Make It or Break It Down: Season 1, Episode 8

The abrupt end to the 2020 NCAA gymnastics season was a shock to everyone, us included. And while we understand and support the measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it means that a lot of us are suddenly left with extra time on our hands…

Which is why we’ve decided to embark on an important journey, one that will take us back through one of television’s most important series to date: Make It or Break It. Every Saturday (and a number of other bonus days) from now until the 2021 season, our editors Katherine, Kalley and Claire will be breaking down and recapping each episode of everyone’s favorite gymnastics show. 

Want to watch along? You can find MIOBI on Hulu and the Freeform app, all you have to have is a subscription/cable login. You can also buy the DVDs or purchase seasons or single episodes on various platforms, like iTunes. Join us in the cheesiness and the early 2010s TV gymnastics by using the hashtag #MakeItOrBreakItDown on Twitter as you watch.

You can read our S1E1 recap here.

S1E8: All’s Fair In Love, War, and Gymnastics 

Emily’s getting herself ready for the day while listening to some super cool music. She asks her mom if she’s seen her blue hoodie. Chloe tells her to check the pile of dirty laundry in her bedroom, to which Emily responds, “Which one?”

Emily’s stressed because she’s going to be showing Sasha her new floor routine to prove that she’s ready for nationals. Ever the supportive mother, Chloe says “I’d like to floor him with my routine.” 

Meanwhile, Chloe is paying a huge stack of bills with all the money Emily’s earned from the Pizza Shack. Chloe’s contribution is not signing the checks so the companies have to resend them to her without penalizing her for payment being past due. As usual, Brian’s face in response to his mother’s scumbag antics sums things up perfectly.

At The Rock, Kaylie and Carter are in his Jeep discussing her mom’s affair with Marty. Carter looks super uncomfortable as Kaylie vents about how gross it is that her mother is lying to her father about cheating on him.  

Inside the gym, Sasha decides he doesn’t like Emily’s floor music—which has lyrics—calling it Footloose meets Bring It On (even in 2009, those references were a little dated). Sasha insists on some generic piano sonata, saying, “We’re not picking out music for your MySpace page, Kmetko.” 

He wants her to personally rechoreograph her routine before nationals, which is in four days. Emily, understandably, feels like this is asking a bit much. Also, how can she work every night to support her family if she’s learning a new floor routine? 

Payson’s herniated disc is still bugging her, apparently, as evidenced by her inability to touch her toes and stand back up without yelling in pain. Sasha makes her rest, so she goes and gets her flirt on with the best dude gymnast at the Rock, Nick. 

Oh ew… Nick is offering to “score” some cortisone shots for her from his orthopedic surgeon father. Apparently, he uses it for his jacked-up wrist tendons and ACL. He then shows her how well these cortisone self-injections work by doing some impressive pommel work.  

Lauren is watching Kaylie and Carter making googly eyes at each other and is displeased. She asks Kaylie how things are going with them. Super good except her dad almost caught them together in his Jeep, which would be The End of Everything.  Scheme, Lauren, scheme. 

Aw, Summer is showing her wedding notebook to Kim in Sasha’s office. Kim is being all nice and supportive, but her face says it all. Why the hell is there pink argyle in there? !

The bridesmaid dress she picked out is literally a cosplay of Belle’s yellow ball gown. She asks Lauren to be her maid of honor; Lauren’s touched… PSYCH! Lauren’s just messing with Summer because she can. She doesn’t want to be *at* the wedding, let alone *in* the wedding. Get real, Summer. 

As a result, Lauren has decided to stay at the Cruzes’ for the next week so she can avoid all the drama (none of which she’s caused, of course). 

Mrs. Cruz is upset that Kaylie dumped on her fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free cookies and demands that Kaylie treat her with respect. Kaylie shoots back, “You lost my respect when you slept with my coach.” I mean, she’s got you there, Ronnie.

Lauren’s doing angry beam, and I dig it. Emily’s new routine seems to be going well when Damon randomly shows up. She tells him to leave despite his warning that, “I don’t make friends easily.”

Payson is intimidated by Lauren’s increased difficulty and decides to shell out the $100 for the ethically sourced vial of cortisone. She scams the money from her mom, saying she wants to buy a new dress… A new dress of DRUGS. 

Lauren, meanwhile, is showing off her new dress that she got from Kohl’s new Candies line (go on, get that product placement money). She asks Kaylie what would actually happen if her dad caught her with Carter, so Kaylie has a heart-to-heart with her dad about their competitive drives and goals. Lauren takes the opportunity to snoop through pictures on Carter’s stolen phone of him and Kaylie making out. 

Chloe continues to avoid securing gainful employment, instead selling tchotchkes on eBay. She makes some quip about, “One man’s junk…” which Brian shuts right down, assuming the worst. Emily arrives home and drops the bombshell that they’re going to have to buy new “not cheap” warm-up suits for nationals (in three days). She tells Emily it’s no big deal because she’s financially solvent now, then proceeds to call someone named Joe asking for help. I’m sure this will end well. 

At Chateau Cruz, Kaylie and Payson are hanging a banner for the big Rock party while Lauren supervises and talks smack about displacing Payson as the top seed. Payson insists she’s fine and asks to borrow a dress so she can pull off her drug-seeking deception and keep Lauren in check.  


Oh good, Summer’s arrived and brought lasagna (like you do). Apparently, she’s there to tell Lauren that she’s breaking off the engagement to prove to Lauren that she’s “on her side” or something. There’s also a sob story about her (Summer’s) own douchey father, and I kind of zoned out. Can’t tell if she’s being sincere or if this is some next-level manipulation. We shall see… As she’s leaving, Summer says, “Good luck at nationals.” Lauren answers, “Good luck with the rest of your life.” 

Mr. Cruz shows Lauren a necklace he had made out of his World Series championship ring diamonds, which he’s planning on giving to Kaylie at the party as a good luck gift. Lauren’s evil plan starts to take shape…. 

Emily and her mom arrive with the latter bearing a tray of her “famous deviled eggs,” but she won’t reveal the secret ingredient  Emily does: It’s spray cheese.  

Oops, Summer’s lasagna burned and Mrs. Cruz is having a full-on panic attack. She and Chloe commiserate over what terrible mothers they are (their words, not mine!) and open a bottle of vodka.

On the patio, Kaylie and Carter make Lauren hang around to make it look less suspicious that they’re together. Honestly, I’m too distracted by Lauren’s Bump It to sympathize with how uncomfortable that must be for her. 

OK, ew. Kaylie and Carter are being super gross and lovey dovey. Lauren hits her wall and asks Carter if he remembers when they kissed. “Oh yeah, at gymnastics camp when we were 12,” to which she responds, “You were my first…kiss.”  

Sasha and Kim arrive at the party together since Mr. Keeler is out of town, leading Ronnie and Chloe to speculate that they’re doing it. “Hello, Kettle? This is the Pot. You’re black.” Ronnie proceeds to spill the beans that Payson borrowed Kaylie’s dress.  

And, shocker, Chloe’s throwing herself at Sasha but he’s not buying what she’s selling, thus keeping my hopes of a Marty/Sasha pairing alive. #SmartyForever 

Emily is appropriately skeeved out by her mom hitting on her coach. But wait, there’s more! Vodka-soaked Chloe confesses that she borrowed money from Joe, an ex-boyfriend they moved to Boulder to get away from. Emily is full-on livid now. Solid parenting as usual, Chloe.

Lauren’s pulling the trigger on her scheme, putting Carter’s inexplicably still-charged Blackberry next to the gift box containing Kaylie’s necklace. Geez, with friends like Lauren…

Nick and Payson discuss the procurement of her drugs. “It’s not heroin, cortisone’s legal. Why am I starting to feel like your drug dealer?” Nick asks. Because she is paying you to steal drugs from your dad’s medical practice! Kim interrupts to bust Payson’s ass about the dress. Payson lies some more then immediately promises Kim that she won’t lie to her anymore. 

Sasha interrupts to tell Payson that he’s chosen her as the top girl at the Rock and that if she can manage her pain from the HERNIATED DISC IN HER SPINE that she could potentially win the all around in Boston.  

Damon shows up at the party, and Emily goes off on him for not understanding boundaries. Turns out he’s delivering pizza to save the party from burnt lasagna, and Emily feels like a doofus. 

HA! Sasha grabs Drunk Chloe and suggests she go home to dry out so Emily can enjoy herself at the party.  

Meanwhile, Lauren is putting her grand plan into action, calling Carter’s phone from Kaylie’s phone right as Mr. Cruz goes upstairs to grab the necklace.

xoxo, Gossip Girl.

Mr. Cruz reacts like a well-adjusted adult without control issues and ‘roid rage, screaming at Kaylie in front of all their party guests. Carter tries to step in and lists all the ways he’s a shitty father. Mr. Cruz shoves Carter, who ends up decking him. Feel you on this one, Lauren. 

Lauren goes after Carter and asks to take her with him. She’s all, “But I love you!” and he’s all, “You disgust me.” Oops. 

Chloe’s recovered remarkably fast from all that vodka. She and Sasha discuss why she’s such a “lousy mother” (again, her words, not mine) over coffee. She tells him about getting cash from Joe to pay for nationals. Sasha tells her to let him know if Joe becomes a problem and promptly leaves. Immediately, Chloe gets a phone call asking who the hell that blond dude is, followed by a knock at the door. 

Emily goes to the Pizza Shack to apologize to Damon for calling him a stalker and explains she’s not super good at friendship because her life is complicated. Damon knocks her down a peg or two, pointing out that everyone’s got complications, then announces he’s going to LA to record some music. They still don’t kiss. 

Kaylie, understandably, is sobbing in her room. Her mom tries to comfort her and not be dismissive of her and Carter’s love. Kaylie’s not having it. Ronnie gives this whole speech about how even mothers make mistakes, blah blah blah.  

Lauren shows up at Summer’s home in tears and says she needs someone to talk to before collapsing into Summer’s arms. Gotta admit, I did NOT see that one coming! 

Seriously, though, for someone who claims to hate drama and lying, Lauren sure does a lot of both. 

Balance Check

Every week we will break down the little moments that stood out as being extremely on point and those that wobbled a bit too much. Shout out to Vulture and its Gossip Girl Reality Index for providing the template for our version. 

Faker Than Sasha Expecting Emily to Choreograph Her Own Floor Routine a Week Before Nationals  

  • A teenage boy having the balls to punch his girlfriend’s pro-athlete dad. Minus 3.
  • Kaylie’s dad destroying his World Series ring for any reason. Minus 2. 
  • Carter’s Blackberry still having a full battery without being charged for at least a week. Minus 1.
  • Payson being able to put a tucked double Arabian to her feet but not being able to touch her toes without visible pain. Minus 3. 
  • Kaylie not being the least bit suspicious of Lauren’s obvious attempts to sabotage her and Carter’s relationship. Minus 5

Total: -14

More Real Than Summer Picking a Thoroughly Unflattering and Impractical Bridesmaid Dress

  • Lauren rocking a Bump It and Candie’s dress from Kohl’s. Plus 4.
  • Chloe and Ronnie drowning their self-loathing in a shared bottle of vodka. Plus 5.
  • A rich white kid peddling prescription drugs to middle class white kids. Plus 1. 
  • Chloe buying a Thigh Master then never, ever using it. Plus 3. 
  • A 16-year-old girl sobbing because her parents don’t think she’s old enough to be in love. Plus 5. 

Total: Plus 18

Like the number of inches Lauren’s hair poof rises over her head, this episode is a 4.


1: The Feeling After You Find Out NCAAs Is Cancelled (Too Soon?)

2: The NCAA Banning Chalk Blowing Choreography

3: Brandie Jay’s Accidental DTY

4: Kelly Garrison Squeal After a Stuck Oklahoma Vault

5: It was beautiful, it was lovely, we went out there and ENJOYED THIS

Recap by Claire Billman and Katherine Weaver 

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