Payson claims to be sick and doesn’t want to go to the Rock. (Guess who is back in the show?!? Becca!!!) What if Payson can’t pick up where she left off? What will the Keeler family do then?
Gran’s coming to visit and Steve is freaking out. She’s apparently more stuck up than everyone else. Lauren has found Chloe’s bra and suggests a vasectomy so Chloe can’t get pregnant and trap him into a marriage. He’s obviously not introducing Chloe to Gran right now. It’s not serious enough. Hmm, this is good information for Lauren…
The girls are nervous to see Sasha and he has specifically asked to see them before practice. To tell them how hurt he is? But instead he congratulates them on their success and wonders why Emily wasn’t there. I love that Emily claims to have been back before bed check when that isn’t true since Beals was doing bed checks and the girls covered with her about the shower. Sasha hopes she learned something and Emily says she’s more committed than ever. Lauren hopes she’s ranked two again but Sasha she’ll be ranked how and when he decides. Then he has a separate word with Kaylie. He hopes she’s convinced she deserves her number one status. She has, it’s time to start acting like it. (Which means she will be brattier.) Sasha says she is the gym’s leader and sets an example. Everything is her responsibility, including Emily’s disqualification. It won’t happen again. Kaylie has a plan.
Lauren and Emily spar about boys. Lauren says “us girls with boyfriends need to stick together.” But Emily says she won’t have a boyfriend until after gymnastics. Kaylie got them promise rings to promise they focus on nothing but gymnastics and forget about boys. But she only gets rings for her, Emily, and Payson because Lauren is clearly not forsaking boys.
And the grand entrance award goes to…Austin Tucker. Showing up at the rock in full motorcycle apparel. The girls don’t look happy to have him. (Kaylie least of all thanks to her no boys policy, among other things.) The news: he’s training at the rock until he can open his own gym. He’s moving to boulder. He promises they’ll hardly know he’s in the gym, as the parallel bars that will replace the second set of uneven bars are brought inside.
Summer wonders if Austin will be a distraction. Sasha thinks have a real Olympic gold medalist will inspire and he says female gymnasts are not Austin’s type. But types can change. Summer is a case in point. In comes Kim and she asks Sasha to tell her the truth: will Payson ever be ready for the Olympic team or is it over?
Austin does his routine and this show makes me wonder what male gymnasts normally wear when practicing since in this show it’s t-shirts and mesh shorts, which is clearly not what they compete in.
Gran comes in to see Lauren on beam. We get it, beam is her thing. Gran is disappointed that Summer and Steve are broken up, she loves Summer best of all his past girlfriends. Well, and Lauren’s mother…before she got into the drugs…Lauren is still holding onto hopes of Summer and Steve getting back together. Yeah…Lauren spills about Chloe.
Emily and Austin talk. Emily’s a bit cold. Why did he come to the Rock? Really? For her, to check out the girl who shattered Damon’s heart. Kaylie interrupts to tell Emily to focus.
After practice Kaylie continues giving Austin unnecessary attitude. (Ok, you didn’t like that he didn’t recognize you in France, but really.) Austin says he thinks he can help but “she’s the national champion and doesn’t need his help.” Wow, that is the antithesis of champion spirit.
Steve, Gran, and Lauren talk and Gran brings up Chloe. Gran has decided they are having dinner tomorrow night.
Payson is watching tv when Sasha arrives to talk. Payson kind of looks shelllshocked and admits he was right and she was wrong. Sasha points out that even though this year she can’t get on the team, next year she can. She can become more of an artistic gymnast than a power gymnast like Nastia. She says she isn’t like Nastia but he points out that Nastia had a nine inch growth spurt in five years and many injuries but she came back better than ever thanks to graceful lines and meticulous execution. Payson says Nastia is built for that (thin and long) and she runs off, unwilling to listen. It’s over for her. Poor Sasha, no one’s listening to her.
Becca wonders if Payson is coming to the gym and Kim says Payson isn’t one to give up but Payson says she doesn’t plan to go. Payson says it is her life. Kim says they all changed their lives Payson’s desires. She expects Payson to stop being selfish and try what her coach suggests. The show has just touched on what I think is one of the most interesting and crazy aspects of a sport like gymnastics. Families literally give up their lives for their kids’ dreams but what happens when those kids decide they don’t want to do it anymore? Should Kim be trying to push Payson to continue if she says she’s done? (If you read Chalked Up, Jennifer Sey talks about her personal experience in this area.) As Payson says, who told you to give up your life for mine? Anyway, Becca decides she wants to go to the movies instead of the Rock.
Kaylie gets to the Rock and sees a huge sign for Austin Tucker. His banner is bigger than hers! Lauren teases her and then says she thinks it’s good because it will put Kaylie in her place. Lauren reveals to Carter his plan to get Gran to get Steve to drop Chloe. Carter intends to go out with Austin, leaving Lauren sex-free for the night.
Steve arrives to invite her to dinner. Chloe thinks he told his mother about her and she’s honored. He lets her believe it. He warns her that she’s tough. “Steve, you don’t ever have to worry about being embarrassed by your mother around me.”
The girls whine about Austin’s attention and then learn that Austin intends to bring in the high bar. No, it goes in the annex building out back, which is cold and has bad lighting. The girls are the stars of the gym. Lauren says no one cares about men’s gymnastics (true). Austin says men’s apparatuses are harder and they do more, 6 to the women’s 4. Kaylie says it’s because they do harder and more precise skills. Conclusion: men vs women, having them perform on the other gender’s apparatuses. Austin is given balance beam, Carter is given parallel bars, Lauren is given rings, Emily is given parallel bars, Emily is given men’s floor (3x more tumbling runs and no music), and Austin takes on women’s floor (music and dance choreography). Sasha is thrilled to see competition with stakes.
Practices on the different apparatuses does not go well for either gender and we see quite a bit of falling. (By the way, anyone notice how much Kaylie and Lauren talk considering their dislike for each other.) Kaylie thinks they can manage.
Becca comes in to talk to Kim and says she’ll go to the Rock tomorrow if she wants. Kim tells her it isn’t about what Kim wants but about what Becca wants. Then why does she care if Payson quits? Maybe it’s time to let it go. They’ve all sacrificed. If she’ll never be what she was, is it still worth the family being separated. Becca points out that maybe not if it’s about winning but isn’t it supposed to be about fun, discipline, and hard work. They weren’t always all gymnastics all the time. Becca brings up ice skating.
Emily refuses to have dinner with Steve’s family. (Brian is conveniently at computer camp. I guess it is summer, even though you may not realize it based on what is going on, there seems to be no time frame in this show.) Chloe has never been invited to meet a guy’s mom and she wants to impress her. Emily is the most impressive thing about her.
Lauren can’t wait for Chloe to show up in her “interesting” wardrobe attire. (Interesting. The perfect descriptive word. When my sister was little she used to announce how ugly things were when we were in stores so I told her she should say they were interesting. It wasn’t much better since she’d always say it as “that’s…interesting.”) But unfortunately for Lauren, Chloe and Emily show up sweaters and Banana Republic-esque clothes.
The Keelers go ice skating and Kim apologizes to Payson. Payson says her mom was right, she is selfish. Kim points out that she gave up her life the moment Payson was born and she wouldn’t want it any other way. She just doesn’t understand why she’s giving up on her dreams when there is still a chance. Payson shares a little story. When she was little, she loved ice skating. She’s always been an amazing athlete (athlete not princess). When she was seven she wanted to be the princess in the icecapades. Instead she was cast as the prince (because the director said she looked more like a boy) and all the other girls laughed at her for thinking she was graceful and beautiful enough to be a princess. She didn’t tell her mom because she knew her mom would have told her the princess was the cooler part. What she really wanted to hear was that they were wrong and she would have been the most beautiful princess in the world. Payson’s scared, she doesn’t think she’s graceful enough. Kim says it’s ok to be scared but if you don’t try at all, you could end up scared of everything. And one more thing, she would have been the most beautiful princess. (While I do love Payson and enjoy Ayla Kell, I will be honest and say the delivery in this scene was a bit stilted.)
Chloe tries hard but things aren’t going great. Particularly because Lauren is taking digs where she can. Gran seems to be on the Kmetkos side though, despite Lauren’s attempts. Lauren reveals that her dad hadn’t told Gran about Chloe. Emily excuses them, she needs to go to the gym early and has some schoolwork (wait, isn’t it summer?).
Lauren is doing some work when Gran comes in and puts Lauren in her place. True class is about having graciousness no matter what (even if someone is trying to pull you down). Lauren was the only one who was truly tacky at the table. She says she may feel abandoned by her mother, and that’s where her anger comes from, but Tanners must be gracious. She’s disappointed in Lauren. I almost feel sad for Lauren here (great facial expressions Cassie Scerbo).
Time for the boys vs girls battle. Payson shows up to interrupt Kaylie’s pep talk with her own (and let’s be honest, it comes out better from her). The girls do a lame chair and then Austin comes over to wish them luck and say no one should get injured. The competition reminds me why I dislike men’s gymnastics. The routines are more boring. There is something hysterical about watching the guys do the girls’ apparatuses. It just looks goofy. (Of course, in a way it highlights the things that look marginally goofy when the girls do it but is expected anyway. All that finger-flicking choreography.) Lots of corny commentating by Sasha (where did hardass Sasha go? I kind of miss him.)
Steve apologizes to Chloe. She dressed up because she was excited and wanted to make sure he wasn’t embarrassed. She says she’s honest and what you see is what you get and he understands that the real reason they are keeping their relationship secret is because he isn’t serious.
I’m not sure how it is helpful to have gymnasts waste their time training on apparatuses they will never compete in but I suppose it might help strength training for the girls and fluidity and artistry for the boys. Kaylie being able to do the guys’ full tumbling runs is impressive. Lauren is glad that she and Emily won’t have to suffer through family dinners. (Lauren, did you learn nothing?) The results are in, and the winners are…the men. Steve interrupts the celebrations to announce that he and Chloe are dating. Oh well Lauren. More applause as they kiss. Sasha admits to summer that people’s types do change.
Austin insists that Kaylie shake his hand. Kaylie says she’s a founding member of the gym and she’s risked a lot for it. Austin admits that he came to get inspiration from the Rock girls. They’re passionate and determined and fearless and he could use that. He offers a compromise. And then gets picked up by a hot girl.
Lauren wants to hang out with Emily and Payson but Kaylie invited them over to commiserate with ice cream. Lauren pretends to have plans with Carter but she watches them pile into Kaylie’s car. Despite all, I actually feel bad for her a little. (Again, good job Scerbo.)