At the beginning of this week's episode, Arthur and his dad, Jesse, have a talk about why Arthur decided to switch the teams around the way he did. Arthur says he doesn't trust Jay and Jennifer, and that his plan to pick weaker players on the team will protect him and his dad from elimination. Jesse looks at Arthur with an openmouthed stare that seems to suggest he doesn't agree with his son but is either afraid to tell him or doesn't think Arthur will listen. Or, which is also possible, the camera person just told Arthur, "Repeat what you just said, and Jesse, you listen and look interested in what he's saying." I got the impression, though, that Jesse is somehow afraid of Arthur. Arthur seems emotionally fragile and maybe Jesse has spent years tiptoeing around his feelings. Arthur does say, though, that he really needs to work this week to prove that he is worth keeping around. At least something he said made sense.
After this little bit of foreshadowing, Alli shows up with a weird challenge -- they are going to tie all the players in knots on a rope, and the team that gets out of this the fastest will have the gym all to themselves for a whole week. As with any challenge involving teamwork, the Red Team's willingness to follow a strong leader, Justin, works better than the Black Team's egalitarian approach. By the time the Black Team has a plan, the Red Team is already untied. The gym will be closed to the Black Team all week.
It's funny that there just happen to be a bunch of Spin bikes, rowing machines, and other equipment hanging around outdoors. Lucky for the Black Team and Bob and Jillian. The one thing they don't have are treadmills, but since they are outdoors, walking and running are still possible. They are in Malibu, where the weather seems beautiful all of the time. Jillian is upset but she and Bob find interesting ways to work out the contestants, even using lawn furniture in their workouts. There seems to be no lack of intensity.
The Red Team, even though they have full access to the gym, still seems to be doing the same workouts they were doing in their old Red Barn on the fitness resort -- mostly a lot of boxing and other martial arts maneuvers. They do make some use of the treadmill, but other than running with weight sleds, I don't see them doing much strength work. I wonder if this will hurt them in the long run. Bob and Jillian's usual plan is to spend the first half of the players' time at the ranch building muscle to incinerate calories, and the second half more focused on cardio as the players have more endurance. Brett and Cara seem to have started out with more endurance and agility work, and I'm not sure that they will have good results in the long run. Rulon and Cara have a bit of a falling-out. Cara keeps pushing him harder than the other players, reminding him that he is a former Olympian. Rulon is getting angrier and angrier and is blatantly not doing what he is asked to do. Cara gets him to admit that he has a lot of fear about "checking out" like he did for the last several years while he gained all of his weight. I got the impression that, "You're an Olympian, you should be able to..." was what his inner critic screamed at him the whole time he was gaining weight. Rulon has an interesting life story, filled with freak accidents and tragedies. I don't get the sense that being too easy on himself was ever his problem.
We also have a rare segment about the contestants' food that doesn't involve a commercial for Jennie-O turkey, Ziploc bags, or some other product. Marci and Sarah confront Arthur as he is deciding what to fix for dinner, a steak or sausages. Marci and Sarah steer him toward poached fish with herbs and a salad. Arthur knows he is on thin ice with his team so he takes their advice. This segment suggests that maybe Arthur's food has been the reason behind his lackluster weight losses so far. We rarely see or hear anything about the contestants' diet, but they cook all of their own food and have to count their own calories at the ranch. I also wonder if this has been tough for the Red Team, who had prepared and calorie-counted meals while they were at the resort.
There is another challenge, this time with the teams competing to push a train car down a track. Six players push the train while two players inside choose from 50-pound bags of food to answer six trivia questions. Because the players don't know all of the questions before they start, and the train is moving too fast for them to think very long, both teams do poorly on the questions. One team got two questions right, and the other only got one. The Red Team beat the Black Team, but not by much. Arthur and Moses each had trouble keeping up with their teammates as the train car picked up speed. Arthur is especially disappointed with himself, so Jillian shows him how far he has come by reenacting a scene from the beginning of his stay at the ranch, having him push her giant Chevy (product placement?) pickup. The first day on the ranch, Arthur could barely keep up as the other players did most of the work. This time, after he got some help getting it going, he was able to push it all by himself. He really seems to light up after this and take himself more seriously.
The weigh-in this week was stunning so I won't ruin it for you. Let's just say there are some big surprises. The Red Team's exclusive access to the gym didn't seem to pay off as much as I would have thought, and even their prize from the challenge, choosing one player to sit out for the weigh-in, didn't seem to be a huge advantage. The weigh-in came down to the very last player and is definitely worth watching. I think this week's eliminated player will be a threat for the at-home prize.