This episode is a lot of fun, even if not too many things actually happen. (Ironically, at the same time, with the plot lines that did develop, too much actually happened. It felt like problem and resolution were smashed together rather than let the problems unfold and develop over a few episodes, which would have been nice.)
Emily shows up at the Rock intent to talk to Sasha. Lauren makes fun of Emily’s fall and when Emily calls her out on her own she says she slipped and Emily choked. Kaylie says they should support each other. Lauren spots Kaylie’s new necklace. Lauren got one from her father but it was real gold and had a huge diamond. Kaylie doesn’t care hers is from Carter. Lauren watches her put it away and you just know she’s going to do something with it that she shouldn’t.
Sasha is in his office talking to MJ (it’s Naomi from Lost! I knew she looked familiar–actress Marsha Thomason) who says “you know what I see out there? the next Olympic gold medalist.” Sasha says she is not to “put her hands on the girls.” It’s clear they used to have some sort of relationship.
Payson walks in with her dad and they talk about Nationals weekend. Her dad plays dumb pretending he forgot to get time off for that weekend. “Dad, I’m serious.” He replies “You always are.” Sasha calls Payson (purple leo peeking through her rock suit), Lauren (non-virgin green), and Kaylie (pink) over to meet MJ. She’s one of the top sports agents in the country and is a consultant for the Gymnastics Federation. She’s filming pieces about girls likely to make the national team. She will try to stay out of their way so they can focus but they need to get used to the spotlight now.
Sasha spots emily and goes over to find out why she’s in the gym. He tells her she no longer has a place at the Rock. Can he even decide to kick her out? I’m not sure he actually can, but he does, in front of everyone. The girls all see it. Lauren thinks order has been restored. (Payson, always stuck with the stupid reaction lines says “I don’t believe it.”)
Emily’s bashing dough at work, pretending it’s Sasha. She tells Damon about how she got kicked out. She says she must prove that she belongs by showing he can do the dismount. Damon suggests breaking into the rock at night since she has no where else to train. The girls shows up at her work to talk to her. (See, they’re actually friends!) They ask her what the story between Damon and Emily is. She denies anything. Just then Mark Keeler walks in with a beer delivery.
Apparently, he’s been putting on a suit everyday and pretending to go to work but really he was laid off and found this beer delivery job in the meantime. Becca eavesdrops on the fight while Payson tells her she shouldn’t. Kim says she’s noticed. He says she’s too busy with her job to notice. Her response “at least I have a job.” Ouch, low blow. And she knows it so she apologizes. Kim wonders if maybe they shouldn’t have come to Boulder. He says they came to let their children’s dreams come true. Becca turns and blames Payson for everything (which you know Payson was already doing).
Kaylie talks to Lauren on the phone. She’s frantically looking for her necklace. Lauren says she has no idea where it is. When they hang up she goes to the mirror and puts it on Stalker much? Summer walks in with dinner, suggesting that they eat to dinner. Lauren says no thanks. Summer notices the necklace and compliments it.
Emily and Damon go to break into the Rock at night (which means going right by Sasha’s trailor). Worst comes to worst she’s the first in her family to do hard time. Third, actually. Damon knows how to pick a lock (he says he learned it from his father but I still think he’s secretly rich). Inside he bounces on the floor and convinces her to join. So now that they’ve broken in, instead of training she’s jumping up and down and flirting. (Also, I notice Emily has an official color too, more or less: black, get it? She’s a black sheep!) Also, note how dangerous training without a coach and a spotter are.
MJ asks Sasha who is likely to win. He says it isn’t that simple. Kaylie is a winning performer but lacks fire. Lauren is all fire but there’s no telling if she can channel it. Payson has nothing stopping her. Emily may have more raw talent than them all but she’s been alone so long she may be uncoachable. (Hmmm, he’s up to something…)
Emily’s mom seems to tell Emily to go seduce Sasha and when she turns that down she decides to do it herself “Every Tarzan needs a Jane.” (I kid you not, she actually says that.)
Payson helps Kaylie look for the necklace and they talk about Payson’s dad. Lauren comes up and insinuates that their Carter and Kaylie’s relationship is based off lies (because Kaylie pretended to have left the necklace at home so Carter wouldn’t know she lost it). They then talk about how MJ’s agency signed Kelly Parker who now makes tons of money for sponsorships. (Payson perks up.) Being a jerk Lauren pretends to find it, but it’s just a bottle cap.
Chloe comes to Sasha in an attempt to seduce Sasha. She puts on a bad sexy voice and wears a low cuts shirt and bends down to put her chest in her face. So inappropriate! He doesn’t fall for it, instead saying he’s busy and good day. MJ comes an says it’s inappropriate to be with gym moms. Sasha says maybe their relationship was inappropriate too (agent and sports star). She tells Sasha he’s too old for her now.
Payson approaches MJ to be her agent (which would mean giving up her amateur status). MJ has already looked into some deals and thinks she could make more money than Kelly Parker. Payson says her parents already agreed.
Summer finds Kaylie crying about her lost necklace. Summer immediately makes the connection once she hears the description. (I am really proud of the writers for this little detail.)
Payson’s dad can get his old job in Minnesota back (though for less money). Becca’s thrilled to be moving back. Payson freaks out. “What about Nationals? I have to be here!” Becca turns on her “it’s not all about you!” Mark says no one is moving, he’ll commute. Payson announces her sponsorship plans, it will make enough money to support them. They just need to say yes. No, they say. You don’t know what will happen. What if we can’t pay for college? You won’t be eligible for scholarship. Payson says she knows the future, MJ believes in her why can’t they? and she storms out. (Well, good to see that she can have teenage hissy fits like the rest of them.)
Emily and Damon are training at night again. I kind of want her to hurt herself because this is SO unsafe (and will give people the wrong impression about practicing on your own). She’s intent on not just sticking the dismount but upping her difficulty altogether. At least she falls while trying to do a release move. She makes Damon help her out by saying “NOW” when she should release the bar. (Also, you may have noticed, but Emily seems to have gotten herself some normal leotards.) Damon asks what the worst that can happen is. She breaks her neck. With his help she lands it perfectly. He swings her around, movie style and…KISS TIME. We all knew it was coming. But no, she pulls away to continue practicing.
Sasha is yelling at Lauren for rushing. Kaylie is setting her vault and in walks Emily. (Payson with the stupid line “did he tell her she could come back?) MJ makes sure the cameramen come tape it. Emily does her newly practices uneven bars routine perfectly. (Payson again with a “wow”) Everyone applauds. Sasha calls her a dog. She demands her spot he goes over and whispers in her ear that she’s no good, a dog that won’t stay… Kind of out of line for a coach.
Emily goes for a run reminiscent of Hayley’s run in Stick It. She hits a playground and thinks “well here’s a good place to practice. It’s not like I won’t die if I fall or anything.” She runs up the slide and cartwheels on the bridge…Also, gymnastics routines look funny in regular clothes and particularly when the dance routines don’t fit with the background music.
Summer comes to pick up Lauren wearing Lauren’s Olympic rings necklace. She says she didn’t think she’d mind since she and her friends share jewelry all the time. Which is best the rings or…this one? She holds up Kaylie’s necklace. She tells Lauren she has to earn her place as Kaylie’s friend not just get it handed to her. Meanwhile she’s trying to earn her space in Lauren’s life and that’s not always by being her friend.
Kim and Mark talk. They want Payson to know they moved because they believe in her. They don’t want her responsible for the family, which is why they don’t want her to take the sponsorship. Mark will have to spend time away from the family. (Now we see how her and Sasha’s relationship might develop.)
Chloe finds Emily on the playground. Chloe gives her another hoorah we never quite speech but Emily’s not having it. She’s sick of fighting for things and just wants to quit. Chloe says fine, if she’s giving up then she can get a job at her friend’s salon in Vegas. When Emily graduates she can come work with her in the salon. “It’s not the Olympics but it could be fun.” Big hopes for your kid there, college and a career are apparently not options.
Emily goes to Sasha’s trailer and bangs on the door (of course it’s raining now…) She says she’s always dreamed of the olympics and she doesn’t know who she is if he takes it away. She’ll be the best he’s ever coached. She hasn’t listened though and that’s what he needs. Well tell her what to do. He’s takes her into the rock (no surprise he knew she was breaking in at night). They work on beam and he tells her to fall backwards. “If you can’t trust me to catch you how can you trust me to coach you.” She says she can’t, it doesn’t work. Her life would be chaos without the control she’s made. She’s the only person she can trust. He says it’s ok and hugs her, telling her she’s an exceptional woman. He’s not asking her to give up her power, just let him in. But he’s just going to leave her like everyone else (her dad, Brian’s dad, Marty–who was her coach for like a day). He promises he won’t disappear. Her talent can only be found with his help. She says she needs him more than she’s ever needed anyone else. Before he can leave she jumps onto the beam for him to catch her. There’s something so inappropriate feeling here. (He catches her and it kinda looks like those just after the wedding scenes where the groom carries the bride over the thresh hold.)
Mark comes into Payson’s room to talk to her before he leaves. He’s here to take are of his family (she’s known since she was five it took him longer). She starts crying but can’t look at him. His calling and joy is raising them. He believes in her and knows she’ll go all the way. He’s asking her to believe in him. He kisses her on the head and walks out to where Kim and Becca are. He tells Becca to take care of Payson. She runs out crying and hugs him, saying thank you for everything. She promises to make him proud. “You already have.” Family hug in tears. (She’s not a very could fake crier but neither is Emily so whatever. Peri Gilpin is great with facial expression though.)
Kim demands to speak to MJ in her office. She is never to talk to any of the underage girls without their parents or they’ll have her escorted out.
Lauren says she found Kaylie’s necklace under a mat. Kaylie says she a great friend and she doesn’t know how she’d go through life without her. She puts on the necklace. Is she going to practice with it?
Emily finishes her bars. MJ says she wants to start Emily’s video profile. Emily says it’s just for the girls going to nationals. MJ says “I know and coach Beloff seems to think you’re one of them.” (So who isn’t going? I think there’s some factual detail missing here…)
Emily comes to thank Damon, she’s going to nationals and she couldn’t have done it without him. He says it’s all her. She doesn’t need him. She has her hands around his neck. Ok, real kiss time. Well, it would be if they didn’t cut the scene just before she does it.
So things we learn:
- Lauren’s a stalker
- Kaylie is a bad judge of character
- Emily’s going to get herself killed (or follow family tradition and wind up in jail)
- Payson’s family isn’t as perfect as it appears
- Secrets always come out…