Note: Sorry again, DVR patrol, but there will be some spoilers in this post. Please come back and read it later if you don't want to find out what happened.
This episode begins right after the very emotional double elimination (and highly engineered Black Team weight gain festival) from last week's episode. The Red Team is brought in to hear that they are all going home for two weeks. Most of the players seem thrilled, but a few admit to feeling apprehensive. After all, as Ali reminds them, home is where they gained their weight. In addition to losing their controlled, safe environment, there's a pretty good chance that many of them will be facing enablers, food pushers, and other serious distractions to their weight loss goals. Ali gives them a warning that they will all be completing a 5K when they get back, in addition to the ever-present scale. We see all of the contestants walk in to huge rooms full of cheering and crying people. It's funny to see them in regular clothes. The hardest scenes to watch were the tearful young children reunited with their parents after such a long absence. I am sure some of them are too young to understand why their parents have been gone for so long and it has to be really confusing and painful for them.
I'm hoping that the producers told the contestants to go back as much as possible to the lives they were leading before the show, including their old jobs. That is the only reason, in my opinion, that Courtney should have been working in her parents' Dairy Queen franchise while she was home. Though she seems confident that she can resist the temptation and even shows us the salad she is eating for dinner, let's face it, there is not much at Dairy Queen that anyone should be eating on a regular basis, and facing that temptation night after night would be hard for most people. I am hoping that when she gets home for real, she will find somewhere else to work. Marci, Moses, and Kaylie have it easier -- Marci goes to work in a gym, and Moses and Kaylie go to Moses's physical therapy office and put some of their community members through a BL-style workout. Kaylie seems really poised and confident, and her mother seems impressed with the changes in her.
Austin goes home just in time to celebrate his 21st birthday with friends who put out a spread of pizza, cheese fries, and ice cream cake. I really wondered about the sanity of the girl who shoved the cake in his face and told him he should try it. I am hoping she was just playing it up for the camera and that there was a salmon salad off-screen somewhere. We get very limited shots of Austin and Ken's home life, but see enough to notice that they are not the only family members with a weight problem. We see scenes with the other contestants and their families. One of the most heartfelt is Jesse apologizing to Arthur for the turmoil he caused by being a troubled husband and a father. Apparently Jesse had a drug and alcohol problem that Arthur never knew about, even though Arthur lived with his father after his mother got fed up and left Jesse. Arthur had to choose between his mother and his father and chose to live with Jesse. That was a big decision to lay on a 9-year-old boy. This conversation seemed to be a real eye-opener for Arthur.
Once the contestants get back to the ranch, they find out that when they do the 5K, they will be competing to choose their trainers again. Most of the players want to keep their teams the same, but Jen, who was forced onto the Red Team by Arthurand was never a part of the Red Team Alliance, is determined to be one of the first to finish the race. Arthur, of course, wants to stay on the Black Team too but knows that he is likely to lose the race. Sarah feels really conflicted and says something kind of weird, "I like both sets of trainers. It's like having to choose between my dad and my mom." I wondered if she had been forced to make a choice like that when she was younger, but I can't find anything about it in either her or Deni's profiles.
The race is on some weird, nonmotorized treadmill with a curved base. If this race was product placement, it was a bad decision by someone on the Curve marketing staff, because these treadmills seem like torture devices. The contestants really have to struggle to move them. A fw of them manage to run for short bursts, but most have to hold on tight to the railings, hunch over and push hard with their legs. I'm a runner but I would not want to try to run on one of these. Jen is among the first to finish, so we know she will get her wish to switch teams. Sarah seems to be throwing the race, even though she knows she would be sent home in the next elimination if she goes back to the Red Team. She said it was because she didn't want to pick trainers, but it's obvious that she feels responsible for Arthur. Somewhere before it's too late, she decides that she does want to make a choice after all, and squeaks out a second-to-last finish. We know that Arthur will go to the Red Team, and this puts him at serious risk of elimination.
It's hard not to get swept away in the drama. Arthur, Jillan, and Bob are all sobbing when Arthur comes out in his red shirt. This is seriously Bad. Then everyone gets to weigh in. The Black Team has a great weigh-in, with every single member hitting double-digit losses. The Black Team is all women now, and as my husband noted, they probably had more control of the food in the house than the men when they went home. The Red Team is all men, except for Kaylie, and because they're bigger, would have to average 17 pounds lost per player. Instead, most had lackluster losses. Ken and Austin don't do well, and neither do Moses and Kaylie. In both families, it doesn't seem that they got the support they needed at home. Arthur is, of course, the last to weigh in, and needs 18 pounds to beat Rulon. Instead, he gets a 16, enough to get him under the 400-pound mark, but not enough to win immunity. Bob makes one last plea for the team to consider Arthur's health in their decision, and then the Red Team goes to elimination.
The smart person to eliminate is Kaylie. She has very little weight left to lose and isn't likely to pull big numbers on the scale. Arthur has a lot to lose and could be a huge asset. However, to be fair, he has been inconsistent and his weight would put them at a disadvantage if he didn't have a good loss. It doesn't matter, though. The old Red Team sticks together and votes Arthur off.
All is not lost, though, Dear Readers. I have often noted that, since the Couples thing started, the kids on The Biggest Loser do better once their parents get sent home. Dan from Season 5's Orange Team and Michelle from Season 6 are just a couple of examples. I think that the Black Team did such a good job of taking responsibility for Arthur that he found it hard to take responsibility for himself. I was proud of Sarah for thinking about what was best for her in this case, because it turned out that going home was probably the best thing for Arthur. He had already lost 100 pounds before starting the show, so we know that he has the strength to lose on his own. He learned a lot from his time on the ranch and after talking things out with his dad, had a better understanding of his issues. When we see him at home, he has an amazing schedule. He is a stay-at-home Dad, so after his kids leave for school, he walks 5 miles to the gym, works out, and walks 5 miles home. He also does all the cooking so he knows the food will be what he needs. Arthur is going to be just fine. No drama required. I really admired Arthur for doing what he needs to do to be successful. I'm sure the $100,000 prize is part of the motivation for him to stay home at least until after the finale.
What did you think of this week's episode? It was a bit of a roller coaster for me, but I'm glad things seem to be going OK for Arthur.