It's been over a week since Dance Academy Season 3 became available on Netflix Instant, so you'd assume that, given my zealous swimfandom, I would've already devoured the entire thing. Especially since there's only thirteen episodes. (ONLY THIRTEEN EPISODES. WTF.)
But that's exactly why I'm trying to take my time and stretch out this final season. Because I don't want it to be over! IT CAN'T BE OVER. How can I live without Abigail's snark and Tara's awkwardness and Ben's sweetness and Christian's hotness and ALL OF THE DANCING? The show and its characters have become a part of me, and while I'm excited to experience this final (INCREDIBLY SHORT) season, I'm also really sad about it. Like, Sammy sad.
Did anyone else get goosebumps when they watched the Season 3 opening credits for the first time?
ALL THE TINGLES!!! Especially with Sammy's face noticeably absent. SOB.
In an effort to make this season last, I'm going to recap four episodes at a time and continue to deny that the END IS NIGH.
Backstage (What happened on the episode)
- The episode begins with Tara speaking at a dedication for the new Samuel Lieberman dance studio. TEARS. She reflects back on her third year, which means this season's voiceover narration will be a reflection on the past. I dig it.
- The term has begun, and Christian still hasn't come back to school. No surprise there!
- There's three open slots in the company, and the man with all the power is Sir Jeffrey McEwan, who is played FABULOUSLY by Barry Otto (Doug Hastings in Strictly Ballroom!!!). Everyone auditions, obviously, but Tara, Ben and Psycho Grace manage to land the spots. Abigail is told by Sir Jeffrey's blonde
robot assistant that her legs are too short and not slim enough. Screw the haters, Abigail. The only person who has better thighs than you is Beyonce.
- Kat wants to make up for lost time and speed up her Year Two work so she can get into Year Three. Miss Raine agrees to help her with one-on-one sessions, because Miss Raine has decided to be 100% awesome this season.
- Tara, trying to be the "glue" that Sammy used to be, is obsessed with throwing Abigail a surprise birthday party, but then Pyscho Grace shows up late and accidentally ruins it. (Abigail knew about it anyway. Because she's Abigail.) Everyone gives her a hard time, so Psycho Grace decides to throw the birthday cake into the pool! Congrats, Psycho Grace, you managed to make it 20 whole minutes before you gave up on trying to be a better person.
- Tara and Ben... aren't dating? Because Tara's stupid?
Key Solo (MVP of the episode)
Abigail, of course! Even though she just gained a lifetime of body image issues thanks to Sir Jeffrey, she still showed up for her party and, by the end, enjoyed it. This is especially impressive considering that she hates her birthday. As one of the second years said, "She wanted to be a ballet prodigy, so every year after ten was just a betrayal."
Bravura (Favorite moments)
- When Ollie and Abigail (love their new friendship, btw) are talking about Sammy and how he dated both of them, even though they're incredibly flawed. "He made us better," Abigail said, and then THE WORLD WEPT.
- The Esther Williams-inspired routine in the pool!
Sprained Ankle (Worst development)
- Kat is becoming bulimic? NOOOOOOO.
3x2: New Rules
- Tara finds Christian (shirtless!!!!) at his dad's house, but her plea for him to return to school falls on deaf ears. Eventually, he decides to stop sucking and shows up at Tara's door in the final moment of the episode.
- Ready to leave the academy, Abigail considers pursuing the world of reality TV and asks Kat to help her make an audition video. Abigail + reality TV = Dance Academy spin-off series PLZKTHX. But when Kat creates a really touching video compilation of her life in dance (little Abigail!!!), she is overcome by her shattered dreams and throws all of the DVDs off the balcony... right in front of Miss Raine. Continuing her campaign for Teacher of the Year, Miss Raine makes a deal with Abigail and gives her some time off to reconsider quitting the academy.
- Coming as a shock to NO ONE, Tara's adjustment to the company is rough, while Psycho Grace shines. (Or is that just the sheen of her insanity?) And then, to make matters worse, SASKIA SHOWS UP. She's the new lead in the ballet, and to show Tara that everything's cool, Saskia gives her a notebook as a gift. NICE TRY, SASKIA. We know you're still a heinous bitch.
Who am I kidding, Abigail will always win the MVP of my heart, but for this episode, I gotta go with Miss Raine.
- Abigail recording the intro of her audition video. AMAZE.
- Sir Jeffrey to Tara and Psycho Grace, who are sporting chicken costumes: "Come nestle under my wing and enjoy my humorous barnyard puns."
SASKIA, RETURN FROM WHENCE YE CAME. Seriously, I'm about to call up the Winchesters so they can drive this demon BACK TO HELL.
3x3: Second Chances
- Kat narrates this episode and gives us heartbreaking insight into her grief over Sammy and her self-hatred. After being given an assignment to observe a stranger and translate their essence into a dance, Kat decides to stalk a local college student named Nick... who turns out to be the driver who killed Sammy. FUUUU... Am I the only one who did NOT see that coming? She eventually confronts Nick and reveals herself as one of Sammy's friends in a punch-in-the-gut scene that is only surpassed by a moment towards the end, when she finds Nick laying flowers at the site where Sammy died. His grief rivals her own, and even though she isn't sure she can forgive him, they embrace, and BRB NEED MORE KLEENEX. The episode ends with Kat's performance of her assignment, which has a new subject: herself. C'MERE, KAT, AND LET ME HUG YOU FOREVER.
- There's a new visiting instructor, Marcus Caine, at the academy, and OH SNAP he used to be Miss Raine's boyfriend!!!! Psycho Grace decides to use his appearance to her advantage and plays matchmaker so Miss Raine will loosen up about her going out with the company girls. (Basically, the Cher approach.) Even though it doesn't quite work out in her favor, Marcus and Miss Raine resume their teenage romance. Miss Raine, finally getting some!!!
- Abigail, who's taking a break, and Christian, who's waiting to see if the board will allow him to return, bond over their shared free time and end up at the Magical Mardi Gras Cabaret, hosted by an AMAZING drag queen. Abigail forces Christian up on stage to dance, and he decides that he does, in fact, want to stick around. Conveniently, the board allows him to re-enroll, but honestly, I wouldn't mind if both Abigail and Christian decided to forgo ballet and join the Magical Mardi Gras Cabaret.
I loved this episode's focus on Kat, but her continued struggle with bulimia gave me all the sads. So I'll award MVP to my girl Abigail. See: Bravura.
- Abigail, eating a donut and pounding on puzzle pieces while yelling, "Get in!" SOMEONE MAKE ME A GIF OF THIS IMMEDIATELY.
- Everything that went down at the Magical Mardi Gras Cabaret. ESPECIALLY this:
Kat's bulimia continues, and it's awful. That scene with the loaf of bread just killed me.
3x4: Short Cut Clause
- Tara, as the narrator, wishes training montages were a real thing so she could speed through the trials and tribulations of third year and emerge as a member of the company. Girl, I feel you. Let's make training montages happen so I can become an insanely talented and buff dancer in the span of the Flashdance song.
- Taking a page from Keiynan Lonsdale's YouTube channel (if you haven't seen it, start with this and this), Ollie makes a rap video as his way of exploring options outside of the academy. Naturally, Abigail uploads it to the internet.
Embarrassed by everyone taunting him with "Chicken Pox" lyrics, Ollie gets back at Abigail by taking her to a hip hop class-- where she totally stands out as a trained ballerina, i.e. stiff and lame. (How hard to Dena Kaplan have to work to look bad?) But Ollie's real agenda isn't revenge, it's to show Abigail that if she really wants to explore a life beyond ballet, she needs to get out of her comfort zone and take risks. So she signs up for beginner's hip hop, where everyone still seems to know all of the moves and remind me to never take a "beginner's" dance class.
- Saskia sets her sights on Ben as a new partner, and Tara tells him that it's only because Saskia wants retribution for almost getting fired after the whole back-breaking incident. Um, that might be true, Tara, but YOU DON'T JUST SAY THINGS LIKE THAT, especially to the cute boy who's been pining for you, god knows why. Ben gets understandably pissed and decides to quit being dangled* by Tara and start practicing with Saskia. This will... not end well.
*She may be psycho, but Grace was RIGHT ON when she teased Ben for letting Tara treat him like shizz.
- Trying to be a good friend (finally!!!), Tara talks to Kat about her eating disorder, but it leads to a nasty fight. Later, Christian finds Kat sobbing in her room, so he calls Tara, and she and Kat have a heart-to-heart about Kat's bulimia. QUELLE RELIEF.
Even though she made a hot mess of things with Ben, Tara still deserves MVP for reaching out to Kat and offering her unconditional love.
It was almost a throwaway, but as Christian walked in on Kat crying, he was asking, "Hey Abs, how do we feel about planking?" The answer, btw, is YES and PLEASE.
Saskia, take your manipulative, back-breaking hands OFF my precious Benster!!!!!!
So, fellow swimfans, what do you think so far? Leave your raves, rants and Saskia hate in the comments! But PLEASE, do NOT mention anything that happens after episode four or I will go Psycho Grace on your ass!