Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Biggest Loser Season 11, Episode 5: All Together Now

Note: There is one small spoiler in this recap, though if you watched the teaser at the end of the last episode, it probably won't be much of a surprise.

This week was the week when the Unknowns came back to train at the Ranch with the rest of the players.  We get some scenes about how nervous/excited everyone is about going back to the ranch for the first time.  We see the trainers putting everyone through one last workout to make sure they're ready. We get more hints that the other players are frustrated with Q about his lack of team feeling and about his lack of results so far.
First, however, we have some unfinished business at the Ranch. We didn't have a weigh-in last time because of the shortened time slot. The Green Team returns to do the Last Chance Workout with the rest of the teams and are asked what the other trainers and location are like.  They are a little vague at first, just saying that it's "180 degrees different." Then they go into some of the things that were different, like the fact that the contestants have their meals served to them in calorie-controlled portions.  They also talk a little about the different kinds of workouts. Of course, the Green Team and everyone else assure Bob and Jillian that there is no way the new trainers could ever measure up.  This week, the standout moment is Jillian working one-on-one with Hannah, the injured former athlete.  Hannah had a car accident that had caused all kinds of back problems and ended her sports career. She said this is what caused her to give up and start gaining weight. This week, Jillian wanted to show her how strong she was, and had her doing all kinds of things. She finally has Hannah do a supported back bend to prove that there is nothing that she can't do. This is a breakthrough moment for her.

They then weigh in and the Green Team, as usual, has amazing results.  So does almost everyone else, though Jesse of the Blue Team has a bad week and only loses 3 pounds. Everyone talks about how Arthur on the Blue Team is not doing as well as expected, but he lost more than 2% this week -- his father didn't.  Courtney and her mother Marci have a great weigh-in, and Courtney seems to be totally in the zone -- she feels confident that she is doing the work she needs to do and she lets the scale take care of itself. I thought I saw a little flash of resentment when her mom went on for so long about hitting the magical 200 pound number and expected to be in the 100s next week.  Courtney just made it into the 200s herself. Courtney said in an earlier episode that she always felt her mother was disappointed in her about her weight, and despite what "The Biggest Loser" would have us believe, one "clear the air" conversation can't completely eliminate years of fear, pain, and doubt. I think there will be a lot of work still to do there for both of them.  In the end, it doesn't matter how well any of the matched-color teams did in the weigh-in, because the remaining Black Team twin wants out and he purposely gained weight and convinced his partner to do the same. I think they just drink about a gallon of water before the weigh-in to make that happen.  Dan is eliminated instantly, since he says he wants to leave and all of the contestants want to let him go if that's what he wants.

We have a big scene where all the Unknowns return to the ranch in their pairs.  As they walk in, the Rancher whisper about how much weight they seem to have lost. One thing I noticed as I looked at the numbers -- a typical weight loss for the men was about 60-70 pounds (in 4 weeks) and a typical weight loss for the women is 30-ish pounds. Q has lost 39, which may be why the other players are annoyed with him.  Allie tells the teams that they each have their own "game." If the Ranchers do better than their last week's weight loss as a group, they will all have immunity this week. 

The Unknowns are finally going to have their elimination, but they have a chance to win immunity in one of the old "Knock out the Other Teams" challenges. This kind of challenge has been done all kinds of ways on TBL: People have thrown baseballs at targets, dumping water into buckets, etc.  The effect is always the same: Knock out the teams you think pose the biggest threat to you. There is no nice, team-building way to do this challenge, except, maybe, to hit all teams equally. That never happens.  This time it was placing weights of different sizes on scales to total 500 pounds. As each team had 500 pounds on their scale, they were knocked out of the competition.  In this case, players looked to eliminate the teams they thought might lose less than them and make sure they would not have immunity. That meant that the Red Team was Target #1.  The Pink Team very happily explained how this made sense, but then were surprised that after the Red Team was knocked out, they also became a target. In the end, because no one went after the Yellow and Gray Teams, it was a race to the finish. The Yellow Team had wisely saved some of their biggest weights for the end and win in a nailbiter race to the finish.  Then Rulon cries because he won, which seems really silly.

The Unknowns then get a chance to train in the gym at the Ranch, and seem to try to avoid using any of the equipment that was not at their home gym. I never understood why, if they were training at a fitness resort, the Unknowns didn't have access to modern, normal workout equipment.  Maybe it was because there were guests at the spa? Or maybe the "Red Barn" was easier to set up for cameras? No clue, I guess it's all part of the mystery.

I won't go into the weigh-in here because I know that some of you don't want big spoilers. In this case, unlike the earlier weigh-in, there is some suspense and drama.  I think that the outcome will come as a little bit of a surprise.

It was fun to see the eliminated players -- both seem to be doing very well and to have found good support systems at home.  The show seems to be doing a better job of helping contestants make the transition to the real world and providing and suggesting resources for them so that they have a chance to succeed on their own.  

Next week, more drama to come.  The Red Team returns. I would have thought they would choose a different color, since Red has such a doomed feeling. That was Kim's team color, and Jillian's before she left the show the first time. Maybe they still had a lot of really big red t-shirts lying around?  Bob and Jillian's team will be Black, in a nod to all the Jillian fans out there. 

By the way, did you see that Jillian will have a new podcast? According to her Facebook fan page:

Anyone who wants to ask me a question directly on my podcasts here is the TOLL FREE number (888)950-6611 Call ANYTIME & leave me your question & call back number where my producer Janice can reach you to schedule a time for me to call you back. THIS IS ALL FREE. WE WILL NOT GIVE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OR # OUT TO ANYONE.
 I thought about calling but then I didn't know what I would ask. I'd probably just sound like a crazed fan, which is, of course, what I am. I will let you know if I see the download link for iTunes.

I plan to do a catch-up post with my own weigh-ins soon.  As of now, though, I think I'm officially computered out after being snowed in all day. At least I'm caught up on my grading.


  1. Thanks for the recap!! I've been looking for it as my digital cut out due to a storm intermittently. I knew that you'd give all the good details without having to watch it all over :o) Thanks!

  2. I never do watch the teasers at the end of the shows, as you are right, they give (too) much away each time.

    I didn't catch it, but have they given everyone's percentages of loss yet? those will be especially interesting numbers as the training methods are so different.

    youngest and I were wondering if doing their own cooking was going to bite unknown team in the butt when they came back to ranch, but their numbers were still very good.

    I think the emphasis at the spa might be on being outdoors (not equipment). I think all the clips/commercials have been hiking, pool, sports, etc. for the last couple years. The interviews always seem to be hiking, not on treadmill.

  3. Okay, I looked:

    percentages to date are








    there were some real surprises in there for me. some I thought were in the top, were more in the middle.

    And historically african american men do not do well on this show. And african american men are among some of the top athletes in the world. not doing well on the show always seems to be more mental. although I have seen real food issues (food choice itself and how it was cooked) in the limited amount of information they give on food.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07