Mitchell Haaseth/NBC
People Staff
May 06, 2009 12:00 AM

Call him Ron the Don, the Hatchet Man, whatever you want, but Ron Morelli had certainly done whatever he could to assure his son Mike a spot deep into the competition. But game play could only go so far. How fitting then, at the final weigh-in, that Team Brown stood in unison but below the yellow line, leaving it up to no one else but America to choose who would join Tara and Helen in the finale?

30 Days at Home: At the end of the previous episode with Filipe‘s exit from the Ranch, the last four contestants were sent home to try out diet and exercise for 30 days on their own. “This will be a great test to see if I can actually survive in real life,” Mike said. But once home, the four finalists had trouble ignoring temptations or fixating on workouts. Helen cried looking through her old closet and finding pants she once wore that she now mistook for her husband’s size.

Shrinking Pains: As the contestants learned that their next big challenge would be to run a full 26.2-mile marathon, trainers Bob and Jillian flew to meet them. Jillian worked with Mike to sort through his lingering anger about weight gain and told him not to worry about his brother Max; she also told both Tara and Helen to chill out, going so far as to share a glass of wine with both of them, a Ranch taboo that caught both ladies off-guard. Meanwhile, Bob worked out with Ron and introduced Max to the kind of routine Mike learned. It lead to some puking, of course, but Max appreciated hearing fitness and nutrition tips from someone other than his dad or brother. By day 16, everyone was up and running until Mike hurt his hip and worried about his status for the final challenge.

Marathon Magic: Back on the Ranch, Tara and Helen took the lead in the marathon, greeted by loved ones at the four-mile marker. Ron, with his bum knee, and Mike, with his sore hip, decided to walk the course. As the race went on, several past show and at-home winners, from Michelle Aguilar and Ali Vincent to Bernie Salazar and Jim Germanakos, greeted contestants and ran with them for pep talks. There was no surprise, however, that Tara won the challenge, clocking in a time of four hours, 56 minutes and change. Helen and Mike completed the course and the only suspense was seeing if Ron would need medical care or if he could place. In a determined effort, Ron did finish in thirteen hours, 16 minutes and 19 seconds.

Last Chance Weigh-In: For their last measurement on campus, Tara lost 5.92 percent of her body weight to come down to 159 lbs. (her starting weight was 294 lbs.). The delighted Tara earned the distinction of never having fallen below the yellow line. Right behind her was Helen, who started at 257 lbs. but now weighed 147 lbs. Although Ron and Mike lost 10 lbs. a piece, their percentage of loss was not enough to place them in above the yellow line. Pleading their case before America, Mike spoke of his accomplishments while Ron used his confessional time to lobby for his son. — Cynthia Wang

Tell us: Who got your vote for, America — Ron or Mike? Which of the 22 contestants are you looking forward to seeing the most at the finale? And of course, who will be the winner of Biggest Loser?Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

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