Last night's episode brought back the three at-home players whose partners had gotten eliminated, thereby removing them from the show early: Dave, Estella, and Nicole. They were given the chance to win their way back on the show with a weigh-in. Nicole looked fantastic. The other two looked about the same as they did the last time we saw them. Guess who got a spot back on the show? It was obvious, though, that it's hard for an outsider to step into the weird, claustrophobic environment of the ranch, full of drama and gameplay. The scene with Tara talking to Nicole made my head spin -- Tara was talking a mile a minute and not really making much sense. It seemed like most of the conversations Nicole had with the players went about the same way. It makes you wonder what the contestants are going to be like once they get back to their real lives again. This season has been incredibly long and even more twist-filled than the usual show, and I'm beginning to wonder if my beloved TBL has jumped the shark -- I'm wondering what else they can do to keep things fresh and new if they continue with future seasons. It's such a cash cow for NBC that I imagine it will limp on for a while on Extra gum's dime, but if it loses it's audience, it's doomed.
Some of the "Alliance" players seem to have had second thoughts about hitching their wagons to Ron's star. They realized, I think, that he has been manipulating them in an effort to help his son win it all. I'd like to see Mike succeed on his own, so that Dad can't take the credit for his accomplishments. My guess is that Ron has played his "I need to be here!" card for all it's really worth. The remaining contestants who supported him seemed to do it just because they saw him as no threat.
The show also seemed to highlight the dangers of Ron's gastric bypass surgery. He got all the complications of the surgery without seeming to have benefited that much from it: He's still severely overweight even after weeks on the ranch. His physical activity is still incredibly limited. He still has diabetes and high blood pressure, and now the unused part of his stomach is developing bleeding ulcers. I don't know much about the long-range prognosis for weight-loss surgery patients, but I hope his experiences are extreme and not typical.
It was exciting to see Alli and Michelle back on the show looking great. Michelle seemed especially comfortable in front of the camera.
The challenge this week really was amazing. Bob's team seemed to have the advantage from all that yoga. You could almost hear Kristen chanting "Ooooommmmmmm."