This is a long one people so be ready…
Payson shows up at the Rock, the lights are dark but Kim is checking last minute boarding pass information. Payson spots a letter to Sasha and realizes he is in Romania! They’re sending him papers so they can validate Darby’s contract. So, there’s still a chance to get rid of her…
Steve gives Darby a “pep” talk about how she has to be a coach not a child. The NGO is questioning whether or not the Rock girls belong on the Worlds team. Payson overhears and Darby uses the opportunity to chew Payson out. (After so much good acting by Kell her facial expressions are sorta awkward).
Damion shows up at the Kmetko house as they are leaving to the airport. Why isn’t she returning his calls? She accuses him of doing something with Kayley. Being the whiner that she is, she accuses him of using her for sex and moving on. He asks her to trust him but she can’t have him messing with her head so she breaks it off. Emily, you’re kind of a moron. But that certainly isn’t news.
Steve gives Lauren a credit card with a $20,000 limit, “in case of emergencies” though Summer questions the good idea of this. Darby uses the time to lecture the girls about being the coach not their friend. Emily can’t handle “Coach Conrad” but Payson may just have a plan.
Kayley admits to having a problem that needs to be addressed. Her therapist is proud of her honest expression of her feelings. So why does she think she stopped eating? Kayley says to beat Gengi Cho but he wonders if this is the real reason. Maybe it was something else? Control, pressure, parents, boys?
Payson spots Emily crying on the plane but Emily deflects to see what Payson is busy with. Her plan: get Sasha back to the Rock. It is a complicated/risky plan. She chooses to finance this extra flight with Lauren’s credit card. Lauren thinks this is crazy but Emily is down with the plan. Payson says no way because she is already in trouble with the NGO. Lauren reluctantly agrees to join them. But the question is how to ditch the escort (Darby and the ‘rents). Lauren sets it up that Summer is called for a phone call. Then they tell Darby they are going to the bathroom in an attempt to ditch her but she decides to join them. They crawl out under the stalls while Darby pees (soundlessly–she also doesn’t notice their soundless tinkling). But of course, just as they get out, Kelly Parker shows up. She may be Kayley’s replacement. Darby and Summer realize the girls are missing and conveniently, Kelly Parker shows up to rat them out. Payson texts her mom “Trust me, will be back on time.” Right, like Kim would ever be cool about this kind of international spontaneity. Summer talks to Kim about flying after the girls. Darby thinks they are doing this to make her look bad. Summer takes charge. the plan is to tell the NGO that they missed their flight and will be there on time (like Kelly Parker will go along with this).
Recapping the plan, they have two hours to convince Sasha to return. Emily buys an energy drink that she can’t read the label and Payson points out that there could be banned substances in there. Apparently many energy drinks do, which is a bit disturbing. Emily says she wasn’t thinking and Payson lays into her. “You haven’t been thinking at all lately…” Emily announces that she and Damon broke up for real. Lauren figures out that she slept with him. She reveals her suspicions about Damon and Kayley and Payson and Lauren say Kayley would never do that.
Kayley writes about the things that happened around when she stopped eating when Damon comes in. He tells her that he and Emily broke up. Emily seems to think he’s the problem in her life. “Is gymnastics really that intense that you can’t trust anyone but yourself?” Kayley says for some people, distraction can have serious consequences. But maybe with Emily it isn’t the sport. Maybe that is just who she is. Kayley gives him a pep talk about not giving up on Emily. Kayley writes “Maybe it is not the sport” in her diary.
The girls show up at Sasha’s. Maybe. They are told no Sasha Belov lives there by some random woman who says she knows everyone. Lauren whines. Right nearby is Olimpia bar, where they go inside to figure out how to get back. Someone is cleaning the bar and it is Sasha! He works there. He tells them to go and when Payson says they won’t leave without him, he says he will never be coming back. You’re better than that Sasha! Quit sulking like a teenage girl! We’ve got enough of those at the Rock already. Payson thinks Sasha is just testing them and they have to wait him out. Sasha is still following their gymnastics, that might be a good sign.
Emily takes a crack at Sasha first. She brings up the trust exercise they worked on. She said he promised he wouldn’t leave and died. Emily asks him what if she isn’t good enough.
Back at the Rock, Chloe, Steve, and Kim are freaking out. This could be the thing that gets Emily kicked out.
Lauren isn’t willing to play mind games (right, when has that ever been the case) so she takes a shot next. Lauren says Summer is over him so he can come back just for the gymnastics. Like that would make it better. He tells her he isn’t returning.
They decide to leave but Payson tells them to go without her. She insists because she thinks Sasha won’t let her go back alone. Lauren gives her Steve’s credit card to ensure that she gets back in time.
Damon and Kayley discuss Kayley’s feelings of pressure after winning and the high expectations placed on her. She felt guilty about complaining about that. About complaining that her life is “perfect” because she didn’t know who she was. She focused on winning instead. She won nationals but didn’t feel any better. She wanted to share this with him because he helped her realize all of this. She is the problem, no matter what she was doing, gymnastics or something else. Damon takes this to mean “And Emily is who she is” and he has to let her go, for both of them.
Payson sits at the bar, eating something. Sasha realizes she’s there but doesn’t approach. Summer comes in looking for everyone and says she doesn’t know who is more stubborn, Payson or Sasha. Sasha awkwardly ignores Summer. summer tells Payson she can’t always get what she wants and she can’t do anything to get Sasha to come back. Summer refuses to leave without Sasha. Payson takes in this speech, holding Sasha’s gold medal. It was about never giving up, among other things, but now all she thinks is that he quit on all of them. So she gives back the medal and leaves. Summer takes a moment to say Payson is angry and hurt. Sasha, looking like he is going to cry, asks if Summer is angry too. She says she understands why he did what he did but she disagrees. She says he isn’t doing his best in this stupid bar. (Payson’s speech was way better, but okay. At least it wasn’t another God speech.)
Kim and Steve are trying to calm people down. Summer and Payson have gotten lost but they have found their way again. Lauren and Emily made it back. Steve and Kim talk about how despite the many differences in their daughters, they are very similar in one specific way: bullheaded. Kim says the sport breeds it into them. Steve says he knows Lauren crosses the line and he is sorry. Kim invites him to watch the meet at her place.
Everyone has made it back in time for the meet but no Sasha. Darby snaps at Payson to sign in. summer hugs Lauren and Emily.
Damon has something for Kayley. A song that he wrote with her words. Magically, Kayley knows the tune and can sing to it despite never having heard it before. This song, unlike last week’s, does not show off her voice. She gets overwhelmed partway through the song because it captures her feelings perfectly. He gets it because that is how he feels too. his nationals was the radio contest and tour. He didn’t feel like a star even when he should have. He fought that until now, with her.
The girls are in bed when there is a knock at the door. It is Sasha, who says what they did was inexcusable and if he were their coach he would send them home. They lost to Pinewood because they have become lazy and self-indulgent and he has ZERO interest in being their coach. So…why are you here? Oh, he’ll be their coach if they can prove they aren’t wasting his time. They can do that by showing they can win. They’re in shock, but when he leaves they realize they’ve gotten what they want.
Morning of the meet. Sasha meets with the girls to say he shouldn’t have abandoned them. But they have abandoned the lessons he taught them He will commit to coaching them if they commit to living up to their potential. After a “Rock On!” the girls show up to the meet. Is that…Sasha? Steve agrees to let him back and Kim grabs some wine (uh oh?). Sasha says he must show everyone that Pinewood was a fluke since this is a tryout for the Worlds team.
Lauren is up first on beam, where she is the favorite thanks to her high degree of difficulty. She performs flawlessly (for once) though I am surprised to see such an easy dismount (one that Payson always does). Up second is Russia’s Ivanka, who has never performed internationally as a “secret weapon.” Will she beat Lauren? Everyone watches on in shock and nerves (even Kelly Parker looks worried). Ivanka’s dismount it 100x harder than Lauren’s. Sure enough, Ivanka has beaten Lauren and moved the Russian team into first place.
Sasha gives Emily a pep talk (say “I am the best and nobody can touch me”). This seems to relax her a bit (as relaxed as Emily can be anyway). She performs a routine that looks oddly similar to Payson’s and falls off in the middle. This drops them into third, behind Russia and Romania. The US coach decides to pull Emily in favor of Kelly, who has not competed since her injury. Sasha says Emily just needs to know the US coach believes in her but unfortunately, he doesn’t. The coach already goes to tell Kelly. I almost feel bad for Emily.
Kelly is up on vault where she sticks a solid vault. This brings the US back up again. A part of me is surprised Payson doesn’t do a vault but then again, Sasha is back and their thing together is floor.
It comes down to floor. Surprisingly, the announcers say the US and Russia have saved their best for last–Ivanka and Payson. While I personally love Payson, I would argue that at this moment she is not anywhere near the best on the team at this moment. (Certainly not if her mother won’t let her work on more competitive moves.) Who is taking flashing pictures mid-routine and why are the lights dim? Ivanka is very stern and intense but he seems to handle the high pressure of her first international meet well (for most gymnasts this is difficult the first time out–the equipment and the pressure are different). For Payson’s turn, Kim gets worried but Steve says Payson is great and will do great. Her floor music, which the Black Swan has made so popular right now, seems great for this moment. She does so well that Kim can’t help but jump up off the couch. The judges talk and…The Russians win, but only just barely. The US gets silver.
Kayley reads something to the group about just being Kayley. Just Kayley.
Darby confronts Sasha to say she could have gotten them there. Sasha says perhaps in time but they don’t have time. He is positive that he can do it while she can’t.
Sasha tells Emily the chairman of the committee would like to speak to her though they don’t know why. Could it be a certain sports drink? Emily looks confused for a moment but then says it was just an accident! But no! It isn’t about the drink, she hasn’t broken any rules. But…she is pregnant! Half of me didn’t see that coming (in so far as this show seems to be determined to avoid long term consequences much of the time) but the other part of me was waiting for this to happen considering all the obsession with sex. Plus, the Secret Life is already dealing with 3 babies, they can’t squeeze out any more for that moment.