Make It or Break It Down: Season 1, Episode 17

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.

S1E17: Save The Last Dance

The remaining functional gymnasts gather to watch footage of Kelly Parker preening after a recent competition in London. Here’s a live recording:

These showrunners make a big point of never naming the competitions the girls are competing at, so this could literally have been Kelly and a British gymnast doing a handstand contest in Trafalgar Square.

“We’re the six Americans who just decimated the EU.” If that means this is foreshadowing/symbolism for #Brexit, then Kelly Parker is Trump. That tracks.

The Rock girls are getting ready to compete with Kelly for a spot in an also-unnamed competition to be held in China. This one’s specifically called the “meet in China.” Like Jesolo, it’s either because it’s not important enough of a meet to call by its real title or they simply can’t be bothered to pronounce a non-English city name.

The girls need to turn it out at an upcoming national team practice to make this mysterious competition in China and prove that all their hard work hasn’t been for naught.

Payson and her parents meet again with Dr. Oz the questionable surgeon, and they find out the only risk the surgery involves is cement getting into her lungs. Isn’t that the equivalent of what happens when you vape? 2009 doctors didn’t know how easy they had it.

At Casa Kmetko, Emily puts forth the very unreasonable request to know her mother’s boyfriend’s identity. She then wants to return the prom dress because she feels weird that she doesn’t know the man who got it for her. Again, unreasonable.

Mrs. Kmetko rejects both of those things and to make Emily feel better confirms her beau is not married, so she should be fine enough with that and move on.

At the Keeler compound, Payson’s mom wishes they never took her to meet the doctor. And she really resents Mark for constantly being able to up and escape to that paradise of Minnesota when she has to deal with it all at home.

It’s very Desperate Housewives-esque suburban mom angst. She then decides to be very relatable and stress-bake the pain away.

Kaylie bonds with her parents over their recent trip to Paris and silently mourns that they’re Getting It™️ more than she ever will be in the near future.

I can’t tell you how quickly this little photo sharing session would be over if this were my parents.

Later that night, Lauren arrives at the Kmetkos’ house determined to sabotage her father’s and Chloe’s relationship.

This quote doesn’t have much bearing to the situation, but I’m screaming that it’s on display in Emily’s bedroom.

Lauren “confides” in Chloe that her father’s been whoring around town with a bunch of different women in order to ruin her image of Steve. The double shade here is kind of brilliant. Not only is she lying to Chloe to make her feel like trash about her relationship, she’s implying that Chloe is someone worth going to about relationship advice, which will undoubtedly make Chloe feel even worse as she reflects on her track record.

Payson tells her parents she doesn’t want to have the surgery after all since there’s no guarantee something won’t go wrong. Weird. Someone showing foresight and maturity on this show always makes me make sure I have MIOBI playing instead of “The 700 Club.” The mistake’s been made before.

It looks like the national team practice is conveniently happening at the Rock. Being the testosterone-infused UFC fighters they are, Sasha and Marty make a big competition out of mundane paperwork.

Anyone else feel like Marty could be a third Cuomo brother?

Kaylie and Kelly continue the trend of competing over mediocrity by comparing their new skills: a double Arabian and a whip to full-in, respectively.

Prescient COVID reference alert!

In the bathroom, Lauren tells Emily she can’t imagine how Kaylie can look at Marty without thinking about her and her mom having sex…

And Kelly was there the whole time to hear about it.

This look either means “oooh, hot goss” or “who the HELL am I being forced to maintain close proximity with?”

She immediately uses the information to her advantage and taunts Kaylie with it right before she’s about to do floor. The Jerry Springer of it all!

We see college teams do fun drills all the time to test their concentration, but this would take it to a whole new level. Right before an athlete goes on beam, the coach yells out a rumor about her personal life. Actually, that might already be an unofficial thing.

Then, a ton of things happen at once. Kaylie freaks out at Lauren for gossiping about her personal life in public. Then, in the parking lot, Chloe confronts Steve about his “sex addiction” and Emily’s secretly there to see it, so the jig is up about her mom’s secret beau. People being in the wrong place at the wrong time to hear the right thing…now THAT’S the show I know.

A rattled Kaylie throws a double Arabian to her back, and when Marty tells her she should take it out of the routine, she says she can’t trust someone who had an affair with her mom.

There just hasn’t been enough drama in this episode yet. Thankfully, Summer (literally forgot she existed) corners Sasha in the parking lot to presumably tell him about Marty’s affair. Is she trying to play mind games like Kelly by getting in Sasha’s head and encouraging him to seize national team leadership from Marty? Doesn’t seem like her—she’s probably just breaking out the popcorn.

That interaction seems to have opened the floodgates for some nice partisan infighting. Emily blows up at Lauren for not telling her about their parents’ ~special arrangement~ and they both trade insults about the respective parent. This is like a warped version of “The Parent Trap.” Then the gloves come off.

Keyed up, Lauren takes the opportunity to blow chalk in Kelly’s face when she insults Lauren not having a mother.

Judging by her reaction, Kelly seems to have been taking cues from European soccer players.

Two brawls just isn’t enough for one episode, so Sasha punches Marty just for funsies. Sasha’s like, someone being better at womanizing than me? Absolutely not!

Because no one in the Keeler family seems to possess the ability to Let It Go™️, Mrs. Keeler confronts the doctor about the procedure and how she really wants it to happen but just doesn’t trust it. The doctor says she just has to have faith. Are we sure this isn’t Marianne Williamson?

Later that night, Chloe and Emily take the time break down “Cleve.” In the spirit of the mid 2000s and their affinity for celebrity couple nicknames, that’s what I’m calling her and Steve. It’s my recap and I’ll do what I want to.

Emily’s offended that Chloe picked the one single man in Colorado who happens to have a daughter at the Rock, but Chloe says that as long as it doesn’t violate the no-dating rule prescribed to gymnasts, she’s totally fine.

But just to placate Emily, Chloe says she’ll break up with Steve. It’s not like she doesn’t also believe he’s a cheater and has motivation to do it anyway. Little details!

Emily then gets a call from Sasha summoning her, Lauren and Kaylie back to the Rock. The ensuing conversation is basically:

But nonetheless, apparently Marty isn’t too fazed with their behavior because he told Sasha all the Rock girls have a great chance for the team. Guess he’s not worried about the possibility of one of the girls’ little spats resulting in legitimate injury, like corneal abrasion as a result of chalk.

Mrs. Keeler can’t let go the fact that if it wasn’t for her horrible parenting, they wouldn’t be forced to put their daughter through a life-threatening surgery. Her husband helpfully says that whatever happens, they’ll just “jump off the cliff together.” I feel better on her behalf.

Intimacy: Suburbia Edition

At day two of national team practice, Kelly seems to have unfortunately taken notes from a certain gymnastics team in the state of Oklahoma for her makeup inspiration.

And now, for a perfect representation of how women and men are held to different standards:

As Kaylie prepares to go on floor, Sasha says to her the very encouraging phrase of “double Arabian,” which magically enables her to perform it perfectly. Emily does well too. But it’s still not enough for them to make the team. Kelly does, and so does Lauren. She’s really sympathetic, though.

That’s like Courtney Kupets going up to Hollie Vise after 2004 trials and saying “If it’s any consolation, I’ve always thought Greek mythology was really boring.”

Sasha goes to bat with a random extra brought in for an hour of filming national team committee member over the decision, and she basically implies that the other girls didn’t make it because they’re a hot mess who fight people.

They also say Sasha is a “renegade” coach, which really seems to affect him. It’s almost as though he predicts the label will be the subject of a dance on an app called Tik Tok in 11 years.

After Marty basically affirms this sentiment, Sasha’s on the warpath and the girls are too. To quote Lady Gaga in the iconic music video for Telephone: “Trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the cracks in that motherf*cking reflection.”

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 This Whole Sham of a “National Team Camp”

  • No gymnast is calling a skill a “move.” Get it together, Kaylie. Minus 7.
  • Fights breaking out at a national team camp not resulting in some calling of law enforcement. Minus 4.
  • Payson’s parents failing to vet the surgeon beyond “hope and faith” that she’ll do a good job. Girl. Minus 5.
  • Chloe staying on the phone with Steve while they’re talking face to face in the parking lot is some “Dumb and Dumber” crap that no one would do, not even her. If you watch no other scene, let it be this one. Minus 5.

Total: -21.

Realer Than White AF Lauren Not Liking Non-American Food

  • The lack of media at this national team-sanctioned event is, sadly, a lot more representative of how the sport is ACTUALLY treated. Plus 3.
  • Gossip rule No. 1: Never dish in a public bathroom. Plus 3.
  • Random shady individuals we’ve never seen before making decisions on international gymnastics assignments *mic drop* Plus 10.
  • This picture was a great artistic parallel, so I’m giving it points for realness based on the expression alone. Plus 5.

Total: 21.

MIOBI evened out at zero this week. Aka NONE. Aka NONE for Emily and Kaylie. Too soon?


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 Katherine Weaver

Like what you see? Consider donating to support our efforts throughout the year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.