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Worldly Distractions: Downton Abbey 4.7 - Episode Seven


crazyforkate

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carsonandgirls

Irrelevant pic, but it was too adorable not to include. Well, here we are at the penultimate episode of the season. Apparently a fifth series is happening, so this is not The End. But we are going to see a lot of exciting plots tied together for the finale, I hope! Let's rejoin the Crawleys and see how they've managed to screw things up this week.

A telegram arrives at the Crawley household, which is oddly reminiscent of the Titanic telegram in the pilot. Ten years have passed between those episodes. How much has happened since! There's some bustle downstairs, until good old Bates finally clues us in. As he tells Mrs Hughes, Lord Grantham is off to America. Today. Yeah, not living in the Jet Age does make your travel plans a little more urgent. Uncle Harold is in big trouble, and needs his brother-in-law's help for some reason. Bates is, of course, expected to go with His Lordship, but can't leave Anna. He asks Mrs Hughes for help sorting this out.

Meanwhile, Robert is no happier at the prospect of going. He rants to Cora, who is equally upset that her brother and mom are being such jackasses. See, apparently American Senate committees are so stupid that if someone shows up with an Earl as a brother-in-law it will instantly convince them of his innocence. To be fair, I could see that actually working, considering how Americans tend to get dazzled by any Brit with a title. However, as Robert points out, there are plenty of Earls out there with rotten relatives.

Mary is fielding Mrs Hughes' request that Bates stay behind. She says she wishes she could help, but it is part of Bates' JOB to look after her dad. Mrs Hughes continues to ask. Mary wonders what the big reason is. When Mrs Hughes dodges the details, Mary says no, she NEEDS to know what happened.

Anna, meanwhile, is telling Bates not to be stupid. She is still very fragile, true, but they'll be in an even worse situation if Bates gets fired. Despite her brave front, the second she leaves the room she bursts into tears. This would be a lot more powerful without the melodramatic music. Subtlety, thy name is NOT Fellowes.

We still don't know if Mary heard the full story or not, but judging by her vehement pleas to his Lordship, I'm pretty sure she did. She suggests replacing Bates with Thomas, which they did while the former was in prison. Oh, God, I could see Thomas Goes to America ending in so many horrible ways. Evil aside, it is a pretty good idea. Robert is reluctant, though Mary protests it will be an adventure. We even get a veiled reference to Thomas's homosexuality, if I'm listening correctly (from Mary, of all people). Bates conveniently appears with Robert's shoes. Robert snippily tells him that Thomas is going to America instead. Bates is relieved. I just say, watch your back the whole time, Crawley.

As he leaves, Bates asks Mary what she knows. She repeats the "someone-broke-in-and-attacked-Anna" story cooked up a few episodes back. She then assures Bates it wasn't his fault, or Anna's. They part keepers of a secret that should never have happened.

Violet shows up to say goodbye to Robert. Her voice is hoarse and she looks pretty pasty. While greeting her family, she gives a couple of coughs which suggest Impending Doom. Edith (wearing a smock, hmm) and Tom are discussing estate manners with Blake and Napier. Wait, since when is Edith in on this? I thought Mary was the estate sister and Edith was too busy getting into sordid adventures. Anyway, Blake is a snippy twit who probably still has the hots for Mary. Isobel shows up, too, but the DC doesn't instantly insult her. Something is definitely wrong.

Jimmy tells Thomas how jealous he is. Thomas, meanwhile, is extremely excited about leaving. The discussion turns to Jimmy and Ivy. Jimmy's convinced nothing's going to happen. "Well, when I come back I want to find you happy and healthy and courting a girl from the village," says Thomas. So many conflicted things here. Is he still in love with Jimmy? Or are they friends and he's sincerely wishing him well? Or is this some grand manipulative scheme? Sorry I don't trust you, but you have a history, buddy.

The Earl and his Countess share a flowery, ridiculous, but adorable goodbye. Everyone gathers to see the master off. He advises Edith to be strong (ohhh, you don't know the half of it), and welcomes Blake and Napier into his home for the next few weeks while they finish their work. His mother advises him to "not let those Yankees drive you mad", then coughs some more. He leaves Rose in charge of fun, and charges Mary with the estate work. He makes Tom temporary man of the house and makes sure he looks after all the women - especially the dog. This is a man who has his priorities straight.

Thomas tells Baxter he respects a full report on his return. Dammit, are you always on? They're still stalking the poor Bateses, by the way. Good lord.

Anyway, his Lordship wanders off and everyone waves goodbye. Violet is glad, because she's not feeling well and wants to go home. Isobel offers to accompany her. Fortunately, Violet's still well enough to snark. Stay strong, Dowager Countess!

Mary asks Blake if money is the sole reason that all the estates are failing. Blake says yes, but the underlying cause of that is that most estate owners are dumbasses who don't have the wherewithal to make the most of what they've got. Times Have Changed. Mary is skeptical at first but the words stick, and thank God they have Tom to manage things. She also gets into another spat with Blake. Oh my god, just make out already.

Tom drives Isobel home, where she takes a motherly interest in his conscience. She asks about his politics, and he tells her they died with Chauffeur!Branson. Poor little repressed-by-in-laws Tom. Have a cookie. Anyway, Isobel urges him to continue with his firebrand past. An MP is coming to speak tomorrow, and she can get tickets. Oh, boy, in another episode we're going to have full-on Radical Branson, right? Please, please, please. He agrees to go, and I seriously love these two so much. Extra mom, extra son - right when it's needed.

Edith is going to London yet again, and Cora asks for a Gregson update. Apparently he checked into his hotel in Munich, went out and never returned. He was going to "see the local castles", which sounds an awful lot like "hiking the Appalachian trail" when that governor of South Carolina got a bit naughty a few years back. Cora tells her not to give up hope. "You don't think I'm bad, do you?" Edith asks. The look on her face is heartbreaking. "We all have bad feelings. It's acting on them that makes you bad," says Cora very reassuringly.

Carson mentions that they've had a letter from Alfred. He's visiting his sick dad and wants to pop in at Downton on the way home. Daisy is pissy about the whole Ivy dynamic, I roll my eyes so hard.

Rose wants to go to London with Edith, but Cora says she can't go until she's been presented. Which is ridiculous since she's been to London about fifty times so far, but Rose is screwed anyway. She pleads. Cora has had three teenage daughters and is not buying her bullshit, but eventually gives in with the full knowledge that Rose is going for crazy fun.

Napier and Mary discuss the crumbling estates, and Blake's bitchiness in general. Napier mentions that Blake considers Mary "aloof". She's horrified that anyone would think that way. Oh, Mary, you are not self-aware, are you? He says he tried to defend her, but it was useless since he's considered to have a blind spot for her. It's cute, but Mary shuts it down right away and suggests they return to the house.

Robert and Thomas have caught a ship, and the servants discuss how cool it would be to go to America. Mrs Patmore isn't sold on it, however - "All steaks and ketchup...I go to the pictures too, you know!"

Some things never change.

Anna feels guilty for cheating Bates out of an adventure, Bates rightly tells her she's being ridiculous. Molesley interrogates Baxter about this "report" business. Her lips are sealed.

The DC is still feeling awful, and Isobel checks in on her. One look at Isobel's face tells us that the situation is grave. The poor DC is struggling for breath. She says she'll get the doctor, but the DC refuses, saying she's doomed anyway. Isobel ignores this and departs.

Anna and Mary discuss Napier. Mary still can't get over the "aloof" comment. When she asks Anna if it's accurate, Anna's answer is priceless - "Do you want me to answer truthfully or like a lady's maid?" They grin like teenagers. Anna takes the moment to thank Mary for having Bates stay. Mary admits that she knows the truth about the incident. She wants to find out who the culprit was, but Anna obviously dodges this. Mary pursues this, asking if maybe she should see a doctor, but Anna says she just doesn't want to talk about it anymore. "You've helped me, God knows, in the past," says Mary, "and now I want to help you." Honestly, I kind of love the relationship between these two. They'd totally be pals if it wasn't for the crushing class divide.

Carson meets Mrs Patmore and Mrs Hughes, who suggest that they should uninvite Alfred to avoid stirring up Ivy-Daisy trouble. Or, you know, two grown-ass women could behave like grown-ass women for a change. Nope, Alfred must go. Carson eventually agrees with them, but doesn't know how to reach the guy. Trouble ahead!

Dr Clarkson takes a look at the DC. She has bronchitis, and it's Sick Season so the doctor is run off his feet. He will do what he can, but someone needs to look after her. Isobel immediately volunteers as tribute, though Clarkson cautions her that it's a full-time endeavor and they should probably hire someone. Nope, Isobel has made up her mind, can't go back on that. The treatment is worked out and Isobel is on her own.

Jimmy greets Ivy, who is still giving him the silent treatment. He doesn't get why. Carson and Hughes are discussing the Alfred situation. They could invite him in for a quick drink and throw him out before Daisy and Ivy see him; they could have him stay at the pub. Why the hell are Daisy and Ivy (let's face it, mostly Daisy) dictating this? Oh, remind me never to lose my dignity over a male specimen. Again. Finally, Mrs Hughes gets the answer - say the flu's going around and they don't want him to get sick. Genius.

Cora and Mary visit Violet. They're concerned for both Granny and Isobel, suggesting that they should hire some help. Isobel, who has gone bonkers apparently, says she can manage just fine if the servants help her out. Okay, I know you were a doctor's wife and a nurse, but caring for someone is super tough. Be sensible before you end up bedridden too. The DC is semi-delirious and raving. This does not look good.

Carson has put Alfred up in the pub, and even paid for the room. Alfred is disappointed not to see everyone but agrees that the flu is something to be avoided. Carson suggests they go for a drink first. Huh? Since when has Carson wanted to do anything fun? Has he been possessed by demons?

Back in the kitchen, Ivy comments that it's too bad Alfred didn't visit. Daisy goes after her like a hungry shark, talking about her "cold and vicious" heart. Mrs Hughes tells her to STFU, then comments to Mrs Patmore that she's super glad they avoided bring Alfred over. And now that I've seen Daisy, yeah, I kind of see why they did it. Let me join the chorus: STFU, Daisy.

The DC is looking terrible, raving and unkempt, and Dr Clarkson tells Isobel she'll have to pull an all-nighter to keep her alive. Isobel is cool with this. She thinks she "owes" the Crawleys because they deemed her worthy of acknowledgment after the heir drove off the road. Puh-leeze. They're family, they're not kicking you out. Nonetheless, she feels a sense of duty that rivals Queen Elizabeth's, so by the DC's side she will stay. Hey, what if the DC lives but Isobel has a heart attack over the whole thing? Either way, I don't see how both of them will get out alive.

The pigs have arrived! Let's throw a parade. Well, Tom is pleased, anyway. Cora mentions that Isobel can't go to the MP speech since she's busy looking after Granny. Mary says she's not political so she won't go with him, but there's no reason Tom can't go alone. I foresee an arrest in Tom's very near future...

Edith and Rose are in London with Auntie Rosamund, who is confused as to what Rose could possibly be doing there. HINT: He's tall and handsome and no one would approve. Auntie gives grudging permission, and Rose is in a taxi faster than you can say "secret romance". With no one to boss around, Rosamund turns to Edith, saying she seems "Préoccupée" in her most pretentious fashion. Edith's reaction is to walk away. I wonder if she's throwing herself off Tower Bridge? STAY STRONG, EDITH. I'm sure Fellowes will write you a convenient way out by the finale.

Edith later tells Rosamund that she's going to be away tomorrow night, but Mama and Papa can't know. Rosamund hates having to lie, especially since she lied about Edith's wild night out a while back. She knows that Edith was with Gregson last time, and since he's gone it can't be him again. Edith breaks down, which changes Rosamund's tone abruptly as she switches to comfort mode.

My hypothesis is correct. Rose is with Jack, and they have rented a boat. Hopefully it doesn't sink. Okay, terrible joke, but seriously, ROSE AND JACK ON A BOAT, what else am I supposed to do with that? They're clearly super into each other and having a really good time. Jack, however, is concerned about the future of the relationship, which is pretty fucking obvious in 1922. She goes all flapper on him and advises him to live in the moment. That's my girl. "Vive la différence", indeed.

However, Jack shuts her down fast by pointing out that the Crawleys would definitely not approve of la différence. Rose still doesn't quite get it. I think he should hold a dance number to get the message across, complete with chimney sweep chorus, but this is why I don't write for this show. They promise to meet at the club later and share a kiss. It's an absolutely gorgeous scene straight out of an old movie. I say she should elope with him and go mix with all the cool artsy people rather than her stuffy relatives. It would make a great spinoff. "Rose and Jack in the Jazz Age."

Edith has spilled all to her aunt. Rosamund gets to the heart of it by asking what she intends to do, rather than You Will Marry Him or some such bullshit. Good call, Auntie. Edith admits that she's going to "get rid of it". Yep, proper and prim Edith Crawley is having an abortion, though of course they would never say that word on this show. And since she's wealthy, the legality is more or less irrelevant. She'll just go to a private doctor for a "D&C" and it will be finished. Rosamund's shocked, of course, but she says she'll support Edith no matter what, which is honestly pretty amazing from her. Though she mentions that Cora and Robert will support her too. Oh, God, she's not going to tell, is she?

Edith doubts her aunt's sincerity, but Rosamund is adamant. She's on Edith's side no matter what, even if it means accepting Edith's bastard should one happen. "I refuse to be shocked," says Rosamund, practically in tears. You can tell this is tough for her, but damn, she's taking it on the chin. My respect for stodgy old Auntie has risen about a million percent.

Edith is also sure she won't tell Gregson, if he shows up with good reason for frolicking about Germany while his pregnant girlfriend worries. Rosamund advises her to be honest, especially if they still plan to get married. Tears all over the place.

Also, apparently Edith found the private clinic through a magazine ad. Wait, they advertised? I've heard of old-timey ads for "menstrual suppression treatment" and things of that sort, but damn, that's bold. Even if the ads are chock full of euphemisms, if someone as sheltered as Edith can figure it out you've got to wonder how long they'll stay open. After voicing her concerns about legal consequences, as well as the danger of the operation, Rosamund gives in. Edith can come back after the operation to recuperate, and it will be a secret. What's more, Rosamund will go with her - just in case.

Blake, Mary (rocking the purple like Marie Schrader) and Cora gather for dinner. Mary is snippy and rude, Cora tries to play diplomat. "I can take it," says Blake. I wonder when Mary will get out the handcuffs and ball gag. They discuss the damned pigs again. This leads into Blake inviting Mary to go down to see them after dinner. This is going to end with them snogging by the shed, isn't it?

Tom goes to the political meeting, where he asks a woman if the seat next to her is taken. She says it is, but changes her mind once the speech begins, and has him sit next to her. Guys, I think we've met Sybbie's new mom. The MP teases the crap out of them for it, which embarrasses Tom and makes for one of the best Meet Cutes ever. The speech begins, and Tom and seat lady begin their own director's commentary. How rude. I should point out, though, that they agree on practically anything. By the Christmas special - bold prediction - they'll be on a ship to America together.

Mary and Blake go down to see the pigs, and talk about the necessity of a good pig man. Mary assures him that theirs is highly recommended. However, Blake notices that one of the pigs is practically dead from dehydration. They climb into the pen - in full evening dress - to right the pigs' water trough, which the pig man has just kind of left on the ground while his charges suffer. They grab some buckets, run to the spigot in the barn and get to work. You just know they'll be hot for each other by the time this is finished, pig shit on their shoes and all.

Speaking of romance, Tom and Seat Lady leave the speech utterly charmed with each other. Tom likes his ladies political, and this one certainly fits the bill. She wonders why he's not a socialist anymore and why he left Ireland, which confuses him just as much. However, he can never go back, which he calls a "long story".

Isobel is still at Violet's sickbed. The DC still looks awful and is out of her head with fever. Isobel is good and faithful as always.

Operation Save the Pigs is on! Mary and Blake run about the barn covered in filth, tripping all over the place. Those outfits won't be worn again, for sure.

Mrs Hughes bids Carson goodnight and tells him that he did a great job handling "The Downton Heartbreaker", her words, not mine. They speculate about what Mary and Blake could possibly be up to, wink wink nudge nudge. Mrs Hughes says she'll leave a key for them. Carson voices concern about burglars. "Mr Carson, this is England," says Mrs Hughes. They harrumph a bit and say goodnight. Besties!

Mary and Blake collapse on a bench, exhausted. Blake thinks the pigs should be okay. He'll supervise them and let Mary go home. "I'm not going, they're my pigs," says Mary in the best bitchy tone possible. I swear, give her a plaid suit and she'd be in the cast of Clueless. He gallantly gives her his coat, unaware that if he proceeds further he will likely be entangled into the terrible web of serving Downton forever. Matthew got sucked in. Tom got sucked in. Sir Anthony escaped at the last minute. It will come for you...it will get you. Downton: The Vortex. In theatres next Halloween.

Anyway, Mary and Blake get to chatting about how filthy they look. It's all very cute and ends up in a mud fight. Also, the mud on Mary's lip makes her vaguely resemble Hitler. Who is of course still wandering about Austria trying to get into art school at this point.

Rose creeps in during the night, having partied her heart out. Edith disapproves, asking why won't just fit in like a normal person. I'll give her some slack for being pregnant and stressed, but seriously Edith, you're judging her?

Mary and Blake get back to the house, where she cooks up some eggs for them. I had no idea she even knew how to turn on the stove. Eggs and wine, how classy. Mary tells him that he "saved our bacon." Ba dum, ch! They realize that they've had a "night of discovery" about each other, namely that they can both be practical when it comes down to it, and you guys they are so totally flirting. Sorry, Napier, you got shafted yet again.

Mary speculates as to what the household thought they were doing, Blake does the equivalent of winking devilishly. Ivy has woken up for the day and walks in, immediately embarrassed by the sight of her boss. Mary takes this as the cue to go to bed and takes her leave, along with Blake. Her hair's a mess and they're covered in dirt. God only knows what Ivy takes from this.

Edith and Rosamund are in a dodgy part of town at a dodgy clinic. Rosamund is extremely skeezed out and worried about her niece. They're brought into a dingy office. Despite her reservations, Rosamund has made up her mind to stay with Edith no matter what. Edith tries to explain herself. She would have been fine with having Gregson's kid at a normal time, but things are too insurmountable right now. Keep in mind that nobody besides Edith even knows the guy is married. Considering the situation, the stakes are just too high. Aunt Rosamund agrees. Or pretends.

From the operating room, they can hear sobs. Edith confesses to her aunt that Downton will be unbearable after this - especially the nursery, and seeing her young niece and nephew. Edith peeks in, sees a scared young patient being comforted by the doctor, and suddenly begins to panic. Just as the nurse calls her in, Edith suddenly says it was a mistake. Ever courteous, she apologizes for wasting their time and books it out of there, saying repeatedly that it was a mistake. "It seems it was a mistake," Aunt Rosamund breezily tells the doctor as they depart. Great exit line, but honestly, who thought Edith was going to go through with it? No one? That's right.

They're going back to Downton early, which destroys Rose's plans and sends her into a fit of rage. The fact that Edith and Rosamund won't tell her why is also infuriating. She storms out. Rosamund offers to come up to Downton when Edith tells her mother. Yeah, Edith can't exactly avoid that now, can she? Unless she wants to wander off for seven months or so. This is going to be interesting no matter how it unfolds. She assures Edith that there's "a way forward" - though Edith points out that what's done is done, now.

Mary brags to Tom and Napier about her pig-watering adventure. Cora comes in with the news that Tony Gillingham (Handsome Tony) is coming up. Turns out that Robert invited him before he left and forgot to tell Mary. Oops. And since no one but Anna and Mrs Hughes knows about the valet, there is a powder keg about to happen. Oh, and Blake and Handsome Tony served together in WWI. Navy buddies fighting over a girl? Since when?

As Mary walks out, Napier awkwardly tries to chat her up and gets nowhere. Aw, kid, here's a gold star for trying, but you're not in this "competition" whatsoever. Mary walks off with one of the most eloquent sighs I've ever heard.

Alfred walks into the kitchen, having decided to brave the risk of flu. "What flu?" Daisy asks. Mrs Hughes gets a look of sheer terror on her face and tries to cover up the situation. They awkwardly make small talk. Alfred asks Ivy if she's missed him. She says she has. "If I thought you meant that, I'm not sure I could go!" he says. Daisy's head practically explodes. Mrs Patmore quickly ushers her out of the kitchen. "We've gone to all the trouble, and the bill to pay at the pub, too," Carson complains. Mrs Patmore returns to the kitchen to find Ivy and Alfred cozying up to each other. Oh, god, the kitchen will be fucked for ages.

The DC is on the mend, thank God, sitting up and feeling hungry. She also looks a lot better and seems to be of sound mind. When Isobel goes to get some food, she asks Dr Clarkson to take "that madwoman" away. He responds to her snarkiness with the full story of Devoted Isobel who never left even when the going looked really tough. In her feverish state, the DC mistook her for a succession of nurses. Isobel has not eaten or slept in days, and yet seems perfectly cheerful and willing to do more. I'm in awe, and so is Violet, though she'll never admit it, of course. However, when Isobel returns and asks if she should come back later, Violet accepts without argument. Everything's back to normal, and I'm thrilled that we get at least another episode with Maggie Smith.

Gillingham's valet returns, full of card games and raising Mrs Hughes' hackles instantly. Anna walks in looking happy and carefree, which of course comes to a complete stop the minute she sees Green. Once again, NO MORE PLODDING MUSIC, FELLOWES. It sounds like a bloody soap opera in there. Anna makes an excuse and leaves. This does not escape Bates, who has suspected Green all along despite Anna's story of a burglar.

Mary greets Handsome Tony, who is pining after her and has either broken up with or can't stand his fiancee. Mary's comment is, "Sounds like the needle got stuck." Beautiful. She tries to look happy to see him, but you can detect the sadness in her face fighting it. Brilliant on Michelle Dockery's part.

Edith and Rose are telling the family about London (well, they both have to leave out some details). All the guys greet each other and try to ignore the elephant in the room. Tom asks Edith about London and she gets unusually defensive. Napier tells Gillingham that Downton has a decent chance of succeding. Dinner is announced.

Green is polishing shoes in the same room where he committed the rape. Mrs Hughes comes in and he asks what he can do for her. "Nothing. You can do nothing for me, because I know who you are, and I know what you've done," she snarls. She proceeds to tell him that he should "keep to the shadows" if he wants to stay alive. Yes, yes, YES. Mrs Hughes, you kick some serious ass.  I cannot articulate how much Phyllis Logan kills it in this scene. You'll have to watch it for yourself.

He tries to play the "she wanted it all along" card, saying that they were drunk and both to blame. Mrs Hughes shakes her head. "No, Mr Green. YOU were to blame." And I hate to distract from the magic of Mrs Hughes delivering an epic ass-kicking, but guys, seriously, TURN THE MUSIC DOWN. It keeps ruining an otherwise effective episode. She tells him that Mr Bates knows about the rape but not the attacker's identity, but when he has the audacity to thank her, she explodes. He seems unfazed and continues to polish shoes in a most menacing manner, but I'm pretty sure that he'll hold his tongue at the very least. If only greater justice could be delivered. In the mean time, well done, Mrs Hughes.

Isobel and Violet are playing cards. Violet is at her hilarious best, trying to play it sweet but mostly coming off as drippingly sarcastic. Isobel ignores this and continues to be sweet-natured, though you can see in her eyes that she knows exactly what's going on. It's so nice to have these two back where they were, eh?

At the servants' table, everyone's chatting about the goings-on at Downton, but Anna is silent. Green is seated across from her by some cruel joke of fate, and he's staring at her like the creepy bastard he is. The conversation, in the worst coincidence ever, turns to Nellie Melba's concert, during which the rape occurred, for those of you who didn't see it. Green thinks Melba was awful, screechy and unbearable to listen to. He mentions that he came downstairs to get some quiet. We can see from Baxter's expression that she has looked around and put two and two together, but the real person to watch is Bates. The music gets more and more intense as he stares at this man with absolute hatred. Cut to black.

Next time: Tom catches Rose and Jack on a date, Anna is scared of Bates and Green getting into a confrontation, Aunt Rosamund is visiting and Edith is about to break the news (and has some scheme about the baby involving a tenant farmer), Anna cautions Bates not to be foolish. Granny has heard Edith's not doing so great and wants to help her - but doesn't know the full story. Robert's back and they have a garden party just like the one from the first series where they announced WWI. Rose tries to keep her new boyfriend a secret from her parents, but Mary thinks they should be told.

There's not much more to say, other than I'm enjoying the drama and looking forward to whatever the finale brings. Oh, and in the meantime - TURN THE MUSIC DOWN.

FJ Discussion Thread

 

 

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