The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 2: Letters from Homeby Brian Towers -- 09/21/2005
In summary, the series focuses on two teams of overweight contestants and their competitive struggles to lose weight and, in the process, regain control of their lives. Challenges and temptations bar their way to a nice prize. When it’s all over, The Bigger Loser will be the biggest winner.
Last week, the teams had to grab ping-pong balls in a zero gravity plane, and Ryan had trouble with it. In a weigh-in that was as close as possible, Suzy pulled it out at the last moment and the women won. Ruben’s effort level was questioned by his teammates and he was sent home.
One thing that came out of the last episode, the “week” was actually ten days long. So, for those of you who can’t quite seem to lose 28 pounds in a week – take heart, they were “cheating” on the timeframe. Mind you, that’s still an impressive number for a month, never mind ten days!
These are the contestants in this year’s show:
THE WOMEN (Blue Team, coach Bob):
THE MEN (Red Team, coach Jillian):
Eliminated, in order:
The show opens for real with a Temptation, and it’s a doozey. The contestants are all given a plate of tempting food, and a letter from home. Anyone who ate their food got to read their letter. They had 15 minutes to decide what to do. This is a real toughie! Despite taunting from Mark, med student Jen can’t even look at the card and diva Shannon is weeping openly. In fact, most everyone is fighting back ocular moisture. However – all are strong and no one falters. Preacher’s daughter Ryan sums it up best by saying, “It was hard, but I wasn’t tempted. I’m here for a reason and I’m going to see it to completion.” Matt adds, “All the people who wrote these letters know why we came here, man.” Way to go, gang!
Trainer Bob admits that the temptations are tough, but it prepares them for life in the outside world. And after the break, he tells his Blue Team that this week’s challenge will require balance, speed and agility. Lawyer Kathryn is having some difficulty because she has a bad ankle that precludes her doing a lot of the exercises.
In fact, both teams are put through drills designed toward these traits. On the Red Team, Dr. Jeff admits he needs help with balance, because he has none. However, Jillian notes that, “Nick is a renegade. I’ll help him whenever he needs help with whatever he needs, and then if it starts to be a problem, I’ll address it then.” Myself, I don’t understand why he’s missing out on, literally, the opportunity of his lifetime. Not only is he missing out on priceless training time, but he’s also making himself an outsider on his team and therefore, an easy choice the next time the men face the Eviction Room.
It’s time for series host Carolyn Rhea to be a big meanie – she asks Shannon if she misses her daughter. Shannon doesn’t fall for it, she gives a good answer and we move on to the challenge at hand. Carolyn tells them that since they did so well on the last Temptation, today’s winning team will get their letters. Cheers all around! Additionally… the winning team has an extra 24 hours to lose weight before the next weigh-in!
We see the challenge is walking across a sturdy balance beam built about five feet over water. It may be about thirty yards long, I’m guessing. If anyone falls off, they have to swim back to the start point and try again. The winning team is the first to get their whole team across. It’s not nearly as narrow as the Survivor: Vanuatu beam, but as we’ve seen so many times in Reality TV, many men simply cannot walk a balance beam. The outcome seems pre-ordained to the cynics in the viewing audience. However, these are two never-say-die groups; so let’s see how it works out.
The women have an extra player, so they have to sit someone out. Volunteers are solicited. (“Solicited”… like “solicitor,” a British lawyer, get it?) Since attorney Kathryn is injured, it seems like a no-brainer, but she insists she’s ready to go. Bride-to-be Suzanne is upset, since Kathryn had been unable to work out like the rest of them, yet wanted to risk the whole team’s future. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail and Kathryn is indeed the one not playing. Wow, bad move Kathryn, your team now believes you’re not a good team player!
The competition starts. Seth and Suzy are up first, and new-dad Seth runs across so quickly, it’s like he’s headed for a fresh diaper. Suzy freezes up, and Matt passes her to cross next. Suzy finally gets there shortly after Matt, and the rest for both teams pretty much follow at similar paces, except the men were always one body ahead. For example, Nick falls in, but Jen follows him three seconds later, so the lead is maintained.
With the score 4-3, Dr. Jeff falls impressively and the score is essentially tied, but Nick scoots across much faster than Suzanne, and the men regain their lead. Only Dr. Jeff needs to cross for the men, and he starts at the same time as Jen. She makes it, he doesn’t, and now tense Dr. Jeff and diva Shannon (both now experienced bay swimmers) are on the beam together. They are really close together… until, just like the ducks in the foreground on the picture, Dr. Jeff goes nose-down into the water once again!
Shannon had been creeping slowly, carefully across, but she puts on a sudden burst of speed and it’s over. The women win again!
Then, the nicest moment of the night… both teams cheer Dr. Jeff as he attempts to complete the task anyway. Encouraged and relaxed, he gamely completes the crossing – a personal victory!
The ladies read the letters from home and there’s tears o’plenty. Wow, and this is only Week Two! When they relate the day’s events to Trainer Bob, he is very proud of them too. Meanwhile, the Red Team knows that everyone tried their best, and they are working out hard to make up for their weigh-in disadvantage.
Already it’s time for the men to weigh in. Here are the results:
Matt took an inspirational letter from his sister with him onto the scale. Matt was feeling down after losing last week, but found strength in this letter. He reads it and says, “It’s not about me anymore, it’s about the people that didn’t give up believing in me. I’d given up on myself already, and it changed my whole perspective on things.” He vows he will bring the letter every week. Even Carolyn is weepy. This guy is a quote machine!
Suzy is surprised Nick is doing so well, since she knows he doesn’t work out like the others. She says, not seriously, “I’m going to jump on his plan, because he takes a lot of naps.”
Jillian had told the men to expect a small weight loss of 2-3 pounds this week, so they are very happy. At any rate, the men’s total loss this week is 51 pounds, or 2.6%. Next, the ladies get to pick who will be sitting out… and it’s Jen. We don’t know why. Carolyn informs them that have to lose more than 33 pounds to win this week. After last week’s numbers, that seems easy.
Jillian is rightly happy with the weight loss, and decides to reward the boys with some cardio training! After wearing them down with some nasty, sweat and grunt-inducing activities, Jillian announces that the next exercise is sprints, and she will race against them. She warns them that if she wins, they will have to do three more.
Jillian is not holding back one iota, she knows they need the work, but ex-athlete Matt, never one to accept second place when first is possible, guts it out and it looks almost like a tie to me. Unfortunately, the result is moot because Matt has fallen… hard. In fact, he hit the deck faster than a pregnant high jumper. Yelling loudly, he’s on some big nasty planet of pain. The area of concern seems to be his upper right leg, though it could be man-pain and he’s hiding it from Jillian, I can’t say. Mark rushes off for a medic, and Matt is taken out by ambulance.
Later that night we learn that Matt has a tear in his quad muscle, and he’s supposed to take it easy. Yeah, like THAT will happen, this guy is driven! Matt decides a tear is better than a pull. The team is very supportive; they’re really behind him. They know who their leader is!
It’s time for the women to weigh in, and they are confident they will win. Trainer Bob tells them that no matter what, he’s proud of them because they all worked hard. They have calculated that if they all lose six pounds, they win handily.
The men don’t think they have much of a chance. Me either.
Remember, Jen’s loss will not count. She went from 248 to 244, a loss of 4 pounds. Jen figures the team made the right choice, though if her teammates have assumed the biggest girl has lost the least weight so early in the process, that doesn’t bode well for her long-term chances of winning. At any rate, here’s how the rest of them did:
That’s a loss of 16 pounds, just under half what they needed, but Carolyn doesn’t even need to do the math to announce that the Blue Team (men) have won. Good sports, several of the men congratulate the ladies on their efforts. Individually, Suzy is disappointed in their results. I note single-gal Suzy is our featured narrator many times tonight.
The men decide to celebrate their win, and comedian Nick begins to cook. In walks Jillian, who immediately explodes, saying, “Wait a minute, who weighed this? I doesn’t want to see a steak the size of my frickin’ leg! That’s about 2,000 calories, covered in fat!” Nick laughs but Jillian is seriously pissed off.
In a later aside but still fully steamed, she says, “Nick has manipulated this entire team. He’s just biding his time, pretending to be the supportive guy when in essence he’s sabotaging them by enabling them to not take care of themselves. And, by being as full of crap as humanly possible!” Really, she is SO irritated she can barely get those words out!
Jillian calls a team meeting “to get my team focused and back on track.” Really, it’s to call Nick at his game. She’s not in control of her emotions when she begins, and tells the group that Nick “is playing mommy to everybody.” Nick objects. She calls him “their wife” Dr. Jeff objects.
Bad, bad, bad, Jillian, these childish gender insults are simply inappropriate. Nick has had enough of her shouting and shouts right back in her face, “I can hear you, you don’t need to yell at me!” Unfortunately, he follows up with a taunting grin that shows he’s not taking this seriously enough.
Jillian keeps yelling, telling him, “Shut up!” at full volume. Jillian ends up saying, “This isn’t fun for me,” and walking out. Wow!
OK, Jillian is losing a bit of respect from some the others on the team. She needs to get it under control. She may be fond of the “in your face” style, but she picked that fight, and then she quit when it didn’t go like she wanted. Isn’t that what she says Nick does, quits when he doesn’t like how things are going? What do you think?
Meanwhile, in a calmer, gentler place, trainer Bob is trying to console his team. He chooses his usual low-key style and doesn’t tell anyone to shut up or insult them with gender slurs. Jen says she likes to be satisfied when she eats, Bob points out that she “needs to find a new relationship with food.” In an aside, Bob seems worried that when they go home the attraction of constant diet of burgers and pizza will be irresistible. Suzanne notes that, “Jen seems to be breaking down emotionally and really causing a strain on our team.”
The women file into the Elimination Room. As the biggest loser of the week, Andrea has immunity. She votes first, for Kathryn. So does Suzy. Kathryn selects Jen. Suzanne also votes against Kathryn, and Shannon makes it official that Kathryn is going home. Ryan and Jen’s votes go unrevealed.
Compared to the tough words spoken against Ruben last week, Kathryn got off pretty light, but as well as mentioning her injury, they did say, “We haven’t got to know this person,” and, “She kept a wall up.” Goodbyes are noticeably cursory, almost indifferent.
During her stay, Kathryn lost 16 pounds. Kathryn admits she’s naturally defensive and not a team player. She says she didn’t come to make “six new best friends.” She vows to continue to work on her own.
Post-show video shows her working as an attorney, and kickboxing in the gym. Her weight loss since first arriving at the ranch is 34 total pounds, or, another 18 since the end of the show. Additionally, she says she feels much better. Good for you, Kathryn!
Next Week: The men are coming together but the women are falling apart. In a challenge involving a train, the physical carnage continues with one from each team going down. And, a phone call home is inspirational.
IMHO: A lot less weight was lost this week. A similar thing happened last year in either Week Two or Three. The “easy-loss” retained water is gone, the effects of the last-30-minutes binge have passed and now it gets difficult. Now the weight has to come from converted body mass.
The ladies won an extra day of work toward this week’s total, but that also means they lost a day from next week. I expect the men to win again next week.
Not a good night for Jillian! First she drives Matt so hard he ends up in an ambulance, and then instigates a poorly planned argument with Nick.
This show, at this stage, is all about how your team does. Why do people like Ruben, Kathryn and Nick isolate themselves so obviously? It makes no sense to me.
But I’m still lovin’ this show!
Join me here each Wednesday for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think, at the eAddress below!
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.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find out more about this show at our Dancing With The Stars page. And check out the rest of the site, like our Survivor: Guatemala page; and don't miss The Reality TV Hall of Shame. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Biggest Loser 2, be sure to check out SirLinksALot’s Biggest Loser 2 page!