First off, can I say how unbelievably gorgeous New Zealand is? I’m not sure I clarified that in my recap from last week. This episode takes the contestants to Queenstown where they are first informed that they have made it to singles! This is a big milestone in the game as you have to rely on yourself and ONLY yourself from here on out. It is a true test of one’s grit, determination and character from here on out. One more little twist for them, however (there’s always a twist). Brett is back! He decided to drop in from above via a parachute, so the pressure is back on.
Since New Zealand, and especially Queenstown, is the heart of sports for adrenaline junkies, the trainers decide to take some of the contestants out for fun. Brett takes Jay and Austin on a ridiculous looking rock climb. Bob takes Irene and Rulon out to the birthplace of bungee jumping. Hannah and Kaylee accompany Cara out to a canyon swing.
I actually identify a lot with what Hannah is going through. She is, much like I was, deathly afraid of going home. She feels as though she is totally on her own and will have no clue how to map out her life going forward after the show. I had a very similar experience myself and expressed this to Jillian in a “fireside” chat we had. I just hadn’t the foggiest idea of what to do with myself when I got home. The way she presented it to me was that I actually had an advantage over everyone. I was in a position where there was a clean slate in front of me. I wasn’t tied down with a family, kids, a mortgage. The only limits I had were the ones I set for myself. I literally could do whatever I wanted when I got home. It didn’t hit me when I first got home. I actually went through “Ranch withdrawl” for about a month. Then it all started to come together as I really gathered my focus in training for the finale. Turns out Jillian was right. I actually CAN do whatever I please.
The recurring theme and purpose of undertaking these adventures is the overcoming of ones fears. I hope they can see the symbolization that these adrenaline sports represent.
This week’s challenge holds the most precious prize that can be presented: Immunity. Especially this late in the game, immunity is priceless. The mission is to paddle board a half mile down a river through what seems like pretty rough waters. The contestants are constantly fighting currents as well as their tiring legs as they have to kick nonstop. Olivia jumps out to a quick lead and figures out where she has to paddle to keep her lead. Rulon and Hannah seem to be right on her tail the whole way and she just edges them out for the win! Along with immunity she also gets a tour of the gorgeous Millford Sound for herself and a guest. She wouldn’t dream of taking anyone but her sister Hannah, who at first didn’t seem to want to go because she was scared of missing workout time for fear of going home. She then gets emotional and realizes that for much of her life she didn’t have enough self worth to believe she deserved anything like this, but now has come to the realization that she DOES deserve this. She IS good enough.
The trainers worked very hard this week to push the contestants out of their terrible weight loss numbers from the previous week. Did it pay off? It actually did for a lot of contestants, with Rulon even pulling a 10! There were some pretty good numbers this late in the game. However, Ken got a 4 and Hannah a 3, still respectable numbers, but it wasn’t enough to keep them above the yellow line. They both have an emotional fight in their pleas to go back to the Ranch rather then home. The voting comes out very close and looks like it will come to a tie, which sends Ken home since he has the lower percentage weight loss.
Now at home, Ken is down to a slim looking 238 pounds and seems like he enjoyed overcoming his fear of heights so much he is going paragliding with his family!
The contestants have come so far in their journeys that there is no looking back now. New Zealand (did I mention I’m still jealous?) was the perfect place for them to go at this point of the competition to help them realize that they do deserve everything that comes to them and that they should live life to the fullest. With that being said, how are they going to adjust back to life on the ranch when it slaps them in the face next week? We’ll see next Tues at 8/7c on NBC.
April 19th, 2011