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There’s A New Sheriff In Town – And She’s A Hugger! Or, Duvet Hears Baby Steps Coming Towards Boulder...Or, STILL, Lauren's Redeeming Qualities? We Got None Either.

Raise your paw if you think this season is Rocking?
Hello faithful MIOBI-ers, welcome back to the crisp clean air of Boulder, Colorado, where freedom rings. This weeks episode of Make It or Break It covered all things freedom - freedom from rehab, freedom from rules, freedom from parole, freedom from having to spend every free moment at the Pizza Shack and exploring new venues. Hey, anyone want a Spruce Juice? They come in orange and red! But freedom is fleeting and may come with a price. So strap on your leo, chalk up your hands, and pre-visualize your landing, because we are bowing to the powerful goddesses in us all in episode 2012.

Sensitive artist Kaylie contemplates hacking off her ear.
We first find Kaylie with a blank canvas - literally. Forced into rehab slave labor to express herself with art, Kaylie is taking some quick tips from her devilish roommate on how to speak fluent Recovery and get herself out of this sunny hell hole before World Competitions start. Shes already gained three pounds - in attitude! Meanwhile, The Rock gymnasts seem to be doing just fine without a head coach, although one would think those nameless, soundless assistant coaches in red shirts running around in the background with clipboards could raise a finger. When did The Rock become the Starship Enterprise? I just know one of those assistant redshirt coaches are going to be sent on an away mission and beaten up by a Gorn. It is up to the firm but heavy hand of Payson, who has taken on the duties training, cracking the whip over Emily and Lauren while the adorable little girl with the big eyes asks for her to inspire her dreams. But Lauren is back to her evil ways, clubbing seals, kicking dogs, and plotting to bring a ringer in to be the new coach.

And that new coach is former Silver Medal Olympian Darby - whom we will call Darbs with a squeal, and she will jump up and down, grin with more teeth than I've ever seen, and lead us in pagan rituals. An ebullient mix of Eastern philosophy, Plastic Ono Band, and Black Panther, Darbs leads by trust and friendship, rather than such passé things like 'rules' and 'routine.' After all, oppression encourages rebellion. If there's nothing to rebel against, these rogues will just shrug and come in to the gym, won't they?

Payson is not convinced. Nor is Emily, and we are treated to probably the greatest string of reaction shots ever as the two of them take in Lauren's professing to be team coach, now that Kaylie is out of the picture. Pay, fueled by her mother's tradition of serving fresh fruit in clear bowls on her kitchen island, pipes up to say that she should be team captain, not Lauren. She goes on to say if Sasha were there, they would have a competition to decide. Darbs puts the idea to a vote, and the Mini Meet is on! But first, new coach Darby does a solid for every male watcher in the audience that had to sit through Big Hunks last week and does a routine on the bars in a spectacularly complimentary black leo. She also earns some begrudging respect from Payson. Turns out the new coach actually has chops.

Kaylie has a big show to put on herself for the rehab goddess. She has been properly briefed on which buzz words to say and how to say them, and, pulling the wool over this expert's eyes and her parents, she is free to go home. Elated, she is already picking out her outfit for Worlds when she is told that she cannot start training. Free but not free, she is encouraged to pick up another interest like singing. "I hate singing," she says, and we get another fantastic reaction shot from her mother, former pop star Ronnie. By the way, am I the only one dying to hear any of Ronnie's recordings? Is there a Ronnie and Damon duet in the cards?

I hope she likes juice as much as I do? Or, Damon comes back from LA a juice addict.
After all, Damon is back in Boulder. At the Spruce Juice! Turns out he is uninspired writing music in LA and has been sent back to find his muse in Boulder. And there's his muse now, Emily Kmetko, no longer shackled by her ankle-monitoring bracelet and free from that pesky probation officer (farewell, Marsha Clark! We hardly knew ya). With the relaxed hippy rules Darbs has for The Rock nowadays, Emily is free to date, free to have a boyfriend, free to give up her virginity. What a relief!

Love is in the air everywhere, and we check in with Lauren's father Steve, who, I kid you not, says to Summer, "before I destroyed your faith in me, we had something special. Didn't we?" What a smooth talker! Or maybe it's that see-through red wine he's serving. Should have let that bottle ferment a little longer, Steve. Summer swoons, though, but shes got a caveat: Steve can keep nothing from her ever again. No lies, no nothing. This suits the changed Steve, who's got an announcement to make,and by simply calling over his shoulder, his mighty voice echoes through the entire house, interrupting the slumber party Lauren and Darby are having. Seems Darbs and LoLo were BFFs years ago at NGO camp, and now Darby is staying with the Tanners, looking gorgeous in her jammies while Lauren reads BM magazine. Seriously? Did she swipe that from Kaylie's rehab? Does that girl have no morals whatsoever? Apparently not, as she plants more seeds of rumor about Payson and Sasha in Darby's willing ears. But Lauren plods down the hall to get the news that it's official - Steve and Summer are back together. Which instantly means to Lauren that they are getting married and she has a mommy now! Maybe it was just me, but it kind of looked like Summer was still thinking about being all over Sasha in that tight office at The Rock.

I think they're finally gonna do it! LET'S GET READY TO TUMBLE!!
Emily returns home from a magical evening reclined in the front seat of Damon's car, wishing on shooting stars. She enters her front door to find the man who works at night, Don Draper lite from the NGO, who was looking less suave this week and more like Phil Dunphy playing dress-up. I think he's popping by in the middle of the night trying to catch Chloe in her work outfit again. He comes bearing a restrictive, no-life contract and an ultimatum: Emily, if you are to be on the National Team, you are to do nothing but practice at the gym and go home. No boyfriends. No job. No eating. No breathing. No blogging. And most of all, no virginity losing. Of course, its up to her. With the freedom of choice, she can choose to sign the contract, or she can choose to be happy with the love of her life, droopy-eyed, messy haired Damon. Whats a dedicated Pizza Shack employee to do?

The pains of being pure at heart.
I know - get in touch with The Source! Yes, dippy Darby is dripping in Dharma in the get-here-whenever-you-can morning practice, but she's doing a bang-up job guiding a morning meditation because everyone there is so actively attuned to the underlying silence that they are completely unobservant of Emily and Paysons outside voice conversation happening right next to them. Hey, redshirt assistant coach that's just the sort of obliviousness that gets guys like you eaten by a Horta!

Speaking of eating, Mrs. Cruz is thrilled to distract her daughter from her illness by opening up the secret vault in this enormous mansion they live in so that Kaylie has a room to work on art. Little did we know the gold record hanging in the living room was just one piece of memorabilia in the Ronnie empire; Casa de Cruz has an entire recording studio in the west wing, overflowing with magazine covers, awards, more gold records, and a larger-than-life size standee of a younger, bigger haired Ronnie, taken in the olden days before red eye reduction was freely available. With a twinge of regret, Ronnie goes to get a single cardboard box to pack up just the things that are in the way, but Kaylie has already started by tossing - I think it may be an Telly trophy or some carved ice - into the framed "Legs Only" gold record on the wall. Seems Kaylie is trying to make a point to her dad - she's healthy! She's well! She needs to train! She's an athlete! Only Dad can understand that! I'm beginning to see how Lauren and Kaylie got to be such close friends. Come back, sweet Kaylie from seasons past, we miss you. Here's hoping you actually get some recovery because you are getting less healthy by the minute.

Back at The Rock, the sage, crystals, and scented candles are tucked away for the big competition between Lauren and Payson to determine who will be team captain. We learn a bit about Payson's process she envisions herself doing her routine before she does so whereas Lauren just hops on up and runs in recklessly. But look at Payson go! Emily is there, cheering her on, and I cant help but be impressed once again by the ability of this show to make momentous occasions go by just like they do in real life. Things just happen sometimes, and we're not aware of how big the occasion is until time and perspective put it into place. It was just over a year ago that Payson was in a back brace, told she could never do gymnastics again, slumming around with a cheerful glasses-wearing public school nerd. (Who I miss desperately - can we get Heather back on the show? Love her!) And now, without Sasha, without her parents, without Counselor Troi looking on, she performs a flawless parallel bar routine for the first time since her accident. And then, unceremoniously, she moves on to the beam. I don't know about you, but I leapt from my seat Payson Keeler has returned! Let's hope she doesn't start screwing around with that vexing shutterbug boy and ruin everything.

Whatevs...Daddy's little girl.
The big competition ends in a tie, thanks to Lauren actually doing what Lauren does best - rocking on the beam. I love when Lauren is good at gymnastics; she talks such smack, and she is a whiny baby most of the time, but when she gets up and delivers the goods, I can almost forgive her. Well, except for the clubbing baby seals part. Darbs cant honor just one goddess so she makes both winners co-captains, much to the anger of Lauren. She storms home to daddy to pull the you-let-my-mom-die card on him again, enumerating the sacrifices she has made, including spilling the beans about her masterminding the leaking of the Sasha-Payson kiss picture to the NGO. Oops - looks like Steve has a big choice to make. He spoke pretty large about kicking the person out of The Rock who let the photo out and he's promised to not lie to Summer. Who gets his trust now - baby Lauren or lovey Summer?

We close out on Kaylie's continued descent into the dark side, as her evil roommate from rehab eggs her on to grab a little Damon action. Emily has confided in Kaylie that Damon is back in town over some Spruce Juice, and he has given so much of himself to Emily, and she has given him nothing in return. Kaylie has the perfect idea - why not give him Mom's recording studio? That way he can finish his record in Boulder and I can get my fantasy Damon / Ronnie single! Or wait - is Kaylie going to be singing with Damon? I know I should be happy for Emily and Damon, but when Emily shows up at his well-appointed hipster apartment to say she is signing the contract and swearing off boys until the NGO says she can date again, I felt a foreboding. She's not going to sign the contract until she gives Damon her most special prize. Fade to black as Damon gets his wish from the shooting star.

Oh, Emily. Has Lauren taught you nothing? Has your mother? Is this going to end well for Damon and Emily? Will Kaylie move her exercise walker into the recording studio? Will Steve do what is right? Is Darby's loosey goosey coaching style actually going to work? Who coaches the inner goddesses of the boys, anyway? We're just getting started this season and things are already churning up, MIOBI-style. Can't wait for more. Namaste!

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