I've given up on the no-spoiler zone. By this time, I'm sure everyone has had a chance to watch, but if not, you might want to wait to read this one.
There was a moment of tension at the beginning of this episode, as the Black Team realized to their horror that Tracey was still there after an elimination that seemed perfectly set up as a chance to get rid of her. They didn't even try to hide their disappointment. Tracey started crying but then, when everyone seemed to ignore her and Shay walked out, she seemed to realize the crocodile tears weren't working and pulled it together. At least that's how it seemed on the edited version, but the Biggest Loser Fan Page on facebook posted bonus video of "Shay's Story" to "explain where Shay's feelings for Tracey come from."
As one commenter posted, "I don't even need to watch this - it'll be 'WAAAAAAAHHHHHH MY MOM DIDN'T LOVE ME WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH.' You're 30, Shay. Suck it up." I wouldn't have put it so harshly, but when Shay started up the waterworks during a Subway integration where she was eating sandwiches with her friends, I really started to think that being friends with Shay wouldn't be much fun at all. I think that Tracey and Shay clash because they are both used to being the center of attention.
The challenge this week had the contestants dig what looked eerily like shallow graves on the beach, to find keys to a treasure chest with a prize that was not revealed until the winning team unlocked it. It was billed as something that "would determine which players stay on the ranch and which go home." That turned out to be a trip home for one team -- the winning team got to decide whether to take the trip or pass it on.
The Black Team ended up getting to go home for the week, live their normal lives for a little while, and then come back just in time for a beating from Jillian and the weigh-in. We were able to get a little glimpse into each of the contestants' lives. A couple of them, Abby and Amanda, seem to be genuinely happy to see their family and friends again, even though they find being in an unfamiliar environment a little challenging. Not surprisingly, some seemed to have trouble re-integrating into their normal lives. Dina's husband eats a huge array of appetizers (all of which he seems to put right in front of her) and a giant burrito while she seems to be unsure if there is anything at the restaurant she can eat. Shay's stepsons seem oddly standoffish around her, but do cry when she leaves again. Danny feels guilty about having to spend so much time at the gym during his brief visit with his family, and his daughter is visibly disappointed. Daniel seems fine when he is at home, but when he gets back to the ranch, he reveals to Jillian how conflicted he feels about his mom's reaction to his weight loss, which has been a source of conflicted feelings for him for a long time. I wondered if his odd results in the weigh-in might have been related to those feelings.
I was pretty frustrated when, at the elimination, Dina was singled out as the one to go home. She made it quite clear that her husband didn't provide much support for her and that her son had to sit around for hours with her at the gym while she worked out. She also was one of the ones who had a great loss for the week. She lost as much as Shay, who weighs almost twice as much as Dina does. For some reason, though, everyone seemed to settle on her out of all the other possible choices. I really wonder if it's because she is pretty down-to-earth and probably wouldn't get involved in all the Tears-And-Drama games the other players seem to enjoy.
After the Player Update, though, I started to wonder if it was such a bad thing for her to be sent home. Watching the show, it is hard not to see being sent home as a big tragedy, but then the players seem so much more normal and well-adjusted when they are away from all the drama of the game. Dina's husband doesn't appear in any of the scenes of her life after the show. When a hunky guy appears with her in one of the scenes, the producers have helpfully given him a shirt with TRAINER spelled out in big block letters. It seems that her son has also become a bit of a personal trainer for her.
The show this week didn't have as much oomph as usual, and I really do think it's starting to wind down. This is Season 8, and I imagine they will have a total of 10 seasons, but Jillian Michaels is already starting to branch out into other projects and the show seems to be spinning out as much merchandise -- including a new video game -- as it can. The latest is a video game that lets you create a Biggest Loser fitness and food program. Too bad I don't have a Wii Fit...