Last night's Dance Moms had to have been one for the record books.  Not only did it have the return of Black Patsy, but we got to see Abby Lee Miller express emotions other than hatred or favoritism.  I didn't know she had it in her!  

The episode begins as the girls and moms convene in the studio, but Abby is missing.  She arrives late and explains to everyone that her dog Baby has passed away.  Abby fights through the tears to remind her troupe that this week they will be competing in St. Louis.  The girls are visibly saddened to see their teacher so upset.  Pets are family members, so my heart goes out to Abby.  Losing a pet is devastating.  Abby quickly runs through the pyramid.  Paige is on the bottom for her apparent lack of confidence.  Brooke joins her for only scoring fifth.  MacKenzie rounds out the lowest level.  Kendall is on the second rung, along with Nia whose facial expressions garner praise from Abby.  Maddie seems to have once again secured a permanent residence in the top spot.

The group number will have some ballet choreography, and MacKenzie is once again out of the dance.  Abby touts the piece as an epic love story, and she hopes she'll be able to escape into the fantasy of the dance to forget about the loss of BabyNia is given a solo, and Holly is over the moon for her daughter.  Maddie will also be dancing a solo.  Abby reminds the girls that St. Louis is the home of Nicaya, who is the daughter of blink-and-you-missed-her-but-man-was-she-sassy-putting-the-crazies-in-their-place Black Patsy.  Abby pleads with the moms to be on their best drama-free behavior.  Good luck with that!


As the girls rehearse the group dance, Abby is overcome with emotion.  She breaks down and leaves to go be with her mother.  While I realize that every week I criticize Abby for her vile treatment of the girls and her wretched behavior, the woman lost one of the most important things in her life.  I want to slap Kelly through the television when she laughs that "it's just a dog."  Jill decides that the women should change the group routine to pay tribute to Baby.  It's a risky choice as the moms pick new music and costumes for the routine.  Of course, Kelly and Christi are still not speaking.


At home, Abby is crying to her sick mother about the loss of her dog.  She feels guilty, thinking that perhaps she would have been able to save Baby had she known the dog was suffering.  The following day, Abby is a no-show at the studio, and the moms feel deserted.  Doesn't she know they need her so their daughters can show Black Patsy who the real dance moms are?  Priorities you know…Abby is now drawing a connection between Baby and her mother.  She's hesitant to travel for the competition because she doesn't want anything to happen to her ailing mother while she's away. 

Meanwhile, the girls are making a giant card for Abby.  None of the girls know how to take their sharp tongued, hateful leader when she's being so vulnerable.  Holly and Kelly interrupt the girls' rehearsal to see if their instructor knows when Abby will return.  She doesn't.  Well, does she know IF Abby will return?  Crickets.  This isn't looking too hot for the girls of the ALDS, especially since Nicaya is dancing her heart out during her practice in St. Louis.  Black Patsy Kaya feels like she has something to prove to Abby, so she hopes her daughter gives her best performance at the competition. 

Nia is rehearsing her solo, and it involves a hat.  Kelly makes the snide comment that she hopes that Abby axes the hat from her dance because she'd hate to see any other friendships ruined over a hat.  Not one to miss her not-so-subtle jab, Christi retaliates, saying her friendship was Kelly didn't end over Chloe's dropped hat…it ended because Kelly told Christi to bleeping bleep bleep.  The pair argues over phone-gate yet again…apparently friends call more than once according to Christi and friends call other friends back after the first missed call according to Kelly.  Potatoes, pa-tat-toes. 

Abby returns to the studio, and the dancers are all glad to have their teacher back.  Things are still tense between Christi and Kelly.  It's clear that both of their feelings are hurt.  Holly is worried that Nia has had little time to prepare her solo knowing that she's going up against Nicaya.  Abbby corrals the girls for a group rehearsal, and the moms are nervous as to how Abby will react to them changing the music for a tribute to Baby.  Abby is horrified by the new music.  If the moms wanted to make her feel appreciated during her time of need, wouldn't they have just respected her musical choices?  It's an epic fail for the mothers' attempts to be nice.  To prove that the girls aren't prepared to dance to the new music, Abby imposes an improv routine.  Can't she just say a simple, thanks, but no thanks and call it a day?


Kaya in her Black Patsy t-shirt loves intimidating the ALDS crew as they enter her world.  Holly is concerned about Nia's solo.  Abby didn't take much time to work with her, and Abby and Holly get into a spat about Nia's costume minutes before the poor girl takes the stage.  Nia rocks the stage (and the hat) and has the utmost class to wish Nicaya a sincere "good luck" before she begins her routine.  Again, these women could learn a lot from their daughters!  Nicaya does a great job as well, but Abby thinks she's regressed.  I don't want to admit that she isn't as good as I remembered because she's a helluva lot better than I could ever be. 

Maddie is phenomenal as always, but I am too distracted by the giant blood clots on her costume.  I don't want to say what it reminds me of, but it's super plus weird, and I feel like I have to make light days of it even in this regular flow post.  Too gross?  My apologies!  Melissa goes behind all of the mothers' backs and has the announcer tell the audience that Maddie's dance is dedicated to the memory of Baby.  If I recall correctly, Baby had kidney failure…she didn't slice an artery.  Again, I'm so sorry.  I just can't get over Maddie's costume.  Abby, of course, is touched by the gesture.  The other moms are livid that Abby berated the tribute from the group but is teary due to Maddie's dedication.

Abby is overwhelmed by Melissa's heartfelt gesture.  Melissa takes it one step further and shows Abby video that she took of Baby prancing around a few weeks earlier.  The moms ream Melissa for her actions, but she just deems them jealous that she's back in Abby's good graces.  Abby praises Maddie's tribute (if I type that word one more time, I'm going to start feeling like this recap is Hunger Games fan fiction!), and Jill questions why all the girls weren't able to show how badly they feel for Abby.  Not surprisingly, another verbal battle ensues.  The girls can't be bothered with their moms' antics…they are too nervous about performing the random improv routine Abby has forced upon them after the moms "scrapped" her epic love story. 


After their routine, Black Patsy starts criticizing Nia's technique.  Abby has the good sense to leave, and Holly does her best to ignore her.  When Kaya gets no response from Holly, she starts in on Kendall's dancing.  We all know Jill doesn't know how to take the high road!  The two "ladies" get into a screaming match in the lobby.  Some of the younger dancers are getting video of the drama on their phones.  Abby intervenes and apologizes on behalf of her studio.  Jill is pissed that the other moms didn't have her back, and joking about the fight actually brings Kelly and Christi back together. 

At the awards ceremony, the announcer apologizes for the scene in the lobby and reveals that the woman who started it has been ejected from the competition.  Abby finds it sad that Nicaya is no longer in the running to place after she was scratched due to her mother's temper.  I'm sure Abby's really upset about it.  Nia wins the top prize for best costume (what?  Maddie was robbed!), and even Abby has to laugh after she harshly judged Holly's seamstress skills minutes before Nia took the stage.  Nia then places third in the solo division.  I am so thrilled for her!  Maddie wins first place.  Who is surprised?  Abby, the moms, and the dancers are equally shocked when the improv number takes the number one spot.  Back in the staging room, Abby is moved to get the girls' card, and it may be the first time in the history of Dance Moms that an episode ends on a positive note.

Next week, the moms head out on the town while Abby tries her hand at speed dating.  Kendall and Nia get a duet, but Jill wants to make sure her daughter outshines Holly's.  Has she finally gone too far in Abby's book?


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]



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