'Biggest Loser' Recap: Let the Emotional Trauma Begin

Jennifer L. Nelson
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Brace yourselves: there was yet another change in the game this week on The Biggest Loser. After just one week playing as teams of two, the teams have been broken up and the contestants are finally fending for themselves -- and, interestingly enough, they're split equally between men and women.

This is the point in the show when things start to get good. There's no one else to save your butt, and the contestants are finally left to wade through the sea of emotional issues that landed them on this show all on their own.

After Bob expressed his displeasure at the male contestants for voting to send Jesse and Aaron home -- and wiping the floor with Brendan and Patrick at the gym, which I have to admit was rather entertaining -- the trainers announced that each contestant would be receiving videos from their families and friends to help remind them of the reasons they're on the ranch.

The only problem was that Ada didn't get one. Her family apparently opted not to participate. How messed up is that?

Earlier this season, it came out that Ada's little brother drowned in a pool when she was just 3 years old; her parents allegedly always blamed her for his death. She has also endured a lifetime of discrimination by her stereotypically petite Asian family due to her plus-size stature. So she wasn't surprised and took it all in stride, but the gang still decided to come together and create a video for Ada as her "new family." Sweet.

Okay, so Ada has definitely become my favorite -- she puts the men to shame in the gym, and her motivation to change her life seems unshakable. She sets goals for herself and actually achieves them. She channeled the pain of her missing video from home into beating her own mile time on the treadmill and winning the weigh-in with her eight-pound loss this week.

I find her to be endlessly inspiring; sadly, she's the only remaining contestant who elicits that particular emotion in me. Typically when we get to this point in the season, the remaining contestants are strong, motivated, and determined -- not only to have confetti rain down upon them at the show's finale, but to win their personal battle of the bulge once and for all.

Frankly I'm disappointed by most of the players left standing, who seem to think they can get by on their good looks and personality -- and, of course, their personal alliances. I fear for what becomes of them when they return home and are no longer being pushed around by two loud-mouthed trainers in the gym, and their buddies are across the country looking out for their own wives and kids and families.

I consider Ada and her story just one more bit of evidence that when it comes to losing weight and committing to a healthy lifestyle, you are absolutely the only person you can rely on to make the change. I can assure you that nobody controls what goes into my mouth or how many minutes I spend at the gym but me, and I love this point in the show because it's only when the teams are disbanded that everyone seems to realize that they're truly alone in their weight loss journey and will have to figure out how to make this new lifestyle work for them.

In the initial challenge to earn them a spot on the show, the contestants were prompted to complete 500 step-ups. Elizabeth never actually finished; she fainted and was rushed to the hospital, only to make it to the ranch when trainers Bob and Jillian were given the opportunity to select one contestant to invite back on the show. In an effort to make Elizabeth realize that she deserves to be on the ranch as much as the other players -- and thus needs to work as hard as her competitors do -- Jillian made the others gather 'round and watch Elizabeth complete the step-up challenge again ... without her eyes rolling back in her head. For the first time, I saw the slightest flicker of realization in Elizabeth's eyes that oh yeah, she's on a reality weight loss show. And, oh yeah, she actually needs to do something. Bob singled her out at the gym for a beat down later in the episode, commanding her to be his shadow ... because he's sick of watching her "just get by." So am I.

With the exception of Mark, the boys dropped like flies in a challenge that required the contestants to balance themselves on narrow beams above a pool for increasing lengths of time. He competed against Ada and Lisa for a one-pound advantage at the weigh-in, and was ultimately the only one who stayed dry.

Most contestants step on the scale each week and say something like, "I know I worked hard, so let's just see what happens." Brendan, on the other hand, marched up to the scale at the weigh-in and said he's not nervous at all because he has made his alliances and nothing will ever change that. I'm annoyed that he's still here, and I'm annoyed that Lisa is still here; when asked by Bob if she has decided that she does, in fact, want to remain on the ranch after her six-pound loss this week, she responded with a fairly casual "yeah, I'd like to finish this now." Well, how nice for her! Too bad several contestants who would have killed for just one more day on the ranch were sent home to secure her current position.

Jessica ended up losing one pound. She chalked it up to the fact that she's sad Jesse went home last week. Seems more than a tad ridiculous to me, but at least Jessica admitted that she depends on others to support her and relies on them a bit too much for her own success. Elizabeth, on the other hand, still seems completely clueless that she's the exact same way.

Needless to say, I'm extra annoyed that Elizabeth -- once again -- escaped elimination. For the seventh time! How does this keep happening? Oh, I know ... she has her buddies Brendan and Frado to protect her. I'm sure they genuinely care about Elizabeth, and that it has nothing to do with the fact that she's not even remotely a threat to their ability to claim the title of "The Biggest Loser" and a $250,000 grand prize.

Jessica's parting words to her fellow contestants were laden with emotion: she came to the ranch to learn how to get healthy and grow as a person, and she proceeded to go home and give a speech in front of all her friends and family to the same effect. She knows there's lots more work to be done, and remains committed to continuing her journey.

I just don't want to see contestants make it to the final four who don't get that (ahem, Lisa, ahem, Elizabeth, ahem, Brendan) -- and who don't seem to care about getting it.

What do you think about the remaining players now that they're competing as singles?


Image via ET Online


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