'The Biggest Loser: Couples' Review: "Yes, It's The Gym! Oh Dear Lord, It's The Gym!"
Well, here we are again. Another run of The Biggest Loser--eleven couples, apparently the heaviest ever, kicking off their emotional weight loss journey to change their lives... well, and the grand prize, too.

Emphasis on emotional--the very first thing they have to do is learn of their current weight, in front of family, friends, and basically everybody else in their hometown. Hometown weigh-ins! It's quite a strong moment for all teams, as they virtually have to fess up to their weight problems. There's talk about why they got there--Sherry, for example, turned to food after her husband died--and there's the usual "we can do this!" lines. The crowds have been supportive, but personally it feels a bit too much. I blame the editors and the absolute silence that surrounds the very moment when their weight is revealed.

They're the heaviest cast, indeed. The combined weight of one of the teams--twins James and John, also known as the brown team--is just under half a ton. This season also sees the heaviest contestant of the show: Michael, the Italian dude from Chicago, weighs in at 526 pounds. So, for the first time this season, the scoreboard:

Black team: Andrea at 298 pounds, Darrell at 413 pounds
Blue team: Cherita at 277 pounds, Victoria at 358 pounds
Brown team: James at 485 pounds, John at 484 pounds
Gray team: Koli at 403 pounds, Sam at 372 pounds
Green team: Migdalia at 265 pounds, Miggy at 240 pounds
Orange team: Cheryl at 227 pounds, Daris at 346 pounds
Pink team: Ashley at 374 pounds, Sherry at 218 pounds
Purple team: Patti at 243 pounds, Stephanie at 264 pounds
Red team: Lance at 365 pounds, Melissa at 233 pounds
White team: Maria at 281 pounds, Michael at 526 pounds
Yellow team: O'Neal at 389 pounds, Sunshine at 275 pounds

Finally, the teams arrive at the ranch, and everyone's pretty excited... well, depends on how you define excited. Cheryl: "Yes, it's the gym!" Cheryl, five seconds later: "Oh, dear Lord, it's the gym!" Lance, who's competing with his wife Melissa, was staring at Alison. "She's smoking!" he quips.

They get into an empty gym, where Alison reveals their pretty haaaard challenge: each team have to ride stationary bikes and cover the distance of a whole marathon, which is 26.2 miles. The first team to finish will win immunity. The last two teams will leave the ranch... now. Their faces after learning of the challenge was a shocker, more so their faces after learning of that elimination twist.

So, how long does it take you to bike 26.2 miles? I've biked around as a kid, and I can't really remember how far I've gone. What more if you weigh that much? As Mike put it, it's hard squeezing yourself on the small bike seat. Anyway, the green team--mother-daughter pair Miggy and Migdalia--finished first, and gained immunity. They were waaay ahead of the pack. The gray team, Sam and Koli--also Tongans, like Sione and Filipe from two seasons back--finished shortly after.

But the struggles only came in an hour later, when Cherita, from the blue team, starts feeling "excruciating" pain. Cramps, must be. She pushes on but she couldn't hold it any further, and Dr. H had to pull her out. She didn't want to. She breaks down. Extra motivation for her daughter Vicky, who's still in it... but it isn't enough. Already the blues were way behind, and they were eliminated, along with the yellow team--the father-daughter duo of O'Neal and Sunshine. So, they all go home...

...but of course, there's a catch. Lots of attention to the limousine ride, much? Turns out someone would stop the car--Bob and Jillian! The competition isn't over for both of the teams: they'll be losing weight at home for 30 days, after which both teams will face off for the chance to return to the ranch. To make things better, they'll have help from Bob and Jillian, too.

The trainers are on a mischievous streak, it seems. First day on the ranch, and they wake everybody up with a fire alarm! Bob and Jillian are training together again, much like last season--but their worry for this bunch isn't the same. "You don't wanna end up here," Jillian told the camera. "It's the end of the road here." Of course, you'd be concerned after seeing people puke left and right after nary a touch. Still, the contestants endured training quite nicely, with Jillian taking special interest in Cheryl, who initially looks very timid, but turns out to be such a bad-ass. Shooout! Shooout! Gruuunt! It's like watching a tiger prowl.

After a break, where the contestants get to know each other and know their stories--say, Patti and Daris' love problems--it's the last chance workout, which wasn't as excruciating as their first workouts. The twins, James and John, are worried because everybody else have upped their game--and one of them is suffering from an injury. I don't know who, because they do look alike.

A couple of records were broken during the weigh-in. Patti lost 23 pounds, making her the woman who lost the most weight in a week. Mike was worried that he wouldn't lose enough weight throughout the show--"if I lose an overweight man I'd still be overweight," he said earlier--but he broke another record: he now holds the record for losing the most weight in a week. He lost 34 pounds and now weighs in at 492 pounds, leaving five-land in a week. Niiiice.

In the end, it was the twins, James and John, who found themselves below the yellow line. John wanted to sacrifice himself, thinking that James wouldn't be able to cope with losing weight at home. James countered that, saying that he can go home and dedicate more time to weight loss that his brother, who has to return to work. The rest of the ranch can't decide--how do you split up hesitant twins?--but in the end they went with James. Since going home, he's lost 77 pounds, weighing in at 385. "The gym has become my work," he quipped.

Next week, the second week curse strikes, and leaves a contestant with a one-pound gain. To the scoreboards, then:

Black team: Andrea at 284 pounds (-14), Darrell at 383 pounds (-30) (6.19%)
Brown team: James at 462 pounds (-23) (eliminated), John at 462 pounds (-23) (4.75%)
Gray team: Sam at 354 pounds (-18), Koli at 374 pounds (-29) (6.06%)
Green team: Migdalia at 249 pounds (-16), Miggy at 227 pounds (-13) (5.74%) (immunity)
Orange team: Cheryl at 213 pounds (-14), Daris at 317 pounds (-29) (7.50%)
Pink team: Ashley at 353 pounds (-21), Sherry at 201 pounds (-17) (6.42%)
Purple team: Patti at 220 pounds (-23), Stephanie at 214 pounds (-18) (8.09%)
Red team: Melissa at 214 pounds (-19), Lance at 344 pounds (-21) (6.69%)
White team: Maria at 286 pounds (-13), Mike at 492 pounds (-34) (5.82%)

(Image courtesy of NBC)