You may have thought, like I did, that with Melissa gone, most of the games would be over. However, just like the infamous Ron and Mike team, there are two teams still playing where one player sees himself as the support person for the other player. O'Neal, for example, sees his reason for being on the ranch as support for Sunshine. He has, however, made some major strides physically. His knees were so bad when he got to the ranch that he needed help walking up the stairs to the big fake scale on weigh-in days. By strengthening his core and using his abdominal muscles to support more of his weight, he seems to have no problem with stairs now. And then there is Sam, who can't win because he doesn't have enough weight left to lose. Every single week he is in danger of going below the yellow line, because losing that last 20 pounds doesn't give him the big numbers he needs to compete with the other players. He is there as support for Koli, and Koli will do anything to keep him on the ranch.
Even eat 4,000 calories in one day on a weight loss show.
The temptation this week was a big one: Contestants had to eat every meal in a room filled with food. One side of the room had the usual healthy foods that the contestants eat. The other side had temptation foods. At breakfast, contestants faced down donuts, pastries, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy... Because the contestants were probably polled on what their favorite foods were before getting on the show, producers knew what they really liked. At lunch it was burgers and fries, chicken wings, cookies... Dinner was pizza and taquitos and more cookies... Contestants were in the room alone and the cameras were there to record exactly what they ate. They could choose to eat their normal healthy diets, or could choose to splurge. The contestant who ate the most calories for the week would have the only vote in elimination, unless that player is below the yellow line, in which case the elimination will be done the usual way.
Sam tells the camera that if no one plays the game, he will win, because he has the highest calorie allowance at around 1,800 calories. That floored me: I am shooting for around 1,800 calories myself, and I'm not a big, muscular guy like Sam, working out for hours a day. I am not sure how he does it while I struggle: Maybe it's the controlled environment, and the motivation of winning. It doesn't surprise me that the other players have a lower calorie count, since they have more body fat in reserve. Jillian often said on her podcasts that people with more to lose can handle having less calories, because their bodies are eager to use stored fat for fuel.
Of course, a few of the contestants eat some of the temptation food. Ashley has a taquito and says it's "totally not worth it," even though it's only 70 calories. Victoria has a chicken wing. O'Neal eats two burgers without their buns and toys with eating fries and cookies -- but doesn't. And Koli forces himself to gorge every meal, looking sickened but determined to keep Sam on the show. He is gassy and uncomfortable as he tries to work off the extra calories in a late night session with Sam in the gym. I started to wonder if the stress, the extra calories, and the diminished ability to work out would end up hurting Koli in the weigh-in. Jillian is so mad at Koli that her head looks like it's going to explode. She thinks he's being codependent and that Sam would be fine on his own at home.
We have a mind-blowing challenge to interrupt the drama: Contestants are given a big pile of wooden 4x4s to build up to a TV-tower-type structure, which they then need to climb to get up to a flag. It is a really scary-looking challenge. The first one to the top wins a 1-pound advantage, and the contestant in last place gets a 1-pound disadvantage. I would have had a hard time knowing where to start. Michael has worked construction before so he thinks he has an edge, but he over-engineers his structure. He jokes, "I thought I'd put a railing on it, and maybe a nice chandelier..." The other players mostly do boxlike structures, and Sam, as usual, quickly takes the lead. But he tries to make the jump to the tower to early and almost kicks down his structure. He has to climb down and add another layer. Daris, who has never won a challenge before, manages to get ahead and win it. Sunshine, who had an unusual stairstep approach to the challenge, also does well. Unfortunately, just as she is coming down from getting her flag, O'Neal takes a bad fall, lands on his knee, and is in terrible pain. He is rushed off to the hospital, but seems to recover fairly quickly. Still, there is some concern that because he can't work out as hard as everyone else, he will be in danger of elimination. During this time we also see that Vickie, who entered the game late, is just not able to keep up with everyone else. The camera catches her leaning on the treadmill instead of walking on it a few times. We are given the impression that she is slacking a little.
The weigh-in was a nailbiter as always. Koli and Sam both did fine, no gameplay was needed. Sunshine, however, is under the yellow line for the very first time. So does Victoria. Because Koli has the only vote, he can decide to eliminate Sunshine, who is a strong threat to win, or Victoria, who he thinks has been taking it too easy. He has always said he likes strong competition, and he continues to live up to that by keeping Sunshine and sending Vickie home. Luckily, Vicky has her mom at home for support, and she looks fantastic in her follow-up video. Her mom, who has never spent one night at the ranch, looks amazing too.
It's really heating up! I feel like Daris, Sunshine, and Koli are all shoo-ins for the final four, but I'm not sure who #4 will be...