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TV Review: The Biggest Loser – Episode 15

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Week 15 of The Biggest Loser began with the remaining contestants, Ali, Kelli, Roger, and Mark returning from their previous week in Australia.

Host Allison Sweeney and Chef Rocco met them. Each contestant's family had been contacted and Rocco had made each of their favorite, high-fat dishes.

Roger's mother had given Rocco a recipe for her famous pepper steak. Her recipe has 1700 calories. Rocco showed Roger how to make the same meal so that it only contains 400 calories.

Mark's wife told Rocco that Mark had a habit of putting a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream on his stomach and eating the entire gallon in one sitting. Rocco made the same ice cream with half the calories.

Ali's mother told Rocco how to make prime rib and a loaded baked potato. Rocco made a similar dinner that dropped the calorie count from 1500 to 511.

Kelli's mother told Rocco about Kelli's chicken Alfredo and breadstick fetish. Rocco reduced the calorie content of this meal from 1500 to 500.

The challenge this week had the contestants don weighted "fat suits" that were the exact amount of weight lost by each to date. Mark and Roger were carrying over 100 pounds each, Ali and Kelli were each carrying over 80 pounds. When they had the suits on, they had to race down the beach to their respective flag, shed the fat suit, and then run up a hill with the large flag to the finish line.

There were some pretty good comments made during the task.  Ali commented, "I spent 15 weeks taking this weight off and you're gonna make me put it back on???"  For his part, Roger noted that he was "used to seeing Mark's ass" because Mark always seems to take the lead in the challenges.  Kelli said of the flag, "Couldn't we have gotten anything more aerodynamic?" as we saw the wind whip her off balance.

Mark, as usual, won the challenge and received $10,000 plus having all his meals prepared for him by The Biggest Loser staff until the final weigh-in.

Mark cried a lot in this episode. Again. During the show I started worrying that most of his weight has been lost in tears and that he might be dehydrated, later I would feel terrible about thinking as much (read on, you'll see).

Every week there is something new and odd about this show. This time, in the second to last week, the contestants were not allowed access to their personal trainers. I understand the concept – that they will be without the trainers after next week's show – but they seemed unprepared to do without their touchstones so late in the game. They are fighting for $250,000 and need all the assistance they can receive.

Eventually, the trainers, Bob and Jillian, came back to watch with each person a video history of each of their weight loss journeys. It was very moving to see how far each person has come. At the end of the show, each contestant stood next to a cardboard cut out of him or her that was taken at the initial weight. The trainers also put the contestants through a "last chance" workout on the final day before weigh-in.

Everyone put up tremendous numbers at the final weigh-in:

  • Kelli now weighs 178 pounds. She has lost 93 pounds in 15 weeks.
  • Ali weighs 135 pounds and has lost a total of 99 pounds. She has lost more weight than any other female on the show.
  • Mark weighed in at 169 pounds with a total weight loss of 116 pounds.
  • Roger went from 363 pounds to 219, a total loss of 144 pounds. This made him the person with the most weight loss at the ranch so far.

Mark and Roger fell below the yellow line. Normally, Kelli and Ali would have had the power to vote either Mark or Roger off the show. However, in this episode, the viewing public must call in to vote which one stays. Mark and Roger were given the opportunity to pitch why they should stay to the viewing audience.

Roger, in summary said, "Here I sit with my future in your hands. I had a great time. I am thankful for every week that I've been here. You have an opportunity to vote one of us off. I'd love to have your vote. I appreciate having been here, I had a fun run. Thanks for your support of the biggest loser." He also reached out to hug the audience.

Mark said, "You are going to choose between Roger and I. I want you to know what a great place this is. I tried to take advantage of it. I cry now as I grow into this new person. And I'm sure I'll cry some more." He shared photos of his family and then made a plug for people to keep watching the show so that it can continue.

Roger weighs 219 pounds and, although his diabetes is less severe now that he has lost 144 pounds, he still needs to lose more weight in order to be healthy and fit. Mark weighs 169 pounds and has met his goal.

For me, it's about the health of the contestants. The money is secondary to how much they have grown in spirit, confidence and fitness since being at the ranch. Everyone has come so far, but if someone must leave, I'd rather try to keep the person who needs it more.

For everyone else to weigh in (pun intended), you must vote for the person you want to stay an extra week. Normally people are voted off but in this contest, America is voting for who to keep. Just a heads up because it was confusing to me at first.

The final four had to leave the ranch and say goodbye to their trainers (and the scale) at the end of the episode. They will be back next week for the $250,000 finale.

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