Physical transformations, feats of fitness, and lifestyle changes combined to create the most emotionally satisfying episode of the weight-loss show ... for this season, at least

By Jean Bentley
Updated March 18, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
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I’m sorry everyone, but this won’t be your usual Biggest Loser TV Watch. My sarcasm button is broken today. After all the honest, sincere moments we saw packed into last night’s show, I really don’t think there’s anything I can make fun of. Seriously. This episode embodied everything we watch BL for — amazing transformations, people performing unbelievable feats of fitness they didn’t think they would ever be capable of, and people changing their habits to maintain healthier lifestyles.

See? Not funny. Just true. If you absolutely must be amused while reading, try running this text through a Pirate or a Pig Latin translator. Otherwise, bear with me for the next two pages and then weigh in on the message boards (pun totally unintended but now that I see it, pretend it was totally intended).

Hands down, this has been my favorite episode of the season so far. We saw the contestants complete a half-marathon, realize they could translate their new healthy habits to their lives at home without slipping back into their unhealthy ways, and swell with pride as their families freaked out over their weight loss. For the first time in a while, I have no complaints.

The episode began in the elimination room right after Mandi left. The black team joined the remaining blues for yet another new twist: Someone else would be going home too. NOT! Fine, Ms. Alison Sweeney, you got me this time. I really did think someone else was going home. Until you were all like ”J.K., you’re all going home because it’s Christmas because it’s St. Patrick’s Day just because!”

The trip home marked the first time many of the contestants had seen their families in more than two months, and it was the first time their families would see their smaller bodies. It was emotional watching all the reunions, but none more so than Mike and Ron reuniting with their brother/son, who is the same size the two were when they arrived at the ranch. Seeing his family members so much thinner left the poor kid conflicted — half of him was proud of their success, and I’m sure the other half was jealous and lonely that he’s the biggest guy left. Hopefully he was motivated to prove to himself that if they can do it, so can he. Good luck, junior brown team member!

My other favorite reunions were Tara’s, simply because she looked smokin’ hot and drastically different than she did in the first week (I had to pause on the split screen of the weigh-ins because I thought they might’ve used a shot of Laura by mistake), and Sione’s because he has the most adorable daughter with the most adorable tiny light pink glasses that are so effing endearing I can’t even handle it. I just wanted to hug her forever. Seriously. They should make her likeness into a doll. Cutest child ever.

God, that was great. I didn’t even need to watch the rest of the show — those few minutes were so satisfying (Tears! Hugs! Split screens!) that they could’ve ended the episode right there and I would’ve gone home knowing I got my money’s worth. You know — if I weren’t already in my pajamas in bed, and if I had paid money (besides my cable bill) to watch it.

NEXT: The contestants deal with temptations, and we’re not talking about the ”My Girl” singers

After the black team screwed up so royally during their spa getaway without the discipline and routine of the ranch, Alison warned everyone to remain diligent during their time at home. Faced with the temptation of slipping back into their old habits, many of the contestants proved to themselves that they could translate their new lifestyles to their old worlds. Sione got salmon (no salt or butter) and a double order of veggies when he went out to eat, Ron and Mike turned down free pizza and cookies at their favorite restaurant in favor of salads (dressing on the side), and Helen stocked up on fresh produce at the grocery store instead of unhealthy packaged foods.

However, some did give in to temptation — in the form of a temptation challenge. The contestants all learned via DVD that they would have a challenge to complete when they were home — everyone had to run a half-marathon. I’ll repeat: a half-marathon. 13 entire miles. The person who finished with the fastest time would win $10,000. (I know, right?!) As a temptation, they could eat a giant sugar cookie and add five minutes to the time of any player they choose — kind of like an edible Amazing Race road block.

Here’s a shocker: when they got back to the ranch, the contestants found out that the winner was either Tara or Sione, the two most athletic players in the game. Tara beat Sione by a minute, but Helen ate a cookie for Tara, causing Sione to win. Tara was noticeably pissed, probably because she lost ten grand because some other chick ate a cookie (that’s just a guess.) Everyone else finished admirably, with one exception: Ron.

Yet again, Ron just up and quit trying in a challenge because he knew he wouldn’t win. Frankly, his defeatist attitude is starting to piss me off. I can understand quitting the ball sit or not really trying to jump over that big metal jump rope thingy in previous challenges because of his bum knee, but really — he couldn’t just walk the race until Mike finished and see how far he got then, instead of going for less than two hours and giving up? He said it was because he knew he wouldn’t be able to do it and he had ”no intention” of finishing. Really?! Hey Ron, you have a couple hundred more pounds to lose, do you think you can do that? Or do you have no intention of seeing that through either? I think Ron wants to change his life, but the way he’s been acting makes it seem like he still isn’t fully committed. Am I wrong? Or was this the last straw for you too?

The weigh-in was thankfully not an hour long. Instead, it was to-the-point. Therefore, I will sum it up in a sentence: The black team lost a bunch of weight, then the blue team didn’t lose as much. Surprisingly, Ron was the biggest loser on the blue team, with a 10-pound loss. His attitude in the half-marathon sure didn’t reflect someone with a renewed resolve to lose weight, but I truly hope he’s committed. Otherwise, he’s totally gotta be the next to go.

In the final tissue-worthy moment of the episode, Cathy, who lost a single pound, volunteered to go home instead of her daughter Kristin, who gained a pound. Aubrey, who lost five pounds, knew it was the right thing to do, but put up a polite protest before agreeing. When we caught up to Cathy at home, she had inspired her two other daughters to lose more than 60 pounds total. And that, children, is the story of the most uplifting Biggest Loser episode of season 7.

Were you as utterly pleased with last night’s episode as I was? Did Tara’s thicker-around-her-family Noo Yawk accent amuse you, too? Was the sight of the newly healthy contestants inspiring their family members to change their lives touching to you, too? Do you think Tara or Kristin will be the first woman to lose 100 pounds on the ranch? And can you think of any other BL episodes that were as singularly satisfying as last night’s show?

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