So last week was a dramafest of such catty awesomeness, it could almost be a Bravo reality show. In contrast, this week’s ep was a bunch of heartwarming crap. It also displayed several classic MIOBI elements which had thus far been absent from this season
and weren’t missed. But alas and alack, I suppose there is something comforting about time-honored absurdity.
So let’s jump right in, shall we?
Last week, we established Wendy as the new villain. Now, the writers must remind us of this constantly with the Evil Glare of DOOM (and occasionally the Evil Smirk of DOOM). Did they go to the same school as the Merlin writers? Considering that both series assume the audience has the intellect and attention span of a five-year-old, I guess it makes sense. So the Wendy Evil Glare of DOOM supposed to look ruthless and calculating, but actually looks kind of constipated instead. Or stoned. Maybe both.
Wendy’s gunning for Kaylie now, since she’s at the top of the list, and Wendy’s down in third. Meanwhile, Payson thinks she and Kaylie should apologize to Jordan for accusing her of being the mole. Kaylie is reluctant, but goes along with it. Jordan is about as gracious about it as you can imagine. Which is not at all.
Lauren is still the hospital, looking more Snooki-like than ever in a bright floral kimono and fur boots that probably put another small furry animal on the endangered species list. The doctor informs her, Steve, and Coach M that Lauren’s condition can only be corrected with open-heart surgery. It should be obvious that she couldn’t recover in time for the Olympics, but since the writers assume the audience are all idiots this needs to be emphasized. Cassie Scherbo has her big Acting Moment as she declares, “If my dream is dead, I don’t care about getting well!”
Back at the dorm, BUNNY! The bunny is back, you guys! Jordan is feeding it while Wendy goes off at her in a steady stream of perky shit-talking. Jordan gets as bored of Wendy’s bullshit as we are and takes the so-far nameless bunny out for some air. I don’t like this bunny not having a name. It needs one. I’ma call it Juan Pablo. We’re treated to yet Wendy Glare of DOOM and I think we need to add these to the drinking game. Glare count: 4.
To stir things up even more, Wendy gets the bright idea to set off the sprinklers in the room using a candle. Why they have a candle and a cig lighter in there, I don’t know. Maybe Wendy’s a secret chain smoker who likes scented candles? So the room gets ruined, Wendy suggests to Coach M that she and Jordan move in with Payson and Kaylie, and Coach M, being the shit-stirrer he is, just goes with it.
Back in Payson and Lauren’s room, Steve is getting Lauren’s stuff while Payson looks on sadly. Payson, poster girl of miracle cures, refuses to accept that there is nothing they can do. There’s only room for one miracle cure on this show, bitches! OK not really. Steve mentions a fancy new procedure by some hot-shot cardiac specialist named Dr. Walker, but alas, Lauren is not a candidate. According to Dr. Walker, a professional athlete has differences in their heart from non-athletes, which makes the procedure riskier. Payson, however, will not accept this. So guys, can anyone guess how this is going to play out? Oooh! Teacher, pick me! Pick me!
Since this show has sorely been missing Summer’s Christian propaganda, have no fear—she graces this episode with her presence when Steve brings her to visit Lauren! Praise the Lord! Meanwhile Payson enlists Kaylie’s help in convincing Dr. Walker to consider treating Lauren. The girls do some internet stalking on “Search Berserk” (they’re really hard up for fake Googles, aren’t they?) and discover that Dr. Walker’s at a retreat in Santa Fe. Wow, this guy really guards his privacy. The retreat center is roughly 3.5 hours away, and you know what that means. Road trip!
Coach M talks to Jordan about her stank ass attitude, citing such platitudes as, “A lone wolf never wins gold.” Do you feel inspired? I know I do. Coach M thinks Jordan and Kaylie living together will force them to work it out. Ha. Coach M, you are a riot.
The next scene opens with a slow pan over Austin’s shirtless body as he sits on his bed. I’m not quite sure if they were driving at fan service or what, but what I did get out of it was that Austin’s body is far too soft to be believable as an Olympic gymnast. I think I’ve seen more muscle on Korean pop idols (and more successful fan service, for the record). Needs more baby oil and guyliner, for starters. Kaylie is rubbing some substance that looks like Vick’s VapoRub on Austin’s shoulder, which he apparently pulled in practice today. So why is Kaylie treating his shoulder and not the trainers? I guess the trainers aren’t as hot as Kaylie and their treatment couldn’t double as foreplay. Still, isn’t it like, their job? And shouldn’t Austin be more concerned with increasing his chances to make the Olympic team over increasing his chances to get laid? Oh wait, this is MIOBI we’re talking about. Never mind.
So Austin wants to adjust his floor routine to put less strain on his shoulder. That way, he can bust out is “Tucker flash” big trick on the rings. Kaylie offers to help him with his routine, away from his coach and teammates. And this is a good idea why? He says he doesn’t want to look “weak” in front of them, which has to be the most dumbass thing I’ve ever heard. The point is to make the team here, right? Wouldn’t his coach be the best person to advise him? As an athlete, shouldn’t Kaylie know that, too?
Speaking of getting laid, Payson sneaks out with Rico Suave and has Kaylie cover for her. This girl’s characterization is really spot-on lately. In the first couple seasons, she was the Payson-bot who was so focused on gymnastics the writers forgot to give her a personality. She constantly lectured the other girls for their boy-craziness and dumbassery (although she always went along with it). This season, she breaks curfew to see her boo thang right before the eliminations, then skips out on training for some cockamamie mission with said boo thang in search of a miracle cure for Lauren. She does all this after miraculously recovering from an injury that should’ve ended her career. Are we sure her injury was to her back and not her brain?
So Jordan and Kaylie move in together and Jordan tells Kaylie what Coach M told her. So in the interests of getting it alllllllll out in the open they get into a shouting match over whatever love spat they had all those years ago. And just like that it’s over and Jordan assures Kaylie she can trust her. Teenage girl interaction, this show has got it down! Kaylie confides in Jordan about Payson’s scheme, and Jordan agrees to help cover for her.
Back at the hospital, Summer is still pushing her Christian agenda. LAUREN WILL BE HEALED THROUGH THE POWER OF PRAYER!
Kaylie and Austin meet up that evening in the women’s gym. At this point curfew is getting broken more often than my suspension of disbelief. Austin works out a new tumbling pass that has the same degree of difficulty, but is less visually impressive and less strenuous on his shoulder. Kaylie has him demonstrate with no supervision. Remember kids, safety first! Afterwards, Kaylie gives Austin a token of her affections—a framed page in her journal, which chronicles the time she said that she loved him. Awwwwww. They make out.
Meanwhile in some scenic meadow somewhere, Payson and Rico Suave are setting up camp. No, literally, like in a tent. They talk about sharing a sleeping bag since it’s cold outside, and wooo awkward sex talk time! Payson says that she is saving herself, not for marriage or for Luke Perry, but till after she wins the gold. Well, that’s a new one. Although it actually does make a certain amount of sense, since getting knocked up would kind of ruin her chances at the Olympics. But hey, she could always earn fame and fortune from being featured on 16 and Pregnant. Rico Suave gives this beautifully cheesy speech about how sex should be “safe and loving” while looking/sounding even more stoned than usual. He also makes a hilarious Freudian slip, asking Payson if she was waiting “till we get married.” That’s when I figured out Rico Suave. He’s basically a chick with a dick. He talks, thinks, and acts like a stereotypical girl. No wonder Payson is so into him.
The next morning, Payson and Rico Suave spoon and talk strategy. Payson wants Dr. Walker to “have faith in himself.” Yeah, because complex medical procedures are totally about faith and not, you know, making sure you know what the fuck you’re doing because one wrong move could kill someone. Back at the dorm, Jordan hides under the covers of Payson’s bed and grunts at appropriate intervals while Wendy prattles at her. She’s still shit-talking, this time calling Jordan Coach M’s “charity case.” Meanwhile, Steve and Summer talk about Lauren over coffee, and Summer offers him encouragement.
At practice, Kaylie is taking a break when Austin stops by to jubilantly inform her that he nailed his elimination routine. He also got a call from a Puma rep, who wanted him and Kaylie for a “golden couple” campaign. Austin turned it down, figuring he’d be swimming in endorsements after the Olympics. You guys know where this is going, right? A pizza roll for the first person who guesses correctly!
OK not really, I don’t think I have enough pizza rolls left.
Meanwhile, Jake visits Lauren in the hospital. He brings Otis, so she can rub his head for good luck. Awww. I’m sure Jake wants her to rub something. Over at the retreat center, Payson and Rico Suave pull up on his crotch rocket. Payson thinks the gate guy is just going to let her in because she asked nicely. Nice to see she’s as in touch with reality as ever. When that doesn’t work, have no fear! The stunt double is here! Payson Nikitas her way over the stone wall and somehow, no one notices her skulking around the place despite the fact that there are hippies and livestock wandering around everywhere, and she’s not exactly being stealth.
Steve and Lauren have a heart-to-heart, and I guess this is where the show attempts to tie Lauren’s daddy issues up in a neat little bow. Seeing as this is the show’s final season, I guess it makes sense. It would’ve been nice if they didn’t recycle a previous plotline to do so, but again, this is MIOBI we’re talking about.
Over at the retreat center, Payson has spotted Dr. Walker, and follows him into a weird little wooden shack. I think I see a teepee outside. And totem poles. Payson barges in to find Dr. Walker and some long-haired hippie dude doing some kind of weird smoke trance thing. Wow, they must taking cultural sensitivity lessons from K-pop. Dr. Walker keeps ignoring Payson and she keeps on talking, even after he finally breaks his silence and explains the risks of the procedure. Payson blurts out her “have faith in yourself” spiel before security finally drags her out. Took them long enough. Nice to see what a tight ship Hippiepalooza runs.
Cut to the hospital, where Lauren goes to the window and prays at the light. Summer comes to join her, and HOLY LIGHT SHINES THROUGH THE CLOUDS. You think I’m kidding? I could not make this shit up. THE POWER OF PRAYER PREVAILS!
Payson returns not-so-triumphant to the training center. Rico Suave offers his usual stonetastic presence and I wonder if he nicked any smack from the retreat center. They must have the good shit there. Kaylie pumps Payson for dirt on her sleepover, to which she replies, “I fell in love.” I think I’m having a harder time keeping my dinner down than I would during an episode of Bones.
Speaking of couples, time to check up on Kaylie and Austin when she goes to meet him after his elimination results are out. Although the weather at the training center has been consistently perfect whenever the show needs outdoor scenes and establishing shots, it’s raining for maximum dramatic effect now. In a shocking turn of events, Austin was eliminated from the team! No way! He vents his impotent rage out on Kaylie, blaming her for everything. Yeah, it’s all her fault you’re too goddamn stupid to get treated by trainers and get advice from your coach instead of relying on your girlfriend. Cry me a river of glycerine tears, Austin.
Back at the dorm, Jordan is feeding Juan Pablo again when Wendy shows up to crow about the Kaylie/Austin split. Jordan finally snaps and tells Wendy to shut the fuck up. You go, Jordan. This episode has done a lot to make her more likeable, although I laregly credit Juan Pablo for that.
Payson visits Lauren in the hospital. Lauren, who’s all centered and full of acceptance now that the light of the Lord has shown upon her, magnanimously forgives Payson. Joining in this heartwarming scene are Steve, Summer, and Dr. Walker, who, in another shocking turn of events, has agreed to consider Lauren for the procedure. Inspiring pop music swells in the background. It’s a happy ending for everyone!
Well, except Kaylie. She arrives at Austin’s room with a peace offering, which looks to me like a cupcake. Because gymnasts training for the Olympics totally eat cupcakes. Everything’s been cleaned out, except for a shoebox containing all his mementos of her. Buried in the box is the framed journal page she gave him earlier. Damn, Austin, that’s cold. I feel really sorry for Kaylie. She always ends up with the douchebags. Kaylie, don’t cry. Your true love, KP, is still out there!
We end with Payson and Rico Suave in the tent (the trending topic ABC Family is advertising on the screen is #paysonandrigo, but he’ll always be Rico Suave to me). We later find out it’s been set up somewhere in the dorm. One of their rooms maybe? Rico Suave asks if she’s sure and she tells him “Sshh… just listen to the universe.” Oh, I don’t think it’s the universe he’s listening to right now. She zips up the tent and, silhouetted, we see her take off her shirt. Pretty risqué, ABC Family. So much for waiting for her gold medal. Boys, remember: spout clichéd chick flick lines, and you will get ass! In a tent!
And that wraps up our episode. So far, I’d been enjoying this season more than past ones because it actually seemed to be about gymnastics and not overblown teen soap drama. I guess it was a matter of time until the show got back to form. Or maybe when KP left, she took the good with her. Bless you, KP. You’re in a better place now.
Until next time!