Make It Or Break It: Life Or Death

Kayley mourns over the loss of Maeve and takes a hard look at herself.

This isn't stalker-y at all.

Meanwhile Chloe arrives at the Rock and is shocked that Dallas is coming to the Rock for a meet. Max takes pictures of Payson while she trains and Lauren comes up to flirt. Apparently they are some action shots for the meet. He says he’ll take pictures of her if she shows him something to shoot so she goes to smack talk Emily into getting off the beam. Emily cedes the beam and Lauren gets on it to pose. Not exactly an action shot.

Damon meanwhile serenades a picture of Emily that is on his laptop. Well, really he’s trying to write a song about her and not having much luck. Kayley sneaks in looking all thin and pensive. He thinks his song is bad but she assures him it isn’t. Damon came back to Boulder because his best songs are inspired by her but without being seeing her…Naturally, Kayley sings a messed up version of his song which he decides is better. He convinces her to work with him.

Payson’s training seems to be better than ever but Darby overhears Payson saying they’ve been slacking off with Darby as coach. But Darby has some bad news: Dallas canceled. The good news: Pinewood from Iowa agreed. They’re the worst ranked team in the country but it is better than nothing…She tries to put a positive spin on it though the girls really aren’t having it.

Payson starts working on a difficult vault and turns down Darby’s offer to help. Darby says she wants to work with her. She needs a friend to have her back with the other girls because everyone looks up to her. She reluctantly agrees. Everyone needs a friend right? They make a deal: if she can get people excited for the meet, she will help Payson up her difficulty value by .7 which is a lot.

Kim and Summer discuss Darby’s youth and thus inability to coach. Lauren wants to go shopping but Summer is not having it until she does her homework. Kim asks if Summer plans to move in. Summer likes being needed, which isn’t the same as loves Steve.

This is my sexy face.

Lauren flirts more with Max. She invites him over to the house after practice because they will be all alone.

Continuing the season’s theme of girls’ boyfriends bonding with girls who are not their girlfriends, Kayley and Damon’s music session seems to be going well. He has an upcoming performance. They are interrupted when Kayley gets a phone call from Maeve’s mother. Her mother wants Kayley to say some words about Maeve at the service because of what a good friend she was to Maeve in rehab. She’s scared to go to the funeral, she’s never been to one. But she doesn’t know what she feels. He can relate in a non life or death situation. He suggests she try writing to work out her feelings.

Max catches up with Payson outside. He’s offended that she didn’t call her back. Or really she didn’t ask him to take her headshot. She’s stiff and awkward so he gets her to laugh which makes it work. Kim offers him to stay for dinner, but unfortunately he has to be somewhere (certainly not somewhere better though). Kim runs in to find out what the story with Payson and Max go. Payson is nervous and Kim suggests she start by making a new friend and go from there.

Emily moons over Damon and he IMs her. That’s okay right? He is worried no one will come to his show. Chloe gives her another “you can’t go to Damon’s show” speech and takes some of Emily’s sniping.

Kayley starts adding to Damon’s song about how the moment has passed. Damon offers to go to the funeral with her. He knows from experience how important it is to say goodbye. She hasn’t told her parents about Maeve because they would freak.

Aww! Awkward Turtle!

Max goes to Lauren who seems to not understand what a head shot is. Finally Max tells her to be less expressive. She’s not feeling her slutty schoolgirl outfit and goes to change it. Just as she runs out of the room, Payson calls. She is super awkward but cute on the phone. He suggests coffee, she suggests running instead. It’s a date. I mean a plan. I mean…see you tomorrow. Just in time because Lauren comes in wearing lingerie. Max points out that he doesn’t think that look will fly with the mom’s at the Rock. She says she wants him to take pictures for her personal portfolio. Where is Summer? Naturally he does not knowing what to do and just in time, Summer arrives. About time! Summer is angry. Lauren begs Summer to keep it a secret, she told her father she would change. Lauren says she’s trying but she feels like no one loves her. Why doesn’t anyone want her? Summer promises not to leave her but how can she trust her. Master manipulator! Summer agrees not to tell Steve but on the condition that Lauren won’t ever do it again. Seal it with a hug.

Emily puts up a poster for Damon’s concert in the Rock and Payson asks why she isn’t working on her landings, which she hasn’t been sticking. She may not need them for Pinewood, but she will for Hungary in two weeks. Focus on your own career not Damon’s. So naturally Emily puts up more posters.

Lauren waits until Summer leaves to go up to Max. She invites him to Damon’s concert (apparently EVERYONE is going) and he asks if Payson is coming. Lauren tells him she thinks Payson is gay. Right, I don’t think he’s falling for that.

Payson lands the harder vault (doesn’t stick it but still lands it) and instead of being happy, Kim lectures her about how it is her job to set boundaries. Darby agrees to tell her not to do it because with her back she can’t let her risk it. It was the only reason she was excited for the meet. Darby tries to amp up the excitement with a sleepover, which means no one will be going to Damon’s. Lauren is upset because she had a “date” with Max. Poor Payson. Delusional Lauren.

Kayley and Damon are at the funeral. Even now Maeve’s mother is delusional about her daughter’s eating disorder. She doesn’t believe that is what happened to Maeve. (The bench outside this funeral looks like the one outside the Rock.) Kayley freaks out because she can’t pretend Maeve was getting better because she wasn’t and Kayley is doing just as poorly and she doesn’t want to die. Later, Damon suggests Kayley grieve by writing some poetry. He wants to sing the lyrics she added to his song on stage at his performance. She’s reluctant but he suggests she do it to say goodbye.

Is this the start of a beautiful new relationship?

Darby tries to get everyone excited with popcorn (aka “truth corn”). They are supposed to eat some and release their gripes. Payson says she’d rather be at home. Lauren would rather be at the concert and suggests they go as a team. So naturally Darby gives in. Payson is the only one who isn’t all for this plan. Once there, Lauren pretends she had a date with Max the night before and shows Payson the pictures, which only makes her more upset. Damon invites Kayley upstage to sing with him. (Emily seems to be a bit nervous.) Kayley spends the song staring at Damon because she is nervous.

Summer gets a call from Steve as she gets to the Rock to check in and finds it empty. Uh oh. Also there is Marcus, who has come to stop by the Kmetkos. Of course he just happens to be in town. He sees the poster Emily put up and figures out where they must be. Emily says she doesn’t care if she will get in trouble it was worth seeing him perform. Emily is upset when she hears that Kayley helped him co-write the song that was originally about her.

Summer drags Lauren away from Max. He asks Payson when they’re going running and she says never, she doesn’t have time for new friends. Summer also offers to help sneak Emily out before she gets in trouble. Marcus arrives before they leave so they hurry out the back while Payson distracts them. Which is of course when Darby approaches drinking a beer.

I think I can. I think I can.

The time of the meet comes and Payson gives them all a pep talk. Payson messes up on her beam. Lauren steps out of bounds on floor. Pinewood, the massive underdogs seem to be on the verge of winning. Emily on bars falls flat on her landing. As Payson gets ready for her vault, Darby tells her to do the harder vault. Payson is willing to try even though she isn’t ready. Kim knows exactly what she is doing and says if she puts Payson at risk she will regret it. Payson attempts the vault and lands on her back. (The funny thing about this is that yes, Payson should not have been asked to do this vault given the circumstances. However, Kim is holding back Payson’s career for no good reason too. Had she let them train the way they were planning to, Payson may have had that vault ready and safe. We were never given any indication that Payson’s difficulty levels should be limited and if they have to be then she has no chance in the gymnastics world. For some perspective, elite gymnast Rebecca Bross currently has a starting value of a 5.8. She routinely scores higher with errors than Payson’s starting value would be without this more difficult vault, which is a 4.8. Elite gymnast Jordyn Weiber has a vault with a 6.5 start value, giving her an almost two point lead over Payson from the start. Two points in gymnastics is HUGE since oftentimes scores are separated by less than a point to determine the winners and losers.)

Beware the Payson Death Stare.

The Pinewood girls are thrilled to have won. The Rock girls are unhappy. I would be lying if I said I was disappointed that they finally lost one. They seem to always pull off these lucky wins and its unrealistic that the Rock would NEVER lose. At the same time, a club where four of their elite members are on the national team would not lose to the worst team in the country even on an off day after a few weeks of poor training. Even with their falls. (Their start values should theoretically be considerably higher, allowing for the errors they made.) Darby says there is something to be learned and Payson says they need a real coach. Not a friend, a buddy. A real coach sets boundaries, is tough when necessary, does not take them to a party the night before a vault, does not have a gymnast perform a vault she is not prepared for. Darby runs out and Lauren points out that a real coach would never leave on that note. Whether or not she will come back, they are better without her. (You know, Payson probably could coach the Rock better than her.)

Kayley rips up the page where she counted her calories and instead starts writing an extremely elementary version of a diary. “My name is Kayley Cruz…” but she does add “and I am anorexic” so that is all that matters.

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