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'The Biggest Loser': A brother, a cookie and a sacrifice

March 17, 2009 | 10:13 pm

Dear "Biggest Loser,"

Is there a way we can create a special pass to "The Biggest Loser" ranch for Max?

Your show is no stranger to raw, emotional moments -- these three-hankie highlights give the show its considerable heart. But there has never been a moment quite like tonight's reunion, when Ron and Mike surprised their relatives with a trip home to show off the more than 220 pounds they've collectively lost. Among those who greeted them: Ron's son, Max, who is morbidly obese. Max was shocked by his father's and brother's weight loss, and broke down and cried like a little boy in his father's arms. "I felt left out," Max said. Ron, who is the patriarch among the contestants on the ranch this season as well as its moral compass, appeared at a loss for words. The best he could offer up was that his son had found comfort being just one of the big guys in their house. That comfort zone has been stripped.

Please make room on the show for Max to follow in his father's and brother's footsteps. (I'd ask for a spot at the ranch for Aubrey's morbidly obese dad, Bryce, too, but I'm not sure he's ready to change, and not sure he could physically handle the challenges.)

Okay, with that out of the way....

I'm starting to think Helen is a dark horse in this thing. It was a given that Tara and Sione would be the first two to cross the finish line for this week's demonic challenge -- running a half marathon. But Helen came in third, and showed a fire we haven't seen before. She also pulled out the knives and stabbed Tara in the back, and basically stole $10,000 from her in the cookie temptation/challenge. (Did I miss something? Why does Helen have it in for Tara? Or is it just that Tara is a fierce competitor who is definitely a front-runner as this race starts to draw to a close?)

There were several surprises at the weigh-in, which occurred after the contestants were tempted by life at home for a week. Nonetheless, Laura lost 6 pounds and gained praise from Jillian: "This girl has changed.... Something in her has shifted." Kristin gained 1 pound while her mother, Cathy, lost 1 pound. This helped send the blue team to the elimination room, and ultimately Cathy sacrificed herself: In a bid to save her daughter from elimination, she volunteered to be sent home.

So far, this season has been largely harmonious in that respect -- teammates have mostly respected someone's bid to be sent home. Wonder how long that will last.

-- Rene Lynch