Last week, it was all above love. This week, it’s all about redemption – the redemption of former 600+ -pounder, Arthur. Arthur continues to languish in the Black Team’s doghouse, courtesy of The Worst TBL Strategy Decision Ever from the previous week when he sent father-and-daughter duo Jay and Jen to the Red Team in exchange for comparative weaklings, mother-and-daughter Deni and Sarah. (Speaking of “redemption”…goooooo Boston Rob! Show that douchebag Russell who the real daddy of the Survivor game is!)
But that’s later tonight. 9 pm Mountain Time on CBS. Check your local listings. Right now we have to get to one of Ali Sweeney’s “pop challenges”, which are like pop quizzes in school which you kind of expect in the meanest teacher’s class anyway. So the element of surprise is kinda low. Anyway, today each team will be tied together with rope. First team to untie the knots that bind race to a plexiglass box containing the key to the gym, to which the winning team will have exclusive access to for the entire week. The Black Team must sit out a member, and Art is dispatched to the sidelines. Because there’s only so much rope. OK, ok, that was mean, but it would have been meaner yet to see him try to wiggle out of a knotted length of rope.
Black Team Hannah is disgruntled because Justin and Rulon grew up on farms and probably tie up cows in their sleep. I will refrain from making any easy jokes, but it should be easy enough to think up your own here. Sure enough, Justin’s cattle-ropin’ skills prevail and the Red Team takes the easy win. The Black Team is dispatched to the outdoors, which is a real bitch under the warm skies of sunny California. Bob & Jillian are given the grim news – Bob tries to pep talk the team, pointing out that there’s friggin’ exercise equipment on the damn patio, but Jillian remains unimpressed and complains that it’s another blow for Team Underdog, the “Care Bears vs. an NFL Football Team”.
Or, an Olympic wrestling team. Rulon, who bears an astonishing resemblance to Michael Chiklis as the Fantastic Four’s The Thing, joins fellow big boys Justin and Moses on the treadmill. Trainer Brett claims they’ve been hankering to hit the treadmills, calling it the Black Team’s “secret sauce”. More likely, he’s got his eye on at least one of the trio making final four and can see the marathon looming before them. Meanwhile, Cara tries to get up-close-and-personal with Rulon, which is kind of like watching Chester try to engage Spike in conversation.
An anxious Arthur decides that in order to keep himself and dad Jesse on the ranch, it’s necessary to humble himself to the Black Team ladies who are holding a grudge. He earns back some favor, allowing the women to readjust his eating plan.
It’s challenge time, and who the heck did Ali piss off in hair & makeup? Her hair is done up in the kind of curling-iron sausage curls that were in vogue when I was in the 7th grade. The teams must take turns pushing a railway car down a short length of track, which is dotted with 6 signs containing nutrition trivia questions. The railway car contains 6 sacks labeled as different foods, and the two team members who are riding rather than pushing must determine the answer while the car is in motion, and toss the bags out as they pass the question signs. The Black Team wisely sits out oldest member Deni, and they are up first. Art is one of the anchors at the back of the car, but his fitness level appears not to be up to the simultaneous running and pushing, and he falls off the course. Marci and Olivia dither over their answers, and the team squeaks to a 2 minute, 5 second finish.
The Red Team, welcoming another physical challenge, glides to a time of 1 minute 35 seconds, but Jen & Kaylee worry about their performance on the trivia portion. The Black Team has 4 answers wrong and a minute is added to their time. The Red Team performs even worse, only managing one correct answer, but with their faster finish time, it’s enough to win the challenge. The prize is the power to sit out a Black Team member of their choice for the weigh-in, whose weight will not count in the final tally.
The already-disgruntled Jillian decides that Arthur must pay for his poor challenge effort, and decides to re-visit the first day challenge of pushing a pickup truck around the Presidential Mile. This time, however, Arthur will be performing the challenge solo. Bob is anxious but Jillian bullies him into the driver’s seat, advising him not to hit the brakes. Poor Art starts pushing, while Jillian taunts him from the pickup’s box. But success is Arthur’s, and you can tell because they start playing uplifting music during the segment. The kind of uplift you hear on the American Idol final two’s “winning” song. Push faster, Art, so it can be over soon! Please! His teammates trot alongside and help him out for the last few feet. An omen for a great weigh-in? Or a send-him-home fail?
At the final weigh-in, Ali has combed her hair and beams at the Red Team to begin the festivities.
Jay, start weight 317, loss –9
Jen, start weight 218, loss –7
Moses, start weight 340, loss –7
Kaylee, start weight 190, loss –3
Justin, start weight 282, loss –5
Rulon, start weight 382, loss –11
Austin, start weight 316, loss –10
Ken, start weight 307, loss –11
Red Team: 63 pounds total, 2.68%
The Red Team decides Irene will sit out the weigh-in, which is the season’s second Dumbest Decision Ever. Why not sit out consistent loser and bigger-girl Courtney? Well, whatever. Irene shrugs and smirks, and starts off the Black Team’s weigh-in.
Irene, start weight 204, loss –6
Deni, start weight 201, loss –5
Sarah, start weight 212, loss –4
Olivia, start weight 208, loss –2
Hannah, start weight 201, loss –7
Marci, start weight 187, loss –6
Courtney, start weight 265, loss –7
Jesse, start weight 246, loss –8
Arthur, start weight 435, loss –20
Black Team: 59 pounds total, 3.02%
OK, well, Courtney still would’ve been a better bet. Deni, Irene and Hannah are the newest members of “onederland”, but it’s Arthur who is the hero of the day with a significant enough weight loss to carry the team to another weigh-in victory. The Red Team receives the news with faces so long you’d think they hadn’t had any chocolate for, like, a month. New Red member Jay is sent home, and happily reports his progress from home – a total weight loss of 111 pounds to date. Health now regained, Jay has his eye on the at-home prize of 100K. As for next week…well, I don’t get the previews, and I’m tired of making up fun stuff that never happens. So I’ll just have to stick with the old formula – trainers screaming, teams trash-talking, and Arthur smiling cherubically. I’m off to check out some Survivor, redemption-style.