The contestants get makeovers with a little help from Tim Gunn, then reunite with their family members at a ''film premiere'' where tears flow freely. Plus, one contestant suffers the worst injury in the show's history

By Jean Bentley
Updated April 15, 2009 at 04:00 PM EDT
Trae Patton/NBC

The Biggest Loser

S7 E16
  • TV Show

This episode of The Biggest Loser should’ve come with a disclaimer — WARNING: TISSUES NECESSARY FOR VIEWING. I’m used to crying during this show. It really is inspiring, and tears are my involuntary method of showing any extreme emotion. But this episode was relentless in the emotional manipulation department. I mean, it wasn’t even a minute into the show before the tears started flowing.

Tissue alert #1: The obligatory eliminated-player montage is always a little sad, but I’ve never actually shed tears before. When Filipe started reading from Sione’s letter about inspiring the Tongan nation, however, I lost it. And this quote — ”The thought of him leaving feels like the first week again, but this time I can’t bring him back” — well played, NBC. Well played.

Next, in a bout of what I hoped was foreshadowing, Filipe and Kristin started casually discussing the fact that Jillian always ends up with the first-place finisher, and they’d really like one of Bob’s players to win this season — but Jillian’s team hasn’t lost a single player in seven (seven!) straight weeks. Hm, Bob’s team, do you think that could’ve been prevented if you hadn’t started cannibalizing yourselves by voting off your strongest players first? Because, uh, I totally do.

They didn’t mess around with a temptation challenge this week (and after last week’s gluttony-fest, that’s probably for the best), and instead went straight to the challenge-challenge, something I’d like to call Biggest Loser: X-TREME! The contestants were led to a canyon (a really, really tall canyon, Kristin assured us) with thin wires stretched across it. The contestants had to traverse across 700 feet while walking on one wire and holding on to another. Alison Sweeney helpfully informed the contestants they’d be hanging 110 feet in the air at their highest point, the equivalent of a 10-story building. NO BIG DEAL. As Kristin so eloquently put it, ”Oh s—.”

If I were a betting lady, I would’ve put my money on Tara. Or, possibly…Tara. Basically from now until the end of the season. Girlfriend is a BEAST. Though the challenge began with Filipe in the lead, I’m sure you can guess how it ended. Despite a slip-up midway, Tara managed to come back and win the darn thing. I appreciate how the producers played up Tara’s fall to make it seem like the others had a chance at beating her, but it was no surprise when she passed Filipe in the final stretch, winning her tenth (tenth!) challenge, plus a $25,000 kitchen makeover and a stocked fridge from Jennie-O turkey. Side note: Tara’s only 23. Does she even have a kitchen to make over? Or will she just give it to her parents?

NEXT: Get a dollar if Ron doesn’t quit the next challenge

If I’d put money on the first person to give up completely, I would’ve put my money on Ron. And…nope, just Ron. The man didn’t disappoint — as I wrote in my notes, ”Wahhhh, his knee hurt, quit after 40 feet.” Now, this challenge couldn’t possibly have been good for someone with bum knees, but the fact that he so frequently and consistently straight-up QUITS in the challenges makes me really, really angry. And when Jean gets angry, Jean writes mean things. I’ll spare you the rest of my tirade (that only my Microsoft Word document will see), but suffice to say I’m not his biggest fan. Or, really, any type of fan at all. I will say, however, that it was probably smart of him to quit this particular time in case his knees gave out in the middle and they had to swing him back on a zip line. But if a day comes when Ron actually puts forth any effort whatsoever in a challenge, I will pay every single one of you a dollar. And by ”I,” I mean just kidding. No one will pay you a dollar. But I give permission for every Ron fan to send me a nasty email that I won’t read.

After the challenge ended, Alison (looking great in a pea coat and, to borrow a word from Mr. Slezak, a jaunty cap) revealed to the contestants what we knew already: It’s makeover week! Woo! They headed on down to their local Macy’s (in their workout clothes, of course), where a special guest awaited with his back facing them. In the most awkward big reveal ever, Tim Gunn awkwardly spun around so they could see who he was.

That’s the best they could do? A slow turn? I’d take it, though, Tim Gunn can reveal himself to me however he wants. Wait, that didn’t come out right. You all have dirty minds. I just mean, if Tim Gunn wanted to take me shopping and give me a $1,000 Macy’s gift-card for a new wardrobe, he can awkwardly turn around to greet me too. The shopping segment was nice, especially when Tim Gunn (he’s definitely a first-and-last-namer. I can’t picture anyone ever going ”Hey Timmy, wassup?”) encouraged Tara to show more skin, and she reminded him that Biggest Loser is a ”family show.” In another segment of NBC-Bravo synergy, Tabatha (of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover) showed up to give everyone haircuts. The contestants turned out pretty much the same, except for Laura getting a new red ‘do, Kristin getting rid of her chunky highlights, and Ron shaving off his beard. However, it led us to…

Tissue alerts #2-9: The contestants got all dolled up for a ”movie premiere,” but were surprised to find their family members waiting for them instead. I felt a bit of déjà vu action since they just saw them a couple of episodes ago, but it really was different since they were all gussied up. So, of course, I cried during all of the reunions. And I cried doubly when Mike and Ron’s brother/son Max started crying after seeing his brother and dad looking so fit. Do I smell a future season casting?

Tissue alert #10: The movie premiere the contestants were attending was actually a short film of footage from the season so far. We’ve seen it all on TV, so it wasn’t as shocking to us viewers at home. It was probably the first time they or their families had seen anything, however. Floodgates = open.

NEXT: Someone suffers the worst injury the show’s ever seen

The last chance workout made me INSANELY nervous because I knew someone was going to get really hurt (according to the commercials, it was ”the worst injury ever!!!”). And the music was so freaking dramatic. I relaxed a little when I realized it wasn’t someone falling and breaking anything, but I was pretty devastated for Laura when found out she had a stress fracture in her hip that prevented her from putting any weight on it at all (seriously, she couldn’t even walk up to the steps at the weigh-in). Extremely bad news for her — but it did leave the elimination decision pretty obvious. …or so I thought. At the weigh-in, Mike broke the record of most weight ever lost on campus — 145 pounds in 15 weeks. Everyone else posted pretty good numbers except Kristin, who only lost two pounds, and Laura, who ended up gaining three (unsurprisingly).

Now, this week’s elimination decision seemed pretty clear-cut to me. Although keeping Laura would probably have been smart in the game play sense since Kristin was a bigger threat, Laura was seriously injured. She needed medically supervised rehab far more than she needed Jillian-supervised workouts. Laura begged everyone to vote as if she wasn’t injured, but Kristin gave a truthful, honest speech: ”I’m not here because I want to fit in a bikini or win $250,000. Don’t take the cowardly way out.” Ron, as much as I’m a non-fan, was the voice of reason. ”Laura is not going to get better here.” He would know, from the amount of surgery he’s had on his hips and knees.

When it came to the final vote, Tara, of course, voted for her friend to stay (I don’t think anyone expected her not to), and Ron and Mike voted Laura home. Then came Helen. Oh, Helen. Her true colors were revealed last night. Can someone justify keeping Laura for a reason other than the fact that Kristin’s a bigger threat? I don’t think there’s a single valid reason otherwise. Filipe, thank goodness, voted to send Laura home. I didn’t have anything against Laura, but she needed to go home and recover, not stay on the ranch and take up a valuable spot that Kristin could be using to its fullest.

Thankfully, Laura wasn’t going home alone unsupervised. The show provided doctors to supervise her recovery. In the transformation moment, we learned that she’s managed to maintain her weight loss throughout rehab, something I think is extremely commendable. That means she hasn’t gotten back into her old habits, which is the goal of the show to begin with. So, way to go, Laura! I hope she meets her goal of a 100-pound loss by the finale.

What did you think of the makeovers? Did you love the girls’ jewel-toned dresses as much as I did? Do you want Tim Gunn around to encourage you every time you go shopping? Were you glad Laura went home to recover, or did you think she should’ve stayed? How many times did you cry last night? And are you ready for this thing to be over already?

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The Biggest Loser

Contestants battle the bulge and each other in the competitive weight-loss series
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