Emily is rushing around to get to the gym to prove she’s committed to Sasha and her mom is doing the best to stall. Really she’s just excited to show her the food and brand new custom leo that Emily’s Scholarship has bought the family. (The first check came.) Does anyone else find it sketchy that her scholarship for the family at large’s lifestyle? Anyway, Chloe thinks Emily deserves to look the part of a star.
Summer and Sasha discuss Steve’s attempts to buy votes from the parents which naturally leads to the question of what Summer ever saw in him. Sasha doesn’t believe in marriage or God. Is there anything he does believe in? Leprechauns. (Ok, that made me love him again. Just a bit.)
Payson and Becca talk about her new training regime but first Becca wants to demonstrate the new level 8 skill she’s learned. It might actually be a better skill than half the ones we see our stars perform (though the form wasn’t perfect). Payson gives a bit of critique, which Becca takes well.
Emily and Chloe decide to be “bigger” than Lauren. The parents can’t get between the girls. Chloe doesn’t have a history of letting the kids deal with their issues. Chloe tries to be nice though Lauren does not make it easy. (Why you so happy, Tilla Tequila marathon?)
Lauren gives out barretts because she wants to win the Rocky Award for Congeniality at this year’s Rock Banquet (oh sports banquets, the good memories). (Which Kaylie usually wins but is now getting Gymnast of the year, which Payson got for five years in a row.) Lauren is upset about Emily’s custom leo because she couldn’t get those fabrics yet.
Sasha is glad to see Payson back. (She looks slimmer in this velvet leo.) He intends to change her overall style so she has to be reinvented, which means going all the way back to…level 1. That’s awkward and embarrassing but Sasha seems quite pleased with himself. I get the sentiment but maybe something more private would have been more sensible. Sasha does give her some personal attention and she has to learn to make things about lines instead of height. Becca meanwhile seems to be improving a ton, which is difficult for Payson to watch.
In come the Cruzes acting all cute and “together” as they turn in Kaylie’s pictures for her award. They sure seem to get along. Kaylie is glad to see they’re back together. It’s only a matter of time.
Sasha is impressed by Emily’s renewed determination. She’s upped her game. And she’s looking like a champion with that dazzling new leo. Is it awkward to hear a coach talk about a girl’s leo (which, essentially is a bathing suit)? Lauren hears this and therefore announces free smoothies for all. Steve doesn’t understand why she cares what people think. He’ll help her win if she has ice cream with the Kmetkos after the banquet. Lauren hears some girls talking about Emily’s new leo so she takes some smoothies to offer to the girls. She gives them to Payson and Kaylie and then “slips” and spills the third one all over Emily’s white leo. Red on white…not so great.
Highlights and low-lights of the day. Sasha tells Becca she can train elite if she wants. (She just learned a level 8 skill seemingly for the first time. This seems sudden?) Payson congratulates her but is “too exhausted” after doing cartwheels all day and doesn’t want to celebrate with a smoothie run.
Chloe tries to keep a nice face but now that Emily’s leo is ruined, she calls her a monster. Steve overhears and the parents fight about the congeniality award. Lauren is gregarious, Emily keeps more to herself, which seems stuck up. It’s on!
Kaylie is trying a difficult move that a Chinese gymnast is the only on who can do it. Sasha tells her to stop because the move favors much smaller girls (the Chinese gymnast is at list 10 lbs lighter).
Steve and Lauren scheme to rule the Rock, parents’ board and popularity alike. He gives her his card and she announces free massages for all after practice. So Chloe offers free manicures, pedicures, and waxes. Both offers illicit cheers. Emily doesn’t think she’ll win the award, she’s been at the gym less than a year. Lauren does more bullying (I believe Lauren bullying Emily, not as much with an adult). Summer comes out in time and tells Chloe to behave like a grownup. They have a heart to heart about how Steve can’t say no to Lauren. They’re a team of winners afraid to get left behind, they can get carried away. Lauren needs someone to understand her and show an example, meaning if Chloe is in Steve’s life, that might have to be her.
Kaylie’s been on the elliptical for 98 minutes in addition to a full practice because she wants to be more “aerodynamic.” (They started setting this weight loss obsession up last episode with Beals’s comment and I feel the need to point out that 1) they’ve already set this up with Lauren in the series premiere and then dropped it and 2) while this is a very real storyline in gymnastics, it does seem silly that they’re making one of the thinnest girls in the gym worry about weight rather than say Payson or Lauren who are a lot heavier.) Kaylie is glad that they’re back together as a family. She’s worried that he’s upset with her because she feels responsible. What if them working on her gymnastics pushed mom aside. And she knew and kept it a secret. Alex assures her that he doesn’t blame her. It’s actually a cute moment.
Summer discovers that she and Kim are supposed to be hosting the banquet. Turns out she has stage fright and needs a lot of time to prepare to get comfortable. So naturally, she turns to drinking. (She’s a lightweight so it doesn’t take much.)
Guests begin to arrive. Steve says he believe it’s important for there to be a strong parent looking after the girls’ interests. He sometimes gets carried away. Whoever wins, they’re neutral. Summer keeps drinking (one second she sounds fine and literally 2 seconds later, she sounds drunk). In come the Cruzes who say to Steve “who would have thought when we founded the gym our daughter would become gymnast of the year and your daughter would be…well, she’ll win something someday.” I’m a little surprised by this animosity, not because I wouldn’t expect people to dislike him after everything, but just because we haven’t actually seen the parents dislike him before now. Summer gets her dress dirty and Steve realizes she’s drunk so he offers to bring the votes to the office. That seems like a good idea. We see no foul play but…
Summer introduces Kaylie as the pride of the Rock which Payson applauds but looks a little….stoic about. Then the elite girls sing Sasha a corny song that is totally true to teenage girls. Lauren of course hogs the mic midway through. Summer starts to embarrass herself so Kim comes to rescue her but it turns out she’s not so funny. Parents are called up to present something for their kids. Alex gives a cute speech about Kaylie’s discovery of her love for gymnastics. Steve starts with a nice speech about Lauren’s drive and determination and turns it into a campaign speech (awkward and inappropriate moment–poor Lauren, you can see her sadness and embarrassment). Chloe reads a corny poem using Emily’s name (E is for…) and then decides to come back and say something about Lauren and how passionate and ambitious she is. It’s the first time If ind myself actually liking Chloe. (Will Lauren appreciate it?)
And the Rocky goes to…Lauren Tanner! The applause is so awkward, making me wonder if anyone voted for her or if it was Steve cheating. Lauren gives a self-aggrandizing speech that makes me feel much less sad for her and only stops when Summer finally interrupts.
Most Promising Junior Award goes to Becca Keeler. Payson applauds proudly but then she steps away. Poor Becca, so hard to be happy when you see it making your sister miserable. And Payson’s clearly trying to be supportive but just can’t seem to manage it. (But here are some issues I have with this idea. 1) Becca was just making a huge deal about learning a level 8 skill. She has some time before she can go elite. 2) Becca never has the commitment to be elite. Didn’t she just blow off the gym last week in favor of a movie just because “no one else was going?” I’ll give you that being hyper competitive can be fun if it’s the sort of thing you like, but if you are not hyper-competitive yourself, you aren’t likely to love doing it as Becca claims she does.)
Payson is crying on the stairwell and Sasha comes out to give her a new pep talk. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with her because she feels angry all the time. At Kaylie for winning Gymnast of the Year, Becca for passing her by. Sasha assures her it’s normal. But she doesn’t feel connected to gymnastics, she doesn’t love it the way she used to. But do you love it for being great or does the passion come from where you want to be. Sasha says she is a champion and he will hold a spot for her greatness. All she needs to do is show up, which she agrees to do. Then they will get there together.
Kaylie finds something in her dad’s coat pocket. A letter for divorce (which, naturally, he’d take with him to this banquet). She puts it away as Sasha calls for attention to show the video about Kaylie’s awesomeness. I wonder if those pictures are real (since she did do some gymnastics when she was little) or fake. They give out desert and Kaylie pushes hers away. Kaylie goes up to get her award and gives a speech about how her parents helped her get to where she is now because she could always count on them, both of them. Together. Never give up on what’s important. (That was an impressive double talk speech.)
People start getting up when Sasha announces a new award being given, called the Payson Keeler Championship Cup. We get a montage of gymnasts (Nastia, Tasha Schwikert, Carly Patterson, Kaylie, Becca) talking about how Payson has the heart of a champion (laugh at the experts who count her out, won juniors with an ACL injury, etc). That’s exactly the type of thing I’d have done! Nice to see her finally get something happy. (Such a sports movie ending, music and all.)
But the show’s not over yet. Kim suggests a celebratory movie but Payson intends to get up early to go to the gym, even though it’s Sunday. She’s back.
Kaylie confronts her parents about the divorce. She doesn’t want an award. The award means nothing if it costs her her family. She convinces them to give it another 6 months. (Ps, Kaylie’s dress actually shows off Josie Loren’s toned arms well.) They agree reluctantly but that makes me wonder if they will actually try it or just say they are.
Sasha walks Summer home because she doesn’t feel so well. She hasn’t got this tipsy since college graduation. He says he’d be happy to be married to the right woman. Then they kiss. I suppose technically she isn’t a gym mom so though Lauren may be upset there’s nothing wrong with it.
At ice cream Lauren talks about how thrilled she is to get an award.. Emily looks emo.
Kaylie does more exercise.
Payson ends the way we saw her in season one, practicing little moves in the mirror. (Nice symmetry show!)
I think this is one of the strongest episodes, despite nothing technically happening.