I didn't notice a title on this week's Biggest Loser episode, but if I were to title it myself, I'd call it "Find Your Fire," because we see the kids and some of the adult contestants discovering their passions and drives. Other contestants seem to be lacking that energy and spark.
The adults on the ranch had to take care of themselves this week as the trainers flew off to check on the kids at home. Each of the trainers seems to have been charged with planning a special experience for the kid on their team.
Sunny, the oldest of the three kids, confessed to Jillian that she wants to be more than a "smart Indian kid" and branch out and try new things. She is so worried about disappointing her parents and their expectation that she will attend an Ivy League school become a doctor that she stresses herself out with studying and doesn't do much else. Her mother says that Sunny doesn't have to worry about being a disappointment, that they love and support her no matter what, which was a nice moment. Jillian takes her to an introductory crew workshop for beginners in her hometown. Sunny seems like a natural rower, Jillian not so much. Rowing seems like a good choice of activity for a girl who wants to go to an Ivy League college, and it might help her work off some of her stress so she's not dipping into the M&Ms.
Biingo (until this episode I didn't realize this was how he spelled his name) has a similarly cool experience practicing pitching in his local minor-league stadium with a real professional pitcher. I was really impressed with his pitching -- granted I don't know much about baseball, but he looked like he had great form. It was obvious that he was really happy out there on the field. His home situation seemed a little bleak -- he and his parents are staying in his uncle's basement because his dad can't find construction work. I really hope that the parents and kids are getting some compensation for being on the show, because they aren't competing for prizes and they're making big bucks for NBC.
I have to admit that my heart sunk when Dolvett chose to take Lindsay to work out with some cheerleaders in her Biggest Loser t-shirt. I know that Lindsay has a dream of being a cheerleader some day, but I think that another experience would have been more productive. I would have liked to see her build her confidence with sports or other activities that don't center so much on looking cute in a short skirt. Dolvett's empty platitudes about "living your dreams" and "people aren't going to judge you" are not in touch with the reality of mean girls who might hug her when the cameras are on but then laugh at her when the TV crews leave. The fact that Lindsay was bullied by the cheerleaders at her middle school should have tipped Dolvett off that this wasn't a great idea. I think it would have been fine to have her visit the cheerleaders later, when she was feeling a little less fragile and more self-assured.
A couple of the adult contestants really stepped it up in their trainers' absence. Jackson, who has been sick and a mess since the show started actually took on the role of leading his group and seemed to change overnight. When asked about it, he said, "I've always been a ripped, bald, Black man on the inside." It was a funny moment. The white team members also seemed to be in great form, especially during the 5K, where Danni took first place and Pam took third, despite Pam's dislike of running. They got to split the $15,000 prize only two ways, so being part of a small team isn't all bad. Pam's weird mannerisms and attention-seeking behavior really bugged me in this episode, but Danni is solid. I can see her making it all the way to the finals.
Other contestants, including the entire Blue Team, seemed to use the trainers' absence as a chance to slack off. Joe, who was a star football player and even played in the NFL, seems to really be holding back too. When Dolvett returns and confronts him, asking how he could be doing so poorly with his athletic past, I realized that was probably what Joe says to himself every day. I think he is going to have a hard time moving forward until he forgives himself. Going from being a football player to a "senior sales executive" is enough explanation for weight gain -- it would be really hard to adjust to eating for a normal person's lifestyle.
I am really impressed with how athletic some of the contestants are starting to seem. I think we are going to start seeing some real transformation soon. Overall, I am really enjoying this season so far.