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The Biggest Loser recap: Every Man for Himself

The contestants compete as individuals in a strongman-type challenge, and the drawn-out weigh-in sucks all excitement out of the show’s pacing

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Kristin Cathy
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

The Biggest Loser

TV Show
Current Status:
Bob Harper
Reality TV

Mazel Tov, Biggest Loser viewers. Over the past few weeks, our dear contestants have been struggling to prove themselves during a life-changing time. Last night, however, after months of preparation, it was finally time for them to come into their own. Yes, our contestants are grown-up men and women now, responsible for making their own decisions (like choosing their own trainers) and being held accountable for their actions. It’s no longer a team competition — these babies are now competing for themselves.

Okay, it wasn’t exactly a Bar Mitzvah when Alison brought everybody outside and handed them their old colored team shirts to wear, but there are some similarities: months of training with an experienced figure who helped them complete a daunting task, and somebody who walked away much richer (in sweet prizes) than everybody else (unfortunately, the challenge losers didn’t get their own personalized ”Biggest Loser 7” CD holders). It makes sense, because really — isn’t middle school a lot like reality TV? Manufactured drama, ganging up on perceived threats, and a constant stream of unnecessary tears — am I right, or did you go to middle school with the most well-adjusted kids ever?

After twelve weeks of team competition, it was about time some people lost the ability to ride their teammates’ coattails through elimination from week to week. While Bob might’ve been the only trainer with contestants up for elimination yet again, it’s no longer the obvious outcome it once was. And with each person picking his/her own trainer, Bob was able to gain back his loyal team members.

Of course, we couldn’t have the contestants make a decision without taking a spirit walk-type stroll through the BL ranch grounds while discussing how hard it would be to choose a trainer, even though it was obvious how everyone would vote. Jillian wound up with Tara, Laura, Helen, and Mike, and Bob got Sione, Filipe, Kristin, Ron, and Aubrey (the only surprising choice, since she started out training with Jillian).

The challenge this week was a two-parter: first, in a game Kristin called ”Let’s See How Much Everyone Else In the House Hates You!,” the contestants had to handicap their opponents for the second half of the challenge by distributing the amount of weight they’d lost among everyone else. Smartly, most people chose to impede Tara, and puzzlingly, Helen. Though Helen good-naturedly laughed her way through the process, Tara got extremely pissed off and later threatened to sabotage her weigh-in and send herself home.

Though Tara’s become increasingly bitchy from week to week (her incredulous ”Did you really think you would beat me?” to Helen last episode was almost the last straw), I managed to remain on her side until she became so defensive that she blew off Aubrey’s attempts to boost her ego and started crying because the mean kids on the playground wouldn’t let her on the monkey bars. For someone who prides herself on being such a strong competitor, Tara really cracked when faced with an obstacle she wasn’t sure she could beat. Combine that with several mediocre-to-bad weigh-ins in a row, and Ms. Thang’s confidence was sorely shaken. Which is a good thing, because her ego needed a healthy dose of fear to realize she wasn’t the only person in the competition with a chance of winning the darn thing.

Though it probably surprised the contestants, part two of the challenge wasn’t much of a secret to anyone who saw last week’s previews: the contestants had to pull cars a half-mile around a racetrack. It was kind of like those strong man competitions they play on the secondary ESPN networks after the spelling bee. Some NASCAR driver dude came and told the contestants that being successful is about setting goals and reaching them (duh), then he told them that not only would the challenge winner get immunity at the weigh-in, they would also get VIP passes to an upcoming race.

NEXT: NASCAR trumps Biggest Loser in product placement