The contestants turn on each other when they're asked to compete as individuals
Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

I guess things had gotten just a little too nice in Biggest Loser land. Ever since Melissa and Miggy’s ousters, we had been treated to episodes that made us laugh, cry, and revel in the two hours of warm fuzzies we digested every Tuesday night. Mmm… warm fuzzies…

Of course, this had to change. After all, we’re talking about reality television here. What would The Apprentice have been without Omarosa? What would Survivor have been without Richard Hatch? And what would Big Brother have been without the Chenbot? (Yes, I understand that Julie Chen is the host of the show, and not a competitor. But you try to convince me that she is not really an evil robot hardwired to conquer mankind as soon as she utters her 1,000th ”but first…” Reality television needs its villains. Who wants to watch a cast of superdy-duper nice people achieve incredible things?

Well, me, for one. Which is why I was a bit disappointed with this week’s turn of events. I understand Biggest Loser is all for shaking things up. But come on. Did we really need to see the return of a maligned contestant this season? Let’s start at the beginning: Following Lance’s ouster, Ali had plenty of news to share with the contestants. First order of business: The cast would be competing as individuals from here on out, wearing their original colors. (Why Drea chose to put her new black tee over her old black tee is beyond me. Good tactic for strip poker, but not-so-good tactic for working out in sunny, hot California.)

But wait, there’s more! Not only would the remaining contestants get the chance to bag the $250,000 prize, but also, an eliminated contestant would get the chance to compete back on the ranch! Suddenly, a door opened up Let’s Make a Deal-style to reveal 12 of the 13 eliminated contestants. (Migdalia opted to stay home since her hubby had just been deployed.) And all of them looked like they had just sat through The Bounty Hunter. (Or, they were just donning their mean-looking game faces. Whatever.)

Rather than bringing a contestant back to the ranch based on their weigh-ins, this season, a contestant would return based on popular vote. Melissa, suffering from a sudden bout of voice immodulation, yelled at an inappropriate volume, ”Gosh, that’s CRAZY!” and immediately began to plot how she would convince others that she wasn’t a threat, and therefore deserved a second chance.

Though the weigh-in didn’t determine the outcome, Biggest Loser loves its scales, and decided to ask the contestants to step on up. Also, after standing on the scale, they would have to make their impassioned pleas to the cast.

Darrell: Was: 413 pounds. Current weight: 309 pounds. Total weight loss: 104 pounds.

Sherry: Was: 218 pounds. Current weight: 156 pounds. Total weight loss: 62 pounds.

Miggy: 240 pounds. Current weight 191 pounds. Total weight loss: 49 pounds.

Victoria: Was: 358 pounds Current weight: 285 pounds. Total weight loss: 73 pounds.

Melissa: Was: 233 pounds. Current weight 182 pounds. Total weight loss: 51 pounds.

Lance: Was: 365 pounds. Current weight: 274 pounds. Total weight loss: 91 pounds.

Cheryl: Was: 227 pounds. Current weight: 176 pounds. Total weight loss: 51 pounds.

John: Was: 484 pounds. Current weight: 399 pounds. Total weight loss: 85 pounds.

Patti: Was: 243 pounds. Current weight: 197 pounds. Total weight loss: 46 pounds.

Maria: Was: 281 pounds. Current weight: 224 pounds. Total weight loss: 57 pounds.

James: Was: 485 pounds. Current weight: 413 pounds. Total weight loss: 72 pounds.

Cherita: Was: 277 pounds. Current weight: 230. Total weight loss: 47 pounds.

NEXT: The cast takes the high road

Though Melissa tried to convince everyone she wasn’t a threat, and though Darrell whipped out that ever-handy Biggest Loser guide to inspirational metaphor (”Thread or no thread. Iron sharpens iron”), our remaining cast is a kind one, and resisted the urge to gameplay. Instead, they decided to cast most of their votes for Victoria, the blue team member who had yet to even step into the gym with Jillian and Bob. (But not before they all debated each other in confessionals styled after The Brady Bunch. Who else expected Alice to pop up in that scene?) And I have to say, bravo, Biggest Loser cast! I had been feeling for Victoria and Cherita, whose journey on the show had consisted of packing bags and taking a flight. (Though a good way to reduce one’s food intake is to subject them to airplane food.)

Biggest Loser‘s producers, however, had a back-up plan. Come on, you know they’ve been dying to get Melissa back on the ranch for a good dose of drama. So though she didn’t win the popular vote, she was given a second chance to return to the ranch, via a competition with the other at-home players. And, because it was her destiny (or so she claimed), Melissa won the challenge, which asked the contestants to climb the equivalent of 1,000 stairs. (Sherry hardly came close to winning, but I have to give her props for making things kinky when she started to strip down on her stair.) Of course, had Melissa not won the challenge, you know Ali would have quickly introduced the next challenge: Whoever’s name begins with an ”M” and ends with ”elissa” would be granted a second chance at the ranch!

Both Victoria and Melissa were granted immunity their first week back, and everyone at home immediately began wringing his or her hands, eagerly anticipating the reunion of sparring partners Jillian and Melissa. And whoa, boy, was it worth it! As soon as Jillian saw Melissa walk through that door, she cracked her knuckles, stared her down and told her ”I will break you,” before downing a can of Steven Seagal’s Lightening Bolt energy drink, stepping in Melissa’s grill, and emptying a pouch of Biggest Loser protein powder in her eyes. ”Hope you enjoy your 40 calories of whoop-ass!” the trainer screamed.

Oh, wait, that’s not what happened. No, Melissa walked through the door, and Jillian… smiled? Jiggawha? What kind of dramatic moment was that? The only way I could get past the disappointment was to imagine that Jillian was smirking because she was gleefully visualizing the ways she would torture the red team member via Bosu ball.

NEXT: Drama! And a game of telephone…

The contestants also informed the trainers that Victoria was back at the ranch, which made Bob look at them like a proud papa. Stephanie, meanwhile, was strangely not happy with the switch-up. ”My hope is that they’ll be the first two to go,” the purple team member said, after claiming that they didn’t deserve a second chance.

Rather than complaining, the other contestants tried to prove their strength in the competition during an arduous workout. So arduous in fact that Sam began steaming. Now I’m starting to worry that the Chenbot isn’t the only machine on television — did we witness Sam’s hard drive powering down last night?!

In other news, thank god Victoria came back to the ranch. Otherwise, how else would she have learned how to use a Ziploc bag?

Now here’s where things got weird. Everyone knows that Melissa is the villain of the season, right? Right? So why is it that all of a sudden, Stephanie became so maligned among her friends in the house? Koli and Ashley began talking about the purple team member, and wondering whether she had thrown the weigh-in that sent Sherry packing. Later, Ashley decided to talk to Stephanie herself, and tell her that she couldn’t trust her, since everyone had been talking about her gameplay. Is it me, or did this whole scene play like a giant game of telephone? No one really seemed to know where the rumors began. (Cough! Producers, cough!) And then Ashley began accusing Stephanie of voting for James to return to the ranch for gameplay reasons. (But seeing as the guy had the lowest weight-loss percentage, and therefore had the ability to lose the most weight on the ranch, I don’t see how this makes much sense.) Who released the paranoia gas?

But first, it was last chance workout time. We saw Daris hanging upside-down on a Bosu ball, which made his hair look just like Kid n’ Play. (Two different people. Thanks Craig Robinson.) Just weeks after calling her team ”monkeys,” Jillian called the contestants her ”little monsters,” which solidified in my mind the fact that she talks to the contestants the way I talk to my cat. And O’Neal did the impossible by finally conquering stairs in a segment that accompanied his steps with the sound of a T-Rex stomping in Jurassic Park. All that was missing was a wobbling cup of water and Jeff Goldblum.

A break from last-chance workout: Recognizing that Stephanie was in a funk, Jillian pulled the contestant aside so they could sit in a giant tire to work out their feelings.

NEXT: The scales of justice. Well, of something….

Weigh-in time! It was pretty obvious how things would play out last night, but here are the numbers nevertheless:

Victoria: -2 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 0.70 (Immune)

Melissa: -4 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.20 (Immune)

O’Neal: -4 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 1.36

Ashley: -5 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 1.81

Mike” -8 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.06

Koli: -6 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.09

Drea: -5 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.16

Daris: -7 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.87

Sam: -2 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 0.76

Sunshine: -6 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.88

Stephanie: -1 pound. Percentage weight loss: 0.50

Some highlights? O’Neal mastered the steps up to the scale, making Bob proud, Sunshine proud, and O’Neal proud that Sunshine was proud. And, sadly, the elimination came down to lovers Stephanie and Sam, who have yet to show any hint of romance on the show.

But things might be awkward now between the couple, seeing as Sam’s cousin Koli doesn’t seem to be that fond of Stephanie. Before voting, Koli called her ”shady.” And it seems the rest of the cast agreed — Stephanie was sent packing after five votes were cast for her to return home. (Was anyone else hoping to see some hint of romance during Stephanie’s goodbye scene? Where was her hug for Sam? Give me somethin’, Biggest Loser!)

But did that girl look good or what? During the Biggest Loser transformation moment, we watched Stephanie go on a shopping spree, and have her own She’s All That-type moment. And then she dropped the bomb on us: ”I fell in love.” But with who, Stephanie? With who?! Just say it! They are turning this into a bigger mystery than Lost‘s Hurley birds!

What did you think about the episode, fellow Biggest Loser fans? Did you understand all the Stephanie hate? And are you sad or glad to see Melissa return?

Episode Recaps

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