Cure Tender took care of some Saiarks and the girls were envious of her actions on the weekly Precure news show. Megumi and Hime tried to get into Maria's good books which got Iona slightly jealous.
Maria later met Blue and learned that the world is still under attack by the Saiark. She decided to travel to America the next day to see her parents. Maria told the girls about her decision which got Iona very upset.
You know, this angle shot is illegal in some way...
That night, Iona challenged Maria to a duel and if Iona win, Maria will have to stay. Maria took her down easily which Iona finally admitted defeat. She told Iona later during a massage, that her real reasons of going overseas is to help the remaining Precures to battle the Saiark.
The next day, Iona accompanied Maria to the airport when suddenly Hoshiwa and a Saiark attacked the park. Iona went ahead and transformed. Cure Fortune was able to hold on to the Saiark until it started firing blasts non-stop.
Cure Lovely did a Samurai Attack with her Rising Sword...
The others arrived and they quickly transformed to Innocent Form. They finally defeated the Saiark with Innocent Purification and Hoshiwa retreated. Iona went to look for Maria and she told Iona that she can leave in peace as Iona and her friends are now strong enough to protect the city. Iona promised she will protect the city till she come back.
After Maria left, the girls had lunch and Yuko asked Iona if she is still upset that Maria has left. She admitted she is but has a new resolve to protect the city. The others agreed and afterwards, Iona dragged them for training...
Easy come, easy go. You will have expected Maria to join the team and become a five girl team (Which I am actually hoping for) But seeing that the girls have already reached Innocent Form, Cure Tender couldn't really do much to help in future battles. Sure, she could deal with some of the smaller grunts but against the more powerful Saiark and generals, I doubt that her power is strong enough to handle. Even if she did remain in the team, Toei will have to do a Maria centred episode in order for her to get Innocent Form which I think it is too rush since we are already at the final quarter of the series.
Cure Tender was pretty cool in her battle and you can tell that her attack-Tender Rising Starburst is the true power which Cure Fortune used to have in the beginning in the series. Maria also make her decision after much thought. She know that the world is still in danger and with so many Precures being captured by Phantom, no one is left to protect the Precure-less countries. Probably the old saying-The needs of the many outweighs the needs the of the few, I am sure in her heart, she want to stay with Iona but until the Phantom Empire is defeated, her personal feelings will have be to put aside. Who knows, we might see her again at the finale. (I hope so!)
Next episode, the girls took a break from fighting and Yuya tried to get a date with Iona. However the Saiark generals are going all out to attack them! Can the girls get any peace from their rest? See you in the next episode!