The Biggest Loser recap

Biggest losers ... Rosemary and Kevin at the weigh in.

Motivationally challenged: Rosemary and Kevin at the weigh in.

We open with a brief recap of the week's training: there were tears and a bit of shoving as the half marathon - which saw contestants tethered to one another - pushed the families to the brink of their physical limits.

What will happen ahead of the weight in? Shannan faces an uphill battle (geddit?) with Cher and Anita in the charmingly named 'sweat bowl' while Michelle battles to get Big Kev out of bed.

But first the opening titles that look more like a bank advertisement than the credits for a reality weight loss show.

Where's Kev? ... He's off hiding with Rosemary's tiger mum persona.

Where's Kev? He's off hiding with Rosemary's tiger mum persona.

Back at the house everyone is busy training, everyone but Kevin that is. He needs rest, says his mum Rosemary so "he's staying in bloody bed".

Mum means business; her little boy - figuratively speaking - is tired and sore so she's getting him a blanky, an arrowroot bikkie and wishing him night nights.

I can't wait to see how this tough attitude plays out with their trainer Michelle Bridges ... but, what was that Rosemary, I can't hear you? Oh, that's because you said NOTHING.

Not all beachy ... Cher served a bowl of seat and tears.

Not all beachy: Cher is served a bowl of seat and tears.

After those tough words I expected her to body block Michelle on her way out the door to track down her son. But ... nothing. And off Michelle goes, a picture of outrage in her teeny tiny tank top and tights.

So where's Kev? To everyone's surprise he is already dressed and ready. I'm guessing The Biggest Loser cuts off TV access at the house during the daylight hours. And just like that, all that drama that we were promised in the episode promos disappears as fast as Rosemary's resolve.

After an ad break featuring a wibbly wobbly Wiggle, whom I can only assume is strapped for cash, we return and check in on the Commando's team. I almost couldn't see him as he had turned up to training incognito wearing his contractually obliged army fatigues and muscle top.

Biggest losers ... sweat bowl pays off for Anita and Cher.

Biggest losers: Sweat bowl pays off for Anita and Cher.

"Work the pain!" he yells to his team, who actually look like they're working pretty hard.

"I felt like my lungs were going to fall out of my body," says Jess.

Things weren't going so well for Shannan who is struggling with his "pet project": mother and daughter team Anita and Cher. They are at the Palm Beach 'sweat bowl' which Shannan promises us is harder than it looks. Cher and Anita need to carry a witches' hat from the bottom to the top in 30 seconds.

Not big enough ...  Richard and Amber face the chopping block.

Not big enough: Richard and Amber face the chopping block.

"It sounds easy but it's not if you're over 170 kilos," says Shannan.

And with this challenge we finally see was has been missing from this episode so far: tears. It has nearly been 15 minutes which must be a record.

Anita makes it to the top but Cher sits down, defeated. Not to worry, a few stirring words from Shannan and she is back up on her feet. There huffing, puffing and a final countdown and Cher reaches across the finish line right on the last second. Was that really only 30 seconds? I feel like I lost a significant part of my life.

Elimination ... Welcome to Survivor. I mean The Apprentice. Wait, what show is this again?

Elimination: Welcome to Survivor. I mean The Apprentice. Wait, what show is this again?

Cher is sitting down looking like she just ran the half marathon again but never fear, "it felt amazing," she says. Best 30 seconds of her life apparently, and I think we've all been there.

And with the minimum requirements of sweat and tears met by the contestants we are off to the weigh in where Hayley Lewis waits for us. She is looking like reality TV's first lady in a bright pink dress that shows off her toned and tanned triceps.

We are reminded that one team will be going home tonight so this weigh in is more weighty than usual, so to speak.

The teams have lost many pounds of flesh but are strangely disappointed. Kate has lost 7kg in a week but is "terrified" that it won't be enough.

"She's just the bee's knees, she's my girl," says her mother, for seemingly no reason at all.

Bizarrely Kate has joined The Biggest Loser to prevent an early death but hopes to use the weight loss to start a career in the army.

Richard and Amber disappoint everybody but themselves with a total weight loss of 11.5kg. Amber only accounts for 4.3kg of that but Richard is reluctant to take her to task. Do you think you have been enabling her all of these years, he is asked. Yes, says Richard, but for some inexplicable reason can't see that he is enabling her right now.

Speaking of enablers, Rosemary and Big Kev are up next. Kev lost a whopping 13 kilos but is the embodiment of dejection. Not to be discouraged, Michelle kicks him while he's down, she expected more. "The kilos should be just dropping off him". In her world losing 13 kilos in a week doesn't cut the mustard.

Rosemary, bless her, springs to Kevin's defence. (Sidenote: I wonder if she and Richard get along.) Rosemary struggled through the week with arthritis but made an effort to keep moving; Kevin however is completely excused because his feet were sore. For a tough talker Rosemary is actually a big softy.

All the work at the sweat bowl paid off for Anita and Cher, losing 9.6 and 11.2kg respectively. I actually cheered at the television and was reminded why I was watching this show. It really has the capacity to be inspiring, unfortunately it so often feels couched in cruelty.

Anita and Cher are the biggest losers which confusingly makes them winners. The actual losers (the littlelest losers?) are two father and daughter teams: Richard and Amber, and Sam and Jess.

And with that it's time for a twist. Already on the third week of the show it had been too long without one. Hayley gleefully tells us that one person from each of the teams will get to vote for which of the bottom two teams should go. The first to get four votes is outta here.

In a scene that is a cross between The Apprentice and Survivor, the contestants face off across a table. The teams up for elimination beg, scheme and cajole their masters to keep them on the show. There are, of course, tears.

When it comes time to justify who they are eliminating, a moment that Hayley drags out for all of it's excruciating worth (oh Hayley, has it really come to this?), Robyn says what we are all thinking: "they all really need to be here".

And therein lies my problem with this element of the show -- all of the contestants do desperately need to be there. With many losing around 6, 7 and even more than 9 kilograms in a week they all certainly deserve to be there. And frankly those that lost the least amount of weight need to be there the most.

But we are frequently reminded that empathy plays a very small part in The Biggest Loser and with that it's time to dispatch the first team. But not before we watch an ad featuring a skinny woman eating an ice cream (so cruel).

Sam and Jess: You're fired.

"You'll regret this" says Jess, in what is truly a frightening moment.

I have a feeling someone is going to regret something even more as we are ominously shown an ambulance in the promo for the next episode. Are we meant to be excited to see a contestant suffer a medical emergency?

Oh reality TV, when will I learn?