Make It or Break It Down: Season 2, Episode 16

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.

Season 2, Episode 16: Requiem for a Dream

**TW: numerous references to disordered eating and abortion** 

So this is happening: 

Massive props to MIOBI for casting OG pregnant teen queen Andrea Zuckerman as Emily’s OBGYN.

She gives Emily various pamphlets on her options as well as instructions to increase her caloric intake and eliminate any high-impact exercise. 

Hey, Sasha’s back in Boulder and riding a cute little motorcycle. He’s horrified to find that Summer has set up this completely tasteful live interview for the girls to “get their faces out there” ahead of Worlds. 

Quite understandably, he doesn’t want reporters sniffing around trying to find out why Emily isn’t there. I’m guessing Summer still doesn’t know she’s knocked up… Anyway, Emily arrives just in time for the interview.

The reporter asks if she’s been cleared to compete for Worlds (she hasn’t), noting, “Your performance in Hungary probably didn’t do you any favors!” He then proceeds to ask why she, such an inconsistent gymnast and a criminal, deserves a spot at Worlds over, say, Kelly Parker. 

Afterward, Sasha asks Emily for a word. He says that since she told the reporter she’s ready for Worlds, he assumes she’s made some, um, “decisions.” She asks, “About what?”


Emily’s like, “Eh, I’m only six weeks along, I’ve got a lot of time to figure this out.” 

To Sasha’s credit, he doesn’t tell her what to do but insists that she has to make a decision now. She says she’ll decide after she finds out whether or not she’s going to Worlds. 

Damon tells Kaylie that his record label LOVES one of his new songs… The one featuring her. He’s trying to rework all of his songs into duets, and Kaylie’s actually on board with that plan. 

She says it’s a relief to realize she has options beyond gymnastics. She asks him about Emily. He says, “Love isn’t supposed to be this hard.” 

Steve Tanner and Lauren are spying on Sasha and Summer having a conversation in full view of the gym (you know, because they’re coworkers). Lauren tells her Daddy that he needs to lock that ish down with another proposal. And he has to get a bigger and better ring than last time. 

“Huh, I think you’re right.” Really, Steve? REALLY?!

Chloe wants to talk to Emily, but she doesn’t think there’s anything to talk about. Chloe’s like, “I was a pregnant teenager… Statistically, it’s pretty likely that you would be too.” 

Maaaybe not the best thing to say.

They end up having a surprisingly deep conversation about abortion and souls and stuff. Chloe also tells Emily it’s her choice whether or not to tell Damon and that she’ll be supportive if Emily wants to end her pregnancy because, “At the time, I didn’t think I had a choice.” 

Summer arrives home to Lauren’s Steve’s super elaborate proposal that starts like this: 

…and ends like this:

Oh my god. Lauren is literally mouthing along with Steve as he says, “Summer Van Horne, will you marry me?”

Run, Summer. Run.

Before Summer can even answer, Lauren starts chattering on about wedding plans. Steve finally tells her to shut up “so Summer can have a chance to say yes!” That’s Summer’s cue to say, “Actually, I need to think about it.” 

Chloe and Sasha are worried about Emily’s refusal to deal with her current condition. Chloe asks if it’s possible for her to have the baby and then come back. “No, that’s absolutely not an option” because pregnancy wrecks your body for gymnastics.

Chloe’s pissed off that Sasha won’t talk to Emily and give her pregnancy advice. She can’t believe he doesn’t have an opinion on the subject. 

Kaylie’s telling her therapist about how excited she is to record with Damon. Therapist is like, “Are you really shocked that you can be good at something besides gymnastics?” He also gives her props for expressing her real feelings. Since she’s doing so well physically and mentally, he gives her permission to start training again. 

Lauren’s got the twisties and keeps sitting her final pass on floor. Sasha tells her it’s psychological, but that she needs to come in early to work with him one-on-one. “Work with you…alone?” Sasha explains that nothing inappropriate happened between him and Payson (as if Lauren doesn’t already know that). 

Kim asks Summer if she’s feeling OK because she’s color-coding her Sharpies. Totally… What kind of weirdo color-codes their Sharpies? 

Definitely not me…

She confesses that Steve proposed and it’s stressing her out because she KNOWS Lauren needs her as a mother and Steve’s really trying not to suck… Kim says Sasha might be willing to “share her values” if she knows that Steve proposed. Yeah, that’s the key to a successful relationship. 

Emily’s watching Payson be perfect on bars when McGowan saunters into the Rock (which is weird, because it’s not 9 p.m.) to tell her she’s officially on the Worlds team, woohoo! 

Emily doesn’t say anything, but she does run away. That’s kind of becoming her signature move.

Payson follows her out, and Emily confesses that she’s “with child.” Payson absolutely tears her a new one. She softens a little bit when Emily says she just needs a friend (but only a little bit), saying, “The best way I know how to be your friend is telling you the truth.” 

Payson scolds her for never taking her gymnastics seriously and throwing away all the numerous extra chances she’s been given. Emily insists that she’s not special and she doesn’t deserve any of it, which kind of feels like a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Kim urges Summer to have a talk with Sasha, so Summer asks if Sasha’s glad to be back. He immediately asks if he can confide in her because, “I know you’ll be discreet.” 

He tells Summer about Emily’s pregnancy, and she urges Sasha to offer guidance and reassure Emily that she has his unwavering love and support and that everything will be OK once she has the baby. 

He says he doesn’t want Emily to have the baby, he wants her to win medals and get a college scholarship and have a life. Summer’s all, “Too bad, her career ended the day she had sex and got pregnant. This child is a human being, Sasha…”  He says, “I respect your very strong opinions on this, and I hope you can respect mine.” Obviously, Summer responds with, “I can’t, and I WON’T!”

I’m guessing that’s curtains on their relationship.

Summer immediately goes to Steve Tanner’s and accepts his proposal because the best reason to get engaged to someone you tolerate is finding out the person you actually like is pro-choice. #SingleIssueFiancé

Kaylie and Damon are recording their new song and Damon keeps making googly eyes at Kaylie while she’s recording. Afterwards, he goes in and does this. 

In his defense, Emily dumped him and he doesn’t know she’s pregnant with his baby, so we’ll give him a pass for now. Kaylie pumps the brakes because she doesn’t want to betray Emily. 

Speaking of things that would make Emily throw up, her pregnancy nose has kicked in and she’s repulsed by Chloe’s coffee. Chloe chucks it without a thought and tells Emily she supports her 100%. “Whatever decision you make, Mama’s here.”

Chloe, you did something right!

DAMMIT, CHLOE. This is why I don’t give her compliments, because as soon as I do she does something awful like call friggin’ Marcus McGowan and tell him Emily’s knocked up.

He tells Emily it’s totally not a big deal, he’s dealt with this sort of thing before with other national team members. She can “have the procedure Friday and be back to training on Monday.” 

Emily tells him very clearly that it’s HER body and HER choice. Chloe—who has been a pregnant teenager twice over—actually says, “Calm down, you’re just hormonal.” 

Emily’s like, “Screw this, Damon will take care of everything.” Uh… 

Sasha’s eating a bowl of cereal in a lawn chair while Lauren does front lays, which feels spectacularly on brand. 

After doing a perfect pass, Lauren starts crying because she’s realized that Sasha actually gives a crap about her. They agree to “be a team” from here on out.

Emily arrives at Damon’s and says in one big run-on sentence, “I’m pregnant, so we don’t have to wait until the Olympics to be together I can move in with you and we can be a family and I can go on tour with you!”

That’s a lot of “ands.”

Despite Damon’s very reasonable misgivings, Emily says, “Nope, this is what I want! We’re going to be happy. HAPPY!”

Wow, Lauren is sending this to the NGO:

Ronnie brings Kaylie a snack, which she refuses. She promises that it’s not her anorexia, it’s guilt. Ronnie reassures her that she has the tools to face whatever is bothering her. Kaylie goes over to Emily’s and confesses that she and Damon kissed, but it didn’t mean anything and she’s so sorry. 

Payson bitches to Kim about Emily’s pregnancy, but Kim is just sad. 

Kim’s reaction of, “Oh no… Poor Emily,” does not sit well with Payson (shocker). She says Kim should be feeling sorry for her: “I’m so tired of trying to lead a team that doesn’t care as much as I do!” 

“Gotta say, you don’t sound like much of a leader right now.” 

Payson listens to her mother and rallies the troops to go offer Emily support. Unfortunately, Emily has run away to live with her godmother in Las Vegas and have the baby. 

Payson, Kaylie and Lauren go to gymnastics camp to reminisce and share their feelings about Emily. Kaylie realizes that she does still want to shoot for the Olympics. 

Surprise! Their families and Sasha have been watching from afar and have brought food and sleeping bags as well as some good news: Sasha’s been exonerated by the NGO and has been named head coach of the Worlds team and everything is awesome.

I mean, not for Emily…

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 Emily’s Excuses About Why She’s Not Training 

  • Lauren’s stunt-double’s wig. Minus 5.
  • Sasha going from persona non grata to national team head coach seems a bit of a leap, even for the NGO. Minus 5. 
  • All the adults—including McGowan—being so caring and supportive of Emily. If only… Minus 10. 

Total:  -20

Realer Than the NGO Facilitating Abortions

  • That reporter basically asking Emily why she’s a worthless sack of garbage. Unfortunately, plus 5. 
  • Damon’s immediate response to finding out he’s gotten Emily pregnant. Guess he’s not so evolved after all, huh? Plus 7.
  • The twisties. Plus 3. 
  • Summer staunchly refusing to acknowledge or discuss any views other than her own. Plus 10.

Total: 25

Rating: This episode, like Lauren’s tumbling woes, was vastly improved by Sasha. Plus 5. 

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 

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