Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Photo: Chloe and Dance Mom Christi on Dance Moms

We’ll never look at an apple the same way again.

Yes, on last night’s Dance Moms (Season 2, Episode 2: “Return of the Candy Apples”), Abby Lee Miller’s girls went head to head with Ohio’s dreaded Candy Apple dance company, led by Cathy and her barrage of “geriatric mean girl” (thanks, Christi!) insults. Let’s review!

The Pyramid

Last week, we met the newest addition to Abby’s troupe: the very zen Jill and her adorable daughter Kendall. But being the new girls on the chopping block is no fun.

On the bottom of the pyramid were Mackenzie, for overall bad dancing; Brooke, because “the crying and the hysteria were not that of a young adult,” according to Abby; Paige, because Abby had to tell her to sit down on the team bus 32 times; and new girl Kendall. As Abby said, about Kendall’s first performance, “That face is not an Abby Lee Miller face.”

Nia got a center spot on the pyramid because Abby doesn’t think enough people “show up and cheer for you.” Which is a super-nice thing to say to a child when their mother is watching! Chloe made the middle as well, and “did a great job.”

As always, Maddie got the top spot. But we have a feeling the pyramid queen may get bumped from her comfy position after last night’s impressive competition. Let’s discuss!

As the tiny dancers get to work on their choreography for an upcoming battle in Ohio against Cathy and her rotten Candy Apples, the moms head upstairs to the viewing room. And they don’t waste any time hazing the new member of their little circle.

Christi (Chloe’s mom) teamed up with Kelly (Brooke and Paige’s mom) to morph into a sorority sister duo planning Jill’s initiation. When Jill starts whining about how harsh Abby Lee Miller was on Kendall, putting her on probation for the week, Christi comes up with the ultimate prank. She suggests that Jill go down to the studio, interrupt Abby during the lesson, and give her a piece of her mind.

Jill, eager to please, does just that. Abby predictably freaks out, giving Jill a piece of her mind instead: “You’re going to pay a lot of money to go to Harvard, someone’s going to be the valedictorian, someone’s not.” Bless Abby’s heart – she may not have mastered the art of college applications, but she does paint a gruesome metaphorical picture (fact-checking, shmact-checking).

Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Photo: Tiny Dancers of Dance Moms Season 2

Meanwhile, at Cathy’s Candyland…

Cathy’s girls actually look pretty great. Sure, they appear to be in their mid-20s, probably packing Camel Lights in their leg warmers and debating between a job at the local vintage boutique or heading East to the big city, but they’ve got some serious ballet moves.

Cathy, as usual, has put on her pancake makeup and ruffled blouse, and has a master plan. She tells her girls how they’re going to beat Abby’s team using “turns against inchworms.” She’s confident, beaming, and unable to blink.

Her secret weapon for this go-round is Erika, her soloist, who is competing directly against Brooke in the solo category. Cathy pumps the very nerve-wracked Erika up by telling her that Brooke likes to crawl around the stage on her neck, which sounds dubious until we cut to Brooke, crawling around Abby’s studio, on her neck.

To add to the horror, Cathy’s daughter Vivi-Anne, is watching the rehearsals from the sidelines, trying not to get in her mom’s way. Cathy responds by charging up to her daughter, clutching her little hand, and telling her to “dance like you want a puppy, now’s the time to earn our puppy.” Cathy begins to turn around, but Viv-Anne yelps out in pain! Cath hasn’t only injured her daughter emotionally, but now her giant costume ring has left a gash on Viv’s finger. Little Viv tells the camera, “I cut my finger on my mom’s ring. I hope I can still dance.” Eep!

Rats and Snoods and Katy Perry, Oh My

Abby’s secret weapon turns out to be custom costumes for the girls in 1940s “pin-up girl” style. Using snoods (“A rat [or snood] is a foam thing that you roll your hair in and it makes you look like George Washington,” says one of the dance moms, helpfully), the girls actually look pretty awesome and original. Though Holly compares losing a snood onstage to social suicide.

After a (possibly staged) uproar between Jill and Abby in the studio – Jill starts to doubt her decision to put her daughters through the Abby Lee torture chamber that is dance class – the dance moms board the team bus to Ohio.

Jill, the still-naïve new mom, teams up with Melissa and tries to buy Abby Lee’s favoritism by buying her a very Cathy-esque costume ring. Abby seems downright pleased, but asks them to please pick her up a husband the next time they’re out. Nervous, forced laughter all around.

Credit: Scott Gries/Lifetime Television © 2011 Photo: Abby Lee Miller on Dance Moms Season 2

The Very Good Bad Apples

The night before the big dance-off, Cathy attempts to poach the dance moms with a “first class” soiree at her hotel. None of the moms are buying it, and Cathy just comes off even worse than she already was.

Let’s dance! Abby Lee’s “Bad Apples” do an excellent job, but Cathy’s team rallies with a Spanish-themed woman-of-the-night kind of fan dance. Abby says she’s not sure who’ll win, but we think it was obvious that she’d take first place (and does). Now, it’s solo time…

Brooke performs an acrobatic dance with tons of neck-crawling and flexibility up the wazoo. (We fear she may grow up to be the kind of girl Jess ordered for Schmidt on New Girl last night: “very bendy, Miss Fatbooty!”) Erika is outstanding, however, which leads to a true scandale de la nuit. A lady lies about her age!

Yes, Erika was 13 at the time of the eligibility rankings for this particular competition, and Cathy had blatantly lied about her age to enter her in the 11 – 12 age category. Brooke was categorized correctly.

In the end, Abby’s girls took first place, and Brooke won first place overall. Which we think should be enough to knock little miss perfect Maddie off the pyramid for at least a week.

Do you think Kendall made it through her probation week unscathed?