The Biggest Loser 3, Episode 7: Taking a Passby Brian Towers -- 11/03/2006
Welcome to the seventh episode of The Biggest Loser 3! This series focuses on 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 $250,000 cash prize.
Usually I don’t talk about the small bit of programming that precedes the theme, as it’s usually just a recap of last week’s action. After all, I know that you read about it here… and what more could be said? However, right off the bat they spill the information that was in the mid-week promos; that the impact of the 36 ghost-candidates is about to be felt as some of them reenter the game. Obviously, more on that later.
We also learn that 643 pounds have been lost so far this season. Well done! As the episode begins in earnest, the teams are assembled in the presence of series host Caroline Rhea, who breaks that number down further. She tells us the Red Team has lost a total of 294 pounds and the Blue Team, 354. Everyone goes, “Wow!” Then Caroline immediately disbands the teams!
Caroline tells them that four teams of two will be constructed consisting of one member from each team. The Red Team ladies don’t love this idea. Additionally, this week both members of the losing duo will be going home!
This has everyone’s full attention!
Caroline also tells them that only one person has the option to pick their partner, and they have to go out to the pool area to learn more.
The pool area is set up like a temptation challenge. There is a structure with eight covered cubbyholes in it, each about the size of a breadbox. If you don’t know what that is, go ask grandpa. Placards give the following instructions:
The game begins. The first stage is easy as everyone opts in. Here’s how the selections played out:
There’s only two people left to play, Kai and Wylie, and one of the remaining slots contains the “control” card. Kai steps up while Wylie navel-gazes and gives us an audio cameo about how he’d like to step up and take control of the game. Luckily for him Kai gets food as well, a hot dog of unknown but probably non-trivial caloric count. Wylie wins the power to set the teams. To complete events, everyone but Wylie eats what they have found in their slots.
For some reason the players return to the house and not to Caroline Rhea. Apart from the rest, Marty and Brian talk to Wylie about how he ought to form the teams. They want to be with Kai, because of her free pass. A series of rapid voiceovers indicate the preferred partners are Kai and Marty. I think I’d pick someone who generally does well but didn’t do so hot last week, like Brian.
Caroline eventually reassembles the players and calls on Wylie to name the teams. He does so with a little speech in which he announces that he saw the task as a burden and he didn’t take it lightly. He ends by saying that he hopes the outcome will be beneficial to everybody. As Wylie runs through his pairings he gives false reasons for his choices, which primarily were to pair big and low percentage losers together.
His first pairing sets Heather and Bobby together, because Bobby has done well and Heather, the lightest, not so much. Then, he pairs Pam and Brian. Pam cries because she’s afraid her low numbers will ruin things for Brian. Brian says he’s glad to be with a fighter like Pam.
The third choice is Kai and Erik. He feels Erik needs to be here because he has the biggest need to stay at the ranch and keep losing weight. With Kai’s immunity pass, he’s guaranteed one more week. I note that if he doesn’t do so well this week (and Erik is over two percent below the others on Blue Team) it will force the free pass to be played.
This leaves Marty as Wylie’s partner. Marty thinks they are the strongest team.
The trainers arrive and find out about the new teams. They don’t like that there will be two players eliminated this week.
Trainer Bob tells us that Wylie approached him and stated he wanted to be worked out by Bob this week, because he wants to be pushed harder. As the workout commences, Bob is surprised by Wylie’s lack of upper body strength. After about twenty minutes, trainer Kim approaches her counterpart Bob and tells him to chill out, that he’s going to wear Wylie out for the next challenge. Bob announces to all that they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to, but ends his workout right away. Kim half-mockingly throws him out of the gym and hollers, “Leave my people alone… honestly!”
The Red Team is assembled in the kitchen for some healthy advice from trainer Kim. She talks to them about drinking milk. Three eight-ounce glasses of milk a day is recommended for losing both weight and fat. There’s about 40 more calories in two-percent than skim, which has 86, and zero fat in skim versus 5 grams of fat in two-percent. Kim has them “compete” in a “best milk moustache” contest, and Kai wins. Her moustache is so thick, either she hasn’t waxed lately or she’s drinking buttermilk…
It’s now ten PM and time for the challenge. We see four sets of odd-looking equipment laid out. There are long, heavy metal poles, anchored at one end about five feet off the ground. The other end protrudes through a metal ring of about two feet in diameter that is maybe ten feet off the ground and perhaps twenty feet away. About four feet from the anchored end is a short crossbar, to be used as a handle.
The objective is for the teams to hold their pole aloft without it touching their ring. When it does touch, flames erupt and the team is eliminated. The winner is the duo that endures the longest. The prize is the opportunity to make a video-conference call home.
The poles are heavy and awkward, and the challenge is constructed so the tall men can’t stand erect with their arms held straight out. After six minutes, Heather and Bobby are out, followed by Kai and Erik a minute later.
Determined Pam is faring well, she’s just the right height to maximize her ability to hold the pole by standing erect with her arm held straight up. By comparison, the two-man team of Marty and Wylie are bent over into a most awkward position, but at least they have their arms out straight. At about the eleven-minute mark, Marty offers to take all the whole weight and convinces Wylie to drop out. However, the transfer is executed a bit clumsily and with a clang, they are out.
So the winners are Brian and Pam. In their calls home we see both have extremely young kids who seem to have begun talking in the last two months. Nice.
Last-Chance Workouts, though as inspirational as ever, seem dominated by shots of Erik hydrating. One wonders if this is smart with a weigh-in coming. The ladies of the Red Team are concerned that Wylie and Marty may not lose, thus one of them will have to go home. Gosh, do you think so? Wylie must be so happy as he watches this episode at home and sees the level of support he is getting from his teammates is even less than he thought it was.
It’s evening again, and time for the weigh-ins. No one seems overly confident about what lies ahead and there are no brash predictions. As people stand on the scale we see their current and day one pictures, side-by-side. In every case the difference is stunningly positive.
This week, the dreaded “Yellow Line” is reintroduced. Teams will be listed in descending order of loss percentage, and a yellow line before the second-last team defines who is eligible for eviction. It’s pretty simple – fall below the yellow line, you are at risk. Numerical results in the following chart are listed in the order they stepped on the scale.
So the two teams up for elimination are Kai and Erik, and by one pound, Pam and Brian.
Last-up Heather calls her narrow escape, “Bittersweet, because I’m sending our best friend home.” The three Red Team ladies cry amongst themselves. The others pretty much stand around gazing as though they’re running through the fourteen-times table in their heads.
Erik admits in a cameo he didn’t kill himself this week. Kai says she’s if she finds out he gained weight on purpose she may not use the free pass, just to see him out of the game. Yeah, right.
The next morning the two trainers stride up to learn the results. After doing so, trainer Bob wants to talk with Erik. Bob knows it was Erik’s intention to force the pass to be played. Erik insists he didn’t eat badly this week, and with Kai watching over him, I suspect that is true. Brian thinks it’s a smart move, as it also sets Erik up for a big loss next week.
Kim talks with the Red Team as well, telling them she’s impressed with her team’s numbers. The ladies never saw this coming and are still dejected over having to send home one of their own. Sitting with them must be Wylie’s dream right about now.
My opinion? Well played, Erik! That free pass had to be forced out and the playing field leveled again. Also, Erik has to play for Erik and this move ought to buy him at least two more weeks at the ranch.
All the players file into the Elimination Room. Immune Kai is prompted as to whether she will use her free pass. Despite a painfully annoying and childishly long pause that is no doubt called for by the producer, she announces that she will indeed use her free pass to save herself and Erik. That means Brian and Pam are out, and Caroline Rhea does not allow any votes to be revealed.
Bobby wants to speak anyway, and after telling him he is sorry to see him go, he calls Brian “a great person.” Marty agrees. Kai then weepily speaks well of Pam. As Brian and Pam knew it was coming they leave in even spirits.
It’s time for Carolyn Rhea to drop the bombshell – that the two departing players will be replaced! And in come six of the “ghosts” to stand behind our seated players. All of them have been caught by surprise and in fact, Kai’s jaw drops about as far as it can without dislocating. So much for the level playing field!
Specifically, these ghosts are the three men and three women with the best loss numbers since the first day at the ranch. The six are Jaron (Arkansas), Tim (Delaware), and Matthew (Maine) on the male side; and Poppi (New Jersey), Adrian (North Dakota), and Ginnie (Vermont) on the female side. Of the six, only Adrian has previously been featured in an at-home clip.
Caroline tells us two of them will rejoin the game (one of each gender), but it turns out we must wait another week to find out who that will be.
In a series of confessionals Pam says, “I traded Brian and Pam for this? You’re kidding me. No. Uh-uh. No way. They need to go. They need to go immediately. No. No.” Heather says. “If one of them wins (the game) I will be pissed. Like, seriously like, freakin’ pissed! I will just be lit. So it better not happen.” I feel sorry for the returning female player already.
Erik admits he doesn’t like the twist and thinks it’s not fair, but hopes he can help vote them out right away. Bobby has the right idea; he says, “We’ll treat them respectfully, and then respectfully send them on their way.”
The show is almost over now. Video shows us that an almost beardless and rather handsome Brian has done quite well since going home. He’s down a total of 118 pounds since he first came to the ranch (from 308 to 190), and I think he looks about ten years younger. He is enjoying more time with his family and figures the show saved his life. Pam’s video tells us she has lost another 25 pounds and is also enjoying a more full family life. Good for both of you!
Join me here next week for a recap of all the action, sprinkled as usual with my own reactions and opinions. We’ll see if the rumors are true about one of the ghosts having lost more weight than anyone in the house! And don’t be shy about dropping me a line at the eAddress below!
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at Uncle_bto@rogers.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.