TV Viewing In January - Part 3

January 12th

  1. Sherlock – 90 minute long Crime Drama
  • 3x03 – The Last Vow
  • I’d already had the feeling that the last two episodes, dedicated to happy, cheerful stories, would mean a very upsetting finale. Turns out, it was also an episode of major twists: Sherlock had been caught in a drugs den whilst attempting to grab the interest of famed blackmailer Charles Augustus Magnusson, whilst also faking a relationship with a bridesmaid from the Watson’s wedding. John’s wife Mary was a former CIA agent who was blackmailed by Magnusson; Mary shot Sherlock during the attempted assassination of Magnusson. Sherlock kiss Magnusson, and could possibly be sent away from London, except for the sudden return of Moriarty. I don’t think I even got all of the twists! I loved this episode, mainly because whilst it was a huge episode, it hinged on the main relationship scenes, especially one dedicated to John and Mary’s argument over her past. The inclusion of Moriarty in the ending was a big shocker, mainly because he’d blown the back of his head off. I’m nervous at seeing how they explain his return. Magnusson, meanwhile, I thought was a creepy, unnerving villain, whose face-flicking and licking of others frustrates the audience at him. Mikkelson was very good in those role, offering a contrast to Sherlock, and yet just enough similarities to make it dangerous. Great episode, but just the third in a series of great episodes.

January 16th

  1. Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
  • 9x02 – The Inspiration (part 2)
  • This was a great follow-up to the season premiere. Fred Koehler actually surprised me with how convincing he was as two individual characters, utilising body language and wardrobe to make a distinction between characters. I used to watch Oz, which he appeared in, and I wasn’t that impressed by him, whereas here he was fantastic. The BAU team are still good, the sub-plot of whether Hotch will become Section Chief offering good character work. Overall, fine episode, happy with it.

January 17th

  1. 3.      Blue Bloods – 42 minute long Police Procedural
  • 4x05 – Lost and Found
  • Really good episode on the return of this show. First of all, the kidnapping storyline has a good introduction, creating enough questions to entice the audience, and then involving Erin, Nicki, Danny and Maria in the plot. I gathered quite quickly that it was probably a kidnapping that had to be kept quiet, but I do slightly wish that the villain hadn’t been hit by a truck, instead I’d like to have seen Danny have to make a decision on whether to shoot him or not. Jamie and Eddie’s storyline was great because it continues the theme of Jamie questioning himself and his vocation, as well as offering a sold standalone story for Jamie to enjoy. The ending was Law and Order-esque in terms of harshness, but then led to the third storyline, Frank’s dealings with a police chaplain who is questioning his faith. The fall-out from 9/11 continues to be examined. But my favorite part was Jamie’s reaction to the suicide of the hostage taker.

January 21st

  1. 4.      Boardwalk Empire – 58 minute long Period Crime Drama
  • 4x06 – The North Star
  • I always find this show one of the most difficult to discuss, as episodes can easily be dedicated solely to mood with minimal plot development. This episode was a little different, as Nucky and Eli both deal with the emotional repercussion of Eddie’s suicide, Nucky by distraction, Eli by finding answers. Nucky’s was interesting as it involved him working with Lansky and Luciano, whilst Eli became involved with Agent Knox. Knox seemingly got away with it, before a familiar hankey gave Knox away. I’m interested to see how Eli’s own story arc develops here.
  1. 5.      Castle – 42 minute long Comedy Police Procedural
  • 6x01 – Valkyrie
  • 6x02 – Dreamworld
  • I’ve cheated slightly and combined these two due to being two-parters. I was happy to see the opening scene dedicated to Castle’s proposal, avoiding any long-term vagueness just to create false tension. Becket agreeing and them two becoming fiances’ was great to see. I’m a little gutted it skipped several months, avoiding the audience getting to see the reactions of loved ones. But, I’ll make do. This two-partner was good in terms up setting up the new standard, Beckett with a new partner, Esposito and Ryan back home, and Castle floating inbetween. The relationship between Castle and Beckett is different now, there’s a closeness that sells the fact they’ll be getting married. The plot for the two-partner, involving Iraq, marines, a virus and revenge, has enough twists to keep me involved, especially once Castle became poisoned, making the story more personal. However, I was happiest at the fact that they didn’t status quo the whole thing, having Beckett return to the precinct within the two parter. I want to see where they can go from here.

January 22nd

  1. Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
  • 9x03 – Final Shot
  • Fascinating episode seemingly inspired by the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, that reveals itself to be a spotlight on the protection of fleeing wives. The sub-plot of the main victim being protected by a cleaner, only for the cleaner to be revealed to be a Sharpshooter fantasising about a woman he’s about to kill, was awesome, and actually surprised me. Good, solid episode as always.

TV Viewing in January - Part 1

January 1st

  1. Vicious – 22 minute long Sitcom
  • 1x07 – Christmas Special
  • Vicious is not a brilliant sitcom, I know that as I watch it. And yet, I often find myself enjoying it, most likely on a meta-personal level. Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Ian Jacobi are two fantastic, world-class actors who fifty years ago would have had to hide their sexuality for fear of persecution. And yet, today, they can star on national television, playing a gay couple. Their banter, whilst not the strongest part of the episodes, are given life by these actors, who know how to make bad dialogue sound fantastic. The storyline is very simplistic, Ash wants to cook Christmas dinner, and the others entertain themselves with ‘Truth Or Dare’. However, for a Christmas episode, it does the job, offering a happy ending and sending the audience home in a good mood. Nothing brilliant, but I liked it.
  1. Sherlock – 90 minute long Crime Drama
  • 3x01 – The Empty Hearse
  • I love this series. I remember sitting down to watch the first episode with my housemate Lauren, both of us being tempted on the spur of the moment. Within twenty minutes, we were both loving, and watching that episode together is one of my favorite moments of University. I also recall watching both season finales with my housemates, The Reichenbach Fall leaving me particularly emotional afterwards. After a long wait over the years, the episode tonight was like a breath of fresh air, a cheeky and fun rendition that brought back to the fans the loving chemistry between Freeman and Cumberbatch. The actual answer for how Sherlock faked his death, for me, is the right level of clever and outlandish for me to accept, and I am also fascinated to see how Lars Mikkelson portrays the season finale. A welcome return to Sherlock that leaves me overenjoyed in excitement for the next episode, but also a little sad to not be sharing it with my housemates like previous seasons.

January 2nd

  1. Banshee – 50 minute long Drama
  • 1x02 – The Rave
  • The Pilot of this show was one that surprised me. The premise of the series, an ex-con takes on the identity of a town’s new Sheriff so he can stay hidden from his former boss, seemed outlandish, and yet was done in a way that I found plausible enough to not mind. This episode, I was left uncertain of. Whilst I expect the main character to struggle with a new role, his actions are too ridiculous to take. He beats up several handcuffed criminals, he tries making out with an ex during an open house with several people around, he walks up to someone brandishing a loaded gun and dares them to shoot him; it just goes too far beyond plausibility. The episode wasn’t fantastic, but I am willing to allow the next few episodes to try convincing me.
  • 1x03 – Meet The New Boss
  • Okay, this was a bit better. Several scenes devoted to discussions between family members help to begin building up each character as multi-dimensioned, a good example of world building, ala the villain Proctor having a humanising moment, or a twist to reveal why Mr Rabbit, the crime lord, is so determined to find the protagonist. This also leads into a slightly ridiculous, over-the-top, but fantastically violent fight between Sheriff Lucas Hood, and a UFC fighter who rapes & assaults a waitress. After three episodes, it shows that this show will be more along the lines of over-the-top, fun Strike Back, which means I will allow myself to be more understanding of some seemingly ridiculous writing choices, i.e. a public beat down by a Sheriff. Ohh, and lines such as “You need to go somewhere I can’t see you, and stay there”, help me enjoy the series, too.

January 3rd

  1. Only Fools and Horses – 30 minute sitcom
  • 1x01 – Big Brother
  • I’ve always enjoyed this series, it has an inherent Britishness to it that has realistic comedy that has tinges of emotion to it as well. It’s the sort of comedy I hold up as my preference, where the humour is based on the characters and their interplay. A lot of the best moments are comedic dialogue between the two brothers, based in their apartment. However, despite this, I’ve never watched the first season, and decided to make the effort to watch it. This episode is a solid pilot, it introduces us to the main characters, gives background information about their parents and how they’ve only relied on each other, and it also gave us our first business mishap. The choice of 25 rejected suitcase is ridiculous enough to set our expectations for future episodes, which was a good choice.
  • 1x02 – Go West Young Man
  • Whereas the first episode focused on their business mishaps, this episode focuses on the mishaps with women, the brothers’ attempts to pull some birds. With an accidental introduction to a gay club, and the sale of dodgy car, the episode shows us an example of future episodes, how the A-Plots and B-Plots will tie together later in the episode.
  • 1x03 – Cash and Curry
  • This episode seemed more focused on setting up the brothers as the supposed plotting con-men, only for the Trotters to end up swindled, a twist that would probably be a set-up for future episodes, showing how fallible the brothers are. Very much an episode of the times, it wasn’t as bad as I was worried it would be.
  • 1x04 – The Second Time Around
  • This is probably my favorite episode so far, as it focuses on the relationship between the three Trotters, the lengths to which they’ll go to protect one another. While it is slightly ridiculous, it’s also fun and heartwarming to see how much they love each other.
  • 1x05 – A Slow Bus To Chingford
  • This episode was slightly different to what was expected, a slightly quieter episode that allowed David Jason to reveal the motivations and dreams of Del Boy. By doing so, it helped build the required sympathy from the audience to follow him in later episodes.
  • 1x06 – The Russians Are Coming
  • Again, building on the previous episode, this is a more somber and quieter episodes, allowing Grandad to be humanised more than previously, and focused solely on the interactions between the three main actors. This feels like the precursor to similar standards of episodes, based in the later seasons, where Rodney and Del Boy experience personal trauma and sadness. By showing the ability of the actors to portray angst, but also having a strong mix of comedy, it shows the standard to which John Sullivan could reach.
  1. Criminal Minds – 42 minute long Police Procedural
  • 9x01 – The Inspiration (part I)
  • I’ve been a long time fan of this show, for me, it’s a solid, dependable show that has interesting characters and great villains. This episode continues that run with a fascinating antagonist, an UNSUB who is inspired by the praying mantis. The praying mantis kind of freaks me out, anyway, so this made this episode a little more unnerving than usual. I’m glad to see the continued chemistry between the team, and have to admit, I can’t for the next episode after a fantastic cliffhanger.
  1. Banshee – 50 minute long Drama.
  • 1x04 – Half Deaf Is Better Than All Dead
  • Okay, I don’t know what it was, but I really enjoyed this one. The fact that Proctor got arrested was slightly surprising, as it showed a huge step forward. The aftermath, though, with the introduction of a White Supremacist group, leaves me feeling there’s a lot of potential to this town, and that anything can happen.
  • 1x05 – The Kindred
  • Probably my favorite episode so far, the battle against the motorcycle gang, and the spotlight upon Deputy Siobhan was interesting, so far she’s the least shown characters and yet one I find fascinating. The fact that Proctor and Hood ended up working together against the Motorcycle gang was unsurprising, but a good way of adding a gray area to the show.

January 5th

  1. Spartacus: Blood and Sand – 53 minute long Historical Drama
  • 1x13 – Kill Them All
  • I love this series, I can’t help it, it’s like the drama of Game Of Thrones with the style, tone and presentation of 300. I originally watched the prequel series, Gods Of The Arena, by pure chance, wanting to see what the show was like, and found myself enjoying it greatly. Because of that, I tried Blood and Sand, which started off a little rough, but every episode, got a bit better, then a lot better, eventually culminating in this episode, the season finale. This episode, is fucking awesome, and so satisfying to watch. Starting in media res, the fight scene between Crixus and Spartacus gains new meaning after every flashback, ending with the audience fascinated to see what Crixus, Spartacus, Batiatus, Oenomaus, Ashur, etc, will do. And then the screen runs with blood. This show proves that it holds nothing back, completely decimating the Roman cast, every slave gaining some form of revenge. This is an awesome stand alone season, but one that leads into stronger thematical seasons over the next two years. And also, Andy Whitfield, in his final appearance, deserves recognition, for carrying this series through some difficult episodes, to the strong finale it ends on.
  1. Mad Men – 47 minute long Period Drama
  • 5x08 – Lady Lazarus
  • This was a fascinating look at two of the male characters, Don and Pete, and how they relate to a female. Don, the alpha male, who helped Megan gain a prominent position in the Agency, has to deal with the fact that Megan is unhappy, wanting to return to acting. He puts on a brave face, wanting to be the supportive husband, but deep down, he feels confused, the idea that she knows exactly what she wants, whereas he doesn’t. Pete, likewise, has everything he wanted (good job, money, wife, kids, home) and yet is tempted by another woman because he feels there is emptiness to his life.  The fact that neither of them can put their finger on why they are unhappy, makes it more fascinating.
  • 5x09 – Dark Shadows
  • I’m sorry, but I cannot stand January Jones as an actress. I know Betty is supposed to be childish and/or mentally traumatised, but she drags down every scene she appears in. I know they can’t just get rid of her, as she’s still the mother of Sally, who has become one of the most interesting characters on this show, but the difference between these two female Drapers in terms of acting is massive. I’m just thankful we had time with Roger, and his ex-wife, Jane. Roger is a great supporting actor who can hit the emotional drama just as well as the one-liners. In fact, I’m enjoying his dramatic scenes much more, because he’s so strong at them. His storyline and the inclusion of Michael Ginsberg’s argument with Don, are the saving graces of a Betty-set episode.
  1. Sherlock – 90 minute long Crime Drama
  • 3x02 – The Sign Of Three
  • I can understand if some people don’t enjoy this episode, they feel there is less attention dedicated to the crimes in this season, but I personally loved it. This new season seems to be very concentrated on the reunion of the main characters, and the emotions of the two. This was epitomized within Sherlock’s Best Man Speech. Slightly rambling, encompassing several crimes, several stories, it also included one of the most cringeworthy speeches I’d ever heard, before changing on a dime, and making the internet cry. His confessions about his love for John, choked me up, and was one of my favorite moments in the show. I’m also a huge fan of Mary, I love the fact that her and Sherlock get along so well, it probably helps the audience to accept her. Not only that, but she’s intelligent, loving and funny. In essence…no wonder John loves her! I do feel that the reason we’re having such emotionally happy scenes, is because the third episode is going to be heartbreaking.

25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Twenty-Five: Whatever Tickles Your Fancy.

Well, for my final post, I decided to have a look at the third season. Now, of course, the third season won’t begin shooting until early 2013, supposedly, which means it is liable to not be premiered until Christmas 2013 or maybe even January 2014, which is a long way away. But regardless, we can make some possible guesses.

Now, we know, according to Gatiss, that the first episode will be based on “The Adventure of the Empty House”, which is where Holmes returns from his faked death, as well as captures Colonel Moran, which is an obvious start for “Sherlock“‘s return, which also will include Watson’s reaction to Sherlock. So we know the first episode will be this one. It also seems likely, following the habit of the previous two seasons, and Moffat being the one discussing the return, that Moffat will write this one. However, seeing as how the last two seasons have had Moffat write the first episode, maybe Gatiss will take this one? What we don’t know, is what will follow it, with Gatiss even teasing fans by referring to the episodes as “The Return. The Second One. The Third One.”

The second episode, well really we have no clue, but let’s presume that it will be an episode based on a story that follows “The Adventure of the Empty House”? Or, will it be similar in the vein of season 2, the second episode based on a feature length book, such as maybe…”The Sign of Four”? The book is based before Moriarty, but what it includes is stolen treasure, four convicts, the East India Company, numerous elements that presents a big enough challenge for Holmes, but big enough that could also help him regain the respect of his “colleagues”, who are probably quite angry with his betrayal. This could make sense, and I reckon it is possible that Thompson will do this one.

But what will be the third one? Supposedly it will have the biggest cliffhanger. So, I have a possible feeling, that this may be the most original of the series, it won’t be based on an exact story, it will just have hints to the unused stories yet. And what could be a huge new element, I reckon, would actually be something to do with Mycroft. Each season, Mycroft’s role has slowly been built up, and the relationships between him and both Sherlock & John, and the biggest storylines are the most emotional ones, the ones built on character, and these three are the biggest characters. I’m probably completely wrong about this, but I just get this slight feeling, and it seems likely that Gatiss will write this, as he probably would understand Mycroft the most. But, this is all just throwing ideas out.

Either way, the previous two seasons have been awesome, and I would be surprised if the third isn’t as awesome, the fact they have so long to write it and plan it should hopefully make it the most consistent season yet.


"Hello. Are you ready for the story? This is the story of Sir Boast-a-lot. Sir Boast-a-lot was the bravest and cleverest knight at the round table, but soon the other knights began to grow tired of his stories about how brave he was and how many dragons he’d slain, and some of them began to wonder, “Are Sir Boast-a-lot’s stories even true?” Oh no. So, one of the knights went to King Arthur and said, “I don’t believe Sir Boast-a-lot’s stories. He’s just a big, old liar who makes things up to make himself look good.” And then, even the king began to wonder, but that wasn’t the end of Sir Boast-a-lot’s problems. No. That wasn’t the final problem. The end."

25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Twenty-Four: Another Favorite Quote.

Moriarty to Sherlock, I always thought it was an awesome allegory for the entire series, which was very clever.

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25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Twenty-Three: Favorite Episode Overall.

For me, it has to be “The Reichenbach Fall”. For this, I am going to copy and paste in a previous post I’d written, because it just says everything I would have said for this one:

I was quite happy overall with the second series, I think it built on the strengths of the first series as well as removing some of the weaknesses (i.e. stretched storylines for a a half hour too long). The weakest episode is probably again, the middle one, “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, and yet was still quite strong on a standalone basis.

I also thought Irene Adler was one of the strongest antagonists yet, a well written female character who affected Sherlock unlike any villain yet, as well as a great build on the series 1 finale. The use of the Bee Gees for the series 2 premiere was original and hilarious, which I loved.

However, for me, my favorite was the series 2 finale. I love finales that have been built up through multiple seasons, it makes the culmination that much more exciting, such as season 2 of ‘Supernatural’, where the death of The Yellow-Eyed Demon was bloody awesome as it had been built up for two seasons. So when we got to “The Reichenbach Fall”, I was blown away by the result, which was surprising, as I didn’t have high hopes with Steve Thompson, who exceeded himself.

The relationship between Watson and Sherlock was at the forefront, and Martin Freeman’s performance as Watson was astounding, the bookends to the episode, the beginning with his Psychiatrist, and the end, saying goodbye, are suitably heartbreaking. Moriarty cements his position as Sherlock’s archenemy, with his destruction of Sherlock’s reputation intelligent and a rollercoaster ride. Overall, the entire episode was a wonderful culmination of all six episodes, and it left me overwhelmed with excitement for the third series. I applaud the efforts of Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Andrew Scott, Mark Gatiss, Stephen Moffat, Steve Thompson, and director Toby Haynes.


25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Twenty-Two: Favorite Actress.

Lara Pulver was an actress I’d never heard of before ‘Sherlock’, and I had no expectations when I sat down to watch ‘A Scandal In Belgravia’, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, Pulver blew me away, with a brave, sensual, intelligent, charismatic performance that nearly stole the episode, and made her a strong enough character to still be memorable 5 months on. I can’t wait to see what she does after this, and hopefully, she will have Cumberbatch/Watson rise.

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25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Twenty-One: Favorite Actor.

Since watching the first episode of ‘Sherlock’, and being introduced to Benedict Cumberbatch, I have seen him in ‘Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy’, where I thought he was the best thing in it, I have seen him in ‘War Horse’, and ‘Wreckers’, and in each one, he has done a brilliant performance. He has shown magnificent range, the ability to make impact in a small role or large role, and a charisma that draws the audience. For me, he is my favorite actor, because he was the one I didn’t know and was most blown away by, his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes is unique and memorable.

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"Moriaty: Westwood. Do you know what happens if you don’t leave me alone, Sherlock, to you?
Sherlock: [Dryly] Oh, let me guess, I get killed.
Moriarty: Kill you? Um, no. Don’t be obvious I mean, I’m gonna kill you anyway, someday. I don’t want to rush it though. I’m saving it up for something special! No no no no no, if you don’t stop prying… I’ll burn you. I will burn.. the heart out of you.
Sherlock: I’ve been reliably informed that I don’t have one.
Moriarty: Oh, but we both know that’s not quite true. Well, I better be off. So nice to have a proper chat.
Sherlock: What if I was to shoot you now? Right now?
Moriarty: Well, then you could cherish the look of surprise on my face. Because I’d be surprised, Sherlock, really I would, and just a little bit… disappointed. And of course, you wouldn’t be able to cherish it for very long. Ciao, Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock: Catch…. You…. Later.
Moriarty: [High pitched, sing-song voice] No, you won’t!"

25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Nineteen: Favorite Moriarty Quote.

This, for me, is where Moriarty demonstrated he could be terrifying. When I first saw the reveal, I found it questionable, but then he shouted “That’s what people DO!” and it got my attention. And then this bit, convinced me: Andrew Scott could be great.

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"I always hear “punch me in the face” when you’re speaking, but it’s usually subtext."

25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Eighteen: Favorite Watson Quote.

Watson in response to Sherlock. Cracking line.

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"Lestrade? We’ve had a break-in at Baker Street. Send your least irritating officers and an ambulance. Oh, no-no-no-no, we’re fine. No, it’s the burglar. He’s got himself rather badly injured. Oh, a few broken ribs, fractured skull, suspected punctured lung. He fell out of a window."

25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Seventeen: Favorite Sherlock Quote.

One of the best moments for showing the humanity in Sherlock.

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25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Sixteen: A Scene That Made You Happy

"Whose status?" "Sherlock Holmes, and Dr. John Watson." is the final scene of ‘A Study In Pink’ and is the scene that cemented the fact for me that ‘Sherlock’ could be a brilliant series. And it was, it was. A heartwarming ending.

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25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Fifteen: A Scene That Made You Sad

Do I even need to say why I felt sad, watching Martin Freeman as Watson, struggling to say the words he refuses to believe…Sherlock is dead.

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25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Fourteen: Episodes Ranked by Preference

From favorite to least favorite:

  1. A Study In Pink
  2. The Great Game
  3. The Reichenbach Fall
  4. A Scandal in Belgravia
  5. The Hound of Baskervilles
  6. The Blind Banker


25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Thirteen: Favorite Scene From ‘The Reichenbach Fall’

This, for me, is Watson’s episode, and even more, Martin Freeman’s best performance yet. The ending, by the grave, is actually quite reserved, just like John, and yet, beautiful, and open, and I love it.


25 Days of ‘Sherlock’ - Day Twelve: Favorite Scene From ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a full version of the scene, but I love the pub scene where Sherlock nearly breaks down, reveals his body feeling fear, and to prove he is still in control of his senses, demonstrates his ability, scanning several members of the entire pub, in extremely quick succession. It demonstrates Benedict Cumberbatch’s amazing ability to recite Sherlock’s dialogue, as well as Freeman’s response and dialogue, elevating the amazement, as well as coupling it with the bitterness of living with a show-off.

It also is a good reminder of a similar scene at the beginning of the episode, where Henry first appears, and Sherlock scans him, except more extreme.

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