The Biggest Loser 2, Episode 7: The Twistby Brian Towers -- 10/27/2005
Welcome to Week Seven of The Biggest Loser 2. This is the series that pits two teams of 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 week, we have an extra-long episode, 90 minutes worth.
Last week, the women won a challenge that had Andrea and Mark running up and down a big escalator. Led by Dr. Jeff and Pete, the men won the weigh-in for the third week in a row and spunky med student Jen was eliminated. Most surprisingly, the ladies seem to be acting more like a team and less like a collection of individuals.
As a reference, these are the contestants in this year’s show are:
THE WOMEN (Blue Team, coach Bob):
THE MEN (Red Team, coach Jillian):
Eliminated, in order:
Before we get rolling, we catch-up with Aaron from last season’s show. He’s down 60 pounds and looks super!
This episode begins for real with the women coming into the room where the men await to learn who was just eliminated. There’s a massive pile of cakes on the coffee table that everyone steadfastly ignores. I feel sorry for the chefs who prepare a nice spread like that and find out that no one was enticed to sample it.
Seeing that it was his (perhaps not so) new ally Jen who is gone, Mark abruptly walks out. Foolishly, Andrea goes after him, and is told, “Don’t ever talk to me again, you’re the stupidest people I know.” Andrea is incredulous. He calls the girls, “The hairdresser crowd.” Wow. Suzy’s going to be surprised to hear Mark thinks her sweaty straw-hair is H-O-T!
Andrea shares with the other gals that Mark thinks, “We’re stupid people.” In an aside, Andrea recognizes that Mark is upset because he lost his potential alliance buddy.
In case there’s any doubt of his game playing skills, later that day Mark seems to feel the need to confront Shannon about their lack of comfort together. From his way of speaking, it’s clearly her fault! “I don’t want to be uncomfortable living in the house,” says Shannon. Mark tosses it back to her in a contrived, smarmy manner. In an aside, Shannon tells us, “You don’t need to be disrespectful, we share a common bond.”
Really, Mark has brought this on himself and he’s made himself a target. Does he have so many votes in his favor he can throw away all the rest with such little disregard?
The teams are assembled again, this time it’s Caroline’s doing it. She reminds us that the biggest losers on each team in 55 days have been Pete, having lost 76 pounds, and Suzy, at 41.
And after further blather, she announces the dissolution of the teams! They will be divided into teams of two, and weigh-ins will be based on the team-of-two’s results. Elimination voting will be done by the other six players. This makes Suzy nervous.
Ex-athlete Matt doubts he can be buddies with a former competitor so easily, but Mark caps it with, “I don’t like anybody on the Girls’ team!” Myself, I’m betting it’s mutual!
Caroline, who unlike Julie Chen can sense drama, gets Mark to say, “I deal with dirtbags at work and I don’t feel like dealing with them here. And now you’re telling me I’m going to be paired up with one of them, it makes me sick.” Suzy is getting weepy and all the women are looking down. There’s only one dirtbag here Mark… it’s YOU!
I must comment. I don’t see any of the other men disagreeing with Mark, either. Personal foul on the Red Team! Unlike most reality shows, which are frequented with “Type-A” personalities, this show is populated with folks who are a tad low on self-esteem already.
The ladies are mute until prompted by Caroline. Andrea responds in one word – “Disgusted.” In a cameo, Matt is certain the ladies can’t motivate him.
Caroline then reveals the last part of the twist – the players will decide the teams themselves! She sends them down the hall, and it’s temptation time.
This week, platters are set forth on a table. Our band of eight is told that under one platter is a confirmation that they will be the one to control the setting of the new teams. The rest contains food that must be eaten. Who will eat and who will take a passive role? And, a question that never gets answered, what happens if no one chooses the platter with the confirmation on it?
Matt and Suzy claim a platter right away. Then, Pete. Then, reluctantly, Andrea. When the dust has settled (aka. after the next commercial) only Shannon (who didn’t want the power) and Dr. Jeff (who promised his family he would never take a temptation) stand behind and have not claimed a platter. Everyone else is in!
Several of the players admit, they claimed platters to get control of the game without thinking of the consequences of losing. Well, it’s time to uncover the platters. Seth opens his first – it’s two donuts. Suzy gets a pair of Twinkies, which she says she doesn’t even like. Then, Pete gets the “Control Card.” He wins!
The rest open their platters to see what they have to eat. It looks like Andrea and Mark have pizza, and Matt has carrots.
So, Pete has control. In two hours, he has to announce his decision of how the players will be paired off. In a group meeting, he asks everyone for their input. Matt speaks up right away and asks for Seth as his partner. Dr. Jeff has no preference. Shannon gets weepy that the guys have made the women so uncomfortable. “I don’t like the tension,” she says. Boy, they miscast her as “the diva,” didn’t they?
Andrea will be happy with any choice. Emotional Suzy says she wants to be with someone who will push her. Her voice is up, easily, two octaves, and calling dogs in Omaha. I’m lucky my TV has cheap speakers! Mark quickly says he’d like to be with Suzy. I guess that means Shannon and Andrea were the dirtbags?
Sean says about the same as Suzy, and no one else has further comments. So, Pete, who has barely spoken all series, is suddenly our narrator. He goes for a walk to think.
Pete contemplates many alternatives, often based on what’s better for each person and not how he could win. Pete, did you SEE Ivette on Big Brother 6? Never mind your friends of six weeks, your lifelong family ought to take priority! Set the teams to your advantage!! I’m thinking he should do this:
Caroline has reassembled the players for Pete’s announcements. He wants to pair people based on positive factors… and here’s what he’s done:
Dr. Jeff is touched that Pete chose him, and tells us he’s lost the lowest percentage of weight of all the remaining guys. I’m confused. Dr. Jeff is a great guy, but he’s not winning a lot of challenges. Play to win, buddy!
Hostess Caroline spills the next twist, that at the next elimination the pairs get one vote, not two. The teams will be forced to come to an agreement on how they will vote. She gives them the rest of the day off to get to know their new partner.
The duos get together. Mark is worried that Andrea’s numbers are lowest, but is confident he’s going to lose enough on his own. “There’s no Mark in team,” got it? Suzy and Seth talk. Both are shy – this is “Team Nice.” Matt warns Shannon that he’s a non-talker in his workouts, but she likes that. Maybe some of these teams will work out after all.
The trainers show up, and it seems they are totally unaware of the team realignment. They are not pleased, this will be a challenge for them as well. The trainers struggle to put a positive spin on this for the group. Jillian say, “I’ll continue to train whoever wants to train,” and Mark immediately interjects in a joking way, “I’ll go with Bob. Sorry!” Ha! Mercurial Jillian boils over that he said it so quickly. One point for Mark!
In an aside, trainer Bob tells us that this is really good, because in the outside world, you need to roll with the punches. Funny, he didn’t see it that way in “Lose Your Trainer in Vegas” week…
We next see everyone working out together in the most amenable of fashions. Life is good at the ranch! Getting the bigger picture, Matt concludes, “We’re two different people from two different cultures. There’s millions of things for me to learn and I would be an ass not to take advantage of that.”
It’s the next day, and Caroline has assembled everyone at the beach for the next challenge. One of the guys says, “I feel we’re on “Baywatch, Supersized.”
In tonight’s challenge, the prize is surfing lessons… in Maui! Plus, immunity! Nice.
The pairs are split into “holders” and “fillers.” The Fillers will run to the surf, get a bucket of water, then come back and put it into another team’s bucket. The Holder will be responsible for keeping their bucket from touching the ground.
The women will be the “runners” along with… Dr. Jeff, and his bad knees! Huh? Why isn’t Pete the runner?? And sure enough, he trails badly at every stage of the event.
But it probably didn’t matter, because, the women all gang up on the team of two guys. What they didn’t say before was, when your bucket goes down, the Holder goes up… about ten feet into the air! Sure enough, Pete is forced into the sky first. The ladies shift their attack, and Mark goes up second. The battle goes on, with both Seth and Matt taking on more and more water. But most of the water is going into Matt’s bucket, eventually he succumbs, and Suzy and Seth are going surfing!
Caroline can’t suppress a giggle as she walks off… the three guys are still dangling in the air!
On a far more significantly more serious note, Matt finds out his uncle has died. His dad passed on the message that he wants Matt to stay at camp, and not leave. Jillian is very supportive. Matt says it could have been easy to stay in bed and pout all day. Instead, he decides to use his uncle as inspiration and decides, “I have too much life to live to sit back and be the way I was.” Good for you, buddy!
It’s last workout time! Seth says it feels like week one again when you work out with a different trainer, because a whole new set of muscles hurt. Jillian’s going to be discouraged to know she missed one! Similarly, the men have learned to respect trainer Bob’s workout. Like, did they think he was running a yoga camp?
All four teams are mentally rallying before the weigh-in. For me, just seeing exempt Suzy pass comment without whining or crying is a welcome change. She and Seth are giddy, knowing they are safe this week.
Let’s get to the weigh-in. Similar to last year, there’s a yellow line that will divide the winners from the not-winners. OK, I can call them the losers. This week, there’s room for the names of two teams over the line and one team below it.
As they weigh in this week, we get a split-screen of initial/current body shots. Every single person is overwhelmingly slimmer that before, and we’re only half-way done! I am seriously impressed by the efforts of this year’s cast.
At any rate, here’s how it went:
Good thing they won exemption! Seth tells us he does over twenty hours of exercise a week. However, he feels healthier and recognizes that’s still a win in life. So true!
Dr. Jeff has cracked the 300-pound barrier! Yay! As a duo, they have lost 159 pounds. That’s a whole person! Between them this week, they lost 18 pounds, or 2.86% of their weight this week. Good numbers! Next team…
This was one of Andrea’s better weeks. Caroline tells Mark he has lost an amazing 85 ponds to date. Together this week, they have lost 20 pounds, or 4.18%! They’re leaders in the clubhouse, and guaranteed safe for next week. Next team… Shannon and Matt.
Shannon says likes Matt as a partner. Caroline The Human Calculator informs Matt he needs to have lost more than 8 pounds to assure they are safe. Matt tells us he was humbled last week by not losing any weight.
Matt says very nice words about the importance of taking charge of your life... truly inspirational.
Their loss was 23 pounds, or 4.63%. Wow! Top dogs! So Jeff and Pete are shuttled down to the position below the yellow line. How will the others choose which nice guy to send home?
The players discuss how the voting should go. Dr. Jeff feels that Pete deserves to stay more than he does, because he reached his real goal of cracking the “300” barrier. Pete asks Matt to vote for him. These guys are way too noble!
Shannon and Matt raise the flag that signifies their win. It actually two flags, one red and one blue, with their names on the appropriate flag. It’s old hand to Matt, but it’s a nice moment for Shannon.
On Elimination Day, Andrea walks with Mark and is surprised to find he’s crying. It’s going to be a hard vote between two friends for him. Andrea gives him a hug of support.
On a private walk, Dr. Jeff gives heartfelt thanks to Jillian for her efforts on his behalf. Big hugs, and Jillian is not actually visible for a few seconds as he completely envelops her. Jillian then talks to Pete, encouraging him to use the opportunity Jeff has given him as motivation.
Everyone files into the Elimination Room. The two elimination candidates sit on the right. On the left side, the three teams sit with the men sitting and the women standing behind them. Caroline polls the room for bad thoughts, but tonight, it’s love, baby, love. Everyone likes their new buddy for oh-so many reasons! Andrea likes Mark’s inner sensitivity, matt likes Shannon’s work ethic and Seth calls Suzy “genuine.”
All the voters give nice speeches tonight, there’s no animosity here. Matt is first to cast a vote, and calls both players, “Winners.” They voted for Pete. Mark dabs an eye. Seth and Suzy vote Jeff.
Mark is barely able to get out his words. He didn’t want to have to deliver the final blow, but having a slight clue about game play, they have voted for Pete.
As Pete goes, there are big, big hugs from every player. They run Pete’s funeral video, and he has especially nice things to say about Jillian.
The scene shifts to twenty-four hours later. At home, Pete sneaks up on his wife who initially thinks she’s talking to him on the phone. So darn cute! Many hugs, again! I note he’s wearing the white suit that was his motivation from episode one. Pete figures that since they’ve conquered some significant heath issues, it’s time to think about having a family. Who don’t love Pete!!
Numerically, the story is that Pete started out at 401 pounds and tells us he just hit 264! A loss of 137? Wow!
We see him playing a little Naismith-ball and he moves well. He’s looking forward to making the lifestyle changes that will matter. Further, his wife Pam has been inspired to drop 50 pounds of her own and feels they are now in control of their lives.
Next Week: Makeovers for all; a race on silly bicycles for visits from home; and, a favorite goes home. At this point, who’s not a favorite?
My Own Thoughts:
We’ve reached the midpoint in the series, in that half the contestants have eliminated so far. The chafe has been cut long ago and the really serious contestants remain.
I assume the teams of two will be scrapped now. Too bad, it was interesting, and at the end all had newfound respect for each other.
On the men’s side, who doesn’t like the dedication of Matt or see the leadership of Mark? Distaff-wise, can Andrea surge, or will Suzy continue to represent?
Boy, do I ever look forward to 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.
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