This episode really frustrated me. Two really annoying things happened. First, Melissa is back. And worse, my favorite player, Stephanie, seemed to be being bullied by Koli, Drea, and Ashley for no good reason, and then was eliminated in a vote where her supposed best friends voted her off.
The game is back to singles, with each player wearing his or her original shirt color. Bob and Jillian will now team-train all the contestants. The yellow line is back, and each player has to stay above it on his or her own, with no ability to lean on the team.
As is now usual on "The Biggest Loser," former contestants are given a chance to win a spot back on the show. At first, the players think that only one person will be brought back in a vote. Each player had a chance to plead his or her case. The bright spot for me in this episode is that instead of just turning this into a popularity contest, four players chose to give Victoria, a player on the Blue Team who never really got a chance to be on the show. "Three times, I have packed to come on this show," she said in tears, "and each time I have been sent home without even unpacking. Please don't send me home again." Michael, Drea, Koli, Sunshine, and O'Neal all voted to bring her back.
Of course, there was a twist. The rest of the players had a chance to win a spot back in a step-up challenge. The first player to 1,000 steps won. This challenge seemed unfair because so many of the players had bad knees and were not able to really compete. At first it looked like Miggy, Sherry, Lance, and Melissa all had a chance. After a while, it became obvious that Lance was holding himself back and his wife Melissa won easily. Let the nastiness begin. My feeling was that this challenge was set up to bring Melissa back.
We have our usual workout segments with Jillian and Bob beating the tar out of the contestants. Victoria does not seem 100% glad to be back on -- after all, she didn't have the chance to gradually get used to the workouts like everyone else. Still, she seems to have a sunny disposition and is making the best of it.
We see Ashley, Koli, and Drea all speculating that Stephanie threw the weigh-in where Ashley's mom, Sherry, was eliminated. Stephanie lost two pounds that week, which put the Black Team below the yellow line, and then she lost 9 pounds the week after. Personally, I don't know how they thought she could have planned for the Black Team to lose that week, especially when she wouldn't be 100% sure she wouldn't be the one sent home. My gut feeling is that Drea and Ashely are jealous that Stephanie is so much thinner and fitter than they are, and maybe all three of them are threatened by Stephanie's hinted-at romance with Sam.
Stephanie has a breakdown when working out with Jillian, probably because she feels the mistrust of the other players. In a scene that didn't quite make sense to me, Jillian tells her that the more she tries to control other people's reactions to her, the more they are going to mistrust her. The show seems to have been badly edited here -- we don't ever get the reasons that Stephanie feels threatened, we don't know what she is doing to try to control things that is causing all this tension, and we don't know what Jillian is suggesting that she should do/stop doing. My guess is that this haphazard scene is the result of us not being allowed to know about Stephanie and Sam. That probably is the source of Stephanie's insecurity, and maybe her friends and Sam's cousin have been making it clear that they are unhappy or jealous. It's hard to know for sure.
The weigh-in is pretty dramatic with all this built-up tension. Melissa and Victoria have immunity for their first week back on. Stephanie and Sam both have the lowest percentages, so they're in the position of being torn between their own interests and that of their partners. Sam trots out the "Steel Sharpens Steel" slogan that Darryl had used on Daris earlier, which makes me cringe at the corniness of it, but Daris nods his huge, innocent head approvingly. Stephanie knows she is leaning hard on shaky alliances, and her fears are confirmed when her two supposed best friends on the show vote to send her home. I knew she was in trouble when both of them trotted out the "For the first time in my life, I have to think about me" nonsense that always signals that someone is about to do something they shouldn't do. Ashely says she hopes Stephanie "understands." Stephanie is obviously heartbroken and understands only that Ashley and Drea were not really the friends she thought they were.
We do get a nice scene with Stephanie shopping at White House, Black Market (nice product placement) for a dress to wear for a night on the town with her friends and family. She gets to buy a size 12, which she is excited about, but at the finale, she hopes to wear a size 8.
I thought I had posted this yesterday, so I apologize for the late recap!