"Oh shit, how is the Ferry we're towing now in front of us?!"

Monday began where Thursday left off, being the second part of the tugging race around Sydney Harbour. While the suspense was high as it looked like red team might just catch up with, and overtake, black team, really there should never have been any doubt that a team full of so many experienced tuggers would win. As Commando commanded that his team pull, and then clarified the type of pulling he was referring to, and as Alex screamed encouragement from a much faster boat, black team pulled each other off, sorry, pulled for each other off, to victory. Shane reckoned that the black team could have done just as well if Alex had been rowing instead of Commando Steve, though obviously he meant to say that they would have done just as well as the team that finished last if Alex had been rowing instead of Commando Steve.

With the black team carrying a 2kg advantage the contestants ambled over to the weigh-in room for the first real test of the trainers’ abilities and the contestants’ commitment. The fluoro floor lights began flickering to life as the contestants entered the room, there mainly for effect but also to make sure no one trips over some of the wonky steps up to the scales. Margie confessed to camera that she was scared that the boys had done some massive numbers, and this was one of the reasons she never used the toilet immediately after any one of them. There was a lot of tension in the room so Hayley attempted to break the ice by saying “Hi everyone” but her efforts were wasted as she received only blank stares from the ungrateful contestants in reply. So as punishment she decided to make everyone weigh themselves.

This year, like every other year, the historical yellow line was back. There hasn’t been a line the focus of so much attention since the Kaiser’s army met the combined forces of the British and the French in 1914 at the famous Maginot Line. In that encounter the German’s managed to stay above the line whilst the British and French remained below, no one shifting for four years, in the longest series of Biggest Loser ever seen. This year it is expected that things will be a bit less static, and a lot less messy. Hayley explained how the complicated Biggest Loser system worked, saying that it was a lot like a pyramid scheme, only more square and wobbly. And then they were into it.

Red team were the first on to the scales and they came back with some pretty respectable results. As a group they lost 6.16% of their body weight. Lydia was the overall leader amongst the red team, shedding a jaw dropping 10.3kg. Hayley was quick to jump on the Lydia bandwagon, asking her if she thought her dad would be proud of her. Lydia, at first confused, noted that she had never met Hayley’s dad, but Hayley picked up on the misunderstanding in no time and rephrased the question so that it was obvious she was referring to Lydia’s dad. Lydia was thoughtful for a moment, reflected on her journey so far, and replied “Would my dad be proud that I could only lose weight with the help of a television show, trainers, a dietician devised diet and the promise of a cash reward at the end? He would be proud, but then again he is a very big bogan.”

The white team were next onto the scales. Kasey, Michelle and Bek also produced reasonably respectable numbers, but Selena expressed her nerves about getting weighed. She said her heart told her that she had done enough, but her head suggested that in fact said she hadn’t done enough, while her liver wouldn’t shut up about how strange Hamish looked. In the end it turned out that Selena’s head was right this time and went one nil up in the game within a game against her heart. Her loss was a meagre 4.8kg, which sounds even less when you pronounce it 2.8kg. The disappointment was all over Selena’s face, and only partially concealed by crumbs.

Look out! The Commando has his extra angry pants on.

Next the blue team weighed in, and produced a mixed bag, though unfortunately for the contestants not of lollies. Luke’s 7.9kg was a win, causing a few tears to roll down his ample cheeks. When Hayley probed Luke as to why he was so upset, he said that this week was “the first time in 20 years that I’ve done something for me”. Clearly the years of sitting on the lounge, watching TV and stuffing his face with burger rings had actually just been a misguided attempt to carry on the legacy of Mother Theresa. Meanwhile, Ryan and James brought home some pretty respectable results, but the Mayor of Hamburg let the side down losing less than 5kg.

Finally, black team stepped onto the scales and somehow managed to beat all the others by beating all the others. So this left blue and white to select a team member each to be up for elimination. For the blues, the Hamburgler instantly put up his hand, conceding that he hadn’t worked as hard as the others in training. For the whites, Bec, Michelle and Kasy whispered that the last one to say “Selena should go up” should go up and, by virtue of her hearing problems, Selena was the last to say “Selena should go up”, thus consigning herself to be the one to go up for elimination.

At the elimination, something was in the air, and it wasn’t just the effect of a high fibre diet on the digestive systems of people more accustomed to foods with little nutritional value. Hambone and Selena entered the room and none of the contestants from either the red or black team seemed surprised. Still, that didn’t make the impending vote an easier. Alex reckoned that having to choose one out of two people he had only met a week before and didn’t really know very well to go home, was the toughest choice he’d ever faced. Graeme expressed some sympathy for Selena, but Lydia was having none of it, accusing her of not sticking to the diet and exercising enough, as if that was some panacea to losing weight. Margie followed up with an accusation that Selena, “just doesn’t get it”, before trying to explain to her, for the seventh time, just why the joke about the waterproof teabag invented by an Irishman is funny. Selena just shook her head in bewildered bewilderment, before admitting that she hadn’t been giving 100% in training.

Once the red and black teams had written down their votes, Hayley dropped a bombshell. She informed them that they could choose not to vote either Selena or Hamster, but the choice would have to be unanimous. Alex decided that he could live with them both for another week, so decided to abstain. Margie was next, and, as she was still smarting from Selena’s rejection of her attempts at humour, wasted no time in casting her vote against her. Once the floodgates were open, all sorts of things came out, though mainly votes. Selena was named a sufficient number of times to be the one to leave, and it was with some sense of relief for her as she realised that she could escape the annoyingly overbearing and banal piano music, as well as the annoyingly overbearing Hayley Lewis who it appears has a penchant for repeating everything at least three times. Hayley finished proceedings with the now legendary catch phrase “Selena, you are not the Biggest Loser, please fuck off” or something similar.

Back in the Loser Lounge and the fallout from Margie’s decision began to fall out. The trainers entered and instantly became aware that the white team was a member down, such are their potent powers of observation. Tiffiny was incredulous that they could have voted out Selena when they didn’t have to vote out anyone, but Margie insisted that it was the right thing to do because Selena wasn’t honest about the exercise and dieting she was doing and “she was weighing me down, man!” Shannan said that all the contestants lied, and that’s why they were all on Biggest Loser. He continued, saying that “all my clients lie to me. They lie to me about what exercise they’ve done, what food they’ve eaten and whether I smell good in lycra”. All the talk of smelling Shannan was too much for Margie, who stormed from the room, though not before attempting to decapitate Commando Steve with a particularly sharp cushion.

"Isn't that just like a Loser... brings a briefcase to a sheep herding contest..."

Once the air had been cleared with a quick spray of Glen 20 and some more training had been done, the contestants were bundled into a mysterious warehouse to face off in what Hayley called “the contest”. There is a Seinfeld episode called “The Contest” where the four anti-heroes of the show have a bet to see who can go the longest without masturbating. I’m pretty sure that viewers wouldn’t mind at all if the contestants on Biggest Loser go the whole series without having a wank, but it turns out this contest is about seeing which member of any of the teams will be the ultimate champion after a series of stamina related feats.

The contests started with Lydia, Michelle, Shane and Luke holding a medicine ball above their respective heads, with the first one to bring the medicine ball down being eliminated. That turned out to be Lydia. The next round involves the remaining three holding a plate in each hand with an egg on each plate, with arms outstretched as in some kind of Jesus Christ twisted crucifixion scene. This time, Michelle was first to succumb. Finally, Shane and Luke faced off in a test of holding two yellow pages out in front of themselves, and after a gruelling 22 minutes, Luke could hold on no longer, with Shane being named the ultimate champion.

Shane’s reward was not only the manufactured title of “Champion” for a week, but also the return of “The Walk”, where some mysterious choice lay at the end. Upon completing his walk, and taking a little while to get his breath back, Shane found three cases with the words “Food”, “Training” and “Mystery” imprinted on the top of them, clearly implying that the cases contain some food, some training, or a little bit of mystery. But instead Hayley informed Shane that each of the cases contains a power, be it a power over food, a power of training, or a power over something mysterious. Now a power over food, such as the ability to cook it with your eyes, or turn a can of sardines into priceless abalone, that would be something. But as it turns out, the power is to alter something about another team’s food, training, or something mysterious.

Shane didn’t choose food or training which would give his team an advantage over another. No, instead he chose the mystery case. This in itself was quite a mystery, until of course you find out what the power was and how Shane exercised it. You see, the mysterious power was the ability to bring back an evicted contestant. And as only one contestant has been evicted, Selena, then it’s not exactly a hard choice. What a coincidence hey, that a contestant would be given the power to bring back an evicted contestant after only one contestant had been evicted, just after an eviction where all the voters were given the opportunity not to evict anyone? I get the feeling that Margie didn’t follow the script.

What followed was a little bit of fallout as Margie complained about Selena coming back, while some others expressed their joy that Selena was coming back, while still others dreamt of cream donuts covered in cheese. And then there were some more training sessions with people crawling along beaches and men wobbling up stairs, while cries of “comfort zone” and “pushing through” various barriers and “warriors” and “cream donuts” and “ow get off my foot” filled the heavy sea air.

With the training sessions out of the way and a good night’s sleep over and done with, the contestants were forwarded to a mysterious location known only as “the vault”. Some were tempted to speculate that perhaps Biggest Loser’s ratings were so dismal this year that the producers had decided to dispense with the current crop of contestants by locking them in an undisclosed bank vault and find some new, sexier fat people. But instead, it was just another round of temptation, this time with the consumer of the most calories winning $30,000 in gold bullion.

Each contestant was given five minutes alone in a room with a buffet of bad food. It is a testament to these people that only two of them ate any food at all. Sure, some sniffed the food, others stared longingly at it, and one even rubbed tomato sauce all over his body, but only James and Lisa succumbed. Lisa delighted in a Freddo Frog, spending a reasonably safe 70 calories. However, James went the whole hog, consuming colas and cheese and chocolate for a massive 960 calories, thus winning the gold. Yet James was in for something of a shock when told that he would have to relinquish his place in the house if he wanted the gold. Alternatively, he could relinquish his gold and be given immunity for the week in return. Gold or immunity for breaking your diet? I hope James has learned his lesson!

I know the contestants are looking for love, but this is ridiculous

To remind James of his impending choice, he was forced to carry the gold bullion in a briefcase handcuffed to him until the weigh-in, where he would have to choose between gold and immunity. Oh the humanity! Some more training followed where Luke was able to expel some of his anger at James’ selfish decision by punching Shannan in the hands, while Commando Steve gave his charges the benefit of his dietary experience and helped them prepare a healthy chicken salad which was notable by the absence of chicken.

Finally, to round out the week, the teams were asked to round up some sheep. To keep them interested, no one informed them that they wouldn’t be allowed to eat the ones they caught. However, they were told that the team with the most number of sheep after 20 minutes would get a 2kg advantage at weigh-in and some other kind of reward. Lydia confessed to having touched sheep once or twice in her life, while Kasey admitted she preferred cows.

We were left with the sheep challenge undecided, as black and red faced off. Who will collect the most sheep, and thereby take a 2kg advantage into weigh-in? Will Selena’s return cause a rift in the red team? Will James take the money and run? All will be revealed in week 3, as Hayley explains every little insignificant event painstakingly slow and at least three times.

The Biggest Loser – Mon-Thu 7pm, Ch10.