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Falling Skies S04E08: "A Thing With Feathers"


Welcome back to Crazytown, kids. In the aftermath of last week's botched showdown with the Espheni, the 2nd Mass launched an effort to recover its lost members—including Tom Mason. Lexie showed big brother Ben her science project, while Hal totally betrayed Maggie's wishes and shot her full of alien juice instead of letting her die a human. She was surprisingly okay with it when she woke up, though, so I really hope she'll turn out to be evil or something and that it wasn't just messy plotting. But wait, no I don't, because I'm sick of everybody on Falling Skies being evil every 10 seconds. 

Also, we also need to talk about the messed up Ben-Hal-Lexie love triangle that the writers want so very, very badly but are still showing restraint toward: No no no no, pls alien messiah, no.

As you can see, it was a very busy week on Falling Skies


The scenery was grim when the smoke cleared on the 2nd Mass's battlefield. Maggie was paralyzed and possibly (probably) dying, Ben was MIA, Tom and Dingaan were trapped, and Dingaan was having a meltdown about karma and death. After Tom got real with Dingaan about his own feelings of despair and the way he routinely hides them for the good of the group, Dingaan told a really sad story about his life pre-invasion, and how his family had actually died long before the aliens showed up, and it was all his fault (but not really). I'm really liking the background that Falling Skies is indulging in this season, particularly with its less prominent characters. Sarah's addiction, Dingaan's personal tragedy—they don't play a huge part in the story at hand, but they are the experiences that've shaped these characters. We know that Tom's background as a professor and the loss of his wife have influenced the way his character written, especially in Falling Skies' earlier seasons, when he was often pitted against the more militant Weaver in matters of priorities for their people. Meanwhile, Annie's fanatical dedication to Lexie goes much deeper than her motherhood: Lexie is Annie's second chance. She's already lost one child to the Espheni, and she refuses to lose another. That Falling Skies is now moving toward giving its more peripheral characters such vivid personal histories is indicative of how lush and detailed its world has become.


Over at Lexie's science fair of horrors, Ben got a firsthand glimpse of the Espheni's attempts to mutate humans into hybrids. Naturally, Lexie thought it was the best thing ever, but Ben was appropriately horrified. I feel like this is one of the bigger arcs of the season that keeps getting pushed aside, but with Lexie on the scene, maybe we'll start to see more of it. At eight episodes in, we're getting close to crunch time (and if Season 4 had stuck to Falling Skies' usual 10-episode order, we'd actually be on the penultimate episode next week); while Lexie's mystery has mostly held our attention all this time and the Masons are all back together and the 2nd Mass is, as usual, about 10 seconds away from total obliteration, none of the current storylines feel particularly epic the way Tom and the gang taking out a giant Espheni generator... or building the Volm secret weapon... or stumbling across an underground city of survivors did. However, I think that Falling Skies has made good use of its extra time so far, and I'm willing to wait a tiny bit longer if it means we get more jam-packed installments like this one.



NOTES

– Yeah, no, not okay with pulling gross squid things out of peoples' arms. Nope.

– Do you think there will be repercussions to Ben and Maggie sharing a set of spikes? 

– Is Lexie redeemable?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/30/2015

Season 5 : Episode 10

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I was disappointed in Connor Jessup's performance this episode. His performance in the first season was terribly stilted but improved tremendously by season 3 - his interactions with Deni were very natural. Unfortunately, he seems to have regressed - his scene with Lexi this week felt like it was being read from cue cards again. :-(

He seems like a very creative and intelligent young man though, which leads me to believe he has a more likely future behind the camera than in front of it.
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Is any teenage female character more repulsive than Lexie?
Other contenders--Marianna and Band Girl from The Fosters.
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charlie from revolution
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"Also, we also need to talk about the messed up Ben-Hal-Lexie love triangle..."

Am I the only one who noticed this enormous mistake? What is this, Game of Thrones? Incest much?
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I noticed it. I was SO hopeful, until I realized it was a typo... rats. Thought the show might actually get interesting...
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Well, I suppose that depends on which dad u go with, Tom or big tall alien thing... so going with the tall alien thing that would leave the mother, so is that half incest? Which means does is count? Anyway, is not Ben wanting a bit of Maggie? Maybe he has an alien fetish? To be honest the Ben/Maggie thing is not really going anywhere and really Maggie is starting to be surplus to requirements. Maybe they will do a 'Game of Thrones' at the end of season 4 with some of the regulars being deleted?
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Gosh, opening an access hatch on a beamer is HARD! I really feel bad for Espheni ground crews.

"Bioelectric wiring. Could lead us to a control panel."
"Um, you know this, how?"

"See, I told you Dad was alive."
"Um, you were digging a hundred yards from here..."

Is Col. Weaver getting older and more feeble? Why?

"I'm giving up the drugs I've been hiding behind for the last four years, and to affirm the fact, I'll symbolically throw about a week's worth into the fire."

That thing with the moon is scary. How do the Espheni keep the moon full for three days?

Hal doesn't have a chance with Maggie. Ben can give her an orgasm from five feet away.

Tom gets the inspirational speech this week...about three times. We get it, Tom: "hope". You don't wanna know what I'M hoping for...
Col. Weaver gets to wheeze a mini-inspirational speech to Sluggo Matt.

Boxing seems to have been part of the curriculum at Skitter Prep.

I never thought I'd want Karen back, but could Lexi be any less convincing as the Red Queen? Was she sad when Ben left? Disappointed? Dyspeptic?

"You know, we haven't had anything creepy or dangerous come out of a glowing red Espheni wall in nearly 24 hours. It's probably safe to touch it."

So a tourniquet can stop the little spiky-buggy-things? Who knew? On TWD (or Justified, for that matter), they'd have cut his arm off in a flash.

A strange blue light on an alien spacecraft that beeps every second: gotta be a bomb, and it's surely going to go off in minutes. What else could it possibly be?
"Capt. Dallas and First Officer Ripley, we're getting a signal at regular intervals from moon LV-426. I'm pretty sure it must be a bomb. Let's stay away from there."

I love Tom's and Annie's eye-rolling over Hal and Ben at the end. "Kids. Whatta ya gonna do. Well, Hal's got a rifle and a short temper, and Ben has alien-spike superpowers easily controlled by the Espheni. It'll be fine."

How TF do Ben and (now) Maggie sleep on their backs?! Ow!

Can anyone think of a more horrible and inappropriate spot for Pope and Sarah to finally bump uglies?

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your thinking too much u need to drink more to get through also the Masons could have their own show like Homeland Brodies . But for utter craziness u can't top the Lannisters in GOT
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It is just sad that the show has decline so much this season.

I was a big fan in season one and two. Even last season had some highlights and excitement. This is by far the worse season.

Only 2 episodes left and I will hang on. I just prayed season five will be a good final season.

I wonder if they changed the writers this season. Even the Karen stories previously were so much more exciting.
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Errrrr, season 4 is 12 episodes that makes we think there are 4 episodes left.
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Oops...I thought it was 10.
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It would seem tv.com thinks there are 10 but is missing episode 11: "Space oddity" and episode 12 "Shoot the moon".


11: Tom’s mission to destroy the Espheni Power Core is complicated by Lexi’s return. Lexi is forced to take extreme measures to save her father’s life – and her own – after a Beamer malfunction. Meanwhile, the 2nd Mass fears an impending Espheni strike by Scorch.


12. With the weight of humanity’s survival on Tom and Lexi’s shoulders, they must defeat Tom’s mortal enemy and find a way to destroy the omnipotent Espheni Power Core. Meanwhile, a new, terrifying Espheni Bomb is dropped onto Chinatown, immobilizing the 2nd Mass and preparing them for Human Skitterizaton.
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Perhaps it is better not to post this here as some would considered it spoliers. I skipped it quickly.
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Tom Mason continues to bore. He can shove this week's cliché down his throat. (This week it was 'You can't give up hope.' Such an original thought Tom?!?!?, no wonder everyone listens to you.) You know what Tom, why don't you just STFU. They got more episodes in this season and David Eick still has to highjack more 'Battlestar Galactica'. How come Katie Sackhoff's 'Starbuck's similar scene to boring Noah Wyle's 'Tom Mason' figuring out that the Espheni's (actually lets just call them 'Cylon's Who are they even trying to kid now?) fleet of ships were actually living organisms was so much more interesting? Now Eick is just straight lifting from 'Battlestar' to fill scripts. Ron Moore is doing 'Outlander' and 'Helix' now - both superior to this drivel in every imaginable way, both new ideas for science fiction on television - and David Eick is just doing the same show under a different name. Guess we know who the brains in that partnership was now.

You know what is working this season, 'Pope' and 'Sara'. Why are we only getting 3 minutes per episode of this awesome 'C' story going on with the two best actors in this cast BY SOO MUCH Colin Cunningham and Mia Sorvino, who have such a great natural on screen chemistry (Again, four seasons of 'Moon Bloodgood' and 'Noah Wyle' and those two have never been as good together as Cunningham and Sorvino have been; don't the writers take hints from what they are seeing on screen?), yet we still get 20 minutes of complete boredom and clichés with 'Tom Mason'. Noah Wyle sucks so much. Also continuing to sideline Sarah Carter's 'Maggie' with injury so we have to spend time with 'Hal'? Really, Hal, couldn't we just give all his scenes to 'Matt'? These writers really have no idea what works and this show has been on the air for four seasons now. Time to burn it all down.


Also stolen this season - the Human-Cylon hybrid baby. Is 'Lexie' a story David Eick wanted 'Hera' to become but couldn't? This story is just so lame and the actress is really barely passable. Talk about a dead on arrival story. Not one scene with 'Lexi' has worked. She killed 'Lourdes' and that scene was a 'wake me when its over' bore. If that 'should've' been a momentous scene is boring something isn't working at all and that something is 'Lexie'.

This is one of the few shows I have left to just watch with my brain turned off but anymore, even that isn't much fun. The show other than 'BSG' that this show bears closest resemblance to is the original 'V' (1984) with Marc Singer, Faye Grant, and the always awesome Michael Ironside. That show was better and made more sense than this alien invasion. This show is terrible.
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You do a lot of crack don't you... Moore superior? Neither of these clowns are worth the powder to blow them to hell.
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Ho hum where do u start Hershey Bars ! So Aliens invasion practically blow up everything 2nd Mass survives and Hershey Bars LOL

Back to the story if u can call it that another rescue attempt for 2nd Mass these people need homing pigeons with them at all times . Tom thinks its a good idea to stick his hand in a alien ship like a Bush tucker trial gone wrong! Over at Ben and Bonnie (Lexie) camp here is my science project "what do u think " not bad using Alien film leftovers.

Sarah and Pope romance is nice although Pope having a heart is unusual but then again this a guy who gets floored by mini Mike Tyson Then were they were reunited Maggie recovered amazing that Eisphieni stuff I am a bit perplexed by this humans are alarmed at experiments at Dr Crippens House of Horrors but have no problem of implanting alien shit in their bodies Nice! This series really needs to kill of characters now as I am getting tired I even watch reruns of Blake 7 then this thats how desperate LOL
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Maybe they need some endorsement money to hit the budget. Hey - they should go the Chuck route and bring in a bagful of Subways!
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If every Hershey bar appearance means an extra Skitter on-screen, I'm all for it.
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Its probably round the corner from Hersheys just past blown up shopping centre LOL
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I'm on the verge of cutting this show out of my weekly viewings. It was a decent show in the first season, and at other times showed promise as well, but it is absolute garbage now. Tom getting his husky voice on whenever he gets stern or angry, the whole garbage about the hybrid daughter, etc. Oh, and COURSE Maggie wasn't dead!! I really can't see this show getting any better, but as a series end has been set I might force myself to watch it to the end.
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The first season was the worst - nothing really even happened until about episode 8 of 10. It got a lot better from then on.

How is Maggie not being dead a sign of bad writing? We lost THREE secondary characters the two episodes!

Is Tom supposed to squeak like a school girl? I don't get that point at all.

The hybrid daughter... meh, it's not really original, but then neither have any of the other overarching plots the other seasons. It's an alien invasion story... if you're not blowing things up or building things you're dealing with hybrids. :-)

The worst thing for me was the incredibly jarring first episode in which everything seemed to revert back to season 1/2 in the blink of an eye and Lourdes was twisted into someone incredibly unappealing - which diminished the impact of her death.
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I agree that this season is really the worst. However there are only 2 episodes left and a final season give so we can hang on :-)

I am praying for a good season five. I was a big fan in season one and two.
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Hi MarlboroMagpi

I would not say season 4 has been the worst... season 1 for me had some really basic errors that are unforgivable in the writing, E.G. walking around in the open air, in the middle of the day, with a couple hundred people. I can only think for some strange reason the enemy were having their afternoon siesta. Yes, it did get better and a lot of the mistakes were ironed out in season 2.
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I agree with you on season two being slightly better than the first, and I liked the grittier and darker look and feel of the show (at the beginning of Season 2, that is). But last night's episode of season 4 was SO brutally ridiculous it's just hard to watch. They need gas masks (except the Hitler Jugend girl, who for some reason does not), then they don't! How did the Youth know they needed them, and how did they get to that position so quickly? How did Tom and everyone know that the people approaching with gas masks on were the "Youth Commanders"? Why was it suddenly winter after the skirmish ended when there was no snow or no snowfall beforehand? Now they're going to the moon?? Where are they going to get the space suits?
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It's sad, my roommate got me interested in this show near the end of season 1, but this season has seen the deaths of likeable characters, and the prominence of the unlikeable. Hal is a selfish piece of trash, Lexi needs to die a flaming death, along with anyone else who can't fathom the concept of free will. I'll see this season through, probably, but I've currently got 0.00% interest in any season 5. They'll just reset everything again anyway, give the humans nothing and the Espheni will have an all-new unsurmountable advantage, etc. As Pope said, "I'd throw a flag on that play, Cap'n."
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Is Lexie redeemable?

If you mean if she can turn from evil to good - yes.
If you mean if she can turn from boring to not-boring - no...
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Uh, so this show really gives off mixed signals.

I mean, a few episodes back (the one with the two brothers who were going to turn Tom over to the Espheni), we spent an entire hour learning that Tom (an I assume the writers, by proxy) doesn't think that blood necessarily makes you family.

Yet, I'm willing to bet all my money that the Mason's (or at least Annie) are going to never give up on Lexi. Even though Lexi has pretty much abandoned all ties to humanity. And it's all because she had the great honor of being born a Mason.
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No, as pointed out in this review, it's because Anne feels guilt over losing her first child during the invasion so cannot bear the thought of losing another. In fact that came up this episode too with her unwillingness to risk Ben's life.
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Stop touching walls Tom, you're not under the dome...that was a totally avoidable mini-crisis. Idiot.

Sarah threw precious medicine into the fire. That's smart...
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I too am unimpressed with Lexie's character. Her acting is awful and I just don't care whether she lives or dies!! I'm confused about how old Maggie is. First she's totally in love with Hal and now seems to feel the same about Ben. Look out Matt, you could be next!!
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Yeah, I find it super creepy. I thought Ben was still a teenager, I could be wrong though.
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Yea. The Ben/Maggie possibility is just plain creepy to me.

Besides the age thing, which could be waved aside because I don't remember how old half of the characters are (but Maggie does look quite a bit older than Ben), Ben should have no desire to become an eskimo brother with his actual brother. That's just gross.
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They've shown zero interaction between Ben and his semi-girlfriend from season 3, which is one of the weirdest and completely unexplained resets this season.
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This episode could have been titled, "Almost Everyone shows their Crazy Face."

- Lexie woke Ben up with a smile inspired by the Grinch.

- Hal showed his "I am going to deceive you now" face that we haven't seen since his eye worm days, when lying to Anne.

- Dingaan got to go from "cynically pessimistic" to "hopelessly doomed" and it didn't quite work for me.

- Tom got hoarser. Hoarser? More hoarse? Hoarsier?

- Sara demonstrated the "before" part of every gun safety video.

Who got it best? IMO Lexie, hands down. Of all the creepy, gross things in that episode, her manic grin at Ben was the creepiest.

The episode was a step up from earlier in the season, but had it's share of opportunities for wise-a$$ remarks, so here are mine:

- How much did Hershey's pay for that product placement? "Here Matt, if you won't stop for dinner, at least eat this delicious, and perfectly intact, Hershey's brand chocolate bar. Hershey's: it's post-apocalicious!"

- Beamers: the interstellar warships with no crew but a spacious cabin, and somehow genetically compatible with human DNA for hatch operation only (warning: humans may be destroyed upon hatch opening).

- Hal: You need to try this experimental surgery on Maggie. Anne: It goes against every medical principle. Not unless she agrees to it. Hal: She's cool with it, she told me. Anne: Scalpel!

- Lexie: You humans are so full of hate and spite and violence to each other and us. Ben: What? I can't hear you over the screams of humans being dragged by your enslaved footsoldiers to their grisly, torturous mutation chambers.

- Shouldn't they have tried just one spike first?

Reply to DavidKnowles0 below - Matt and Weaver were digging in the wrong place - potentially the spot where Tom started out the episode. Recall they crawled a bit underground to find the ship. When the munition exploded, Matt and Weaver were close enough to see the blast and rush over to it. You could reasonably question whether, watching the scene last week, the Beamer completely dug itself underground / under rubble in its crash landing, but that was certainly the case this week.


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Totally HAH!, e'5! What IS the shelf life of an H- bar? Or rather, the Dan Weaver's pocket life?

The inexpressibly lame Angry Birds joke: was that product placement, or a weak attempt at cultural relevance?
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Oh, I somehow forgot the biggest absurdit for my list: BEN: She's not the Lexie we know anymore! - Which Lexie would that be??? The eye-bug crushing toddler that we knew for like a week? The self-appointed messianic goddess with telekinetic defenses? It's not like they are saying this while poring over a photo album of Lexie in her girl scout uniform...
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Brilliant! Even Ann - ESPECIALLY Ann - thought hours-old Lexi standing up in her crib and saying "Mommy" was creepy. Seems to have forgotten that now...
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Best part, Matt punching pope in the face.

Bit confuse about where the ship was, if Degaan and Tom was underneath it then surely Matt and Weaver should have been standing on top of it or close by an yet we never saw any ship pieces in their scenes together

It a shame we didn't learn more about the vessel, it would have nice to have Degaan and co try and learn from it, I do wonder if there will be long term effects on Tom for having that Squid thing in his arm.

The interesting thing is that the 2nd Mass have no weapons and to small in number to fight effectively, they need a massive infusion of new troops.

It would have been nice to see a few more bodies and funerals from the previous episode action scenes.
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I buried this in my post above: Matt and Weaver were digging in the wrong place - potentially the spot where Tom started out the episode. Recall they crawled a bit underground to find the ship. When the munition exploded, Matt and Weaver were close enough to see the blast and rush over to it. You could reasonably question whether, watching the scene last week, the Beamer completely dug itself underground / under rubble in its crash landing, but that was certainly the case this week.
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No mention of what's apparently going on with/on the moon?
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Did you see the last scene? It was all a teaser about just that. Tom and Hal saw the green flash and then stuff started glowing all about them, and one of them (I think Tom) said something like, "it's something with the moonlight!"
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I saw it. Methinks the line int promo at the end of the pilot about leaving Earth means they'll be going to the moon. It would make sense for the Espheni to have some kind of base there, at least as a fallback spot, and to do things with no chance (until the Volm showed up) of human interference.
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I liked that Matt consistently kept faith that he'd find his father alive. And bonus that he got a good shot on Pope for thinking otherwise. That makes it now all three Mason boys landing their fists on him like he deserves sometimes.
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It is awesome that they misquoted Dickinson in the episode title.
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Nothing, including articles, is definite in the alien apocalypse...
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I haven't been this grossed in an episode of Falling Skies since the eye worms from last season. And if there weren't repercussions from Ben and Maggie sharing spikes, I would be disappointed. As much as I've grown to despise Lexie, I suspect she and her Espheni kin honestly believe that mutant/hybrid human aliens will be the solution to whatever big bad thing that was foreshadowed a number of episodes ago, and they might be. However, I highly doubt that the 2nd Mass. will be volunteering to be melded with the enemy.
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The Ben/Maggie thing will definitely with mutual spikes - much easier to grow closer to someone when you have a telepathic link.
I still find the Lexie story pretty un-engaging... just too much like 'done before' and, well, I don't think she is a very good actress (sorry...)
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