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The Biggest Loser recap: In the Long Run

The remaining four contestants participate in the hardest challenge yet — running 26.2 miles in the inaugural ‘Biggest Loser’ marathon

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Helen Shanon
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

The Biggest Loser

TV Show
Current Status:
Bob Harper
Reality TV

‘The Biggest Loser’ recap: It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon

What can I say about this episode of The Biggest Loser that I haven’t said before? Answer: not much. But I’m going to try anyway. As in the previous two episodes, the producers seem to be struggling to generate enough actual content to fill two full hours, let alone three completely unnecessary episodes. We know everyone’s back story. We know how much they’ve struggled. We’ve seen the before and after pictures. Will you just show us the final results, already?

That said, there were three high points to this episode. First, we got to see the trainers visit the contestants at home. Second, Ron’s son/Mike’s brother Max got mad screen time as both Jillian and Bob offered to help him lose weight too. And third, the final four ran a frikkin’ marathon, y’all!

After limos escorted each player to a party where their friends and family awaited, it was time to get down to business — figuring out how to translate their Biggest Loser regimen to their old lives. Unfortunately, this was the biggest letdown of the show. Instead of their day-to-day activities — how they were able to integrate the diet and exercise — we got video diaries of the contestants talking about how hard it is to do so. Well…duh? Of course it’s hard. That’s why they’re on the show in the first place. What I want to know is how they managed to break out of their old habits. How did they adjust their schedules to fit in all the exercising they’re doing? What kinds of food are they buying at the grocery store? Quit it with the platitudes and vague, sweeping statements, people — what are some of the actual challenges you’re facing?

Tara and Helen both went to their old favorite restaurants, but we never saw what they ordered. Mike talked about how he was constantly hungry, but he never told us what he ate to curb his appetite. Five points to Mike for describing his hunger as ”voracious” — good use of those SAT words, buddy. Minus five points to Tara’s undermining friends — they said she was ”Too far gone for someone to tell her to start dieting.” Um, thanks?

However, things finally got interesting when the trainers visited their trainees at home. Jillian, despite her brusque attitude, genuinely cares about the mental health of her contestants. She sat down with each of her team members, discussed the specific problems they were having at home, and helped them work through the issues. Mike was having a hard time accepting his brother’s apathy toward losing weight — saying it was ”disgusting” to see him so fat. Jillian helped Mike realize that he was projecting his feelings about his old self onto his brother. Once Mike accepted the way he used to be, that anger would go away. (Props to the single tear running down Mike’s face as Jill whispered that he’d ”come through on the other side.”) Tara was worried because she didn’t feel in control anymore like she did on the ranch, and became particularly upset about a day when she worked out for six hours at the gym only to ”ruin” it all by eating pita chips. Jillian sat down with Tara for a glass of wine and helped her realize that indulging in a 100-calorie treat every now and then wouldn’t derail everything she’d been working for. Helen was having trouble balancing all her responsibilities and still finding time for herself (reminds me of a certain Jessie Spano: ”There’s no time! There’s never any time!”). Jillian used the wine tactic (lady likes her wine) to make Helen realize that she needed to take care of herself just as much as she needed to take care of everyone else.

NEXT: Max warms up to Bob