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Proteus
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

A fine-tuned comic delight, chock full of delicious details and delightful character turns. You couldn’t take your eyes off the screen for fear of missing something.

Voyager does loopy comedy amazingly well. I was entertained from git to go.
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Proteus
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Alice

Yep, nope.

Obvious Christine nod, appropriate for Tom the Car Guy...but left under-developed. The menace never felt visceral. Ehh.

Moderately interesting concept in the neural interface of man and machine, but it’s been done better, and this brought nothing new. Ehh.

The tease that the “particle fountain” (quasar?) was “home” to the AI piqued my interest...like maybe a sister race to the wormhole aliens was doing business in the DQ, and one of the energy beings had somehow run out of motive capacity far from his vortex and so had infiltrated/taken over/possessed an innocent little space runabout (I imagined it sounding like George Jetson’s coupe), but needed to socially engineer a meatbag pilot into pairing up to get it home. But the story did nothing with that notion, so I was left to imagine it on my own.

Ehh again.

And the rote, pot-boiling, by-the-numbers script proceeded via an endless string of the hoariest cliches. Sometimes Voyager attains such sublime heights...and then there are pedestrian messes like this, putting the dopiest lines in the mouths of actors we know are capable of so much better. It must have made them wonder sometimes why they even came to work.

Overall, a simply inane episode.

Ehh.
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Quibbles
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: The Expanse

I’m surprised at the cynicism of some of the comments above. I always thought this episode was well-paced, entertaining, emotionally involving, and set the stage for Enterprise’s best season. There’s nothing about the Xindi arc that violates canon. The Russo-Japanese War probably seemed like a big deal at the time, until it was completely blown away by World War I ten years later. Similarly, Earth is about to experience the Romulan War, then form a galaxy-spanning Federation. In Picard’s day, the Xindi attack is probably taught in history classes as the precursor to a very violent, eventful period. No one’s walking around saying, “Remember the Xindi attack” because they’re saying, “Remember when we formed a Federation that lasted for 200 years.”

After two seasons that I mostly enjoyed but generally found sleepy, listless, and rudderless, “The Expanse” delivers a real sense of urgency, drive, and stakes for the first time. I appreciate the 9/11 allegory too. It feels very truthful to how America and much of pop culture reacted at the time: a sudden, jarring shift into darkness. All of Star Trek up until Discovery was made in America, after all. It led to a myopic perspective at times, but it’s inevitable that every movie / TV show bears the imprint of the time and place that it was made.

I’d give it ***1/2 stars. Knock off half a star for the silliness of the Klingons hanging around for months just to get their asses kicked at the last second.
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Fenn
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 10:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

Dr. Marr's choice to kill the creature basically saves the crew from any tough ethical decisions they might have to make on establishing communication. Feels like a bit of a cop-out, honestly.
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Fenn
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

I've been looking forward to seeing Ro's proper introduction. I started watching TNG over the shoulder of my partner making their way through Season 5 (picking whichever episodes sounded interesting from their Netflix descriptions!) and as such I've already seen quite a bit of her.

I was struck by how good her introductiory episode was -- both for her and for the Bajorans as a whole. She's an interesting depiction of a member of a minority group -- her resistance to assimilation in "distorting" her name for Federation norms was an early standout moment, and her insistence on wearing her earring continues in that vein. And of course they've gone and laid the ongoing mystery of the eight deaths on that away team, which has sufficiently piqued my interest (I can't imagine it *not* coming up again).

But yes, consider me thoroughly interested by what we see of the Bajorans here. I do plan on watching DS9 when it "starts airing" on my TNG watchthrough, and I know there's a lot more going on with them there -- looking forward to it.

And I do think it's good to have another female member of the regular cast, one who isn't in a traditionally "caring" role. Tasha was basically their original attempt at that, but barely got any characterisation; Ro is well-characterised right off the bat. Promising start, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her -- in the proper series context, this time!
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Quibbles
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 7:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

I had just turned 13 when this episode came out, so I was right in that “horny teenage boy” demographic they were obviously aiming for. I have a vivid memory of watching this episode. Why? Because oh Lord, it was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life up to that point.

I was used to Star Trek as something the whole family could watch. My parents would regularly stop by the background of Enterprise episodes, plus my sisters, at the time age 11 and 6. So when a sweaty, horny T’Pol started slinking around in that blue light, holy shit, I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Imagine being 13 and just discovering that girls were kinda interesting, and then watching this episode with your MOM.

This was my first time seeing it since then. Boy does it look different at age 29. The issue isn’t that there’s sex. It’s that the PG-rated “sex” is so fake and the writers had to twist the Trek universe in knots to get there. I actually differ with Jammer somewhat. I don’t know if Gene would’ve been proud of this episode specifically, but that man was decisively not afraid of sex, and of trying to get sexual content on TV. The Original Series is PACKED with sex, as much as they could get past the censors. Gene always named “Mudd’s Women” as a favorite episode and bragged that he was able to get a plot about “space hookers” on TV. Hell, after Trek, he wrote and produced Pretty Maids All in a Row, which is basically softcore porn mixed with trademark Roddenberry speeches. (I wouldn’t call it good, but it’s… something.) He created the character of Ilia, who was so sexually hypercharged that she had to take an Oath of Celibacy to serve in Starfleet. As for Season 1 of TNG… “Justice.” ‘Nuff said.

The problem is the way it’s depicted here: embarrassing, and frankly degrading. Fun tidbit from the DVD extras: John Billingsley actually asked the writers, “Why wouldn’t Phlox do it? He’s a doctor. She’s a patient. It’s a medical issue. He’d be professional about it.” Not that I wanted to see that, but it would’ve made more sense, at least.

On to “The Expanse” with a sigh of relief. It’s like they had to get this BS out of their system before finally reinventing Enterprise as something fresh and exciting.
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Top Hat
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 4:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

There's part of me that wishes that they had heard Crosby's idea and said, "That's a bad idea. We'll figure out another way to bring you back" and left it all the way to "All Good Things." I get that "Yesterday's Enterprise" probably restored a lot of goodwill, but evil-daughter-who-ends-up-not-mattering is one of the sillier conceits in all of Star Trek.
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James G
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

Not a big fan of this one but I do like it. Thematically quite similar to 'The Hunted' which precedes it and quite a lot less silly in some ways. It works on a crude level to explore the old "one man's terrorist" chestnut.

I smiled at the notion of a united Ireland by 2024, about four years from now as I type, as casually mentioned by Data. In the Star Trek universe the republican terrorist campaign ultimately won peace and unification in Ireland apparently. That's not what happened in the real world where it set those causes back at least a generation.

I quite like the way that it's a bit dark. People get killed and ultimately there's no happy ending, despite Riker's optimistic parting shot. Kirk would have solved all of that society's problems in half an hour.
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Nolan
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 1:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

@Fenn

That would be Denise Crosby. Well, at least, it was her idea to come back via the character of Yar's daughter. Although I think she was thinking Yar and the officer fron the Ent-C would be the parents. I think it was Ron Moore, who overall I like as awriter, though he can lose perspective when he starts getting too creative and into it.

Sela is another reason I wish the writers coulda wrapped their heads around the Romulans. I think they were perfect for classic political thriller type stories, given their duplicitous nature, they're history with the Vulcans, the Tal Shiar and the constantly shifting nature of their relationship with the Fenderation. Then J.J. made Star Trek '09, and made that way more complicated.

(I'm aware STO deals with, and has some well regarded storylines involving Romulous and Sela, but I can't really get into that game. And I'm sure there are novels, but that's not the same)
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Fenn
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 1:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

I could barely get through this one. I love Data and I like his episodes (for example, Data's Day not too long before this), but every part of this attempted relationship just comes off as too awkward for me to stomach. You'd forgive them for lack of chemistry given how Spiner's playing an android, but nothing in the performance feels like Jenna's even into him at all. And then the B plot does nothing, and barely takes up any space in the episode anyway. Not sure I'll ever be able to bear rewatching this one.

(For what it's worth though, I did pick up on the "torpedo bay" line mentioned by the commenters above. Oh, is *that* what they're calling it in the 24th century...?)
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Fenn
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 11:50am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

Who the hell looked at Tasha "Rape Gangs" Yar and decided "hmm, yes, this character could do with some more rape"?? I'm neutral on how Sela is played here, but the character herself just seems so damn pointless. They should've finished their retroactive messing with Tasha after Yesterday's Enterprise and Legacy.

Good Worf development in the final scene. Android Racist Guy annoys me. Most of all, though, this episode's too busy trying to pack too much in for me to have much of a strong opinion about any part of it. It's just kind of a frustrating mess.
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Sebastian
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 6:45am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: False Profits

Rewatching this in 2019 makes me hope the new show Picard will not fall victim to the same biggest two problems of ST:

1) Lack of plausible Federation security measures and combat skills (it would only be half as ridiculous if we were not constantly reminded of the quality of security teams and Academy combat training)

2) Using all their resources at hand to choose the most logical and easiest solution to a problem (instead of constantly forgetting they have better options in store).
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Proteus
Thu, Dec 5, 2019, 2:03am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Barge of the Dead

Ehh. Mediocre episode. 2+. I could have lived with a 3, but I’m in indignant reaction to Jammer rating it so highly.

And yet, while rating it so highly, he couldn’t even notice that it COULD be a payoff for the bitchy, confrontational bad B’Elanna mood he’s so frequently objected to over the past half season? Could it POSSIBLY be the writers were planting hints ahead of time that something’s wrong with B’Elanna? I guess the proof of that pudding won’t be known till we see if there’s a kinder, gentler B’Elanna in subsequent episodes, but I’m willing until then to give the writers some credit for gradual character development.

And I do think the episode provides significant - and convincing, well-supported - character development.

It’s just that the means of getting there are so very transparent, the “symbolism” so transparent - and fergawdsake (so to speak), Tuvok even TELLS us we’re to interpret the visions symbolically, metaphorically. That it’s NOT literal. Given that orientation, the episode leads us by the hand, does all the interpretation for us.

Is B’Elanna human, Klingon, Starfleet, Maquis, daughter, lover, engineer, believer, blah blah blah? Well, clearly, like all of us, she’s a mixture of identities and roles, DUH, she’s ALL of them.

Her problem, for whatever reason (and who are we to judge her right to inner conflict?), is that she hasn’t successfully reconciled and integrated the roles. She’s a psychological battleground. So what does she learn as she flings her weapon in frustration into the monster-writhing chaos of the storm-tossed deeps?

Why, to STOP FIGHTING. Enough with the inner turmoil. Accept all her roles.

So I like where she goes psychologically, and even that she gets there through the metaphoric agency of mythopoeic symbolism - it’s just that it’s all about as subtle as Pilgrim’s Progress. I guess I like my mythic tales a little more ambiguous, even a bit vague and mysterious - not so slavishly, by-the-numbers allegorical.

It’s just not a surprise to me that psychological processes can dress in symbols and proceed as mythic role-playing. The execution and the production were all defy enough - and it was great to see B’El in full Klingon raiment - but the dream sequence itself just seemed ploddingly sophomoric.

I don’t object that B’Elanna worked out her conflicts in Klingon religious terms; I don’t think her scientific bent and overt hostility to her Klingon-ity makes that unrealistic. On the contrary, it seems appropriate. It doesn’t matter that she has consciously and rationally rejected belief in the literal reality of Klingon mythology; she was inculcated into the true religion as a child - sent to religion school, as it were - so those images are burned into her subconscious. She can’t escape them.

And both of her “near-death” experiences can be fit into a rigidly scientific and materialist context - if we can accept that the entire episode, from her bang-up shuttle landing at the beginning clear through to her waking up at the very end, are all part of the same near-death/coma fever dream. (This gets Janeway and the Doc off the hook for idiotically trying to recreate such an experience, and fits in with several other ST episodes where characters are subjected to multiple levels of sleep/dream, during some of which they believe they’re really awake - and during which the audience is intentionally deceived.)

In such a reading, there is no debate about whether the Klingon afterlife is “real.” It’s simply that B’Elanna is “dreaming” the whole thing. We don’t need clues that it isn’t real, because we all know what it is to have dreams which seem to us, at the time, to be perfectly real. We’re experiencing everything from her perspective - including the interactions with other crew members toward the middle of the episode, when we believe (with B’Elanna) that we’re “awake” in Voyager’s literal reality. It’s during these interactions that B’Elanna’s rational, engineering mind comes to the fore, and she presents arguments with herself about varying interpretations and roles of religion and its relationship to reality. (And they’re only mildly interesting observations, fairly pedestrian questions.)

So...during her extended vacation from reality, her unconscious mind works up a little psychodrama for her, in the guise of the mythology imprinted on her as a child, wherein she works out internal conflicts relating to identity, her relationship with her mother, etc.

And all that sounds pretty good, really - a pretty strong brief for a prime-time TV show to illustrate the common grounding of myth and religion in the deep psychology of the human mind, and put it all in a defensibly scientific comtext. I feel like I ought to have liked the episode better than I did...

I just keep coming back to the transparent, predictable, color-by-numbers imagery, symbols, and plotting employed for the dream sequences - which take up most of the running time, and are the focus of the episode. The Wizard of Oz is more entertaining.

I’m not a Klingon-hater, but maybe the reason the episode falls flat for me is that Klingon religion is good with retribution, guilt, shame, stalwart discipline and honor - but low on grace, freedom, and transcendence. One feels no sense of the divine. There’s no mystery, no at-one-ment. By comparison, the Great Link seems a better metaphor for spirituality.

The most affecting theme of the episode for me is actually the opening-up and surrender to vulnerability demonstrated at the end when B’Elanna embraces Janeway. It suggests the resolution of one of her deepest issues, the one which pre-dates the Starfleet/Maquis conflict - which is that she was rejected (or at least abandoned, and to a child what’s the difference?) by her father, then resented and pulled away from her mother till both of them rejected each other.

Psychologically, she’s a motherless child - and the scene suggests to me that she’s both come to terms with own mother, and now accepts Janeway as her spiritual (or at least substitute) mother. Thus her first emotional opening is to Janeway - before even Tom. I liked that.
________

But I have a question. If the bargemaster killed the Klingon gods...who then had the power to condemn him to an eternity running the River Styx ferry?
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Fenn
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 10:55pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

(addendum: I do appreciate the fact that some time is devoted to the psychological consequences though)
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Fenn
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

This was intense, and the last scene is definitely a standout. I get the impression Geordi's not gonna get his own equivalent of Family to recover like Picard did though.

I gotta admit, though, I was amused by the simulated "kill O'Brien" scene, where brainwashed Geordi sits down to have a drink and casually moves aside O'Brien's dead body in the process...!
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methane
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 8:14pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

" there is no such thing as female sexual liberation in capitalist society,"

This is utter nonsense. Capitalism implies people control their own lives, not others. The further away you move from that, the further EVERYONE is from liberation of any kind.
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Tim-1
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Body and Soul

Loved it. loved it. loved it!

This may be among the best episodes all-time of all shows.

The look the Doctor gave Seven in the final seconds....priceless!
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Fenn
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 7:16pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

This one seems to split opinion, huh? I enjoyed it, personally. A Lwaxana episode I *liked*, rather than one that made me mutter "oh lord kill me now" every two seconds (Menage a Troi being the worst of those IMO). There's a lot of her usual self on display for the first half, so I appreciate that she calms down and becomes more thoughtful for the second. It's a relief to finally see her be more than one-dimensional.

Aside from the clear theme of how elderly people are (mis)treated by their society, hardly mentioned in this thread is the discussion of how difficult it is to change or even challenge long-standing traditions and beliefs -- painfully difficult for Timicin and seemingly impossible for everyone else on his planet. It's a poignant, well-acted piece. Excellent work from a great actor.

There's an inherent frustration here: Timicin's planet would rather have him die than allow him to continue saving his planet -- something he's on the brink of managing to do. But there's also a sad acknowledgement that the circumstances make his success impossible. If he survives, his only possible fate is to be blocked from access to his work and live out the rest of his days lightyears from home, while leaving his planet to die. To be able to survive and remain on speaking terms with his planet would require years of social change -- years that can't be suppressed into the few days he has remaining. It's a lament on how we often need more time than we have: society still fails many different groups of people, and many of those suffering die long before the changes that might have had them survive.

In that respect, dying a dignified death surrounded by friends and family really is the best plausible outcome for Timicin. He'd been prepared for it all his life, even if those last few days shook his faith. I'm not against euthanasia -- people should be able to choose their own death and prepare for it accordingly, rather than being left in the constant uncertainty of not knowing which day will be their last, or what state they might be in when they die. I personally know people who wish that -- when the time comes -- they'd be able to plan their own death, for their own sake. It wouldn't be for me, though. So I can see something appealing about the concept of the Resolution, at least the event of it -- but having it forced upon you at a defined date, with no option to choose otherwise, is unconscionable.
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Rahul
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

@MusicalTurtle

You seriously need to give this ep a second chance -- I think it's phenomenal. Really picks up around the mid-way point and just gets everything right (including Gath).

One of the very rare 4-star VOY episodes for me.

Also think Yvonne Suhor who played the girl that showed Kim the transportation device is one of the prettiest in all of Trek. Really tragic she died at just 56.
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MusicalTurtle
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Prime Factors

Wow, I need to give this ep a second chance. Last time I attempted to watch Voyager was in between either Stargate, Farscape, or DS9 and I didn't get very far in the series, however I got to this episode, watched enough that I remembered what happened, and skipped it. Really, really disliked the lead alien - it was bad enough they he was creepy but I got the impression he was almost trying to force them to stay (the kind of character I wouldn't have been surprised if he sabotaged the ship to stop them leaving) and I just couldn't make it through the episode, so in my proper rewatch this time skipped it again. I'll have to come back to it when I can cope with Gath a bit better, and try to see the episode beyond him.
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MusicalTurtle
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 4:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Phage

"It's just beyond silly to think a disease that eats their cellular structures physically can be overcome by grafting harvested organs from aliens. Yikes. Total turn off."

It's not overcome, they have to keep replacing organs as the Phage attacks them - I thought that was the point? As for how the species survived, it's clear they even harvest skin (or so I thought from the patchwork grafts, unless that's the remnants of their skin instead?) so surely they just kept replacing every organ system as it fails.

The stored organs could have been spare from when they harvested from corpses.

Janeway made the moral choice, but she should have decided to hold them on principle until a resolution to Neelix' situation was found - she would have shown there would be at least some consequences rather than just allowing them to go free.
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Lars Tarkas
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 2:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Patterns of Force

Actually, it's not so unusual for Jewish actors to play Nazis. The actors who played Colonel Klink, Sergeant Shultz, General Burkhalter and Major Hoffstader on Hogan's Heroes were Jewish. There have been a great many Jewish actors who have played Nazis in order to mock them, or to remind people that Nazis are bad. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world that Nazis are bad, but unfortunately, people seem to need to be reminded of this every now and then.

https://www.jta.org/2019/10/23/culture/theres-a-long-history-of-jews-playing-nazis-on-screen
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James G
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 12:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

Not a big fan of this one. The plot takes a few liberties. How did Danar come to have such expert knowledge of Starfleet technology, even knowing how to power a transporter with a phaser? The hide & seek part of the story is overlong. The whole thing is reminiscent of '60s sci-fi, with stunt doubles engaging in punch-ups (Mission Impossible, Land of the Giants, and (yes) Star Trek).

Danar is just a bit too unconvincingly invincible. He leaves trails of unconscious security personnel in his wake, like an alien Jack Bauer. Despite this he looks more like a geography teacher, though he acts well.

Still - not bad. I was entertained but it's not a classic.
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Jason R.
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 11:36am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Future's End, Part II

Sebastian, the ship certainly had a computer of its own, likely one capable of pretty well telling him how to do all those things. I didn't presume he reverse engineered all those things - he just asked the computer to do it for him.

Frankly, given the premise of a ship from the 29th century in the Trek universe, it's plainly unrealistic that he wasn't able to accomplish *more* with what he had.
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John Paul
Wed, Dec 4, 2019, 9:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Not a good episode but the Essentialists are absolutely right and if I were unlucky enough to live in the 24th century (though it's already pretty unlucky being born in the late 20th UK, rather than the 2nd century BC Rome or 17th century France ) I'd certainly join them.
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