The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 11: Say Goodbye to the Old Themby Brian Towers -- 11/23/2005
Welcome to Week Eleven of The Biggest Loser 2. This is the series that pits overweight contestants in a competitive struggle to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a nice prize. This is the last regular episode before the two-hour live finale!
Last week, the teams were disbanded and everyone is now on their own. No one was tempted this week, and then Andrea hung on to win the reward challenge. Dr. Jeff and Andrea were the ones below the yellow line, and it was nice guy Dr. Jeff who was eliminated.
As a reference, the contestants in this year’s show are listed below. We’re down to the final four!
Eliminated, in order:
This episode begins with trainer Bob learning that soccer-mom Andrea was still in the game. He’s happy his two girls have made it to the end. He takes them to the kitchen to see some product-placed “Weight Control Instant Oatmeal, from Quaker.” He stresses, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” That’s very true! The men are there as well, and they admit that they really like it.
As Jillian begins the day’s exercise outside with Matt and Seth, they marvel that only a couple of months ago, Matt couldn’t even walk up some stairs they pass by. Lots of flashback clips are shown. They do a rapid side-stepping exercise, and Jillian has trouble keeping up! Seth tells us that yesterday he ran five miles in an hour, and we see him running up a slope with Jillian on his back!
Matt feels that Seth has been his main competition all along. Umm, stay focused on all the competition, dude! It turns out Jillian has taken them through the same routine she did on the first day. As they wrap up, the guys are tired and sure she’s mistaken. Jillian says, “This is exactly what we did the first day. But, you couldn’t do it on the first day. That’s the difference.”
Bob has the ladies outside as well, and they are also doing a routine based on what they did the first day. But instead of walking down to the gate and back, they’re going to run down and power-walk back. Amid similar recollections about what they couldn’t do in the early days and lots more flashback clips, Andrea powers across the finish line ahead of Bob.
Jillian recounts that ex-athlete Matt has been struggling with the monotony of the workouts and is having difficulty staying motivated. But Jillian has a plan. She surprises him with an appearance by his old high school wrestling coach and one of his wrestling buddies, Aaron. They wrestle about on the mats for a few minutes and then chat, but the true benefit for Matt was the respect they showed him as they spoke with him. He is dutifully inspired.
It’s already time for the next used-to-be-immunity challenge. Each competitor stands by a big safe. Caroline tells them they will be putting back on all the weight they’ve lost since they started the game. That sounds nasty, maybe the safes are full of high-calorie oatmeal? No, the safes contain many bags of quarters. In fact, the quarters in each person’s safe are equal to the amount of weight they’ve lost since day one.
Caroline announces that the winner of the challenge gets to keep their quarters. The prizes vary from $880 for Andrea up to Matt’s $1,980 worth.
Each person straps on a backpack they’ve filled with their bags of quarters and have to climb up a 60-foot vertical climb. “The person with the best time wins,” she says. The weight is so heavy, Andrea and Suzy can barely lift it and even Seth is having a little trouble suiting up!
The climb starts and ex-athlete Matt’s off to a big lead early. The other three are pretty close to each other, but Matt cruises to an easy victory over Seth. Unlike on recent episodes of Survivor, the rest all finish the challenge anyway. At least by doing so, these folks are working toward a long-term objective, burning calories. On that other show, where energy conservation is important… I still think it’s kinda nuts.
The players all return to the ground, where Caroline informs Matt, “You haven’t won the challenge yet!” It turns out the winner will be the one who has “the best time difference.” They have to re-climb, without the weight. Those times will be compared with the times from the first run, with the most improved time the real winner of the challenge. What… Caroline… lied? Tsk!
Whoa, big disadvantage Matt! The others may have finished the task, but with Matt having so obviously an un-catchable lead, they didn’t press nearly as hard at the end. For this reason, it’s actually an unfair challenge.
At any rate, they set up again without the packs. They finish in exactly the same order. Suzy thinks her body works much better without all that weight.
With a time difference of 23 seconds, Matt is in last place. A 41-second difference places Seth third. The winner, with a 53-second improvement, is soccer-mom Andrea! Single-gal Suzy was only four seconds back – so close! Andrea echoes Suzy’s feelings that she never wants that weight back and will be vigilant about keeping it off.
It’s last-chance workout time. Jillian lets the guys decide what they are going to do and how hard they are going to work at it. Matt and Seth are pushing each other to a high level, and Jillian is impressed. Meanwhile, Bob has the ladies working hard as well.
We’re only at the halfway point of the show, and it is already time for the weigh-in! Caroline tells us that so far, 803 pounds total have been lost. The website says 802, but whatever.
On the chart where results are posted, there’s room for the names of two competitors on each side of the dreaded yellow line. As we all know, only the ones above the line are guaranteed to be safe.
Matt is the last one on the scale and he needs to lose more than seven pounds to be safe. After he hears his number, he kisses the scale. He is desperately trying not to celebrate too much in front of Suzy and Andrea, but it’s tough. Eventually even Andrea laughs with him. His total loss is 109 pounds! A word I don’t like to use too often is amazing, but that is amazing!
Note, the number in the “Weight” column is their starting weight, just like on Caroline’s big board. So here’s how they did:
So, Suzy and Andrea are the ones on the bubble. Suzy is pretty subdued as she notes that had she lost one more pound, she’d have beaten Seth.
Already it’s time to vote, and all file somberly into the Elimination Room. Suzy looks very nice in a gold-on-white dress.
Matt votes first and says you have to take out the biggest threat. However, even more important to him is to be pushed in this final stage, so he votes against Andrea. That’s B.S., he doesn’t ever see Suzy during this upcoming time period. Seth says to be in the final three is an honor, and he also votes against Andrea.
The girls get quite weepy as they hug. Me too. Andrea says, “Go and kick their ass,” and Suzy replies, “Don’t even worry!” No hugs for the boys – she was listening to those comments, which I would also take as a slight if I were in her shoes. They basically called her “undeserving.”
Caroline congratulates the players and tells them that after three months, they will return home. They return for the finale “in several months.”
In an incredibly cheesy move, there’s no “funeral video” for Andrea, no homecoming moment, and no update on her current status… you have to go to the website for that. What, after all the maudlin stuff I’ve waded through tonight (much of which wasn’t worth recapping) they can’t spare her thirty seconds?
It figures that the site was down for several hours, but eventually I learned that she now weighs 160 pounds and wants to lose another twenty. That’s a total loss of a further thirteen pounds, and an overall loss of 60 pounds. “In the real world,” those are pretty darn exciting numbers, even if in this group she’s not a numerical superstar. Also, she looks active, svelte, and sexy!
One at a time, the final three are sent in to say goodbye to their trainers. Single-gal Suzy is first, and she gets a big hug from an emotional Bob. He says, “I want to introduce you to someone you used to know,” and shows her a life-sized cutout of the old Suzy. She can’t bear to look at it. “Sick!” she says, punching old-Suzy in her ample belly. Suzy has lost 66 pounds and now has a very feminine shape.
Next up is Seth, with trainer Jillian. She shows him the cutout of old Seth, and he laughs uproariously at himself. He’s incredulous, actually. Seth says he’s grown emotionally throughout the process. He tells Jillian, “You have taught me how to be myself again. I did the work, you paved the way. Thank you for being there for me.” He lost 87 pounds in all. Jillian doesn’t think Seth needs her any more, but if he does, she’ll be there.
Finally, Matt and Jillian meet. The cutout is revealed and Matt is overcome and cannot look at his picture. “I think I should have popped!” he exclaims, and admits that he had fooled himself into thinking that he didn’t look that bad. He kisses the Matt cutout goodbye.
All three get to ride limos home (OK, to the airport). And the episode ends as all three arrive at their homes.
Next Week – It’s the live finale, two hours of fun starting at SEVEN PM. Got that… 7 PM. All the cast members will be back. The big prize of $250,000 will be awarded to the remaining individual who has lost the most weight from the first day at the ranch until the finale. Last season there was also a factor based on the percentage of body fat lost. I assume that continues this season, but I’m not sure.
A second prize of $100,000 will be awarded to the individual who has lost the most weight between the time they left the ranch and the finale. It seems all contestants are eligible for that one.
My Own Thoughts: Only one more show? Boo!! But as I’d revealed earlier, the show has been renewed for another season. You can sign up at the NBC website now… if it’s up. Although the ratings are off slightly from season one, they are still very respectable and the show usually racks up second place numbers in its time slot.
It has also been announced that some “self-contained” episodes (meaning it’s all resolved in one show) are planned for later (unscheduled) release. I’m not sure how that would work, we’ll see.
Well, that’s the show. Join me here next Wednesday for a recap of the finale, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. Thank you again to those readers who gave me feedback last week. I’m still very interested in your opinions, so let me know what you think at the eAddress below, and I’ll respond with my own spoiler-free opinions!
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Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at email@example.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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