Contestants 'Hop' to it on 'Biggest Loser'
Contestants 'Hop' to it on 'Biggest Loser'
Eleanor Bryan
Eleanor Bryan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Kaylee starts the episode off by apologizing to everyone for trying to make things happen the way she wanted to at the last weigh-in. That'll teach you to mess with the working structure of reality television, Kaylee! Moses swiftly chimes in and saves Kaylee's neck by telling everyone that the reason she was so sick of the Ranch was gameplay. He advocates that everyone appreciate their time at the Ranch as much as they possibly can. Everyone immediately forgets their anger at Kaylee and devolves into mumbling about "new beginnings", "fresh starts" and "making the most of opportunities." Smooth move, Moses.

Fun New Friends!
Alison meets the team in the gym and everyone acts stunned, for the four-millionth time, to see her there. Alison tells them all how far they've come -- 1,118 combined pounds, to be specific. She plays them some footage of them accepting the opportunity to be at the Ranch. Everyone gets emotional when staring at their former selves. I guess this is the first time in a long time they've come face-to-face with what they used to look like.

Then, Alison asks them to think about the twelfth team, the team that didn't make it onto the Ranch. She asks them all to think about the opportunity this team didn't get to have. So then, logically, Alison decides to bring that other team in. It's a testament to how incredibly sick everyone is of the randomness of this season that no one appears surprised or excited by this new change. All the faces just seem set on exhaustion and annoyance.

The new team is Vance and Leann, a mother and son team from Utah. They tell everyone about their lives, how Vance wants to train to be a medical technician but his weight hinders him from achieving his dreams. Then, we see footage of Alison telling them that they didn't make the show, way back in the beginning. She tells them that, if they try to lose the weight at home, they can have a shot at making it onto the show later in the season. Now is their chance.

Kaylee has the lowest percentage of weight lost so far. Alison tells Vance and Leanne, who seem sweet despite their confusion, that if they can beat her percentage of weight lost, they can stay at the Ranch.

Vance Gets on the scale, and Alison tells him that if he has to have lost 95 pounds since the first time she weighed him in order to stay. Vance loses 30, and looks absolutely crushed but not really surprised. The same happens with his mom -- Leann is told that she has to have lost more than 79 pounds, and she only loses 45. She wisely points out that she is also living her real life, and that every moment of her day isn't devoted to weight loss. As soon as they entered, they are gone. It's kind of sad and horrible, and seems like an unnecessary cruelty of the producers. Why give these people a tiny sliver of hope, only to yank it out from beneath them, just for the sake of ratings?

Afterward, like that never happened, there is a pop challenge. No one speaks of or refers to what just happened. It's like they're collectively embarrassed of the whole ordeal.

Pop Challenge
The pop challenge involves a flat board with a hole in it, and ten wooden balls. Two members from each team have to balance two of the balls on the board, carry the board across to a waiting basket and then guide the balls to the hole in the board so that they fall into the basket. If one ball falls off the board, you can keep going, but if both fall off, you have to start over. The first team to get to ten wins a one-minute advantage in the week's challenge. The team that loses has to leave the Ranch for the week. The key to this one is obviously balance, followed closely by speed.

Green gets the hang of this immediately, and much more quickly than everyone else. They grab an early lead and keep it for a while. However, Black eventually catches up and soon they are tied at 8. Green grabs the win by a mere hair, with Black coming in a close second. Red and Blue are tied for third. Blue grabs the lead and comes in Third, with Red losing the whole thing. Jen and Courtney have to head off-campus for the week.

Hedging Their Bets
Alison gives Jen and Courtney a checklist to prepare for their week off campus. She tells them that they have a budget of $1,000 to spend. Jen quickly takes the upper hand, and decides that they don't need to drop $200 for a day of Brett training them. Her rationale is that they can do it on their own, and that if, at week 13, they can't train themselves, something is wrong. Instead, they opt for a gym membership, massages, calls home, and dinner out at a nice restaurant. When Alison comes in to hear their choices, she looks shocked but doesn't try to talk them out of it.

Afterward, Brett comes up to their room to hear how they're going to spend their time off the Ranch. When he finds out that they opted not to have him come train them, his pretty face gets a little sad before he replaces that emotion with disapproval.

Courtney reveals that she actually really needs a trainer this week, since her weight loss has been stuck in a plateau, but that she didn't stick up for herself the way she should have to Jen. Brett tells them that he thinks they made a very bad decision, but done is done. Instead, he writes them a detailed list of instructions for the time they are away.

Courtney and Jen are spirited away to Ojai. The house is beautiful and they lounge around in massage chairs saying, "The girls at the house are totally missing out!" while they get their feet rubbed and the images are cut with scenes of Hannah and Olivia on spin bikes.They walk to the gym and take two spin classes and walk back. And then they go out to dinner. We'll see if this works out for them in the end, I suppose. Somehow, I sense impending doom.

Last Chance Workouts
Cara is mad at her team for throwing the weigh-in, so she trains them extra hard, particularly Kaylee. My opinion? GOOD.

Moses talks to Jillian about how he knows doing more cardio is good for him, but he misses boxing. He points out that, in order for him to incorporate exercise into his daily life, he has to love what he's doing. Jillian is proud of him for so clearly vocalizing his needs, and so they go box. And Moses is happy. And I am happy because Moses is happy.

In a confusing segment that I think is a commercial the whole time, Bob takes his team to a middle school, where they work out some kids and feed them Subway and then present their principal with a check for $10,000, courtesy of Subway. Why the school was being presented with money was a mystery to me, but the kids seems jazzed about their free sandwiches, so I guess it's all good.

Bonus scene: Jillian and Hannah doing odd handstands.

Hop To It!
Alison sets the teams up for a challenge that's driven purely on advertising for the new animated movie Hop. The teams are standing in the middle of a huge green valley, surrounded by 5,000 dyed Easter eggs. Each team has to find and collect the 600 eggs that are dyed in their team color in order to win. (Because they are a player short, the Red team only has to collect 400 eggs.) There is also one golden egg hidden on the field that Alison tells the players is "worth its weight in gold." Every team gets to see a special advanced screening of Hop, and the winning team gets tickets to the premiere of the movie. I didn't know animated movies had red carpet events. Huh.

Because they won the pop challenge, Green has a minute head start. Everyone scrambles around on the field and it reminds me of a kids' Easter egg hunt gone terribly, terribly wrong. Just watching them is stressing me out. Olivia finds the golden egg about halfway through the challenge, which is swell for her, but doesn't mean anything yet because Alison still won't tell everyone what it's about.

It strikes me that Green must be at a disadvantage here, because all the eggs they are trying to find are the same color as the grass, but they win anyway. They get movie premiere tickets! Olivia cracks open the golden egg to find that her prize is THE ONLY VOTE in the elimination. She looks properly horrified. "I don't want to be put in that position!" she says, and I certainly don't blame her.

(They go to their special advanced screening of Hop, and James Marsden is there. He asks them each how much weight they've lost and manages to look equally impressed with all of them. What a good guy.)

The Blue team starts off the weigh-in. Olivia loses 4, Irene loses 3, and Moses loses a pretty heartening 7.

The Green team is next. Ken loses 6, Austin loses 7, and Kaylee loses 5, redeeming her in the eyes of Cara and keeping their team safe from elimination.

For the Black team, Jay loses 6 pounds, which is a great number, but not one he's super happy with. Rulon loses 5, and Hannah snitches to Jillian that he ate a bag of tortilla chips the night before. Jillian calls him out in front of everyone, which is humiliating. "You're not allowing me to help you," Jillian screeches, and they show some footage of Rulon eating chips and salsa as if it's a video of him killing a small animal. Poor guy can't catch a break.

After all her tattling, Hannah loses 0 pounds. I seriously cannot believe her. It also looks bad, because everyone knows that Olivia won't send Hannah home, so Rulon will most likely get sent home instead of her, even though he lost a proper 5 pounds. Poor form, Hannah.

Next is the Red team. Courtney is very nervous, but Jen is all confident and beaming. Courtney is first up, and she only loses 2 pounds, which is the first weight loss I've ever seen her be less than proud and thrilled about. It looks like trading in Brett for a foot rub might not have been the best idea after all.

Jen tells the camera that Courtney's weight loss is unfortunate, but that she's confident that she can pull an amazing number and save the team. Brave words, but they don't look so good in the face of the 0 pounds Jen has to back them up with. That's right; Jen loses 0 pounds, making the Red team lose the week. Since Courtney is her team's Biggest Loser for the week, Jen automatically gets sent home. It all happened so quickly I barely knew it was happening. Jay says some sweet things about his daughter and Jen is out the door.

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At-Home Results
Since being on The Biggest Loser, Jen has gone form 278 to 173. She looks pretty great, and her hair is even shinier when it's not up in a bun at the Ranch. She trains with her brother and goes clothes shopping with her girlfriends, which is sweet because it's something she'd never been able to do before. By the finale, her goal is to have lost 30 more pounds. I'm confident she can do it. Are you?

(Image courtesy of NBC)