In this episode of Dance Moms, “Showdown in Pittsburgh, Part 2,” Holly and Jessa clash with the other moms over a scheduling conflict. Nia and JoJo get last-minute solos. The group is more divided than ever. And Cathy nearly comes to blows with one of the ALDC moms.

There’s a lot at stake as the girls compete in their last east coast competition, Starbound. Adding to the pressure are Abby’s arch rivals, Jeanette and Crazy Cathy, who have come with their game faces on.

Dance Moms Recap: Who Doesn’t Show Up to Nia’s Music Video Premiere? >>>

Odd Women Out

Abby is pretty lackadaisical come competition day. Kalani, Maddie, Mackenzie and Kendall are at the dance convention JUMP, which offers master classes and scholarship opportunities. Nia and JoJo have been excluded from the event, and Holly and Jessa are pissed.

Cathy is like a bloodhound when it comes to sniffing out drama, and she makes a beeline for the cranky moms. She gets the 411, more or less, and questions why Abby would commit her team, or most of them anyway, to do a competition if they had another commitment.

Things go from bad to really, really crappy when Jill, Kira and Melissa finally arrive and reveal that Abby had arranged for her favorite foursome to be at JUMP the morning of the competition. Jeanette decides to insert herself into the mix and states that she thinks all the members of the ALDC should be at JUMP or Starbound, not split up. Melissa kindly tells Jeanette to mind her own business.

Abby make her grand entrance and Cathy questions why she would double-book her girls. Abby isn’t about to answer to Cathy, so she blows her off. Not so easily dissuaded are Jessa and Holly. Holly argues that she’s on the outs, but Abby says that Holly’s current predicament is her own doing. Damn you, Aubrey O’Day, damn you straight to hell. Abby is like an elephant; she is never, ever going to forget this whole music video debacle.

Mean Girls

Holly turns her ire on Jill after she tells Holly they shouldn’t be airing ALDC business to Cathy and Jeanette. Holly and Jill have been going back and forth for weeks, and Holly is not about to take any flack from Jill. Holly thinks the last thing anyone needs to be worried about is her talking to Cathy. They’ve got solo routines with no soloists.

Holly and Jessa are definitely not hanging with the cool clique of Jill, Kira and Melissa. Holly is very vocal that she thinks Abby’s got them all under her thumb, which she does. These three have learned to suck up and shut up.

Pinch Hitters

Abby realizes that Kendall and Kalani are not going to make it in time to perform, so Nia and JoJo have to step up and take their teammates’ places. Some might look at this as a great opportunity, but Holly and Jessa don’t relish the ideas of their daughters being thrust into the spotlight completely unprepared and without the support of their teammates. It’s a clusterf**k, to be sure.

Time for Cathy to pop her head in to find out what Abby’s next move is. When she learns Nia and JoJo have been given solos, she starts blathering on in a series of non-sequiturs, talking about how maybe Abby gave Nia a solo because the teen’s music video was so fabulous. All of a sudden, Cathy is Nia’s biggest fan, pointing out how Nia is often slighted by her dance teacher. Jill interjects, and Cathy points out how Kendall wasn’t at Nia’s video premiere. Cathy might be a nitwit, but she knows enough about the ALDC group dynamic to be an effective button pusher.

Jill thinks Holly should be bowing and scraping to Abby for giving Nia a solo, but Holly doesn’t think her daughter being given a solo by default is anything to stand up and cheer about. Holly doesn’t like Nia facing her rival, Ava, with the odds stacked against her.

Chaos Breeds Chaos

Nia and JoJo perform their solos, but the ALDC is still in turmoil. It’s time for the group routine, and the other girls still have not arrived. Jeanette and Cathy smell blood in the water and they are pumped. Abby really screwed the pooch, and she knows it because she’s keeping a pretty low profile and letting the moms rip each other to shreds.

Jill gets a text that Kalani, Kendall, Maddie and Mackenzie will forfeit any possible scholarships if they leave. This might be the most tumultuous competition yet, and that’s saying something given the ALDC’s history.

The rest of the team show up, but now they have to play “beat the clock” in order to be ready to take the stage. There’s no time for warming up, and it’s questionable if they’ll even get their costumes on in time. Abby has reverted back to her frenetic self, and her voice is reaching decibels that only my dogs can hear. The girls pull it together just under the wire. Did we really think they wouldn’t?

JoJo, who had to improvise her routine, comes in third. Ava comes in first, and Nia is shut out of the top three.

The Candy Apples come in second in the junior group, and the ALDC takes top honors. Abby rolls out a huge cake, and the girls get to leave their hometown on a high note. Abby can’t help but point out that she wishes she could have had two solo winners but does say she’s proud of Nia and JoJo.  

Cathy, her mob of minions and Jeanette come in to rain on the ALDC’s parade. Insults are exchanged — you know, the usual. Jill films Cathy and her “paint by numbers” hair, and Cathy snatches Jill’s phone out of her hand. Does this woman not realize she’s already on television? What difference does a little home movie make at this point?

All of a sudden, Dance Moms looks more like the Bad Girls Club. Jill has to be hauled off before she hauls off and decks Cathy.

Holly is mortified, as any sane person should be. She questions what the future holds for the team. How can this group survive, much less thrive, in LA? And will their trip to Australia result in some sort of international incident?

This whole episode made me want to take a Xanax. These people are Shakespearean in their level of dysfunction.

Dance Moms airs Tuesdays at 9pm on Lifetime.

(Image courtesy of Lifetime)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.