Another surprise elimination followed a treasure chest challenge and a revealing weigh-in
Biggest Loser Daniel
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

I always like it when episodes begin right after the previous week’s elimination. There’s a palpable feeling of tension. Last night, we saw the Blue team walk into the living room moments after Coach Mo’s noble/insane self-sacrifice. The Blues couldn’t look anyone from the Black team in the eye. Amanda spoke for everyone: ”Tracey’s still here and Mo’s gone. What happened?”

Rudy tried to explain, practically quoting Mo word-for-word: ”He’d been hurting a lot, and he wanted to see us pull together as a team.” Dina, Rudy’s old partner, angrily called him out for making such a feeble excuses. (Farewell, RuDina!) Tracey, in a rare moment of clarity, could sense that everyone in the room hated her. She started crying. Shay said, ”That’s my cue,” and walked away.

We all know that Shay despises Tracey. But they’re both still in the game because someone else fell on their sword (Mo for Tracey, Antoine and Sean for Shay.) Last week, Shay took her 16-pound drop as evidence that her philosophy (teamwork!) was better than Tracey’s (Backstabbing! Frontstabbing!)

But Shay always forgets that Tracey delivers big numbers. Heck, Tracey’s only just been cleared to use the gym: we may not have seen her best yet. And Shay plays the game just like Tracey, albeit with some subtlety.

For the reward challenge, the Losers had to dig into gigantic sand piles to find keys to a treasure chest. This brought up a question that has plagued humanity for millennia: what’s the best way to dig a hole in the sand? Some of the Losers used their shovels, with little success (”What am I doing, digging a slow hole to China?” said Danny.) Some used their arms, or their legs.

Turns out, the best method for digging a hole is: Be a Firefighter. Allen tossed his chest on the sand, like it was a nuisance, then helped his team soundly defeat the Black team.

The challenge’s prize was a trip home. With a twist. ”It would mean being away from campus all week,” said Ali. Rudy and Allen both wanted to see their families, but the Tracey-voiced devil on their shoulder told them to pass the prize on to their opponents. Said Danny, ”I get to see my wife. I don’t get to see Jillian. I get to see my kids. I don’t get the gym.” Even when good things happen to these people, they come with problems.

Which home visit made you weep the most? When Danny hugged his wife, I felt myself sniffle. But when Dina gave her son a big crying hug, I tried to grab a hankie but ended up falling to the floor in a crying fit. (By the way, we got to see pictures of Thin Danny the High School Rock Star, and he is a stud. Will you sign my petition for a Season Finale Concert?)

Back at the Loser campus, Bob was murdering his team. ”I got to walk in that gym, literally beat the crap out of them, and just walk out.” Is it me, or does Bob really not like his team? His favorite person, Amanda, is now on the opposing team. He doesn’t like Tracey, and the fact that her team kept her around instead of Mo (who Bob adored) has to bother him.

NEXT: Daniel escapes

Right in the middle of a Subway infomercial — ”They give you all the nutrition information right here!” — Shay suffered a mini-breakdown. In tears, she told her friends what she had realized by participating in The Biggest Loser: ”You have to do this for you, and no one else.”

She says that every week. It used to sound inspiring. I’m not so sure anymore. More than ever, Shay is using her difficult past as an excuse for her actions in the show. (By comparison, as several commenters have noted, Abby almost never mentions her own private tragedies.) Maybe because she’s the Biggest Biggest Loser ever, Shay seems to feel that it’s her divine right to be on the show. And she knows that everyone else thinks so, too. Who’d want to kick out Shay?

I think I made a big mistake with Daniel. I assumed all along that he was a devious gameplayer imitating a peppy mascot, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I was wrong. I underestimated him. Daniel isn’t some minor schemer. He’s actually a supervillain.

Jillian had noticed something strange: ”His numbers have been the weakest. There’s something he’s not telling me.” She decided to completely break him down emotionally and physically until he was left crying on an elliptical machine. There followed a sad origin story: Daniel’s mother always tried to get him to lose weight, which made Daniel feel inadequate, which made him gain weight, which started the whole vicious cycle again.

This was a humanizing moment for Daniel, a competitor who’s been little more than a wink and a smile so far this season. And I think it spoke volumes about his genius, and his tragedy. He badly wants to lose weight. We know that he’s a rabid fan of The Biggest Loser. He believes that the best way to lose weight is to stay on The Biggest Loser. So, he’s doing everything he can to stay on the show, picking the instant cast favorite as his partner, maneuvering behind the scenes to control elimination rounds. In the process, though, he may actually be sacrificing his own weight loss; quite a few commenters have mentioned that people who play the game end up not losing as much weight.

I think that last night’s weigh-in proved that to be true. The Blue team posted good, not-great numbers (except Rudy, who has lost 87 pounds in six weeks.) The Black team posted surprisingly okay numbers (especially Danny: 15 pounds!). But Daniel gained a pound, a big old Plus One. Jillian gave Daniel a brusque Klingon farewell, clearly thinking she’d seen the last of him for the second time. I thought so, too.

The Black Team sat down to caucus, and Dina broke down crying. I thought she might pull a Coach Mo sword-fall maneuver and say that she wanted to go home to her family. But just the opposite: ”I’m so scared to go home. It was so hard for me there.” Let’s run this down. We all knew that there was no way Shay would vote for her Orange teammate. And Amanda was on Team Pink, which was basically controlled by Team Orange. So when Danny and Dina both voted for Daniel, I expected a tie. But Abby, out of nowhere, voted for the person who was ”like family to me” — Dina.

What? Just? Happened? Why would Abby vote for Dina, a consistent competitor, over Daniel, who zig-zags back and forth (on odd weeks, he’s lost 29 pounds total; on even weeks, he’s lost a mere 6)? Abby said some kind words about how Dina could keep going at home, but it all seemed pretty heartless, so soon after Dina literally broke down crying. Any theories, viewers? Am I alone in thinking that Daniel and his secret alliance got to Abby? And does that mean that Danny, dear sweet Danny, better keep winning immunity, or else?

And what were your favorite moments of the episode, everybody? Who had the best at-home wardrobe? Was Dina’s son the coolest kid ever, or what? Do you think Rudy will make 100 pounds next week?

Episode Recaps

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