Make It or Break It Down: Season 2, Episode 18

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 18: Dog Eat Dog

**TW: numerous references to eating disorder** 

Max and Payson are trail running and flirting. They’re shockingly not sweaty, which tells me they aren’t trying hard enough at either of these things. 

During a rest, they find this PRECIOUS puppy—who looks like a brown version of my own beloved scruffy boy Otto—and I honestly don’t care what else happens for the rest of the episode. 

Look how cuuuute!

OK, maybe I spoke too soon because here is Kelly Parker’s personal chartered bus: 

Her manager, Sheila, is trying to hang a giant banner that says “Kelly Parker WORLD CHAMPION” over the Rock’s sign. This character is either inspired by or the inspiration for Kris Jenner.

Kaylie and Lauren are yet again united by their hatred of Kelly Parker. Lauren tries to convince her she “could [sic] care less” about Kelly dating Carter since she’s “officially” dating Max. True to MIOBI form, Max and Payson roll in arm-in-arm and giggling right on cue. 

It’s easy to save face when you’re incapable of feeling shame.

Max and Payson are trying to figure out what to do with their new foundling puppy. I *think* their plan is to just leave her in the car with some food and water and take turns letting her out to pee? 

Kelly Parker and her manager are watching  Tasha Shwikert’s  Kaylie’s bar routine and plotting how to keep her off the World team. Sheila straight up calls KP “a dumb dumb” and says, “You literally cannot afford to share the spotlight with that girl because I can’t keep trying to sell yesterday’s champion to the sponsors anymore.” 

Oh ew, Sheila’s her mom. I KNEW she was Kris Jenner!

Lauren’s still trying to make it happen with Max. He admits he does like her strawberry lip gloss. 

KP successfully psychs Kaylie out using only her words, and she lands a double-twisting dismount to her face. Austin comes over and tells her to shake it off, reassuring her she’s ready. 

I don’t think she is.

Lauren sees Payson all teary-eyed waving goodbye to Max’s Land Rover, not realizing she’s gushing over the dog. She does what Lauren does and asks Payson if she thinks her dad is being unfaithful to Kim since he’s always in Minnesota. 


But wait, look who’s a patron at Chloe’s strip club! 

Cut to the Keelers’ kitchen. Kim and Mark are debating when to tell the girls that his company has gone under and he’s interviewing for a new job. He tells Kim that his said interview finished up at Bodacious Boulders because “they want to hire a guy who likes to work hard and party harder.”

Going to strip clubs is fine; coercing someone to go to a strip club during a job interview is hella gross.

Bottom line, the Keelers are in massive debt, so Mark can’t afford not to go to Bodacious Boulders with these corporate douches. “We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do… Speaking of, Chloe Kmetko works at Bodacious Boulders.” 

Austin asks Sasha if he can do some extra practice sessions with Kaylie and reassures him he’s familiar with her ED and will keep Sasha in the loop. When Austin tells Kaylie the good news, she flips out (no pun intended) and tells him off because she doesn’t need saving. KP tries to convince Austin to tell her to give up. He tells her to focus on her little boot-licker Tessa and “we’ll see who gets the final spot.”

Payson sneaks out of the house to see the freshly groomed (and non-microchipped) pup. Max has named her Phoebe (which was the name of Payson’s childhood goldfish). They bond over their love of strays. 

Lauren is haranguing her dad and Summer to set a date because “I can’t hire caterers and musicians until we’ve set a date.” He tries to tell her that Summer doesn’t want a big wedding, but whatever. Chloe Kmetko comes in and Lauren immediately assumes she’s there to get Steve back.

Chloe is actually there to pay for Emily’s last month of training and Summer stealthily hides her engagement ring. She tells Chloe how much she admires Emily for keeping the baby, to which Chloe says, “Yeah, well, I want more for her.” 

Summer tries to push adoption on her and Chloe’s just like, “Please stop.” Summer says she’ll miss them at the Rock, and Chloe agrees. She also knows that Steve and Summer are engaged and wishes them well. 

Kaylie apologizes to Austin for snapping at him. She confesses she doesn’t think she’ll be ready to compete on all four events by Friday. Austin agrees and says they should just focus on vault since that was Emily’s strongest event (and happens to be Kaylie’s weakest). 

Max and Payson are on the running trail putting up lost dog posters. They’re talking about Lauren and how Max likes Payson better than her, but Payson’s too Focused™ to be in a relationship. He likes her Focus™ but he also likes dating, so… 

Oooh! Austin is helping Kaylie with a Yurchenko double. He says if she really wants to make an impression, she “needs to add a full twist to her Yurchenko double and make it a Yurchenko two and a half.” 

Also, the next hardest vault being competed in this universe is a Yurchenko full, so… 

 Austin won’t let Max keep Phoebe because he’s an asshole allergic to dogs, so they’re smuggling her into the Rock until Payson can convince her parents to let her keep her. She also keeps calling Max “Daddy.” 

Precious family portrait.

Aw, how sad. Mark did not get the Bodacious Boulders job, so the Keelers are royally effed. 

Max tells Payson they have a problem and she says, “WHAT’S HAPPENED TO MY BABY?!” The janitor is cleaning the equipment room, so Max had to move her to the men’s locker room. I’m sure nothing will come of that.

Kelly Parker sees the two of them whispering and says to Lauren, “I guess he chose the jock over the slut,” which just seems like low-hanging fruit at this point. She recommends Lauren “try saving the dessert until after dinner.” 

Not cool. I fully support shaming slut-shamers.

Lauren decides the best way to get Max is by showing him what a jock she is, so she challenges him to one-on-one game of basketball. 

Also, Phoebe escapes the locker room and goes tearing through the gym in what is arguably the best sequence of MIOBI thus far.

Sasha’s pissed, Summer’s in love with the cute puppy and Lauren’s horrified that Payson and Max have a dog together.

Payson begs her parents to keep Phoebe, and they say no because they’re stupid and mean. 

Oh my god, THIS is happening. 

Max asks, “Shirts or skins?” It’s one on one, you dink…Lauren is surprisingly good at basketball, even blocking Max’s jump shot. We’re talking some full-on Shirts against Blouses shit. 

Payson and Max are horrified that the Keelers are making them take Phoebe to a shelter, and reassure each other that someone will want to adopt her. 

At this little competition to determine the final Worlds team member, Kaylie tells Payson that she’s only going to compete vault. I get that’s her strategy and all, but like… Do something on the other events.

The competition starts with Tessa on beam. 

Shots like these never get old.

The other girl does a Yurchenko half on with no salto, so she’s clearly out. Now it’s Kaylie’s turn. She tells Sasha that she’s only doing vault because she asked herself, “What would Sasha Belov do?” She goes out and does such a good Amanar that Kelly Parker’s momager makes this face: 

Make her stop.

Kaylie’s gamble pays off and she gets the final spot. 

Kim is having second thoughts about giving Phoebe up because she’s such a good girl. Kim reminds Mark that they were super broke when they had Payson, but they weren’t afraid to do crazy things like adopt an adorable mutt. “Circumstances made us poor, but we’re choosing to be afraid.” 

“Salient point, Kim.”


Wow, Sheila is absolutely furious and disgusted that her daughter didn’t manage to sabotage Kaylie. She says they have to find proof of Kaylie’s anorexia so they can leak it to the press and have her booted from the team.

If Kelly can’t do that, “I’m going to have to drop you as my client.” You know, there’s been a lot of questionable parenting on this show, but she’s taking it to a whole new level. 

Kaylie catches the end of Sheila’s tirade and comforts an understandably sobbing Kelly.  

Max comes over to collect Phoebe and take her to a shelter. Payson leads him in and says, “PSYCH! We’re keeping her after all!” 

Look how cuuuute!

Payson invites Max to go to the park with them, but he’s got a date with Lauren. He suggests that “maybe we can take our little girl for a run in the morning?” 

Kaylie invites Kelly over to stay for dinner, leaving KP alone in her bedroom (which feels like a bad idea). Sure enough, Kelly finds her calorie-counting journal that says, “My name is Kaylie Cruz and I’m anorexic,” and stuffs it in her duffel.

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 Being Ridiculously Good at Basketball

  • Minus 6 for Sasha allowing Austin to have extra practice sessions with Kaylie. What coach in their right mind would think, “Yes, it is a wise choice to allow my top athlete to have unsupervised training sessions that may or may not exacerbate her history of disordered eating and also there is no one there to see to it that they are training safely?”
  • I know he’s pretty, but c’mon Austin – math. Basic. Math. Minus 0.5, the amount he seems to be unable to account for.
  • Payson referring to Max as “Daddy”… Well, let’s just say I am very uncomfortable with the energy we’ve created in the studio today. Minus 8.
  • I want to take away points for Max leading both Payson and Lauren on, but also he’s being really open about it with them so I can’t? Minus 1 because BOYS.

Total:  -14.5

Realer Than the Existential Crisis I Had Upon Realizing I’m the Same Age as Soon-To-Be Grandmother Chloe Kmetko

  • Girls being able to put aside personal grudges and come together over mutual hatred of another person is a very real thing I am not proud to admit is real. Plus 5.
  • Kaylie making a 2010 World team just for doing a decent Amanar once in competition. Plus 5, because what is this, 2012?
  • The way Payson talks to Phoebe. Plus 10.
  • Payson and Max experiencing *literal* puppy love. Plus 3.
  • Plus 2 for Kim and Mark continuing to be the only adults who act like proper adults on this entire show.

Total:  25

Rating: This episode of MIOBI scores a 10.5, a full point higher than a perfect score. Right, Austin?

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 Kalley Leer

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