Dance Moms season 7, episode 21 recap: Attack of the toxic momsters


CULVER CITY, CA – JUNE 14: Abby Lee Miller attends the Opening Night Party during the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival at Culver Studios on June 14, 2017 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21, Abby Lee Miller came back to her studio. But her team wasn’t exactly happy to see her.

There’s nothing quite like an episode of Dance Moms that spends about as much time in the parking lot as it does in the dance studio, and that’s essentially what happened in Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21. In fact, the “Dance Moms Loitering in Parking Lots” show-within-a-show was all over this episode — right from the beginning.

(Excuse me while I fangirl.)

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This week’s first topic of the parking lot discussion was all about some totally-not-staged stretching against a wall from Kalani Hilliker, narration of Holly and Nia Sioux Frazier’s whereabouts from everyone, and Jill Vertes’ worried chatter about the possibility of Laurieann Gibson abandoning the team.

As a reminder, Laurieann threatened to ditch the ALDC if the moms couldn’t settle their differences (read as: cut the crap) last week.

"However, Laurieann is a smart woman. She’s not going to let our kids down."

Um, sure, Jill. You can’t put “smart woman” and “stays with this team” in the same truth table.

Let’s just change the subject. What’s that? Kalani’s reading her next set of lines? What’s up, Kalani?

Insert something about it being, like, totes weird that we’re, like, going to Nationals without Abby Lee Miller and coming off of a losing streak here.

"If we’re on a losing streak, it’s because of Abby. You need to know that. She left you."

Jill “Your Teacher Hates You” Vertes, folks.

Once inside the studio, it seemed as if Jill’s assurances of Laurieann being smart enough to stick with the team were proven to be a logical fallacy: There was (gasp!) no A-list set up to rank the dancers; and (omg!) Abby Lee Miller’s attorney was creepy stalking the studio.

And then Abby Lee Miller made her big Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 return.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many variations on the “omgz” face in one place in my life. Wow. Can you believe the woman who owned the studio was at the studio????!

Wow. Never saw that coming. Totes unexpected, especially when the dance moms generally tend to have a good idea of what Abby’s up to, thanks to social media and whatnot.

Abby told the dance moms that she was back home “under duress” and didn’t really want to be there; but then her kvetch-fessional indicated otherwise:

"This is my business. This is the Abby Lee Dance Company. How dare all of you? I can come and go as I please."

Nothing like having to defend yourself to Regina George as an excuse for staking your claim on…whatever the name of the Mean Girls high school was. I don’t know. This metaphor is getting rough.

At any rate, Abby wasn’t going anywhere without a fight, so that meant a screaming match with the moms (ahhh, just like old times) and a chance for the “Original” team to ditch Abby for, like, Dance Moms‘ millionth late-season non-story. Iconic.

After the fight, Stacey Ketchman and Yolanda Walmsley were the only moms who decided to stay at the ALDC. If this feels a lot like the series’ sixth season, that’s because the “Originals” ditched Abby while the minis stayed then, too. I do believe this fits the definition of insanity.

Yolanda: “These moms are Dramatic with a capital D.” (True…but let’s not pretend that you’re not.)


"This is not the first time that I have had these moms walk out on me. But guess what: I don’t care. Because they’re quitters."

I love the taste of drama in the evening. Honestly, this was one of those rare scenarios where Abby Lee Miller was actually right. It’s her studio. She doesn’t have to answer to any dance moms, never has had the need.

And that bit about the moms being quitters is what we might call the tea.

“Dance Moms Loitering In Parking Lots,” take two.

No wonder Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 was a two-parter. So much melodramatic-show-within-a-melodramatic-show happening here. Amazing.

In this edition of the parking lot series, the moms dragged Abby Lee Miller, as dance moms do.

They had no idea what Abby was expecting when she came back (probably exactly this, to be honest); and after weeks of questioning whether Laurieann Gibson had what it took to win dance competitions, they were suddenly her biggest fans. Camille Bridges, for one, just couldn’t stomach the idea of taking a status hit.

"Who wants to go from an A-lister to a D-lister?"

Reminder: Mini dancers Elliana Walmsley and Lilliana Ketchman didn’t care which list they were on as long as they were dancing.

So, as Abby tried to figure out why Lilly had suddenly forgotten how to do footwork into a leap — it looked a lot like a step, chassé to me, but Abby kept screaming something about a push, ball change — the “Original” team was on the phone, begging Laurieann to come back.

Laurieann admitted that Abby, the “toxic monster,” had requested that she not work with the ALDC this week, so the moms decided to confront Abby.

Also, Kira Girard took about 900 attempts — and fails — at pronouncing “duress.” That’s not really an important parking lot plot point, though. It’s just hilarious.

Also hilarious: Stacey Ketchman’s confessional, in which she (rightly) said that Laurieann wasn’t exactly going to start her own tween dance group, then spilled some tea.

"My kid’s in here becoming a better dancer? Your kids are outside getting a sunburn."

Up next on Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21: The moms walk in…just so they can walk back out again.

Abby Lee Miller was busy trying to figure out why Lilly’s pirouettes had become utter garbage when the entire posse stormed into the rehearsal space, demanding to know why she’d sent their bff Laurieann away. Jill asked something about Abby showing up “all the sudden” and whether or not the moms could just leave the ALDC “at the drop of a hair,” but none of that made sense.

(…because the correct phrases are “all of a sudden” and “at the drop of a hat.” Poor Jill.)

Regardless, Abby disrespected Laurieann, saying she was desperate for work and implying that choreographing for professionals was less legitimate work than training young dancers to become professionals. This was out of line and totally ignorant.

Also out of line: Kendall’s “peace out, suckas” when the “Original” team made good on their threats and left the studio.

Like. Who were these “suckas’ of which Kendall spoke? Lilly and Ellie, eight and nine years old, respectively? Their mothers, who are (technically) adults? The camera crew, also adults?

Ummm. Kendall, it’s not becoming of you to try to behave like your mother. Do better. It’s not that hard.

Luckily for all of us, Ellie and Lilly were adorably entertaining when they listened in at Abby’s office door. Oh, and Ellie loves Miss Abby, so she was super (times three) excited to have her back.

Which Abby is the real Abby? Elliana Walmsley’s favorite or the monster we’ve all come to know, love, and love to hate? The world may never know.

As if Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 didn’t present enough problems for the Abby Lee Miller in her unwelcome return, Chloe Lukasiak was busy training with Abby’s rivals.

Now, Erin Babbs spent an awful lot of time trying to explain to her MDP team that the situation at the ALDC was a lot like the human experimentation in Stranger Things.

I’m going to blame this, not the nine billion excuses about Chloe being out of practice, for her cruddy rehearsals. That story made no sense, and Chloe probably expected the Demogorgon to show up and take her to the Upside Down after hearing Erin’s crazy-talk. That is no frame of mind to be in when trying to learn new choreography.

Also, a word to the wise: Maybe don’t make sweet, little Chloe play the villain.

She’s always going to be sweet, little Chloe to me. Shhhh.

Chloe’s mom Christi, having spent quite a lot of time stooping to Jill Vertes’ level the last time the two dance moms came face-to-face spent a lot of the time worrying about what the Not-ALDC was up to. At one point, she even had a great chat with Holly and Jill.

Jill promised to, like, totally be there for Christi and Chloe if the team made it to the competition…And then she vowed to compete to win behind Christi’s back. Or, well. It was behind Christi’s back until it was aired on national television…But at the time, it was totally two-faced.

And that’s what you missed on Glee Chloe.

The rest of Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 featured rehearsals at the ALDC, mixed in with…Well. Mess.

The “Original” team (it will never not be hilarious to call them that, considering Nia Sioux Frazier remains the only original Dance Moms dancer on that team) was tired of getting sunburns, so they hung out in a cafe for a while. The team was super desperate to get a choreographer so they could still compete, so the moms texted every dance personality they had in their contact lists.

…because the dancers totally needed just a choreographer and zero technique classes, as always. Their technique is perfect, after all.

(I just made myself snort.)

Jaime Caes saw how badly things were going and ditched the cafe to take Maesi back to Abby Lee Miller’s studio.

"I did walk out with the O.G.s, but right now, we are studioless. We are teacherless. We basically are homeless at this point."

(Jaime, honey, no. You’re a reality tv star. You’re nowhere near “basically homeless.” The rest, though? On pointe.)

Jaime had to grovel a bit when she and Maesi returned to the ALDC. But after some obligatory bickering, Abby magically found a solo for Maesi to compete. Convenient!

Quick dance report: Maesi’s solo rehearsal was kind of meh. With music like that, you need to really be sharp on hitting those accents. But for only having about five minutes of practice between all those trips to parking lots and cafes? The kid was doing just fine. 

When the Not-ALDC girls couldn’t find a choreographer on zero notice, they traipsed off to 3rd Street Dance, where this whole ALDC LA journey began. And Kalani was not-at-all reading a script when she reminded Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 viewers of just how far she and her teammates had come.

None of the comments about Abby ditching the team for distractions once they came to L.A. or learning to move on were scripted, either.

"We’ve learned so much from her that now we have to do it ourselves."

Because Kalani could potentially be a choreographer some day, she immediately took the lead and created something for the Not-ALDC dancers to use in competition. But with dancers (literally) falling all over themselves, and a group of kids completely incapable of making each other feel safe and prepared, things were not how you say…going well.

They were, in fact, a hot mess.

Brynn Rumfallo was on the receiving end of the worst of the ineptitude. The older teens tried to peer pressure her into doing what, when done properly, could be an entertaining trick. But when done incorrectly, by a bunch of barely-trained tweenies? It could end in disaster.

"…without a teacher in the room or mats on the floor. Like, that’s stupid. Like, why would I do that?"

Exactly, Brynn. Stand your ground, and don’t do anything with your body that you’ve already said no to — multiple times — no matter how “like really cool” it is or how much “everybody else is agreeing on it.”

In fact, the team dynamic was so bad that by the time Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 ended, Brynn admitted to wishing she was back with Abby and Gianna.

Bonus: She was also full of glorious side-eye and fresh out of you-know-whats to give.

Next: It's a war, man.

Is there any hope for the “O.G.” team? Will Brynn’s side-eye get stuck that way? Was Dance Moms Season 7, Episode 21 just another case of a fake mutiny?

You’ll have to check out part two when Dance Moms airs its next all-new episode on Lifetime, Tuesday, September 19 at 9/8c.