Max and Payson are friends now–they run together. They race, Payson cheats with a shortcut, but not to worry. They find a puppy! Everything is forgiven with a puppy. But what to do with said puppy? She is most certainly not allowed in the gym. (Girls will turn into kids if they see him and Sasha is uptight.)
The Kelly Parker bus has pulled into the parking lot and is taking up the entire place. We get to meet KP’s manager who is just as awful as KP herself. But she’s needed to manage Kelly Parker Enterprises. Kim puts her in her place before she puts up a “Kelly Parker World Champion” sign. KP is training at the Rock pre-Worlds. Sasha ends up agreeing to let her hang it because “if you let them get in a few jabs early, they won’t expect the left hook.” I know Kim is married, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t love Sasha and Kim’s dynamic.
KP is already practicing inside and as Lauren badmouths her, Kaylie decides not to worry about it. KP is the only one to have been at Worlds (and to have won it) and technically, she’s the only National Champ on the team. Lauren announces she cares none about Carter, she’s with Max now. KP asks if Max knows this because he walks in buddying around with Pay. (They are planning how to secretly keep the dog.)
Sasha calls a team huddle to point out once again that three girls are competing for the final spot. Why did we need a meeting to announce what we already know? The biggest worry is KP getting team captain and with Tessa, that would be a certainty.
KP’s manager says she can’t let Kaylie onto the team because there is a lot of interest in Kay while KP is just “yesterday’s champion.” Do I detect a hint of empathy for the big bad wolf? Manager gives her some healthy advice: “Do whatever you can to psych her out.” Oh, and the manager, is her mom. KP starts to work her magic by hinting that Sasha has no faith in her and sure enough she falls on her dismount. Austin tells Kaylie to ignore her. He offers to work late with her but she’s opposed to secret practices. That didn’t turn out well last time (though it was fine when Emily and Damon did it).
Lauren spots Payson and Max together again and starts her own psych out. She suggests that maybe her dad is lonely all alone and cheats. Payson insists he would never.
At the strip club the girls are out which wouldn’t be so bad, if Mark Keeler wasn’t there. Awkward. He heads home and it turns out his company went under and he is looking for a job in Boulder. It turns out, he was at the strip joint for the end of his interview. That’s quite an interview. He passes the news of Chloe’s job on, naturally, because apparently the guys are just as bad gossips as girls.
Austin asks Sasha permission to work extra hours with Kaylie. She needs the help but Sasha has other concerns. Austin says he knows about Kaylie’s issues and he knows the danger signs so Sasha agrees on the condition that he is kept in the loop. No surprises! Which mean there will be some.
Payson sneaks outside to play with the puppy. (Payson minus the cost, your parents would totally be cool with the puppy! It’s a real kid thing!) Payson used to volunteer at a shelter and Max used to bring home strays. Meant to be! He named the dog Phoebe (she had a gold fish named Phoebe).
After Kaylie stumbles on a tumbling pass, Kaylie is told that he can help her. Kaylie is less happy, she does not wanted to be treated like the sick girl or his project. KP takes the chance to tell Austin to convince Kaylie to drop out which only makes him more determined.
Lauren confronts Max about Payson and what their situation. He isn’t sure what they are. He admits to kissing her back and liking her lip gloss. Really Max, that took what, four seconds?
Lauren pushes for the wedding date to be set. She wants a huge wedding, Summer doesn’t. But in comes Chloe and Lauren wants to know what she’s doing. Chloe wants to figure out the Rock dues that are still owed. Chloe is all sad and sure that everyone thinks she’s a bad mother. Summer assures her she does not think so. Summer suggests other options like adoption. The Rock won’t be the same without the Kmetkos. (It will be better!)
Kaylie apologizes to Austin for being a whiny brat. Kaylie admits she is scared she can’t be ready for all four apparatuses. Austin has a plan–Emily was the team’s vault star so they need to make her a star on that area (despite that being her weakest).
Max and Payson are interrupted by Lauren on a trip to the park and pretend that they’re going to go running. They talk about whether they might have a future. Would it bother her if he dated other girls? She says no but really it is a yes.
Kaylie and Austin work on the vault. She has two days. They need to do something Worlds worthy to make it good enough. She needs to add a skill that she doesn’t have. She doubts but he insists.
How do they sneak Phoebe upstairs. Austin is allergic to dogs so Max can’t keep her. Also, they have to find a new place to move the dog. (Ok, the dog story is getting a bit tired.) KP makes a comment about Lauren being a slut and losing out on the relationship. Lauren thinks the solution is to challenge him to a game of basketball because he is clearly attracted to Payson’s jockishness. But Phoebe gets loose and all is revealed.
Mark does not get the job. What now? They’re worried.
Payson notices Kaylie only working on beam and mentions Tessa’s new awesome skill which makes her more worried.
Payson asks if she can keep the dog. She promises to do her part.
Her parents tell her no.
It seems like it is basketball time but it seems like a sex dream more than reality. Notice the cheesy music? Naturally, he has to take off his shirt for this because otherwise they might confuse the teams in this one on one. Somehow Lauren steels the ball from him. Mid game Payson calls but it goes unnoticed. Let’s not pretend Lauren should be any good at basketball. Gymnastics and basketball don’t really have transferable skills. The game ends up being a little kissy but Lauren insists on a date first.
Kaylie and Austin continue working on vault. I would agree with this strategy in some places, but I’m less sure with Sasha as coach. KP shows up for some extra training with Tessa.
Max and Payson discuss where Pheobe is going. She has to take her to the pound.
KP is sure Kaylie won’t be ready on the non-vault apparatuses and is sure Kaylie won’t make it on the team. Kaylie reveals the plan and Payson is not thrilled. Time for the competition though.
Competition time. Tessa’s mount seems to be the hardest skill we have seen thus far on the show. Annie on the other hand has a whatever vault. Tessa is solid on bars as well. Kaylie’s turn on beam is when she decides to reveal the plan. Sasha is not happy with the plan and wants to know why. She said she thought that is what Sasha would do in her position. I don’t believe a gymnast could perfect a very difficult skill in two days but not surprisingly, Kaylie lands it perfectly. KP gets a bit of the evil eye from her mother.
Time for the results: The spot goes to the girl with talent, discipline, and guts. That girl is…Kaylie Cruz. Well duh, how could she not be on the team.
The Keelers discuss how sad they are not to be able to keep the dog. They used to have faith that things would work out but now they are afraid all the time. She says they’ve always made it through their rough patches so why are they afraid that it will be different this time. Kim doesn’t want him to live far away. It is time for them to be together (of course, Becca only gets a mention since she’s been MIA all season). They decide to keep the dog.
KP gets laid into by her mom. They have to figure out a way to get rid of Kaylie. KP noticed the warning signs before anyone else that Kaylie was anorexic. So the plan is to expose Kaylie and get the NGO to freak and kick her off the team. Kaylie spots KP getting reamed at by her mom who then drives off without her. KP and Kaylie have a bonding moment in which KP says she never feels like she’s good enough and she’s tired of playing perfect.
Max comes over to take Phoebe to the shelter. They come into the kitchen where Phoebe is lying in her bed. Psyche! She’s keeping him. She suggests going for a run but he has plans. A date. With Lauren. Are they the kind of friends that post-date debrief? No, but run tomorrow? (Also, if you didn’t notice, the music playing in the background here is the same as what played in the first season when the girls have come back from confronting Marty for abandoning them.)
KP stays with Kaylie for a bit and Kaylie offers her to stay for dinner. It’s a nice bonding moment minus knowing she’s about to screw over. KP has no friends because friends get in the way of her winning her gold medal. Kaylie says she doesn’t think she could have won without her friends. Sure enough, while Kaylie is out, KP finds Kaylie’s journal which she takes. (The flaw to this plan is Kaylie has recovered and this can get good press for her and more interest in her for ads.)