The contestants arrive at the ranch, where scary sandwiches, colorful hoodies, and brutal workouts await

By Annie Barrett
September 29, 2010 at 05:00 AM EDT
Trae Patton/NBC
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Hooray, the contestants are finally on the ranch. Alison welcomes them. Look at all the colors! But for right now, the colors mean nothing. It’s an individual competition. You don’t like wearing a bright orange shirt? That’s just too bad. You’re the one who wanted to come to camp.

We find out that Bob and Jillian each got the chance to save one of the seven people who didn’t make the cut in the nationwide search for potential Losers. Bob picked 29-year-old graphic designer Aaron, because Aaron’s son London deserves a chance, too. Jillian picked Elizabeth because she pushed her body so hard during Boston’s 500-step challenge that she actually fainted.

To spice things up a little in this recap, I’ll keep an eye out for my favorite elements of the series and dutifully record them: 1) Classic lines of brutal honesty from the Jillian Michaels World of Pain and 2) Occasions on which The Biggest Loser makes me cry. Place your bets: Will the tally reach double digits this week? Here we go!

That’s So Jillian: “When I ask people to either faint, puke, die, or keep walking — you did what I asked.”

Cry Count: 1 Brendan and Frado’s reunion with Elizabeth. All Frado has to do is hug her and my composure is gone.

First workout. This is their wakeup call. This is where they discover what rock bottom feels like. Tina wipes out on the treadmill, but this time it’s not Jillian there to strike her firmly across the face, but two other medical-type trainers. She’s back up! Perfect! After about a half hour, Rick plops onto a bench and spends the remainder of the day canoodling with his inhaler. Lisa weeps as she lowers herself into sloppy pushups. Lisa: “I’ve had two kids, and natural childbirth doesn’t even hold a candle to today’s workout.”

Cry Count: 2 Bob’s heart-to-heart with Patrick about how he got to be 27 years old and 400 pounds. “Okay, let’s go. It’s time to make your sons proud.” I think my tear first springs out when Patrick says his kids’ names. Their names!

Bob is already starting out really strong in my favorite area of his expertise: One-on-one heart-to-hearts that make him seem like a 98 percent benevolent/1 percent sinister/1 percent flirtatious cult leader. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bob. The 1-percent flirtatious flicker in his eyes is what makes him so genius to me. Maybe next week I’ll illustrate this recap with some more screengrabs so you can get the full extent of his facial intensity. Anyway, Bob does the same thing to Elizabeth, staring her down with his dreamy bedroom eyes. “It’s time to start taking care of Elizabeth now, isn’t it? Yeah baby. Got your breath back now. You’re in the right place.” [Knife-sharpening sound effect!] These are the Biggest Loser moments I live for.

That’s So Jillian: “Don’t roll your eyes at me girl, I will ruin your life in this place. I will knock that s— right off your shoulder.” –Jillian to Sophia

NEXT: Sandwiches of death!

The bigger “wakeup call” of the episode? I nominate the devastating series of visits to Dr. Ranch Dressing (update: his name is Dr. Huizenga but I wrote Dr. Ranch at first and I think it might stick). We learn just how sick everyone really is, and the hits just keep coming. Lisa, 31, has a “real inner age” of 62 and arteries lined with plaque. Tina’s heart is wrapped in four or five folds of fat. “Not as cute as a bacon-wrapped hot dog, is it?” says the the flicker in Dr. Ranch Dressing’s eyes. Aaron’s body is 51 percent fat and now is as good a time as any to tell him he has diabetes. Jesse, 27, has the arteries of a 65-year-old man.

Tear Count: 4 Rick’s video conference with his family sets me off, as he tells them about his risk of heart attack and apologizes for putting them in that position. “You’ll do great, honey!” “You’re doing it, dad!” “We know that’s why you’re there, to take care of this!” Oh, god, I’m weeping. Allie’s call home to her family has less of an effect, but a stray tear is still rolling down my cheek when her mom halfheartedly promises to change her own lifestyle and says “I don’t want you to be by yourself, baby,” so I count it. I am strangely unaffected by Adam’s call home, but he cries enough for both of us.

DON’T. DRINK. YOUR CALORIES.

Mark likens the Day 2 workout to “being tortured at Medieval Times.” Like sitting through the theater portion? Or being a knight? He certainly doesn’t mean the “dinner” part of “dinner and tournament.” They serve drumsticks there and everything. Jillian mistakes Jessica as a comfy chair and lounges all over her while she writhes in pain. Bob screams at Frado to do SIX MORE arm reps, then shoots him some tough love from a distance. “Get up, Frado,” we hear in the background. Oh, Bob! He taunts because he loves. Rick is able to stay on his feet for Day 2 and shows good speed. Meanwhile, Brendan and the machines aren’t getting along, and Brendan makes the grave error — much to Bob’s delight — of asking Bob “Are we almost done?” Bob licks his lips, rubs his hands together, excuses himself to perform a happy dance/sun salutation outside, then returns. “So I’ve got a new favorite right now and his name is Brendan.” Delicious. Not delicious: The close-up of Brendan’s DANGLING SNOT as he endures Bob pushing on his knees to get him through those final cycles. “It was like purgatory, dude.” For us too, Snotty.

Special delivery! Brendan, Aaron, and Mark each receive their favorite sandwiches: The Terminator for Brendan, The Grave Digger for Aaron, and a chicken fingers/french fries/mozzarella sticks pileup (which sounds amazing) for Mark. I like this segment; it’s cool and oddly moving to see Lisa hold up big chunks of beefy lard and realize that this is what clogs her arteries.

NEXT: Pink vs Purple!

That’s So Jillian: “I need them to form an emotional connection to the food for what it is. Obesity. Crappy sex life. Death. Lack of confidence at the office. It’s all those things.”

Surprise: It’s time for the first weigh-in, way sooner than expected. There hasn’t even been a challenge yet. All but one of the women and Patrick fall below the yellow line, which has had a growth spurt over the summer and now allows for only half of the contestants to remain in safety. But Patrick doesn’t have to run for his life in an airplane hangar, because Rick, the highest-ranked loser, saves him from elimination. Hold up, I’m going way too fast.

Cry Count: 5 On the scale, Rick’s pregnant pause between “For me to pick it up…” and “….I’m so proud of myself.” He cries, I cry. It’s pretty standard.

Cry Count: 6 Elizabeth’s gonna keep fighting ’cause she [gasp] wants a better life! I really think her tears combined with her jaunty yellow headband set me off. It’s the details. Yellow headband, Sophia’s orange ribbon. It’s always great when the contestants want it so bad that they care enough to accessorize.

ENORMOUS IRON DOORS OPEN and there’s Alison Sweeney. Here they come, a rainbow of hoodies, marching with grave determination like astronauts. The women must race to pull down a flag and the bottom two will be up for elimination.

Burgandy says she used to be a sprinter. “If I can’t do this, then that’s the end of it.” But Sophia wins the first race. Oh girrrrrrllll no you did not! Burgandy unleashes her indignation on Jessica, who “cut her off” during the next leg. Elizabeth wins. Burgandy and Jessica go at it. “Don’t get in my lane!” screams the red, red wine. “It was unintentional. Calm the f— down,” says Jessica. Burgandy finally wins. Then Jessica. Then Lisa. It’s Tina and Allie — pink and purple — up for elimination.

Allie receives the most votes, and is terrified to go home because she has no support system. We learn in post-ranch footage that her mother wouldn’t even get rid of the chocolate! We see a busted, unwrapped chocolate bar on a counter, and the “camera going fuzzy” effect makes it seem like the chocolate is being swarmed by flies. Ominous! But Allie didn’t die like the chocolate. She reached out to her Biggest Loser Family because immediate family wasn’t willing to help her. Danny at biggestloserclub.com hooked her up and she’s lost 60 pounds since leaving the ranch. We’ll see her at the finale, by which time she plans to be a size 8 instead of an 18. For now, you can find her at the top of a mountain.

Hidden Gem of the Week: This rose looks like a satellite dish for the house!

‘Til next week, Biggest Loser fans! Who are you rooting for? Whose death-sandwich was the best/most horrifying? Don’t you wish Bob would give you tough love, too?

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Episode Recaps

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