Make It or Break It Down: Season 2, Episode 4

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.

Episode 4: And the Rocky Goes To…

**TW: Numerous Instances of Body-Shaming and Disordered Eating/Exercise**

We open at Casa Kmetko. Emily’s getting ready while it’s still dark so she can prove to Sasha how dedicated she is. Chloe brings in Emily’s new sponsorship check (which is double what the NGB promised… Thanks, Steve Tanner!) and tells her she has a present for her in the freezer. 

It’s a box wrapped in leopard paper, very on brand for Chloe. Inside is a brand new custom white bedazzled training leo. Aw, thoughtful and practical. 

Steve Tanner has donated a bunch of his personal vintage for the Rock’s upcoming banquet in hopes of getting the other parents drunk enough to vote for him instead of Kim Keeler for parent’s board president. I’m not saying Trump is taking reelection tips from Steve Tanner, but I’m also not not saying that.

Sasha asks Summer what she ever saw in Steve. She goes on a long monologue about how they both respect the holy institution of marriage as created by God. Sasha doesn’t believe in God and thinks marriage is bullshit, but he does believe in Leprechauns! 

I’m from the Bible Belt; I know how this story ends.

Hey, Payson’s sister is back! I have a working theory that Becca and Mike (?) Keeler can never be in the same room or else the universe will implode.

Upon arrival at the Rock, Emily tells Chloe that Lauren’s going to be insufferable now that she and Steve are out of the relationship closet. Chloe tells her to deal with it. Emily’s like, “This from the woman who held down a kid in first grade so I could pay him back for giving me a wedgie?” 

“People evolve, Emily.”

Lauren is handing out barrettes to younger gymnasts so they’ll vote for her for “the Rocky Award,” a.k.a. the Rock’s Miss Congeniality award.

Kaylie’s won it the past three years, but is expected to win Gymnast of the Year, so Lauren’s swooping in. Also, she’s super jealous of Emily’s new custom leo. 

Payson’s adjusting to the single inch she grew because of icky puberty, and Sasha wants to reform her into an “artistic” gymnast versus a “power” gymnast. He’s sending her back to level 1 to relearn the fundamentals. She’s pissed, but honestly, I don’t think it’s the worst idea he’s ever had. Tbh, I can think of a gymnast or two who might benefit from this strategy…

She briefly loses Focus™ because Sasha’s critiquing her cartwheel while level 8 Becca nails a blind full to double tuck on bars. 

Ronnie and Alex arrive at the Rock and are being weirdly lovey-dovey and I don’t trust it. 

Meanwhile, Emily is crushing practice and, according to Sasha, “looking like a winner from the inside out in that dazzling new leo.” 

Bonus points if you can tell me which movie this GIF’s from!

Lauren is super jealous and compensates by buying (i.e., getting Daddy to buy) smoothies for the entire gym. She then proceeds to dump a very pink smoothie all over Emily. And that’s why we don’t wear white leos, folks!

At the Keelers’, Kim asks the girls about their highs and lows of the day. Payson’s got nothing but lows, while Becca says Sasha wants her to start training elite. Payson says, “I’m really proud of you, Becca…” 

Nothing says, “I’m being sincere,” like not blinking for a full 30 seconds.

The next morning at the Rock, Lauren gives Chloe sass and Chloe tears her UP. Steve starts to defend Lauren, but quickly realizes that’s a losing battle. Chloe says, “She’d have a better chance lobbying for a single-payer healthcare system than winning a congeniality award.” Zing!

Since his own monstrous daughter is indefensible, Steve lays into Emily because she’s “not very gregarious, which could be interpreted by some as stuck up.” 

Kaylie’s trying to out-Genji Genji Cho by doing a round-off Arabian mount on bars… 

Sasha tells her to focus on the Shushunova instead, because she’s too heavy to do this mount that hasn’t been legal since the Soviet Union had a gymnastics federation.  

Steve and Lauren are plotting how to win the Parent’s Board presidency and the Rocky respectively so they can “rule the roost together.” Anyone else getting major Lannister vibes from these two?

Lauren, Daddy’s credit card in hand, runs into the gym and yells what is arguably the greatest line ever written for stage or screen: “I need some attention, please!” She’s providing free massages for everyone because they work so hard, no strings attached. 

Chloe then announces that, “Emily Kmetko—friend to all, enemy to none; perhaps a little shy, but not at all stuck up—is sponsoring “free mani/pedi/waxing all afternoon!”  

Emily is desperately trying to talk Chloe out of setting up a makeshift salon of folding beach chairs and a kiddie pool in the parking lot when Lauren comes over and starts shit-stirring. Chloe is halfway through calling her the B-word when Summer intervenes. 

She scolds Chloe for not acting like a grown-up and defends Steve’s psychotic parenting. She says, “Lauren doesn’t need someone to put her in her place, but someone to understand her.” 

Kaylie’s at home going on her 98th minute on the stair-stepper. Alex asks why she’s doing so much conditioning after a full practice. She says, “I need to be more… aerodynamic.” 

“That’s my girl!”

Kaylie tells him how happy she is that the family is back together, and she thinks their close relationship is partly to blame for Ronnie cheating on him. For once, he doesn’t act like an ass and tells her none of that was her fault and he never blamed her. 

Kim and Summer are finalizing all the Rock banquet details. Kim drops the bomb that she and Summer will be emceeing the event, which sends Summer into an anxiety spiral. She says she spends “weeks and weeks” preparing before speaking in front of her church, she can’t just improvise. It’s cool though, Kim’s got the answer. 

“Tanner Wine… It’s good!”

Steve is handing out business cards and wine when Chloe and Emily arrive. He apologizes for getting carried away and being defensive about Lauren, and they agree to be neutral no matter who wins. 

Drunk Summer compliments Kaylie on her “exquisitely incredibly lovely” dress. 

OH MY GOD. Steve sees Ronnie and Alex and says, “Well, if it isn’t the proud parents of the Gymnast of the Year!” Alex thanks him and says, “Who’d have thought when we co-founded The Rock that my daughter would be national champion and Gymnast of the Year and your daughter would be… Well, I’m sure she’ll win something someday!” 

Summer knocks over her wine, leaving an unsupervised Steve to take the conveniently-labeled Rocky Award ballot box up to the office for a final tally. 

Summer kicks off the festivities by introducing the elite girls, who have a little something prepared for Sasha. Ew, it’s a song to the tune of “America the Beautiful” about how great he is. 

When it’s finally finished, Drunk Summer starts sputtering about how lovable Sasha is, so Kim grabs the mic from her. Too bad, Drunk Summer is good entertainment value. 

In turn, each of the elite parents give a moving speech about their respective daughters… Well, except for Steve, who uses the opportunity to promote himself for parents’ board president. 

Chloe feels bad. After reading a sweet little acrostic about Emily, she says some nice things about Lauren, too. Kiss ass… 

OK, here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: The Rocky goes to LAUREN TANNER! 

Literally no one claps except for Steve. Lauren’s acceptance speech starts with, “Wow, I’m the most popular girl at the Rock! I’ve always known how much of an inspiration I am to you, and it’s so good to be acknowledged.” It goes on like that until Drunk Summer physically pulls her away from the mic. 

Sasha then announces the award for Most Promising Junior, which goes to the newly-rediscovered Becca Keeler. Payson seems genuinely happy and proud as she accepts her award, but excuses herself soon after.

Sasha finds her crying in a stairwell.

Payson’s never met a stairwell she wouldn’t cry in.

He tells her it’s completely normal to be angry, scared and disconnected. He asks if she only loved the sport because she was great. “Where does the passion come from, where you are or where you want to be?” He promises to believe in her even if she can’t believerbelieve in herself right  she’s just got to show up and they’ll get there together. 

Back at the banquet, Kaylie starts to put on her dad’s coat and finds a bundle of divorce papers. 

Called it.

There’s no time for her to process this information, as Sasha has begun the presentation of her Gymnast of the Year award. In her speech, she thanks her parents for all of their support and teaching her not to give up… Both of them. Together. 

Sasha then announces there’s one more award, a new award, that will be known as the Payson Keeler Championship Cup for the athlete who best embodies the heart of a champion. Wow, they got an all-star cast for the intro! 

So yay, Payson gets a trophy, too. Even Lauren’s happy for her.

After the banquet, Kaylie is having it out with her parents, trying desperately to convince them not to get divorced. After much tearful begging, they agree to give it six more months.

Sasha has escorted Drunk Summer home and they make out on her front porch after he says he’s not actually opposed to marriage if he found the right woman. Oh, honey… 

Steve, Chloe, Lauren and Emily are getting ice cream together while Lauren strokes her trophy (and her own ego, if I had to guess).  

Payson is practicing graceful, artistic hand positions in her bedroom. 

Kaylie is treadmilling in the dark. 

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 Lauren’s Rocky Award Win

  • Chloe having either the knowledge or wherewithal to bust out a flawless Obamacare-themed burn. Minus 4.
  • Summer being able to afford that house in Boulder, Colorado, on a gym co-manager’s salary. Minus 5.
  • Not a single person booing Steve or Lauren at that banquet. Seriously? Minus 6. 
  • Becca winning Best Junior or whatever when she hasn’t been at the gym in approximately 14 episodes. Minus 2. 

Total: -17

Realer Than Drunk Summer

  • A white leotard getting destroyed the very first time you wear it. Plus 2. 
  • Someone like Summer getting entangled with someone like Sasha. Ugh, I’ve been on both sides of that equation. Plus 4. 
  • Rich people with terrible personalities buying popularity and elections. Plus 8.  
  • Thinking, “Wow, my parents are getting along so much better than usual!” right before they announce their divorce. Plus 10. 

Total: 24


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

This week’s episode snagged a 7, one more than the number of votes Lauren actually got for the Rocky Award.

Recap by Claire Billman 

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