After a backstage mishap at the last competition leaves Paige with a broken foot, Jill sees an opportunity to get Kendall back on the team. Maddie shoots her guest spot on Drop Dead Diva. The team travels to Philadelphia for Starbound.
Battered and Broken
Paired together for the first time in nine years, Chloe is devastated to find out that Paige's injury will keep her from pirouetting for at least four weeks. One person who can hardly contain her glee about Paige's hiatus from the team is Jill. Still not a member of the group, Kendall is coming to the studio strictly to attend classes. Jill comes across Paige in the locker room and shamelessly quizzes the girl about her foot as well as the pyramid results.
Jill immediately runs to Abby and suggests Kendall step in for Paige. The only way Jill can rectify the mess she's made of her daughter's fledgling career is to get her back on that team. Abby, still angry about Jill's previous exit and subsequent choice of dance schools, makes it very clear that Kendall's only role at the Abby Lee Dance Academy is that of student. Kelly interrupts the bickering to confront Jill about her interrogation of Paige.
Maddie is forced to miss a rehearsal, so that she can film her role on Drop Dead Diva. Never satisfied, Abby threatens Maddie that her dancing better not suffer as a result of her absence. When Maddie returns, Abby works her relentlessly, convinced that one day off means disaster come competition day.
Pain in the Back
Brooke is suffering physically with back pain. Kelly is concerned that her daughter's solo is so reliant on acrobatics, especially after a chiropractor suggests that Brooke take a rest from the strenuous maneuvers. Abby grows frustrated with Brooke and her inability to work through her pain. At the last minute, a tearful Kelly decides to not let Brooke compete. Abby thinks the real motivation behind this decision, is that mother and daughter know that Brooke lacks the skills to win.
Winning is the Only Thing
Despite all her blustering, Abby still allows Kendall to audition alongside Nia for the duet number with Chloe. This sets off a firestorm of anger and resentment among the moms, especially Holly, who feels her daughter's dedication is being overlooked. Abby's only concern, which she voices for what has to be the 100th time since the genesis of the show, is she'll use whatever dancer gives her the best shot at winning. Abby ultimately decides to let Kendall perform in the duet and the group number.
It Ends With a Bang
After the competition, Abby has Maddie perform her Drop Dead Diva routine. This triggers a nasty confrontation between Abby, Christi and Kelly. Abby calls Chloe sneaky and accuses Brooke of having no talent. It's hard to watch the exact same scenarios play out week after week. It's starting to look like Dance Moms is on its last legs.