In this show, the final four contestants were at home for a month before the final weigh-in to prove that they could lose weight on their own before going to the finale. Not surprisingly, they all had some trouble adjusting. Jillian and Bob made surprise visits to their contestants to check in and found them in various states of panic, especially because of the latest twist thrown at them by the show's producers. I was really surprised (and concerned) when the contestants were given less than a month's notice to train for a marathon. I have known plenty of people -- including me -- who have gotten seriously injured trying to train for a marathon with a reasonable amount of time.
Mike had slipped into the role of caring for his brother and not focusing on his own fitness, and when Jillian found him slacking on his own workouts, she gave him some tough talk about putting his own needs first. I have to say that I feel sorry for Max, who is a minor but already weighs more than 400 pounds, just like Mike and Ron were before the show. Max didn't get any of the benefits of being on the show but got a lot of obviously unwelcome attention as a foil for Mike and Ron's amazing weight losses. He had been in a sort of comfortable position before as part of a group of three big guys, and now he's just a teenager in a lot of pain with no real hope for his own change. He did not seem to welcome Jillian's help, but when Bob visited Ron, Max did seem to feel a connection to Bob and it looked like he might have started to feel a little more hopeful that he had what it took to make changes. Bob did the right thing, I think, by getting Max to see himself as strong and determined. Up to this point, he seems to have been treated as just the object lesson of where Mike and Ron would be if they hadn't made it onto the show.
Jillian found Tara and Helen both in complete obsessive, perfectionist mode. Tara wouldn't unpack her clothes because she felt that moving back into her room would symbolize going back to her old life, so she was living in a huge mess, working out too many hours a day, and kicking herself because she wasn't eating as rigidly as she thought she should. Helen was in tears looking at the clothes in her closet and trying to figure out how she could immediately get rid of all traces of her old life. Jillian took both of these tightly-wound women out for a drink and explained that they had to find some sort of balance and peace about their weight and learn how to let go of all-or-nothing thinking.
Like I said, I had serious doubts about the marathon, but all of the contestants managed to find a way to make it a positive experience. Tara and Helen finished in respectable times that suggested that they had done the marathon by incorporating some walk breaks, which is the most sensible way for someone to attempt a marathon if they don't have a huge amount of time to train. Mike had to walk the marathon because he had gotten injured during the training. He spent the equivalent of an entire work day walking, which to me sounds like the only thing more painful than running a marathon. Ron, against the show's doctor's advice, decided he was going to actually do the whole thing. He had to stop for medical attention a few times, but more than 13 hours later, he crossed the finish line. I have to say that I was impressed with his determination to finish, even though I haven't been a fan of his performance on the show. Previous season contestants showed up to run or walk with the marathoners and lend their support, along with friends and family members. Max did several miles of walking with Mike.
The actual weigh-in went about the way I thought it might. Tara and Helen got great weigh-in numbers and are definitely in the final three. Though Mike lost 10 pounds, he was bigger so his percentage was not as high, and he ended up with his dad below the dreaded yellow line. The final spot was up to the audience to decide: Mike or Ron. Ron asked the audience to vote for Mike, and Mike said he would be happy no matter who makes it to the finale. Of course, I think Mike should win, but since I didn't watch the show until last night, I missed the chance to vote.
Less than a week to the big day! I'm pulling for Tara, since she has been just an amazing competitor throughout the show. She's just gorgeous now, and even though I find her a little annoying sometimes, I think that she's just trying to cover up her insecurity. This season has seemed longer than any of the others, and it's hard to remember some of the people who were voted off early. I will be interested to see how everyone looks on that final show.