In this episode of Dance Moms, “The Great Divide,” Abby delivers some news that affects the older members of the team. Holly and Jill are at odds over how to deal with Abby. And Jill gets into a heated argument with Kira.

The moms and girls are back from La La Land, and their trip only served to fracture the team more. Holly, Kira and Jess let their girls participate in the MattyB video after Abby swooped in and pulled the plug, which she only did because Mackenzie didn’t get to share top billing with MattyB. Of course, Melissa goes and does whatever Abby tells her to, and Jill’s a kiss-ass, so she didn’t let Kendall stay either. Kendall wasn’t one of the featured girls, but I’m certain if she had been, Jill might not have been so quick to leave. It was a bush league gig, an appearance in a YouTube video with some pre-teen Bieber wannabe.

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Same Maddie, Different State

The trip was really all about Maddie and Mackenzie, per usual, so Melissa is pleased as punch. Holly is happy that Nia got to work with Aubrey O’Day and take part in the video shoot. Jill just wants everyone to get along, and Jess is having a hard time seeing the silver lining after a lackluster three weeks in LA, especially since Abby made a lot of grand promises she didn’t deliver on.

The Pyramid

It’s back to the drawing board for Abby. One thing will never change: it’s all about Maddie all the time. She drives that point home by placing Maddie on the pyramid twice. Once, at the bottom because she didn’t compete, and then at the top because she guest starred on a Disney show and, therefore, represented the ALDC “amazingly.”

The girls are headed to New Jersey for World-Class Dance Experience. Abby isn’t thrilled that 12 and above counts as part of the teen division. Abby doesn’t want this because the level of competition goes way up, and her girls, with the exception of Maddie, aren’t currently able to bring it as a Junior Elite Competition Team.

This is bad news for Kalani and Nia because, as the oldest, Abby will pull one of them from routines in order to keep the average age of the group down. 

A Dig Here, A Dig There

Abby gives Kalani a solo called “Pretty LIttle Liar, ” hoping it will serve as a cautionary tale so that Kalani doesn’t turn out like her deadbeat mom. Jill’s irritated that Kalani keeps getting solos even though she hasn’t come in first once.

Kendall gets a solo, “Living the Blues,” and Jill doesn’t attribute it to her daughter’s skills but rather because she’s been keeping her mouth shut and staying on Abby’s good side, or whatever Abby has that constitutes a good side. And sadly, she’s right. Abby says as much herself.

Abby really brings the drama when she assigns Nia’s solo, entitled “The Golden Rule.” She goes on to talk about ethics and rules and loyalty. Real subtle, Abby. How can someone so overtly aggressive also have mastered the art of passive aggressiveness?

The group routine is called “The Domino Effect,” and Abby’s inspiration is how one pain-in-the-ass mom can cause a chain reaction with the entire group. Apparently, the theme in this episode is payback.

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If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall for Anything

The hens cluck in the viewing room. Jess and Holly defend their choice to let their daughters be in the video by citing how unprofessional it would have been to take them out. Jill thinks that it was more important that they bend to Abby’s will. She knows her daughter will suffer if she doesn’t.

Holly’s still pissed at the other moms for never having her back, especially in LA. She should be used to it with Melissa by now. I know Holly hasn’t approved of Kelly and Christi’s behavior since leaving ALDC, but she’s got to be missing them right about now. With them gone, she’s got the bullseye focused almost entirely on her and, therefore, Nia.

Jill argues that when Nia and Holly pulled a no-show in favor of a recording session with Aubrey O’Day, she texted and called Holly numerous times. Holly points out that those actions don’t quantify as having her back.

Holly tells the other moms that she can’t expect others to adhere to her high standards, and as far as friendships go, she has to adjust her expectations. Jill doesn’t really understand what it is that Holly expects her to do when Abby goes on one of her tirades. Holly says it would just be enough to speak up and say, “Enough!”

They go around and around, but Jess sums it up the best. In Holly’s mind, if Jill was truly her friend, she would speak up on behalf of her and Nia no matter what the consequences. Jill disagrees and thinks Holly’s capable of fighting her own battles. Look, as long as Kendall is getting solos, Jill would jump off a cliff if Abby asked. Jill’s just a major wimp.

Mom Trumps Manager

Abby decides at the last minute that Kalani will not compete. I’m shocked it wasn’t Nia. Kira swallows this very big pill without a peep. At the competition, the other ladies ride Kira like a horse in the Kentucky Derby for not sticking up for her daughter. Jill says Kira’s never had to do it before because she’s always gotten her way.

Jess believes you have to stand up for what’s right and not be afraid. This brings the conversation back around to that damn video. Holly says that she has learned that some people will do whatever they can to get their kids ahead, and her life doesn’t hinge on Abby Lee Miller. Jess says mom trumps manager.

Dressing Room Drama

Kendall’s solo places fifth, Kalani gets first and Nia is shut out. The group comes in first, but it’s a shallow victory since they’re on their home turf and Abby stacked the odds in their favor.

The girls may have won, but the moms aren’t happy. Kalani stands with the team when they accept their award, something Nia was forbidden to do under similar circumstances. Jill’s pissed because she believes Kalani shouldn’t have been able to enjoy the spoils of victory since she didn’t dance. What happened to winning and losing as a team?

Kira says that it was Abbie’s call. Jill argues that, as her mother, Kira should have made Kalani sit it out. Kira points out that she was just trying to appease Abby just like Jill and Melissa did in LA. How much longer will we have to endure the bickering over the stupid video shoot? Even my dog knows when to let go of a bone.

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.