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The Deep Dark Truthful Mirror...Or, Pass Me The Truthcorn!...Or, Where Can Bob Duvet Find A "Practice Tramp"?

Kaylie, you gonna be alright Girl...Slow connections suck and I don't mean internet connections.
Hello again, MIOBI nation! This week we take a long hard look as our Rock girls come to grips with how they appear to be, who they want to be, and how they really are. It’s an episode of reflections, projections of self onto others, through others, and finally back into their very lives.  So if you feel like the new girl and need a friend, don’t look around you – look at yourself. You just might find salvation.
We find Kaylie finding consolation with her furry pink pillows and blankets, still processing the shock of losing her not-quite-a-friend friend, Maeve, whose untimely death at 17 is a four column headline on the internet. The maid that brings the Cruz family hot towels while working out must also spit shine Kaylie’s laptop screen, for as she switches off her display, the monitor becomes a perfect mirror, and where once was Maeve’s face now is Kaylie’s, in the first of many reflection-and-reversal moments this episode offers up.

The following morning, The Rock is all abuzz with word of the impending meet against Dallas, and Darby is doing her Darbyest to get the girls prepared. How? By having one of her gymnasts spend the afternoon shooting photos. It’s waa waa waa Max, who can now photograph Payson out in the open and is following her around, while Lauren, who very clearly called ‘dibs’ on Max, is doing her darnedest to get some of that sweet voyeurism spread her way. 

Sweet procrastination! Wait for it...wait for it!
Speaking of sweet voyeurism, Damon is also staring longingly at a computer screen, this one filled with Emily, and trying to be inspired to write his hit songs. Currently his lyrics have to do with staring longingly at a computer screen. I’m guessing the crossed out lyrics in his Moleskin book are something about staring at a blue piano, or a pensive ditty about placing a capo on the second fret. Kaylie, wandering around the house like Jacob Marley, literally pokes her head in the studio, overhearing Damon’s writing process where he writes words and lyrics simultaneously, a one man Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore hit making machine. He is uninspired, since he is unable to be in the same room as Emily. Kaylie, taking her cue from Damon’s cavalier mentioning that he writes songs about life and death, miraculously sings what she thinks Damon just wrote. But he says that’s not what he just wrote – in fact, it’s BETTER, and inspired.  Damon sees Kaylie a whole new way - a way to get out of writing lyrics, apparently. Way to shirk responsibility, Da-mo.

Shouldering the responsibility of the Rock girls is still squarely on Dippy Darby’s shoulders, who has some bad news and good news to share: Dallas has backed out, there will be no meet against the best team in the nation – but subbing at last minute is the Pinewood Gym Club from Davenport, Iowa! The Rock Elite treat this news as if they are being told The Rolling Stones have cancelled and Jack Mack and the Heart Attack are playing instead, especially Payson, who is not hiding her disdain of the new coach. Darbs overhears Pay’s grumblings, and cracks begin to show in her perpetually perky posing. She decides to tackle this challenge the way any good coach would – by blackmail, of course. She tells Payson that if Pay goes around making the meet with Iowa sound like great shakes, then Darby will improve her vault score by point-seven.    Payson agrees, and Darby is free to return to doing her inimitable coaching, which means she orders headshots of the girls for the lobby. Lauren taps shutterbug Max for a private photo shoot at her home later that evening, and I’m already picturing Dudley Moore inviting Goldie Hawn over. Beware of the dwarf, Max.
From Madison Square Garden to The Pizza Shack...He still gets nervous, that's SOOOO cute!
Meanwhile, Kaylie and Damon are still exploring the Lennon / McCartney vibe they’ve got going on when Kaylie gets a call from Maeve’s mother asking if she would speak at the funeral. Damon’s spider senses start tingling and he zooms in on Kaylie’s distress. She relents and admits she doesn’t want to speak at the funeral, and he gives typical artsy fartsy advice by telling her to just say what she feels. In a bravura bit of honesty, Kaylie crumbles and says everyone tells her that, but she doesn’t know how she feels. Damon, like Linus supporting Charlie Brown on his way to the Spelling Bee, hands off his security blanket to Kaylie: his book of rhymes, offering that she just try writing. Which she eventually does, in perfect iambic quadrameter, putting Damon’s scattered spondees to shame.

Since now he has no outlet for himself, and he’s updated his royalty free equivalent Facebook page with a street sign photo illustrating no outlet, he’s free to instant message chat with Emily, who just so happened to be checking out his keen green flyer for his show at the Pizza Shack, designed by Johnny Bravo and the Brady Kids. Emily decides it’s not breaking the rules of her contract to chat online with Damon, but she’s not that confident because she quickly shuts it down when mom Chloe comes in the room. Maybe if Emily hadn’t chosen bright red Papyrus font as her default chat setting she could get away with it more stealthily. Fortunately, she’s still got the “you work in a strip club” attack she can hold over Chloe’s head, the second time she’s used it in one day. Emily’s starting to sound a bit like Lauren with her “oh yeah, well you let my mom die” ace card. 

Note to self: Buy nice camera and start taking pics of chicks.
Lauren’s doing some waiting, though, as Max has come over to Payson’s house first to take some très jolie photos of her, and so blinded is he by her awkward-Tivo-freeze-frame expressions that he doesn’t even notice he’s shooting with a flash directly into a mirror. Stick to the rings, buddy, leave the photography to Teren Oddo! And though he doesn’t have anything better to do, he is a man of his word, and shows up to Lauren’s house for her headshot, where despite the fact that she was unable to go shopping that afternoon, she is dressed for Maxim in a form-fitting schoolgirl uniform. Not getting the shots she wants out of Max’s memory stick, she goes to slip into something more comfortable, missing Payson calling to set up a ‘plan’ with Max. The modern day Hugo and Kim have a split screen Telephone Hour moment, we’ll call it puppy love, and Max hangs up in time to see Lauren come back dressed only in a bra and panties. But so dedicated is Max in his love for Payson, he turns his eyes away and boldly heads out the door, sticking to his principles and – oh, who am I kidding, this guy isn’t Carter Anderson, of course he stays and takes photos as Lauren turns up the blue coal fire.
Resistance is futile...My angel is a centerfold
And then, we have the scene that we love to see on ‘Make It or Break It.’ The show has a long tradition of people overhearing or seeing just the wrong thing at just the right moment, and Summer is the queen of this, walking in right as the flashes are popping. Max skedaddles before Lauren can get a robe on, and Summer lays down the law: there are to be no secrets between Steve and Summer anymore, and she is absolutely going to tell. And here’s Lauren doing what Lauren does best in a truly fantastic scene, going from indignant to defensive to vulnerable to soul-baringly honest in the stretch of two minutes, all the while never losing the master manipulative touch she has to always get her way. Actress Cassie Scerbo hits this out of the park and let’s just take a moment here to acknowledge the killer performance she puts on. “Why doesn’t anybody want me?” she cries, and there she is, for all to see: desperate, lonely, abandoned Lauren just wants to be loved, by Carter, by Daddy, by Summer, by the mother she never knew, by the guy that cleans windshields for change at the Boulder BP...Truly, Lauren, the first person who needs to love you? Is you.

Emily, who should know by now that freedom – it ain’t free – is discovered by Payson promoting Damon’s show on the Rock bulletin board and, keeping her end of the blackmail bargain with Darby, points out Emily isn’t sticking her landings and she should be taking the meet with the Iowa Sissies more seriously instead of encroaching on the Christian Summer Camp flyers. But Payson is dropping the ball on getting her Max, as Lauren sneakily asks him out to the Shack to watch Damon play. Payson makes a date she calls a plan though Lauren has a plan she calls a date – reflections reversed. However, Kim, Payson’s mom, who seems to be the only person who remembers Payson’s extreme back injury, pulls Darby aside to make sure her kid can continue to walk and puts the kibosh on this new move Darbs is teaching. Darby pulls the plug on Payson, who lays into her jellyfish-like ways, and Darby takes a page from the gospel of Sasha by saying the Elites are going to be in the gym all night. Oh no! What about Lauren’s date? What about Payson’s plan? Who will go see Damon’s show? 

Rock bottom never looked so HOTT!
Maybe not even Damon will be there, since he’s at Maeve’s funeral with Kaylie, even though she gave his book back in an attempt to show she didn’t want him there. Maeve’s mom pewblocks Kaylie to thank her for coming, saying how she is looking forward hearing her speak and sharing how well Maeve was doing in the end, and it’s too much for Kaylie to bear. She runs out to a steadying bench, conveniently placed for those who want to face away from church, you know, maybe wait for a streetcar or something, and just like Lauren always gets beat by Kaylie in the gym, actress Josie Loren shreds in this emotional scene where she comes to grips with her own choices, mistakes, lies, humanity, and her very mortality. “The truth is, I am Maeve, and I don’t want to die!” she exclaims, and it’s not a cry of desperation – it finally, honestly, authentically Kaylie’s bottom. She has found herself all on her own and she has overcome the hardest part of all: she is admitting who she is, and she is asking for help. Kaylie Cruz, you are my champion!

Darby, you are falling apart! Sitar music plays as the increasingly drowning Darby passes around a huge bowl of ‘truthcorn,’ surely an exercise she’s borrowed from NGO camp. Payson truthfully says she’d rather be at home, and Lauren uses her wicked powers of persuasion by saying she’d rather be at the Pizza Shack, and after a quick vote where everyone excluding Payson says they want to go, Darby bends like a reed and the whole team is off to see the gig. Damon is there with his backup acoustic guitar player who isn’t reading his charts and doesn’t know about the second fret capo, but it’s no matter. What does matter is that Lauren shows Payson the sexy shots Max took of her on their “date” last night, just in time before Max catches sight of them and twiddles his fingers. Payson isn’t buying what he’s selling, though, and she is no longer the president of the Sweet Apple fan club for Max. What did she ever see in him? She’s got a lot of livin’ to do. 

Emily is absorbing the joy of being in the same room as Damon, especially since it appears to be Razor’s night off, when Damon calls out into the audience for Kaylie to join him on stage, which she does, and the two sing the song they wrote together, and again, big ups to Josie Loren – who knew Kaylie could sing? And while we’re at it, can we get a hand for the sound guys at the Pizza Shack? Those mics pick up everything, it’s astounding. And quite touching, as Damon sings, filled with longing for Emily, and Kaylie sings, filled with self-realization and acceptance about Maeve. But it sure looks like the two of them are singing to each other, like Peaches & Herb, and it’s not sitting well with Emily. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, because the Terminator – er, I mean, the NGOgre has been back at her house and at the Rock looking for her. Fortunately Summer heads him off at the pass, and sends him the long way so she can get to the Shack in time to sneak Emily out the back. Doesn’t he know there’s a super fast way to get from the Pizza Shack to just about anywhere in town? Kaylie and Emily made it from the Shack to the radio station before Damon’s song was even over a couple of seasons ago. I digress. The NGOgre isn’t buying Payson’s story but is easily distracted by Darby, quaffing half a beer. This is not Darby’s week.
Even the extra next to Payson ain't buying it...Marcus, WHAT UP!
And it is not the Rock’s week, either, as the team plummets in unpreparedness, losing mightily to the Iowa team, which, by the way, is coached by my neighbor Lynn. Darby tries to goose the score by putting Payson’s big move back in, defying the wrath of Kim, and Payson falls hard on her back, missing the landing. The Rock girls lose by 20 points, and Payson hands Darby her perky butt on a platter, calling her out on everything she is that isn’t a good coach. Darby flees in tears, and the Rock girls are mirrored to where we very first saw them, standing in The Rock, without a coach. Will they make it this time?  Or break it?

Finally, we see Kaylie in her bed, just like we did at the beginning, another mirror shot, another reflection. She tears out her calorie counting and writes. My name is Kaylie Cruz, and I am anorexic. Hi, Kaylie! We welcome you to recovery. It works if you work it. Can’t wait for next week. Can you? Hit us up, let us know, and while you’re waiting, be sure to listen to the current episode of ‘The Tank’ podcast where we talk with MIOBI executive producer Holly Sorensen and she gives exclusive behind the scenes stories, tells us which Rock Girl she’s most like, and just may have an idea to get romance back in Chloe Kmetko’s life with some very special guest stars. Can I get a “Rock On?”

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