I have to say that I am loving the one-hour format. It gets rid of all the fluff. I also like that they moved the "where are they now?" segment to the beginning of the episode instead of the end. By the end of a TBL episode, I'm tired and have a hard time focusing on the transformation story, and getting that at the beginning starts the episode off on a high note. Fernanda looked great. It was fun to see her dressed up in a sexy red dress to go out with her husband -- they met when they were 15!! It has to be fun for them to have a little spark again. She has a much more impressive career than most TBL contestants, so she was probably glad to get back to work.
Other than that, I found this week's episode a little dull. The big gimmick for the week, the gym auction, fell a little flat to me as the trainers are experts and should be able to use whatever equipment they have available (or no equipment at all) to give the contestants a good workout. Jillian, for example, seems to use her own body as a weight about 75% of the time. I agreed with the Blue Team that buying treadmills (especially in sunny Southern California) was not that great of an investment, but Jillian does tend to have her team run sprints on them.
The "Mystery Box" gimmick seeemed especially silly. It really made the whole auction ridiculous.
After my negative comments about Tanya last week, I felt really bad for her this week after I learned how her mother abused her, especially when she got complimented. I understand that it must have been hard for a very young mother to see her daughter getting attention, but there is no excuse for hitting a child. Earlier in the show, I had been complaining about Dolvett enabling her attention-seeking behaivor (Jillian once said she never gives attention to contestants when they quit, because that only encourages more quitting, and that seemed doubly true here if Tanya has a thing for Dovlett), but her desire to have someone "save" her makes more sense after hearing her history.
There was also the whole story with Matt this week and his postponed wedding. The contestants all got to call home to talk to their families, and I admired Matt's fiancee for telling him that she wanted him to keep his head in the game and stop feeling guilty for leaving her behind.
The only other thing that really stood out to me was the interchange with Holley and Hap -- Bob wanted Holly to get on Hap's back, and she said that she has weighed more than 300 pounds since she was 8 years old and doesn't "do" piggyback rides. That seems sensible enough, but surprisingly, Hap was able to carry her when she finally gave in -- strong dude! Holley, despite her celebrity status, has not been featured much in these episodes so far. Maybe she doesn't have a lot of personality or is just shy in front of the camera (which is what it seems like with the clips we have gotten so far). Or, maybe she is going to be featured more later. She has, apparently, done reality TV before. I was thinking that she was the Olympian discussed as having trouble finding sponsors because of her size, but that was Sarah Robles. Still, women's power lifting doesn't have a big audience in the U.S., and Holley doesn't seem to be living a glamorous lifestyle either, given the NY Times' story that describes her sleeping under a drying rack hung with medals and "her enormous brassieres" in her trainer's basement. I was thinking, though, that having a big personality is probably just as important for winning sponsorships as having good looks or (unfortunately sometimes secondarily for women) big athletic success. It's hard to imagine Holley ever being an attention-seeker -- she just seems too down-to-earth.
The contestants all seemed down this week -- I imagine that this week's weigh-in slump had more to do with them feeling lonely and homesick than with the gym equipment issues. Also, by week three they have all dropped the water weight, but haven't had time to develop the muscle that allows for big weight losses in the later part of the season.
Right now, I'm itching for makeover week. I want them to teach Holley to wear lipstick without sticking her lips out like a duck, and shave off David's ugly beard, and make Jay ditch the Garth Brooks hat.