How I Met Your Mother "The Autumn of Breakups" Review: Another Couple Down

How I Met Your Mother S08E05: "The Autumn of Breakups"

Victoria is gone.

A season ago, I never thought I’d be celebrating the moment when How I Met Your Mother jettisoned the once-popular girlfriend of Ted Mosby, but after "The Autumn of Breakups," I am. I’m sorry, Ashley Williams, but the HIMYM writers took your character—a character who was possibly the greatest missed opportunity of Ted’s life—and turned her into a one-note, caricatured, and even petty individual. If HIMYM were to introduce some soap opera-esque twist that the woman Ted had been dating wasn’t actually Victoria but was instead her boring twin sister (let's call her Wictoria), I’d be completely on board.

Anyway, after a hurricane delay, HIMYM returned this week looking to find its narrative strength once again. The series has been all over the place in this still very young season, but "The Autumn of Breakups" showed a few signs that HIMYM is ready to get things back on track. There were still a few rough patches, but with Victoria gone, we’ve cleared out another piece of dead wood that HIMYM has been stumbling over.

The demise of Ted and Victoria was pretty straightforward, and it was something most of us saw coming from the very start of the season. Victoria made some joking comments about leaving Klaus at the altar for Ted and talking about how crazy it would be to accept a job in Denver. Marshall and Lily pointed out to Ted that Victoria was obviously looking for something more serious and not particularly interested in taking it slow. Ted confronted Victoria about this... and then proposed to Victoria. Victoria told Ted she'd say yes under one condition—that he end his friendship with Robin.

When Victoria started hanging out with the group and Robin in the beginning of this season, I thought HIMYM had forgotten about Victoria’s warning to Ted last season that as long as he remained friends with Robin, his ex-girlfriend, he’d never find "the one." Looks like I was wrong: The writers were just letting it eat away at Victoria until the time came for her to give Ted an ultimatum. Ted had to choose between Victoria as his wife or Robin in his life.

Ted’s decision to pick Robin over Victoria should finally close the door on Victoria. Like Marshall and Lily, I’m torn on what Ted should’ve done. If we were dealing with Victoria 1.0, it would’ve been a lot easier to pick her as the woman who could have been his wife. But Victoria 2.0 just wasn’t worth losing Robin over.

So what’s next for Ted? Former Saturday Night Live cast member Abby Elliott (who’s also the daughter of Chris Elliott, the actor who plays Lily’s dad) is slated to appear in a few upcoming episodes of HIMYM. Will she be Ted’s last fling before he finds the mother? One thing that keeps coming up in the comments of these reviews is that we should care less about the mother reveal and more about the actual stories that are happening in each episode. If Elliott’s character is anything like Victoria’s second coming, I’m going to have to start agreeing with that sentiment. The journey to find the mother should be rewarding. It should be fun. This recent Ted storyline wasn’t either of those things. And so I hope that HIMYM mixes things up with Ted’s next relationship.

While Ted’s relationship with Victoria was crumbling, Marshall and Lily spent the episode serving as Ted’s sassy friends, dolling out relationship advice with a side helping of MMMHMMMs and snaps. Marshall attempted to channel his inner goddess (who spoke with a borderline racist accent) but couldn’t nail down the role after he gave out horrible advice to everyone at MacLaren’s.

While the Ted/Victoria storyline drove this episode, it was Barney’s latest round of adventures that gave the episode its spark. Without Ted around to help him look for ladies, Barney stumbled across the perfect replacement wingman—er, wingdog: Brover. After finding this dog on the street, Barney not only made Brover a huge part of his pickup game, he also made the pup a huge part of his life. For a short time, Barney and Brover went everywhere together, both of them decked out in fine suits. At MacLaren’s, Brover was allowed to stand on the bar as women flocked to him. Bringing your dog into a bar? That just seems unfair when it comes to getting girls to notice you. Also, it seems a bit unhygienic, but I’ll leave that one up to MacLaren’s management. The Barney-Brover bromance was cut short when Brover’s true owner called Barney to say that her dog had run away. Barney may have been disappointed to find out that Brover’s real name was Mr. Sprinkles, but the owner invited him inside for a drink.

Barney’s reaction to discovering that Brover had an owner reminded me of his reaction to learning that Robin hadn’t broken up with Kevin last season—the quiet excusal, the slow walk away. While Barney left MacLaren’s to remove rose petals from Robin’s room after his last heartbreak, he was ready to throw himself off Robin’s balcony this time. Ouch. Poor Barney. How many episodes do we have left until he gets back together with Robin?

Speaking of Robin, anyone who had hers and Nick’s relationship down as the final survivor of the Autumn of Breakups should now collect his or her prize. Nick, the character who up until this episode never even had a personality, is still standing. Surprisingly, I actually warmed up to Nick with this episode. His awful attempts at coming up with a catchphrase for his local-access cooking show, Nick: The Bad Boy Chef, were quite funny. The character’s acceptance of Robin having guy friends in her life may prove to be stupid, but at least it showed that he wasn’t just a one-dimensional character.



NOTES & QUOTES


– I’m still not used to Ted living in Quinn’s former apartment. After seven seasons, I guess it’ll take some time to remember that Marshall and Lily are now the full-time residents of the original pad.

– Barney gushing about Brover, his new wingman: “The bitches love him. He buries bones all day. No one chases tail like him.”

– Ted asking Lily about Marshall’s inner goddess search: “When did Marshall become a slightly more feminine you?

– Honestly, the whole “Marshall’s inner goddess” storyline didn’t do it for me. Didn’t really fit in with the characters. Marshall searching for his inner Sasquatch would be something I’d completely buy, though.

– When Barney first introduced Brover at the bar, I didn’t even realize Robin was sitting with Nick. I thought it was Ted. Upon realizing that it was Robin’s boyfriend, I then realized that I didn’t remember his name. That doesn’t bode well for Nick’s staying power.

– Victoria to Ted after pulling out her wedding dress: “Should I keep this wedding dress or do you think I’ll never ever need it again?”

– Victoria debunking the myth of the Mosby boys and their detective skills: “The Mosby boys were you, your sister, and a neighborhood squirrel you thought you had tamed.”

– Barney (as Brover’s wingman) to another dog’s owner: “How old’s your dog?” Other owner: “Five.” Barney: “How old’s that in dog years?” Other owner: “Like 35.” Barney: “We’re done here.”

– Ted to Marshall and Lily: “You guys are the worst.”

– Ted has now proposed to two women on HIMYM. Even though Victoria’s proposal came with a real ring and roses, his proposal to Stella had so much more going for it. I think I got too invested in Stella …

– Victoria on why Ted can’t remain friends with Robin: “There’s too much history there. Robin’s the reason we broke up the first time. Robin’s our roadblock. Robin’s the deep, dark pit where our relationship goes to die. But nicest girl in the world. Salt of the earth.”

– Nick’s attempts at finding a catchphrase: “Oh my gosh, who’s ready to nosh?” “Who’s popping a chub for some grub?” “Who’s ready to eat my meat?”

– Did we know that Barney went with Robin to drop off her dogs at her aunt’s farm in Season 1? I don’t remember that ever being mentioned. It seems like a very sweet thing for Season 1 Barney to do. Either way, Robin’s realization that her aunt’s close friend was more than that was great. “No she’s not a lesbian … nor does she farm them.”

– Did anyone else have trouble recording this episode last night? It seems some cable providers never updated their listings after last week's preemption due to Hurricane Sandy, and my DVR thought HIMYM was a repeat last night. If yours missed it too, you can watch the episode online right here.

HIMYM "The Autumn of Breakups" Photos


What'd you think of this week's episode?

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As far as breakups go, this one was a sweet one. She gave him an ultimatum but she didn't plant expectation on him. It was almost as if she knew what his decision would be (and I'm sure she did) and that they were done, which is why it bothers me that she jumped on his proposal.. Victoria let Ted off the hook very gently - for a moment I almost thought they'd make it (I couldn't tell which couple was going this episode) - but then it's done. It was quiet and very final. Good job, HIMYM.
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I have to say, I'm just watching the show because of Neil Patrick Harris. The rest of the cast just sucks.

Alyson: We all saw you in American Pie sticking a flute up *peep*. That's why we like you. But you are playing the same character in this show. Sexually experienced open-to-everything-redhead with a virgin for a boyfriend/husband.

Jason: Sorry, you're a decent comedian, but not a good actor and in this category you are in good company with your kind look-alikes Seth Rogan, Zach Galifianakis and Jonah Hill.

Josh: I like your surname, it's really cool. Even sounds cool spellt backwards. Rondar - sounds like Conan's sidekick. But that's really all there is to you. I know, the writers made your cahracter into what it is, but you're just so bleedin' BORING and self-righteous. Get a life! And keep one of the girls you shag! You must be way ahead of Barney!

Cobie: Sorry, but you are ugly. Everyone single one of my friends, co-workers and people I meet on the street agree. There's the sex, boyish, closet lesbian who gives men a wet night's dream, and then there's you.



BARNEY! Bro (I hate that word), you're the best! I said to my pals while watching Harold & Kumar, watch out for this one, he'll be back, oh yes, and he was! Nice job! Don't hang out with Elton John too much, his suits are not your style!
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okay so I have a question. Do we know for sure that the kids that Ted is telling the story to are his kids? He is telling them about how he met their mother but do we know that he is the father? I am thinking those are Barney's kids. Ted and Robin end up together and never have kids - which is why Ted is telling stories to Barney's kids.
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They call him Dad in many of the flashbacks. In one of them he says, "I'm never telling my kids this story." And the kids look at him like, "I can't believe our Dad told us this story." And he asks them, "Am I a bad Dad?"
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He started this episode with telling the kids how UNCLE Barney is such a dog.
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Intriguing ... but, no. :-)
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I really did not like this episode, when I saw that Barney's wing-man was going to be a dog, I thought it was ridiculous, the writing in this episode was horrible it's just the worst episode from this show.
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Worst episode in the history of show. The writing has been going downhill for a while now, but I never imagined it could get much worse than last season. Boy was I wrong!

They had a great opportunity with Victoria to show why the amazing girl that got away in Ted's 20's wasn't necessarily the right girl for him in his 30's. Instead she was rarely seen, insinuating all along that it was going quite well despite a few newly discovered quirks, until wham, out of the blue, yet another rehash of "you can't be friends with Robin" / Ross-Rachel-Friends rip-off. Lazy, sad, pathetic writing. Oh HIMYM, I weep for what you once were. :'(
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Am I the only one that was bothered by the fact that the Ted/Robin/Victoria situation was copying the Ross/Rachel/Emily story arc in Friends?
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Honestly, I'm just so tired of the whole every guy's life has to revolve around Robin in some way that it breaks their relationships. And I am sadden by Victoria's personality change. They really took a lot from her character. Lily and Marshall aren't as good anymore and can't even be seen without each other.
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I don't know why you would take the dynamic character of Marshall and make him more like the abomination of a character that Lily has become... Awful just awful
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I think this is one of those episodes where the parts were better than the whole. When I first saw this episode I didn't like it, but after reading the Q&N section I remember all those moments and they were good.

I think the problem was Lilshal. I have nothing against Lily or Marshal, but whenever the writers Homerize either of them I want to stab myself in the eye. I mean all the parts where Marshal and Lily were acting like normal real people were good and touching, but whenever Marshal went insane it was just painful to watch.

Anywho, I said it before, and I'll say it again, no matter how rocky HIMYM seems to get, but the end they always manage to pull it together and make care for the characters so Im just waiting for that turn in this season.
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I think "ruining" Victoria was done on purpose. She and Ted had to break up, so they made her less likable. From the very first episode of the season, Klaus planted the seed of doubt of wether Victoria was as perfect as Ted (and we) remembered her. Then came the "she can be quite annoying" phase, the "she wants to get married NOW!" phase and finally the "choose between one of your best friends or her" part. Had she been the same Victoria Ted fell in love with back in season 1, he would have chosen her instead of Robin. But that couldn't happen for the sake of the story.

And yet even though they turned her into such an annoying character, I still felt we got a glimpse of her old self when she told Ted "I really hope you get her some day".



All in all, I didn't find the episode to be that bad. Honestly, I thought it was way better than many episodes of the previous season. At least here I got a couple of laughs and one step closer to the mother.
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By far the worse episode of HIMYM... Ted's Proposal was so lazy and predictable it was stupid... You don't propose to a girl because you HAVE to... you do it cause she is the only one in the world... I can't believe hwo they destroyed Victoria's character... She was seriously the ONE in season 1.... They had that romance and Ted screwed it up by being at Robin's at 2am.... They made her into such a petty woman its unreal!!!
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Bad, bad, bad episode! It just proves that we have come to a point where the writers literally have no idea what to do with either character - Barney, as in the guy who wrote the Playbook, figures out only now that dogs can be wingmen? Robin and her guy are so dull and boring. I disagree with Ted telling Lily &Marshall - you guys are the worst...Lily is the worst, i still hate her for breaking up Robin and Ted..Marshall channeling his inner goddess...the writers really are OUT of ideas.....will never forgive them for ruining Victoria!
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When Ted said he wouldn't live without Robin in his life i thought "Why the hell not?"

It's not like they have done anything remotely fun together in years. You hardly see them in the same scene, they are at completely different points in their lives and i don't know why, but the past few seasons Robin just annoys me. She has nothing really going on except for dishing out some unremarkable one liners every other episode. I loved Robin in the early seasons. She started out as such a well defined and strong character but recently has become a caricature of her former self. Additionally, Coby Smulders has become way to thin for my taste. She looked absolutely gorgeous in season one.
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I am surprised that Nick lasted longer than Victoria. But she's been quite annoying lately.
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Funny, there was a scene symbolic for the whole show. Ted tells some random story and Victoria finishes his sentence and continues with "...you know how I know that, Ted? Because we covered it in the getting-to-know-you-part of the relationship 6 years ago... SIX YEARS."

Ted responds with "...then what's holding us back?" and Victoria doesn't know. I'm also clueless week after week what the writers are doing here, deliberately screwing with the audience and their expectations, recycling formulas and stories they used 6 years ago. HIMYM, we want to advance the getting-to-know-you-part and finally get somewhere after all those years. Step up or we'll break up.
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God this episode was bad.

1) Barney and a new bro? Haven't we seen this already sometime ago? At least I think so.. Although there were pretty good lines in that whole story

2) Victoria's thing was so stupid. I mean the proposal was down right lazy writing. Not even a sliver of hope that she would say yes, so so obvious. Her reason for breaking up just killed the once lovable character. In the first seasons it might have made sense, now it was stupid, mean and petty.

3) Lily and Marshall. Writers really really have run out of ideas... :)
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I find that HIMYM is just circling the drain. Lily and Marshall used to be hilarious and now they're just used for bad puns and filler (I still remember this season's ep where they are supposedly sleep deprived. It was so contrived!). Barney has lost his lustre and I feel that they have to resort to cheap gimmickry with a dog as a guest star (why not more flash back to his pony tail days before the awesomeness kicked in for a nice change?). I agree with the reviewers sentiments about Victoria 2.0 and don't think that the current Victoria paid justice to the relationship they established the first time the dated. I mean this was a girl who was introduce so well in season 1 only to be played off the series in such a half hearted way. And why does it always come back to the robin and Ted equation? Either she's the mother or the writers can't figure what to write about so they keep recycling old material and try to rehash it. I'd stop watching but I've invested way too much time into this series to give up on it. I hope this Is the last season or that the next season be based on developing the story around the relationship between Ted and the infamous mother.
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Like I said elsewhere, this was nice for the journey, given what I look for in this show.



BTW, Bill it's Season 2 Episode 16 where Robin gives away the dogs, though the script in this show is inconsistent with what she said in that one (aunt on the farm with her lover Betty, I believe).
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Partners was way better than HIMYM this week. I think that says it all.

Barney and Brover was pretty funny tho, so I guess theres that.
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Though the shift to the worse in Victoria's character is disappointing, it is needed to get the fans to finally stop thinking Victoria is the best. This way, the Mother will seem so perfect and perfect for Ted. Now, they just have to clear Robin completely out of Ted's way, even though we know she ends up with Barney.



But really, everyone just wants them to get to the point of meeting the Mother, so every episode that doesn't just feels like unneeded filler. Just get to it already!
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We don't actually know she ends up with Barney. In a flash forward, she calls Ted in her changing room before she's supposed to walk down the aisle to talk to him. I think the writers might throw in a curve ball. You read it hear first! I agree though, I just want to see the story between Ted and the mother develop the way the relationship arc with him and Victoria and Stella did.
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Two words: Squirrellock Holmes
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Brover was the highlight this week, the Barney wing man play seemed stale in the opening minutes but was actually very funny as the ep played out. The Lily and Marshall inner goddess story was a giant load of you-know-what. I just didn't buy it for a second. But as a whole it does seem the story is moving forward.

And I'm sorry folks, if you make the title How I Met Your Mother and string it out for 7 years then progression is needed, pretty much all the time.
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I always figured we'd get to meet the 'mother' and have time to see how her and Ted actually fell in love and how she was accepted by the group. The current set-up/pace seems like there will be a big reveal and that's it, especially if this is the last season.
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Exactly. My brother said "The instant Ted meets her, the show is done" And I responded with "Nah, they can have it go for a couple of seasons with their relationship blooming, getting married, and then (maybe) finding out she's pregnant"

Instead, they decided to just tread water.
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That's what I'm worried about. I mean, based on the show's title, and the current pace of this season, I feel like the mother reveal will be the series ending scene... but a big part of me wouldn't be happy with that.

Even though most of the main characters have become caricatures of their former selves, I still am invested in the show and their journey. So, to see Ted just end up with some random woman, that we know nothing about, would leave me feeling absolutely cheated.
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the jokes are still kinda funny but the ideas like barney having a dog as a wing man, and marshal being a girl, were all too out of the blue.. it made the characters completely unrealistic.
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This show is really getting more and more terrrible with every episode. The character murder on Victoria is awful, but everything seems so contrived now, like Robin leaving her boyfriend who just cooked for her, just because Ted had to see her.



Plain awful and I would be happy if the whole cast was killed off in the next episode.
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Terrible, terrible episode. I think we're at the drowning point now where we can barely keep our heads above water. I cheered when Victoria came back last season and we got that same girl who Ted lost a long while back. She still baked, she was still funny, and still sweet. So I was happy when they decided to bring her back for Ted. But they turned her into this complete opposite version of herself. Where was the sweet? Where was the funny? All we ever got to see from her were these weird, awkward jokes and how she doesn't like to pick anything up. Victoria was like the childhood of HIMYM and these last couple of episodes just decided to stomp on that. Thanks for ruining my childhood!

I won't even get into the embarrassingly bad "inner goddess" and "dog wingman" subplots. I get that Marshall is silly, but this was just cringe-worthy. And animal humor? Really? They just cancelled Animal Practice. Why couldn't they use that as a learning moment?
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Marshall's inner goddess: terrible. Barney with a dog: horrble. Victoria being less than a shadow of her former self: criminal.

I LOVE this show (i've watched the previous seven seasons at least 5 times) and it makes me very sad to watch what has become.

and i couldn't believe when victoria asked ted to not be friends with robin, just like Emily-Ross-Rachel on "Friends". The only redeeming thing was that they handled it a lot better.

I hope this is the last season and the writter can come up with an unforgettable series finale, so far it's been a dissapointment every week.
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Stopped watching 2 seasons ago, I'm just gonna check forums for who the mother is when (if) it's finally revealed,



It's gone on for way too long.
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HIMYM has honestly become a chore to watch.

I've got to hand it to the writers for embedding a mystery as the central focus of the show, because with out it, I probably would have jumped ship last season. I know there's quite a few people who don't really care all that much who the second "M" in HIMYM is. They defend the show by saying "blah, blah, blah, relationships and characters!" and "blah, blah, blah, it's still funny!" And my personal favorite, "blah, blah, blah, BLAH!"

The problem is they've butchered the characters into caricatures to the point where I don't give a damn about the relationships. Barney & Robin? Don't care. Ted & Robin? *GROAN* Again?! I stopped caring about those two as an item four seasons ago.

Also, (imo) it's just not very funny anymore. The only genuine laughs I had were from Nick's horrible attempts at cooking catchphrases. "They're gonna be Bon appe-sweet!" When I stack up HIMYM to other comedies such as Happy Endings, New Girl, Raising Hope and The B in 23, it doesn't even come close. I understand that through 8 seasons there is bound to be a dip in quality, but bad is still bad.

I know I could very well be in the minority here. Maybe all of you were howling with laughter at Barney and Brover's antics. I wasn't (and I have two dogs!). My joie de HIMYM is all but gone. The only thing that can save this show now is introducing the character we've all been waiting 8 seasons to see. ASAP.
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Dude, I was just about to post the exact same thing, almost word for word...
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Freaky. But also cool!

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It says something about a show when the two best characters in an episode are a dog and a cook who's been around for several episodes only...
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It was VIctoria not Robin that discussed the "Mosby Boys" first
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Staff
Nice catch; we've fixed the error!
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Glad I wasn't the only one that did not care for the Marshall's inner godess storyline. I was a big Brover fan, and I hope he makes another appearance at some point.
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