Make It or Break It Down: Season 3, Episode 5

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 5: Dream On

We learn that the first round of cuts is set to begin at the training center, and it’s going to be conducted in a super athletic, official way that just so happens to resemble The Voice. Minus Adam Levine and logic.

Half of the gymnasts will go on the first day and the other half will go on the second day. Basically, it’s how worlds selection camp used to be held before they got the idea that cameras should be in the room.

The ensuing conversation after the girls receive their spots descends into the territory of comparing one another to foods.

Sheila shows up and begins currying favor with the various nerds involved with selecting the team. Then she makes a fun little gaffe where she assumes Jordan and Mac are related because they’re both black. Not only is she a horrible, vile human, she’s got cheap racist insults to boot. Like, that’s not even reaching.

Later, Lauren helps Payson break curfew to sneak out to meet Rigo. We start to see a new side of Payson that honestly conflicts with any other showing of her character throughout the series, and I don’t totally buy it. You’re anti-male interaction throughout the show and then when it matters most…you’re not? Maybe she really has fallen for this earthy BMX rider in a way she could have never foreseen, but I’m not holding my breath.

Someone leaks news of Payson’s midnight rendezvous to Mac, and he tells her and Lauren that they’ll be competing on the first day of tryouts instead. Y’all ready to be an appetizer? And if so, which one? I feel like Payson is the Bloomin’ Onion at Texas Roadhouse while Lauren is the Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill.

Sheila tries to corner Kaylie to psych her out, clearly sensing a threat from the burgeoning friendship between her and her daughter.

Honestly this scene goes way harder than it has to. Sheila saying Kaylie has a “bony ass?” and that she’s a “freaky little toothpick?” Kaylie calling out Sheila for her fragile mental state? I would have loved to go at it like this with the mom of someone I hated in high school.

Lauren and Payson discuss the upcoming tryout which is now tomorrow because of their negligence with the curfew. Lauren insists she’s ready to go but Payson weirdly can’t shake the thought of Lauren’s lifeless body on the floor after fainting. Can’t imagine why that would rest on someone’s mind.

Rigo urges her to avoid telling the NGB staff about Lauren, but she clearly forgot the part about relationships where you have differing thoughts from your partner and immediately runs away from him, thereby alienating a key support system on the eve of one of the most important nights of her life.

On the day of the tryouts, Payson has a scary flashforward of Lauren fainting on beam and…doing whatever this is.

As a result of this creepy vision (maybe YOU’RE the one who needs medical help, Pay), she caves and blurts out Lauren’s secret to Mac and the NGB cronies. They proceed to take Lauren away a la the final minutes of a Law and Order episode where the guilty party is escorted out. Here’s live footage of her flipping off Payson on the way out.

Sheila and Kelly discuss this development and Sheila is horrified to see Kelly possess a degree of empathy on the subject.

I just want to see her say this to her future prison cellmate about her jumpsuit.

The next day, Kelly confides in Kaylie that she’s not even sure if she wants to do this anymore and Kaylie tells her she just needs to go out and hit four for four and have a great day and it’ll all be fine. To think just a few short competitions ago, these two were eye to eye while one got shot up with drugs and the other had to pretend it was fine.

Mac tries to get Jordan to vault her named skill and she refuses, so they ask her to leave. Definitely intrigued as to why she won’t do it, which I only say because there’s no way it’s for a reasonable issue like, I don’t know, not having trained it in years.

The NGB is hard at work determining who will survive cuts, and as I mentioned earlier, the Voice/America’s Got Talent of it all is gross.

Don’t tell me they’ve forgotten what the girls look like after training day in and day out with them, because that’s the sole justification for using HEADSHOTS. Unless that’s the actual truth, because then it’d mean Mac and the cronies are seriously not well, which would be great justification for firing them. Maybe I’d be fine with it.

The list is posted and here’s a quick look.

Every named character has made the team with the exception of Lauren (lol) and Kelly, which is supposed to be unsurprising because of the sudden change in the narrative that Kelly has been on a steady decline. Truly dizzying stuff.

Sheila bursts in and resumes the facade of caring about her daughter by freaking out and bringing her previously casual racism into the forefront.

Sheila also admits that she was the mole all along and the girls’ anger at Jordan was misdirected, which, in any other show, might lead the girls to have a reckoning with their own deep-seated stereotypical attitudes.

In spite of the fact that she looks like a valet parking attendant in that outfit, Kelly handles the episode remarkably well and dismisses her mother once and for all.

Amidst the freakout, we also learn that Wendy was never interested in representation and just wanted to feed secrets to Sheila so she’d leak them and sink the Rock girls on her behalf. These are the ones we need to be scared of. Imagine if this was the person who singlehandedly brought down KZB.

The girls say a tearful goodbye to Kelly, who is ready to ride off into the sunset and maybe even salvage a relationship with her dad in the process. Now that she’s out of the picture, maybe the girls can bring Lauren back into the fray as she recuperates in the hospital.

Scratch that. It seems as though Lauren might yet have a chance to return to gymnastics, but for now, she has no choice but to rot in a hospital bed and plot her revenge against someone who was just trying to do the right thing.

Mac invites Jordan back even though he and the viewers still can’t get inside her head as to why the heck she doesn’t want to compete her “Jordan move.” Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he’s incapable of using the real word for any movement in gymnastics (it’s called a skill), but I don’t expect that to change anytime in the last three episodes.

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 Payson Being Able to Identify Constellations

  • The fact that Jordan’s named skill is called the Jordan, not the Randall. If this was real, imagine how many times we’d have to distinguish between skills called Nastia and Nadia. Minus 7.
  • Speaking of the Jordan, the likelihood of a verifier asking to see a skill that the gymnast hasn’t competed or trained in years is…slim. Minus 4.
  • Wendy’s cunning; how are we supposed to believe she’s this vicious when she spends every episode reminding us she’s literally 12. Minus 3.
  • The announcement of the girls advancing on coming in the form of an announcement of who got assigned to which elementary school for the academic year (or was it only my school who did this?) Minus 4.

Total: -18

Realer Than Gymnastics Placements Being Decided on Non-Gymnastics Grounds

  • xx random NGB administrator trying to trash Jordan: “She’s the next Emily Kmetko.” Exactly the lack of professionalism we’d expect from this lot. Plus 4.
  • Jordan’s triple back. Simone will bring it to us eventually. Plus 7.
  • Jordan purchasing a quick bus ticket home. It’s a very easy process. Plus 5.
  • The hospital allowing any number of Lauren’s friends to visit at any given time within hours. Hey, it used to be real. Plus 3.

Total: 19

MIOBI earned a -1 this week, representing the number of regrets Kelly should have following her gymnastics journey (the one being she never found a cute athlete bae while training at the complex).

Recap by Katherine Weaver

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