Feb. 28, 2012 at 10:05 PM ET
After weeks of bad blood, fighting and scheming, Tuesday night saw the return of a much different "Biggest Loser." The plotting was gone. The atmosphere was supportive. And heck, even Conda wasn't that bad.
Of course, that might be because Conda – and everyone else in the game – spent half the show back home for some unexpected family time. Of course, on "The Biggest Loser," a vacation is never really a vacation. The contestants still had a goal -- each had to lose 5 percent of their body weight to gain immunity when they returned. They also had a challenge.
Waiting back home for every player was a rowing machine. The contestant who completed 10,000 meters on the machine in the best time would return to the ranch and get a big prize -- one dollar for every meter rowed. (That prize eventually went to Chism, who beat out his dad, Mark, by just seven seconds.) Not bad.
In fact, nothing was bad. When the contestants weren't rowing, they each faced normal at-home temptations with success, and they all returned to the ranch in good spirits.
That's not to say the entire show was drama-free, but this week's inevitable drama wasn't of the backbiting or bullying variety that viewers have come to expect (at least from Conda). Instead, the hubbub related to the big emotions that came to the surface at the weigh-in.
The first emotional swing came when Buddy lost far more than the 5 percent (16 pounds) he need to. By dropping 23 pounds, he not only earned immunity, he also got down into the 200s and brought his total weight-loss to more than 100 pounds so far. It was the last of those accomplishments that meant the most to him, as he explained scale-side.
"Well, it was about six years ago that I stood in a hospital room and watched my daughter take her last breath," Buddy revealed. "Since that time, I put on 100 pounds. I felt like my health was just one of those things that didn't matter. ... I'm back to where I was before she passed. I love that. It's huge."
Needless to say, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.
The rest of Buddy's red team weighed in to mostly good results. Only Mark and Kim failed to get immunity on the team, but that would only be a risk to them if the black team beat the reds overall. That did not happen.
The weigh-in was close, but black lost, and only one member of that team was without immunity -- Chism. That meant an unexpected and automatic elimination, which Chism's dad tried to fight.
"You can't send him home – you can't!" he pleaded. "I'm 43 years old. I weigh 215. I'm in great shape. He is 19 years old. He has so much left to do. I don't care what you have to do on this show. I don't care what you have to change. Let me go home. Let him stay. ... Make it happen."
Mark's plea went on, but Chism stopped him and said he couldn't live with himself if his dad left for him. Of course, that was never really an option. It was a loss for the black team and a loss for Chism, not a swappable fate.
Do you think Mark will last long without Chism in the game? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.