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The Biggest Loser: Battle of the Ages Watch - Week 9

Last week, the trainers got to pick one person from their team to represent the entire team at the weigh-in, a first in Biggest Loser history. Bob put his faith in Becky after spending the whole week bonding with her, and she did not disappoint. Dolvett chose John, of course, and he continued his two-month-long streak of dropping at least nine pounds, although his teammate Bonnie had her best week yet, dropping eight of her own. The short end of the scale went to Anna’s Blue Team again, and Joe was sent home. If you’re keeping score, that means there are three of the original Black Team left against four others who are all that’s left of the original Red and Blue.

This week’s challenges: The episode begins with Alison informing the contestants that they will be competing in a pentathlon this week, five events that will require them to use both their wits and their muscles. She also informs them that they will no longer be competing as teams; it’s everyone for themselves from here on out. And that, of course, means we will finally see the return of the Yellow Line of Doom at this week’s weigh-in. How the pentathlon will figure into all this is: everyone will earn a certain amount of points in each event depending on how they finish, and whoever accumulates the most points over the five events will be immune from elimination. And as if THAT wasn’t enough, the person who finishes in last will be hit with a one-pound penalty.

Event #1 was basically a popularity contest. Each person would rank, from first to last (and not including themselves), the order in which they believed the other contestants deserved to be the winner, and the results would be revealed at the weigh-in. A lot of different systems were used: Vinny went by likeability/friendship; Bonnie put the three teachers (John, Sunny, Becky) at the top; Sunny put them in alphabetical order (?!?); John went simply by percentage of weight lost; Ramon put his biggest competition (John, Antone) at the bottom, and so did Antone; Becky’s method of choice was left deliberately vague.

Event #2 was also a popularity contest, where in contestants could “knock out” their fellow contestants by running across a tennis court, grabbing a baton and slipping that baton over one of three pegs representing each player. When all three pegs are covered, you’re out. I expected John to be taken out first, but it was actually Ramon. John went out second, followed by Vinny, Bonnie, Antone and Becky. No one targeted Sunny at all, and she won.

Event #3 was a nutritional trivia contest. Seven multiple-choice questions, with one point given for every correct answer. Antone was a beast, getting six out of seven correct. Vinny took second place with four, and bringing up the rear was Sunny, who only got one question right. (Dunce cap time!)

Event #4 was an aquatic event, where the contestants had to use ropes to pull themselves across the length of a pool while riding a peanut-shaped flotation device without falling over. Fastest times wins seven points, while one point would go to whoever completed the length the slowest or fell over the quickest. Sadly, Bonnie only went two meters before toppling over, and she got stuck with one point. On the other end, Sunny decimated the rest of the field, completing the course in less than ninety seconds (no one else even broke two minutes). Second place went to John, followed by Vinny, Antone, Becky, Ramon and Bonnie.

Event #5 featured a celebrity guest star; Olympic gold medalist speed skater and DWTS champion Apolo Anton Ohno, who is not only a spokesman for Subway but a big fan of the show. After telling the contestants a story about how his childhood nickname was “Chunky” before committing himself to a life of sport, he leads the group onto a dirt running track out in the Ranch’s backyard. The final event is a one-mile run, in conditions similar to when they had to start off the season by running a mile in the middle of the desert. Poor Bonnie, sixth place in the standings and with bad knees, never stood a chance, having to walk the entire length of the course. Ramon, in desperate need of a victory, got one, followed by John, Sunny, Antone, Becky, Vinny and Bonnie.

It’s worth mentioning that Bonnie was barely halfway through the course when everyone else finished, so all six of them (plus Apolo) ran out on the rouse and kept her company all the way to the finish line. Competition be damned, Bonnie is an awesome 63-year-old woman who has pushed every second season, and to witness the respect and love that everyone seems to have for her was beautiful to see.

This week’s breakthroughs: Between the pentathlon, the workouts and the weigh-in, there wasn’t much one-on-oneness shown this week, and pretty much all of what there was in that department was between Dolvett and John. Despite his fantastic results so far, Dolvett sensed that John was still holding back, and so he decided to get through to him not by breaking him down physically, but by connecting emotionally. Dolvett did this by showing John his childhood diary, which included Social Services taking him and his sister away from his mother when he was four years old, after which he was adopted by foster parents. Dolvett also related a horrific story about how his foster dad hit him so hard once that “his hand print was on his face for an entire day”. Damn. Seeing how ripped Dolvett is now, I guarantee that dear old dad would think twice about doing that again.

To return the favor, John told Dolvett his life story as well, complete with a photo album that he received a couple of weeks ago as a reward. John related how he lost his father a couple of years ago to a very sudden heart attack, and how he had to make all the arrangements himself. It’s only now that John has started to get the focus back in his life, something that hasn’t been there since his father passed away.

As promised, the results of the first event were revealed right before the weigh-in. Antone and Becky tied for the most votes, so Antone wins the overall pentathlon and is therefore immune from elimination. John, unsurprisingly, got the least amount of votes, but it wasn’t enough to keep Bonnie out of the cellar, and she is saddled with a one-pound disadvantage. After losing eight pounds last week, things are not looking good for her.

And now, this week’s numbers:

Sunny - lost 9 pounds (-70 total), -4.17%, now stands at 207.

Vinny - lost 10 pounds (-91 total), -2.90%, now stands at 335.

John - lost 9 pounds (-135 total), -2.82%, now stands at 310.

Antone (Immune) - lost 9 pounds (-108 total), -2.59%, now stands at 339.

Ramon - lost 7 pounds (-82 total), -2.50%, now stands at 273.

The following two contestants finished below the Yellow Line:

Becky (Black) - lost 4 pounds (-56 total), -2.15%, now stands at 182.

Bonnie (Red) - lost 5 pounds (-1) (-46 total), -1.88%, now stands at 209.

So just like in the first month of the season, it’s the two seniors up for elimination, which sucks, but is hardly surprising after both of them overachieved last week.

Kudos. To Sunny, for rebounding after a tough week last week (she’s been doing that all season long, so look for a small number next week). To Antone, for cracking the triple-digits-lost mark. To John, for raising his percentage-lose figure to over 30% of his original weight since the season started. And to Becky, for being the first contestant on the Ranch this season to lower their BMI (Body Mass Index) under the 30.0 mark, which is the margin that divides “overweight” from “obese”.

Elimination. Bonnie, every the class act, had been hinting all week that she was ready to go home, decided that she couldn’t ask to stay and send former teammate Becky home, so she volunteered to be eliminated. What a great lady. And it’s probably just as well… she doesn’t have a prayer of winning either the show or the at-home prize, but for her, it was never about that. She won her life back, and that’s all that matters. It was decided in the living room, and we only got a few seconds of film of the actual elimination, which was another classy move on the show’s part. The episode ended with every single contestant relating how much they adore Bonnie. America echoes those sentiments.

Standings. John’s percentage climbs to 30.34%, a full 5% higher than second-place Sunny (25.27%). The rest of the field: Antone (24.16%), Becky (23.53%), Ramon (23.10%) and Vinny (21.36%). Obviously, this season is John’s to lose, provided he can avoid going under the Yellow Line. I doubt anyone would vote to keep him around at this point.

Update. I would have loved to have seen her drop under 200 pounds on the show, but I’ll have to settle for knowing that she did just that at home. Since leaving the Ranch, she has lost an additional 22 pounds, making her now 68 pounds lighter than when she started the season. She is at 186 pounds, and says that she feels like she’s 40 again. Her goal is to be down to 160 by the finale. You go, grandma!

Next week: No previews were shown, so I’ll see you in seven. Ciao!