The Biggest Loser recap: What's All the Hoop-la?
Oh, what a night! A new line was drawn down the middle of the remaining contestants: Old versus Young. A new line was drawn up on the board: a Red Line, and whoever lost the most weight would fall below it and go home right away, no votes, no alliances to save you.
Two contestants blew past the 100-pound mark. Two trainers violated their pledge against favoritism. Two people went home. Last night’s episode, the best of the season, was about playing the game, but it was also about people pushing themselves harder then they ever thought possible. Let’s run down the players:
Daniel was the last to ascend the Weigh-In podium. By that point, all his mad plans for final victory had failed. It all seemed to be going according to his plan. At the start of the episode, the remaining eight contestants had split into two unofficial teams: the Youth (the Orange-Pink mafia) and the Oldies (Rudy, Danny, Allen, and Liz).
The youth thought they had the upper hand. But by the time Daniel ascended the Weigh-in podium, Shay and Amanda were already below the yellow line. If Daniel got six pounds, he’d send Amanda below the Red Line. He got five. Bye, Daniel. There was no music, only silence. Amanda was crying, Shay was crying, and Rebecca looked as if Narnia and Neverland had just been consumed in a cannibal holocaust. Breaking protocol, Rebecca ran up the Weigh-In stairs and gave him one last desperate hug before Ali Sweeney pushed him out the door.
Daniel went home to the friends and family waving welcome signs. ”You’ll always be our Biggest Loser!” they said, as if mocking him. He hung out with his old Orange teammate from last season, David. David looks bad, worse than ever. ”I got other things going on that are more important to me right now,” said David, ”Health is not a priority.”
Daniel smiled at his old friend, but he looked bored. He was so close to creating a new Orange Imperium, him and Shay together in the final. Now he has to listen to this guy give excuses? ”I look at David, it feels like I’m sitting next to the old me,” he said.
But that old Daniel is long gone. Agent Orange Forever. Now who’s this girlfriend, anyways?
For the Pop challenge, each person had a board about 7 feet off the ground with 50 tennis balls attached. Each person had a bucket. First person to throw every ball in the bucket wins. The reward: a 1-pound advantage at the weigh-in.
Allen said, ”I really need this one-pound advantage. It could make or break me this week.” Rebecca fought hard, gaining ground after even Rudy had given up. It came down to the very last ball, but Allen won. Rebecca looked like one of those golfers who plays the best game of their life only to see Tiger Woods swoop-swoop their trophy with some cruel masterful stroke, an impossible chip, a perfectly-timed slice.
Sure enough, that pound made the difference for Allen. He lost 10 pounds, a good showing that seemed curiously meager in a week of excellent showings for lesser competitors. That extra pound kept him above the yellow line.
Allen admitted, ”I’ve kind of avoided the game.” He’s no strategist. During the immunity challenge, he stood back, unsure of how to proceed. Danny ran past him, and asked, ”Who do you not want to have immunity?” Allen’s response summed up his approach to the game: ”I don’t want any of you to be here!”
A bad night for Rebecca. She came close to winning the pop challenge, but all she got for her effort was a nice-try high-five from King Allen the First. Then Jillian got in her face, demanding that she get back on a treadmill. ”This is not about life, Jillian,” said Rebecca. ”This is all about right now.” Jillian: ”Life is right now, in this very present moment, which is all that you really have.” And you were complaining this show wasn’t existential enough!
Rebecca fled to the dorm to cry with Amanda. ”I just want to quit,” said Rebecca, ”That’s what I do.” All Amanda could say was, ”We just have to make sure we are two of the five people who are above the yellow line.”
Amanda can only see as far ahead as the elimination round. Rebecca’s interested in something greater, and that’s why she’ll go further. She’s in a precarious position after this week, but don’t count her out just yet. She got 10 pounds at the Weigh-In. Watch your back, Allen.
NEXT: Let’s all go to the circus…
The Immunity Challenge involved a field trip to the Ringling Brothers Circus. Everyone was excited, except for Rebecca: ”I hate clowns. Hate them.” Cut to: 10 clowns grinning from ear to ear. (Oh no! Stephen King flashback! Down here we all float, Danny!) Eight hoops descended from the ceiling. ”Your job is to jump through your opponent’s hoop,” explained Ali. ”Every time you do, they get one point. When you’ve received 100 points against you, you are out.”
Allen was upset. ”I just imagine that big old target on my back.” Ali asked, ”Would it make a difference if I told you that the reward is immunity?” Allen didn’t respond, but he was probably thinking, ”No, that doesn’t help me at all. They’re still going to gun for me, because I’m the son of Zeus.”
The Losers lined up. Rudy turned to Shay looking ready to offer some pre-game trash talk. I believe he said: ”If we’re the last two in the game, it’s me and you, we’ll go for each other.” Shay nodded, and Rudy gave her a high-five: ”We have a hoop alliance.”
Orange/Pink went straight for Liz, reasoning that she was most likely to fall below the Red Line, and thus, someone who shouldn’t get immunity. The Oldies initially didn’t have a strategy. Liz went out first: Youth in the lead, right? Ah, but the Oldies have the three powerhouses. Rudy, Danny, and Allen made short work of Amanda and Daniel. Rebecca ended Allen: Vengeance! But Danny and Rudy got Rebecca out right quick.
Controversy! Rudy and Danny kept working together to eliminate Shay. Shay felt betrayed: ”Rudy breaking promises! I love when true character shows!” Rudy: ”Shay, don’t talk crap during challenges.” Shay: ”I’m not talking crap!” Rebecca ran in and yelled, ”This is a place to talk crap!” which officially made the argument… a three ring circus!
Shay felt that Rudy had made her a promise before the game. If you look at what he said, it’s not quite clear what he meant. But even if he did promise an alliance, was that promise invalidated when Shay formed her own youth alliance?
Shay proclaimed Rudy’s insincerity to the heavens: ”And you see true character!” Rudy responded straight to her face: ”You have none!”
Rudy and Danny beat Shay, and then Rudy beat Danny. ”Four against four,” he said. ”Nobody wanted it that way, but it ended up that way.” Immunity secured, he lost 8 pounds at the weigh-in, no big deal.
Is Amanda still in this game? She’s such a non-entity at the Weigh-in that the Oldies had to gun for her in the Immunity Challenge, since everyone knew she’d be at the bottom of the standings.
In the dearly departed Orange/Pink mafia, Daniel was the brains of the operation and Rebecca was the enforcer. Shay didn’t do much, but she won the pity vote. Amanda just didn’t do much of all. You could see the power dynamic in the funniest part of the night: ”Daniel and I stole two spin bikes from the gym,” explained Rebecca, as the Youth Brigade snuck some night workouts in the dorm. Amanda said, ”If we can just fool the other four, they’re not gonna have any idea that we’re actually in Shay’s room on spin bikes.”
First of all, that’s hilarious. Second of all, this is your master plan? Sneaking around while the grown-ups are sleeping? Kids, this is a weight-loss competition, not spin-the-bottle!
Amanda only got 5 pounds at the Weigh-In and would have gone home if Team Orange hadn’t self-destructed. Does anyone think she has more than one week left on the ranch?
NEXT: Shay sees the consequences of her actions
The second Ali Sweeney mentioned the Red Line, all eyes turned to the oldest contestant. ”I’m gonna be the easy one to pick off this week,” said Liz. In fact, the Orange/Pink Youth All-Stars based their entire strategy around the presumption that Liz would fall below the Red Line.
Young people of the world, allow Liz to retort! She lost 12 pounds, letting out a much-deserved ”Hell, yes!” ”That is the most weight I have lost any given week. Don’t count this gramma out!”
Danny showed Bob pictures from younger days: ”I lost my lust for life,” said Danny. ”I just gave up on myself.” But things were changing. ”I’m feeling confident for the first time in a long time.” Bob was more snappy: pointing at the handsome young rock god in the photo, he said, ”We need to give your wife this man back.”
Danny had an outstanding showing: 17 pounds, enough to push him over the 100-pound line with style.
Ali asked him, ”What would you say if your family were here?”
Danny: ”For so many years, I felt like I failed them. If there were here right now, I’d say: never again. I’m gonna be the man I know I can be. When I came here, I wasn’t sure if he was still inside. Now I know he is.”
If you weren’t crying, you’re dead inside.
Weren’t these two just the most annoying people ever last night? They heard about the Red Line and threw a crybaby fit. Bob picked a fight with Rudy over nothing. Bob pined for Amanda. (Her?) Jillian used the word politically incorrect a lot. I don’t think she knows that that means.
Okay, there was one good Jillianism, said to Danny: ”I think you’re getting weak. Like a girl, spending too much time on a trampoline.” Also funny: Jillian making fun of Bob’s trapeze workout. Study question: Do these two people hate each other?
Lady Shay came on in the premiere like the season’s heartbreaking success story, but the truth was messier. She held grudges. She talked about playing with heart, but allied herself with the biggest strategist. She cried when she posted big numbers, and she cried when she posted small numbers, and she cried and cried and cried.
Perhaps hearing all of our pleas, Jillian told Shay point blank: ”You’re gonna stop crying! Do you understand? Stop! Crying! There’s not one tear that’s going to come out of your eyeball. Not one. I don’t want to see tears.”
Shay followed her instructions, for about twenty seconds. But then came the Rudy ”betrayal” — I believe she teared up during their argument, and I was just ready to shake my head, when Rudy made a comment about perseverance, and Shay said, ”393 pounds, running with you! That’s perseverance!”
Seriously, it’s impossible to judge Shay. The bipolar nature of her arc this season was right there in the Weigh-in. She was 17 pounds away from breaking the record for fastest Woman to 100 pounds. (Ali announced this before the Weigh-in, which would have seemed like an obvious tip-off, if you aren’t a total idiot like me.) Shay got that 17 pounds, and was exhilarated. ”I came onto this campus the first day thinking, if I don’t do this, I’m going to die. But then you see the results, and you say, screw it, let’s go again!”
Unfortunately, Danny got 17, too… and that was a bigger percentage, because he’s smaller than her. They were all smaller than Shay. She was left begging, again: ”I’m not asking you to keep me here so I can play. I’m asking you to keep me here so I can live.” But there was no one left to fall on their sword.
It all came down to Rudy’s vote: wrong day to pick a fight! Shay gave one last crying speech, and left. We saw her return home, where she promised to lose twice as much weight by the finale. And then… nothing. No transformation shot for Shay? What could that mean, viewers? Any thoughts? Are you happy or sad to see her go? And do you agree with me that last night’s episode had it all?