'Biggest Loser' Recap: The Few. The Proud.

Jennifer L. Nelson

On last night's truncated episode of The Biggest Loser, the contestants were shipped off to a United States Marine Corps training facility -- Camp Pendleton, the largest on the West Coast -- for some hard core boot camp training. They were told that they would "walk, talk, and act" just like United States Marines ... oh, and sweat like 'em, too.

I have to say, I never realized just how crucial that extra hour is to the show. Thanks to election coverage, everything was noticeably rushed -- including the weigh-in and elimination, which lend the show most of its drama.

And drama there was. Despite a week of rigid schedules, pre-dawn workouts, and three-mile obstacle courses, last night marked the worst weigh-in in the history of The Biggest Loser.

Surprisingly, it was Bob who got all bent out of shape and started grumbling at contestants like Lisa, who lost two pounds, and Jesse and Elizabeth, who gained one each, for their "unacceptable" scale results. Meanwhile, Jillian played good cop and soothed even Frado -- who, believe it or not, is a former Marine -- after his whopping four pound weight gain this week. Frado had host Alison all up in arms because he started apologizing for his gain before even setting foot on the scale, while Jillian simply chalked it up to a change in environment, lack of adequate sleep, and, of course, mess hall meals.

I was a little surprised by the very brief shots of the contestants eating this week -- not one thing they were noshing on at the military base looked even remotely edible, let alone healthy. I would think show producers would go out of their way to demonstrate the fact that these still very overweight people require the proper fuel just to survive intense Marine Corps workouts -- but, then again, we rarely get to see the contestants dining in their own kitchen on the ranch, unless they're doing a paid spot for Jennie-O turkey breast or Fiber One cereal.

If there's one thing I dislike about my favorite reality show, it's that it often seems only to focus on the "move more" aspect of weight loss, and hardly ever zeroes in on the complete eating habit overhaul required for many of us to begin shedding weight. Instead of a birds-eye view of people puking on the treadmill or close-ups of sweat and snot running down their faces, I for one wouldn't mind the chance to get a glimpse of what they're eating before their gym sessions to power through those grueling five-hour workouts.

As each player pulled on 30-pound weighted backpacks to begin an obstacle course challenge that included pushing combat vehicles and carrying "injured" Marines, they were urged to offer the same regard for their teammates as soldiers do. In the words of one sergeant, that meant the teams were only as strong as their weakest link ... and if one person fell behind, the rest of the team was expected to turn right around and join them.

The teams were given the opportunity to redistribute the weight in their packs however they liked, and while the black team opted to load up their men, the blue team made the decision to let each contestant pull their own weight (so to speak). Unfortunately, the black team's strategy did nothing for Elizabeth, who once again collapsed after complaining she wasn't able to breathe. My thought is that if her asthma is as bad as she claims, they would never have offered her a place on a show that requires such strenuous physical activity. It's downright dangerous. I suppose I'm mainly suspicious because her "attacks" only seem to arrive at opportune times, and even Jillian remarked on a previous episode that there's "nothing wrong" with her.

That's all the more reason why I was shocked when the black team lost the weigh-in and  elected to send Anna home instead of Elizabeth, who notoriously drops small numbers on the scale and holds the entire team back in challenges. Anna is the contestant who lost the majority of her weight at home before winning a chance to compete on the ranch; though she shed a respectable 39 pounds on her own, she hasn't managed to drop more than a couple of pounds each week as a contestant on the show. So while it seems Anna is better off doing whatever she was doing at home, it's pretty clear that Elizabeth's adorable little alliance with the men on her team is starting to seriously hinder the black team's ability to compete against the blue.

Despite being too short for my liking, I was completely on board with the lessons of last night's episode: put your mind to something, and never, ever give up. Oh, and anything's possible! Still well over 300 pounds, Patrick wasn't the only contestant who expressed concern about not being able to keep up with the Marines ... but then even Elizabeth eventually managed to make her way to the end of the obstacle course. Aaron said he always wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps by entering the military, but his weight kept him from enlisting -- and yet this week he did a whole lot more then keep up. He lost more than his entire team combined: 14 pounds!

What did you think about last night's otherwise disappointing weigh-in results?


Image via ET Online

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