Make It or Break It Down: Season 3, Episode 2

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 3, Episode 2: It Takes Two 

It’s the middle of the night and the girls are sleeping when their new coaches turn on the lights and blast an airhorn to wake them up for a little midnight training. 

Coach McIntire tells Lauren, “Don’t even THINK about plugging in that curling iron, Tanner,” so I like him for the time being.

Lady coach says, “You think this is stressful? The Big O is stressful!” 

At training, all the girls are visibly exhausted except for Wendy, who’s chattering on about some Belgian muscle mass study like a hyperactive howler monkey. 

The Rock girls are still salty about their jackets being burned and decide there’s a narc in their midst, and they don’t like it. Jordan Randall walks in as Kaylie is finishing up on vault. They have a strange little catch-up where they refuse to make eye contact and say “Good…” a lot. 

Coach McIntire is pairing the girls up with training partners and says they’ll “sink or swim” together. OK… Wendy and Jordan are together, Kaylie and Kelly Parker, and Payson and Lauren. Oh, and they’re also going to be forced to room together. 

Kelly is so excited to be rooming with Kaylie because “we’re the best of the best.” Kaylie pointedly puts up a photo of her, Payson and Lauren in response. Kelly says, “Could be worse. At least you’re not with Jordan… What’s the deal with you two?” 

Broken Inside GIFs | Tenor

Kaylie explains that when they were both child rhythmic gymnasts (?) they went to camp together and were bffs until she started kissing up to the coach and iced Kaylie out. Kaylie has never forgiven her.

Coach McIntire’s doctor mistress brings him a bottle of antacids and says, “You know your new plan has the girls totally freaked out, right?” He explains his strategy is to “make them fall apart so I can figure out how to put them back together.” Healthy!

A peptic ulcer is Nature’s way of telling you your plan sucks.

The girls’ first assignment is making a one minute FX that showcases their partners’ strengths. Coach also tells Jordan she has one week to “knock his socks off” or he’s booting her. Meanwhile, Lauren has another dizzy spell with scary heartbeat sound effects in the background.

I wished my episodes of pre-syncope and palpitations looked this psychedelic.

Austin has planned a hot date for him and Kaylie that involves them taking an on-air sports commentary class because they’re “Bart and Nadia 2.0, baby!” 

She tells Austin that she’s stressed because Kelly’s her new roommate and training partner. Austin tells her not to trust her, saying, “People don’t change, only their tactics do.” 

When Kaylie gets back, she initiates a heart-to-heart with Kelly, who says, “For you? Of course, roomsie!” 

Kelly claims Kaylie’s friendship has shown her that gymnastics doesn’t have to be cutthroat. There’s a “real sisterhood” to the sport, and they are “in it to win it!” 

She’s gotta be the narc, right?

Aaand as soon as Kaylie hits the showers, Kelly rifles through her duffel. Mmhmm. 

Lauren is throwing out suggestions for Payson’s floor routine and asks for feedback. Payson’s like, “Whatever, it’s fine,” which is not a good enough answer for Lauren. She says they’re paired together because they’re bottom of the rankings, so they have to figure out how to work together. Again, Payson says, “Whatever…”

Wendy gives Jordan her new routine, prompting Jordan to say, “God, you really are Baby G…” OF COURSE sheltered white girl Wendy assumes the G stands for “gangster.” 

“Gymnast.”

Jordan takes a Sharpie and rewrites it herself, saying, “I’ve only got a week, and I know what I’m good at. Cool?” And you know what? I. Don’t. Blame. Her. 

Meanwhile, Kelly Parker has choreographed her ending with a triple turn to Popa to Shushunova, which Kaylie critiques as “kind of simple…” 

Kelly, meanwhile, seems iffy about Kaylie’s plan for a front double twist to front full, but declines any help. She sees Jordan watching and tells her to go away because, “I know you’re the mole.” Jordan calls her out on not being able to do that pass but refusing to tell Kaylie. She then warns Kelly that Kaylie will “stab you in the back the first chance she gets,” and that she’ll never be one of the Rock girls no matter how hard she tries.

Harsh.

Lauren is complaining to Kaylie about “Poopy Payson” and decides that she needs a replacement boy. Kaylie insists this is a terrible plan because Payson is terrible with boys and even worse at handling distractions and makes Lauren promise she won’t try and set her up. 

Lauren goes hunting for man-meat, straight up tackling a dude at one point to get to the judo team captain. It’s going great ’til his Amazon girlfriend shows up. 

Finally, she settles for this cycling creep who agrees to go out with Payson, a.k.a., “The Healthy Bar girl? Sure, she’s totally hot!”

What a catch.

Austin wants Kaylie to help him pick a “signature phrase” for their commentary class, but she’s still preoccupied with the “too simple” routine KP has designed for her. He tells her about a former teammate who sabotaged another former teammate by convincing him to play it safe.

Lauren is really impressed by Payson’s choreography and can’t figure out why or how “Poopy Payson” managed this. Payson’s like, “I sucked it up because we’re teammates. I knew you were counting on me.” 

McIntire calls for attention and Jordan doesn’t immediately jump off the beam mid-skill, which hurts his poor little ego. As punishment, he makes the entire team stay for an extra hour of conditioning. This totally ruins the timing of Lauren’s carefully planned meet-cute between Cycle Douche and Payson. She asks for a bathroom break and goes and tells Cycle Douche’s sidekick  that the date will now be at 4. He doesn’t seem thrilled to be the go-between. 

I’d feel comfortable trusting him to relay important information in a timely fashion.

Oh bless, Kelly Parker got bespoke custom complimentary leos for her and Kaylie. 

Payson’s grabbing coffee and guess who almost plows her over with his stunt bike? 

I guess this means I have to learn his actual name instead of just calling him Cycle Douche’s Sidekick?

Rigo buys her a mocha and teaches her about BMX. She actually seems pretty into it, going so far as to make a very spicy double entendre about getting whipped. 

He even gives her a ride home…  

…and subsequently trips and falls while waving goodbye.

Lauren’s having a follow-up with the doctor. 

Because it’s Lauren, she lies and said she hasn’t had any more symptoms and further treatment is unnecessary. 

The Rock girls are meeting for dinner. Lauren says, “I want deets on your date, stat!” Payson insists, “It wasn’t a date, it was… MAGIC.” 

Kaylie brings the mood down by complaining about this commentator class she doesn’t want to do and the stupid matching leos she doesn’t want to wear. Across the way, Jordan is eating by herself and gets up to leave as soon as Wendy sits down next to her. Oh, but she does comes back to steal Wendy’s banana. 

At the class, Kaylie asks Austin why he’s taking this class so seriously. Turns out he’s lost several endorsements because he’s no longer “a player” and he’s short on cash. Instead of selling one of his lake houses or endless supply of sports cars, commentary is how he’s planning on supplementing costs. 

Their first try reading off the teleprompter is painful even by MIOBI standards.

The teacher says, “Kaylie, clearly you have a future in this. Mind if I make a call to ESPN?” as Austin walks out dejected. Kaylie follows him out and reassures him that he doesn’t need broadcasting because he’s a “gold medal stud.” He thanks her for not making fun of him. 

Shifting over to another painful storyline, Kelly finally confesses to Kaylie that she can’t do the tumbling combination the day before they have to perform them for McIntire. Ever the supportive teammate, Kaylie’s like, “YOU’RE A LYING LIAR,” and shoulder checks her as she leaves. 

Lauren is Web MDing her symptoms instead of talking to the human doctor two buildings away. Of course, she convinces herself she has a brain tumor. (Pro Tip: Don’t do that.) She’s distracted by Payson getting ready for her date and decides to help her. 

“We’re gonna make you Pop. U. Lar.”

As Lauren’s putting the finishing touches on Payson’s make-up, she realizes Payson’s not going out with Cycle Douche but with Rigo. She freaks out about how Payson has ruined her plan, which causes Payson to freak out about Lauren being a meddlesome asshole. They end up throwing beauty products all over each other and Payson storms out and yells at Rigo for tricking her. 

He explains how he didn’t trick her, he tricked Lauren and his idiot friend so he could date her instead because he’s the only guy at the USATC good enough for her. Weirdly, that explanation works and everything is cool between them once again. 

Back at the dorms, Payson and Lauren make up and squeal about boys.

The next morning when they’re set to debut their new routines, they learn the “losing” pair will be cut. KP is crushed that Kaylie is not wearing her new leo (as am I). Lauren and Payson are first, and they CRUSH it. Their budding friendship makes me feel the same way Ann Coulter calling out Trump’s taxes did: pleasantly surprised, a little nauseous but mostly skeptical that this unholy alliance will last. 

Jordan and Wendy are up next. Jordan decides to do the routine Wendy created because it’s forcing her out of her comfort zone.  Jordan is impressive enough to stay at the USATC. 

And now here comes Kelly Parker. You can probably guess how it goes… 

Kaylie tries to do damage control by not doing the routine Kelly choreographed, and she does it really well. However, they still end up ranked fifth out of the six remaining pairs. Coach McIntire asks them what the hell they were thinking: Neither one of them trusted the other, which was the entire friggin’ point! They have a come-to-Jesus moment, and Kaylie admits she hasn’t allowed herself to trust Kelly and she’ll work on it. As a gesture of good will, she tells Kelly why she hates three-quarter sleeves. 

“My forearms are hairy.”

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 Austin’s TV Announcer Voice 

  • Jordan doing a triple back dismount on any event. Minus 5. 
  • Expecting gymnasts not only to learn a new FX in a single week, but also choreograph and construct one? Good thing they’re not focused on training for the Olympics or anything… Minus 4. 
  • One of Lauren’s plans not leaving at least two people emotionally destroyed. Minus 2

Total: -11

Realer Than Wendy’s Casual Racism

  • The NGO having no problem naming the Olympic head coach’s mistress team doctor. What’s a conflict of interest? Plus 3. 
  • Kaylie hating three-quarter length sleeved leos because her forearms are hairy. Plus 5.
  • An elite athlete tripping over their own feet while walking. Plus 7. 

Total: 15

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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