As usual, proceed at your own risk.
The challenge in this episode is one of my least favorite kinds, the "Gang up on your enemy" challenge, this time to see what player is spending a week away from the ranch. It allows players to make their friends and enemies clear. It was fun to see rivals Joe and Danni both taking care of each other before helping other players. They seem to realize, in a way that other players don't, that strong competition makes them better. It is clear from this challenge that most players want to get rid of Gina after her ridiculous behavior last week. At the last minute, however, Jackson steps up and volunteers to be sent away instead. He wants the chance to spend time off the ranch before he is sent home to troubleshoot any problems and have a chance to deal with them. At the last minute, Allison adds that a second player of Jackson's choice will be going with him, and he seems at a loss until Jeff volunteers. If Jeff can't get away from Gina by sending her away, he will take himself away. Jeff and Jackson seem to get along pretty well, and it wasn't clear what other player Jackson had a connection with now that Francelina is gone.
(By the way, didn't Francelina look great in her photos?)
Jeff and Jackson's house is a nice but modest ranch in some generic neighborhood with a small inground pool, a few pieces of exercise equipment, and empty cupboards for Jeff and Jackson to fill by going shopping. They seem to make virtuous choices with food and make the best of their lackluster equipment by going out hiking and doing some interesting garbage-can-themed workouts. Still, we get the sense that they are not doing the kind of intense workout they get on the ranch. Jeff says he volunteered for the "mancation" because he fears failure, and when we see the life he was living back home, we get a sense that he was not living, but just existing. When we see where Jeff started, it's amazing how far he has come.
All of the contestants, and the kids, are given chances to face their fears. Interestingly, we never see what Alex's fear is. She has always seemed a bit shy, and maybe her biggest fear was something that wasn't appropriate to air on national television, or maybe it just didn't make for interesting TV.
Gina's fear of close spaces was engineered by Jillian into getting into a coffin for 20 minutes with the lid closed. Jillian says that by quitting and quitting, Gina is not facing the changes she needs to make and is on her way to dying. There are enough hints here to suggest some relationship issues or other issues that Gina is avoiding dealing with by inventing fake drama. Gina claims that she has never been in a situation where people don't like her before coming to the ranch, but then lists a string of relationships she has ruined with her crazy behavior. She claims that last week "wasn't me," but it seems pretty obvious that she didn't just start this behavior when she got to the ranch. When she can't control a relationship, she sabotages it.
I didn't really understand what Bob was doing with Joe and swimming in the ocean. 500 yards is not that far for a strong swimmer like Joe, but without goggles? And Joe's fear of sharks does not seem completely unreasonable considering that he lived in a gulf coast state, so I'm not sure why Bob says that's not his real fear.
My favorite was Jillian's intervention with Danni, forcing her to get onstage to sing. I was shocked when Danni chose to sing "The Star Spangled Banner," which is a notoriously difficult song, with it's high and low notes. She may just get a lot of baseball game gigs after this performance, though, because she did very well. It was clear that her fear was more about being seen than singing.
The challenges with the kids all fell flat to me. Sunni's fear is talking to her mom about her weight, but her mom should not have had to have such a difficult and embarrassing conversation on national TV. I felt bad for her. Her original angry reaction seemed honest, and then it seemed she was given a script so that the TV audience could feel that the conversation worked. I don't think that she was really happy about any of it. Biingo's fear of vegetables was pretty strange, and it looked like Bob's solution worked fine but was a lot of work. I am hoping that eventually Biingo will be able to eat vegetables without having them turned into baby food and snuck into his meat (p.s. why not just use baby food rather than homemade purees?). I have learned to like veggies after being similarly veggie-phobic, so there is hope. Finally, Lindsay's talk with a guidance counselor that has diabetes was probably the most successful of the kid interventions. At least she didn't have to work with the cheerleaders again.
The challenge this week was another Biggest Loser staple, the "hold onto something for dear life" challenge, this time while dangled off the side of a building on a diving-board-style platform. The diving-board things actually hit a couple of contestants in the face as they fell. I was rooting for Danni to get immunity, but it was Gina. Interestingly, without immunity, Gina definitely would have been under the line at the weigh-in. That challenge saved her.
I was amazed by the weigh-in numbers this week. Everyone had incredibly big losses. It seems to be partly a result of the terrible numbers last week (again, I suspected some players held back in the hopes of ditching Gina), but even Danni had her second big loss in a row. My husband has observed that at some point in the season, the losses really accelerate. We also saw the contestants in their girdles for the first time in the season. Everyone looks better with a little Lycra. I was not at all surprised about the player who was sent home, because I had just observed that besides Gina, there was only one player I wouldn't miss much. I did feel bad for the player when I saw the at-home scenes, which just confirmed some earlier observations I had made about relationships that might have made weight loss difficult for that player.