So after last week’s elimination of the gray team, Carla and Joelle, there is no doubt that the remaining seven teams on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” really want to be here. Brown team Ron and Mike were thankful at the start of last night’s episode, because they had dodged two straight weeks of possible elimination. Ron has a bad knee but his son Mike, 18, is also having trouble shedding pounds.

Host Alison Sweeney starts out by visiting the ranch, and if she is visiting the contestants in the house, they know a curveball is being thrown. As you might expect, it’s a “pop” challenge, one that can win a contestant 24 hours with a loved one from home. What they had to do was stand on a block, on one foot. Mike and Ron were the first ones out, and I’m pretty sure Ron was out in 15 seconds. One by one they couldn’t hold on, and it was down to both yellow team members, Mandi and Aubrey, as well as Filipe and Blaine. Mandi, who wanted to see her husband so bad, asked Filipe and Blaine to step off, and they both did because, well, they’re good guys. So did Mandi’s sister Aubrey. Mandi’s trainer, Jillian Michaels, however, was not happy with the fact that Mandi would miss a day of workouts to hang with her husband (and kids, as it turned out). But Mandi vowed it wouldn’t be a distraction.

Bob Harper, the other trainer, told the brown team they needed to eat more calories in order to burn more, something they had been hard-wired not to do. Then Bob was shown doing yoga with his team, which he said is a better workout than most people might think….and that it helps build mental focus. Remember I just wrote that, okay? Jillian, meanwhile, was having trouble keeping green teamer Laura focused, until she threatened to have Tara slap her in the face every time she lost focus. Yikes, but it worked.

Then came the main challenge, and this was for immunity this week. Yes, they are in Los Angeles, but at night it can get chilly there too. So Alison had the teams hang on bars for as long as they could…first with two hands, then with one hand after one hour. Well, this thing went on for hours, and I do mean hours….almost five. It came down to the green team of Tara and Laura, along with the purple team of Kristin and Cathy. They flashed back to two earlier challenges that Tara won over Kristin, and two very strong-willed opponents were at it again. But this time, Tara had Laura dragging her down, and Laura finally lost her grip. So the purple team had immunity this week…and you have to believe it was due in part to the concentration they had gained from doing yoga.

At the last chance workout, Aubrey was crying because while she was happy Mandi got to see her family, she missed her husband and kids as well. Then it came time to weigh in. But first, another twist…Alison announced that just one team would fall below the yellow line this week and that one of the two members of that team would be voted off. So as they usually do on this show, they are making it an individual competition now. I mean, do the math…they want this season to extend into May along with “American Idol” on Fox.

So first Cathy and Kristin weighed in, and Kristin was so excited because last week she was 301 pounds, and she was hoping to be under 300 for the first time in like eight years. Uh-oh. She gained two pounds while her mom Cathy lost 2. You might call gameplay here since they had immunity, but I’m telling you, Kristin wanted to lost those 2 pounds so badly that no one sensed gameplay and I didn’t either. There are no Vickies this season, at least as far as I can tell. Helen and Shannon lost 10; Tara and Laura 14, including 11 by Tara, who keeps pulling double digits; Sione and Filipe 21, causing Filipe to do one of his patened “woo-hoos;” Blaine and Dane lost 9; Mandi and Aubrey 7, including 6 pounds by Mandi, who Jillian was worried about; and finally Ron and Mike lost 18 pounds, 13 by Mike, which pleased Bob immensely.

So Blaine and Dane were below the line, and one of them was going home. Blaine, who had finally dropped below 300 pounds, pleaded with the other teams to send him home to see his family, including his new baby. The teams all argued back and forth about either doing “the right thing” by granting Blaine his wish, or sending Dane home because he was more of a threat to everyone else in the game. Some of them were adamant about doing the right thing, but some of those who argued that were the same ones who voted Damien off a few weeks ago while keeping Joelle in another week. So everyone else was skeptical, and so was I at this point.

But then while the pink team voted for Dane, everyone else voted for Blaine….at least the next four teams did, which was enough votes. Yep, I do believe the gameplay is not going to rear its ugly head, at least not yet, because there are too many good-hearted contestants in the game this season. As far as Helen and Shannon, I think they made some enemies last night by voting for Dane. That, and as Mrs. Mike pointed out, Shannon is such a whiner.

Meanwhile, Blaine was shown at home and is training for an Iron Man competition. He’s also lost 88 pounds to date. Folks, I would put money down on Blaine right now winning the $100K….an Iron Man competition? That is serious! Anyway, this should get interesting now. See you all next week…and don’t forget, Bob Harper wants you to load up on carbs before training for the Iron Man!