MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 3.1: “Smells Like Winner”

It’s been almost a year since we had any new episodes of MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, and the dawning of the new season means a new location, new storylines, new cast members — and the relegation of some characters to the back burner, while others were shown the door.

The Big Three — National Champion Kaylie (Josie Loren), Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) and Payson (Ayla Kell) — arrive at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., after just barely qualifying back in last season’s finale. At the OTC, they meet Coach McIntire (Dondré T. Whitfield), who will put them through a grueling eight-week regimen and only the survivors will go to London.
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.15: Hungary Heart

This week’s episode was about reclaiming one’s mojo: The girls of the Rock got their Sasha back; Sasha got his groove back; Damon found his songwriting chops again; and Kaylie made strides toward reclaiming her life.

Payson (Ayla Kell), Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) and Emily (Chelsea Hobbs) were on their way to a tune-up meet in Budapest, Hungary, when Pay convinced the other girls to make a side trip to Bucharest, Romania, where she learned that Sasha (Neil Jackson) is hiding out. The trio ditched chaperones Darby (Meagan Holder) and Summer (Candice Cameron Bure) and tracked down Sasha, who was pulling pints and serving borscht in a tiny pub. Each of the girls pleaded with him to return to being their coach, because they all realized that they have no chance of winning Worlds, let alone Olympic gold, without him. But he turned them down, feeling guilty over being blind to the turmoil in their personal lives. Even Summer showed up, and pointed out that just because he ran away, doesn’t mean it was the right decision. After some personal soul-searching, Sasha showed up in Budapest at 3 a.m. to take the reins once again – provided the girls could prove they are worth coaching again. Meanwhile, back in Boulder, Kaylie (Josie Loren) came to terms with her eating disorder by realizing she honestly cannot blame it just on making weight for gymnastics. And she had to deal with Damon (Johnny Pacar), who was dealing with Emily’s latest break-up with him. Ems was upset that Damon sang with Kaylie, so he responded by writing Kaylie a song to sing! Passive-aggressive much?
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.11: The New Normal

The second half of the second season of ABC Family’s MAKE IT OR BREAK IT is off to a rollicking start, mixing a serious issue like eating disorders with lighter material like club rivalries – as well as a generous dollop of romantic complications.

No doubt you remember the unforgettable cliff-hangers from waaaaay back in August: Kaylie (Josie Loren) had collapsed as a consequence of her eating disorder; Emily (Chelsea Hobbs) was arrested after stealing medication for her brother; Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) discovered that her father Steve (Anthony Starke) had lied about keeping her late mother away from her meets; and Sasha (Neil Jackson) hauled his trailer outta town amid the scandal of Payson (Ayla Kell) kissing him. Oh, and there was some gymnastics, too: With the help of the legendary Bela Karolyi playing Sasha’s dad, Emily, Payson, Lauren and Kaylie all made the World team. Now, Emily and Kaylie must fight to keep their places on the team: Can Emily stay out of jail, and can Kaylie get sprung from rehab in time to get in shape for the Worlds?
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.8: Rock Bottom

Some characters may have bottomed out this week on MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, but it wasn’t for lack of aspiration on Payson’s part and, like all good bad girls, Lauren proved she is never without a plan.

Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) was beyond furious at dad Steve (Anthony Starke). So was Emily (Chelsea Hobbs), who brought him a big chunk of change and vowed to pay back every penny of the rest. Meanwhile, Chloe (Susan Ward) told Lauren she will not keep her and Carter having sex a secret, so either Lauren comes clean, or Chloe will. Cornered, Lauren turned to Carter (Zachary Burr Abel), who resolved to tell her father together. But Lauren always has something up her sleeve: She told Summer (Candice Cameron Bure) that she needs to marry Steve and be her stepmother. Thanks to her determination to pay back Steve, Emily was literally searching the couch cushions for change to pay for the bus. Which was kind of the last straw for her. She railed about carrying the family on her back, and demanded that her mother get another job. Chloe managed to get a word in edgewise to announce that she already secured one. (But we don’t know what it is… hmmm.)
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.6: Party Gone Out of Bounds

Way back in 1973, the theme from The Poseidon Adventure, “The Morning After,” won an Oscar as best original song, and the latest episode of MAKE IT OR BREAK IT should probably have used that tune for its closing theme, since much of the key action took place around dawn.

The episode began with Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) catching Chloe (Susan Ward) sneaking out of the house “like a common slut” after spending the night with Steve (Anthony Starke). Lauren then promptly lied to her father about being a virgin herself. When Chloe got home, she attempted to convince her kids, Emily (Chelsea Hobbs) and her brother Brian, that she actually came home last night, but the kids knew better; they gave mom “the talk” about using protection, much to her humiliation.
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.5: I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me

It’s been a while since I have been able to check in with the elite athletes of MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, and this week’s episode reminded me of what I like so much about this series: It focuses on charming, complex characters in stories that manage to be simple yet compelling.

I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, but comforting to see I haven’t missed much. MIORBI’s “Previously, on…” montage caught me up just fine. The recap segment on serialized drama is very important, and I don’t think enough shows pay enough attention to them. It fits in with the old-fashioned, straight-forward storytelling; don’t look here for fancy camera tricks directorial gloss.
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MAKE IT OR BREAK IT 2.2: All or nothing

Merci-fully, MAKE IT OR BREAK IT did not drag out the French invitational storyline. Just a week after being named to the national team for the special event, the ladies were sent to Calais this week, which proved to be the site of triumph and heartbreak for the girls from The Rock.

Lauren (Cassie Scerbo) was upset about going to France as an alternate, so her father, Steve (Anthony Starke) challenged her to do better. Instead, she did her worst: She waged psychological warfare on her teammates on two fronts. Lauren tormented Kaylie (Josie Loren) by talking about how happy she is with Carter (Zachary Burr Abel), emphasizing that they are having sex. Kaylie wanted to focus on the meet, but we could tell she was rattled. Then Lauren went to work on Emily (Chelsea Hobbs), needling her about Damon (Johnny Pacar) being in nearby Paris with Green Day – and tons of groupies. “As far as he knows, you blew him off,” Lauren hissed. Lauren’s twin objectives were to get Emily to screw up and get kicked off the team, then to destabilize Kaylie so Lauren could win the overall gold.
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