“Less Talking, More Zen!” or Make It or Break It 3×07

Apologies, my lovelies, for running a bit late on this one. I fear the drama was so heavy in this episode that the recap took a little more time than I thought. So let’s get started, shall we?

So Lauren’s in the hospital, about to get her surgery. Steve is there, of course, and her lover Payson. Dr. Walker seems optimistic and mentions that most patients return to their normal lives within days. Shhh, you’ll jinx it!

Back at the training center, Kaylie and Jordan are strolling down the sidewalk gossiping. Gotta love this show, where the characters act like besties catfighting like cohosts on The View just a couple of episodes ago. Jordan offers to help Kaylie with her vault and I wonder why they even bother hiring coaches up in this joint. It seems like the athletes are constantly helping each other while coaches just show up to say inspiring things or do group work/partnering activities to maximize drama. Speaking of drama, Kaylie and Jordan run into an unexpected guest—their old coach from rhythmic camp. The writers drop a not-so-subtle reference to the Karolyi ranch when the coach, Ray, reminisces about a petting zoo at camp. Given the characters’ recent plotlines, I’d say the training center has a heavy petting zoo. Coach M just so happens swing by and infodump that Coach Ray is here as a guest. Jordan doesn’t seem nearly as happy to see Coach Ray as Kaylie is, but I’m kind of distracted by the huge neon sign screaming, “PLOT POINT! PLOT POINT!” I don’t know if it was just in my version or if everyone saw it, but it was really disconcerting.

Over at the hospital, Jake has been hanging out in Lauren’s room, dropping such smooth lines as: “If you’re a big game hunter… I surrender.” Kaylie and Payson show up and engage in a truly embarrassing attempt at girl talk. Payson glowingly tells her fellow Rockettes that she and Rico Suave “made love in a tent in his dorm room.” Hey writers, are you taking dialogue cues from Twilight fan fiction? Dr. Walker shows up (oh thank Heathus) and warns Lauren that she might not recover in time for trials. I might not recover from this dialogue.

Back at the gym, Wendy personally brings Coach M’s wife her urine sample for drug testing. She seems so proud that she peed in a cup. You’re a big girl now, Wendy! her Wendy is asking questions about banned substances with great interest, which Coach M’s wife Coach M’s wife—I’ll call her Stacey, since I can’t recall her name and imdb only identifies her as “Coach McIntyre’s wife”—helpfully answers whilst remaining blissfully oblivious to the plot point slamming into her desk with the force of an anvil.

At practice, Coach M announces that Coach Ray is here as a guest choreographer. Again, kind of late in the game considering how close trials are, but fuck it, logic can’t hold a plot point down. Jordan claps with all the enthusiasm of an Emmy nominee who just lost for the ninth year in a row. Later, Jordan and Kaylie have a bonding moment at the chalk bin whilst a bunch of extras loiter around in the background gossiping about Kaylie and Austin. Annoyed, Jordan tells them to scoot and they all scatter like flies. Hey assholes, can we get a coach up in here? Is the NGO paying your asses to make announcements and sit in your office all day?

Or maybe they’re all too busy being massive perverts. Coach Ray is helping Wendy with her floor routine and it’s some straight-up creeptastic Black Swan business up in here. Why don’t you have a seat over there, Coach Ray? Wendy cons him into spilling who her biggest competition is, and he tells her it’s Kaylie. Wendy smirks and skips off (really, she literally skips off) and then it’s Jordan’s turn. She weasels out of it, telling Coach M she has a physical therapy appointment. Coach Ray overhears, and he expresses concerns to Coach M about Jordan’s attitude and issues with jealousy. Hey creepo, have you looked in the mirror? Because your mug sure ain’t Vincent Cassel’s.

Payson and Kaylie arrive at the hospital just in time to see Lauren off as she goes into surgery. The procedure goes off without a hitch, because it’s MIOBI and not Grey’s Anatomy. Although I wouldn’t put it past MIOBI to have someone have sex in the hospital. Maybe that’s why Payson’s always there. After the surgery, Dr. Walker warns Steve, Payson, and Kaylie that Lauren may not be out of the woods yet.

Back at the dorm, Wendy is sitting the dimly-lit common room nefariously ordering cold meds online and smirking. Because, you guys, she’s EVIL. We totally didn’t know that!

At practice the next day, Payson is practicing her Swan Lake floor routine. Wow, this episode really is getting its Black Swan on. Hey, can we get some Natalie/Mila-type action up in here? Since it’s ABC Family y’all can fade to black; I’m sure someone’ll write fan fiction of it. So Payson wants to ramp up her difficulty but Coach Ray discourages her, saying her strength is her dance. Um, what? Did we miss that whole arc last season about improving her dance? Generally speaking, most gymnasts have a particular style that seldom changes. You ain’t going to turn a Shawn Johnson into a Nastia Liukin no matter how many hours you work one-on-one with creeper coaches and make out with him. Coach Ray intimates that Payson is a potential leadoff in London, and Payson’s pressed because she’s always the anchor at the rock.

She vents to Kaylie about it during a break, lamenting that according to Coach M, she’s not even “good enough to raise the bar in the middle of the competition.” OK, now, I might be old skool here but in team competitions, the order usually goes like this: you want a strong leadoff, then put your weakest gymnast next, building up with your strongest anchoring. So being the leadoff implies more skill than being in the middle. Kaylie drops this gem of wisdom: “We all can’t stay on top of that platform together.” No shit, Kaylie. That platform is pretty narrow and I doubt you’d all fit.

So then Rico Suave texts Payson a picture of his dong or something that makes her grin, and she giddily runs off after assuring Kaylie that she, too, will find true love someday. You know, Payson, maybe this is why you’re not anchoring. Sexting with your stoner boyfriend is a great way to train!

Meanwhile, Lauren is in Coach M’s office. She wants to return to training but Coach M won’t allow it until he gets the OK from Dr. Walker. He point-blank tells her she won’t be ready for trials and he doesn’t want to take the risk. Seems like pretty sound reasoning to me. But this is MIOBI, where anyone who gets in the way of a main character defying the laws of biology or physics is an asshole.

Our lovebirds, Payson and Rico Suave, cavort on the training center lawn and Payson complains about Coach M. They exchange a bunch of cheesy lines that I can’t be arsed to recap here because I just had a delicious PB&J and don’t fancy tasting it in my mouth again.

Back at the dorm, Kaylie finally loses it and gets her Carrie Underwood on. No, she doesn’t trash Austin’s car (which would’ve been awesome), but she does rip up the journal entry she gave him and her poster of him. I would’ve liked to see her burn his shit Cordelia Chase style, but alas and alack, I guess she learned from Wendy’s sprinkler misadventure.

Over in the common room, Wendy is making a smoothie and smirking whilst pouring crushed-up cold pills into the blender. Kaylie comes out of her room and Wendy offers her the smoothie to make her feel better. I was thinking Kaylie needs something a lot harder than a smoothie, like something 80-proof followed by drunk rebound sex with KP. Sadly, she’d probably still be less screwed after that—OK, poor choice of words. You know what I mean.

The next day, the Rockettes get their chi on at the training center lawn with Jake and gossip the whole time. I swear every non-gymnastics convo between the girls on this show abysmally fails the Bedchel test. Jake turns around and scolds, “Less talking, more zen!” I should mention that some kind of R&B slow jam is playing in the background, which makes this scene all the more discordant. Really, I’ve got nothin’.

Lauren sees Dr. Walker, and it turns out she’s recovering better than his other patients. Of course she is! Everyone knows MIOBI characters recover faster than Wiley Coyote. Lauren is eager to get back to training, but Dr. Walker still has reservations. Lauren and her lover Payson broach the possibility of monitoring Lauren’s heartbeat using a wireless device. Dr. Walker is leery but seems willing to consider it.

Another Payson/Rico Suave scene and dear Heathus can I just have some Ambien already? They’re having a nighttime picnic or something with a bonfire. I guess the great outdoors is their thing now. Payson starts dancing around to some Latin music on the radio and Rico Suave is impressed. He says she should do this in her floor routine. Let’s be real here, boy is probably so baked the Macarena would impress him.

The next day in practice, Lauren tests out a wireless heart monitoring device with Dr. Walker. It seems to be working. She performs part of her beam routine (at full difficulty, despite being out of the gym for a while and having just had heart surgery) before Dr. Walker tells her to stop. He gives the OK for her to come back to practice after a couple more days of rest. Stacey offers to monitor her heart device, I guess so she has something to do other than enable Wendy. Meanwhile, Coach Creepy McCreeperson is all over Wendy while Jordan looks on disapprovingly.

During downtime, Lauren has a tearful convo with Payson over her dilemma. Payson suggests that Lauren “use [her] mind to train.” Given the amount of time these girls spend cavorting on the training center lawn, shacking up with their honeys, taking breaks, and gossiping at the chalk bin, I’d say they already do a lot of training with their minds. They sure ain’t doing it with their bodies. Wendy shows up to boast about Coach Ray calling her “Princess of the Beam.” Weak. Lauren’s title “Queen of the Beam” at least rhymes. Sort of.

Jordan is in what I assume to be the trainer’s office when Coach Ray shows up. He says all this creepy ass shit about their “special bond” and him being her “private coach.” It’s all so skeevy and obvious that at this point I was waiting for the other trendy wedge shoe to drop but let’s be real here, it’s MIOBI. There never is another shoe.

That night, Lauren and Jake are all zen visualizing it up in the gym. At least this is one activity that’s safe to do unsupervised? Jake talks her through her visualization and she’s shocked that he knows her routine. He fudges, “When you admire someone, you want to know everything they do.” Um, that sounds more like stalking, bro. Payson shows up, and we find out that Lauren is helping her compose a new floor routine to the Latin music from before. Honestly, this all just snarks itself at this point. Isn’t music with vocals illegal in competitions? Oh, fuck it.

Back at the dorm, Jordan is knitting and chilling in the common room. I miss Juan Pablo. Wendy bursts in, boasting that she’d been hanging with Coach Ray and he told her she could be “the next Shawn Johnson.” Nowhere near as cool as running into John Stamos on a plane, sis. Jordan is like, “Bitch, please” and Wendy accuses her of being jealous. Jordan flounces and Kaylie runs after her, teetering hilariously on her tall wedge boots.

Jordan runs to the coaches’ dorm and when the attendant won’t tell her Coach Ray’s room number, she charges out into the parking lot. She grabs a metal pipe conveniently lying in a construction area and starts trashing the shit out of Coach Ray’s car. It’s pretty awesome. You trash that car, Jordan! You fuck it up good! Kaylie has followed her and looks on helplessly until Jordan finally calms down enough to spill. I’m afraid the most shocking part of this scene isn’t Jordan’s confession—that Coach Ray was molesting her all the time she was his “favorite”—but that the show actually had the balls to go through with it. It’s also a testament to the show’s utter lack of self-awareness, considering how creepy and inappropriate Sasha was during S2, especially during the Emily and Payson plotlines.

Jordan says that the reason she pushed Kaylie away was out of a desire to protect her. This also explains Jordan’s refusal to do the Layout Jordan, since Coach Ray trained that skill with her. Kaylie assures Jordan that none of this is her fault. I guess now that KP’s gone, the writers needed Kaylie to be the Supportive Friend to another character. It’s like they can’t think of anything else for her to do (other than Austin). In the midst of this heart to heart we hear sirens, and the girls book out of there. Kaylie miraculously gains the ability to run in those wedges, but their flight is in vain seeing as the cop in the car gets a good look at them.

And that’s a wrap! It’s just a nonstop drama fest over at the national training center. Until next time, kids!

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