This week, Danni is no longer the only single contestant. There is no more hiding behind team members. The yellow line finally makes an appearance. I think that this is the time where the show really gets real. I don't like to see contestants letting their teams carry them, so I am not sure why the yellow line wasn't there earlier.
Players get multicolored shirts, with no player given one of the original three team colors. I thought it was interesting that Danni was given pink, which was a color worn by both the first female winner, Ali, and Michelle, who was another female winner. Giving Danni this shirt seemed to be a strong message that she was the current favorite. Other players seemed to be given colors that looked good with their eyes (Jeff) or complexion (Frangelina, Gina, Alex). My husband noticed that Jeff, the former football player, got the color of his college football team. Jackson, who wears a Livestrong bracelet, got a truly hideous yellow that matched it.
Because the teams were gone, trainers got to choose to work with new players. Jillian takes another crack at Jeff, who keeps quitting even though he admits he is not tired. It's obvious that he knows her strategy of using physical exhaustion to break down emotional barriers and is having none of it. When she confronts him later, we get a sense of his buried grief and anger at the death of his father and the responsibilities he had to take on as the only boy. It reinforced the idea that this show isn't (or at least shouldn't) be just about dieting and calorie burn. The contestants who uncover and deal with their deeper issues are the ones who seem most able to maintain their weight loss. When I met Pete Thomas, I learned for the first time that he had been abandoned by his drug-addicted mother to fend for himself when he was about five years old. The fact that he could talk about it and had learned to forgive his mother probably plays as big a role in his incredible maintenance as anything he does in the gym.
Probably because of their anxiety about switching to singles, Alex and Frangelina give in to a Valentine's Day-themed temptation and eat more than 1000 calories of cupcakes, candy, and brownies each. Most of the other contestants didn't touch the food, and Danni even used the time to get in a few extra crunches on the floor. The funny thing was that, because they hadn't had any sugar for weeks, they were not enjoying the food, but choking it down. Alex lost the challenge by a few calories because she couldn't force herself to finish a sugary brownie. Frangelina won by consuming almost 1200 calories of junk, and got a 2-pound advantage for herself and a 2-pound advantage for another player of her choice. She shared it with Alex. This "prize for you and for a player of your choice" really stirs up the gameplay element of the show. Jackson seemed upset that Frangelina gave the advantage to Alex instead of him. Game on.
There was another "prize for you and the player of your choice" option in the challenge, which was a very weird one. I was reminded of the game Tron when I watched the players run around a dark hockey stadium (no ice) wearing suits with luminescent strips in their different colors, chasing spotlights. I thought the final four in this competition would probably be the final four for Biggest Loser. Danni won the challenge but gave her prize to Michael after giving Gina the prize she was supposed to give away. I thought that was a great strategic move, and Michael was thrilled to see his family. I wondered, though, if that introduced feelings of ambivalence that contributed to his less-than-stellar weight loss this week.
When it comes down to Michael and Frangelina, I thought it was interesting that the players who had been given favors or had alliances did not necessarily consider those in their decisions. It really proves that gameplay and alliances are not the secret to success on this show. Players who focus on their weight loss rather than silly games are the ones who succeed. The good news is, the eliminated player has made weight loss a family affair and has continued to succeed.