SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Pay It Forward" episode of "The Biggest Loser" contains contestant spoilers.
While the contestants at the "Biggest Loser" ranch are still dealing with losing one of their competitors from last week's weigh-in, host Alison enters the house and drops another shocker on them: Three more people are leaving the ranch!
Yes, they were freaking out too, but only because they forgot about the rule of reality TV fake-outs. Yes, three more people were leaving the ranch: Dolvett, Jillian, and Bob, the "BL" trainers, who would be MIA for the week of ranch training while they went off for surprise home visits to this season's teen contestants.
The contestants were understandably concerned about how well they'd fare on their own, particularly Pam and Danni, the sole members of Jillian's White Team, and Jackson, the sweet Red Team member who's been working hard but has been plagued by illness and low weight-loss totals for the last couple of weeks.
The team members were supporting each other -- and being very vocal during their workouts -- but none of them felt prepared for the week's challenge: a 5K race, in which the winning team would split a $15,000 prize. Some complained of knee injuries, some said 5K was 4K more than they'd ever run before, and still others were dealing with blisters during the race.
But with Danni leading the pack, and even the slowest contenders determined to finish the race with a combination of walking and running, the 5K proved to be the collective group's most impressive physical effort of the season so far.
Danni won the race, Red Team Joe came in second, and White Team Pam came in third, meaning Danni and Pam got to split that $15,000 cash pot. Pam's earlier reaction to learning about the $15,000 prize: use of the phrase "Shut the front door," which we hereby ask be retired permanently, like "Gangnam Style" and anyone with the last name "Kardashian."
Everyone, in fact, finished, including Jackson, who finished in an especially inspiring sixth place after his lungs nearly gave out halfway through the race, requiring the assistance of Dr. H and an inhaler to clear his lungs and allow him to continue.
The trainers are off to the teens' hometowns, and it has to be said yet again: These kids are so adorable. Bob surprises Biingo while the 13-year-old is at dinner with his family in Maryland, Jillian surprises 16-year-old Sunny while she's studying with her friends, and Dolvett pops into 13-year-old cutie Lindsay's school and surprises her by announcing himself via the school PA system.
The visits were planned not only to surprise and motivate the kiddies but also to give the trainers a chance to get to know the teens better and get to know a little more about what might be causing their weight issues.
Biingo, Bob learns, lost his home. His father's business was hard-hit by the recession, and his family had to give up their home and move into the basement of a family member. That meant a school-district change for Biingo and emotional trauma for his entire family, which Biingo dealt with by indulging in junk food.
Sunny, Jillian learns, uses food to deal with a stressful schedule she maintains because she's afraid of disappointing her parents. Her mom and dad want their only child to become a doctor, and Sunny, instead of taking the time to explore all her options and simply enjoy being a kid, packs her schedule with schoolwork and extracurricular activities so that she can get into a good school.
And Lindsay is a former cheerleader who gave up her beloved activity, she tells Dolvett, when the other kids kept making cruel comments about her weight. Dolvett assures her that he understands how mean kids can be and that she should know he believes she can do anything she wants to do. "I'm excited to know you," Dolvett tells the teen in one of the sweetest interactions in "Biggest Loser" history.
The trainers further surprise the younger contestants with fun outings -- Biingo and Bob go to a minor league baseball game, Sunny and Jillian try rowing, and Dolvett arranges a cheerleading workout for Lindsay and himself with her school's cheer squad -- before they return home to their more mature (chronologically speaking) trainees.
Meanwhile, back at the Ranch
As the trainers -- and contestants -- feared, while Jillian, Bob, and Dolvett were away, efforts at El Rancho Perdedor Grande may have dropped a bit in intensity.
The White Team, all two members, happily shares news of the 5K win with an impressed and proud Jillian and say that they feel they followed her workout instructions carefully.
But Bob and Dolvett learn that their teams may not have pushed themselves as they would have, had the trainers been on the ranch, with Red Team's Joe and Blue Team's Jeff both visibly hitting mental and physical walls throughout the week.
The story of the week -- and it's a positive one -- is Jackson, who proved how tough a competitor he is, not only by finishing the 5K but by stepping up in Dolvett's absence to become a motivating leader for his team. Will it pay off in the weigh-in, though?
The numbers don't lie
The weigh-in starts with the Blue Team, and yes, it's an off week for Jeff: He lost 6 pounds (versus 11 last week), and he's now at 342 pounds. Ditto Joe on the Red Team, who lost 12 pounds last week but 7 this week, ending with a current weight of 310. Blue Team's Alex also continues to struggle to add a big loss to her team's total, dropping 4 pounds for a 217-pound current weight.
The week's biggest losers on "Biggest Loser": Blue Team's motivated Michael with 12 and, yes, Jackson, whose continued efforts and good attitude netted him a 12-pound loss and a huge boost to his confidence (as well as a current weight that took him below 300 pounds: 288).
Sadly, despite their efforts, the White Team lost the smallest percentage of overall pounds for the week -- 9 pounds total, for 2.05 percent of Danni and Pam's weight -- and with Pam dropping the lowest percentage on the White Team, she was automatically sent home.
But don't feel sorry for the 43-year-old single mom. She returned to her New York City home a new woman, and since starting the show, she revealed that she has lost an impressive, and life-changing, 55 pounds. Taking her weight from 237 to 182 pounds has allowed her to be happier, engage in more physical activities, and, most important, she says, improve her relationship with her daughter.
Pam also got herself a sassy makeover -- new hairstyle, new duds -- and she says she has once again become a "Damn Girl" -- as in, when she walks down the street, people look at her and say, "Damn, girl!"
Watch the full episode:
"The Biggest Loser" airs Mondays at 8pm ET on NBC.