Messages From Home
S1 episode 4 Aired on February 18, 2020

When Kristi says last episode’s elimination was an “emotional roller coaster,” she wasn’t kidding. True that Dom admitted he only gave 90%. That might have been the last thing his team wanted to hear, but they admit to each other that no one always gives a hundred. The roller coaster is only going to pick up speed as the contestants reconnect with family, talk openly about their struggles to each other, and face a weigh-in that has everyone shocked.

It isn’t just the nine remaining contestants who need to get some emotional weight off their chests. The Red Team’s loss is a trigger for Erica, who confides in Steve that after this defeat, she couldn’t look Bob Harper in the eye without feeling like her former 350-pound self trapped in the body of a buff trainer. She breaks down crying (proof that trainers are human too). Steve’s team might have survived the elimination, but listening to Erica reminds him of his own problems with binge-eating when he used to compete as a bodybuilder. 

Speaking of competition, the challenges just keep getting more…challenging. This week’s really makes a splash. Paddling in rafts doesn’t sound too bad until the teams find out that it’s a race to carry buoys attached to 150-pound bags back to shore. The Red Team is almost stranded on shore, and things only keep sinking when their strategy to turn the boat around holds them back. It doesn’t go that swimmingly for the Blue Team, either. Micah goes overboard at one point and had to be hauled back by his teammates.

After powering through all their setbacks, the Red Team wins a 3-pound advantage and their own ellipticals from Planet Fitness.

Everyone is rewarded with video chats after this challenge. The contestants have not had any contact with anyone outside the ranch for weeks, so the opportunity to reconnect with some of the most important people in their lives is huge. Jim is in tears when he sees his wife’s face on the screen. Micah and Kyle, who have both recently gotten closer with their moms, are thrilled to show them their progress (and Kyle’s mom reveals she’s been keeping in touch with his boyfriend!). Kim’s son notices how her hard work has been paying off. Katarina, however, is still holding something inside. 

Both teams have a talk session with Bob after their video chats. After everyone finds out that Kyle even has a boyfriend—he never mentioned it before—Katarina lets it slip that her chat with her mom was “just okay.” Bob suspects something. Kat goes on about how her parents would send her to weight-loss camps and put her on programs in junior high. She had to face the embarrassment of bringing her lunch to school, and you know how brutal tweens can be.

Sharing this with her teammates and Bob is cathartic for Kat, who resolves to try and improve her relationship with her mom. 

Everyone is fighting that yellow line at the last chance workout. Delores holds nothing back. Chatting with colleagues from the nonprofit she runs boosted her confidence so much that she gets fierce with weights, tears up the treadmill and attacks the box jump. She means it when she says she is not afraid of anything because she has gone above and beyond everything she is supposed to do. It’s not enough to keep her on the Ranch this week, but it looks like we’ve got a new She-Hulk.