Lauren’s practicing her French, which her dad does not follow. She’s still upset because she’s only an alternate. What I want to know is who was originally supposed to be an alternate.
Meanwhile Chloe wants Emily to go see Damon while in France but Emily is afraid to upset Ellen and lose her scholarship. Fair enough I suppose.
Kaylie is still upset with Lauren who pretends that Kaylie is just stuck up. Steve wants her to forget about friends and focus on her gymnastics because she couldn’t even beat Emily. And with that awesome father-daughter pep talk, he goes to chat up Rock parents. He invites them over to his place for a little get together. He wants it “on the down low” so that only the A listers know about it.
Kaylie puts her bag on the seat next to her to ensure that Lauren can’t sit beside her, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to talk. She apologizes for blurting out the truth about her relationship with Carter. Kaylie is just relieved that she can focus on the Olympics. So Lauren informs her that they’re having sex. Kaylie has Emily sit next to her. Lauren brings up where Damon will be and she and Kaylie argue over whether you can have gymnastics and a boyfriend.
Sasha tries to persuade Payson to postpone, but she cuts him off. Payson didn’t didn’t know about the Carter stuff but Kaylie doesn’t want to talk about it. She wants to stay focused. She does manage to take a dig at Lauren for being just an ultimate.
The girls arrive in at the hotel and people come to get Kaylie’s autograph. They don’t want Lauren’s though. Guess who else is there? Austin Tucker, gold medalist who parties and treats gymnastics like a joke. Best part…Kaylie goes to say hi and he has no idea who she is. A little bruise to her ego. (Remember, in MIOBI world, the gymnasts are followed by paparazzi and rabid fans all around the world. I dare you to name six members on the US team without looking them up.)
Ellen Beals welcomes the girls and informs them that they can do nothing but sit in their rooms until practice and competition. Practice is in the morning. By the way, Marty is on leave of absense pending committee review. Beals will be supervising practice. Talk about control freak.
Kim is wondering why everyone is busy when she invited them over for a viewing party. Summer suggests she run to be president of the parent’s board. Kim hates the politics of it. Alex isn’t running again though.
The girls hanging out. Kaylie is upset that Austin didn’t know her. Lauren suggests going to see Damon and Emily feigns indifference. Emily’s just upset to be stuck inside. Lauren proceeds to try and make her nervous that he’s hooking up with other girls.
Chloe and Steve decide that they should keep their relationship secret because he wants her support to look genuine not because of their relationship. Playing the politics comes with the territory. Secret alliance of insiders. Because they haven’t been super obvious already. (It’s all Steve’s idea, naturally.)
Austin figures out that Kaylie is one of the Rock Rebels and he thinks that’s very cool. He invites her to a party because rules are for people with no self discipline, but she turns him down.
Practice time. Lauren tries to worm her way into competition, but she is told that she will only compete if someone gets injured or breaks the rules. Ellen Beals also informs Kaylie that she should lose some weight to make her tricks easier. Payson discovers that a double pike is now required and she’s clearly not prepared. Lauren taunts Emily more. After all, Damon thinks Emily blew him off.
For no reason whatsoever, we have a scene of the girls eating, largely to have Nastia come in and say “stay focused and work hard, that’s how I won my gold medal.” Lauren tries to point out that the love and support of a boyfriend might make you do better. Emily realizes that having Damon made it easier for her. Emily doesn’t understand why she can’t do both. She could easily get there and back. Lauren convinces her that she needs closure with Damon. Kaylie gives in because she thinks it will help.
Lauren buys the tickets for Emily and immediately hides the return ticket. (And Emily being Emily, she’s smart enough not to check before she leaves.) Kaylie is suspicious but can’t figure out what is going on.
Emily finds Damon rehearsing. He conveniently happens to be in the one place she checked. Emily is all proud of him. She didn’t want to say goodbye but they have to. She has to be committed until the Olympics. He can be there for her and support her! She wants him to have his dream come true and she can’t ruin that. They have to say goodbye. (This is actually a pretty mature decision, making it the only adult thing she’s ever done well. Which she promptly ruins by making him initiate the goodbyes.)
Payson comes up after practicing late. She doesn’t seem upbeat. And she’s upset that Emily went to Paris. She lectures about all the things that could go wrong and get Emily suspended.
Emily is informed that her ticket is one way. But Emily went without making sure she had the ticket for the way back AND without making sure she had money. Just full of good ideas.
Ellen comes to check on the girls and they cover for her by turning on the shower.
Emily tries to raise money by doing gymnastics moves for the public. This is probably at least a little dangerous considering the floor it’s on. If she does anything wrong…And naturally, Austin Tucker is there. She asks him for money for a ticket and he says yes on the condition that she does a full twist. Not like she has a choice. He was in Paris for the Green Day concert. He says Damon was awesome but was intense and talking about some chick named Emily. He says living life makes his gymnastics better but she’s sure she did the right thing. At the hotel, they wait for the elevator and he tricks her into a hug when guess who is there…The Devil (aka Beals).
Kaylie gives Payson a pep talk before her petition. And also, Emily will not be competing. Lauren will be replacing her. Sad expressions exchanged and then Emily is alone to bash the locker room to bits (oh wait, that’s later, but on the upside, Damon comes to comfort her).
Payson does her routine on bars and looks fine but we don’t see her other routines so there’s no telling how it actually went.
Steve shmoozes the parents about having someone heading the parent’s committee who will make sure the coach favors their girls’ chances of making the Olympic team. Chloe can’t seem to act like a guest but Steve insists she relax. The meet begins and they see that Lauren, not Emily is competing. Nastia is the one to announce the news. Steve tells her not to worry, it’s probably a minor injury.
Beals thanks Lauren for tipping her off about Emily. Lauren claims she was worried about her. Lauren points out that Emily might not be capable of sticking to the rules. It’s the way she was raised.
Beals gives them a speech and then they wonder about when Payson will find out. After the competition. Kaylie seems to suspect something, interesting how Lauren got in. Lauren says it hurts that Kaylie thinks so little of her (as though it isn’t true…) and today she will prove that first place and boyfriends are not mutually exclusive. They may be competing as a team but Lauren intends to beat her in the all around.
Emily and Damon discuss why they said goodbye, neither of them wanted it. Emily muses about quitting because her dream involves too much rules, training, and sacrifices and then getting benched for nothing. Basically, she a little bit upset that she didn’t do what Sasha suggested and take control of her career. Damon points out that she chooses to do gymnastics, that’s a choice. It will all be worth it. He has an idea. In two years, they meet up in Paris after the Olympics. And then decide on their future. Date? Yeah. This is not goodbye.
Kaylie and Lauren are going neck and neck for the all around gold. Something seems to be fueling them. Nastia, you were a great gymnast but you are not much of a commentator.
Chloe learns that Emily is not hurt and Kim comes in (to get some signatures for Lauren) and discovers the party she wasn’t invited to. Chloe and Steve play dumb. Kim doesn’t fall for it. Steve explains that it is for parents who have a stake. She doesn’t have money or a daughter who is number one. Kim says Payson is coming back and she’ll be petitioned onto the team and she’ll run for president of the parent board. Before she can leave, it is announced that Payson’s petition has been denied. Chloe tells Steve the party sucks.
PS- who else loves the sound effects they make when they perform?
Kaylie tells Lauren that all the crap she’s done to her has made her a better gymnast. Lauren maintains that she was better. And the winner is…Kaylie. Lauren came in third. Ellen actually gives Lauren a comforting pat. Kaylie gloats “you’ve gotta be used to looking up by now.”
Beals and some woman talk about how Payson was unprepared and how Beals “begged her to delay but Sasha pushed her.” If someone doesn’t stop him he’ll ruin the girls’ careers.
US came in second in the meet. Beals tells Emily they could have won the gold if not for her.
Payson cries in the stairwell and her mom calls but she ignores it.
The girls return to the Rock. Kim and Sasha discuss needing to be there for her.
We close on a song about being able to fall and still break free while seeing a closeup of a sign that says “Hey Kids! Be an Olympic Champ! It’s Fun! Fun! Fun! (I might argue that this is the most poignant thing the show has ever done, sort of like in Making the Band why they played Damaged in the background when Danity Kane broke up.)