OK so you know how I said nothing would top the epicness of last week’s ep? Well… I’m still right thus far. But this episode was pretty damned awesome. Let’s get started, shall we?
Previously on Make It or Break It: The Rock meets Denver in an epic clash of the sparkly Titans: the Rock Invitational. When a recurring back injury flares up, Payson gets a cortisone shot and prevails over bitchalicious national champ Kelly Parker. Meanwhile, Lauren throws the meet to spite her father, who has proposed to Summer out of guilt. Emily tries to play hero again and fails utterly, but does supply us with one of the most hilarious faceplants in TV history. Kim Kelly, look out. Bitch is after your title. Sasha boots Emily’s ass out of Nationals for going against his instructions. Oh yeah, and Courtney Kupets guest-stars as Payson and Kelly’s stunt double. Also, she shows more acting chops than most of the cast during her brief cameo.
We open with our usual stunt-double montage at the Rock, against a backdrop of peppy pop-rock music. Emily arrives in the same black GK leo she’s been wearing for the past several practices and her Macy’s clearance rack cargo pants. *adds rule to drinking game for both* \~/ \~/ I really hope she washes that leo every night, or has a bunch of identical black GK leos, because otherwise I imagine it would get pretty rank. No wonder no one likes Emily. She and Lauren exchange barbs over their flubs at the Invitational, with Lauren haughtily informing Emily that she “slipped” while Emily “choked–big difference.” I fail to see said difference. Although we know Lauren threw the meet on purpose, no one else does. As far as everyone else is concerned Lauren a choker, too, just less funny. Emily walks away, and Kaylie preaches to Lauren about how training mates are supposed to support each other. Lies! Training mates are among the most bitter rivals in the the gymnastics world. Just ask any former Karolyi girl. Man, what I wouldn’t give to see these whiny brats train at Karolyi’s circa ’92ish. It’d be like a gym full of Kerri Strugs minus the talent. So who do you think Bela would kick out first?
“Yup, that leo is just as ugly from the back.”
Moving on, Kaylie proceeds to eagerly show off the necklace Carter gave her. Lauren snarks over how cheap-looking it is, and I admit I’m smirking, too. You know Carter totally bought that shit off the Home Shopping Network to get into girls’ pants. As usual, Kaylie bends over and takes Lauren’s passive-aggressive nastiness. I was waiting for Creepy Carter to slurm into view as he is wont to do in every episode, but it surprisingly doesn’t happen. My retinas and gag reflex are grateful.
Meanwhile, in Sasha’s office, Naomi from Lost resurrects herself as a smarmy sports agent. Seriously, she’s like a caricature of every sports agent stereotype in the book. Look out, Jerry Maguire. \~/ Out on the floor, Payson arrives with Goodwin, who’s also come back to life as Pa Keeler. Man, that island really is an evil place, sticking its dead on this show (or on the CW, where poor Boone is doing time as an angsty teen vampire). \~/ \~/ Payson worries that workaholic Pa can’t get time off work for Nationals, but he reassures her.
The most intriguing part of this cap is in the background, something I often say when Emily’s on the screen.
Sasha calls over the original three Gymnastic Plastics–Lauren, Payson, and Kaylie–to talk to the agent, who tells them to call her MJ. MJ wants to film tv segments on the gymnasts most likely to go to Nationals. Emily gazes on resentfully, completing her transformation from Black Hole Sue to Sympathetic Sue (WARNING: links go to TV Tropes. Click only if you have extreme self-control and/or five hours to spare). Sasha walks over and totally kicks Emily out of the gym based on her Invitational performance. I know Emily totally blew it but that was way harsh,
Tai Sasha. Emily continues to be whiny and entitled (get used it; she’s like this the whole episode) but I’m distracted by this really fug orange leo with what looks like gaudy yellow flowers on it in the background. Seriously, guys, that leo steals the whole scene. It should get its own credit. Emily flounces and the rest of the GPs gaze on in shock, except for Lauren, who’s gloating. And she didn’t even have to do anything sociopathic this time!
Credits roll. Fade in at Pizza Shack, where Emily takes out her frustrations on an innocent ball of pizza dough. She spills her tale of woe to Damon, who is his usual insouciant self. He suggests breaking and entering the Rock at night so Emily can perfect her bar routine and he can score. OK, he didn’t say that last bit, but you know he was totally thinking it. The remaining GPs swing by the Shack to say hi, and very unsubtly gush about how cute Damon is. After having no teenage boy ass to gaze at thus far but Carter, I can’t say I blame them. Just then Goodwin–I mean, Pa Keeler walks in with a delivery of dharma beer. Payson is shocked–shocked, I tell ya!
“I was run through by a stake and all I got was this lousy TV show!”
Cut to Casa Keeler, where the ‘rents argue while Becca and Payson listen in. Apparently, Pa Keeler has lost his job, but didn’t see fit to tell his family yet. They argue about moving to Boulder, and a resentful Becca blames Payson for their situation. I like that this episode seems to be touching on the effect following Payson’s career is having on the rest of the family, especially her sister. Going by the gymnast memoirs and such that I’ve read (most recently Jennifer Sey’s), siblings often seem to get a raw deal. They’re along for the ride, always being uprooted and overshadowed by their more successful sibling. Jennifer Kirk, former figure skater, writes an interesting blog about skater parents here and touches on the sibling issue in response to a comment, for anyone who cares.
Next we move on to Kaylie, clad in cutesey pink PJs. \~/ She’s frantically looking through her gym bag, having lost Creepy Carter’s Necklace of Luv. Lauren’s on the phone with her, playing dumb and trying to reassure her, but you know that crazy bitch is up to something. Sure enough, once Lauren hangs up, she busts out the necklace and fastens it around her neck while gazing longingly into the mirror. Wow, Carter’s making me want to hurl and he’s not even on my screen. Summer barges in, and we find out that Summer’s staying overnight while Steve’s out of town. Lauren, of course, is less than pleased. Summer notices Lauren’s necklace and comments on it, but Lauren’s evasive about where it came from. I’m detecting a Lauren episode pattern here–Lauren does something underhanded/desperate regarding Creepy Carter, Summer meddles, Lauren learns nothing and Kaylie remains blissfully ignorant. There’s a drinking game rule in this somewhere. \~/
EMILY: “I was totally a Luke/Leia shipper.”
DAMON: “No way! So was I!”
Meanwhile, Emily and Damon sneak into the Rock, and Emily looks particularly ridiculous with her Sneaky Tiptoeing. A++ acting thar, guys. Jeez, my sorority pledge class was more stealth than this lot when we decided to TP ATΩ and we’re talking a bunch of giggling freshman girls here. We find out that should the Dynamic Duo get busted, Emily would be the third person in her family to do hard time. We also find out that Damon’s Dad taught him to pick locks. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Star Wars here but come on… you can’t say the thought didn’t cross your mind. They do look sort of alike, pale and brunette…
Damon successfully picks the lock, and no alarm sounds when he opens the door. Nice to see what a secure facility the Rock is. Inside, Damon amuses himself by bouncing up and down on the spring floor, and talks Emily into joining him. Naturally, this leads to a Booth/Brennan-esque hey-let’s-fall-down-on-top-of-each-other-and-have-awkward-sexual-tension moment. \~/ \~/ Oh, and Emily’s practicing in near-darkness, because apparently neither of them think to switch on the lights when practicing a highly dangerous and precise sport. But hey, it’s not as romantic when the lights are blazing, OK? I should also mention that every time she does bars, Emily is shown using grips, after she bonded with Leo over not using grips. Come on writers, Twilight fans on fanfiction.net have more consistency.
Next day at practice, Sasha and MJ look down on the Big Three from Sasha’s office. Kaylie’s setting the bar for ugly pink mylar balloon leos again, \~/ while Lauren appears to have traded in her signature orange for puke-green and teal. *adds corollary to drinking game* \~/ Sasha tells MJ that Emily probably has more raw talent than all of them, but she’s been training on her own so long she can’t take direction. *cough*MarySue*cough*
“Don’t worry, Mom–I’ll scare Sasha into submission with my monster face!”
Speak of the devil, over at Casa Kmetko, Chloe tries to get Emily to stop sulking and get mother/daughter manis and pedis. Considering how poor this family is and how expensive Emily’s chosen sport is, doesn’t Chloe ever work? Supposedly she’s employed at a beauty shop but seems to spend an inordinate amount of time hanging out at the Rock or pep-talking her mopey daughter. Oh and \~/ for cleavagey negligee. Emily skulks out and doesn’t tell Chloe where she’s going, and I can’t get over how old this actress looks in street clothes. Would it really have been that hard to find an actress who, even if she isn’t believable as a gymnast, is at least believable as a teen? Chloe concocts a scheme to get Emily back into the rock, prompting this gem of a line from little bro Brian, “Not the red suit, Mom!”
Over at the Rock, Kaylie puts Payson and Lauren up to digging through the flower beds in search of the necklace. I guess practice is over, although given how much of their gym time these girls spend gossiping, trysting at the Chalk Bin of Ill Repute (new rule! \~/), and not actually practicing, you never know. The flowers are healthy and thriving, likely fertilized by the little lapdogs all the rich gym moms own. Payson hears from Kaylie that MJ just signed Kelly Parker, who’s going to get a shitload of cash just for showing up at Nationals. This piques her interest. Back in the gym, Chloe sashays into Sasha’s office decked out in the same red skank suit from the pilot. She works her best game on him but he doesn’t bite, and I feel a great deal of secondhand embarrassment. Even more than I usually do while watching this show.
“Oh wow, your eleven-year-old daughter did a report on me? Cool!”
Chloe leaves the office and agent lady enters. She and Sasha banter and we find out they used to be involved, and I’m not surprised. I don’t think there’s any cast member who hasn’t had weird sexual tension with another cast member at this point. Sasha suggests a quickie in his office (no, I’m not kidding) but MJ puts him off, saying she has an appointment to get to. In the parking lot, Payson approaches MJ, who snaps up that opportunity like a barracuda pouncing on an innocent, chunky little minnow. She even evokes the magic name of Kelly Parker to reel Payson in. It’s a deal!
“It’s OK, Kaylie… at least you’ve only been in one brain-breakingly dumb show in your life.”
Meanwhile, Summer’s shown up presumably to pick Lauren up, and finds Kaylie crying in her car. During the course of their conversation, Summer finds out the source of Kaylie’s tears and quickly puts two and two together. Summer really is the queen of coincidental but plot-moving appearances. \~/
Cut to Casa Keeler, where a family meeting is taking place. Pa Keeler finds out he can get his old job in Minnesota back. Dissension breaks out when Pa Keeler suggests commuting to Minnesota, but Payson attempts to referee by bringing up MJ’s offer. If she signs with MJ, she’ll make enough money from endorsements and sponsorship deals and such to help support the family. The ‘rents put the kibosh on that fast, expressing concern for Payson’s college finances should she lose her NCAA eligibility. Once again, Payson gets the realistic plotline. \~/ She’s like a beacon of sanity in the swirling abyss of absurdity.
What I want to know is why MJ doesn’t approach Emily. Sasha told her that Emily’s more naturally talented than the lot of them. All of Emily’s financial issues would be solved, and you know losing her NCAA eligibility wouldn’t matter. She’s a Mary Sue, so she’ll totally be a National Merit Scholar with her home schooling. I also wonder why Emily doesn’t just run to Denver? She name-checked Marty last week and he’s apparently the one who discovered her. I’m sure he’d welcome her with open arms. But that would be logical, and logic has no place on this show. Besides, the budget probably couldn’t be stretched to include more filming at the Denver set. Speaking of Marty, the more I learn about him, the more incompetent of a coach he seems. Think about it. Kaylie and Carter had been carrying on behind Marty’s back for how long, yet Sasha picks up on that within a few episodes. Next, Marty bankrolls an athlete who’s apparently so untrainable Sasha feels the need to break her like a wild bronco. And then Marty decides to screw a gym mom and is indiscreet enough about it that Steve Tanner could blackmail him. So how is this guy such an acclaimed coach again? I’m starting to think he’s the Steve Nunno to Payson’s Shannon Miller, but without the awesome pornstache.
“Dude! Ralph Macchio’s got nothing on me!”
In case you’ve been missing the Dynamic Duo, which I know you have, fear not–they’re in our next scene, at Emily’s nightly Rock practice session. Damon’s trying to do the crane on the beam while Emily’s on bars. He’d totally go for the four inches of wood. Emily asks Damon to help her out on bars by shouting out to her when her feet point at the light, to correct the timing of her release move. Said move is a piked Jaeger, BTW. It’s pronounced the same way as a certain something else:
Man, I could really use some Jäger right now. \~/ Damon follows instructions, Emily’s stunt double nails the move, and they totally hug and jump up and down and have more awkward sexual tension. BTW, I love how this show advocates safe gymnastics practices–throwing D-skills with no spot and with only a horny teenage boy for supervision.
“Sorry, but all the stunt work in the world won’t make you believable in this role.”
During practice at the Rock the next day, Emily flounces in sporting a burgundy velvet leo for a change. \~/ Guess she’s finally thrown her black one in the wash. She proceeds to nail her bar routine while Inspiring Music swells in the background, but even that and her snazzy new leo fail to impress Sasha. He stalks over and whispers in her ear to get out of his gym and quit embarrassing herself. I say the same thing regarding her acting, so I can identify. This whole bit is simultaneously hilarious and creepy at the same time. Once again, Emily acts whiny and entitled and once again, she angrily stalks out while everyone else looks on with the same look the kids in my second-grade class got whenever the teacher yelled at some unfortunate student.
Nobody puts Emily Sue in a corner!
And now we get to the most crackalicious scene of this whole episode, hands down. Cut a close-up of Emily’s angry!face (either that, or severe indigestion… it’s hard to tell with the acting) as she puts on her headphones and begins the Jog of Fury that I presume spawned this episode’s title. It’s almost as funny as her steely resolve!face in last week’s episode, pre-faceplant. I’m really tempted to make an Emilyfaces page like the famous Jackfaces page. \~/ Let’s add an Emilyface rule to the drinking game! \~/ The Jog of Fury leads her to a picturesque playground, where she begins her Playground Workout of Fury against a backdrop of angry pop-rock music. The only thing missing is a bunch of awed little kids and their parents looking on. And one of the single Dads instantly falls in love with Emily after her killer monkey bar routine and offers to be her sugar daddy and his kid daughter wants to be just like Emily when she grows up.
“See, Lauren, not only is stealing wrong, but that necklace totally doesn’t suit your coloring.”
Back at the Rock, Lauren’s in the puke-green leo from “Sunday, Bloody Sasha Sunday” (why do I remember this shit? What is wrong with me?) and not practicing, per usual. \~/ Summer comes charging in and totally lets Lauren know she’s onto her with the stolen Creepy Carter necklace. Again, we see Summer trying to take on the maternal role and again, we see Lauren looking contrite although you know she totally doesn’t get it and will pull the same shit next episode. \~/ for no other reason except I can.
Back at Casa Keeler, the ‘rents have a heart-to-heart over Pa Keeler’s decision to move back to Minnesota while the family remains at Boulder. Cut to the playground, where Emily sits on the swing and broods while thunder ominously rumbles in the background. Chloe shows up, saying she knew she’d find Emily here. Apparently, when Emily was little, Chloe left her at a playground across the street from the beauty shop where she worked. Can we get child protection services up here, or at least the BSC? Recycle Ma Kmetko’s usual pep talk, only this time Emily throws a tantrum and wants to know why she can’t just give up. OK, actually, she did that during the fashion show, too. This time, Chloe tries some reverse psychology, talking about moving to Vegas and working together at Chloe’s friend’s beauty salon. But what about Emily’s National Merit Scholarship? Emily runs off, leaving Chloe behind to angst alone.
“I’m not crying / It’s just been raining on my face”
Oooh, and now here comes the awesomely hilarious scene from last week’s preview. Emily stalks up to Sasha’s trailer in the pouring rain and melodramatically begs him to take her back. Man, I don’t even want to know what a crazy bitch she’ll be if she ever hooks up with Damon and he dumps her. She’ll give Lauren a run, that’s for sure. Sasha continues to lecture about how getting the skill wasn’t the point; Emily has to learn to listen to him. Um, how are you going to find out if she’ll listen to you if you keep kicking her out of the gym? Just sayin’. So Sasha calls an impromptu late-night practice session which is easily one of the creepiest scenes in the show thus far. It got me feeling all icky and considering how much Harry Potter fanfiction I’ve been exposed to, my ick threshold is pretty high.
“Why don’t you have a seat over there?”
In the gym, (Emily’s miraculously totally dry and back in her burgundy leo, which she clearly wasn’t wearing under her clothes in the playground scene), Sasha and Emily get into a tiff because she won’t trust him to catch her on a move. Sasha demands to know why Emily can’t just surrender to him, right here, right now… yeah, I’ll just let that one speak for itself. Emily throws yet another tearful tantrum about how he has no idea what her life is like and she’s the only person she can trust! \~/ See that single tear rolling down my cheek? I’m crying it for you, Emily. But Sasha just hugs her and assures her it’s going to be OK. And then we see her climb up on the beam and do a Mean Girls-esque trust exercise and it’s all very Daddy issue sexual innuendo. Heathus, I really need that Jäger now. \~/\~/\~/
Back at Casa Keeler, Pa Keeler’s getting ready to depart. Payson’s in her room sulking, wearing a night gown that would be more suited for a seven-year-old. She won’t even talk to her father, only to run out at the last minute for a tearful goodbye while an acoustic pop ballad swells in the background. I can’t even make fun of the bad acting in this scene, because after what we just witnessed, at least it’s not creepy bad acting.
“Man, my plotlines are about as good as my wardrobe.”
Next day at the Rock, Ma Keeler finally shows some signs of doing her job. (If she’s the manager, why has she been absent from the Rock all episode till this scene? Steve Tanner was ever-present while he was managing.) Ma Keeler calls MJ into the office and tells her in no uncertain terms to back off the underage gymnasts. I think this advice could go for Sasha as well. Over on the floor, Lauren (back in her signature orange \~/) gives Kaylie back the necklace, claiming to have found it under a mat. They hug and all is well again, closing yet another Lauren/Kaylie plotline that accomplishes pretty much nothing. Meanwhile, Emily makes her triumphant return, back in her newly-laundered black GK leo. \~/ MJ approaches Emily to film her segment, since Emily’s apparently going to Nationals now. Sasha sends her a pedo bear-approved smile from his vantage point on the catwalk in front of his office. Yay!
We wrap up at the Pizza Shack, where Emily shares the good news with Damon and they hug and have more awkward sexual tension. Man, I haven’t seen a cockblock this obvious since Edward and Bella. Did Stephenie Meyer contribute to this episode? Emily does act strikingly Bella-like.
Preview time! According to the trailer, next week’s drama seems to center around the Nationals send-off party. The Creepy Carter triangle is front and center again, oh goody. And yes, I was being sarcastic. The shit hits the proverbial fan, and punches are thrown! If one of said punches lands on Creepy Carter’s mug, it’d probably be an improvement. Anyone else get total O.C. flashbacks? I did. \~/ I miss you, Ryan Atwood. \~/ Although knowing him he’d probably fall in love with Emily, too, because whiny Sues seem to be his type. Does this mean Emily will die a dramatic tearjerky death whilst Imogen Heap plays??? I need to stop getting my hopes up.
Till next time! Oh, and don’t forget to vote in the polls!