Can I just say how much more awesome this quartet is without Emily? Team Adult Baby Kelly Parker 4eva.
Well this was quite the week, was it not? Let's hop to it.
We open on an extreme closeup of Payson filming a pre-Olympic fluff piece. She gushes about how obsessed she is with Sasha, which draws some alarm from both Coach Mac and NGO guy, who happens to be checking up on the gym on that particular day. After a quick infodump, we learn that, surprise, Mac has never coached girls a day in his life. That is positively shocking, given how much coaching he never does. He's a little butthurt that Payson hasn't tried to kiss him yet, but he moves on. During a walking tour with NGO guy, it becomes obvious that the girls have little to no coaching at all, and are terrified of Mac. As he struts through the gym, you can see the girls in the background hiding, and then scuttling around him.
Guess who's outside!!!!
After filming her fluff piece, Payson is all horrified because the interviewer got all creepy and found it appropriate to grill her about THE KISS. She's bitching to Kaylie and Lauren when ABKP comes bouncing over. They do that horrible, bitchy thing that girls do, where they stop talking right as someone approaches them, so naturally ABKP thinks they're talking about her.
Sidenote: her hair is SO MUCH CUTER now, OMG.
Anyway, she gets all butthurt, and then stomps away to go do handstands by herself. Kaylie feels bad, and also understands that under no circumstances should an elite gymnast practice handstands without a spot, so she leaves the group to go help ABKP.
Right as NGO guy is about to leave, he and Mac witness Kaylie going all Mustafina on a 2.5 full.
Instead of correcting her form or technique, Mac berates Kaylie because her "presence is lazy and sluggish."
He may have a point. Next, he encounters Payson taking a million empty swings before hurdling into the worst pak ever.
Filthy. He, rightly so, freaks out on Payson a bit, which crosses the line for NGO guy. He pulls Mac into the office for a little talking to.
Cut to Mac having dinner at home with the Sexy Nutritionist. He's replaying the day's events to his wife, and explains that the girls only sucked because NGO guy was watching them. Not because they coach themselves.
The girls are enjoying an ice bath, and wrapping various body parts. Wild guess says there isn't one physical therapist at the USATC. Kaylie shows off her totally realistic rips.
It looks like she just made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is what it looks like. The girls cry and moan about their aches and pains, and decide that they need to ice Jordan out (flashback to the pilot episode!) Next, they admit that Mac hasn't a flying fuck about what he's doing. Payson very accurately observes that the team isn't getting any better. Jordan DARES to intrude on the one ice bath in the building, and the girls are absolute bitches to her. Lauren says something along the lines of "Go fuck off and die," which everyone agrees is kind of harsh, but no one puts a stop to the bullying. That's what it is, is it not? The whole episode revolves around how much Mac bullies the poor girls, but then they turn around and are downright cruel to Jordan, and to a lesser extent annoying Wendy Capshaw.
Payson gets a text from Rigo, who happens to be waiting for her inside of the gym. Creepy. They have a cliched chat about how very busy they both are, what with being athletes and all that. We get it.
Back in the dorms, Kaylie and ABKP are in their kitchen, which I'm confused about. Is it THEIR kitchen alone? Because the other girls are bitching about how they never see Kaylie anymore now that she lives and trains with ABKP. If they had separate rooms, but shared a kitchen, they'd still see her around. But they act as if they never see her ever.
But we see all four girls in the same kitchen.... so I really just don't get it.
A scene where Kaylie leaves her kitchen, and then a scene where Lauren leaves "her" kitchen. Maybe they all share the same kitchen, WHO THE FUCK KNOWS???
Anyway, back in the mystery kitchen, Kaylie and ABKP are enjoying some empty cups with nothing in them. OK, so when I had rips back in the day, I would do everything humanly possible to not let anything get near my busted hand, ever. I became a wizard at shampooing and showering with one hand. So, why in God's name is Kaylie holding her big old coffee cup with her taped up hand?
I would absolutely learn to pretend drink with my other hand in this scenario. Anyway, Kaylie explains to ABKP that the girls weren't trying to ignore her in the gym, it was just because they were talking about THE KISS. ABKP offers to ask her mom who really sent in the video, because she knows it must have been someone from inside the Rock. They're in the middle of a conversation when Kaylie gets a text from Austin, and immediately has to bolt. I'm starting to hate this bitch. Like, you can wait four minutes to finish the discussion you were having with your friend, and then go spend all of your time with your boyfriend. No need to drop your empty coffee cup and run the second your guy texts you.
The next day, Payson is creepily staring at Lauren while Lo is lotioning up her legs.
Coo coo ca choo? That seems very inappropriate. Payson wants Lauren to teach her about the birds and the bees, which Lauren excitedly does.
She tells Pay that if a boy really likes her, he'll ask her on a real date. When who should knock upon their door to ask her on a real date but Rigo? First the gym, now her bedroom. Where will he find her next, one wonders? Lauren bolts out of the room, which again, is the exact same room that Kaylie and ABKP live in. Rigo and Payson have yet another conversation about just how darned busy they both are, with training and all of their college courses that the USATC is forcing them to take. They are both booked up for every single second from now until the Olympics. Except for that evening. We get it.
Lauren is in the lobby, getting gussied up, when Jordan delivers some unsolicited advice about Kaylie being a hoe. Now, while Jordan was cool in the first episode, she's being an Emily-style bitch now. At the same time, I also agree with Kaylie being a backstabber. I mean, fuck, look at how she treats her very best friends the second she gets a boyfriend? That said, Jordan is just kind of unlikable now. I'm sure she has some great reason for being a bitch, but for now, she's just a rabble rouser.
Before practice (or "prakky," was it?) Payson goes and tattles on Mac to the NGO guy. NGO's all "Dude, we already know. He's a terrible coach."
Inside the gym, the girls are all doing their own random shit, since they all must coach themselves. ABKP and Kaylie further discuss contacting Peggy Hill to find out who sent in the tape of THE KISS. Meanwhile, Lauren and Payson are actually working out, for once, on beam.
I do love when they randomly toss in Ayla Kell's ability to dance. This is lovely. Lauren hops on next, and this is when I first notice that there is not one lick of chalk on that beam. What is this, CGA? No good can come of this.
Lauren has one of her spells right before she dives into her BHS 1/4. Her spells freak me out, because that's kind of how I was before I got my Lyme diagnosis. At that time, I sure as shit did not dive backwards into any beams, so when she does, it terrifies me. That, plus not having even the tiniest bit of chalk on the beam or her hands, and well, it's not shocking when she slips and eats it with the worst fall I have seen on the show since Emily in episode 1.
Of course she lands with a Lauren-esque splat. She's knocked out cold, and Mac is nowhere to be seen. I am surprised that even the lowly assistant coach shows up, but she does. Lauren comes to, shakes it off, and tries to convince everyone that she's just fine. Payson's not stupid (well, sometimes) and knows that something is up.
Jan was there.
In the office, NGO guy gives Mac 48 hours to turn his team around. I can't even... OK. Mac calls a mandatory, but only for the six main girls, meeting at his house that evening.
Oh noes! This means Payson will miss her date with her stalker/Rigo. She texts him, and within seconds he is INSIDE OF THE GYM. I miss Sasha and his no-boys rule. Remember when he wouldn't even let Creepy Carter in the Rock? Good times, good times. Payson asks if they can reschedule their date for the next night. She says she'll blow off her endorsement commitments, just so she can be with him. Great. That's a fine lesson for the kids to learn. Hey ladies, if you get a boyfriend, ditch your friends and blow off your commitments. Boys come first!
Doesn't matter, because Rigo has a meet or competition or whatever it is BMX riders do out of state, so he can't do it. I guess Rigo has priorities.
The ladies are all getting dolled up to go to Coach Mac's place, which is kind of creepy. Payson tells Lauren that she was the one who tattled to the NGO, and Lauren's all "The fuck did you do???" Kaylie and ABKP are just about to head out, when ABKP gets a text from her mom, telling her that LAUREN OMG was the one who leaked the video of THE KISS. DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN.
There is a scene between Coach Mac and the Sexy Nutritionist, but I find them so boring that I just sort of tuned out. Something about how Coach Mac is completely bewildered that the girls are different than the boys.
The girls have some dinner at Coach's place, and then wander about his house for an amount of time. ABKP gets an email from her mother, which contains the forwarded email from Lauren, which is proof that Lauren leaked the video.
Sidenote: ABKP has the cutest haircut, AND wears the cutest outfits. If there was any justice in the world, SHE would have her own clothing line, and not Nastia "Pink Dress and Hooker Heels" Liukin.
The epitome of classy vs trashy. But that's a different blog post for a different day. Anyway, the girls are all rounding random corners, when Jordan, rounding her own corner, happens to overhear Kaylie and ABKP. They tell her to fuck off, and everyone goes back into the living room to listen to Coach Mac not coach them.
Coach decides to play the girls some training videos, and point out their errors. Huh. Well that's a first. He pauses on Wendy's double arabian first.
He chooses to harp on the "bend in her legs." Dude, it's a TUCKED DOUBLE ARABIAN. Next, we have Payson's Pak of Death.
I can't even. He tries to correct her shoulder angle, but Payson's all "Well, that's just how I do it." Bitch, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. Coach decides to wrap it up with a group viewing of Remember the Titans. The girls are just thrilled.
The moment Coach leaves the room, Lauren switches off the TV and blames Jordan for being a bitch. Jordan then unleashes on everyone calling them all pathetic, which poor Wendy takes offense to. I go back and forth with this Jordan character. I feel like we're supposed to feel bad for her, which I do when the other girls are hoebags to her. But then there are scenes like this, where her rage seems so unprovoked. She seems to legitimately enjoy telling Payson about Lauren sending in THE KISS video, like she enjoyed destroying the group just for the fun of it, not because they've all been pushing her around for the past few weeks.
All the same, the news is out: Lauren sent in the video of THE KISS. Payson pretends that she already knew, and then storms out of the house. And where does she run to, but the bench.
It's a hanging bench, but all the same. A bench is a bench is a bench, and where there's a bench, crying scenes will follow.
In all sincerity, this scene wasn't horrible. It was actually pretty good. Cassie Scerbo really does a number here, and seems so genuinely upset, as opposed to the crocodile tears we're used to. And for the first time in three seasons, she seems remorseful. A lot of it is the dialogue, which is magically kind of good. Lauren admits that, no, she has no idea how much she hurt Payson. She is all subtle and effective while Payson keeps Talking. Like. William. Shatner. And. I. Don't. Know. Why. She. Keeps. Pausing. It's. Not. Dramatic. Lauren tries to explain where she was at mentally back when she sent in the video, and how badly she wanted to keep Sister Mary Summer in her life, because everyone seemed to walk out of it. And Payson says what I have been saying for years, "Do you wonder why everyone keeps leaving you, you fucking little twat?" It was hilarious and witty when I said it, but it seems so harsh and cruel when Payson does. Lauren's breakdown seems real to me, and pulls at my cold, dead heart.
Trifecta of Tears.
Lauren storms inside, and runs into a confrontational Kaylie, who seems to think it's all about her. Lauren's all "Fuck you, I don't need to explain shit to you," and Kaylie's all "Oh yes you do. I'm Kaylie Cruz, the boss of the Rock, and I have a boyfriend." Then she takes a real stab at Lauren, and is all "I don't even KNOW you anymore."
"Are you fucking kidding me?!"
I love love love Lauren's reaction to that. The half laughter/half WTF response. It is so spot on. She points out that it is she, Kaylie, who ditched everyone, so fuck off thank you very much. I guess Jordan was right when she said Kaylie was a slut who abandoned her friends. Ouchie. ABKP rounds a corner, and happens upon this conversation right as Lauren storms off. She races into Kaylie's arms, and consoles her.
Everyone returns back to the couches, and Mac comes back, wondering where the movie went. No one says boo to him, so he admits that they all confuse the shit out of him. Furthermore, he's still pissed that someone tattled on him, and he'd like to know who it was. Payson's too chickenshit to say anything, so Lauren steps up and takes the blame. He's all "WTF? I'm trying to COACH you!" and ABKP's all "Um, yeah right. You don't coach us. Kaylie spots my handstands."
The girls each take a turn whining about how they don't get enough compliments. They don't like corrections, they all want pats on the back for trying hard. This whole scene reminds me of Stick It, where the crux of the story was "The sport shouldn't be judged, we should get points just for trying hard stuff, execution be damned." WELL YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANTED, DIDN'T YOU? Coach Mac just doesn't want to get fired, so he agrees to be Mr. Nice Guy from now on.
The doorbell rings. IT'S FUCKING RIGO. Stalker stalker stalker. He showed up to Payson's coach's house in the middle of a meeting so he could kiss her. Oh, and to ask her if he could change his status on Social Lounge, the fuck that is. So much is wrong with this scenario. So so wrong.
Back in the dorms, Payson and Lauren are in bed, having a chat before lights out. Payson gives Lauren credit for taking the blame for tattling, then they have this corny conversation about being friends. Payson has huge jugs for an elite gymnast, holy balls. Payson begs Lauren to tell her what's wrong with her health, and Lauren finally admits that something is definitely up. They agree to go to the doctor together. They say goodnight, and everything is hunky dory between the two best friends. Of course it is.
The next morning, we are back at the gym. Jordan hollers out to Coach, and screams at him to watch her doing a shitty standing back tuck on beam, which she almost falls on. He's all "Hey, super duper job! You'd didn't fall!"
Then Payson does a full in off of UB, which is high and nice. She's all like "Gee Coach, you were right. I did what you told me to do during the pak, except I did it during my dismount which is totes the same thing." High five, Coach! Finally, Wendy does a cannonball in place of her double arabian.
Instead of being all "OMG, you almost died!" Coach was just "Hey Wendy, you're super close. We can fix that!" Smiles all around!
NGO guy is pleased with this lobotomy, and tells Coach Mac that he gets to stick around, at least for the next few weeks. More high fives!
Then the girls gather to the floor, all doing their own shit.
Kaylie and ABKP are doing some fucked up handstands on vault, Payson's doing some squat kicks, Lauren's doing some tic tocs (fugly, but A for effort) and Jordan's doing fucking jumping jacks. Wendy, further proving my theory that she has some sort of dance background, is the only American in the world practicing her oversplits, so you go Wendy. And there ends our clusterfuck of a workout, and clusterfuck of an episode.
So much happened, and yet, we're exactly where we were at the beginning of the episode. Same girls on the team (no one was voted off,) same coach, same drama. So really, nothing happened at all.
I'm still pleased with Cassie Scerbo's performance, and maybe Nicole Gale Anderson's. Their jobs are made even tougher when they have to perform with the girl who Won't. Stop. Pausing. When. She. Talks. It's funny how the girls who used to be the worst (Lauren, ABKP) are now becoming awesome, while the goodie-goodies (Payson, Kaylie) are becoming losers who give up on their sport because boys come first.
Well, until next week friends, may your beams be chalk-free!