Welcome, one and all, to Week Four, in which Don swears, someone eats fried chicken, and Alison wears a cardigan that borders on a good wardrobe choice! Cara and Brett are actually in the opening sequence this week! Color me excited. I'm not going to give too much away, now, though. You're just going to have to read for yourselves.
After last week, everyone is upset at the idea that Dan and Don would throw the weigh-in. Since Dan is gone, everyone turns on Don to vent his or her spleen. Well, some do. Good eggs, like Hannah, ask Don what they can possibly to do help him, so that he never has a gain week this extreme again. Others, like Marci, read him a guilt trip and tell him how selfish he is. I feel kind of bad for Don. It's hard to believe that he didn't throw the week, but it's also hard to watch everyone refuse to believe him.
The next day, Alison shows up at the gym, and while her dark blue cardigan is sparkly, it is not totally outrageous and bewildering. Points for Alison! With a background of dramatic music, Alison informs the Ranch contestants that one team is going to be leaving the Ranch and training with the Unknowns for a week. Everyone, of course, has a complete heart attack about how sudden and unexpected this is. Alison then reveals that the team that gets sent away will be chosen during this week's temptation challenge. In a huge, walk-in cooler are stacks of each contestant's favorite, tempting foods. Arthur has a stack of supreme pizzas, at 631 calories a slice. Don has chocolate cake, 590. Jesse has fried chicken, Courtney and Marci have BBQ ribs, Jen has mac-n-cheese, and Jay has every fried Chinese food known to man. Just watching the camera lovingly pan over those stacks of food makes me want to order some take-out, but then I'm missing the whole point of the show, aren't I?
Alison tells the contestants that each team will be locked in with their favorite tempting foods for three minutes. The team that consumes the highest amount of calories in that given time gets to pick which team is sent to the Unknowns for the week. Is it just me, or is this akin to some kind of sick torture?
First up is Aqua. Predictably, they decide not to eat anything. Courtney wisely points out that, after going home, she is going to be tempted all the time, so why start giving in now? Green likewise agrees not to eat and to just let the chips fall where they may. Purple also agrees not to eat. Irene and Don, as the two singles, are paired together and they agree not to eat. Honestly, this was not a big surprise for me because, as Don said himself, he would have to be a fool to eat anything after the drama of last week's weigh-in.
When Blue walks in, though, everything changes. At first I think that Arthur is about to give in to the temptation of the supreme pizzas, but he has something savvier in mind. Arthur tells Jesse that he doesn't want to let his fate rest in anyone else's hands. Despite Jesse's protestations, Arthur eats one fried chicken leg at 150 calories, and they win. Arthur picks the Green team to go train with the Unknowns because he trusts them to go, work hard, and then put up a great number at the end of the week. Jen and Jay appear somewhat bummed but mostly confident, and they head out.
When Jen and Jay show up in Unknown territory, everyone acts completely shocked. Cara and Brett open and close their pretty mouths in bewilderment. They say, "What are you guys doing here?" in a way that makes me want to send a note to the producers to give Cara and Brett some extra acting classes.
Maybe Brett is a better actor than I think, though. See if you can discern between his truths and lies here:
We watch some footage of Brett and Cara working Jen and Jay out to see what kind of shape they're in. I'm intrigued to see what Jen and Jay have to say about the trainers, since up until this point on the show they are the only ones to have worked with both sets. However, all Jen and Jay will say is that Brett and Cara have "different techniques, but no less enthusiasm." Come on, guys, that's all you've got for me?
Good Cop, Bad Cop
Back at the Ranch, Bob and Jillian are yelling at Don. Poor Don. Bob is offended! Jillian is just angry. I love watching them good cop, bad cop like this. They're masters. Bob shakes his head and looks down at the ground and practices looking wounded, while Jillian paces around and screams. She also squats a lot. What is it with Jillian and squatting every time she's mad? I don't get it.
Remember how Jillian likes to pretend that she is a therapist? She tells the camera that she, "hates when [contestants] lie," screams at Dan for throwing the weigh-in despite his protestations, and then switches gears. "You can't express one f*#*%ing emotion!" she yells. "You're afraid to be angry! You're afraid to question your life!" Because Jillian isn't just a weight-loss coach. She can see into your soul. Apparently. She tells Don to let loose and tell her exactly what he thinks of her. I love it. Polite Don, the mild-mannered police officer, tells the camera to, "Get the bleeps ready," and then yells at Jillian for not believing him, for accusing him and for attempting to soil his reputation. Jillian gets her wise-guru face on and nods, like this is exactly what she wanted. "And how did that feel, Don?" she says, when he is finished. "It felt fine," says Don. I am dying. That has to be the most mediocre reaction to a bleep-fest in reality TV history, and the camera can hardly pan away from Jillian's bewildered face fast enough.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the gym, Bob is doing his own lovey-dovey trainer thing with Arthur. Watch the footage here!
Courtney must feel bad for Jillian, because she comes to her with an emotional problem immediately afterwards. She tells Jillian that she wants to talk to her about her mother, which comes as a total shock to both Jillian and myself, because from what I can see, Marci and Courtney are awesome and close. Courtney tells Jillian that she is struggling with the feeling that she is a disappointment to her mother because of her weight. Jillian tells Courtney that sometimes children perceive their parent's attempts to help them as disappointment, because they perceive that an attempt to help means that something is wrong with them. Courtney hasn't talked to her mom about this, but she resolves to as soon as possible. Jillian gets her wise-guru face on again.
Back at the Unknowns location, Jen and Jay give us the inside scoop on the difference between the two locations. Apparently the show is attempting to rename this place "Fitness Ridge," but after calling it the "Unknown Training Location" for so long, I am loath to succumb to this new name.
On Fitness Ridge, the contestants' meals are cooked for them, whereas on the Ranch the contestants cook for themselves. Also, Fitness Ridge has a maid service, which I guess is nice but I'm not sure how it contributes to anyone losing weight.
We watch a lot of footage of Jen and Jay doing some boxing exercises, and then Brett and Cara remind us, as if we could forget, that this is the last week before they have to move to the Ranch with everyone else. Immunity is up soon, and things are about to get really real, really fast.
Courtney sits down with Marci to talk about "this whole disappointment thing." She lets her mom know that she feels like a disappointment, and that when her mother points out how people discriminate against her because of her weight, it doesn't help anything. Marci tearfully tells Courtney that she never felt that Courtney was a disappointment to her. She admits that, being in the fitness industry, she was ultra-sensitive to issues concerning Courtney's weight. She apologizes and tells Courtney that she is proud of her for having the guts to confront her own mother. Courtney says, "People will always stereotype us, but the people who love us will always be the only ones who matter." Maybe The Biggest Loser should hire Courtney as a writer when the season is over. The girl knocks it out of the park every single time.
Alison is wearing a leather vest with a plaid shirt and a questionable hat! You know what that means! Yes, ladies and gents, it is time for another challenge. When the Ranch team shows up for the challenge, they are surprised to see Jen and Jay but no one else from the Unknowns. Alison explains. In front of them is a table filled with the same fattening foods from earlier. Jen and Jay, representing all of the Unknowns, and the Ranch team working as a team, have to guess what the combined caloric intake is for those foods.
The challenge combines knowledge with guesswork and physical strength. Both teams are given six-foot numerals that they have to attach, one at a time, to a platform that is then attached to a 70-foot rig. Once they hoist one numeral, lights on the rig flash to indicate if they are right, too low or two high. Once they get the first numeral right, they can move on, one at a time, until the full caloric amount is seventy-feet up in the air, so everyone can see and enjoy it. Alison tells them that the number is four digits and ensures everyone that the Ranch team's giant numerals are four times heavier than Jen and Jay's, just to make things fair. Then she informs them that they will be playing for letters from home, and they're off! The Ranch team has really stepped up their teamwork skills since that first, disastrous challenge. However, all their teamwork involves them yelling their choices loudly at each other, which they realize belatedly might not be the best strategy, since Jay and Jen can hear them. Duh, Ranch team.
The first correct digit goes to the Ranch team and it is an eight. On the second digit, both teams guess too low before Green rallies with a seven, the second correct digit. The Green team also gets the third numeral, a five, correctly. However, the last digit is anyone's game because it has the biggest variability, no? There is a huge difference between 8,000 calories, but not a huge difference between, say, 8,759 and 8,751. Both teams are basically neck in neck, but finally the Ranch team pulls through with the final correct number of four. Their letters from home burst out of the rig and rain down on them. It's so heartwarming to see how happy everyone is, especially Don, since he's had a rough week and we already know that he's homesick.
Everyone hugs the Green team, because they're still in their Biggest Loser family and they're sad that they won't get any letters. Jen and Jay talk about how disappointing it is to lose a challenge, especially when they lose something for their entire, albeit adopted, team. Watch them deliver the news here:
Letters from Home
On a more cheerful note, everyone on the Ranch team is crying with joy as they read their letters. Arthur gets a letter from his daughter. Olivia gets a letter from her husband. Marci gets a letter from her husband and Courtney's dad. Don even gets a small note from the son who disowned him, telling him that he is proud of him for trying to improve his life. Then Don's face turns into President Obama and I am confused until I realize that the show has been cut by an hour this week to make room for the State of the Union address. I guess we have to wait until next week to see how Jen and Jay did over on Fitness Ridge. But, you can get a sneak peek here:
(Image courtesy of NBC)