Dance Moms Recap: Bubble Trouble

Summer is over, the girls and their mothers are back in Los Angeles, and JoJo is on a hoverboard. It’s got all the makings for a dramatic (and extra-long, I’m sure!) season. That’s right, dear readers! Dance Moms returned last night, and Abby Lee Miller brought the crazy…which she promises has nothing to do with her upcoming absences. Please. Kendall hopes that the finished studio will be good for Abby’s soul…she can’t be hateful in this beautiful space, right? Melissa brags that Maddie isn’t in attendance because she’s filming a movie, oh, and she’s now Kalani’s legal guardian so the teen can dance with the group while her mother Kira gets married and gives birth. Timing, you know. Abby interrupts the clucking hens, and she is beyond peeved at their Nationals loss. She lectures her clearly defeated group of dancers about their recent humiliation as the mothers purse their lips and the girls fight back tears.

Abby declares a ban on any extra work. No music videos, no appearances, no auditions, just dance. JoJo’s mother points out the hypocrisy that Maddie is filming a movie. Jill screams about her loyalty and how Kendall was turning down jobs left and right, as Kendall bawls, pleading for her mother not to make things worse with Abby. Abby then declares all of her dancers on the bottom of the pyramid before introducing Brynn to fill the incredible void left by Maddie. Brynn’s mother Ashlee does the requisite amount of sucking up as the other moms sulk. 


For their first competition, Brynn gets the first solo. Kendall is pained that the new girl bypasses all their hard work to get the coveted dance. The group dance is based on the Boy in the Plastic Bubble…yeah, I’m not sure the girls are going to get that reference. Kalani interjects to say she’ll be at all upcoming rehearsals, but she won’t be competing as her father is getting married. What? Why is she even here? Who needs to see their dad walk down the aisle? Immediately, Ashlee and Melissa go at it after Ashlee accuses Maddie’s mother of talking badly about her daughter. Melissa shuts down…her daughter is the best (does she remember she also has MacKenzie?). JoJo is placed in the bubble, but she almost suffocates when the zipper to the plastic mess gets stuck. We’re not even a quarter of the way into the first episode of the new season and we may have a casualty on our hands!

JoJo escapes from the bubble while the mothers complain about Abby’s “just dance” law, which is hilarious given Maddie’s recent take-off. As Abby criticizes Kendall’s technique, Kendall fumes that while she loves Abby, she’s not her product. Kendall doesn’t want to be a competition dancer her entire life. She wants to sing and act and dance. Kendall wants to leave, and Abby declares her a hot mess. When Jill comes to her daughter’s defense, Kendall sticks to her guns. She’s over Abby’s fighting and drama…until her mom makes her return. Across town, Jeanette is leading the charge against the ALDC, and she’s recruited Gavin…he’s a precious and talented dancer who recently “killed it” on Ellen. She plans to revamp Abby’s losing Nationals routine with actual choreography. After a heart-to-heart in the parking lot, Jill promises Kendall she won’t go head-to-head with Abby anymore. Kendall returns to the group, but Abby takes a break from rehearsal to Facetime with Maddie. Melissa beams as the other mothers fume. The following day, Abby reminds Kendall that her mother is an evil villain who won’t leave well enough alone. Jill vows to her cohorts that she’ll stay quiet in the studio, but she’s not going to turn down any potential opportunities for Kendall. Holly will believe Jill’s defiance when she sees it. 

Brynn’s solo is a lyrical piece that Abby hopes will beat out any of Jeanette’s crew. The moms prowl social media, searching for Brynn’s competition. When they learn that Gavin has a solo, they declare his advantage due to penis points…apparently there aren’t a lot of male dancers his age. They come across a post from Jeanette that states, “We’ll be waiting,” and the group automatically (and correctly) assumes that she’s ripped off the ALDC’s waiting room number. I’m sorry, but this is so scripted. This group of ladies couldn’t find their way out of wet paper bag, so there is no way they guessed Jeanette’s group routine based on that inference. Speaking of, the BDA is working on their version of The Waiting Room. Jeanette reminds her dancers that Abby didn’t have that connection with the story, but she does. She tearily recalls her sister’s car accident while declaring that Abby has no clue about what it’s like to roam a hospital waiting room. That’s low, and I can’t flippin’ stand Abby. 

Did I mention that JoJo only has five minutes of air inside the bubble in which she’s dancing? There is a lot of zipping and unzipping, and Abby proclaims that it’s horrible. Only Holly seems concerned about JoJo’s lack of oxygen while playing in a human hamster ball. The next day, the ALDC walks into the season’s first competition with a warm welcome. Jeanette starts off the day baiting the ALDC moms who are quick to bite. Rise above, ladies. Oh wait…I forgot what I was watching. Maddie is glad to be back with her team, but she’s sad she’s not competing. She regales her friends with the wonders of movie making and skilled actors while silently wondering why Brynn is dancing in her place. Maddie, you are doing so much better for yourself and career far, far away from this mess. I hope this is the last season for your contract so you can stop making the required appearances.

Gavin is the first to perform, and he’s one talented little dude. If dance doesn’t work out for him, I feel like when he’s older, he’d be the perfect SUR server. Brynn follows, and while amazing, she doesn’t have that Maddie quality. Her lines are perfect, but there is just something about Maddie that makes her dancing mesmerizing. Abby finds her to be phenomenal, but she isn’t sure Brynn’s performance is enough to beat Gavin. As the ALDC and BDA prep for the group routine, the mothers are in rare form. Nia questions the protocol if they can’t free JoJo from her plastic tomb. Abby declares they just need to scream fire so people come running. Um, I think when people hear “fire” they run in the opposite direction, but that’s just me. 🙂 The girls roll JoJo onto the stage, complete with their surgery masks. It’s an impressive visual for sure. The dance is amazing, and JoJo rocks her bubble as I have a mild panic attack about her confinement. It was phenomenal.

As Jeanette’s mothers scramble to get their props on stage, Abby complains to the judges that they are spending too much time organizing. The head judge disqualifies Jeanette’s group for taking too long and the crowd chants to “let them dance.” As a compromise, their group routine will have an automatic points deduction. Score one for evil Abby, subtract a few for Jeanette’s poor copycat dance. It’s great, but I can’t remember the ALDC’s waiting room routine to compare apples to apples. At the awards cermony, Brynn bests Gavin, winning first in the teen solo division to his second. Likewise, Jeanette’s Waiting Room is ousted by the ALDC’s victorious bubble dance. Backstage, Abby chastises Kendall with backhanded compliments about her recent behavior (she’s too beautiful to throw tantrums) before reminding her team that they are only as good as their last dance. If they want to reach anywhere near Maddie’s stardom, they had better learn how to take criticism. A teary Melissa beams with pride as Abby joins in the cryfest over Maddie’s success. Abby then changes her mood, claiming she feels like she’s being chained down to this group. Um, what? 


[Photo Credit: Lifetime]