Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Biggest Loser Season 11, Episode 16: More Leaps into the Unknown

Warning: Spoiler alert!

Apparently, if you go to New Zealand, you are required to leap from as many high places as possible while you are there. In this episode, we see people paragliding (Brett), bungee-jumping from bridges (Allison, Rulon, and Irene), swinging over canyons (Cara and Hannah), tipping backwards over the same canyon in the "chair of death" (Kaylee) and, for the more timid, rock-climbing up a cliff and trying not to fall off (Jay and Austin).  This week the contestants are in beautiful Queenstown, and the theme for this episode was definitely adventure, and adventure is apparently all about heights.  Maybe it's because that's such a common fear?  The contestants, even the ones who were afraid, all seem to feel very empowered by their stunts. A few of them express that they spent so much time limited by their fears in the past that they are ready to leave fear behind.

Hannah, however unafraid she is to leap from anything high, even backwards, is terrified of the idea of returning home.  She spends much of her on-camera time freaking out about the idea of leaving the ranch and going back to her former life living with her parents. She confides in Cara, who gives one of her "be a fighter, be tough" speeches, which probably wasn't what was needed. Jillian was away for a family emergency, or she probably would have asked Hannah why, if she is so upset by the idea of going home, she would go back there.  She doesn't have a family of her own and she said something about living with her parents.  I checked her bio on the website and she is a human resources representative at a health-care firm. A good reliable job, maybe, but not exactly a glamourous job that would be difficult to leave.  Most of the contestants don't seem to have great careers, which is why they are willing to leave them for six months to pursue fame and weight loss on the Biggest Loser Campus. I wonder if, after being so dependent on her family after her accident, if she feels the need to support them now.  She seemed to come to a realization on a helicopter ride with her sister Olivia (Olivia won a challenge that was basically kickboarding down a very cold river and won immunity and the helicopter ride), and I wonder if Hannah has plans to move closer to Olivia's home in New York City.  I think Hannah is the most dynamic contestant on the show this time around, and I fully expect her to find an exciting new life, whatever happens after this episode.  She seems ready to take on the world.

Also spotlighted in this episode is Kaylee.  She says repeatedly that her dad leaving the show is probably the best thing that could have happened to her. I have always thought that parent-child pairs on the show do better once they split up.  A child, especially, does better when the parent goes.  Kaylee said she felt pressured to eat with her dad even if she knew that his choices weren't right for her, which is probably how she gained her weight in the first place.  She is another contestant who seems to need desperately to leave the nest when she gets home.  She looks so confident in her sparring sessions with Cara that I fully expect her to continue boxing, at least recreationally, when she leaves the ranch.  She seems to have really thrived under Cara's direction, which makes me feel like I have been a little hard on Cara so far.

Now that Brett is back, he wants to take some time during the Last Chance Workout to show the women his specialty, capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art that was disguised as a dance, apparently to lull the colonial overlords into a false sense of security.  The moves are beautiful and I would love to learn it, but it doesn't look great for weight loss. I wasn't sure it was the best use of Last Chance Workout time.

The contestants are competing as singles this week, so the weigh-in is particularly nerve-wracking. It doesn't look good for my fav, Hannah, as she edges closer and closer to the yellow line.  All the foreshadowing about her going home begins to make me nervous.  I want Hannah to get a makeover, not that she really needs one.  Everyone but Ken does better than her. I never really warmed up to Ken -- he has seemed moody and peevish in other episodes, but he gives a pretty moving speech about finally feeling accepted by the other contestants.  Austin tells tearfully how far his dad has come since arriving on the ranch as a "broken man." We don't get a lot of details here but I think the hints on earlier episodes have suggested that the marriage between Ken and Austin's mom is a troubled one.  We never find out Rulon's vote. Ken has enough votes that the best he can hope for is a tie, which would still mean that he would go home since he has lost the lowest percentage of weight.  It's telling that when he does his "where are they now" video, he appears with his kids and not his wife.  I loved that he decides to continue his adventure-seeking with his kids, and takes them paragliding. He and his kids seem happy, and I'm glad to see he is doing well at home.

I don't think next week is makeover week yet, so we still have at least one more episode of Austin's ugly beard.  By the way, it's time for me to get serious now, all of the women on The Biggest Loser are now weighing less (and looking better) than I do. The theme this week is tracking, and it's about time I got consistent with that...

Any predictions of who will be in the final four? My picks: Rulon, Hannah, Austin, and Irene. Irene is almost never on camera but she consistently loses week after week.  Same for Austin. Hannah and Rulon have been hyped from the beginning and both are incredible athletes.  I love Olivia but I think at some point she will want to go home to her husband and start making babies.  And Kaylee just doesn't have enough weight to lose to stay much longer.  I'm rooting for Hannah to win it all.


  1. Re: "The moves are beautiful and I would love to learn it, but it doesn't look great for weight loss."

    A capoeira circle can be very aerobically demanding. It depends on the players.

    (I haven't watched TBL since I don't own a tv, so I don't know how intense the contestants' practice got. From your description it sounds like they were taking it easy.)

  2. Great review, Jen! You made me laugh out with your first sentence. Too funny.

    I adore Hannah. I hope she wins it, too. Irene is the biggest loser so far, right? I barely even knew her name until this week--they've ignored her almost the entire season. I have no idea what her story is. That is so weird.

    I can't wait for Austin's hair cut & shave. I hope he's in the final four.

    And, um, yeah, they all look really good and I'm feeling the same way as you are--they look a lot better than me. It's time to kick it into gear. I do like that the girls can weigh 165 pounds and still look fabulous on TV. B/c they are 165 FIT pounds. That muscle looks great on them.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. Your words are always insightful and supportive. I appreciate you very much!!

  3. oops, typo... "laugh out loud."

  4. excellent review....:)

    and I totally agree with you about the beard. It's time to see it go!


"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