The six remaining contestants get spruced up, visit with their families, and then fight to stay one more week
The Biggest Loser | Rudy took his makeover like a man even letting them at his facial hair but he really surprised them with a secret about his sister
Credit: Chris Haston/NBC

Last time on the Biggest Loser recap: ”Is Amanda still in this game? Does anyone think she has more than one week left on the ranch?” Fellow viewers, I never pretend to have any idea what I’m talking about, and Amanda’s stunning showing last night (it was her best weigh-in ever) proves that this season is still wide open.

The episode was only 90 minutes (thanks, Merry Madagascar!), but they crammed in quite a bit. Let’s take a look:

Makeover Madness

Ali was dropping some knowledge on the Losers: ”For the rest of your lives, people are going to ask you to motivate them and inspire them.” They’d be getting a head start by giving a personal speech to a crowded auditorium. But first, they’d get the NBC-Universal Corporate Sibling Makeover Treatment. Out of a limo stepped Tim Gunn, who instantly classed this episode into the stratosphere, and Tabatha Coffey, who looks like a Romulan-Human hybrid.

I imagine that there’s a swath of Loser watchers who dislike Makeover week, but there’s something utterly touching about how Tim and Tabatha approach their jobs. They’re not trying to make these people look good; they’re trying to help them look more like themselves. ”Don’t cover me all up,” Rebecca asked, happy with her body for the first time in years. ”I’m proud of you as you are,” said Tim, ”and I’m gonna show you off.”

Meanwhile, Rudy was haggling with Tabatha over his prodigious facial hair. ”It’s a little bushy,” he admitted, ”but it’s gotta stay. Abraham Lincoln had a beard, y’know? Distinguishing!” Tabatha was unconvinced.

Let’s rate the makeover results, saving the best for last:

Danny:: Tim Gunn Epic Fail! Dressed in an atrocious sweater, Danny looked like a ’70s PGA washout-turned-used car salesman. But full credit to Tabatha: Danny’s clothes said ”Creepy Dude Hanging Around The Playground,” but his hair said ”Ted McGinley In His Prime.” D+

Liz: She was the least made over of the whole bunch, but it was nice to see her wearing something more ladylike than a brown T-shirt. C

Amanda: I didn’t really notice her makeover, because her eyes still didn’t change. All season I’ve been trying to figure out what the look in her eyes reminded me of. I figured it out last night: see here C+

Rudy: Dapper professorial jacket: nice! But come on, Tabatha, I gotta have more beard. Fortunately for Team Facial Hair, Rudy already had a Fifteen O’Clock shadow by episode’s end. B

Rebecca: Hubbah yowza kaWHA? Rebecca was sporting a fetching bowl cut and a subtle-glam wardrobe. Tim Gunn: ”You look like a movie star.” Check that: Rebecca looked like a French New Wave movie star: classy, giddy, vivacious. A

Allen: Tim Gunn Redemption! Silver-suit pink-tie perfection. ”This is a rebirth of Allen Smith,” he said. ”This is the best day of my life.” Put simply: whoa. A+

Surprise: everyone’s families were there! I’m a pretty easy cry when it comes to the family stuff; I’d say the most moving were Rebecca with her (much thinner) sister, and Danny hugging his totally adorable family.

The speeches were mostly the personal stories that we viewers have heard before, but that didn’t make them less moving. Allen shed manly tears, Amanda’s speech seemed the most overly practiced, and Liz’s was the funniest. (”I told my husband, the dryer shrunk my shirt! The dryer shrunk my pants!”)

NEXT: Rudy’s reveal

There was one twist. Rudy has so dominated this season that I forgot how little we really knew about him. We’ve never heard anything about his family, and after Dina got the boot, we haven’t seen him palling around with the other contestants. Mid-speech, he dropped the bomb: ”When I was fifteen, my big sister, my role model, was diagnosed with cancer.”

Jillian and Bob turned to each other. Jillian: ”How has this guy been keeping this a secret for three months?” More importantly, how could this essential information escape the gaze of the all-knowing Jilliandroid? Does Not Compute! She began plotting her mental attack.

Reward Challenge

If you were scarred at a young age by the beginning of Cliffhanger, then this week’s Reward Challenge wasn’t for you. The Losers would be rappelling 700 feet across a canyon, while suspended 200 feet in the air. And what was the prize? ”A 2-week trip to the brand new Biggest Loser resort for your entire family!” squealed Ali. ”You and your family will experience Biggest Loser workouts, eat nutritional meals, and get a spa treatment!” So basically, Ali was saying, ”This week’s Biggest Loser prize is more Biggest Loser!” Danger! Infinite loop!

Liz was freaking out: ”Dear god, don’t let me go!” Danny and Allen, her besties 4evs, tried to encourage her. Rebecca (the coolest fricking player this show has ever had, damn you, Rudy) tried to encourage her, badass to badass: ”Keep up with me! Make that your goal!”

Ali and the quick-cut editing tried to make the race look close, but Rudy basically started out in the lead and never lost it. Amanda was surprisingly close behind him, but let’s be honest: Rudy had the reward in the bag before he woke up that morning and decided not to shave.

Rudy, after his big win: ”We’re all athletes now. We’ve all become fairly fit.” I still tend to think of all the remaining Losers based on their pre-show life, but they’ve been doing nothing but working out nonstop for almost three months. In a weird way, the contestants who last this long are basically professional athletes. End of tangent.

The Most Surreal Commercial Break Ever

The commercial break after the Reward Challenge was composed of: a Trainer Tip promoting NBC’s Green Week, a commercial for the Biggest Loser video game, a promo for Mercy, a promo for SVU, and a promo for SNL. The only commercial for a non-NBC property was an extended preview for The Blind Side, which included a Biggest Loser-friendly look at how the film’s star shed 100 pounds. Do you think that NBC charges itself for advertisements? Isn’t that what a Ponzi scheme is?

Last Chance Workout

Bob was concerned: why wasn’t Allen winning more challenges? ”I’ve been playing the game somewhat,” said Allen. He pointed out that, after his winning streak a few weeks ago, everyone was saying, ”Allen’s the one to beat.” So, he’s been throwing challenges to keep himself out of the spotlight.

What do you think, viewers? Was he just making an excuse for his poor performance, or is this all a part of his plan? (Certainly, Rudy hasn’t won any goodwill in his current Challenge hot streak; for two straight episodes, he’s gotten into a shouting match with a crying woman.) If he’s being honest, he’s a genius.

Bob blessed Allen with some product placement: a stupid Ziploc bag that’s ”made from 50 percent wind power.” Allen: ”That’s good for the environment!” You know what else is good for the environment?

Over in the gym, Jillian knew that she had to talk to Rudy about the tragic loss of his older sister. But to broach such a sensitive topic? With her usual finesse and grace, of course. ”Didn’t know your sister died!” she yelled, loud enough for your deaf grandmother to hear. That’s our gal!

NEXT: Weigh-in

The Weigh-In

Let’s run the numbers:

Danny: Dropped 12 pounds to 304. That’s 130 pounds lost on the show, or, as Ali put it, ”A whole Jillian Michaels.”

Rudy: As a biblical scholar, I was worried that the loss of his beard would lead to some kind of Samson-and-Delilah situation, but no worries; Rudy lost 16 pounds, his second-best week ever (after two weeks in single digits; Second Wind Alert!) He hugged and lifted Jillian, and then hugged and lifted Bob.

Allen: ”I didn’t get as much time in the gym as I wanted.” Come on Allen, I was thinking, don’t bother us with modesty. We know you’re a golden god sent from space to save the world by losing weight dressed in a pink tie. But wuh oh! Allen only lost 5 pounds.

Bob noted that, at 238 pounds, the almost six-foot Allen is solid as a rock. But Allen wasn’t having it. ”This is still a competition,” said Allen. ”I don’t want to lose, bottom line.” Jillian and Bob shared an uncomfortable look. Bob: ”We don’t need him losing unnecessary weight trying to win this show.” Something tells me Mr. Competitive doesn’t think any weight is unnecessary, at this point. Paradox!

This all reminded me of Sports Illustrated article about a talented golfer who became obsession with hitting the ball further than anyone. He could drive the ball over 500 yards (non-golfers: that’s inhumanly far), but his overall game suffered from his single-minded devotion (addiction, really) to the long ball. It’s a good article: find it! (Yes, I realize the irony of shilling for a corporate sibling after I made fun of NBC for doing that. Paradox!)

Rebecca: ”You’re only 9 pounds away from 200,” Ali said to the coolest contestant ever. She can do it! I know she can! The random number generator went off, the final click clicked, and… 3 pounds? ”I’m angry. I’m shocked. I’m sad,” said Rebecca. Bob: ”I saw that number, and it broke my heart.”

Liz: Also lost 3 pounds, down to 203, which meant she had a better percentage than Rebecca, but not by much.

Amanda: The 200 mark had just eluded the other two female contestants; what could measly Amanda (previous total: 202) do? A whole lot: Amanda dropped 9 pounds. And so, without ever posting impressive numbers, or winning any challenges (I don’t think?), and after joining an alliance whose members became the most despised contestants in the game, Amanda is in the Final Five.

The Elimination Tango

Liz and Rebecca were beneath the yellow line. Liz had been here before. Her defense was halfhearted. Rebecca, barely holding back tears, was terse: ”I wanna talk to Rudy and Allen.” It was a good call: she knew that Amanda and Danny were set in their votes. The undecideds left with Rebecca, but not before Allen told Liz, ”You wanna stay, you better show some fight.” Message: The weak shall be culled, Liz, friendship or no!

Poor Rebecca. Gone was her jovial teasing competitiveness, replaced by whispered desperation. ”I’ve never been under the yellow line,” she said. ”Liz has been given all kinds of chances. I don’t wanna be her in 25 years.” In a cutting line that tied up this whole season in a nice, tragic bow: ”She got her second and third chance. I’d like my second chance, please!”

NEXT: Rudy versus Rebecca

They called this season ”Second Chances,” and it’s interesting to see how that theme has actually played out. Some players, like Shay and Liz, got more chances than was really fair; others, like Dina and now Rebecca, barely even one.

At the vote, Amanda and Danny canceled each other out. If it was a tie, then Rebecca would go home (she had the lowest percentage). Rudy, holding all the cards: ”It came down to trust in the end… one of the people tonight chose to play both sides of the fence.” He voted for Rebecca, sending her home.

Rebecca demanded to know: What did Rudy mean, exactly? Rudy muttered about how Rebecca broke an understood cone of silence between the Blue and Black teams (presumably to hang with her Pink/Orange peeps.) Rebecca insisted that she wasn’t trying to be ”sneaky or whatever,” but Rudy stood firm: ”I didn’t trust you!” Rebecca, furious now and righteously so, said, ”You had some sort of trust issue? You should’ve said it five weeks ago.”

I kind of lost the thread of their argument here. It seems like Rudy didn’t like how Rebecca was playing the game. He could understandably have some gripe with her after last week’s Young vs. Old battle, but his complaints seemed a bit sour: sure, she played the game, but we’re talking about a legit competitor who routinely equalized Allen in challenges.)

I was totally on Rudy’s side in the Shay Hoop Challenge breakdown, but this time around, something rang false. It could just be (as Rebecca herself theorized on Leno) that Rudy just wanted her gone because he knew she was competition.

I have a different theory. Rudy has never had a bad week. He’s breaking every record. He simply doesn’t see the moral need for some people to play the game. ”Why not just lose the weight, guys?” he seems to be saying. Rudy’s like some morally sincere and dutifully responsible French aristocrat who can’t understand why a peasant has to steal bread just to live another day, so he throws the peasant in jail for fifteen years and then hunts him for a lifetime.

Rebecca was righteously tearing up (to Rudy: ”You’re one of my closest friends here!”), Ali Sweeney interjected, with professional speed: ”Rebecca, I’msorrytotellyouthatyouarenottheBiggestLoser.” Rebecca hugged Amanda: ”You push, and you get to the finals, and you beat all these big boys, okay?” No hug for Rudy, who was sitting in his proud tower, victorious and alone at the top.

Aftermath (Spoiler Alert!)

Flashforward to last night. Rebecca came on Leno. How can I put this: she is ridonk hot, basically is a younger, varsity-volleyball version of Mariska Hargitay. Big Revelation: She’s dating Daniel! Yes, the worst-kept secret in show business is out. Putting aside the fact that she’s now a bomber-looking 25-year-old and he’s a let’s-be-fair-swarthy 20-year-old, this has to be the best news ever. ”I fell in love with my best friend,” she said. Agent Orange and the Pink Glamazon? Hooray for power couples!

What’d you think, game fans? Are you completely flabbergasted that Amanda has made it this far? Or has she played the game perfectly? Were you on Rudy’s side, or Rebecca’s? And who’s your favorite to win? It seems ridiculous to bet against Rudy at this point, but my bet is on Allen for the ultimate victory.

Episode Recaps

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