Apparently the Bad-Decision Fairy paid a visit to The Biggest Loser: Couples this week and hit everyone with her stupid-stick. I can't decide what infuriates me more — the team that complains it's always losing but refuses to vote off its weakest member, the team that is so cocky that members scarf down fried chicken and tequila shots, or the production team that is doing this to my brain.

Let's get the "cliffhanger" out of the way — of course Mike made the weight goal. But don't get too comfortable! The next weigh-in, Alison announces, will be head-to-head, with a member from one team weighing in against a member of the other. The team with the most one-on-one victories wins the weigh-in. To figure out who's going up against whom, the players must hold a wall squat with a medicine ball on the lap. Last person alive gets to make the match-ups. It comes down toTara vs. Mandi, and Mandi, after more than 4 minutes (AIEEE! I'm in pain just thinking about it!) lets the ball fall. Tara falls over about two seconds later — she can't control her legs and needs to be helped up. I'm surprised either of them can even move.

Tara's matchcard for the one-on-one weigh-ins:

  • Mike v. Cathy — the grandma against the young'un
  • Helen vs. Ron — The gimme match.
  • Laura vs. Aubrey – Two evenly matched competitors
  • Sione v. Mandi – The two top contenders

Interestingly, Tara pull herself out of the competition. She doesn't want to lose to someone head-to-head on the scale.

The challenge
The teams compete in a relay race that involves schlepping 24 medicine balls across a pool, up some stairs, though an obstacle course, and across a gym. Again, Kristin is out, and this time Laura and Mike sit out with her.

Filipe smokes Ron in the pool segment, and Sione kicks ass at the stair leg, leaving Cathy in the dust. It’s Tara vs. Mandi in the obstacle course leg, and Mandi quickly makes up ground. It's close by the time they're at the final leg, but Helen just barely fends Aubrey off. Team Black wins 24 hours of luxury, and Team Blue gets to wallow in bitter, bitter tears while they bemoan the fact that they just can't seem to win anything.  I wonder why?

The meltdown, part one

Team Black's luxury reward starts off with massages and pedicures and all the rest. That's not a problem — a day of rest isn't going to hurt anyone.  Folks get a little extravagant with their entrees at dinner, which would be ok — if they had stopped there. But Team Black throws all restraint to the wind. There are tequila shots, then more drinks, then mashed potatoes and chicken fingers and fries and cigarettes and… While this adds up to a fun night, it's not conducive to weight loss. Unfortunately, Team Black is in a collective state of denial –we're fine! We'll kick their asses! We can't be beat! Pass the booze! Oh dear.

A brief rant-filled interlude
And here's a problem I have with the show — you're putting people under harsh restrictions and working them 6 to 8 hours a day. That makes sense for elite athletes who devote their lives to their sport, but for real people with normal lives? It’s crazy. They have no idea how to make this work in their real lives. So yeah, I can imagine I'd go nuts if I had a one-day pass. I'd binge my ass off (or on, as the case may be) just because finally, freedom! It's easy to be virtuous when you're under house arrest. But when you're out, you feel like you deserve to have fun and indulge. That's what causes trouble. Indulging in one thing — a Kobe burger entree or a glass of tequila or fries or a dessert — wouldn't hurt too much. Denying themselves all of it, and then binging on it all at once? That's a problem.

I'm reminded of a couple of seasons ago, when the teams went to Jamaica. Kim told her team sure, go ahead, have a cocktail, but if you choose to do that, be smart about everything else. So her team enjoyed what they had, they didn't go nuts at the buffet — and they won the weigh-in that week. Jillian, on the other hand, has always been the sort of trainer who says don’t you dare let a single non-approved food item cross your lips! So once you’ve had the one “bad” thing, you’ve already screwed it all up — you might as well give up for the day and go wild. That’s exactly what happened to Team Black.

The meltdown, part two

Back at the ranch, Jillian glowers and rants. You all suck! I hate you all! What's the point of training you at all when you go nuts as soon as you're released into the wild? I work and slave and do everything I can for you — and you treat me like this? Half of you don't even want to be here! What else could I possibly do for you?

And that's when we heard an audible “ping!” as something snaps in Filipe's head. I was waiting for you to do a one-on-one workout with me this week, and you ignored me! I plodded on the treadmill and you gave me none of your time! You suck, and I hate you, and I'm never going to talk to you again! (Or words to that effect). Filipe storms off, and Sione goes with him. They throw themselves on Bob's mercy — we hate Jillian, she hates us, can we work out with you? Bob is gobsmacked, but he lets them come back. Jillian decides she's fine with that. Is this the first time that Jillian's bullying tactics have backfired on her?

The weigh-in
Team Black is still confident, but Jillian thinks they don't deserve to win. She might get her wish — Tara loses no weight (but since she's not going head-to-head with anyone, it doesn't matter), Filipe loses just one pound (vs. Kristen's 7 pounds) and Laura gains a pound (vs. Aubrey's 3-pound loss). That's two points for Team Blue. But Mike, who wasn't drinking, beats Cathy, and even sneaking a few drags on a ciggie doesn't keep Helen from beating Ron.

It's 2-all when Mandi goes up against Sione . Sione has a disappointing (for this show but not in my version of reality) 6-pound loss. Mandi needs lose just 3 pounds to beat him — and she gains 2. Mandi is, of course, devastated — not to mention confused. Bob posits that she'd put so much pressure on herself this week that stress made her body just seize up.

The elimination
Ron immediately stokes my ire by saying it's Mandi's turn to go home. What? No, old man, it's your turn, and it's been your turn for the past three weeks! But Cathy and Kristen have drunk the Ron Kool-Aid (and i don't even want to think about what flavors that comes in…) and they agree that one of the former Team Black girls has to go. These people are idiots. Idiots! You can't complain about losing every week and then vote off your strongest members. Mandi has been the one to beat in every single challenge. If you've lost challenges, it's not because of her or Aubrey — it's because Ron just doesn't have the strength or the stamina or maybe even will to do what you need him to do.  So if you eject Mandi or Aubrey, I hope you keep losing. You're too stupid to be on the ranch if that's they way you go about it!

Aubrey doesn't make this argument — but she does say that she should go, not Mandi. (If you spell the name "Aubrey" R-O-N, then I agree.) They get in a self-sacrifice-off, which I'm sure is supposed to be touching but just annoys me because it's so damn unnecessary. Stop thinking about what the teams looked like when you started and start thinking about what might serve you now, Kristen and Cathy! Gah!

Laura, who won an extra elimination vote last week, tells Mandi and Aubrey that if it's a tie, Team Black will send Aubrey home. Aubrey is cool with that, but Mandi won't have it. She goes against the plan to have three votes for Cathy vs. three votes for her, and instead throws her vote to Ron. Mandi is going home. I lose all interest in Team blue. Seriously. They're dead to me now.

Mandi looks fantastic in her look-at-me-now interview, but I worry that she's hung up so much on a dress size. Mandi, be happy that you're healthy and in great shape. Who cares if you're wearing a size 4 or 6 or 8 or 10 at the finale? Why does it have to be a size 2? That just seems like the sort of goal that's made to break your heart. Sigh.

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • The wall-squats challenge wasn't particularly cinematic, but trust me, that position is absolute hell. I'm lucky if I can hold it for 30 seconds. And Tara and Mandi went more than 4 minutes? Holy crap!
  • When the match-ups are made, Sione and Filipe indulge in some boasting and trash talk. But if you look at the percentage of weight lost, their opponents (Kristin and Mandi) came out ahead. Huh.
  • Ron. Oh, how I'm starting to hate Ron. He's the first out of every challenge and he doesn't seem to push himself at all. At first I thought it was because he wasn't physically able to, but now I'm starting to think that he knows he won't be voted off, so why even bother? Grrr.
  • Bob tries to motivate everyone at the last-chance workout. "That's it, Mandi, you just want to think about crushing Sione tomorrow night!" Sione, of course, is working out right next to her. "Sione, get Mandi!" Bob adds. He's starting to giggle somewhat hysterically. "This isn't going to work out well," Mandi says. "What do you mean?" Bob replies. He's officially  losing it.
  • Poor Mandi — she's always heaping responsibility on herself. I let you all down! she sobs after the weigh-in. There were five of us up there, Kristen says — why is it somehow all your fault? Because it's not, Mandi — it's Ron's. Completely and utterly Ron's.
Posted by:Sarah Jersild