The Biggest Loser: Couples” has me nearly apoplectic with rage and bile, as someone comes back to the ranch, someone leaves, and someone (cough RON! cough) needs to disappear from my TV screen before I do some serious damage to my electronics.

Past winners Ali and Michelle stand in for Alison, who is busy giving birth, while three booted competitors get a second chance. Estella has lost 45 pounds and is pleased as punch. David loses just one more pound than Estella and looks mortified. Ali reminds me why I loved her so much during her season by telling him not to be downhearted — you lost 46 pounds! That’s something to be proud of! Use this is the springboard to make good choices. Damn straight — that’s the way you have to approach this. Ali rocks.

You  know who else rocks? Nicole. I always thought she was adorable and dedicated, and she proves me right. She’s lost 87 pounds at home — holy crap! That means she’s back on campus, and she’s got immunity* (we’ll get to that asterisks later). It also means she’s got the second highest percentage of weight loss of anyone on the ranch. Let the freaking-out commence!

House drama
The rest of the competitors go into heavy game-playing mode, sucking up to Nicole and trying to give her “friendly advice.” Tara is more freaked out than anyone, and she alternates between bravado — I’m glad she’s here! She’ll make me step up my game! Bring it! — and despair — she lost 87 pounds at home! Woe is me! Jillian finally tells her to get a grip — “Honey, you’re manic!” — and figure out what it is that makes Tara tick. Tara tries to quiet her monkey mind, but we’ll see how that goes.

Filipe, Sione and Kristin are peevish that Ron lobbied to get Filipe kicked off at the last elimination. Apparently at the beginning of the season, Ron had made some sort of alliance with the Fijians, and Sione and Filipe are SHOCKED! that Ron would go back on that. Oh please — Ron wants his son to win, and will do anything to make that happen. Bob agrees with me, and tells them to avoid the problem by staying above the yellow line. He works extra hard with Sione and Kristin to give them an edge. Filipe? Apparently Bob already thinks he’s a lost cause.

Ron experiences light-headedness, cold sweats and chest pains. He’s whisked to the hospital, where they rule out a heart attack but discover some half-healed (and moderately disgusting — look, I stopped writing about radiology for a reason, thank you!) bleeding ulcers in his gastrically bypassed gut. They pump him full of fluids and meds, and he’s eventually cleared to go back to the ranch.

The challenge
The competitors stand on board balanced on 40 ropes suspended over a pool. They can hang onto a rope overhead with one hand. As time goes on, ropes are cut. Last person standing wins a 1-pound weight credit. Since Nicole as immunity*, if she wins, she can give a 1-pound weight penalty to one of her competitors.

Filipe speaks for me by telling Michelle that this is a boring challenge and they need to cut ropes faster. Granted, that bit of bravado was misplaced, as Filipe was the second one (after Mike) to fall, but still — watching people balance just isn’t that exciting. After many splashes, it comes down to Sione and Kristin. Kristin blinks first, and Sione gets the weight credit.

The weigh-in
Here’s where the * comes in. Alison(who is back from birthin’) announces that Nicole has immunity — assuming she hasn’t gained any weight. Wait a minute – they didn’t mention that at the outset… Nicole’s new routine, the stress she’s under, and the change of scenery bit her in the butt — she gains 5 pounds. Dammit! This is so not her fault! It’s just her body reacting to being discombobulated! Don’t take her immunity away for that! Alas, Alison doesn’t heed my pleas. Dammit.

Mike has a stellar week, losing 11 pounds. Sione, Filipe and Helen each lose 6 pounds, while Filipe and Kristin lose 4 pounds. But Ron’s hospital stay prompts him to gain 3 pounds, and Laura somehow gains 1 pound. Ron and Nicole are below the yellow line.

The elimination
We finally have the opportunity to boot Ron out, but he’s up against a woman whose return freaked everyone out. Will people vote to save Nicole — the woman who really, truly, honest-to-god deserves to be there — or will they boot her as the biggest threat? Nicole refuses to beg — I’ll just remind you all of the things you said to me, about how you’re glad I’m back and how I push you to do better. It’s about your personal integrity now, she tells them. Oh, Nicole. You’re doomed.

Filipe has the temerity to vote for Ron — who tried to get him booted last week. Ron is offended. Alison asks him to explain. “People are making these decisions to help themselves,” Ron gasps. Well, DUH! That’s what you’ve been doing the whole time, Ron! Don’t you DARE claim the moral high ground now! Mike accuses Filipe of lying to him, and Mike, I really want to continue liking you, so shut it. Filipe says no, I just told you Ron would be fine. Ron and Mike cluck and roll heir eyes and act like they’ve experienced a personal betrayal, and I’m ready to kill someone. SHUT. IT.

Sione is just as frustrated as I am — quit with the “he needs to be here” argument, because we’re all going home soon and we all need to suck it up. Begone, Ron! Helen also tries to cast out the Ron demon that is possessing the ranch. Alas, everyone else votes for Nicole to go home. Again. Dammit!

Nicole looks fantastic at the Look-at-me-now interview, but then, she looked fantastic when she walked back onto the ranch. Nicole, you’re a sweetheart, I adore you, and you didn’t deserve what happened to you. Congrats on all your efforts, keep it up for yourself, and don’t let the malignant schmuckiness get you down.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Tara did seem a bit unhinged by Nicole’s presence. She was parroting self-help phrases by the end, but I can’t help but think there’s something a lot deeper that needs to be addressed. And no, Dr. Jillian’s two-minute sessions don’t count.
  • Sione shoots an impressive Look of Death at Kristin during the challenge.
  • Mike talks about his prospects in the challenge: “I have zero balance standing up. It’s a miracle I can walk.” Heh.
  • When Nicole gains weight, Tara busts out this blinding grin. Grrr. Yeah, you’re happy that she’s here, you’re glad for the extra incentive to do well. Pull the other one…
  • Seriously, how long will we have to endure Ron? He’s even poisoning my appreciation for Mike. Make it stop!

Posted by:Sarah Jersild