This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the song. You can find the disambiguation page here.
Since your time is so precious, wouldn't you rather spend it rehearsing rather than arguing?

Riley to James

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"Mixed Messages" is the 18th episode in Season 3 and the 82nd overall. It aired on September 18, 2015.


Ella has Riley and James take a closer look at their relationship. Elsewhere, Thalia and Eldon devise clandestine ways of communicating.


Max thalia season 3

Max relays Eldon's message to Thalia.

Eldon gets Max to give Thalia a message from him: "Roses are white, green onions are green, you make me smile when I am you." At first, Thalia thinks that Max likes her, but is relieved to find that the message is from Eldon. Eldon confesses that while James said that they cannot communicate, he never said anything about getting other people to send their messages to each other. Thalia then tells Max to tell Eldon that "his sweet words are like the nectar that bees sip." Although hesitant at first, Max complies because he is "a sucker for love."

Elsewhere, Riley asks James where he is going to which he responds, unsurprisingly, with band practice. He retorts by asking her the same question, and when she tells him she is hanging out with Ella, he responds with instant hostility. Frustrated, she asks James why he doesn't like Ella; he claims that he thinks Ella is messing with her because she is from a rival studio, and that they have another Amanda on their hands. Just then, Ella walks in and inquires as to what the two were talking about. Riley tells her that they were talking about how she would never mess with her, to which Ella responds with: "Of course I would, I'm from a rival team."
Skylar ella season 3

Skylar relays a message to Ella.

Eldon is practicing his pirouettes in the Music Room when Skylar walks in with a message from Thalia: she wants to take Eldon to Spain to ride the biggest roller-coaster in the world, to hunt with falcons, and to have both of their tongues turn purple from grape juice. Eldon finds this endlessly romantic. Eldon tells Skylar to tell Thalia that he can't wait to watch her favourite movie 10 times in a row, nor find a way to heal her of the hiccups, nor drive her to every school she has ever been to and hear stories about her favourite teachers. Having received a text from her mother that she has arrived to pick her up, Skylar asks Ella to give the message to Thalia, but skews it, not remembering what Eldon said in its entirety. Then, Ella runs into Riley and asks her if she would like to get milkshakes with her; Riley is appalled due to Ella's prior words. Ella explains to her that she isn't messing with her at the moment, but that she would mess with her if need be, because she will always pick her team over Riley. Riley now understands, seeing as she would pick her team over Ella as well. Ella confesses that she will do whatever it takes to get her team to Absolute Dance Internationals, even if that means messing with The Next Step.

Cierra michelle season 3 mm

Cierra listens to Michelle.

Michelle is in the Music Room, crying, as she claims that she feels alone. Cierra enters then and decides to stay with Michelle, seeing as how upset the divorce is making her, and because she has been on the same boat. Michelle expresses how badly the divorce is affecting her; she claims that she can't even pick up choreography because she is so distracted. Cierra consoles her and offers to talk with her over drinks. Michelle appreciates that she is there for her and agrees. James and Riley are practicing their duet, but it is obvious that Riley's mind is not with the dance. After messing up the lift, Riley tells James that they need to hurry up, as her and Ella are meeting for milkshakes. James is angered by this and tells her that she is wasting his time and should leave; Riley complies. James confesses that he feels like he no longer knows her.

Ella gives the message for Thalia to West and skews it once more.

Max and Richelle are practicing a duet for an upcoming competition, in the Music Room. While rehearsing, Noah enters with a message for Richelle. She is happy that he is there, as she still harnesses feelings for him. After the duet, Richelle ushers Max out so that she can talk to Noah. Noah merely tells her that he likes Abi and asks her to find out if the feelings are returned. Richelle, newly disheartened, tells him that she'll think about and leaves, but she confesses that she cannot be the bigger person and comply.

West Thalia season 3 episode 18

West confirms that it was exactly what Eldon said.

West finally delivers the message to Thalia, which is now skewed beyond comprehension. As Thalia is asking for clarification, James enters and begins yelling about how such an act of communication between her and Eldon is forbidden, only to end up going on a tangent about Riley. When he leaves, West suggests a new way for her and Eldon to communicate.

Ella approaches James at Hidalgo's and tells him to stop being hard on Riley. She tells him that he needs to trust her with Riley, which James finds laughable. James tells her that he doesn't like her, but still decides that he needs to talk to Riley regardless.

James approaches Riley and tells her that she is going about being carefree the wrong way and that Ella is a bad influence, upsetting Riley. As she gets up to leave, James tells her that he wants to be the one to show her how to have a good time; Riley tells him that she would love that, but that he is never around to do so and is always with the band. She then leaves, leaving James contemplating.

At Hidalgo's, Cierra and Michelle are hanging out. Michelle thanks Cierra, admitting that it is nice to know that she isn't actually alone. Cierra assures her that she will always be there for her.

Luke season 3 mm

Luke reveals that James quit the band.

West approaches Eldon and proposes that he get his messages to Thalia (and vice versa) via West's dancing. Oddly enough, it primarily works, but West gradually grows exhausted, and the messages become less and less comprehensible. The three realize that it isn't exactly the most effective approach.

Later, Riley goes to the Music Room to fix things with James. As opposed to finding James, she finds Luke and Theo and asks them where James is. Luke tells her that they won't find him there, as James quit the band.


  • James is no longer in the band.
  • It is possible that Eldon knows how to drive.
  • Whether Ella is really an antagonist or not is still unknown.


Cultural References





Featured music


Main article: Mixed Messages/Quotes


Main article: Mixed Messages/Aftershow


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

To view the Mixed Messages (episode) gallery, click here.

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