Couldn't resist the literary reference. Alternate title: "We're Turning The Biggest Loser into a Giant MUD PIT!"
Note: Again, here there be spoilers. Please proceed with caution.
This week's episode begins in the elimination room after Arthur's departure. The teams are each asked to choose a captain who will be making some important decisions on their behalf. They need to choose a strong leader that they can all trust. Not surprisingly, the Red Team chooses Justin. The Black Team chooses Marci, who has become the designated team mom.
One of the first decisions is that only one player can prepare the team's food all week. Marci chooses Olivia, and Justin chooses Ken. Both teams seem happy with these decisions. The cooks are able to get the rest of their team to be responsible for cleanup. Since the contestants eat many times per day, responsibility for food prep is a major time commitment. Olivia realizes she's not getting her workouts in so she moves a Spin bike into the kitchen. Ken uses his turn as cook to talk the guys into measuring out their foods, especially things like salad dressing. The guys have, apparently, been sloppy with measuring their portions and counting their calories. Ken also realizes how hard it is to run a household. He seems to have had some struggles with his relationship with his wife when he was home, and I wondered if this gave him a new insight into what her life might be like.
Another decision that the captains get to make is that on one day, at least, only two of the team members will be able to work out with the trainers. At first I thought that this applied to the whole week, but later we see both teams going through their usual last chance workouts, so I think it was just one day. I'm not sure if the players work out with the trainers every day or just a few days a week. I know that they are assigned "homework" to do in addition to their trainer-led workouts.
Marci chooses Sarah because she has been anxious about working out since her terrible car accident, and Hannah to help support her since Hannah has also been in a car accident. Hannah doesn't seem to be much support, though. She is obviously angry about being lumped in with Sarah, who isn't as athletic as the rest of the Black Team members. I was impressed with Sarah for not seeming to take this anger personally. It has been obvious all show that Hannah is an incredible athlete, but this decision by Marci seems to have brought up her old insecurities after her Olympic dreams were ended by the car accident. She and Jillian work this out together. In the meantime, Bob devotes all of his attention to Sarah, helping her work through her fears. I really wondered if she was bumping up her body's stored memories of pain when her workouts got uncomfortable. Until this episode I didn't know that doctors had told Sarah that she might never walk after her accident. She said that once she got to the point that she could walk, she was afraid to push any farther. Bob's magic seems to work on her too. Both team members end the workout on a high note.
The Red Team trainers have gone to a lot of trouble to set up a workout for the whole team, putting together backpacks with the weight each player has lost and planning to put them through the workout they did on their first day. It's a classic Biggest Loser thing to do, but it's usually done toward the end of the season. I felt sorry for Brett and Cara because it's starting to feel like the shows are being edited to make them look foolish. (The post on MizFit's site soliciting a new female Biggest Loser trainer really adds some weight to that suspicion.) Brett and Cara say they are going to use "Never Forget Your Past" as a theme for the week, because the contestants' weight gain last week suggests that they went home and forgot everything they learned. No, they didn't. They went back home to the same problems that made them fat in the first place, and if they didn't have good strategies for handling those problems, they were bound to struggle. Kaylie and Ken are chosen to work with them, and they do seem to appreciate the attention. Putting the weight back on really seems to affect Kaylie, who says she knows she is thinner but she still feels like the same fat girl. I really felt for her. This is also the part of the show where we see Ken wrestling with his marriage and how to maintain his focus on healthy living when his wife "has not been able to share that journey yet."
Later, Kaylie and Moses get a visit from Brett, who is concerned with Moses's poor performance at home. Moses keeps talking about how he needs to be there for Kaylie, but Kaylie seems to be doing just fine. It's Moses that is still seriously overweight, and yet when he went home he said he "focused on enjoying his time with his wife," as if enjoying his time with her had to involve overeating. At some point Kaylie seems angry with him, and I can see why. It has to be frustrating for him to focus on the little weight she still has to lose instead of the 100+ pounds he still needs to lose. I think that, rather than his need to "do it for himself" is the problem -- he's too focused on fixing everyone else and doesn't see himself honestly.
This week's challenge is an obstacle-course-type event, with teams asked to navigate across a muddy field using some vendor-supplied steps so that they don't touch the mud. It reminds me of the "Hot Lava" game we used to play when we were kids. If any player touches the ground, the whole team has to start at the last checkpoint. Since the Black Team has one extra player, Marci has to choose someone to sit the challenge out. Weirdly, she chooses Courtney, when it's pretty obvious that Sarah is the weakest player. Two players are stationed at checkpoints along the course and don't join in until later. This gives The Red Team a way to minimize the time that Ken has to be in the game, since he is their least athletic player. The most notable thing about this challenge is how much better the Black Team does with a designated leader. For once, instead of everyone going their own way, one person is calling the shots. Not coincidentally, this is the first challenge they win.
As my husband observed, the team that wins the challenge seems to lose the weigh-in. This week, the Black Team had several players with very small losses. Marci is very close to her goal weight and is all ready to throw herself on the grenade, but didn't expect that she could win immunity and make it impossible to carry out that plan. Marci berates herself for not thinking that through, but what could she have done? I suspect Marci's major issue, like Moses's, is control.
Interestingly, even though the Black Team seemed angry that the Red Team would choose who to send home based on loyalty instead of who "needed to be there," they chose a player who was obviously still struggling with a lot of issues and severe muscle atrophy just because she joined their team late in the game. Luckily, Sarah seemed happy to be home with her husband and seemed to be doing very well.