I wanted to like Ron. He's a father, he's a straight shooter, he doesn't make excuses, and he seemed to be coming from the right place when it came to his place on the show.
However, last night's show gave me a little insight into what papa bear's really trying to accomplish.
The first challenge was to decide who would face off against whom in head-to-head weigh-ins.
In usual fashion, it came down to Tara for the black team and Mandi for the blue team. In usual fashion, Tara eked out the victory. It was up to her to set the lineup for the weigh-in.
Immediately after, they shifted to some voice-overs and interviews from the blue team perspective, saying how frustrating it is to be constantly losing these challenges. (For those of you scoring at home, since they mixed things up and went blue/black, Bob's Blue Bombers haven't won a goddamn thing.)
Then there was another challenge that involved teamwork. The prize: luxury. 24 hours at a luxury resort, getting massages (presumably without happy endings), hot tubs, the whole gamut.
Shock of all shocks, black team won it. Ron had a "haird taim" in the pool, moving medicine balls from one end to the other but that was all that he could contribute. It looked like he *did* try, even though he took almost half-again as long as it took the Terrible Tongan, Filipe.
Mandi did some good work, gaining some ground against Tara, though there was basically no chance once the balls were in her court, so to speak. Aubrey did her damnedest to catch up to Helen. In the end, though, it seems that, once again, Ron held them back juuuuuuuust enough for them to fail. Again.
Luxury to the black team.
Advantage... blue team?!
That's right. 24 hours of luxury is 24 hours away from Jillian and 24 hours of excess. They went whole-hog that night. Between the six of them, there were something like 12,900 calories consumed in the span of four hours.
Speaking of Filipe, the day before the luxury, Jillian completely ignored him, choosing to work out the others, one-on-one. Oops.
After the black team got back to the Ranch, Jillian tore a strip off of them. Let me be clear if you haven't watched the show: Jillian is not a nice person. She likes causing pain, she likes hurting your feelings because she will break you down to a gibbering pile of guts if that's what it takes to get past your emotional crap and get you on track to losing weight.
Have you ever seen a 290-pound temper-tantrum? If you didn't watch last night, I'm guessing probably not. At least not a 290-pound Tongan temper-tantrum. Filipe was slamming his hand on the table, walking around and yelling at Jillian about the day before when she didn't take time for him. Then he went to the gym and asked Bob to train him again. His compadre Sione went along.
In a later aside, Sione came up with some bullshit about how he agreed with Filipe and wanted Jillian to know that he felt the same way. This, despite the fact that Jillian has taken Sione aside, trained him one-on-one, and made him a priority. Bob, his goony-eyes popping, agreed to train the pair of them, and even had them facing off against their head-to-head competition. "Sione, beat Mandi. Mandi, beat Sione." Stuff like that. Bob is very funny and he did, I guess, the best he could with a difficult situation.
NOTE: I can understand the frustration that Filipe felt. It's not nice to be singled out, whether on purpose or not, and any time you feel sorry for yourself, it's certainly not going to help your motivation. When you're 290 pounds, you let off steam the same way you do anything else: really big. So I can kind of understand why he fell off the weight-loss wagon during his luxury 24 hours. Still, to whine and complain about his horrible lot in life, having to suffer under Jillian, slamming his hand on the table, shrieking in petulant rage, before storming off to Bob's Blue Bombers, begging to be let in because of the unfairness of it all, shows me the character of the man, and lets me understand how, despite an amazing athleticism and work ethic, he managed to reach 300+ pounds. When everything's going well for Filipe, he's boisterous, laughing, shouting his joy to the world. He loves everything and everybody. When something goes wrong, he can't blame himself or move past it. The world's over, and it's time to eat. I know this because I'm the same way. It's helpful to see that behaviour in someone else because it makes it easier to look at myself and see when I'm doing the same thing. It's also frustrating to see it because he needs to suck it up (his pride), sack it up (be a man), sock it up (his whiney pie-hole) and back it up (his big talk about how he could eat a pound of chicken tenders and still win weigh-in). After the Dane marathon lies that we were told, I have to wonder how much of this show is real, but if any/most of it is real -- particularly the parts about the weight-loss journeys -- then there are two things that need to happen: Sione needs to kick his cousin's ass back to Jillian, and Filipe needs to take his hat in his hand, swallow his pride, toe the line, pull his weight and all the other cliches that mean he's contrite and willing to accept responsibility for the choices he made while he was off the Ranch. Whoo - long note.
To make an already-long story shorter, somehow, black team managed to pull a win out. I say somehow but, really, Tara did an amazing job of setting the matchups.
Putting Helen against Ron was genius. Helen lost very little, but Ron would have had to basically double that in order to win the matchup. He didn't.
Mikey was probably the only one off-Ranch who didn't totally lose control. He lost 8 lbs and secured another point for his team.
This is an interesting matchup since they both had to do work at home. Laura, however, nearly drowned in tequilla and mashed taters off-Ranch, while the light seems to be finally coming on for Aubrey. Laura gained weight (I believe) while Aubrey had a fairly solid number.
There was some good smack-talk leading up to this matchup. I don't know if they genuinely don't like each other or if they both just have big mouths, but Filipe's loss of control led to some deep-fried chicken tenders, some alcohol, some kobe sliders, and a minimal weight-loss. Kristin continued her solid performance, putting Filipe to rest. After the weigh-in, Filipe said something along the lines of, "I can't believe I let my trainer affect me this much," showing me that he has some miles to go before he gets it. Dude, you just got your butt kicked by a girl. :)
I'll admit, Mandi was my dark horse for the biggest loser title. The camera didn't really follow Sione too much during the off-Ranch lux-fest, so it's my conjecture that he really didn't let himself go that far (kinda like Mikey). Still, Sione's just about a hundred pounds heavier than Mandi, so when he lost six pounds, it was up to Mandi to lose five. Deet - deet - deet, she gained two. Oops.
At the elimination discussion, Ron says, "It's Mandi's time to go home." As if he wasn't the guy begging not to be sent home two weeks ago. But now he's got his ladies to vote his bidding and he can just make pronouncements from the throne.
It's really interesting to see the disintegration of a team like this. It will be Aubrey next week, it will be Ron the week after that, and then Cathy and Kristin will have to make the horrible mother-or-daughter decision that Helen and her daughter had to make.
And it's all Aubrey's fault.
Two weeks ago, Aubrey had a chance to send Ron packing. She held the swing vote. Dane and Mandi did their jobs, voting for Ron. Ron and his ladies voted for Dane (because Dane was the most able to do it at home). Aubrey, apparently under some illusion that it would be her fault, couldn't vote Ron home and effectively sent Dane away. That shifted the balance of power to Bob's original Blue Bombers and sealed her fate as well as that of her sister.
That act of
nonsense conscience cost her and Mandi the Biggest Loser cup, I think. Add to that all the little goodie packages that come from winning the mini-challenges and all that leaves is the real reason we're here. I hope the light truly came on for her and she loses lots of weight - enough to keep her immune until they restructure or whatever - or enough for her to make the switch, because I don't truly think she's ready to go home and be healthy, yet.
Which brings us all the way back to Ron's evil plan. I truly believe that when they split up Ron and Mikey, Ron stopped caring about his team. He's there for his son, he wants his son to be on the show - he's said that enough times - and he will burn Bob's Blue Bombers all the way to Hell if that's what it takes to keep Mikey there. Thus, he gets his ladies to vote off the strongest performers under the guise of them "being ready to do it at home" and Mikey's team wins all the challenges, gets all the advantages and, since basically all the athletes are on Jillian's team, they can take a day off, eat two days' worth of calories, and still win the weigh-in. Congratulations, papa, you've done your son proud.