This week's "Biggest Loser" loser may end up being the biggest winner of the whole season. And we're not just talking about the el-bees she's dropping.
OK, this news is too much fun to save for the end, so we'll lead with the results: Francelina fell below the red line at the weigh-in in Monday's "Be Yourself" episode of "The Biggest Loser," which meant she was automatically sent packing.
But in her update at the end of the show, we found out that she has lost a total of 77 pounds since the start of Season 14 (going from 267 pounds to 190), she gained the confidence to continue working toward getting into medical school, and, surprise, she and fellow contestant Jeff have forged a special bond. It's so special, in fact, that they are officially dating (her words), and she's even planning to move to Chicago to continue training with her new boyfriend for the "BL" finale.
The weigh-in had come down to whether it would be Jeff or Francelina leaving the "BL" ranch, but what could have been one bittersweet ending became pure sweetness thanks to that postscript.
It was welcome for another reason: For most of the eighth week at the ranch, the contestants were butting heads with each other and with the trainers, and much of the tension could be traced back to Gina, the woman who's put up impressive weight loss numbers but has doled out even heftier amounts of attitude.
The week started with the trio of sweet teen contestants visiting the ranch. They're there to help the adults with a pop challenge: If the seven remaining contestants can lose a total of 70 pounds, they'll each get immunity for the week. The teens are going to help them shave that number down by answering some nutritional trivia questions and by redoing their fitness tests from the beginning of the season. Sunny, Lindsay, and Biingo get four of five trivia questions correct, which means 4 pounds are knocked off the adults' goal for the week.
Then the teens show off how much they've improved their own fitness levels when they redo their fitness tests, including situps, pushups, chinups, and sprints, and win another 5-pound advantage for the adults, meaning the contestants now have to lose 61 pounds collectively.
Special shout-out to Sunny, by the way, as she shaved a full three minutes off her 1-mile run. You go, girl!
One of the best parts of the show is the update we get each episode, and this week it's on Nate, who went home in week two after a 25-pound loss and immediately proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes, and she must be even prouder of her hubby-to-be now: He's lost a total of 90 pounds and said he's hoping trainer Jillian Michaels will RSVP yes to the wedding invitation he sent her.
The update on Nate has us feeling motivated and impressed, but that's not the mood in the "BL" ranch gym. Dolvett, while trying to motivate Gina, jokes that he hates lawyers. "Me too," says contestant Joe, on the treadmill beside Gina, and she hops off the treadmill, jumps onto her Huffy bike, and storms out of the gym.
Dolvett takes off after her, and she fusses and cusses and hisses and whines and performs almost every other petulant behavior you can think of, ultimately refusing to go back into the gym if Joe is there. Why? Dolvett was joking, but Joe wasn't, she says, and she doesn't have to take it. When Dolvett offers to sequester her in her own area of the gym, she agrees to return, and we don't think we're just seeing things when we spot a bit of a smirk on Gina's face. After all, she now has a personal trainer, Dolvett, all to herself. Clever (and selfish), Gina.
With pressure on to hit that group target, the tension continues to boil in the gym, and Jillian goes off on Alex and Gina for being willing to try only just so hard. Gina freaks out again, Jillian and Bob also get into a little verbal tussle, Gina flees the gym again, and then Jillian walks out.
Bob goes to the house to placate Gina and tell her she's self-sabotaging (wethinks Gina doth like the attention her hissy fits bring her, too), while Jillian chats with Alex and finds out Alex is frustrated that no matter how great she does, there's always a feeling that she should have done one more bit better.
Like sands through the hourglass
Yeah, that was a nod to host Alison Sweeney's other gig, playing Sami Brady on "Days of Our Lives," but this week's challenge does actually involve sand. Alison meets the contestants at the beach and they're shown a series of sand dunes. The game essentially involves them working as a team to dig through 10 sand dunes to unearth five green arrows. Once they've found all the arrows, they can, together, pick up a flagpole and run it to the end of the pier. They have 30 minutes to complete the challenge, and if they do, another 10 pounds will be knocked off their total weight loss goal for the week.
Bottom line: They're successful, and most of them work as a team, save Gina, who stands by at one point while the rest of the contestants dig through pounds and pounds of wet sand, saying she doesn't want to get in the way. Riiiight. Wethinks herself is not the only sabotaging Gina is trying to do. After all, at the beginning of the episode, when the immunity situation was announced, Gina was the only person who said she didn't need it, that she was confident she'd lose enough weight to secure her spot on the show on her own. So maybe she doesn't care so much about helping her fellow "BL" competitors to secure immunity. Just sayin'.
One more note on the sand dunes: When the players were running together, with the flagpole, to the pier, Gina fell in the sand. Who stopped and helped her? Joe.
Surely they can lose 51 pounds, right?
Eh, maybe not. And there's no one named Shirley here (we couldn't help ourselves … it's been a very tense "BL" night).
The contestants get a quick visit from Jared -- of Subway fame -- who brings them sammiches (of the healthy, low-fat Subway variety) and tells them he's impressed with their efforts this season. As is Subway, which is going to put the Season 14 winner in a commercial with Jared.
Next, even though the end of the week is near and there's really no reason to continue the focus on teamwork since the big weigh-in is imminent, the contestants are forced to pair off in teams, climb up poles, and tightrope-walk while holding on to each other. Of course the pairings include Jillian with Alex and Gina with Joe, but everyone gets through the exercise unscathed.
And then we get to the weigh-in. We already told you the results: Francelina lost the lowest percentage of weight for the week and was forced to bid her friends (and her boyfriend) adieu.
The weigh-in also brought another round of whining and crying from Gina, who drew Jillian's ire again and who was such a poor sport that she couldn't even manage gold claps for her fellow contestants when most of them hit the scale. The majority of the other contestants seemed to hit a plateau -- even Joe and Jackson managed just 6- and 5-pound losses, respectively.
But the high point of the weigh-in: Danni, who lost an impressive 7 pounds, taking her 201-pound frame down to 194 pounds, the lowest she's been since before she took her driver's license exam, she shared.
P.S. For viewers wondering about that memorial at the end of the episode, with the name David Gibbs and a photo of a man standing in front of a helicopter with "The Biggest Loser" logo on it: Gibbs was one of three people killed earlier this month when a helicopter crashed during filming of a Discovery Channel reality series. He had also worked on "The Amazing Race," "Monday Night Football," and "Star Trek: Insurrection," among other projects.
Watch the full episode:
"The Biggest Loser" airs Mondays at 8 PM on NBC.