[Side note here before getting into the show, it’s interesting that this is only one of two episodes to air this week that was called “The Buddy System.” Survivor was the other one and was a little bit more appropriately named.]
The girls sit around to give each other compliments. “Payson you’re so brave and the strongest athlete ever…” but Payson sees no worth in this. Lauren says Payson can nail the vault but little else and Payson says she’s here to mount the equipment not ever boy in the gym (which doesn’t stop her from smiling at new boy Max who starts working the rings). So much for positive reinforcement. Lauren’s turn in the middle. Can Emily say something nice about Lauren’s gymnastics? She struggles for a moment (she’s also a little distracted) and says she knows how to strut her stuff. Like a runway model for Victoria’s Secret, which Lauren finds a compliment. Darby decides that the best way to make friends is to have the girls learn each other’s routines (rather than prep for their coming meet with Dallas). The girls are meant to learn respect. Lauren and Payson are of course paired. Lauren badmouths Payson to random girl. Meanwhile, Darby is going to pair with Emily to keep an eye on her.
Kaylie is in a group discussion where some girl talks about how she felt she was being pressured to be perfect. Kaylie is not having it (why are all the girls kind of messed up looking?), she looks bored. When asked if she can relate she responds “not really.” The girl who was talking recognizes Kaylie because she loves gymnastics. She asks if it is true that a lot of gymnasts struggle with eating disorders but Kaylie says only people who don’t know anything think that. Luckily she’s spared from more conversation by Maeve, who has finally gotten out of rehab and is ready to start shedding the weight she gained.
Payson whines about Darby’s approach to coaching but Lauren says that is only because she still approaches the sport like a little girl. Max comes up and Lauren uses the opportunity to put down Payson. Lauren announces for the record that she has dibs and Payson claims to be uninterested.
Steve finds the full tape of Sasha and Payson doesn’t know what to do. He’s surprisingly disappointed–maybe he has changed?
Kaylie and Maeve are in a sauna (to lose water weight?) and discuss how Maeve is going to Milan for modeling. They have a small window, just like gymnastics. Maeve offers some drug to keep her active and help her lose weight but Kaylie declines. Not because it’s a bad idea and dangerous for your health, but instead because when she’s back they take random drug tests and she can’t risk it. The conversation turns to Austin and how his sister must have had an out of control eating disorder. Maybe she shouldn’t have admitted to having a problem because now her parents are freaking out and she can’t train. Maeve says she has to turn her parents against her therapist and then she’ll be back training.
Darby shows Emily her routine which, may have won her an award eight years ago but would not cut it now. (The rules and scoring change every year and scoring high is more difficult than before.) Darby says she didn’t lift the rules because she thought having a boyfriend was a good idea but because being elite means having absolute commitment. Emily is running out of second chances. (Darby, that is one of the best things you’ve said yet.)
Lauren and Payson work on the beam where Lauren talks about “shaking the booty.” Does no one else find this sexuality disturbing? So basically, the adult judges are watching a sixteen year old and giving her points for being sexy? (PS- I have yet to see a single real gymnast use “sexy” as their weapon of choice.) Payson tries it but Lauren says she has more sass in her little finger. (They have penicillin for that.) She-ra this routine isn’t about strength but about oo-lala. Max and Austin discuss. Max says Lauren is like a Vegas show. Austin prefers subtlety. Lauren comes up and says Payson just doesn’t have it. But the focus on Lauren makes her mess up. Austin says she doesn’t need Lauren’s showgirl crap. He offers to help her not look foolish and maybe help her impress a certain guy…He points out that Lauren has the best beam in the country so clearly something she’s doing is working.
Emily gets home late from curfew because she walked the long way. She looks at Damon’s web page and gets scolded for it. Chloe tells her to stop obsessing. They both signed that agreement so go study.
Kaylie and the rents are with the therapist and discuss what to do. How do we fix this?” Alex asked. Kaylie says she’s been thinking about what that girl said about trying to be perfect for her parents and can relate. “Do you feel that your parents had a hand in your disorder?” Alex gets defensive, despite the scale he put in the living room to encourage weight maintenance. The therapist suggests that he focuses on Kaylie’s dreams to avoid other issues. “Thank you doctor. Oh wait, you’re not a doctor. Thank you, occupational therapist.” Ha! Way to act like a twelve year old.
Lauren finds her dad looking at the video and her computer and says this is a violation of her privacy. He points out that she violated Payson’s privacy. Lauren says he never cared about doing the right thing and now he has what he wants. Summer comes in and Steve doesn’t know what to do.
Payson continues being awkward as she tries to work on the sexy aspect of Lauren’s routine when her mom comes in. Payson isn’t up for dorky mom dance. She asks if her mom wants to be more like Chloe Kmetko. (Ha “is that what you think is sexy?”) Kim says she has beauty, grace, integrity, which is equally powerful. But she’s just not sexy. You don’t have to be good at everything. Payson isn’t satisfied with this though so she calls Austin for help. She admits that “this sexy thing” scares her. And she wants to wipe Lauren’s smug smirk off her spray tanned face. She makes Austin promise not to laugh but he only barely manages it. He has an idea which involves smelling things and seeing which scents she likes. (He really prepared for this!) She is repulsed by the too sweet smell of vanilla. She settles on cedar. He tells her to center her energy below the waist. He demonstrates walking across the room like Lauren (this is a new side of Austin) and Payson does an excellently awful attempt at imitation. Next they get down on all fours to work on “cat energy.” Payson freaks out. Austin says cedar is used for purification and she responds to it because she is pure of heart.
Maeve eats with the Cruz family. Is her family concerned with her going back to modeling? no, they trust her…Maeve says size is always an issue, not just a professional issue. Alex thinks the therapist is pretending Kaylie is sick in order to get a paycheck.
Lauren, Summer, and Steve finish up dinner (with Lauren sitting on the same side as Summer which is a weird place for her to sit). Steve says he failed to teach Lauren the right values. How do you punish a teen who does something wrong? Summer says you have to make them accountable for their actions. Summer believes everyone knows what is right and they just have to have the courage to do it.
Emily is getting ready for the gym when she spots her mom’s Bambi nameplate. She also finds a napkin from “Bodacious Boulders” in her mom’s jacket pocket.
Payson helps Lauren on her routine and Max is impressed with Payson’s coaching abilities. Lauren pulls him away and Austin gives her more encouragement. She’s a quiet kind of sexy. That’s not the kind of girls he’s interested in. What about Kaylie, he liked Kaylie. Liked? Past tense? She should stay away from the gym and focus on getting healthy. But Kaylie comes in and says she might be ready to return any day. Tomorrow maybe. Austin is unhappy by this news. She meets up with Maeve who has to head to the airport now. Maeve tells her Austin is the really deal and she shouldn’t let him get away. She’s just one call away for support though. Maeve is not the kind of support Kaylie should be getting…)
Austin’s clearly upset and Payson checks in on him. He changes the subject to her. Payson has had a change of heart, she has perfected every move she’s been afraid of before and every move is learnable. She just has to put on a performance. Who knows what she will learn in the process?
Emily calls Bodacious Boulders to find out if her mother is working and asks what kind of establishment it is. She runs out of the gym without a word of explanation which of course gets noticed right away. She goes and finds her mother working behind the bar. Emily blows up about how this is another piece of embarrassment. Chloe says she’s paying the bills and funding her dream, that’s responsible.
Well, time for “Learn My Routine!” Lauren easily does Payson’s “strong and impressive but no frills bars.” My issue with this entire scenario is that it is not this easy to master tricks. There’s a reason why they have different routines and that is because of their different strengths. Payson comes out ready to rock in a NOT PURPLE leo. In fact, it looks like she pulled out a leo from the “Rock Rebels” shoot. She even put on makeup. She ends up very into the routine and you can see the jealousy in Lauren’s expressions. Darby says Payson really tapped into something. Austin suggests to Lauren that she relearn her routine from Payson (no better insult than that!). Payson tells Austin that she stopped being Lauren. She worries that it was awful but Max assures her that it was smoking hot. He asks her out to the juice bar but she has to go see a friend so she suggests he call her later, which he agrees to.
Lauren sees her father holding a cd and freaks out as she realizes Steve is about to out her. Lauren pulls out the waterworks about how she could lose the gymnastics world and Sasha will come back and he will lose Summer and she will lose a second mother. This will ruin her. She ruined someone else. She swears never to do it again, she can turn over a new leaf too. Email it anonymously Steve, even if you aren’t going to ruin Lauren. He lets her manipulate him again and agrees.
The Cruz parents argue over who is responsible. Alex learns about the trash bag of food that Kaylie was hiding when Kaylie comes in saying she wants to start training tomorrow. Alex says they have decided to trust the therapist. Kaylie yells at them that the therapist is wrong, they have the problem, and she is going to lose everything.
Emily and Payson talk. Emily says she knows Payson doesn’t understand because she doesn’t have the same issues. Payson says what someone should have told her a long time ago. She’s not that different from everyone. Payson sees her dad once a month. Kaylie would kill to step onto a mat. Pain is pain and they are all sacrificing for this dream. She has to accept the things she can’t control and embrace what she can–practicing and giving it her all–and until then things will fall apart. Emily says she slept with Damon and is in love with him but she wants her dream too and knows that she cant have both. Which does she want more? She wants to go to the olympics but what if she doesn’t make it and loses Damon. You can’t drain your energy on the what ifs. Focus on what you want. (We’ve heard her say this before.) Payson wants to go to the Olympics with Emily at her side. I’m not surprised that these two are so close but at the same time it is sort of sudden.
Kaylie calls Maeve for support but the person on the other side is upset. She informs Kaylie that Maeve passed away, she had heart failure in the airport. Will Maeve’s sudden death shock Kaylie into taking a hard look at her life? One can only hope.)
I want to take the time to point out that Ayla Kell did a particularly fantastic job in this week’s episode. Also, check out both Marty and Kaylie in this week’s Castle.)