Love is in the air at the Biggest Loser ranch, in celebration of Valentine’s Day, which for us is just a few days away. At the ranch, it’s probably months and months away, but keeping in mind that the ranch is a vacation from real life in many, many ways, Valentine’s Day can be, say, in September. Hey, any excuse to get flowers and eat copious amounts of chocolate works for me.

Speaking of eating chocolate! Teams Unknown Trainers and Bob & Jillian are no longer…instead, Team UT is now the Red Team (bringing back memories of yucky former Red Team trainer Kim) and Team BJ is now the Black Team. The new color teams are quickly swept into a challenge with a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t prize. Host Ali Sweeney, in a cunning newsboy cap and tightly belted leopard-print jacket, greets the teams in an elaborate room full of drool-inducing chocolate bits and bites. Each individual will be given 3 minutes alone in the chocolate room. The person who eats the most chocolate will be given the power to swap two of their team members for two members of the opposing team. The winner’s name will be kept anonymous.

The team members file into the room, and several decide to try to “save” their teammates by scarfing up as much chocolate as possible in the allotted 3 minutes. Black Team member Arthur provides us with his usual dose of comic relief, gobbling up a whopping 35 pieces of candy. Ali announces that a swap is indeed the outcome of the challenge, and Jay and Jen are sent packing to the Red Team, in exchange for Sarah and Deni. The teams assume that a Red Team member orchestrated the switch, as Sarah & Deni are the weakest Reds. Hugs and sniffles abound, apparently giving Art a dose of the guilts. He confesses to being the catalyst for change, claiming he sent the “untrustworthy” Jay & Jen away for the comparatively weak Sarah & Deni in order to save himself and dad Jesse from elimination. In other words – he IS as dumb as he looks.

The trainer duos react differently to the new teams – Bob & Jillian are dismayed by Art’s gameplay fail, while Brett and Cara are cheered by the prospect of two new, stronger team members. More immediate of a problem, however, is the introduction of the Red Team into the formerly Bob & Jillian-owned ranch gym. Red trainer Cara proves to be annoyingly shrieky and loud, while her compatriot Brett is less aggravating but also a shouter. I am predisposed to despise this method, particularly the noisy grunts and shouts from Moses, Rulon & Justin, simply because one of my pet peeves in the gym are oversized meatheads who make revolting sounds and send too-heavy weights crashing to the floor. Alas, while my MP3 player is my saving grace, the Black Team must remain earbud-free. Bob & Jillian decide to take the high road and refuse to scream above the rookie trainers, while the teams check out the other’s training methods and predictably, criticize their opposition’s workouts. Because, you know, most of these people never set foot in a gym until a couple of months ago so are qualified to judge the methods of professional trainers.

Ali attempts to inject the week’s Love Theme back into the proceedings, with a challenge whose prize is videos from home for the entire winning team. The challenge is a series of tasks which the teams will perform in groups of two. The first task is Courtney & Olivia vs. Kaylee and Jen, with one person pushing a “boulder” (styrofoam rock) blindfolded with the other shouting directions. Courtney & Olivia score a narrow lead over the Red girls, and tag off to Marci & Irene. Austin and Rulon quickly join them to build towers of bricks that must stand on its own for 5 seconds, 6 feet high. The ladies win, and Sarah & Deni now must compete against Ken & Justin to place five dishes in order according to calorie count. Sarah & Deni finish quickly, while the Red boys languish trying to determine if the burger is regular ground beef or bison. Or whatever. Meanwhile, Jesse & Art attempt to carry a log across a couple of horizontal telephone poles in a balancing challenge. Art fails on his first attempt, but the twosome is successful on their second try. Hannah’s now up, and must hit a black heart-shaped target with a bow & arrow. She nails it on the first try, and the team gathers to assemble a puzzle for the final component of the challenge. The Black team easily finishes and celebrates while Ali rescues Ken & Justin from the calorie-counting task. The Red team is chagrined but vow to win the weigh-in.

After a cozy home-video viewing at the Black team’s digs, it’s time for the very first 2-team weigh-in, complete with both sets of trainers. Red team is up first.

Jay, start weight 331, loss -14

Jen, start weight 232, loss -14

Austin, start weight 326, loss -10

Ken, start weight 321, loss -14

Q, start weight 385, loss -7

Rulon, start weight 394, loss -12

Justin, start weight 292, loss -10

Kaylee, start weight 195, loss -5

Moses, start weight 351, loss -11 (tying previous Biggest Loser contestants Rudy & Michael by losing 100 lbs in the first 7 weeks on campus)

Red Team percentage of weight loss: 3.43%, 97 total pounds lost

Black Team:

Deni, start weight 210, loss -9

Sarah, start weight 222, loss -10

Art, start weight 444, loss -9

Jesse, start weight 257, loss -11

Courtney, start weight 275, loss -10

Marci, start weight 200, loss -13

Olivia, start weight 224, loss -16, thereby winning the night’s weigh-in for the Black team

Irene, start weight 216, loss -12

Hannah, start weight 210, loss -9

Black Team percentage of weight loss: 4.38%, 99 total pounds loss

Booyah, giant Red team boys! The (comparatively) lil’ ladies of Team Black are triumphant, and the Red team heads to the voting table. With a complete lack of drama, the unpopular Q is sent home – in fact, he’s so unpopular, he even votes himself off. Q is reasonably successful with his at-home loss, dropping to 345 from his pre-competition start weight of 437. Cheated of a hoped-for cage match this week, next week it’s a muthaf****n’ walkoff between Bob & Brett! Extra points for the one who can make flex his biceps enough to make his arm tattoos look like they’re moving!