The Rock Rebels are treated a photoshoot that has them sporting fake tattoos, fake leather leos, fancy make up, and fluffed up hair (and fakely dyed hair). Meanwhile Payson works on her vault and can’t quite seem to get it though she remains upbeat. She intends to win worlds this year. Kim is back at the Rock, co-managing with Summer. I love how the girls are talking through the photoshoot as though that would ever fly. Lauren is still upset that Emily beat her in the China meet. Kim is concerned because they haven’t heard from the committee about France. Summer is confident in Sasha’s assertion that they’re going but Kim thinks the NGO can be vengeful. And what about Damon. She’s pretending to forget about him. And then in comes Carter and Kaylie is wondering why he never called. They pull Sasha into a picture and cue Ellen Beals’s entrance. Sasha is all smug and Beals reveals that they are suspended frmo the national team until further notice. (Somehow Payson is with them now and they’re pretending this decision impacts her in any way.) She says they’ve breached their contracts. The girls panic and Sasha says they’re trying to make the girls sweat. They want to intimidate them into submission. Call their bluff! Just don’t panic. They all agree to stand together. What about Emily’s scholarship? Sasha wants to find her independent scholarship. Payson insists on trusting Sasha. She intends to petition onto the National team. Lauren is jealous of Kaylie for getting more solo pictures but she intends to beat her. Kaylie doesn’t always get everything.
Emily, Kaylie, and Lauren discuss Payson’s likelihood of being petitioned onto the team. She’s lost some skills. Lauren wonders if Kaylie is worried about Payson beating her next year or if Emily is worried about Payson taking her spot on the team (let’s pretend that they only allow 12 people on the team and would kick someone off just to add someone else because that is definitively not the way it works). Kaylie is actually wondering about Carter and why he didn’t call her back.
Emily gives her mom a beat down about taking money from Steve and not having his respect. Emily’s scholarship was half their income. She make her mom promise not to take his money.
Kaylie shows up at the Shack to confront Carter. He tells her it is too late. He’ll always love her but they’re better as just friends. Is there something he’s not telling her? It’s over Kay, which is probably for the better…She goes to the bathroom and in comes Lauren wearing a trench coat over just her bra and underwear. He told her Kaylie’s here and he told her it’s over but not that he’s “sleeping with Lauren.” (Red flag.) He says Kaylie isn’t her best friend if she’s lying to her and then sends her out with the garbage. Lauren comes in through the front door and comforts Kaylie. In comes Emily and she and Lauren spar about their dating parents.
Emily and Steve go on a date and Chloe is concerned about the expensive restaurant. He offers to help her out. She turns it down. (PS who else thinks it is so screwed up for the family to be relying on Emily’s scholarship. That means until a few months ago, they were living off what?) Chloe does want to know if it’s true the girls are suspended. Steve has not heard about this yet.
Payson is still having problems with her vault when Sasha spots her. He tells her she isn’t ready for worlds. She says she competed against China of course she’s ready but the truth is, she did a non-routine for China and she should know better. Sasha reveals that she’s grown due to lack of training. He says she has to make some adjustments but it can be dealt with. She intends to show him he’s wrong. Right…so much for Sasha always being right.
At home Payson ices her knee and her hands are bleeding. In comes Kim to talk to her and Payson conveniently forgets that it is not impossible to be a good gymnast and be tall (just harder). Remember Svetlana Khorkina? Payson wants to shut down her body’s growth. Kim thinks that isn’t natural. Payson needs her mother’s faith.
Lauren and Carter in bed together. Carter lives in a one bedroom apartment with four guys. Carter doesn’t want to label their relationship. Hmm, red flag much? Lauren was there for him, that’s why he chose her. He says she’s overly competitive off the mats. Maybe because everything isn’t easy for her like it is for Kaylie but she has him, which Kaylie doesn’t. Then Lauren picks him over Kaylie. She will tell her after France. She doesn’t want to travel all that way with Kaylie hating her, but Carter decides to tell Kaylie himself.
Payson does more vault. It’s better but not perfect. In comes Steve demanding to talk. Steve thinks this is about Sasha’s ego. Kaylie says all that matters is what they think. Payson says Sasha isn’t always right. Now she encourages the girls to go against him. Kaylie says they have time to play it out and not panic.
They discover that there was a national team practice without them. Panic time. And again Payson is there giving input that is irrelevant since nothing affects her. They decide to go to Ellen Beals because at the end of the day, the road to the Olympic team goes through Ellen not Sasha. They vote on it (and again Payson votes).
With Ellen now. Lauren says maybe Sasha led them astray. Ellen does point out that Payson didn’t violate any rules because she isn’t on the national team. Ellen asks them to pledge their allegiance to the NGO. Lauren does readily. Kaylie, a little more hesitantly. Emily even more hesitantly. Ellen says they can trust her, she knows what it’s like to be in their shoes. She was a gymnasts who followed all the rules and worked harder than anyone but still she didn’t make the olympic team. But now she can make other girls’ dreams come true. What about France? She’ll speak to the committee. But Emily’s scholarship is gone. Payson waits until they leave to talk about her petition. She’s only been back training for a few weeks and she only gets one chance but she insists she’s ready despite Sasha’s concerns.
The girls feel like they’ve played practice. He tells them the practice was to make the girls panic. He expedites Emily’s passport (I’m not sure a non-family member could do that). Beals arrives to inform them that their suspension is lifted and Kaylie and Emily will be going to France (Kelly sprained her wrist and won’t be going). Lauren is furious and of course reveals that she was the one who convinced them to crawl back to the NGO. Payson will come to France to perform before the committee for her petition. Kaylie apologizes to Sasha and he says there’s nothing to apologize for. They’re going to France which was the whole point. Steve gloats about the girls’ lack of trust and Lauren tells him to find a way to get her to France.
Sasha stops Payson to tell her to delay her petition because she gets only one shot. She’s got two weeks and insists she will be ready. (So much for intelligence Payson, stop acting like a petulant child.) Sasha thinks Ellen Beals wants to control them and would willingly kill their dreams if they don’t further her own goals. That’s the sport, fair or not.
Lauren is upset about not going to France. Kaylie points out that Lauren went to China not them. And then she finds out that the cover shot is only Kaylie not all of them. Lauren is pissed and so of course she reveals that she got Carter. That’s a good plan Lauren. “Someone finally picked me.” And that’s the real truth behind her feelings, of course. Her mother abandoned her and her father is dating women instead of indulging her…
Emily comes to tell her mother about France and Chloe suggests she might see Damon because he’ll be in Europe (Europe is a tiny continent and you easily run into people there all the time.) But France means Emily will miss a week of work. Well, they’ll find a way to deal with it.
Steve meets Ellen pre-date with Chloe to find a way to get Lauren on the team. Ellen wants Sasha out of gymnastics. They have a chance of creating the best US team ever. Obedience and respect for authority is what makes a good gymnast. Lauren can go as an alternate. Though Emily’s scholarship can’t be reinstated, he will pay for an anonymous one. He also asks if she’d been bluffing and her smile says she was. Then she calls Emily and pretends that she organized a private scholarship fund to pay for everything so she won’t even have to work at the Shack anymore. She finds Damon’s tour schedule and sees that he’ll be in France. The meet is pretty close. (And then a montage about a couple I could care less for.)