I'm hoping at some point we see Jillian confronting Koli about this codependency. On the upside, though, she's tremendously proud of everyone else for resisting temptation and making good food choices. Koli doesn't care what she thinks, though. In fact, he's kind of glad to have been the temptation winner, because it ensures that the trainers will kick his ass this week to try and make up for it. Bob hilariously calls him "Chicken Wings" as he yells at him. During his ass-kicking, though, Koli does notice that Victoria is slacking off. We get some shots of her complaining, looking dreamily at the ceiling, and then taking a break while everyone else is hustling on the treadmill.

O'Neal spends a fair bit of his workout looking longingly at how fit Koli and Sam are. We get some photo flashbacks of Young Hot O'Neal. In the present, he is determined to reclaim his glory days. Then ALL GYM ACTIVITY STOPS and everyone's jaws drop, because O'Neal is doing some serious pushups on stools. Cue the Ron-finishing-the-marathon inspirational music. It's pretty freakin' impressive; awesome and uplifting to watch. O'Neal's delighted at how strong he is.

Ashley's having a really bad day, so Bob takes her outside to chat. She's lost without Drea. Bob tells her that she got this far in the competition on her own merits, because of the strength that's in her, and now she has the luxury of no distractions. Make it all about you, Ashley! is his message to her. Ashley reflects that if she can watch her dad die, she can do this. She decides to look at the glass as half full, so we hug it out.

Dr. H is back, this time with some good news! Specifically, we're focusing on how great Michael and Ashley - the two people with the biggest BMIs in the house - are coming along. Michael is 31 and his risk of heart attack/stroke should be 1%, but when he arrived at the ranch, his physical age was 54 and his risk was 84% and his age was 54. He reflects that he never really knew how far off the deep end he was. But now, his physical age is 42 and his risk has been reduced to 31%. So, great strides. But that's still bad. Don't stop now, Mike. Meanwhile, Ashley was diabetic when she started. Now, though, her blood sugar is better than normal, and she has good insulin levels. Farewell, diabetes! Ashley's pretty stoked that she's managed to cure herself like this. Dr. H tells her not to stop. She intends to keep going and is amazingly proud of herself. (As well she should be.)

Bonus video: Everybody's walking around the ranch to exercise. They all seem to be walking in twos, except for Victoria. Nobody ever asks her to join them on a walk, which means she's on her own out there. Which, in her head, means that a mountain lion is going to attack her. Yes, you read that right. To help keep herself safe when she's out in the wilderness that is the paved and well-kept path of the Biggest Loser grounds, she carries a flashlight. Oh, and also, a BIG HONKIN' KITCHEN KNIFE! OMG, this girl has lost all sense of proportion.

Challenge! There's some sort of bizarre setup with...okay, I have no idea how to describe this. There's some sort of metal frame running horizontally really, really high up in the air, and other metal frames running down vertically from it at regular intervals. The vertical frames stop way, way short of touching the ground. There are also coloured wooden blocks piled up on the ground. Ali makes a whole bunch of "laying a foundation" metaphors and then explains the challenge: the contestants have to use the blocks to build some sort of tower that they can climb to reach the vertical frames. Once there, they have to use the frames as ladders, climb up them to the top horizontal piece, and grab their colour-coded banners. The person who comes in first gets a 1lb advantage at the weigh-in. The person who comes in last gets a 1lb disadvantage.

Michael believes he has a secret weapon: he worked in construction for a couple of years. So making a tower out of blocks is totally his thing. He decides to give Ashley tips so that she doesn't come in last. ("She doesn't necessarily have to beat MOI...but, right now I just wanna help her so that she doesn't get that disadvantage.") But either he can't explain things for crap, or she is not the swiftest bunny in the forest (or possibly both), because she totally doesn't understand anything he's saying. Never mind that, though, the challenge is beginning! Having managed to confuse the snot out of Ashley, Michael gets going on his construction with delight. He has big plans for his edifice - he says he wants railings! An escalator! Lights! A chandelier! I would have found all that a lot more funny if it weren't obvious that he was not entirely kidding. Or if Ashley hadn't gotten totally lost trying to copy him. Even Ali, watching him, has no freakin' clue what the hell he's doing. And indeed, he's so into getting a good "interlocking mechanism" with these blocks that he lets everyone get ahead of him. (Now THAT is funny.)

(DH wants to see them all using carriage bolts.)

Daris is first to his ladder, followed closely by Sam. But both of them have problems getting themselves all the way on their ladders, and slip. They both struggle mightily, but no dice. Back they go for more blocks. Daris comes back first for another try, and he gets onto the ladder! ("Good job, D!" shouts one of the cousins, which is nice to hear.) He scrambles up to the top quickly and the 1lb advantage is his. It's his first challenge win - good for him! His confidence grows. Koli's next to grab his flag. Once Daris gets back down, he has a chance to check out what other people are doing, and apparently there are some really scary structures out there. Just as he says this, Victoria's topples right over. She's holding on to the ladder as it goes, but can't get her whole self up on it. She sobs a bit, terrified that she's going to die. (Don't worry, they've all got harnesses, none of them are going to fall to their deaths.) But eventually she manages to get back down onto her (much-reduced) tower and is safe.

Ashley is scared of heights, but refuses to let that stop her. Sunshine is third to get her flag, followed by Sam. (Which makes me wonder what on earth took Sam so long, since he was neck-and-neck with Daris not too long ago.) Unfortunately, as O'Neal is stepping back to the ground for one last block-gathering expedition, he stumbles and lands on his knee. His bad knee. Y'know, the one without cartilege? Oh man, that's gotta hurt. Sunshine, who is clearly not good at emergency situations, goes completely to pieces. The medic folks get O'Neal on a gurney and off he goes, Sunshine riding in the ambulance with him. Naturally, this means O'Neal is stuck with the 1lb disadvantage. Koli reflects that this sucks, but points out that if Sam doesn't fall below the yellow line and O'Neal does, he can vote to save O'Neal. So it's not as bleak as it looks.

Product placement music! I wonder what we're plugging today. Well, Ashley is frustrated that she isn't good at challenges, but knows that what she can do to for herself is lose weight, i.e. do well on her nutrition. Totally on board with this commitment, Bob goes into the Magical Fridge Of Snacks and pulls out something NEW to eat! It's Yoplait "Greek Yogurt". (Greek yogurt?!? I'm betting that means just regular, plain, lip-smacking yogurt, not that sissy flavoured stuff.) Apparently it has a whopping 14g of protein, which makes it awesome. Ashley makes yummy noises. (I really hope these guys get paid well to do this stuff.)

O'Neal returns from the hospital. There's good news and bad news. The good news is that there's no fracturing or tearing. The bad news is that the bone-on-bone crunch damaged a nerve. Accordingly, his knee wrapped up in a cumbersome-looking brace. Michael speaks on behalf of everyone when he says he's glad O'Neal's okay and that they were all worried about him.

For the next workout, Bob and Jillian are sending the contestants to the beach, where a "surprise" awaits them. Bob and Jillian, however, are taking the day off. The surprise is Gabrielle Reece, beach volleyball champion. She is tall and blonde and ripped and gorgeous and the guys are all very enthusiastic about this. :) But we hear that she's a mom, so oh well, I guess. She takes the opportunity to plug her line of fitness apparel. Did you know that simply putting on a 'zippy jacket' can give you all the motivation you need to do a good workout? Like, wow! She then takes them on a series of exercises that can be done anywhere. Everybody's pretty enthused. They end out the day by playing in the water and having fun.

Time to get serious. O'Neal is having possibly the worst week of his life. Not only did he re-hurt his knee, but he just got a phonecall telling him that his oldest brother Arthur died of cancer. The thing that's killing O'Neal, of course, is that he didn't get to say goodbye. He hangs on to the belief that Arthur is in a better place. Oh, poor man. It's the not being able to say goodbye which is really doing a number on O'Neal - he and Bob talk it out a bit. Bob highlights how strong a person O'Neal is, and that he's here for all the right reasons. And today, they're going to work out for Arthur. (I think O'Neal is just loving Bob more and more all the time.) Specifically, they're going to box - this is great because it lets O'Neal hit stuff. He spars with Jillian, who is impressed, because O'Neal is no longer turning to food as a way of dealing with stuff.

People are confident and working out hard. Daris looks damn good running on the treadmill and reflects on how far he's come. Michael has newfound confidence in the gym and his t-shirt is absolutely drenched. Ashley is determined NOT to fall below the yellow line this week.

Meanwhile, recent events have changed the strategy of the Grey cousins. The original plan was to let Sam fall below the yellow line so they could pick someone off, but now that O'Neal has a 1lb disadvantage, they're focused on saving O'Neal. So they're both working hard to stay above the line.

Speaking of O'Neal, he is heartbroken. In the workout, Jillian whips him up so much that he starts beating up one of the exercise machines. :( Jillian looks torn between hugging him and calling security. She attempts, verrry awkwardly, to hug him. However, since Jillian is not Bob, Master Of Hugs, this doesn't work very well, so they go for a walk. O'Neal lets out a lot of grief and Jillian is suddenly faced with the challenge of holding up his weight (approximately 275lbs) as he literally leans on her.

Y'know, I'm thinking here that we really have no right to intrude on this private grief. Shame on you, Biggest Loser producers.

Weigh-in. Michael reflects on how badly this is going to suck for anyone who isn't Daris, Koli, Sam or O'Neal. Daris, for his part, didn't even need the 1lb advantage. He's thrilled with his weight now and tells a story about when he was a junior in high school and discovered to his shame that there was a senior who was the same weight as him. Sam, whose weight is also down to where it was when he was a kid, tells a high school-related weight story.

Milestones achieved:

  • O'Neal drops below 275lbs
  • Sam drops below 250lbs
  • Daris drops below 225lbs
  • Daris and Sam hit the 125lb mark of total loss
  • Koli moves from clinically obese to obese
  • Sam moves from obese to overweight
  • O'Neal hits the 30% mark of total loss
  • Daris and Koli hit the 35% mark of total loss

The end result is that we get some very low weight loss percentages for about half the players, and it's Sunshine and Victoria below the yellow line, with Koli holding the axe. At first, I am absolutely positive that Victoria is toast. Firstly, Koli does not like slackers. And secondly, he adores O'Neal and will do just about anything short of getting rid of Sam to keep him around. So it's kind of like Grey and Yellow make a voting block of four people, which is huge. Also, sending Sunshine home would make O'Neal sad, which I don't think Koli wants to do. Oh, and extra bonus, Sunshine is pretty - I'm sure that hasn't escaped Koli's notice. :)

However, as we go into the elimination, Koli interviews that he has decided to do what's best for him, so suddenly I'm not sure. "Best for him" presumably means getting rid of the bigger threat? Sunshine works hard and has shown herself capable of putting up massive percentages, whereas Vicky hasn't "clicked" yet and can probably be counted on to keep falling below the yellow line until she does, which of course is good for Koli. On the other hand, maybe "best for him" means getting rid of the person who has the most weight to lose, i.e. Victoria? Or "best for him" could mean keeping someone around who's less likely to vote him off if he falls below the yellow line, i.e. Sunshine?

Turns out my original guess was right - Victoria's going home. As Koli votes for her, he tries to encourage her to step up her game. He tries not to be mean about it, but it is hard to tell someone they've been slacking off without sounding mean. For her part, Victoria is shocked that he would say something like that. Which means either Koli's expectations of people are way too high, or Victoria is in denial about her capacity for hard work. (Or both.) Personally, I'm inclined to believe Koli's version of things - he's been on the ranch longer, isn't complaining about anybody else, and Victoria is very new to the ranch and only just discovering how hard she can be pushed.

At any rate, Victoria tries to be nice about it and says that she will take Koli's advice to heart and do her best to step it up at home. She arrives to an incredibly anticlimactic party of just three people (her mom Cherita, her trainer, and her pastor). Geez, what's wrong with her friends and family, doesn't anyone like this girl? The three people who are there, though, are all thrilled to see her, so that's nice. Cherita's looking good, that's awesome. Vicky tells us her plans for her immediate future are gym and home, gym and home. :) Also, she's totally not over how Koli said she wasn't working hard and goes on about that for a while. Then in the gym, she works out with a punching bag, saying stuff like, "This is for you Koli, for voting me off!". We also see her telling the camera, "Koli, you will be SHOWN how hard I work!"

Holy crap sweetie, you are letting Koli live rent-free in your head.

Flash forward to her after-ranch profile, and she's down to 240lbs! She is looking just as beautiful as I thought she was going to. She plugs some sort of 24-Hour Fitness special that they're having on now for Biggest Loser fans or something. She and Cherita then get on stationary bikes. The first day in the house they were kicked out because they came last in the stationary bike marathon challenge, so now they're proving that they can finish the challenge together. Of course, they do, looking strong. Turns out this is also an at-home profile for Cherita, who's doing really well despite her ridiculous hairstyle during the biking - she's lost 77lbs and plans to keep going. Good for both of them!

Next week (SPOILERS)

Look for the following potential milestones:

  • Michael could drop below 350lbs
  • Ashley could drop below 250lbs
  • Ashley and O'Neal could hit 125lbs of total loss
  • Koli could hit 150lbs of total loss
  • Michael could hit 175lbs of total loss
  • Sam could hit the 35% mark of total loss

TV Guide: The players go to Dallas to run a 5K at the Cotton Bowl and recruit locals to join them for the race. Later, a contestant wins immunity by wrangling calves in a rodeo challenge; and Season 8 contestant Abby Rike asks Jillian to speak at her high school.

(Squee! Abby!)

Video preview: The contestants realise that they really are inspiring people out there. One woman tells O'Neal that watching him come so far makes her think she can do it, too. Meanwhile, Abby shows up and gets Jillian to speak at a local high school. One enormous girl gets to talk with Jillian afterwards. Jillian encourages her and the girl is astonished that Jillian really listened to her and didn't push her away like everyone else does. Oh, poor thing.


# This wk % Overall % This wk lbs Overall lbs BMI
1 Koli (3.70) Daris (36.71) Koli (10) Michael (168) Sam (29.9)
2 Daris (3.10) Koli (35.48) O'Neal (8) Koli (143) Sunshine (30.8)
3 O'Neal (2.88) Sam (33.87) Daris (7) Daris (127) Daris (31.4)
4 Sam (2.38) Ashley (32.09) Sam (6) Sam (126) Koli (34.3)
5 Ashley (1.55) Michael (31.94) Michael (5) Ashley (120) O'Neal (37.7)
6 Michael (1.38) O'Neal (30.59) Ashley (4) O'Neal (119) Victoria (39.3)
7 Sunshine (0.52) Sunshine (30.55) Sunshine, Victoria (1) Vicky (92) Ashley (42.3)
8 Victoria (0.37) Victoria (25.70) Sunshine (84) Michael (44.7)

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