| "It's a tree, just like this one."|
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|“||It's gonna be the hardest decision of your life.||”|
A-Troupe is watching Thalia, Amanda, and Giselle rehearse their small group for Nationals. Although the dance is looking better, Thalia confesses that it is not Nationals-ready. Giselle confesses that she is worried about the duet that she and Thalia now have to do as a result of their fault plan to motivate James and Riley. The two realize that they will not be able to practice both a duet and a small group and need to get James and Riley to take the duet back.
In Kate's office, Thalia and Giselle are speaking to Kate about convincing James and Riley to take their duet back. Kate eventually agrees to having the two try to return the duet, since James and Riley could definitely help the team advance to the next round at Nationals.
Michelle approaches Emily at Culture Shock and tells her that she saw her and Hunter kiss. Michelle tells Emily that she believes her to be disrespecting her past history with Hunter, which shocks Emily since Michelle did the same thing to her with Eldon, but worse. Emily leaves, astounded at Michelle. Michelle realizes that Emily is right; if Eldon and her hadn't dated, none of the current drama would be taking place.
Thalia and Giselle tell Riley that they didn't actually want the duet and only challenged her and James so that they would work harder. Despite appreciating the confession, Riley still doesn't want the duet back.
Eldon is in Studio A, trying to execute a trick known as "the Webster." He finally lands it, just as Michelle enters the studio. She asks him if she can talk to him, but he coldly refuses and tells her to talk to someone else. Even after she reveals that she has nobody else to talk to, he still refuses, telling her that she doesn't understand how hard the situation is for himself. After some more fervent coercing from Michelle, Eldon begrudgingly decides to stay and listen to her. She tells him that she isn't sure if she loves dancing anymore and asks him what she should do. Eldon tells her that she is going to have to make the hardest decision of her life.
Eldon and James are sitting in Culture Shock, discussing their "girl drama." While Eldon complains about Michelle constantly asking to talk to him, James laments about Riley not wanting to talk to him at all. Eldon tells James about a chant that he and his brothers recite when they are down, which goes: "Olé, olé, olé, olé/Olé, olé, cheer up!" As the two begin to quietly chant it, West enters and joins in, despite not knowing what it is for. Eldon confesses that he feels better.
James sees Riley walking home and runs to catch up with her. They begin chatting and eventually James asks her what happened to them, as he thought they had everything. She admits that she thought so too, but that that is just life. Riley tells James that she should get home because she has a lot of homework and James volunteers to walk her home, but she refuses and walks ahead on her own.
In Culture Shock, Hunter and Emily finally talk about their kiss and how neither of them regretted it happening. Eventually, Emily tells Hunter that Michelle saw them kiss. At once, he says that he needs to go talk to Michelle and rushes off to find her, leaving Emily worried about his feelings for her.
James is practising his drumming in the Music Room. Giselle and Thalia interrupt him to reveal that their challenge was fake and beg him to take back the duet. When asked what Riley said, the two say that she said she wants it back, but James immediately can tell that they are not being truthful. He angrily resumes drumming. Giselle and Thalia realize that they are stuck with the duet. Giselle and Thalia tell Kate that Riley and James don't want the duet back and Kate tells the two that they just have to start rehearsing.
Michelle is dancing in Studio A in the hopes of sorting out her feelings. Hunter enters while Michelle is stretching and tells her that he knows that she saw him kiss Emily. Michelle asks Hunter if he wants to be with Emily and he tells her that he does, leaving Michelle in shock. Hunter tells Michelle that he always wanted to be with her, but that she has only given him mixed signals. Michelle tells him that he has to understand that she doesn't know what she is feeling yet and he says that he does understand but that, when she figures it out, he'll only be there as a friend. Hunter holds Michelle's hand, then leaves. Michelle commences a solo during which she decides that she needs to move on from The Next Step, as it is no longer her home.
- The title refers to a song by Simon and Garfunkel of the same name.
- Victoria Baldesarra as Michelle
- Alexandra Beaton as Emily
- Brittany Raymond as Riley
- Trevor Tordjman as James
- Isaac Lupien as Eldon
- Lamar Johnson as West
- Taveeta Szymanowicz as Thalia
- Jennifer Pappas as Chloe
- Bree Wasylenko as Kate
- Jordan Clark as Giselle
- Zac Vran as Hunter
- Logan Fabbro as Amanda
- "Don't Stay Low"
- "Feel the Fire"
- "Let's Go Swinging"
- "Never Get Lost"
- "Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé, Cheer Up"
- "Stop and Think"
- "Tears Us Apart"
- "We Do It Big"
- Main article: Hazy Shade of Winter/Quotes
| "Look at that painting!"
To view the Hazy Shade of Winter gallery, click here.