Monday, March 28, 2011

The Biggest Loser Season 11, Episode 12: Let's Twist Again

Note: If you still have not watched this episode on your DVR, beware.  There are some important twists in this recap that will be spoilers. Proceed with caution!

Just when players had gotten used to all working as one big group, the game gets shaken up again.  Each trainer will have his or her own team of three, determined randomly by players picking up dumbbells with one of four different colors hidden on the bottom: black (Jillian), blue (Bob), red (Brett), and green (Cara).  They get to pick in order of their percentage of weight loss, but going first is no advantage since it is completely random.  There is no way, short of psychic ability, to tell which dumbbells are associated with each trainer.  Since there are 12 spots and 11 contestants, the team that ends up short a player will get to choose one of the eliminated players to bring back.  Most of the players are happy with their choices, but a couple seem a little disappointed.  They end up this way:

  • Cara's Green Team: Kaylee, Austin, and Ken
  • Brett's Red Team: Jen, Courtney, and Justin
  • Bob's Blue Team: Moses, Olivia, and Irene
  • Jillian's Black Team: Rulon, Hannah, and ?.....
Hannah lobbies for Arthur for a little while but Rulon vetoes that idea and Jillian seems to agree. Arthur's insecurity brought a lot of unnecessary drama to the house.  He seemed to do better losing independently than he did on the show, where his losses were lackluster. Someone that big can really drag a team down if he isn't pulling stellar numbers.  Arthur's a big threat for the at-home prize, so he's probably better off financially not coming back.  The only other player mentioned is Jay, and though Rulon has his doubts about bringing back someone who could realistically compete with him for the Biggest Loser title, he also seems to agree that Jay was a good guy who only went home because of Arthur's shenanigans.  They don't reveal their choice until the weigh-in, probably to give the producers time to make sure that their chosen player is both willing and able to return.  Whatever player they bring back will have immunity the first week and will not count toward the team's weigh-in numbers.

Each of the trainers has a chance to take the small team off-campus for a change of scenery.  The choice they make tells us a little about the trainers and gives us all something new to look at.

Jillian takes her team to her fabulous beachfront home for a workout and some heart-to-heart. Rulon reveals that he never felt worthy of love so he could never fully accept it, even from his wife.  It really helped me understand why 12-step programs require people to develop a relationship with a higher power: No human being is ever going to be able to be perfectly loving all of the time, so it's too easy to take any fight or conflict as a sign that you are unworthy of love.  On-camera, players and trainers never talk about God, but I bet that they do off-camera.  Hannah is off running on the beach while this conversation happens, but I am sure she got her chance for a one-on-one with Jillian too.

Bob takes his contestants to Crunch, where he has been doing a Spinning class since before the show started.  Contestants have to sit up front while the hardbodied regulars cheer them on.  It's clear that Moses has not gotten as much cardio training as some of the other contestants because of his limitations.  He seems to do just fine keeping up with the class but it pushes him out of his comfort zone. I think this is the best part of mixing up the trainers -- forcing contestants to try something new that will challenge them.

Brett's team technically stays on campus -- they go for a hike in the hills surrounding the ranch.  All of them seem moved by the beautiful scenery and the chance to reflect on how far they have come.  Justin seems especially affected by the changes in himself. He realizes that he is finally the man he always wanted to be.  

Cara's team, predictably, goes to a boxing gym. She doesn't seem to know the trainer working there, but it has a gritty, Rocky-esque feel, with graffiti scrawled on the walls and unglamorous institutional-green walls.  Cara works out with Kaylee. Because Austin seems to be doing so well with his boxing training, he gets a chance to spar with the trainer.  The trainer coaches him through the fight but it does seem that Austin holds his own. He is definitely not just a fat kid anymore.  We get absolutely nothing on Ken, and I don't think that's a coincidence. He does not seem to be adjusting well since his stay at home and he and Austin don't seem comfortable around each other. Plus, events later in the show seem to prove that Ken isn't much into teamwork.

A big and important moment in the show is Kaylee's realization that she is ready to go try her luck in the real world.  She confides in Cara that she's ready to leave.  She's not the girl who hung back and was too afraid to stand up for herself. She's ready to take on some real-life challenges.  Cara tries to talk her out of it, "A fighter stays in the fight until the fight is over." Cara's one-note identity really shows its limitations here.  To put it into terms she could understand: It doesn't seem to me that Kaylee is a fighter quitting a fight -- she's a boxer who's done enough sparring and is ready to get into the ring. 

This leads us to expect some shenanigans at the weigh-in, and it does become clear that Kaylee intends for her team to throw the weigh-in.  She tells the camera that she's nervous because she asked her team to do "something hard" and hopes they are up for it.  She loses no weight this week, either because she rigged the weigh-in or because she doesn't have much left to lose.  Austin loses only a couple of pounds and Kaylee nods her approval.  When Ken weighs in, though, it's clear that he is not with the program. He has lost 7 pounds and Kaylee immediately starts crying because that puts the Green Team ahead of the Red Team.  There's some argument -- obviously Ken doesn't approve of cheating and is annoyed that this is the only way for people to leave.  Allie tells them that Kaylee is free to leave but that someone from the Red Team will still be eliminated.  Then Ken says something about how his wife has never seen him this thin, but no one is listening because they are all mad at him (besides, his wife doesn't seem like someone who would really care about his new lower weight).  A player on the Red Team has to go home and because Jen has immunity, it has to be either Courtney or Justin, and everyone loves both of them.  Obviously it would have been easier for everyone but Ken if he had gotten with the program and allowed Kaylee to have her wish. 

Justin immediately makes it clear that he wants everyone to choose him and not Courtney for elimination.  He feels he has found what he came to the ranch for. Justin has been a leader on the ranch all along and it's obviously hard for people to let him go.  A couple of people vote for Courtney instead, but enough people respect Justin's wishes that he heads back home to start "Justin's Call Out," a program for very overweight people at a local gym.  I'm not sure if he owns the gym or is just allowed to run the program there.  I wouldn't be surprised if "The Biggest Loser" had helped sponsor this initiative since they have been trying to push the "Pay it Forward" theme for a while now. 

Sorry for the late review! I forgot that I hadn't written one for this episode yet. I was having trouble deciding what to blog about this weekend and really wish I would have remembered sooner that I was a review behind. Can't wait until tomorrow's episode -- the show is really getting good!


  1. Thanks for the review. I didn't like Cara's reaction to Kaylee's transformative moment, but I couldn't say why. Thank you for putting it into words for me! It really seemed as though Cara hadn't heard a single word Kaylee had said, couldn't see the clear certainty of the person sitting in front of her. I also think Allie intimidated Kaylee (with Moses' help) into staying, and that wasn't appropriate. Essentially, they tore down the first decision Kaylee made as a thin, fit person, and I think that may have repercussions for her in the future.

  2. I have total opposite opinion of Kaylee. She didn't do well at home. She hasn't really done well since she got back. She is the least ready of anyone at the ranch to go home (in my opinion) BUT has no clue she is not ready. Such a dangerous combination.

    In blogland I think of them as the ones stepping off the elevator who think - all done, got this all figured out, will not be a regainer.

    My guess would be she is going to be a 'bouncer'. Thinks she has it all figured out, but has almost nothing changed, will step right back into old life, and will regain almost immediately.

    Remember, I watch from the point of view of the one or two who will actually get it all off and keep it off. I do not expect this from everyone. I expect a lot to only lose part of their weight. And I expect many to regain.

    Ironic that Moses was in the same mindset this week (as Kaylee). He also did not do well at home. He has some weird paralysis thing going on with his wife. Kaylee and Moses both seem to be sort of like moths to the flame with the family unit. I don't see loving family missing each other, I see fear of change and caught up in repeating cycles.

    Kaylee and Moses and then Ken and Austin appear to be the most at risk of those left at the ranch. Austin will probably move out on his own immediately. (If he doesn't, he will probably fall right back into his old cycles.)

    did you notice Ken and Austin didn't (appear to) want to call home (and gave up on challenge almost immediately).

    have been meaning to mention (maybe I already did) that youngest and I think there might be romance budding between Courtney and Austin. there were two episodes (very early in season) which hinted.

  3. very interesting thing I had never noticed - the bios on biggest loser do NOT include height.

    Whether it is stating how much someone weighs or how much they have lost, it is meaningless to me without their height.

    I was looking for Kaylee's height because I realized she is (probably) an optical illusion standing next to all those huge guys. She looks very short to me. But that might be an illusion too.

  4. I found it on Wikipedia
    interestingly starting bmi's were also listed (

    Kaylee is 5'5"
    169lbs/current BMI of 28.1
    (overweight 27.3-32.3)
    starting BMI of 38.8 (233lbs)
    (severely obese 35-40)

    middle of normal (19.1-25.8) range for her would be 137lbs.


"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