Either that, or Towa just never had the experience of swimming in the first place. For the first half of her life, she was a princess who lived primarily in a castle and focused more on refined arts so she can be a successful heir to the throne. In her later years, she was Twilight, who followed Dyspear's every whim; learning how to swim was likely dubbed unnecessary.
This could also apply to the endings as well; the first does not have the Cures dancing on stage like the second ending because Haruka did not overcome her stage fright then.
There are a lot of instances when Cure Twinkle is winking at the camera, such as in her transformation sequence and some promotional, material, and how could she not? After all, the word "wink" is in her name! It's practically part of the job description!
A common complaint about Stop and Freeze is that they are both flat characters. They serve little to no purpose other than to show up to summon a Zetsuborg and possess little personality. Why would anyone create such bland, robotic characters? Because they were created by the villains in the same way they create Zetsuborgs. Close himself mentions that Stop and Freeze are simply more powerful Zetsuborgs given sentient life. In short, Stop and Freeze are Monsters of the Week that are given more spotlight; most of those monsters aren't supposed to be fleshed out in the personality department because they were often defeated in a short period of time. They're the perfect weapons to oppose the Cures, as their lack of any personality meant that they wouldn't be swayed into a HeelFace Turn, just as the villains intended.
Why does Shut turn into a cat, when their pronunciations don't sound similar (as opposed to Close and crows)? Take the French word for cat, chat. Just drop the -t sound from Shut, and we've got a wordplay!
That's because it's more of a Japanese word play that only makes sense if you look at the katakana. Close has the most obvious reference. Shut and cat look similar in katakana, just the first syllable is changed (シャット vs. キャット).
Close tries to trap Haruka in a Wish Fulfillment world by recreating the story of her favorite book. It doesn't work for two reasons. The first is that, as made apparent in the episode, Haruka doesn't want to live in a world where she had everything she wanted without working to achieve them. The second reason is that the recreation of the story is completely different despite the premise. In the story of the Flower Princess, the princess saved the bird and because of that act of kindness, the bird regretted its evil way and repented; meanwhile, in Close's illusion, the bird gave Haruka everything without her making any effort after she saved it. Furthermore, Haruka had already saved an evil bird in real life (i.e. Towa), who had since repented and is now her strongest ally. In a sense, Haruka had already recreated the story of her favorite fairytale with Towa and is now walking beyond her fantasy.
Towa is usually the first and/or only one of the group to be Genre Savvy enough to notice any suspicious activity that occurs around them, examples including Episode 38, where she is wary of the new student Kurosu (who turns out to be Close in disguise), and the movie, where she immediately becomes suspicious of the Minister of the Pumpkin Kingdom (who turns out to be the movie's villain). Of course, being brainwashed into becoming a villain for a good portion of your lifetime would give you at least a rough idea on what a typical villain would do to hurt the heroes.
In the movie, Towa explicitly states that she can sense dark energy from somewhere in the kingdom. This most likely indicates that she has become familiar enough with the "scent" of despair from her time as Twilight to recognize it in places it shouldn't be in.
Remember that fight between Twilight and the Princess Cures in Episode 18? At that time, Twilight straight-up burned them. What makes this a fridge horror is that blue flames are much hotter than normal red flames. Err... Yikes?
In Episode 3, Minami says that in order for a new rule to be implemented, every person must agree to the rules. This raises questions as Kirara had yet to debuted socialize at that point. How would they get her approval over keeping Puff (considering she didn't meet about Puff until Episode 4)? Did they choose for her? Also for that manner, they needed every girl's approval to keep Puff. Considering the size of the school, they would be a lot of girls. At least one other person besides Kisaragi should have been fully against keeping Puff.
Where is Close now?
He 'disappears' as for now. Before his declaration to do so, Cure Flora has just said her philosophy that 'despair' is a concept and you could not kill a concept; and that despair and hope make people grow, that one can only face it with dignity when despair rears its ugly head. As Close is the personification of despair itself, along with Dyspear and the rest of DysDark as well, they are 'concepts' which could not be killed and are normal things that we experience in life, which reappears and disappears ocassionally. That's why he is disappearing... for now, just like despair.