What should have been the easiest week so far on "The Biggest Loser" ranch turned into one of the toughest weeks of the competition.
Host Alison Sweeny opened Monday night's episode with good news for the contestants: If they could drop a total of 70 pounds this week, no one would have to go home.
OK, sure, with only eight players left in the game, that's a lot of weight to lose. But they'd soon have a chance to shave a few pounds off that total.
The downside was that if they somehow didn't win the challenge, the red line would return and automatically eliminate one player. But really, what were the chances of that?
Before anyone had a chance to focus on the goal, Gina and her troubles took center stage -- again.
Viewers will no doubt recall that over the past few weeks, Gina's had a big problem maintaining a positive attitude. Her former blue teammates often complained about her outlook. And just two weeks ago, she launched into a war of words with trainer Bob Harper after he dared to comment on her downer stance.
This week the drama kicked off when Gina complained that her new shoes prevented her from really giving her all on the treadmill.
"I don't like quitters, and I don't like excuses," Dolvett Quince said. "Gina gave me an excuse. I don't condone that."
But condone it or not, that's just what he got. And to top it off, when Gina later felt frustrated (due to a quip from a fellow player, if you ask her; due to her own self-defeatist nature, if you ask Dolvett), she yelled, "Done!" and left the gym.
Dolvett eventually coaxed her back, but she flagged again and soon found herself on the wrong side of Jillian Michaels, who, unlike Dolvett (and Bob before him), made no move to soothe Gina.
In fact, after Gina and Jillian swapped barbs, Gina left the gym again. Jillian was so angry she turned her rage on
the other trainers.
"Is this OK with you two?!" Jillian yelled at Bob and Dolvett. "Is this OK?!"
Eventually they calmed down and agreed that "this" -- Gina's tendency to give up when things get tough -- isn't OK.
But frankly, it had to be OK for the time being. After all, there was that group goal to deal with.
Kid participants Sunny, Lindsay and Biingo came to the contestants' rescue and knocked off 9 pounds by acing a pop quiz and fitness test. The competitors were able to take off another 10 pounds thanks to their own performance in a later challenge.
So that 70- pound goal was down to 51, and seemed downright attainable. Heck, with just one more contestant in the mix last week, they managed to drop a collective 61 pounds. So this time? Easy peasy.
One by one, they all weighed in, and one by one, the results were disappointing. Big guys Jackson and Joe dropped only 5 and 6 pounds respectively. And Gina, who despite her other woes has consistently been the biggest loser in the competition this season, lost just 4 pounds.
But once it was clear that immunity was out of reach, only one weight really mattered -- the one that landed someone below the red line.
Jeff feared that he might be the unlucky one with his 4-pound loss -- that is before Francelina stepped on the scale. Then he suddenly seemed more worried that she might be the one to go.
Remember last week when Jeff broke his word and voted out Michael instead of Francie? Some fans assumed it was just a gameplay maneuver. But what viewers didn't know at the time was that Jeff and Francie shared a special bond -- a very special bond.
Of course, the red line doesn't care about love connections. Francie managed to lose only 2 pounds this week, which put her firmly at the back of the pack and there wasn't anything Jeff could do to save her this time.
What did you think of all the drama on the ranch this week? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.
- 'Loser' contestants binge on 1,000-plus calories
- 'Loser' drops nearly 100 pounds to be better cop, dad
- Slideshow: Meet the players of 'Biggest Loser' 14
More in The Clicker: