This week's episode started off with The Final Four in their new clothes, made up and posing while a montage of scenes of their progress played out on a big screen in the background. They were obviously told to stand with "game faces," but a couple of times they couldn't help but grin as they saw some of their prouder moments on the show. It gave viewers another look at just how far they'd come. It might also have been intended to get them fired up to have a good month at home.
Contestants go home to excited friends and family and triumphantly weigh in at the same location where they originally did their "walk of shame." Amazingly, Daris had predicted that he would lose 140-150 pounds before he came home, and he lost 151. They all bask in the glow for a while, but then reality starts to creep in. Ashley is overwhelmed by her phone constantly ringing and buzzing with messages from friends. Michael admits he is struggling to eat right at home. We get a glimpse of Daris binging on cereal in his kitchen at 2:00 a.m. Koli gets so overwhelmed with people wanting to catch up that he escapes to a friend's mixed martial arts studio in Las Vegas -- how crazy do you have to feel to go to Vegas for quiet?
Of course there is a challenge to keep them busy on their visit home. Contestants find out that they will be doing The Biggest Loser Marathon. If they finish (walking, running, crawling) they get $10,000 to give to the charity of their choice. Daris is excited about the race, since he's the best runner in the group and seems to be the best runner who has ever been on TBL. Everyone else just tries to figure out how they can finish it. Ashley calls Michael and they agree to run/walk together.
They also get visits from their trainers. Bob visits Michael and quizzes his overweight sister about her feelings about her own weight in front of the rest of the family -- and it's a big family. I felt terrible for her, because she didn't sign up for the show. I would have been happier if he had just invited her along to the gym or done something else constructive, instead of making her cry on national television. Bob visits Koli in Las Vegas and rightly gives him a hard time about chickening out on his real life. Koli says he can learn to deal with his family and friends after he wins, and Bob is obviously concerned that Koli could become another Eric, someone who wins the show but then gains all the weight back in the real world. Jillian goes to see Ashley and puts her through a tough workout. The funniest moment, though, is when Jillian takes a helicopter to go find Daris on his marathon training run. The visits from the trainers seem to help everyone get more focused.
Even though I hate the idea of making contestants do a marathon on very little training, they all seemed to find the experience inspiring. They each got met by the previous contestant they seemed to identify most with. Koli, of course, got to meet Sione (who looked like he had regained about 40 pounds). Michael met fellow Italian son Mike. Ashley got to run with fellow pink party girl Ali. And Daris ran with Matt, who was able to keep up with Daris's fast pace for an impressive 7 miles. They also each were met a little later by a family member. They ran the final 0.2 on their own, though. Daris had struggled with injuries during his training but still came in at just over 4 hours, crushing Tara's previous record. Koli came in around 6 hours, and Michael and Ashley finished hand-in-hand about 20 minutes after that.
The weigh-in is dramatic. Michael starts off with a great loss, finally getting under the 300-pound mark. Then Koli has a loss he's obviously disappointed with. Ashley weighs in and beats everyone else to take the top spot, pushing Koli below the yellow line. Daris's weigh-in was the most startling. He had actually gained two pounds during his month at home. He tried to say that it was because of his marathon training. Bob and Jillian are furious at the idea that someone could claim that training for a marathon made them gain weight. I actually knew what he meant -- training for distance events can really increase your appetite. I think that Daris's binges might have been at least partly due to the fact that he was training so hard on so few calories at a very low body weight -- the binges could have started out with hunger. He also seems to have a tense relationship with his stepfather, and I think that being at home was especially hard for him.
Both Koli and Daris had to plead their case, because the audience votes for the final spot in the finale. Koli was very matter-of-fact, but Daris cried and admitted he would stay up at night and eat a day's worth of calories at a time. I didn't vote -- I think they both deserve a chance.
By this point, I really don't care who wins The Biggest Loser title. I like all four of the final four now. Ashley, who seemed whiny to me at first, has really grown up. So has Michael. I, like Bob, am concerned about Koli. He seems to have very little confidence in himself, even after all he has done. I like Daris most of all, just because he is so good-natured and humble. Oh, and cute too. Daris is still worried that he will never find a girlfriend, but I bet he has 10 bags of love letters that were sent c/o The Biggest Loser. I just hope that he can find a way to move into his own place and start building some self-confidence first.
The finale is next week -- be there or be square.