Biggest Loser
Episode 17

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Nascarpe Diem

Ali and Sam take the contestants into the kitchen to make a quinoa salad. Mmm, delicious. You can have it in a side dish! You can put it in a wrap! You can add hummus! Turns out that the Tongans love mayo, much like the rest of us, and Sam wants us to know that hummus is a healthier alternative. And you know what else you might want to put in your quinoa salad hummus wrap? That's right, folks. Jennie-O turkey. Just throw it in raw! And then put some grilled onions on top. I totally thought that was going to be product placement for some particular type of hummus. Leave it to the folks at Jennie-O to improbably worm their way in.

The contestants meet Sami at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. This is where some people race cars, and some people pull cars. We flash back to season seven, when the contestants each strapped themselves to a car and pulled. A Wheaties-branded car pulls up to them, and Nascar driver Clint Bowyer emerges. He tells the contestants that in racing you always have a bad race or two, but you have to persevere and maintain focus on the goal of being a champion. The Losers, of course, display this characteristic week after week.

Sami reminds everyone that two years ago Tara, who is the greatest competitor in Biggest Loser history, won the car-pulling race. And there she is! With her own specially branded car! Hannah and Olivia are huge Tara fans, and note that she looks absolutely beautiful. It's true, she looks great. Tara tells us that she's still the most blessed person, and feels like a single, fearless woman ready to take on the world and all of the obstacles within. She tells everyone that she's started her own foundation, called the Inspire Change Foundation. It's to help people, and especially children, embrace change in their lives. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but okay. To continue to push herself, Tara is competing in the world championship Iron Man in Kona, Hawaii. And she's competing in today's challenge! Good luck, suckers. Each contestant will be harnessed to a car at the starting line, and will pull that car nearly half a mile. The first person to cross the finish line wins a VIP experience to be Clint's guest at some sort of Nascar race thingy. And they also get to have their face on a collector's box of Wheaties! That's pretty awesome. Even gold medalist Rulon has never been on a Wheaties box, and now he wants to Mary Lou Retton this shit and put his mug on some damn cereal.

The contestants get hooked up to their specialty cars, and even Tara is getting nervous. Sami waves the flag, and we're off! But not before seeing Susan Sarandon shilling milk. Really? Between this and the ping pong thing and boning Lutz, I think she's gone a bit mad since splitting with Tim Robbins. In any case, the contestants begin their pulling. Apparently, the cars are very heavy. Rulon takes off at a fast clip, with Tara trailing him. Kaylee is just happy that she's now strong enough to pull a car any distance. Austin starts jogging, and gains on Tara. Tara then picks up the pace and gives it her all. This includes a relative sprint. Rulon sees her coming up, and decides to dig in a little bit deeper. The two wind up with a photo finish -- they literally have to go to the tape to see who crossed the finish line first. And it's Tara! By inches, but she's still officially the winner. The ladies have an attack of Girl Power and are psyched that someone with two x chromosomes has beaten Rulon. Is it really fair that Tara gets to compete in a challenge for a whole different season, though? It just seems so odd that she gets a prize for this. She's happy enough with the result, and says that she gets $5,000 for her Foundation, a Nascar VIP experience, and the cover of a Wheaties box. She holds up the Wheaties box with her likeness. How does she have that already? Was this just a giant setup?

With that, it's already time for the last chance workout! I love one-hour episodes. Bob hasn't even seen the contestants since getting back from New Zealand, so he's prepared to make this workout count. Hannah tells us that she and Olivia are gunning to be the first all-female team in Biggest Loser history to make it to the final four. Austin, meanwhile, notes that all along he's been holding himself to his dad's standards, and now that his dad is gone he's at a bit of a loss. He's trying to move toward the right choices on a daily basis.

Brett does some capoeira with the contestants, while Cara boxes with Kaylee. She notes that Rulon is by himself, and senses that something's wrong. She asks him if he feels like he's in his zone. Rulon says that there's so much drama, and he's not worried about friendships and the like because he's focused on trying to find his own path. He interviews that he didn't come on campus to create a relationship with anyone, but rather to learn about his issues. The real challenges will happen when he gets home and sees a KFC on every corner. He needs to face those challenges, and says that for the most part he's ready to go home. He tells this to Cara, who says, "And you're not gonna gain the weight back?" Rulon says that he won't, and adds that he's got everything he needs at home. Cara seems quite skeptical. She thinks that Rulon is sick of competing, since he's been competing for his whole life. Now it's time to go home and do this without a competition to motivate him, which Cara thinks is a good thing. I don't know. I think there's a 50-50 chance that Rulon will be the sad case on the "Where Are They Now" special a year and a half from now.

Meanwhile, Jillian takes a walk with Irene, who talks about how stressful everything is for her. Everyone has been making a big deal about her 98 pound loss, and her status as the current Biggest Loser, and she's realized that she's put more pressure on herself than necessary. Jillian asks Irene what she wants when all is said and done. Irene wants to feel like she's done something that she can be proud of. Jillian wants Irene to realize that this is madness. She's living in a loop of thinking that she's weak and not capable of accomplishing anything. If she could turn off that tape recorder for just a second and process her accomplishments, she would realize that she's already done the hard part. Irene wishes that she had that kind of self-confidence, and doesn't know how to get it. Jillian tells us that it's crazy that even after kicking so much ass, Irene is still behaving as though she's worthless and incapable. Nothing is sinking in. Irene cries as she says that she wants to feel like she's worth something. Jillian interrupts her to yell that she never will unless she can say right now that she's worth fighting for. Irene gets some gumption by osmosis, and says that she's worth this. She's been shit on for so many years, and wants something good for herself. She's one of the hardest working people on campus, because she wants to be there and change her life. She deserves this, and she wants something good for once. Not to help someone else, but to do something for herself. Irene says that she's starting to see how strong, determined and focused she is. She never knew that she could do it, but now that she's come this far, she's in awe of where she's come from. I just totally got a tear! Well played, Dr. Phillian. And seriously, I would be beyond thrilled if Irene won this whole thing.

With that, it's weigh-in time. Jillian is wearing red pants! And a button-down shirt! And a leather jacket! It's total madness already. Before starting the weigh-in, Sami throws it to Rulon, who has something to say. He walks up to the scale and says this will be his last time there. He's asking to leave the show for personal reasons, he says. Everyone looks quite surprised, and Hannah just says, "What?" Everyone is looking around and trying to figure out what's going on. Rulon gives no further explanation, and no one presses him on it, which I find quite odd. There are so many slack jaws out there, I can't even tell you, but not one of them asks, "What the fuck, man?" Rulon tells us that tonight it became clear that he needed to go home and address some things in his life. He feels like his personal goals have been reached on The Biggest Loser, and it's time to head home. He's got his health, fitness, and life back and is happy. He's going to go home and see his wife and be the husband that she deserves, and be a person who is accountable for his actions and who inspires others to change their lives like he changed his. And he's going to gain 600 pounds. I mean, right? Remember the late-night Tostito noshing? Maybe the Tara racecar drubbing just broke him. Bob tells us that he's never seen this in Biggest Loser history,

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