Make It Or Break It: What Lies Beneath/Worlds Apart

The worlds team takes some publicity photos. The Rock girls diss KP who insists that she is not part of team but only looking out for herself. Kaylie’s all “but we’re a team not competition!” KP’s all “whatev” but then Kaylie is called to stand in front instead of KP and her mother (the manamonster) goes berserk. Summer points out how shameful KP’s mom’s exploitation of her daughter is. Lauren shows off about her chance at winning gold on beam.

Payson sounds awkward trying to speak spanish for some commercial. It’s pretty awful. Somebody should help her with the pronunciation. Meanwhile KP and mom hash it out about losing a sponsor. They have to prove that Kaylie really has an eating disorder because they don’t listen to rumors. When her mom’s not looking, KP hides Kaylie’s notebook lower in her bag. You go KP, but will it last? When it is Kelly’s turn, she has no problem with her lines.

The NGO has finally gotten the real tape and we learn that Kim doesn’t want to rehash it. Plus, the Keelers can’t afford to go to Worlds. 😦 Which leads me to wonder what ever happened to Ellen Beals.

Lauren works on beam and she actually has a pretty nice tumbling pass. Sasha tells Lauren to stop flirting and look fierce instead. Payson thinks this is like giving her a lobotomy. This might be some of the hardest stuff we’ve ever seen on the show. So maybe she could win beam, minus her fall on the dismount. Sasha tells her to have a short memory–forget about her mistakes. He tells her to trust him and she says she does. (But though Sasha trusts her, perhaps he shouldn’t…) It is nice to see him actually working with her for once.

Kaylie’s commercial goes without problems because she speaks Spanish easily. When asked in her interview who should be team captain, Kaylie says Kelly because she has the most successful career (perhaps the problem is picking a team captain based on success and not on leadership ability).

Kaylie and her father talk with sponsors about a health bar called Grrrl. Because she would never starve herself and she cares about her health. They’ll have to get back to them. When the execs leave, she and her father discuss the secret of her anorexia. She hates lying, even if she is entitled to her privacy. He doesn’t want her to be treated unfairly. Anyway, she can say no if she wants. It is a great deal but it isn’t like she needs the money.

KP and her mom talk about Kaylie’s issues–there’s Ellen Beals! She’s thrilled to find another potential Rock scandal. She’s under investigation for ethics violations, but she does plan to go to the Cruz send off party.

Kaylie and Austin discuss the deal. He tells her to be true to herself. That’s what her recovery is all about. I guess she’s past Damon now. Payson and Max join them at Spruce Juice. Payson is upset that her parents can’t come to Worlds. If only her parents would have let her take sponsors before. Kaylie thinks Payson should be the athlete for Grrrl, she has a great story. Now to convince everyone involved.

Max continues taking pictures of Pay for a secret project they are working on. Lauren is jealous but tries to pretend otherwise. So she tries to tell Payson to buzz off but Payson isn’t taking it today.

Kaylie works on her vaults since that is her only thing at Worlds. KP asks if Kaylie meant it when she said she should be captain because the Rock girls would never let it happen. She does have experience and if she wasn’t such a jerk she wouldn’t have to handle the sport alone. She invites her to the sendoff party. Awww. Her friends will be nice to her if she’s nice to them.

Kaylie and Max make their pitch of Payson and Payson watches from the wings. They’ve never had a potential client pitch someone else instead but this seems to have gotten their attention. They’re offering her $25,000 now and $250,000 if she medals. Payson’s excited but her parents are opposed. She says if they don’t have enough money, she can’t keep pursuing a dream that continues to put them in debt. Emily had a scholarship, why can’t Payson? Her parents wonder if maybe they’re wrong to keep her from taking money–she is a professional athlete after all.

Sasha still blames himself for Payson being attracted to him. Summer and Sasha hash it out about the end of their relationship–different values and all. He says that women’s biggest mistake is thinking their love can change a man. She’s where God wants her to be. Or where she feels safe. Let’s just kiss a little. No?

KP’s mom tells her to think of Kaylie as the competition. Her mother even says KP’s parents’ divorce is the fault of KP’s gymnastics. She guilts her into giving up the journal. KP pretends to be happy about this but she’s clearly not thrilled. She tells her to bring the journal to the party to give to Ellen Beals. Momma did not do good.

They’re shocked to see KP at the party but Kaylie insists they play nice. She sends KP off with Lauren for a tour of the house, as though that is ever a good idea. She ditches her almost immediately when she spots Max arrive and pulls him upstairs (in order to have sex because clearly that worked so well the last time around, especially at a party where everyone’s parents are around). He’s not ready though and tells her so. Lauren thinks it is about Payson who she says will never be able to “give him what he needs.”

Summer and Steve discuss wedding plans. Maybe a marriage in Rio? It’s perfect! She agrees though when he leans in to kiss her she pulls away.

Kim and Mark discuss Payson’s sponsorship chance. He doesn’t want to mortgage her dreams. Alex doesn’t understand this thinking because the gamble was letting her turn elite. Don’t they know she can go all the way? if not, what was the sacrifice for?

Austin confesses his desire to kiss Kaylie while dancing with her. Austin, why would you say that! Kaylie thinks KP is like a cornered animal. But they have bigger worries anyway because Ellen Beals has arrived. Lauren worries that Beals will reveal what she did. She is not out though, which means she could be up to any number of things.

Sasha mopes around the party and doesn’t seem to care that Beals has arrived. He’s more interested in finding a drink/walking away from Summer.

Decision time…Payson lets Max know they said yes. Her parents are coming to Worlds and they can pay off their debt. She tells him “I-love-you-and-I-always-thought-she-couldn’t-have-a-boyfriend-because-it-would-mess-with-her-gymnastics-but-clearly-you’ve-only-made-things-better-so-kiss-me-now-oh-wait-you-have-a-boyfriend-this-is-awkward-run-away.

Ellen Beals lets Lauren know she is displeased (people think she edited the tape of Sasha herself to be named coach but all she wants to do is ensure that the US wins the Olympics. And for that, they need Lauren at the moment so she won’t be outing her right now. She will find some way to pay her back though.

KP has an internal debate–do I hand over the journal or not? She clearly feels horrible but also feels like she has not choice. She crosses the room toward Beals…actually no, she’s headed to Kaylie. She wants to talk privately. Kaylie hopes they are friends. KP thinks they are so she returns the journal. Kaylie does not take it well. So much for that trust. (Does anyone else feel totally bad for KP here when Kaylie says she’s a horrible human being and everyone knows it?)

Steve makes a speech. Marriage! Well, this is good news for Lauren anyway. Lauren also announces that Summer will adopt her after. Ellen seems the happiest of all about this news.

Austin finds Max drinking alone. He couldn’t say yes to the two girls that threw themselves at him. Instead, he kisses Austin. Oh. I did not see that coming. He says he’s not gay. Ah, bi. That is new for ABC Family (and TV in general). Austin doesn’t really believe him or understand. He wishes he was just gay because it would be easier. He’s worried about hurting Payson in particular. Austin suggests he tell her if he truly cares. (I’m totally with this idea but find the way they introduced it weird. If he’s in love with Payson, why is he kissing Austin? Being bi doesn’t mean you just kiss everyone.)

Ellen Beals stirs things up with Summer. She suggests Summer ask Steve who did it. She asks about the training video and she insists (specifically tears up) to know the truth. Lauren admits the truth because she wanted Summer to be her mom. Summer doesn’t want anything to do with either of them. (I sort of feel bad for Lauren here even though she totally deserves this.) Lauren is balling when in comes Max. She just wants to leave and he takes her away–she drives because he is drunk after all. Why so sad Lauren? Lauren is sure Summer will forgive her, she loves her, right? She already thinks of Summer as her mother. She runs a stoplight and they get into an accident. Summer runs to the hospital (well that’s a good sign for the relationship). They ask if Summer is her mother…

Lauren is just a little bruised. Max was not as lucky as Lauren with a concussion and broken collarbone. She hasn’t even called her dad yet. Sasha comes in to yell at her about being reckless right before they leave to Worlds. He tells her one more strike and she is out. (Way to check that she’s ok.) Summer tells Lauren that she will have to tell him before Worlds is over, sooner than later. “Why are you doing this to me?”

Pay and Kay insist on seeing her before going home. Austin arrives too. Max is sedated but asking for someone–Lauren probably so she runs in. Even KP comes in to see that Lauren is ok and tries to explain to Kaylie that she wants to be her friend.

Lauren goes in to see Max and he says he’ll never hurt her. but he thinks she’s Payson!

Payson isn’t packed for their flight. They leave in three hours. She is not doing well at the moment. Becca is disappointed that she can’t come (since we can’t see her). Kim is still worried about not having more money left over.

NGO head comes to check in on Kaylie, the team captain. A lot of people want to interview her. He doesn’t want to mention her disorder because she will perceived as weak and the whole team’s scores will go down because she is captain (not exactly how it works but sure).

We have arrived in Brazil and we see the competition walking in. The three way race is between China, Russia, and the US. Sasha tells them they will win and they should not talk to anyone. KP doesn’t listen so naturally she grabs the mic and Lauren jumps in. Then they ask Kaylie about her ACL and she’s hesitates a moment. NGO head tells her she can’t talk to the press for fear of her revealing the truth.

Kim and Marc enjoy the expensive hotel. They are not on a vacation. They are here to support Payson. Kim is worried. Stanford University comes to talk to the Keelers about a scholarship but it is too late. She says even if Payson isn’t up for the Olympics they’d have waned her. Whoops. (I don’t know how they could ever have thought Payson wouldn’t have gotten a scholarship. What planet are they living on? She’s on the world team!)

Austin seems to be back in his partying ways and Kaylie is less than pleased. He chases after her but she is not happy. He is doing this for his image to sell things. He says he’s not the only faker anyway. Hmm, got her thinking…

Nadia Commenicci joins in as a commentator but she does little to write about. Time to start with the qualifying rounds–44 teams over two days. The top 8 move on to finals.

Sasha encourages Lauren before she does beam. She doesn’t need sass, just flawlessness. She has a wobble on a fairly simple skill and lands off the mat on her dismount. Lauren gets snappy with Sasha.

Russia’s Ivanka is pretty much flawless on bars, as expected.

KP tries to be nice to Kaylie and give her a good luck wish but Kaylie is not having it. Well, it is vault time. (PS after an ACL injury, she would not be doing vault.) She messes up her first vault and it is KP who tries to cheer for her. But her second vault is not any better and she leaves out a twist. The US drops into fourth place.

Payson is still out of sorts as well. We rehash her injuries and hope for a full comeback (tell me they don’t not even qualify). Even Marc can tell something is wrong. She falls on her tumbling pass and the parents blame themselves. See boys do ruin everything! The US falls into sixth.

It all rests on KP (plus a need for a fall form the people above them). Sasha tells Kaylie to support KP because she is captain (specifically, he tells her to stop being a prom queen. awesome). Payson agrees. The encouragement from the team does a lot for her self esteem and we get the performance they needed, which only means they still have a chance. Sure enough, it moves them to fourth.

The team goes upstairs for a scolding from Sasha. Nothing until the girls can figure out what went wrong and they have to tell each other. (PS why is he blaming Kelly, she did nothing wrong.) They are not leaving until they make friends. The girls fight and things don’t look good. Payson steps up and apologizes first but it isn’t the nicest apology. “Sorry for being an airhead like the rest of you.” KP is the one who stops the fighting by saying she used to be jealous of how they always cheered for each other and even their fake cheers that day were nice. Now she doesn’t want that team anymore, seeing them tear each other down. (I think this is the best thing the show could ever have done–gotten rid of Emily and given KP a real backstory, which, by the way, is much more sympathetic than any of the other girls’. Who votes Kelly into a permanent place in the Rock!?) Payson cries about losing her scholarship eligibility. KP wishes her parents cared–she lost her eligibility at age nine. She also tells Lauren she wins and she can have Max but Lauren admits that he likes her. Payson encourages Lauren to listen to Sasha. Kaylie is the only one who doesn’t think she can do this, not lying about her story. She can’t come clean even though it would help so much. They say they will support her whatever she choose (Well, lauren thinks some secrets are best kept secret but yeah see how well that has turned out).

Kaylie calls a press conference, which the girls of the team join her to show support. She tells the truth and says her team is behind her and after going through this, she is a better gymnast. The NGO thinks the us has lost but Sasha is proud.

The girls share some lipstick which is meant to indicate that they are a team again. And it is clear to everyone that they are a different team now.

It is Lauren’s turn on beam so she admits to Sasha what she did. Everyone else has been honest so she should be too. She was afraid he would take Summer away from her. (She doesn’t tell Payson though and Payson deserves to know too.) Lauren asks for forgiveness but Sasha just walks away. She gets on beam in tears but Sasha comes back to say she should now show off “the whole package.” He gives her words of encouragement and says “short memory” this is their new start, he forgives her. He cares about her and he knows she is better than she shows herself to be. Yay! Summer looks pleased from up in the stands. That was all she needed to see. The queen of the beam is back. The US moves up to fourth.

Payson on vault lands and hurts her ankle on the landing. It isn’t broken but she needs a doctor. She insists on doing her second vault. On one leg. She can’t do floor so she has to do this. (Hopefully team vault counts medal payment.) Kaylie gives her some words of encouragement and I wonder more about the run than the landing. (Also, Keri Strug anyone?) Sure enough, Payson sticks the landing with the best vault of the meet, putting the US in second ahead of Russia.

Sasha puts KP on floor but KP suggests Kaylie do it instead. She says Kaylie is on fire while she isn’t. Sasha agrees. Interesting since she hasn’t practiced at all. (If we were being realistic, the US would not win this.) No matter, Kaylie does her routine just fine. Because in MIOBI world only Payson needs to work to get her skills back after time off. Even China is looking worried.

I love that they say “Team USA was poised for the comeback of the decade” as though they didn’t just kill it in the last few Olympics and Worlds.

The scores are being tabulated and…sure enough Team USA wins gold. With the comeback of a lifetime! (So does this mean Payson’s family now has another $250,000 and no longer have to worry about money?) Hugging all around as confetti flies (conveniently in USA colors as though they store some for each team).

Summer is proud of Lauren. Austin is proud of Kaylie and he admits to the cameras that he and Kaylie are dating. Max comes to tell Max he might be in love with her (she cuts him off before he can say anymore because she says she doesn’t care). The Rock trio stare at the board together (come on, bring KP over!) with Pay on a crutch. Hope that’s not a long term injury (though a sprain shouldn’t be if she takes a little time to let it heal).

Well, with the finale out of the way, what did you think? Should the US have won it or would it have been better if they lost to allow for another year of fighting back? Where can the show go from here?

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Make It Or Break It Pages

Episode summaries:
Season 1
Episode 1: Pilot
Episode 2: Where’s Marty
Episode 3: Blowing Off Steam
Episode 4: Sunday Bloody Sasha Sunday
Episode 5: Like Mother Like Daughter
Episode 6: Between A Rock and A Hard Place
Episode 7: Run Emily Run
Episode 8: All’s Fair in Love, War, and Gymnastics
Episode 9: Where’s Kaylie
Episode 10: All That Glitters
Episode 11: The Eleventh Hour
Episode 12: Follow the Leader
Episode 13: California Girls
Episode 14: Are We Having Fun Yet?
Episode 15: Loves Me, Loves Me Not
Episode 16: Save the Last Dance
Episode 17: Hope and Faith
Episode 18: The Great Wall
Episode 19: The Only Thing To Fear
Episode 20: Are We Family?

Season 2
Episode 1: Friends Close, Enemies Closer
Episode 2: All or Nothing
Episode 3: Battle of the Flexes
Episode 4: And the Rocky Goes To…
Episode 5: I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me
Episode 6: Party Gone Out of Bounds
Episode 7: What Are You Made Of?
Episode 8: Rock Bottom
Episode 9: If Only…
Episode 10: At the Edge of the Worlds
Episode 11: The New Normal
Episode 12: Free People
Episode 13: The Buddy System
Episode 14: Life or Death
Episode 15: Hungary Heart
Episode 16: Requiem for a Dream
Episode 17: To Thine Own Self Be True
Episode 18: Dog Eat Dog
Episode 19-20: What Lies Beneath/Worlds Apart

And misc. show things:
What Might Happen Season One
General Thoughts
Stunt Doubles
The Cast
The Unanswered Question of Season 1
Chalked Up by National Champion Jennifer Sey Book Review
Feel No Fear by Bela Karolyi Book Review

Make It Or Break It: Dog Eat Dog

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.)

Make It Or Break It: To Thine own Self Be True

Kaylie is finally returning to the Rock for a National Team practice. She feels like Emily’s departure is her fault because she told Emily she kissed Damon. Her therapist said she acted with integrity and she isn’t responsible for Emily’s choices. Seeing Emily leave made her realize how much she wants it. She’s anxious considering all the training she’s missed–did she grow and gain weight in her absence? She’s feeling better with Sasha as her coach.

Payson is thrilled the rock back in its proper swing. The more Payson talks, the more Lauren stares at Matt and finally runs off to talk to him. Austin approaches and Payson says she is sure Kaylie is ready and she doesn’t need anyone to mess with her confidence.

Kaylie arrives, taking a moment to stare at her National Champion banner before going inside. She gets hugged by her Rock-mates. Payson says they can’t dwell on Emily, they have to move forward. Lauren hands Payson and Kaylie invitations to Summer’s shower. The theme is “Pretty in Pink.”

Summer and Sasha are awkward around each other, mostly because Summer is babbly and nervous. She does not, however, tell him that she is engaged.

Kelly shows up at the Rock with a young “disciple” named Tessa. (Apparently the rumor has been that Kaylie was out with an ACL injury.) Kelly Parker is all rude and cocky but Lauren takes her down a peg by saying that Sasha is not a fan of hers. He does not, however, hesitate to say Kelly has made the team. He also says Kaylie will not be competing at Worlds but he has not decided who will replace her. (Nice going Sasha, you couldn’t even talk to her about that before announcing it to the world?)

Kaylie goes to talk to him. Sasha tells her to focus on the Olympics, regardless of Worlds. If she performs poorly at Worlds that will be worse for her future than not going at all. Payson and Lauren share her outrage but Kaylie says she is going to trust Sasha. She knows that she can’t always be objective about herself.

Kelly tells Sasha they may not love each other but they shouldn’t let that get in their way. She also presumes to be team captain but he says he will be letting the girls vote. She recommends her disciple for the final spot and he says he’ll consider it.

Matt talks to Austin about not understanding Payson. Austin says if he wants Payson, he is going to have to actively persue her since all she sees is him with Lauren.

Sasha announces that the next few days are an audition for who will replace Kaylie. He will choose two girls. One for the spot and one as the alternatives. Sasha says Emily left because she could not do things with the proper discipline. They have to do things his way. He has a list of compulsories that they must manage. Kaylie wants to know what to do and he tells her to build back her strength, No skills until he is sure she is ready.

Kelly says her endurance and flexibility are perfect thanks to help from Carter. She performs a few tumbling passes to prove it.

Kaylie runs outside and Austin tries to give her a pep talk about being patient. she says she doesn’t have time to be. she will be doing things Sasha’s way anyway.

Lauren is all gung-ho about the wedding plans. Summer says they want to take their time. Lauren notices that Summer isn’t wearing the ring and worries that this is a problem. Summer says she wants to tell people in her own time. And Summer really doesn’t want a shower because it is not her thing. So Lauren goes ahead and invites Kim anyway. She moves he shower up ahead of schedule.

Kaylie finds Damon strumming away in the studio. She wants to know why he isn’t with Emily. She hasn’t spoken to him and she ran out without talking to him. She explains that she told Emily about their kiss and that it didn’t mean anything. He catches only the important part: “it didn’t mean anything?”

Payson is running and Matt joins her. She says she knows he is dating Lauren–he’s all over her in the gym and she saw the pictures he took so just leave her out of his game.

Lauren down a vault that Sasha is impressed. He thinks she could win a medal so he has a new vault idea for her. But the smile is gone when he spots Kaylie doing a basic cartwheel on the beam. He yells at her to get down because he didn’t say she could do skills yet. Kaylie says it will never happen again. Payson approaches him afterwards asking if perhaps he is being overly cautious but he says the girls have proven they don’t know their limits so it is his job to set them. (Overcompensating Sasha? That will hurt your girls just as much.)

Kim talks to Summer, expecting news but Summer doesn’t say anything. So Kim says she knows because of Lauren. Summer just wasn’t ready for the big announcement and fuss. She tells her about Lauren’s plans. Is she excited about marrying Steve? If so, why wait to tell people? She’s waiting for the right moment, which doesn’t exist.

Damon knocks on the Kmetko door to talk to Chloe. (PS, Damon is 19 while Emily is 17, making it statutory rape…just FYI.) He says that Emily is a difficult person to love because it is always about her. Emily plans to have the baby with or without him so he has to make his choice. Neither are ready to be parents, but here we are.

Kelly’s protege works the bars and slips, leading Kelly to be disgusted. Kaylie tells her she’s releasing early and with a little work can get it right. SHe tries again with Kaylie helping and gets it right. Payson watches and says Kaylie is not just letting someone else fill her spot but even helping her. Payson says if she tries and isn’t ready fine, but don’t just let it slip away. How can she know her limits if she doesn’t test herself. But before they can talk more, Damon shows up at the gym and she runs over to talk to him.

Kelly takes the opportunity to get in Austin’s head about the Kaylie-Damon relationship. Damon says he is going to be there for Emily and Kaylie says he had better fight for his dreams. He makes a deal, he’ll fight if she will. They hug and Austin punches him in the gut. Kaylie says she doesn’t need him to save her. How can she know what she is capable of if no one gives her a chance. She deserves a chance. She comes in and tells Payson she is ready to fight.

Lauren and Payson talk her through the compulsories. How do they go about preparing? Lauren has made a copy of the gym keys so they say can go practice when he’s gone. They only have two days to practice. So let’s start now. (Because two days is ever enough time to get ready.) They spot a picture of Payson titled “The Real Deal” that Max took and had put up. Cute.

in the gym they begin working on the skills and workouts. Kaylie falls off the beam and lands on her back a number of times but she slowly gets better. I suppose if we ignore the danger element of doing gymnastics without spotters in the dark, then this is good practice. And more than anyone else will get.

Max asks if Payson stopped at the Spruce Juice but Payson awkwardly says no. Of course, Lauren tells him otherwise.

Payson and Kaylie talk about joint soreness (Payson mentions her knee hurting and I hope this is not foreshadowing) when Austin comes over to apologize. His sister isn’t as strong as Kaylie and he will be supportive. Payson asks him to work as a spotter that night. Of course, evil Tessa overhears and rather than thank Kaylie for her help, she tells Kelly who tells Sasha.

That night Kaylie does the moves flawlessly. Max asks why Payson lied about the picture but she’s too busy to focus on that. Naturally, Sasha comes in and is furious. Kaylie says he has to give her a chance to show him her skills and to earn her spot. If he thinks she’s not ready, fine, but at least let her try. He tells her the decision is no longer in her grasp. Austin and Max step in and insist Sasha give her a chance. He agrees to see one apparatus. Payson and Lauren tell her to trust herself and own it. She performs the bars, with Payson and Lauren watching anxiously. She has a moment of hesitation but she remembers her therapist’s advice to trust herself and finishes strong. Sasha admits it was her sharpest performance on bars that he’s ever seen. She offers to show him her other skills but he says no. The problem is he wasn’t sure if she was emotionally ready for Worlds, not just physically. He doesn’t want to pressure her. So his decision is final because this stunt shows she is clearly not ready.

Payson and her mother talk about the situation with Kaylie. Payson says she needs her friends’ support and she feels like she’s slowly losing her entire team. Kim ensures her that she will find her way. But meanwhile, she say the picture of Payson. Payson said she felt stupid, embarrassed, or kind of good. Kim can’t stop beaming. It’s nice to see her act like a normal teenage girl. She’s not a normal teen though and after what happened with Emily…Kim says she can admire a boy without her world falling apart. She isn’t Emily.

Lauren is looking at wedding dresses when Summer comes in to talk. Lauren has been thinking that she’d like Summer to legally adopt her. Summer says she’s “moved” by it. But they should discuss it with her father. Lauren is thrilled that she is going to have a mother.

Sasha talks to Kaylie’s therapist who says no one wins a medal without being pushed. He thinks she is ready to compete at worlds. The therapist says teenagers keep secrets. It is his call but he should consider if he is protecting Kaylie or if he’s punishing her for his inability to protect her and do the impossible. She can still strive for greatness, even if she will always be in recovery. Sasha stills gets touchy.

Kaylie tells the girls about Sasha’s session. Kelly comes to be rude and we learn that she wants Tessa on the team so she can be voted captain. Sasha interrupts to call the girls together. He’s made his decision. (I do feel the need to interject here that I am pretty sure Tessa would not be old enough to compete at Worlds yet. I am 95% sure you have to be 16 to be a Senior Elite.) Tessa Grande and Annie something and Kaylie Cruz. KP is not happy but the Rock girls are.

Payson apologizes to Max about lying. She was embarrassed. It’s a beautiful picture, she just doesn’t know what he wants. He says he’s interested in her, not Lauren. she can’t risk screwing up her gymnastics because she got all wrapped up in someone else. He offers to be a supportive friend instead. Payson’s happy with that though Max seems sad. And as he heads to his car, Lauren kisses him and he doesn’t stop her. (Jerk!)

Sasha is working out, sans shirt, when Summer comes to say she’s leaving for the night. She has something to tell him. So just out with it, she’s engaged to Steve. No one to blame but yourself Sash. Summer gets home and forces a smile then remembers to put on her engagement ring. Good thing too, since it is time for the shower, which she pretends to be surprised for. She seems less the excitable bride than she should be.

Let’s be honest. I was not sorry in the least for Emily’s absence. I’m only sorry to know that she returns at some point. (Probably next week.)

Make It or Break It: Requiem for a Dream

The Rock’s resident Whiny McWhinerson is about six weeks along in her pregnancy. (Beware, Em, there’s no one you can blame this pregnancy on but yourself. Try pinning that one on your mom.) Her mother is with her. Emily asks how this happened and the doctor says “did you use protection? then that’s how it happened.” (BURN!) To be fair, she’s only gotten her period once in her life (I’m a little surprised she’s gotten it at all at this point since she hasn’t taken time off like Payson or Kayley). (Anyone recognize the doctor?! It’s Andrea from 90210!) Public Broadcast: It’s never safe to have unprotected sex. Time to look at her options: keeping the baby, adoption, and abortion. Meanwhile she has to increase her diet, decrease her caffeine, and not do high impact exercise. Well that’s going to work well with her career.

Sasha motorcycles his way into the parking lot (no more trailer then?) and Random Parent says he’s glad Sasha has returned so the gym can get back to normal. Inside he finds Lauren, Emily, and Payson being interviewed about heading to Worlds. He doesn’t want Emily to be interviewed because of some…issues. She has yet to be cleared, especially with her poor performance in Hungary.

Kayley comes to flirt with Damon. Well, talk but he has some news. His labeled loved the song they wrote together and want them to record it. Together. And all this time Kayley thought she had no musical talent. He thinks they should do it because they’ve got something hot going. Musically, of course…

In the interview, the interviewer points out the inconsistencies of Emily’s career which only impact her when she wants to whine but ultimately never when she wants to compete. How can she say she should go over say, Kelly Parker? Payson steps in to say Kelly did not earn the spot while Emily did. The pressure will be on Emily to prove she deserves her spot. Sasha wants a word with Emily to find out if she has made a decision about her situation. Emily plays dumb of course and says she has time to figure things out. Sasha knows otherwise and says she has to make a decision. Emily says she will make the decision when she finds out if she will go to Worlds. By any chance is she about to do something that will cause her to miscarriage (then the show doesn’t have to deal with abortion, after all, how can they have Emily sidelined for an entire pregnancy?).

Damon and Kayley continue singing together. She’s finally realizing that she can be passionate about something other than gymnastics. Her self-worth is no longer wrapped in gymnastics. Besides perfect is boring musically and she is clearly an artist since she’s helping him finish his album. She asks if he is sure their relationship is over. He says the only thing they had in common might have been pain. It should not have been so hard. In love you should just click.

Lauren joins Steve as he watches Summer talking with Sasha. Lauren says she doesn’t trust Sasha and gives him some Beyonce wisdom “if you like it then you better put a ring on it.” a bigger and better ring and proposal than before. Lauren’s even picked out the ring already.

Chloe wants to talk but McWhinerson isn’t interested. Chloe understand being a pregnant teen to which Emily says “fantastic, after fighting it my entire life, I’ve become you.” Emily doesn’t want to think of it for fear of a fatal aneurism or head explosion. Is Emily opposed to abortion? She doesn’t know, is her mother? Chloe says Emily is the best thing in her life but she wants something better for Emily. She had Emily because she didn’t think she had a choice. Ending a pregnancy at this early stage is legal and common, but is it ok? We get some discussion on when a baby gets its soul. Does Emily think it is wrong? Bigger issue, she has not told Damon. Naturally, she cuts the conversation short so that she can mope for a little while longer.

Summer arrives home to some romantic hijinks–a corny line and a long string leading to yet more corniness until she finds Lauren and Steve proposing. Summer is overwhelmed. Lauren assumes the answer is yes. Summer says she needs to think about it.

At the Rock, Sasha and Chloe discuss Emily’s lack of dealing with issues. Sasha says she cannot possibly have the baby and continue being an elite gymnast because pregnancy changes your body. Emily’s problem has always been her “have your cake and eat it too” mentality. He points out the many ways she has failed/broken the rules: job, boyfriend, etc. Chloe wants him to give advice but he says he has no position and he doesn’t know if Emily has the drivel to go all the way and this decision will show a lot about her. She storms off unhappily.

Kayley raves to her non-doctorly therapist about how good successful her music career is (everything does kinda come easy to her, huh?). This conversation feels so artificial. She says she thought she would be deserted if she expressed her negative feelings. He tells her it may be time to get back in the gym and return to gymnastics if she desires. She’s healthy physically and mentally. She’s not as happy as one might expect by this news. (Will we have a repeat of Payson’s return?)

Lauren is doing a move that is not the one that should be on the floor. Sasha diagnoses it as a psychological quirk and suggests she come in early to work on it. Lauren’s response: “You want to work with me alone?” (Lauren, seriously?)

Summer is organizing her sharpee collection when Kim asks if it is weird for Summer to have Sasha back. A little. They discuss the proposal. Kim advises her to talk to Sasha about her values.

Payson works on her bars with Emily. Emily asks if she ever feels like her broken back was a “tiny blip” on her way to the Olympics? No. It was the biggest test of her life. (Nice try Em, equating pregnancy with a broken back.) She’s peaking at the best time for Worlds. Payson stays positive about Emily’s chances of going to Worlds but when asked to do bars she says she isn’t feeling well. She gets the news that she is going to Worlds at that moment and instead of jumping for joy she runs out of the room, leaving the NGO person with her jacket.

Payson follows Emily outside to find out what her deal is. Emily tells her she’s pregnant. Payson lectures her (Payson, now is not the time) and when Emily is all “thanks for the support” Payson refuses to be made into the bad guy. She’s not going to pretend things are going to be okay. Payson says she is being a good friend by supporting her gymnastics, everyone keeps giving her second chances because they believe in her. Emily says she isn’t as good as everyone thinks she is, she only made the team because of “more special chances.” (Are you seriously whining about the same thing Kayley is just getting over?) The pressure is too much for her. Payson says it is hard but you have to stay tough. Emily says maybe this is what she should do, maybe it is the easier path. Payson says being a teen mom can’t be an easy path. Ultimately, Payson gives her a comforting hug.

Kim tells Summer to have a private talk with Sasha. He says he is happy to see the things he missed. He wants to confide something with her that he doesn’t know how to deal with. He talks about Emily’s pregnancy. Summer tells him she needs to show Emily support and how they will be there for her when she has the baby. Sasha says he can’t tell her that because he doesn’t want her to have a baby. Uh oh, abortion talk with a religious woman is not the best discussion. He wants Emily to make something of herself and to get her family out of her awful home. Summer can’t respect Sasha’s decision so naturally she runs to Steve and says yes. (That is not how you make a marital decision!)

Kayley is recording and Damon is watching in that angsty boy way of his. Playback (this song is kinda juvenile, but whatev). He comes in and he hugs her and then…they kiss. Duh! Kayley says this is wrong but he doesn’t think it is. Emily is still her friend and she doesn’t want to hurt her.

Something smells bad to Emily’s sensitive pregnant nose. Chloe says she is there for her no matter what and she should take however much time she needs. Someone knocks on the door and it is the head of the NGO. Chloe told him what happened and Emily is furious. This isn’t the first time this has happened. They took care of it and she went on to Worlds that year. You can have the procedure on a Fri and be back training on Mon. To which Emily naturally complains that they are taking control of everything in her life, even this! (Really Em, that’s what you are taking from this?) She tells him he can’t, she will decide what to do. He says he’s come to help, he’s close to her and her mother. She thinks something is going on between her mother and him. NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME, BOO HOO. Damon will understand and be there for her. Chloe says most teen fathers leave within the year but Emily thinks Damon will take care of her.

Lauren and Sasha practice. She’s bored but she has to relearn the move and feel safe. She tries the pass again and does it without a problem. But then she starts crying and he asks why. She’s surprised he cared about helping her. He says she’s a strong gymnast capable of winning it all. She says she thought he always thought he considered her less than the others. He says he felt shut out from her and that they are a team. They hug and make up. (Or she’s scheming. You know.)

Damon is surprised by Emily’s arrival. He’s tired of this push and pull. She wants to know if he really meant to be with her until after the Olympics. He did. She says they can just be together now. She’s going to have a baby! What about her dream? She says her dream is killing her and this is what she wants. They don’t have to wait for a happy ending, they can have it now.

Lauren sends a video of Sasha to the NGO with a note asking them to watch the whole thing. Presumably this is THE video.

Kayley’s mom wants to hang and talk. Kayley’s got something on her mind…She’s taken the biggest step already towards recovery (admitting it is the hardest because she had to do it alone but now she has support). Her mother says she can do whatever she wants.

Kayley goes to Emily to talk about Damon. She sees Emily packing and wonders what for but Emily just wants to know what she wants. Kayley has to tell the truth. She and Damon kissed, it was one time, they got caught up and it didn’t mean anything. Even though they were broken up, she would never betray her. She wanted to come clean. Emily goes creepy silent. Kayley apologizes and then leaves still without any answer from Em. Who seals her luggage to…signal that she’s still going anyway.

Payson is perusing a 16 & Pregnant magazine and wondering why our culture is obsessed with teen moms. They’re on magazine covers! Kim is sad for Emily but Kim says maybe she’s being tough on Emily. But think how Emily must feels. Emily deserted her. They put up with so much crap together because of their dream. She’s tired of leading a team that doesn’t care as much as she does. Kim says she doesn’t sound like a leader (which is fine since she isn’t with the team at the moment and your mom is the person you should be able to vent to and say un-captain-like things to).

Payson rallies the other girls and they go to Emily’s but find that she’s on a bus to Vegas to see her godmother. She’s decided to have the baby. Chloe tells the girls to keep fighting. What can they do? They link hands and decide to stay together. What should they do? Payson has an idea. (Seriously, if they head to Vegas I am going to wonder about their schedule).

Emily is on the bus, driving by her successes at the Rock. well, the montage of her memories is being played in the window. same difference right? She’s all teary eyed girl (she and Amy can be friends!)

The girls went to Gymnastics camp. Payson admits to being angry at Emily. No one understands what they go through. What their team means. Lauren says she knew Emily would never make it but she understands why Emily is keeping the baby. She has a child who lover her and a guy who adores her. The worst part, Payson says, is she was good and could have gone all the way. She’ll always be a part of them. They find the carving they made into a tree about going to 2012 together. They don’t want to go back. Not home, Kayley means hiding from gymnastics. She isn’t ready to give up on it, on everything she worked for. They’ve missed her and need her.

The adults are watching form a distance and think it is like a funeral.

So what do they do now? What they always do. Move forward, Payson says, to the Olympic podium.

In come the parents to bond with food and sleeping bags. (Even Payson’s dad is around.) And there is news. The new coach going to Worlds is…Sasha! (Does anyone think there’s any real chance that the NGO would have done that?)

Make It or Break It: Hungary Heart

This is a long one people so be ready…

Time to stop sucking.

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.

Hand me something to ensure I can act self-destructive please.

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?

Mopey McMoperson, why don't you stop whining?

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.

Why does it seem like we have suddenly come to the Wild West?

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.

Why do you think you can convince me of anything?

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 is a real sucker for needy-messed up girls.

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.

Ivanka, the secret weapon.

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.

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.