After an extended “see how far they’ve come” sequence, Allison arrived to announce that this was Final Exams week. Bob would give them a spinning exam, Bret would test them on nutrition, Cara would handle boxing, and Jillian would judge their skills as a motivator. The contestant with the highest grade would win $10,000.
At first it seems like Exams are going to be the arc for the whole episode, but the tests go by pretty quickly. Irene reverts to clueless party girl persona for the spinning test with Bob, but she does well on her other tests (although we don’t really get to see the details). Jay completely blows the spinning test by telling Bob, who is pretending to be a spinning newbie, to take the seat off his bike; but, he steps it up and does very well on the other tests. Austin sits on the B+/A- line on all his tests. Olivia and Hannah both get 100% on the spinning test and seem to hold their own on all the other exams.
Then, just when the contestants thought they were done with exams and ready to hit the gym, it turns out that there’s another test. Everyone will play “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout” on the Xbox 360 with avatars designed to look like them. The Challenge is to match the form of the avatars in the game as they do various exercises. The points allotted for winning this competition will make the difference in who wins the $10,000 prize for highest exam score.
There is a bit of a weird moment when we see the Xbox avatars for the contestants, since they don’t look anything like them. Olivia says nice things because her character is sort of hot, but Irene is clearly over her not-even-close to a look alike. Hannah wins the Xbox test and gets 100 points, but Olivia gets enough Xbox points to earn the highest overall score and the $10,000 prize.
The Finals week challenge was to carry 100 sand bags up a weird cardboard cut-out looking mountain. (Have they run out of money and ideas for challenges, or is it just me?) The winner of the challenge gets a one pound advantage at the weigh in, and Irene (in voice over) makes the obvious point that one pound means more to the skinny women left on the show than it does to the still-a-little-flabby-men, because it represents a much larger percentage of their body weight. Hannah struggles a bit and reminds us of her back injury, but keeps going. In the end, Austin, the contestant who needs the advantage least, wins it.
When the last chance workout sequence begins, the big question is: what in the world is Bob Harper wearing? Are black knee socks, black baggy shorts, and a skin tight black shirt cool in LA these days? I don’t know from fashion, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t. If he weren’t such a hard body hottie the outfit would be downright distracting; as it stands it is just weird. Nothing else is surprising in the workout, though. These guys can workout. They know what they’re doing. Let’s move on.
As the contestants line up on their risers for the weigh in, I can’t help but think this is the second to the last time I’ll see Jillian in this role. Next week will be her last regular episode on the show, since the May 24th finale is filmed live and follows a completely different format. The weirdness of Jilian as a short-timer is starting to sink in. I’m also reminded that Jill left the show once before and came back. Do you think that could happen again? Nah. This is it for Jillian. This is really it. She’s a “Doctor,” now.
The weigh in has a little twist. Austin won a one-pound advantage in the challenge and Olivia won $10, 000 for having the highest “grade” on her finals. Now, Allison tells them both they can choose between $10,000 and one pound off the scale. Even though Austin has been telling us throughout the episode that he really doesn’t need the pound, he takes it anyway. Olivia talks about why she deserves the money and what it means to her, and she delivers it in her most convincing motivational tone; but, it seems really dumb. With all the endorsements and opportunities that are bound to come her way, risking her spot in the finale for $10k is ridiculous. We still love Olivia, though, and we want the purple team to go to the finals. Let’s hope her stupidity doesn’t cost her.
Hannah is the first to weigh in. She started the show at 248 and is now at 154, only 6 lbs. away from having lost 100 lbs. on the ranch. This week she loses 4 lbs. for a total of 98 lbs. lost on the show, and she is down to 150 lbs., which represents a loss of 2.6 % of her body weight. As she leaves the scale, her voice over is all about how she wants to go to the final four hand in hand with Olivia, and my heart sinks.
Irene is next. She started the competition at 255 lbs. and this week she starts at 152 lbs. She loses 5 lbs. and is down to 147 lbs. Hannah’s 4 lbs. was huge. This is ridiculous. Her percentage of weight loss is a whopping 3.29%. What is a 147 lb. woman doing on the Biggest Loser?
When Jay comes to the scale next, he talks about how he would’ve gone home last week if it weren’t for Tim Gunn’s fairy godfather gift of another week on the ranch for all 5 contestants. Besides last week’s reprieve, he was actually voted off earlier in the season and then won his way back onto the show. This isn’t just Jay’s 2nd chance; it is his 3rd chance. He started the competition at 400 lbs. and weighed in last week at 255 lbs. His weight loss for the week is 9 lbs., his new weight is 246 and his percentage of weight los for the week is 3.53%. And that’s enough to secure his spot in the final four. What? Hannah is now in third with two more to weigh in.
Olivia’s next, and folks start speculating about the possibility of Hannah and Olivia both falling below the yellow line. That’s Olivia’s nightmare, and right now it feels like ours, too. Allison tells us that Olivia started 261 lbs., and she needs to have lost more than 5 lbs. to be safe (and to push Hannah below the yellow line-ouch). She loses 5 lbs. and is on the bubble just above Hannah. If Olivia had taken the one pound advantage, she would’ve been safe, dammit.
Austin is last to weigh in, and he has a one-pound advantage. He started the competition at 396 lbs. and needs to have lost more than 6 pounds to be safe and push Hannah down below the yellow line with Olivia.
When the scale stops, Austin has only lost one pound, and the emotions of the show are immediately turned upside down. Austin’s tears remind us that Olivia and Hannah aren’t the only ones whose hopes were on the line tonight. Olivia is safe. It is simply unimaginable that Austin won’t be voted off. That’s that. Well, at least we might finally find out who he has been dating.
Mercifully, the show takes us straight to the elimination room without belaboring the point. Olivia goes first, and votes for the one who isn’t her sister. Duh. One vote for Austin. It only takes two votes to send someone home tonight, and Jay is next. His vote is for Austin, and after the shortest elimination sequence in Biggest Loser history, Austin gets hugs all the way around.
The transformation sequence shows us an almost unrecognizably obese Austin and then cuts to a 230 lb. buff Austin boxing in a gym. They also show some footage of Austin visiting with some 5th graders. Apparently, it was in 5th grade that Austin started gaining all his weight, so he wanted to talk to the kids about being healthy. Unfortunately, he also wanted to sing to them. Now, maybe he just didn’t have a good mix or monitor or something, but I can’t say I was as sorry that they cut the audio away from his performance this week as I was to have missed Olivia’s aria last week. (Sorry Austin.) And they leave us without even a hint about Austin’s love life.
So, that’s the final four, for what it is worth. What really matters is the final three, but they needed something to focus on this week, and “final four” has a nice ring. My money’s on an all girl finale, but Jay’s big week adds some drama for sure. Did he peek too soon, or is he on a roll? Next week has to be all about Jillian, though, right? Everything else will be a footnote.