Ella?! Wait a minute. Ella?!


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"It Ain't Easy" is the 33rd episode in Season 4 of The Next Step and the 127th episode overall. It aired on March 24, 2017.


"James meets up with an old friend in London. Riley is confused by her feelings towards Alfie. LaTroy returns from time with his father and turns to Sloane to sort out his feelings."[1]


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A-Troupe agrees to rehearse the finals routine.

Riley exits her office and tells A-Troupe to rehearse their finals routine for Regionals. As she speaks to the troupe, LaTroy enters the studio, now back from the farmhouse. His arrival excites his peers, particularly Sloane and Amy, who runs into his arms and is subsequently spun around. LaTroy confesses that seeing Amy is like a dream come true. Sloane lowers her head as though embarrassed at the sight of Amy and LaTroy's affection, but confesses that she is ready to catch up with him after he catches up with Amy. LaTroy says that he will pick up the choreography as he dances with the team and, on that note, A-Troupe rehearses their routine to "Ain't No Number Two." When the team finishes dancing, Riley commends the routine. Among the crowd of dancers, Alfie gives Riley a small wave, which she mirrors, only to quickly retreat into her office. Riley confesses that she and Alfie no longer connect. Alfie is left shaking his head in confusion.

Alfie approaches Riley in her office and asks her out to lunch. Riley lies that she cannot go to lunch with Alfie because she has to watch Noah and Richelle rehearse their duet and is otherwise very busy. Although dejected, Alfie tells Riley he understands and leaves after kissing her on the cheek. Riley confesses that she still likes Alfie, but their relationship isn't how she pictured it would be.

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Amy asks LaTroy to tell her more.

On the couch in the Lounge, Amy holds LaTroy's hand and asks LaTroy how his time with his dad was. LaTroy claims that his time with his dad was great; he asserts that his father has finally changed for the better. Amy is ecstatic to hear this and confesses that it feels like she has been away from LaTroy for "a million billion years." LaTroy confesses that things didn't go so well with his dad, but that he is not willing to tell Amy that. Amy begs LaTroy to tell her more, but LaTroy decides he needs to run through the choreography he missed, particularly alone. Amy suggests that LaTroy take her out for dinner that night, during which he can fill her in on everything. LaTroy departs and confesses that there is one person he can talk to about his dad.

In their hotel room in London, West is arguing with Eldon about him wearing a tie for their tour of Westminster Abbey; West insists that Eldon wear one, although Eldon refuses to dress up. As the two argue, James sits on his bed in a sullen trance. Eventually, West tells James he needs to dress up too, but James refuses to dress up and go to the tour altogether, then leaves the room, confessing that there is no way he can pretend to have fun.

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Noah and Richelle rehearse their duet.

As Noah and Richelle rehearse their duet in Studio A, Riley is on her phone and barely paying attention, which Noah makes note of. Riley confesses that she has to make herself preoccupied, since she told Alfie she could not go out with him because she is busy. She scrolls through her contacts and stumbles upon a contact she has not spoken to in a while and texts them. Richelle and Noah finish their duet to find Riley still on her phone. Richelle asks Riley if she has any notes for their routine, and although Riley declines, she asks the two do dance again. Begrudgingly, the duo obeys. Meanwhile, James sits pensively on a bench outside. As he sits, none other than Ella sits beside him. When James realizes who has sat beside him, he is left in shock.

James finishes telling Ella about the entirety of his situation with surprise, causing James to confess that he must be crazy. Ella deems James' situation to be like a spit wad paradox in which, according to James' deduction, the spit wad is his pain; he can either let the spit wad hit him, or take a hard right and let it hit the wall. James ultimately chooses to take a hard right, causing Ella to tell him to focus on Bangers & Mashups and stop thinking about Riley. Despite not wanting to admit it, James realizes that Ella is right. James tells Ella that, to his surprise, she has brought him to a better place. Ella tells James that he has always been her favourite and that she thinks he and Riley will work out in the end. James reacts with confusion, since Ella just told him to stop thinking about Riley. Ella cheerily departs, leaving James bemused. James confesses that he doesn't think he'll ever truly understand Ella.

Sloane is performing a solo to "You Got the Best of Me" in the Rehearsal Room when LaTroy enters. Sloane eventually notices LaTroy's presence, and the two share an embrace. LaTroy admits to Sloane that his time with his dad was worse than usual; their time together was fine until the rentals were done and his dad ordered him home to his mother without even providing bus fare. LaTroy also admits that he thought things would have finally changed and doesn't understand why his dad won't take any interest in him. Sloane advises LaTroy to either accept his father and his plentiful flaws, or cut him out of his life; either way, Sloane urges LaTroy to carve out his relationship with his dad on his terms, not his dad's. After years of Sloane telling him this, LaTroy finally tells Sloane she is right, causing Sloane to jokingly claim she did not hear him, ask him to repeat himself multiple times, and even pretend to faint. In the end, Sloane tells LaTroy it is good to have him back and the two hug once more. Alfie approaches Michelle in the Lounge and asks if anything weird is going on with Riley, which Michelle declines. Alfie tells Michelle that Riley has been distracted ever since their date, which Michelle lies Riley said was amazing. When Alfie deems Riley as always busy, Michelle dismisses it as due to her preparations for Regionals. Alfie fears Riley is making excuses, which Michelle uncomfortably refutes and assures Alfie that Riley is crazy about him. Alfie eventually depars and Michelle decides she needs to talk to Riley herself.

Sloane and LaTroy perform a duet to "Control." LaTroy confesses that now he is back with Sloane, he never wants anything to tear them apart again. After they finish, Sloane assures LaTroy he is doing the right thing and he leaves to call his dad. Sloane confesses that her feelings for LaTroy won't just go away, but that she can put them aside because she never wants to jeopardize their friendship again.

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Alfie asks Riley if he is doing anything wrong.

Alfie approaches Riley in her office, who scrambles to look busy considering she was merely reading a magazine. Alfie places a bag of sandwiches on Riley's desk for them to share. Riley deems the gesture sweet, but lies that she isn't hungry and that she needs to watch Michelle rehearse her solo in addition to other tasks. Alfie asks Riley if he can do anything and she declines, just as Michelle appears in the office's doorway. In disbelief, Alfie realizes that Riley is brushing her off, but departs anyway. Riley tells Alfie he forgot his sandwiches, but he tells Riley she can share them with Michelle. Riley turns to find Michelle in the doorway, and tries to lie to Michelle that she is busy, but Michelle sees through her lie. Having had her fair share of relationship drama, Michelle understands Riley's situation. Riley explains that she doesn't know why is having so many issues with Alfie as there is virtually nothing wrong with him. Although, Michelle insists that there is something wrong with him: he isn't James. Riley can't decide whether to be more upset by the suggestion, or the fact that it may be true.

Sloane waits for LaTroy in the Lounge. When he returns, he tells Sloane that he didn't call his dad; he realized that he needs a break from his dad and needs to focus more on those who actually love him. LaTroy thanks Sloane, but she insists that she merely did what any friend should. The two share a long embrace. When the finally pull away from each other LaTroy leaves, having to take Amy out for dinner. Before he exits the room, he stops in the doorway to presumably thank Sloane again, but she interrupts with "Anytime." Sloane confesses that despite the difficultly, she thinks she is doing well with not letting her feelings interfere with their friendship.

West and Eldon are still arguing about the tie when James returns to the hotel room. James is amused by the two's argument, confessing that the only unchangeable thing in his life is them. West asks James what he was up to and James admits that he met up with Ella, surprising both West and Eldon due to their rocky relationship. James asks which one of them set up the meeting, although both West and Eldon claim they did not. James confesses that he wants to thank whomever or whatever caused him to run into Ella.

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Riley says to herself that she still loves James.

Meanwhile, Ella calls Riley. Riley confesses that she was catching up with Ella and she suggested checking in on James. On the phone, Ella tells Riley that while James is struggling at the moment, he'll be fine in the long run. Ella apologizes to Riley for what she did to her at Internationals and tells her she should visit sometime. Riley appreciates the apology, but says that she is too busy to visit at the moment. Before ending the call, Ella tells Riley that it is obvious James is still in love with her. Riley is left shocked but admits aloud that she still loves him too.



Cultural references

  • The title of this episode refers to a song of the same name by David Bowie and Brother Ali.




Featured music

Riley season 3 wtm i'll "I'll get to you when I get to you!" - The missing information in this section of the article is to be added.

Featured dances


Main article: It Ain't Easy/Transcript


Main article: It Ain't Easy/Quotes


Main article: It Ain't Easy/Aftershow


Kathy Riley season 3 episode 13 "Look at that painting!"

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  1. TV Listings Grid, TV Guide and TV Schedule, Where to Watch TV Shows - Screener. Zap2It (January 27, 2017). Retrieved on January 27, 2017.
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