I was going to call this post "Everybody Hates Tracey" but decided that might be too mean. Last week's show had almost no gameplay, but this one sure made up for it.
This week the contestants were offered two big temptations, and one player took both of them. Tracey was the contestant who put herself in the hospital in Week 1 trying to run faster than Daniel, who was returning from last season and had been exercising regularly. I couldn't figure out how someone could do that to themselves in just a mile -- usually your body has controls and won't let you hurt yourself too badly. Wikipedia says that she gave herself heatstroke.
Because of that stint in the hospital, we haven't really seen much of Tracey. She returned just in time for the weigh-in on Week 2, and this was her first chance to work with the trainers and get to know the other players. Before the players entered the gym on the first day after the weigh-in, though, Allison offered them a choice. They could give up access to their trainers for a 2-pound advantage in the weigh-in that week. If no one took two pounds, the stakes would go up until someone jumped. As one contestant said, "Two pounds is nothing. We can lose two pounds in a day working with our trainers." But without consulting with her teammate, Coach Mo (one of my favorites this season), Tracey jumped. She said she was afraid that someone else would get a big advantage and she would miss out. Coach Mo was obviously upset but did his best to be a good sport about it. He watched the other players training with Bob and Jillian and tried to do what they were doing.
Bob and Jillian had a nice long talk with her about not acting impulsively out of fear, and she admitted that she is always in a state of semi-panic. She agreed that she would talk back to that impulsive voice the next time she was feeling scared. She gets a semi-crosseyed look when she's talking about that fear that reminds me of my sister's crazy Weimaraner.
Until the next day, when the players are offered a food temptation: Eat the most 100-calorie cupcakes (they were very cute little mini-cupcakes) in 10 minutes and win the ability to decide which player's weigh-in counts for the team toward elimination. A player who could guess accurately which teammate would have the best (or worst) weigh-in could basically decide which teams were up for elimination that week. Tracey holds out for a few minutes, then gets that crazy look in her eyes and starts eating cupcakes, gulping down 4 and making herself feel sick. "We're playing a game, what's wrong with trying to win?" Of course, Jillian practically takes her head off when she finds out about this escapade. Both Jillian and Bob agree that it's too early to try to do this kind of gameplay, because you will only make yourself a target. This seems especially true for Tracey, who hasn't had a chance to develop any real relationships with the other players. Some of the players try to talk to her and get her to choose the player they think is strongest for the weigh-in, but they confide to the camera that she is a loose cannon and they don't trust her at all.
There is a kind of cool physical challenge that allows the players to compete for immunity by carrying a total of 250 pounds per player up a ramp (500 pounds for a 2-person team). Again there is a choice involved: Take more trips up the ramp with 2 smaller weights (5-pound buckets) or take a longer trip with one heavier weight (a 25-pound bucket). It seems obvious to me that the heavier buckets would be harder, but several teams choose that option. Tracey and Abby are injured and don't compete in this challenge, so their partners compete alone. It was great to see that everyone who competed was able to finish, and that everyone chipped in to help the last player.
I was curious to see what Tracey's record for picking the weaker player in the weigh-in would be. She went about 3-3, no better than you would expect from pure chance alone. In the process, though, she alienated the one player that felt "close" to Tracey, and made everyone angry by seeming to pick on Shay, who is the biggest player and the one player everyone else agrees needs more time on the show before she could possibly be okay to lose the weight on her own. If I had the patience, I'd be curious to use the weigh-in numbers to calculate who would have been up for elimination without the gameplay element, but I'll let someone else figure that out. One team makes the sacrifice to go home to protect a weaker player, a classy move that was the one real bright spot this week.
Tracey seems to see her actions as rational and acceptable, but she is the only one who does. Jillian and all of the other players are angry at her. The scenes from next week's show seemed to indicate there would be some Karmic payback coming. I'm just hoping she doesn't drag her teammate down with her.