As Piff sleep-flies around outside, she eventually just starts flying, as Layla yells for her to wake up, which she does, and then starts to slowly fly away. Piff flies into Wizgiz's classroom, as Piff flies high, then starts falling again, as Layla rushes in to catch her just in time, as the other students cheer. I'm not really sure what that sequence was for... seemed out of place with the rest of the episode. Cute, still.
In a classroom with Miss Faragonda, she tells the Winx Club plus Layla that they are not allowed to go to Shadowhaunt in the UnderRealm to save the pixies, as it is way too dangerous. Stella tries to convince Faragonda otherwise, reminding her that they survived on Sparx, and even beat the abominable snowman there. Miss Faragonda says this mission would be much more difficult, and that their powers probably wouldn't even work in Shadowhaunt. The girls continue trying to convince Miss Faragonda that they can do it, and she keeps telling them that they can't, but eventually lets on that she passed a test that allowed her to do research there, but even the test was so difficult that most of her classmates failed it.
Miss Faragonda passes a frog fairy as she walks down the hallway, as the six girls chase her down, begging her to let them take the test. She warns them that everything in the test is real, as in the magical reality chamber, warning that they can experience real pain, and that fewer than 25% of students can pass the test. Ultimately, the six girls don't give up, though, and Faragonda finally gives in and allows them to take the test, and casts a spell that sets them in a simulated Shadowhaunt. Well, that was boring.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #1
Musa and Flora change to their winx forms. Flora tries to shoot a blast, but nothing happens: she can't use her powers at all. Except the flying and transforming ones, I guess. Musa shoots a blast, but it destroys parts of the ceiling--not her intention. Stella, Bloom, and Layla then change to their winx forms, as they shoot at some monsters, then the test ends. Stella, Bloom, and Layla have passed. Of course. The two important characters and the new girl. Just couldn't give Tecna a break, could they? Tecna seems embarrassed for not even being able to transform, but Musa seems most upset for not passing the test. Miss Faragonda tries to comfort her by explaining that everyone's magic is different, and she'll be needed in the future. That makes Musa even more upset. Flora tries to help Musa feel better by just holding her hand. That works a lot better than Miss Faragonda's logic talk.
In Miss Faragonda's office, she and Layla talk the upcoming mission. Layla asks if the pixies will be OK, and Miss Faragonda doesn't answer. Layla says they've got to be OK since they have so much good magic, but Miss Faragonda says that good magic harms more than it helps in Shadowhaunt.
Outside are the six Winx girls, Piff, Faragonda, and Saladin. Layla tries to comfort Piff, who's crying because Layla's going to be leaving her behind. She stops crying when Layla tells her that Flora's promised to read her a bedtime story before bed. Tecna's upset when they find out the Specialists are going. Musa's even more upset, saying that they don't even have powers. Stella thinks the mission will be fun since the boys are coming along. Funny how very opposite Stella and Layla seem to be on the boy issue. Miss Faragonda points out that means they have no powers to lose. Saladin says that on a survival test, Brandon and Sky did the best, so they'll be going with the three girls. How convenient of the writers, putting all the "important" characters and "important" couples on the mission together. And I thought Riven was the survival expert, seeing his escape from Cloud Tower last season. Guess we're not supposed to remember that.
Tecna: According to my calculations, their presence barely improves the chance of success. You'd be much better off with us along.
Layla: You're right. Why would we need high school boys?
Brandon: We're not just high school boys: we're heroes!
Layla: And... what does that mean?
Sky: We go to Red Fountain!
First off, Layla now officially rules! I love how completely unimpressed she is with the boys, instead of going all teeny-boppery on first sight. Second, Sky's little shake with his line officially makes him a dork, as if he weren't one already. Third, Tecna's probably as hurt as Musa is about not being able to go, and seems to hide her jealousy of the boys behind a lot of logic. And fourth, Layla now officially rules!
Tecna spots Timmy flying to squad ship in, and asks if he's going. Saladin says Timmy and Riven are just driving them there, and that just Brandon and Sky are going on the mission. Timmy is all too excited to see Tecna, and Tecna's only slightly more relaxed calling to Timmy. Blah. Stella calls Brandon honeybear as she climbs on to the back of his hoverbike. Much as I hate the nickname, at least it seems more in character for Stella to act ga-ga over a boy than Tecna. Layla climbing onto Riven's hoverbike, though... that's interesting:
Layla: Now slide to the back seat.
Layla: Come on, how am I supposed to drive with you sitting there?
Have I yet mentioned that Layla rocks! Piff waves and says, in a little baby voice, "Bye Layla." It's cute!
Miss Faragonda asks Tecna to help her set up a winx transfer device.
The Specialists and Stella, Bloom, and Layla all climb into the squad ship.
Layla: So what is it that you heroes do, exactly?
Stella: Why don't you tell her, Brandon?
Brandon: Well, we're not officially heroes until we graduate, but we do all sorts of heroic activities, like rescue operations. We also battle monsters and evil forces in general.
Score another point for Layla! You just know she's rolling her eyes in her head! As Brandon continues rattling on about all the impressive stuff the Specialists do, and all the impressive technology on the ship, and shows off how fast the ship goes, Layla bursts his bubble by interrupting him, saying they're going the wrong way.
Back outside Alfea, Tecna operates the winx transfer device, a laptop sort of device. She says that as long as they can keep track of the girls, they'll be able to transfer their winx to them.
In the UnderRealm, Layla guides them to the south entrance, the way she didn't go the first time. Timmy can't land the ship, as its power will drain if it touches the ground. On Stella's way out, she drops her royal makeup case, and it falls into an abyss. Sky says he'll just buy her a new one, but she yells that she can't, that it was couture. Couture makeup case? Um, yeah.... Sky assures her that she won't need any makeup for their mission, and Stella mutters how he's just a clueless boy. Can't say bringing her royal makeup case was the smartest thing Stella has ever done: why she couldn't have just left it at Alfea I'll never know.
Timmy and Riven leave after everyone else gets off the ship.
Back outside Alfea, the winx transfer device shuts off, and Tecna tells Musa and Flora that it means their friends are in terrible danger.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #2
Travelling in a cave in the UnderRealm, Stella hears noises that scare her, and transforms to her winx form, though she puts on an obviously false tough act. Bloom doesn't hear anything, but Sky does. Stella warns the others to hurry out of there. Layla finds a locked door. Stella tries to blast it open, but the door just absorbs the blast. Weird-looking purple lizard-like monsters start surrounding them, and Layla and Bloom transform. Bloom's blasts on the monsters do nothing, but Stella's sun blasts melts them. Brandon and Sky are able to blast open the locked door, and Layla seals the door shut with arranging the water molecules around the door to seal it, so the monsters can't get through, but Layla starts feeling weak, and loses her winx form.
Outside Alfea, Tecna, Musa, Flora, Timmy, and Riven meet up. Tecna tells Timmy that someone cut off their connection, and Timmy says they'll help her fix it.
Back in the caves of the UnderRealm, Bloom and Stella start feeling faint. Layla explains that the caves seem to be draining their powers much faster than on Layla's first trek to the area, and worries that if they run into the phoenix without their powers, that they'll be history. Lord Darkar, spying on them all in his throne room, notes that they're already history.
COMMERCIAL BREAK #3
Layla recognizes the passageways in the areas, and declares one of them leads to Shadowhaunt. Brandon heads through one, and the others go through another, and they all lead to dead ends over a large hole in a central area. Layla then realizes they're not where she thought, and tells Brandon to get back to where the rest of them are, but more of the lizard-monsters start to attack Brandon. Layla flies down to get him, but one of the monsters pins her to a wall with its spit. Bloom and Stella try to change to their winx form, but can't. As Brandon attacks a monster, the floor over the large hole starts to collapse, and he falls through. Stella, having absolutely no idea what to do, jumps down after her "schnookums." In character or not, I really hope she can stop with the nicknames.
Layla was great. There's no denying that. She's the awesomest character to show up since Mirta, and already she's probably been in the show more. Layla's non-reaction to the guys... just priceless!
Stella, on the other hand... disappointment. The witty Stella-isms aren't found here, but her constantly calling Brandon by sickening nicknames is kind of annoying. And um... bringing her royal makeup case to the UnderRealm? Classic Stella stupidity, but unlike usual, it didn't feel balanced out by her fits of instinct. Or common sense. Such a shame.
Stella, Bloom, and Layla were the three who passed the test. And I'm betting absolutely no one is surprised. No one ever wants to give Tecna a break, make her one of the three to pass the survival test.
Speaking of Tecna, she was neat in the episode... at least until Timmy showed up. Musa was cool too, her being so very obviously upset that she failed the test... don't even remember any annoying slang in this episode! Gotta' say something nice, after all!
4 out of 10 on the old scale.
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