Four contestants get a chance to make it back to the ranch and another has an attitude about-face

By Kate Ward
February 03, 2010 at 05:00 PM EST
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
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  • TV Show
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Sing it with me, fellow fans of The Biggest Loser: Last night’s episode was all about ch-ch-changes. We saw changes in attitude, changes to the cast, and changes to our trainers’ wardrobes. (Did Bob and Jillian go on a shopping spree to Wilsons Leather?)

But it certainly didn’t seem that way at the outset of the episode. After Migdalia was sent home last week, Miggy began talking about how she felt convinced that the contestants would disrespect her wishes and send her home. (That’s our Miggy! Cue: sadtrombone.com!) Then we saw the requisite tears: Miggy began to cry while talking about her daughter’s elimination. So this is just like any other episode, right?

But then — wham! All of a sudden, Biggest Loser turned into the fastest, most confusing episode of 24 I have ever seen. A digital ticking clock appeared on the screen, flashing the time: 2:51 am. A voiceover seemed to indicate that an EMT was called to the scene of the ranch. The cameras flipped their switches to Ghost Hunters-esque night vision. We saw several contestants wearing what looked like gas masks. WHAT IS GOING ON?! Anthrax at the ranch? Apocalypse? Jack Bauer, where are you?!

And then, just as quickly as the madness began, it was over. The sun was rising, our contestants looked happy and healthy, and Ali was waiting to tell them the theme of this week’s episode. I don’t know about you, friends, but for a second, I thought my water was laced with LSD and I had just experienced a bad trip. (That would certainly explain the square-dancing lemurs that flew across my TV screen. Wait – you’re telling me that didn’t happen?) But Ali quickly cleared everything up for us: Turns out Miggy was sent to the hospital in the middle of the night because of stomach pain. I was all prepared to blame Curtis Stone — they were being awful vague about this ”stomach ailment,” after all — but there was no time for conspiracy theories. Instead, Ali moved on to her next piece of news: Our host informed the contestants that they have been on the ranch for exactly one month. This, of course, meant: (1) Daris’ hair has officially become more reminiscent of Sideshow Bob than Sideshow Cecil, and (2) The blue and yellow teams would be returning to the ranch to find out whether or not their at-home weight loss qualifies them to remain in the competition.

And boy, did both the teams look good! I honestly had no idea which team had the upper hand, since Vicky and O’Neal looked visibly smaller since we last saw them on the ranch. Plus, they would get the opportunity to shrink themselves even further: Vicky, Cherita, Sunshine, and O’Neal were surprised to discover that they would participate in a last-chance workout before their weigh-ins. And Jillian and Bob wanted to make sure they knew exactly what they were up to; our two trainers yelled ”Last-chance workout!” about as many times as Flavor Flav shouts his own name in the course of one day. Have these two copyrighted the phrase? Do they get five cents every time it’s uttered on national television? Really, Jill and Bob should start to think about replacing the phrase with repetitions of the Quadratic Formula or something. That way, our contestants get smaller and smarter.

Onto the weigh-in! Ali announced that whoever won the weigh-in would be granted two weeks immunity, and the only vote at this week’s elimination. So how did it all go down? Let’s see:

Blue team: Cherita: -24 pounds. Vicky: -39 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 9.92

Yellow team: Sunshine: -25 pounds. O’Neal: -51 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 11.45

Tell me, fellow Biggest Loser fans, was I the only person who dropped a ”holy s—!” seeing these results? Think about it: Yes, the teams had access to the trainers’ voiceboxes while they were working out at home, but they only got, oh, maybe five minutes of face-to-face time with Bob and Jillian. And in that short period of time, it seems they were able to soak up everything they needed to know about diet and weight loss. Impressive, considering I can’t even figure out how to play Yahtzee in five minutes.

NEXT: Michael went to an 80s frame of mind

So sadly, even though Cherita and Vicky had performed extremely well at home, they were sent packing back to ”the ranch we created at home.” (Did anyone else picture cardboard cutouts of Bob and Jillian?) And as much as I found myself loving the blue team in the short time we spent with them (who wasn’t moved by their support for the yellow team?), I’ll admit that I was secretly rooting for the Sunshine and O’Neal. Why? Because O’Neal has the strange ability to inspire me with every single phrase he utters. Something about the tone of his voice, the way he’s never willing to quit — it’s almost hypnotic. The guy could say something as inconsequential as ”Pork… it’s what’s for dinner,” and I would start to slow clap on my couch.

Now time for our contestants’ first training session of the episode, which consisted of Sam executing some Doc Ock-inspired jump rope moves, and Jillian telling Daris to spontaneously combust. (”Explode Daris!”) Then, it was back to Melissa, Melissa, Melissa. I was beginning to worry that I was the only one tired of the whole Melissa vs. the trainers drama. (The whole thing is about as last week as Zubaz.) But it appears Bob shares the sentiment: While training Melissa, Bob informed us that he wants to put the whole situation behind them. The trainer said he now respects Melissa for her high numbers last week, and the duo embraced while shedding copious amounts of tears and sweat. And I suddenly found myself wondering whether I was watching Biggest Loser or The Notebook 2.0: The Search for an OfficeMax. (Okay, I never saw The Notebook, so I have no idea what a sequel would be titled.) Jillian, on the other hand, was busy comforting Daris, who finally spoke on camera this week. Thank God, because now I’m finally convinced that he isn’t actually Chris Sligh. Turns out Daris hasn’t been proud of his performance in the competition thus far, leading Jillian to question why he hasn’t lost more weight. Naturally, Jillian’s way of leading Daris to epiphany was to inch closer, and closer, and closer to the orange team member. (I know Jillian likes to get inside her clients’ heads, but I never actually thought she wanted to physically crawl inside their brains.) Finally, Jillian convinced Daris to ditch his former image — ”the fat, funny guy” — and embrace his new one. Aww. Is Daris’ anyone else’s sentimental favorite?

After their workout, it was off to the kitchen, where Bob was talking to Sunshine and O’Neal about comfort foods. Don’t, however, mistake the scene for a teaching moment — it existed purely for advertising purposes. I imagine the whole unedited conversation went something like this:

Bob: ”What are your comfort foods, Sunshine?”

Sunshine: ”Well, I like ice cream.”

Bob: ”Okay…well, what else?”

Sunshine: ”Hm. I always found myself eating Oreos.”

Bob: ”Let’s try a food that’s not sweet. Aaaand….go.”

Sunshine: ”Baked beans?”

Bob: ”Okay, we’re getting there…how about a dish that has ground beef that can be replaced with Jennie-O turkey?”

Sunshine: ”I’m trying to think…”

Bob: ”You know, stew would work.”

Sunshine: ”Okay, I like stew”

Bob: ”Stew! That’s it! Did you know you could replace the ground beef in stew with Jennie-O turkey?”

Anyway, after that egregious form of product placement, our contestants headed off to their challenge. And here’s where I feel for these people: Not only are they put through enormous amounts of stress everyday, but the production crew also constantly messes with their minds. This week, they did so by telling them it was Superbowl week. (Of course, when they were filming, it wasn’t.) But in the spirit of the football season, the contestants would fight to be the first team to hit two blocking pads 1,000 times. And once the competition began, it seemed the top two teams would once again be red and grey. But a surprise underdog threw his Olivia Newton John-inspired headband into the ring: our heaviest contestant ever, Michael. And eventually, the sole white-team member surpassed the grey team to win immunity this week, thanks to a hilariously bitchin’ technique: Turns out Michael became as hungry as the wolf for the win by playing 1980s music in his head. (I bet the grey team had to swallow their pride after losing to Michael, the contestant they said wasn’t trying hard enough just a few weeks back.) Totally clutch move, spangler. Unfortunately, the team that came in last place — Sherry and Ashley — were handed a two-pound disadvantage at the weigh-in. But another contestant seemed more poised for life below the yellow line: Miggy. After a stay in the hospital, the green team contestant returned to the ranch, and informed her competition that she had spent the day in the operating room for appendicitis. Apparently, the doctors were forced to remove her appendix, but it seemed to me that they removed something else as well: her negativity. Suddenly, Miggy had ditched her Mr. Hyde, and began to share with everyone her more positive outlook on life. She even walked 13 miles the day after her surgery! Talk about perspective: Miggy had a bad week after losing both her daughter and her appendix; I think I have a bad week after forgetting to set my DVR to record Frank the Entertainer in a Basement Affair.

NEXT: O’Neal starts to get into the game

We took a quick break from the drama to watch Stephanie and John prepare to make themselves a smoothie, a move that activated the advertising chip in Bob’s brain: ”To. The. Kitchen…Must. Push. Product.”

But that’s enough advertising for one day. It was time for the episode’s second last-chance workout — and it appeared as though the nice Jillian we saw with Daris had officially packed her bags and left the ranch. Instead, the trainer decided to chastise poor Ashley by staring at her while perched on her treadmill. (The whole thing looked petrifying; I get nervous even when a goldfish stares at me. But Jillian? Oy.) Finally, the pink team member cracked: She said she was underperforming because she had been depressed after watching her father die. For a mere second, a look that seemed to say, ”Well, I’m an –shole, aren’t I?” flashed across Jillian’s face, but she quickly rebounded, proud to have broken the pink team member.

Bob, who seemed to be trying out his humanities professor look, what with that turtleneck, was more concerned with relaxing the contestants than making them crack. The trainer held a yoga session for everyone following the arduous workout. ”Don’t quit,” he told them. ”Get everything out of this experience. All of you have a place and a space in this house. You’re here for a reason. Wax on, wax off.”

Right before weigh-in, we watched Sunshine and O’Neal discuss the possibility of sending someone home. (Of course, at this point, we knew they wouldn’t, since there didn’t seem to be enough time left in the episode to hold an elimination ceremony.) And this is when I started to worry about my dear O’Neal: The guy has only been on the ranch for a few days, and he’s already thinking about game play. I still heard the swelling music in my brain while listening to O’Neal speak, but I’ll admit that my slow clap never picked up speed. Don’t play me like that, O’Neal!

But enough talk! It’s now time for the weigh-in. Here’s how they all performed:

Yellow team: Sunshine: -5 pounds. O’Neal: -5 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 1.7

White team: Michael: -13 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.85

Pink team: Ashley: -9 pounds. Sherry: -6 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.54

Red team: Melissa: -5 pounds. Lance: -4 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 1.73

Orange team: Daris: -3 pounds. Cheryl: -12 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 3.05

Purple team: Stephanie: -5 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.17

Grey team: Sam: -10 pounds. Koli: -6 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.42

Black team: Andrea -5 pounds. Darrell: -8 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.1

Green team: Miggy: -5 pounds. Percentage weight loss: 2.37

Brown team: John: -6 pounds.

And with that, we knew John was a goner. But there was one milestone that we should discuss before we part with the sole brown team member: Melissa is now officially under 200 pounds. And, yes, I was all prepared to be proud of her, until she shared in her confessional: ”I’m disappointed in Lance.” Uh, Melissa, might I remind you that for two weeks this season you dropped the equivalent of 0 pounds? And that your hubby stood by your side while Bob and Jillian rightly confronted you about your game play? Pot? Kettle? Ohmygosh, it’s all so black!

Alas, John was sent packing, but not without his sense of humor: ”I’ll go home and beat up on James,” he said of his twin brother. And he seems to be doing quite well off the ranch— John has lost a grand total of 104 pounds, thanks to his love for martial arts. So here’s hoping you kick some a– at this year’s finale, John. That’s it for me, folks. Did you enjoy last night’s episode? Are you glad to see the yellow team back on the ranch? Was Jillian too hard on Ashley? Do you, like me, find Stephanie to be completely charming? And can we expect to see a new and improved Miggy?

Episode Recaps

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