Despite falling below the yellow line two weeks in a row, the brown team manages to stay safe. Meanwhile, sneaky game playing begins, while strong competitors find themselves on the verge of elimination

By Jean Bentley
Updated February 11, 2009 at 05:00 PM EST
The Biggest Loser
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
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This week, without the nonstop drama of Joelle around, I found it kind of hard to focus on The Biggest Loser. There was no one for me to hate on, and I found myself strangely…bored. Bored and hungry, mostly for some Yoplait yogurt and Extra sugar free gum (I wonder why!). But just like the contestants and their 15-hour workout days — yeah…just like that — I muddled through this low-key episode in the hopes of a satisfying result. And thank goodness I did, because things heated up at the end. More on that later, though — let’s head back to the beginning and see how things unfolded.

After last week’s not-at-all-shocking elimination, in which Joelle (and unfortunately her partner Carla) got the axe in favor of keeping Ron and Mike, the brown team talked with Bob about what they should be doing better to avoid falling below the yellow line for a third week in a row. They’re burning thousands upon thousands of calories per day and eating a much healthier diet than before, so why aren’t they losing big numbers like everyone else?

It turns out the father and son aren’t eating enough food. After years of not paying attention to the food going into your mouth, it seems like common sense that eating fewer calories and working out more would be the key to losing weight (duh). But apparently, if you eat too few calories, it can do more harm than good. Your body just doesn’t have the energy it should to make it through the workout. Lesson learned — eat a balanced diet of healthy food to keep your metabolism up and running. It’s a good point for Bob to harp(er) on (I’m so clever), because it’s probably a common mistake people make when trying to lose weight at home.

But I don’t want to let Ron and Mike off so easily — that can’t be the only reason they aren’t getting the results they are expecting. I know Ron has a knee injury that gives him a huge disadvantage in terms of the type and intensity of exercise he can do, but the producers aren’t doing him any favors by having Bob and Mike talk about how hard he’s working instead of actually showing it. Surely there are upper body exercises we can see Ron complete so we have visual proof of his effort instead of just taking his word for it and seeing shot after shot of him observing Mike?

In the first challenge, the contestants had to balance, one-footed, on a wooden block for as long as possible, much like a flock of wobbly rainbow-colored flamingos. The winner would get a 24-hour visit from a family member. After everyone else had hopped off their blocks, it was down to Mandi, Aubrey, Filipe, and Blaine. Mandi did something I didn’t know she had in her — she craftily talked Filipe and Blaine into bowing out of the challenge so she could spend time with her husband (obviously her sister, who had just spent a month at home, stepped off as well). Once Mandi used her kinda-desperate-emotional-mother voice to beg for some time with her hubby, the boys melted into Mandi’s hands like the no-cholesterol margarine I’m putting on my 100-calorie bag of popcorn right now.

Mandi was thrilled her husband would be joining her, but Jillian was dismayed, thinking that his visit would throw her off-track. Apparently the guy wasn’t initially supportive of his wife’s participation on the show. But after he brought his sons to the ranch and actually tried his hand at a Biggest Loser workout, he seemed to change his mind.

Bob put his team through some atypical workouts this week, first by getting his Zen on with an outdoor group yoga session, then a five-mile hike to Subway to eat fresh (for only 550 calories!). But Bob had his messages crossed this week since the first Trainer Tip was to eat or prepare meals at home instead of going out. Whoops! After finally sitting down to eat his lunch, Sione offered his own helpful tip: ”You know what I just learned? You can burn the calories before [lunch] by walking there and not driving!” It’s nice that Sione added that comment, because it’s a little-known fact that Subway sandwiches taste better with no mayo and an extra helping of sass.

At the second challenge, the teams had to hold a bar above their heads for as long as possible without letting it sink below a certain height. A single glance in the wrong direction or a second of letting your mind drift somewhere else and your arms could drop a fraction of an inch to eliminate your team. Alison adding commentary while wearing a PETA-protest-waiting-to-happen fur coat probably didn’t help with the concentration factor.

The producers put extra emphasis on the strong teams like Blaine and Dane (who was bumped up from extra to speaking part this week) and Tara and Laura (who is showing shades of Joelle in her platitude-spouting) possibly being sent home if they didn’t get immunity. Tara especially seemed worried that her consistently good numbers would dip this week, and her uneasiness was evident in the amount of attempts she made to psych out the other players during the two challenges.

After watching the other teams drop their arms one by one, the green and purple teams were left standing, much like a couple weeks ago when Tara beat Kristin in the mechanized jump rope challenge. But this time, it was purple that prevailed, with a staggering 4 hours and 40 minutes of bar-holding, earning Kristin and her mother immunity for the week.

The last chance workouts were intense on both sides, with Bob fretting about not being able to help the brown team if they fall below the yellow line again — according to Bob, Ron’s on a ”road to death” unless he can get healthy (Did anyone else imagine Ron on a Vespa with the grim reaper in a little sidecar? No? Just me? That’s cool.) — and Jillian worrying that Mandi’s family would prove too distracting and cause her team to fall below the yellow line for the first time.

It’s too bad Carla couldn’t hang on another week, because at the weigh-in, Alison informed everyone that only one team would land below the yellow line that week, and one person would be sent home. The teams posted some pretty cool weigh-in numbers — Shanon and Helen lost the same amount of weight for the second week in a row (nine pounds last week and five last night), Filipe and Blaine both crossed the 300 mark — and some pretty shocking ones — Kristin actually gained two pounds. Since Kristin had immunity, the black team’s single-digit losses landed them on the wrong side of the line instead. Huh? A plot twist we didn’t see in the previews for last week’s show? Finally we see conflict that NBC hasn’t promo’d to death!

Bob, sneaky thing that he is, offered a discreet message to his team as he hugged them post-weigh-in: vote off Dane. Sounds easy enough: do what the boss man tells you. But back in the house, Blaine, father of a three-week-old newborn, tearfully plead for a trip back home to see his new baby. Oof, hard to argue with that one. Just kidding, it’s a reality show — you can argue about anything. Jillian’s team wanted Bob’s team to vote with their hearts instead of strategy, but Bob’s team was quick to point out that Jillian’s team voted off Damien instead of Joelle in week three. A heated argument ensued, but how can you rationally not let a man go home to spend time with his newborn son? Helen and Shanon voted for Dane to go home, but everyone else sided with reason and let the new papa return to his brood.

After teasing the brown team’s fate so much in promos and focusing on other strong teams like purple and green possibly losing steam, Blaine’s ouster seemed rather abrupt. The black team’s consistently strong performance proved to be its downfall. Not to worry — this week’s previews appear to be exactly the same as last week’s, so it looks like the brown team will be sent packing soon.

This week’s moments:

Biggest Losers: Filipe and Sione with 10 and 11 pounds respectively

”Awwwww” of the week: When Mandi’s kids tried on some boxing gloves and pummeled the punching bag

Cutest nickname: Bob calling Mike ”Mikey”

Number of times Bob said ”Mikey” and I thought of Life cereal: Um, every time. I was hungry.

Weirdest-phrased Trainer’s Tip: Starting a ”walking school bus”

How did you feel about this week’s elimination? Were you happy the teams allowed Blaine to go home to his family? Did you, like me, think the episode was kind of a snooze-fest due to lack of actual conflict? Are you tired of NBC’s obnoxiously dramatic promos? Who do you think will get booted off next? Get to postin’, and don’t forget to check out the bonus footage of Bob kicking some butt below.

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The Biggest Loser

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