The Biggest Loser 4, October 23: The Most Dramatic Weigh-In Ever?by Brian Towers -- 10/24/2007
Last week, the competitors went to the beach for a challenge that the Red Team (primarily, Phil) won. Later, in a questionable decision, they voted strategically (?) to send home team leader Phil. Tonight, we’ll see how that bolt of brilliance works out.
Tonight’s episode starts with voiceover guy telling us that so far, our competitors have lost 730 pounds. Way to go, gang!
Series host Alison Sweeney opens proceedings at a temptation challenge. Yes, I’m surprised too – after Kim threatened her Red Team with specific voting instructions that they pretty much ignored, why didn’t we start with her reaction to the last vote?
At any rate, it seems the hefty dozen will be playing the card game of “High Card.” Instead of chips, the players are issued cookies. In this challenge, whatever a player bets must be eaten by that player.
As if she didn’t have their attention already, Alison announces that after this challenge, the existing teams are no more, and teams of three will be formed instead. The winner of this challenge gets to reconfigure the teams!
I think the Red Team got really lucky here, by never having to face the prospect of trying to win a challenge without Phil. Payback, this time, you are denied!
Somewhere along the way we learn that the team who falls below the yellow line (i.e., the last-place finishers) at the weigh-in will be the three candidates for elimination. The other teams get one vote each at elimination, and the losing team does not vote.
Something that gets glossed over is the return of Hollie, who went home last week over the death of her mother. Welcome back, Hollie!
The first ante is 36 calories, but it keeps getting raised. Kae decides not to ante, determining that there are many more calories ahead and she doesn’t want any part of them. She’s the smart one! In the first round, bidding continues to escalate and fourth-up Neil folds. Isabeau pushes the bid to 522 calories, and Ryan and David fold. Isabeau has an ace, so she’s sticking around. Hollie raises it to the equivalent of 681 calories, and Julie folds.
There are now seven players left, and raises continue to over 1000 calories. Bill folds, but Amy goes all in, and it’s all she can do to get those cookies down. Isabeau, surprisingly, decides to pack in her ace, and Nicole and Hollie also decide that 1750 calories just to call is too much, but Jez stays in the game.
While Amy is still eating, we start what turns out to be the final round. Bryan folds, so only Amy and Jez are left. With no more chips to bet it’s time to show cards. Amy has a nine, but Jez has an ace and wins!
It looks like most everyone has eaten their way to an extra hour on the treadmill!
Jez has an hour to make up the teams. After the game, players come to Jez to try and influence his decision. Hollie suggests that he choose biggest contestants for his own team, people who might put up big numbers and if they don’t, they may be seen as bigger voting targets. Neil tells him to do what’s best for him and let the others, if I may borrow a phrase from Kid Nation, “deal with it.” Both those thoughts make a ton of sense to me.
Sure enough, Alison reassembles the teams in an hour for Jez’s announcement. Kae, David, and Hollie are announced as the first team; Amy, Julie, and Bill are team two; and Bryan, Nicole, and Ryan are team three. That means Neil and Isabeau are joining Jez in the final grouping. Jez explains that he tried to make the teams even.
Individuals can elect to use any trainer they choose. When the trainers show up and hear the news, they aren’t pleased. Amy and trainer Kim (who pushed her hard under a figurative bus last week) end up arguing, and Jillian quietly offers to train Amy. Sure enough, Amy chooses over Kim as her trainer.
As Amy walks away with Jillian and the others, Kim demands that Amy come talk to her to talk it out. Amid the ensuing sniping, it’s apparent concepts like “nurturing” and “compromise” seem to have been shelved for the duration by both parties. In a cameo, Kim likens Amy to a teenager rebelling against her “mother image.” Soon they decide not to continue the discussion any longer, and as they separate I’m not sure what, if anything, was accomplished. I’m fairly confident Amy didn’t want that meeting in the first place.
Isabeau says that having Amy (“my new step-sister”) and all the associated drama present is negatively impacting her own workout. Hollie expresses a similar sentiment. Ah, drama… so much more fun for the viewers than the participants!
It’s now time for a challenge. It’s a little hard to describe! In a huge concrete area, there are four heavy metal arms, each rotating on a fixed axis. Large cage baskets that will contain two team members are on the outward, unfixed end of the arms. The third member must push the arm, rotating the arm about the axis, which will scribe a circle. Got it?
Alison further explains that when the pusher gets tired, they can rotate positions. The first team to complete 75 revolutions of the arm is the winner. The prize is exercise equipment for home that can help them continue their efforts after they leave the ranch.
The challenge takes a while to run, almost an hour. As things start to wind down, Bryan’s team and Bill’s team are in the lead. For the last couple of laps, Amy gets supercharged and fairly runs the last two laps to lead the team of her, Julie, and Bill to victory. Julie points out to us that Bill was the workhorse who pushed most of the laps.
Bob shows Nicole some tips for eating breakfast. He shows her microwavable Quaker oatmeal with only 160 calories, plus fiber and protein. Bob calls breakfast, “one of the most important meals of the day,” but we knew that already… right?
At the last-chance workouts, Kim has just two charges to focus on, Bryan and David. Meanwhile, Jillian thinks Amy hasn’t hit her potential and that Kim hasn’t pushed her hard enough. Kim feels sure that Amy will “absolutely regret” what has gone on.
Comments from various players indicate that the original alliances are stronger in their minds than the new trios. I think that’s to be expected. As we go to the final commercial, voiceover guy once again promises us “the most dramatic weigh-in in Biggest Loser history!”
At the weigh-in, Alison repeats that the team that has the lowest percentage of weight loss and falls below the Yellow Line will be up for elimination, and that the other teams will be doing the voting. Here are all the results:
Everyone is completely, utterly shocked by Neil’s results. An increase of SEVENTEEN POUNDS?! It’s safe to say that the show delivered on their promise of “the most dramatic weigh-in in Biggest Loser history.” In fact, this is so shocking that unusual results from Amy and Ryan are glossed over.
Alison announces that Jez’s team is the trio up for elimination. She also tells them that never before have two players increased their weight in the same weigh-in, and voices the opinion that “maybe the game is on.”
As the players return to the kitchen, Neil goes right to bed while the other players discuss their shock at his result. After a few minutes, David goes upstairs and strongly advises him to come downstairs and account for himself. Neil does so, and convincingly expresses his confusion about what happened to him.
He does reveal that he knows that a gallon of water weighs eight pounds, and when Hollie asks him why he knows that, there’s no answer forthcoming. Busted!
After about two minutes of this, we see a cameo of Neil sitting outside. He confesses to us that he did, indeed, load up on water and throw the weigh-in. Unfortunately, it worked too well and his actions become obvious. His intention was to keep the Blue Team intact by losing on purpose and having a non-Blue player eliminated. Huh? Even without the fishy results, he’s the biggest target in the show.
Is this a good time to confirm that the animal pictured at the top of this article is a rat?
For the first time this season, the trainers were not at the weigh-in, and Neil admits to being nervous about telling Bob his results. Bob responds, “Are you kidding me? Seventeen #$@# pounds? Are you #$@# kidding me?”
Bob is not happy. He says, “Have you not learned anything from me, Neil?” He adds, “I am so mad I can’t even see straight right now!” He considers it “a slap in the face of everything we do at Biggest Loser!”
When Jillian hears the news, she is irate and immediately figures Isabeau is the target. The whole Black Team is downcast as they go to work out.
When Jillian walks through the kitchen where the Blue Team plus David are eating, she says to Neil’s back, “It’s disgusting, Neil, I hope you’re proud of yourself.” He snickers, and she comes back into the room to congratulate him for playing games with people’s lives. That shuts him up!
As the teams assemble in the Elimination Room, Alison notes how somber everyone is. Neil simply says, “Everyone knows what I did, and the game is on.”
Julie votes first on her team. With “a vote for integrity,” she casts their vote against Neil. However, the others vote against Jez (not Isabeau) and the dark deed is done.
Interestingly, if the last team had voted against Isabeau, it would have created a three-way tie, and as the one with the work percentage this week, Neil would be the one going home. Ah, that would have been sweet, seeing the playa outplayed!
As Jez leaves, he’s proud that his integrity is intact. There are no hugs shown for anyone not originally from the Black Team. Neil is probably lucky he didn’t get a voting tray inserted deeply into a mid-level body cavity!
In his funeral video, Jez says he’s proud of himself. Current video shows us he is now a mere 242 pounds, having lost a total of 103 pounds. He has moved to California and continues his healthy lifestyle.
My Opinion: In some shows, dirty game play and deceit is accepted and can even be expected. Here, it’s just wrong. People who are already morbidly obese should never be put in a position where they see extreme weight gain as a valid decision. This episode left a nasty, bad taste in my mouth. However, Neil “The Rat” has set himself up for a big loss next week, and probably kept his trio-now-duo safe from elimination.
Here’s another thought: To me, those on the Red Team who voted out Jez instead of Neil (read: Bryan and David) are almost as guilty as Neil, by condoning his distasteful deceit. And why do they not see Neil is the bigger threat? Three weeks in a row, the wrong one gets voted out.
I expect the change in Amy’s training pattern is responsible for her weight gain. Next week, we hope to see results. I agree with her decision to change trainers, though, because no matter what she says, Kim sent a rough message to Amy and she ought to have anticipated the resulting lack of trust.
I wonder about Ryan’s weight increase, which was glossed over on the show. After losing almost ten pounds a week, gaining a pound doesn’t make sense. But with the two other teams dominated by Black Team members, it made no sense for him to try and lose the weigh-in. I’m wondering if he knew what Neil was doing and took advantage of the situation to pad his own numbers (little more subtly, thankfully) in preparation for the next weigh-in as well?
I don’t usually make predictions about this show, but this time I think I must. With Ryan and Neil almost certain to post big losses and save their teams next week, I have a feeling another dominant figure may be in trouble – Black Team Bill. Bill has already lost almost four percent more than Kae, and over ten percent more than anyone else still in the game! Hopefully I’m wrong, as the winner of Biggest Loser ought to be one of the bigger losers!
Next Time: At the end of the show, we are promised that next week will be about retribution toward Neil. Fine by me! I also want to see the discussion when Neil and Isabeau discuss the casting of their vote!
Okay, rant over.
Join me here next week for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think about it all at the eAddress below!
Born and raised in Toronto, Brian 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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