'Biggest Loser' Recap: And Then There Were Four

Jennifer L. Nelson

Have you ever seen grown men whisper and connive -- and, later, cry like a bunch of little girls? If not, then last night's episode of The Biggest Loser was your chance.

This marks the final week for the contestants on the ranch. Alison announced that six would become four by the end of the episode, with both a yellow and a red line at the weigh-in to determine who would nab a coveted spot as one of the season's last four contestants. The men responded to the news by patting themselves on the back for coming *thisclose* to the final four, while simultaneously plotting who they planned to kick off next.

As the season edges closer and closer to the finale, show producers always seem to turn up the inspiration dial. And from tear-filled meetings between the resident "Dr. H" and Frado, who was told he no longer needs any of the dozen pills and shots he was taking to manage diabetes, to Mark's realization that can finally plan the "adventure trips" he has always wanted to take with his father (who is battling melanoma), this season was no exception.

While all of the contestants' last-week-on-the-ranch epiphanies are certainly inspiring, what I find even more crucial is when the show backs off from the warm fuzzy moments just a bit and infuses The Biggest Loser with a bit of reality. That's exactly what Bob and Jillian did when they started sharing the cold, hard truth about weight loss in the real world with the contestants.

Jillian reminded the six remaining players that nobody has had a chance to adopt coping mechanisms for maintaining their motivation despite the demands of kids, spouses, work, laundry, mortgages, and all of their other responsibilities, while Bob remarked that since they've all "seen the wizard," so to speak, they'll never again find bliss in ignorance -- and will always struggle to hold on to the new sense of self they've developed in the past three months.

These kinds of philosophical chats may not necessarily make for good television, but they certainly hit home for those of us who are constantly battling that wavering motivation to eat right and hit the gym every day. Chomping on salads and carving out time with the treadmill aren't nearly as exciting as cooking with Curtis Stone or competing in a pop challenge hosted by 21-year-old Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin, as the players did this week. They may be spared grueling six-hour workouts and the ranting and raving of Jillian Michaels upon their return home, but when they're too exhausted to head to the gym after work or feel their pants getting tighter from one too many cupcakes at their kids' birthday parties, they'll want nothing more than to return to the fantasyland bubble that is The Biggest Loser ranch.

That's why it bugs me so much to watch players like Brendan brokering deals in darkened rooms to further his position in the game, and why I continue to root for Ada as she battles her physical and emotional battles one week at a time. It was her focus and determination that helped her clinch the one-pound advantage and brand-new home gym prize from this week's classic Biggest Loser challenge, which required players to carry packs filled with all the weight they've lost thus far while completing the same physical feats that earned them a spot on the show in the first place: mile runs and step-ups.

Here's where it gets really good. While Frado and Patrick killed it at the weigh-in (15 pounds and 12 pounds, respectively), their BFFs Brendan and Mark didn't fare quite so well. Brendan dropped just five pounds, fell below the red line, and was immediately dismissed from the ranch, while Mark's seven-pound loss put him in danger of elimination along with -- who else -- Elizabeth.

And my, my, how quickly the "friendships" unraveled. Mark strutted into the elimination room fully confident that his buddies would save him over Elizabeth, who had fallen below the yellow line for the eighth time this season.

Wrong. Patrick delivered the third vote that sent Mark home, and he seemed truly aghast that his pals would vote to eliminate him from the game ... the man who has held on to the highest percentage of weight loss since the first weigh-in. Shocking.

What do you think of the last four players left standing: Ada, Frado, Elizabeth, and Patrick?

Image via ET Online

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