Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: The Resistance, Occupation, Precipice
I’m a sci-fi geek who has never seen Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I know, I know. 2013 is the year I change that, and I’m blogging as I go.
So how’re things going for the characters of Battlestar Galactica after that “!!!!??!???!?!”-inducing season two finale? Let’s jump into the first two episodes of season three to find out.
But first, because I’m a completionist*, here’s a quick recap of The Resistance, the web series that ran between seasons two and three.
*Also because Tigh’s in it. I may have a problem.
Here we catch up with Chief Tyrol, Tigh, Cally, and a few tertiary characters whose faces I recognize but whose names I couldn’t have told you before they took center stage here. It’s the 67th day of Cylon occupation, and Tigh, Cally, Chief Tyrol, Jammer, and Jean are up to their necks in the resistance movement. They try to recruit Duck, a one-time Viper pilot, but he rejects their offer. He’s a family man now; he has a wife, Nora, and hopefully one day they’ll have a kid.
Not that that stops Chief and Cally, the latter of whom has popped out her baby since the season two finale. That’s going to be the most revolutionary kid ever.
The majority of the resistance’s weapons cache was seized by the Cylons, but Tigh still has a few guns left. He decides to hide them in the temple on the grounds that the Cylons have agreed to leave it alone since it’s a sacred place. Jammer objects, saying it’s sacrilege to hide weapons in a place of worship, but Tigh doesn’t care. Haters gonna hate. (You’d best click that link; I broke out my meager gif-making skills here, OK?)
Later on Nora and Cally go to the temple to pray and talk about their significant others’ respective religions. Turns out Chief’s had a “crisis of faith” since the priest who incepted him with the idea he might be a Cylon turned out to be a Cylon himself. Yep, that’ll do it. The temple comes under attack, and while Cally gets away, Nora doesn’t.
Is Duck going to have a dramatic conversion moment where he decides to pledge himself to the cause because his wife died? Because I get that on a character level, but from a storytelling perspective it’s awfully cliché.
At first it doesn’t look like Resistance will go that route: Duck asks Chief whether there were guns in the temple, and when he’s told there were he’s none too pleased. The next scene shows Jammer expressing a similar sense of displeasure toward the resistance. There were a bunch of people in the temple when it was attacked; ten died and twelve were wounded. Tigh’s response?
“I never dreamed we would get this lucky.”
I love him. In any insurrection-type storyline there’s always going to be a guy who’s all “To make an omelette you’ve gotta break some eggs, civilians are going to die in a war, and this drives our recruitment numbers up so put your big boy pants on and deal with it, sonny Jim, blah blah blah.” But Tigh’s so unapologetic about taking a stance that he knows makes pretty much everyone think he’s a soulless jerk. He gives no fraks.
When Jammer gets arrested by the Cylons Chief stands up for him to Tigh, saying he’s no traitor and he won’t tell the Cylons anything. Tigh’s not so sure, and as it happens he’s right. (I’m getting some déjà vu—remember that time Adama didn’t think the Cylons would come back, but Tigh disagreed? And then Tigh turned to be right? Good times, good times.)
Jammer gets interrog— interviewed by Doral, who starts the psychological manipulation early by offering him some juice and cutting off his cuffs. You’re not in trouble, he says. I just want to talk to you about the temple.
Doral admits that the Centurions who opened fire “overreacted” but says that what happened wasn’t entirely the Cylons’ fault, since it was the insurgents who put the weapons in the temple in the first place. They knew the Cylons would find them; they might even have tipped the Cylons off themselves, hoping that the resultant massacre would up their support. Humans and Cylons can work together peacefully, but that won’t happen if the resistance gets its way.
He brings up the New Caprica Police (NCP), which is comprised of humans working for the Cylons and is therefore particularly hated by the resistance. Jammer says he’s not going to be a collaborator, but Doral says he’s not asking him to: He just wants him to give the Cylons a heads-up if the resistance is planning anything that might lead to loss of human life. Jammer takes the computer chip that will allow him to get in contact with his new Cylon overlords and is set free.
Jammer. Doral is playing you. That is some Gaeta-level bad decision making right there.
Meanwhile Duck tells Chief Tyrol about his plan to infiltrate the New Caprica Police. It’s a dangerous job, but it might allow him to figure out who told the Cylons about the weapons cache in the temple. Chief and Tigh bandy about the idea of attacking a military target that just so happens to be across from a hospital. If the resistance fraks up with the explosives, patients might die, not that that melts the cockles of Tigh’s heart.
The webseries ends with Jammer deciding to be the Cylon’s mole in the resistance and Duck deciding to be the resistance’s mole inside the NCP. That’s some Departed-style stuff right there.
Also in this series:
- Tigh in a beanie! Tigh in a beanie!
- Cally said Chief Tyrol’s first name at some point. Galen? Something like that. I did a double-take. I’d come to think of his first name as Chief.
As alluded to in Resistance, life’s gone to hell for Our Heroes since the Cylons invaded New Caprica. Tigh’s been captured and tortured by the Cylons, who plucked out one of his eyes. So now Tigh has the number of eyes I thought he’d have when I first started watching. Good to know. To get her husband released from prison Ellen has sex with Brother Cavil, who’s been overseeing Tigh’s interrogation.
Least favorite character, right there. Brother Cavil, may the Tighs airlock you personally.
While Tigh’s locked up Chief Tyrol and Anders are still spearheading the resistance, setting up bombs to explode them some Cylons. I can just imagine Anders’ frustration. “I just stopped doing resistance stuff, like, a year ago. Can’t a man play some pyramid without having to worry about running an insurrection?”
Meanwhile Starbuck’s been in a different sort of prison than Tigh, and while her jailer’s less overtly violent than Brother Cavil, he’s definitely creepier. That would be Leoben Conoy, who kidnapped Starbuck right after the Cylon attack and has been keeping her in a jail cell modeled after her old apartment on Caprica ever since. The first scene of the two of them has them sitting down for a nice, fancy dinner. Starbuck asks for a knife to cut her steak; instead, Leoben gets up and cuts it for her. Ohhhh, Leoben, you’d better watch yourself.
He sees the resistance’s explosion through the window, and when he returns to be all creepy at Starbuck (“You look so lovely tonight” *shudder*) she stabs him through the neck and several times in the torso with what appears to be a tuning fork. She then cleans her hand of his blood by wiping it on the carpet, grabs his knife to cut her own darn steak, and primly wipes her mouth before tucking in. Attagirl, Starbuck.
I don’t know what it says about me that this is probably my favorite scene of the entire show so far.
We get a little exposition courtesy of Laura Roslin, who’s been keeping a journal. The Cylons have been there for four months, and though there’s been no contact with the Galactica since it skedaddled, she refuses to believe Adama won’t come back for them. Until then the insurgency will keep attacking, which is critical for morale even though it seems useless at times. There needs to be a high-profile attack; no more bumping off a few Cylons at a time, only to have them regenerate.
In a later scene she also tells those who didn’t watch the webseries about the New Caprica Police, humans who’ve been doing the Cylon’s dirty work. Their names are kept a closely guarded secret, but by looking at surveillance photos the resistance has concluded that there are about 200 of them, 50 of whom they’ve managed to identify. Speaking of the resistance, it’s being aided by an anonymous mole within Baltar’s administration. Is it Gaeta? I bet it’s Gaeta.
Baltar hasn’t been doing much since the attack; his government now governs in name only. But the Cylons running the joint don’t exactly agree about how to do so. In a meeting with the other skinjobs Brother Cavil posits that they do anything and everything, up to and including publicly executing random citizens, to accomplish their mission of bringing the word of God to humanity. He even suggests killing Baltar, who’s sitting right there in the background listening to the whole conversation. Luckily for him, Caprica nixes that idea, because he’s her pet and all. Doran also objects on the more practical grounds that everyone hates Baltar and would probably applaud his death anyway. Baltar looks absolutely stricken when he hears that, like he’s been kept so insulated that he had no clue his own people hate him so much. I can feel my “Oh, poor baby” feelings coming back…
Boomer and Caprica take a more philosophical approach; they’re here to bring peace and harmony, not to kill more people. Um, if your goal is a peaceful relationship between Cylons and humans, why not just… let the humans go on their merry way to Earth? You know, like Brother Cavil said you would before you showed up at New Caprica to wreck stuff? It’s not like the humans are going to be predisposed to trust the Cylons after they nuked Caprica, and imprisoning all of them isn’t exactly a great start. I smell something fishy here.
After the rest of the Cylons leave D’anna asks whether Caprica’s love of Baltar is worth the risk they’re taking. “If you’d experienced love you wouldn’t have to ask,” she responds. Jeez, Caprica, there’s no need to be all frakking superior.
Meanwhile Chief Tyrol’s gotten confidential papers about the New Caprica Police’s graduation ceremony from his Super Secret Source, which he takes to Anders and Tigh. The latter’s just gotten out of prison, and he casually drops the info that his eyeball was ripped from its socket right in front of him, just so they know. They then share a drink, and while Anders and Tigh both grimace heartily, Tigh chugs the stuff down. One eye, same Tigh.
The resistance’s plan is to bomb the graduation ceremony and kill Baltar, who’s going to attend. It’ll be hard to avoid human casualties, but Tigh ain’t give a damn, because if they’ve chosen to work with the Cylons then they deserve death. Way harsh, Tai Tigh! The plan, laid out in a later scene, is to have Duck go all suicide bomber and blow the ceremony to bits, killing or at least seriously wounding all the human police officers just to get to Baltar.
Item two on the resistance’s agenda is making contact with the Galactica. Before the Cylon attack the plan was to leave a Raptor hanging out above the planet just in case something went down, but every transmission the rebels sends gets jammed. Anders doubts that a Raptor’s out there anyway. Adama never would have come to get me on Caprica if Starbuck hadn’t stayed on his ass about it, he says, so he’s probably going to leave us behind, too. That is not the right thing to say to Tigh, who immediately jumps to his BFF’s defense. He calms down a bit when he remembers, shoot, this dude’s wife has been missing for four months now.
Back in her fancy-dancy jail cell Starbuck is still subject to the unwanted advances of Leoben, who’s downloaded into a new body. He waltzes into the living room to say that God wants them to be together, and Starbuck seems receptive to it… though he’s just trying to get close enough to stab him. He sees through her ruse and reminds her that, though she’s killed him five times before (you go, Starbuck!), he can be patient. He’s seen the future, and she is going to tell him that she loves him.
I think he’s right. She is going to tell him that she loves him, as part of a ruse, right before she cuts his junk off with a shard of rusted metal and peaces out for good.
Up on the Galactica there’s been a bit of conflict between Adama and Lee. The former is pushing what pilots he has left to the breaking point, trying to get them ready for the eventual rescue mission. Lee is… not being so vigilant. He calls his dad out on how poorly the pilots are being treated, and Adama absolutely loses it, accusing his son of becoming weak both mentally and physically. Stop whining, he says, and get your “fat ass” (woah, dude!) out of my office.
Take it down a few notches, Admiral. Lee’s definitely let himself go (to put it lightly), but his assertion that they’re not getting anywhere with their current mode of behavior has some truth to it, even if he’s not exactly suggesting anything better. Helo, who appears to be Adama’s new Gaeta, agrees; he was more than willing to pull the pilots in from a failed exercise before Adama told them to stay out and try it again for the seventeenth time.
The only person Adama’s close to anymore is Athena, who, judging by the mini-office in her cell, has been receiving a lot of visits from the old man. She calls him on his BS, albeit politely. After I was locked up I was consumed with rage for weeks, she explains, and I only moved past it once I realized I was really mad at myself for my betrayal and for losing my baby. (But she didn’t lose her baby? She thinks her baby died of completely natural causes.) If you’re going to move forward and save humanity you have to accept the guilt you feel for leaving New Caprica in your rearview mirror, and you have to forgive yourself.
Meanwhile Lee’s getting a pep talk from Dee, except it’s less a pep talk and more her agreeing with Adama about how soft Lee’s gotten. You’re a soldier who needs a war, she says, only you don’t want to admit that because you think it means you’re like your father. But you’re more like him than you know; that’s one of the reasons I married you.
(Also: “One of the reasons I married you is how much like your dad you are.” Oh-kaaaaay. I get what she’s saying there, but… weirdly phrased, Dee. Weirdly phrased.)
Back on New Caprica the resistance’s anonymous source has gotten them some updated info on the Cylon’s jamming frequencies, which means they’re finally able to get through to the Raptor that is indeed still hanging out above New Caprica. Tigh told you so, Anders! The Raptor, piloted by Racetrack, is even able to send a message back, to the effect that they’ll be in contact every 12 hours to coordinate a rescue effort, and have hope, because we’re coming for you.
Hah. We’re only one episode into the season. Like this is going to end well.
The day of the attack on the graduation ceremony has arrived. Chief, who previously expressed discomfort with the whole suicide bomber idea, thinks the revelation that they’re getting rescued means they should call the plan off, but Tigh disagrees, saying the only way the rescue attempt will be successful is if the resistance causes a distraction. Gotta say, I agree with the Chief on this one. Tigh is way too caught up in killing Baltar. And we know his track record with making decisions while he’s under pressure and feeling blood-lusty isn’t exactly good. The Chief and Tigh come to an uneasy compromise: They’ll only cancel the attack if Baltar won’t be there.
Almost at that exact moment Baltar is canceling his appearance, citing security concerns. Wait. Does he know there might be an attempt on his life, or was he just flaking out and got really lucky with the timing? Gaeta—who it turns out is the resistance’s mole, I knew it—books it into the city to give the Chief his super secret signal that something’s changed. The only problem is that he moves the dog bowl they’re using to communicate, indicating that something has changed, right after the Chief shows up and sees it unchanged.
Also, Gaeta has really nice handwriting. OK, moving on.
With the resistance still thinking they’ll get the chance to kill Baltar, the attack moves ahead: Duck straps a bomb onto his chest and detonates right as he comes up in line to shake D’anna’s hand.
It’s the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing, and Laura Roslin’s been thrown in a jail cell. Baltar pays her a visit to explain the situation: All important people have been rounded up; she’s not been targeted specifically. Baltar can help her out, but only if she agrees to publicly condemn the suicide bombing. Roslin doesn’t even respond to his request, instead saying that the Cylons must be desperate to send him as their emissary. Baltar presses on and tries to get Roslin to look him in the eye and tell him she’s seriously OK with the turn the resistance has taken. She’s unable to do so, instead informing him that the NCP officers killed in the attack arrest, detain, and torture innocent people, the last of which Baltar didn’t seem to know about. Defeated, Baltar leaves, telling Roslin as he goes to follow her conscience the way he always has, and asking the guard to let her loose. Her parting shot to him is that she doesn’t doubt his actions have been in accordance with his conscience, because he clearly doesn’t even have one.
I don’t agree with her on that last point. Baltar may have been sent by the Cylons, but he seems genuine in his stance against suicide bombings and his shock that Roslin doesn’t object to them. And it’s not like he’s the only person who thinks the insurrection’s new tactic of choice is morally reprehensible: Chief Tyrol spoke out against it before. All through this episode we see Baltar’s conscience bubbling to the surface. He has multiple chances to step up and do the right thing, and while he doesn’t, you can at least tell that he wants to, which is more than could be said for him earlier in the show. I predict big changes for Gaius Baltar in the future.
Back in resistance HQ Anders and Tyrol are fiddling with their transmitter and talking current events, namely how the Cylons might shut down the market because it’s a security risk. Tigh pipes up from his perch in the corner to say they’ll just have to shift targets, which alarms Tyrol, who had no idea attacking the market was even on the table. It’s full of civilians, he argues. Which side are we on? Tigh then give such an epic, evil-sounding speech that I just have to repeat it in its entirety. Some BSG writer had fun with this:
“Which side are we on? We’re on the side of the demons, Chief. We’re evil men in the gardens of paradise sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.”
It’s not exactly Gene Hackman’s inspiration halftime speech in Hoosiers, is it? More like Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. Man, Tigh has lost it.
They’re able to send a message to the Galactica saying that they have 1,150 people armed and ready to fight. Back on the ship, where Adama and his crew are trying to put together a rescue mission, Helo notes that that number is way small considering how many enlisted officers should be on the planet. Dee hypothesizes that the resistance could be taking heavy losses, but no, it’s just that no one likes Tigh. I wouldn’t like Tigh either if he weren’t fictional.
The plan they hammer together is that the resistance will need to get the keys to the Colonial ships, but the Cylons hid them, so the Galactica will drop some weapons on New Caprica to help the rest of the humans out in their search. The only one who doesn’t contribute to the workshopping is Lee, who pipes up every time someone suggests something to shoot it down. Adama ignores his Negative Nancy self, like he should.
While all this is going on the Cylons have ramped up their efforts to shut down the resistance by ordering the NCP officers, one of whom is Tyrol’s pal Jammer, to round up and detain suspected insurgents. One of those detained is Cally, and boy does that make Tyrol ticked. In a later scene he talks to Gaeta, asking the Presidential assistant/spy whether there’s anything Gaeta can do to get her out. Gaeta’s response is non-committal, which sends Tyrol off on a tangent about how he doesn’t know how collaborators like Gaeta can live with themselves. He continues ranting to Jammer, saying a day will come when men like them will string men like Gaeta up.
The whole thing is very ironic; Tyrol thinks Jammer’s his friend when he’s really the “traitor” NCP officer who arrested his wife, and he’s all derisive about Gaeta because he doesn’t know Gaeta’s the resistance’s mole. Please don’t let this be foreshadowing of Gaeta doing something stupidly brave to prove himself and getting hurt in the process. Please.
Back in Starbuck’s prison cell Leoben has a surprise for my favorite pilot. Turns out back when Starbuck was in the breeding farm the Cylons removed her womb, so Leoben went ahead and fertilized it and raised the kid, which is just what you do when you’re a criminally insane creeper robot with a really unhealthy obsession with someone. Jesus frakking Christ, I cannot handle this show! Leoben brings down the child, an adorable blonde-headed toddler named Kacey, and tells Starbuck a few tidbits about the kid’s future (her path will be “difficult but rewarding,” and she’ll “see the face of God” in her lifetime; she must get that “spiritual clarity” from him, ewewewew) before leaving the two of them alone for some mother-daughter bonding time.
Starbuck’s not so much for the motherly feelings, though, so she escapes into the bathroom to have a quiet freak-out. When she gets back Kacey’s fallen on the stairs, unconscious with a pool of blood running out of her head. I’m sorry, I call BS. Leoben came back and pushed that kid over. In fact, I’m not sure he’s not lying about Kacey being Starbuck’s in the first place. Kacey could be a full-on Cylon skinjob for all we know.
Up on the Galactica Adama’s decided to send a liaison to New Caprica to help with the rescue mission, and Lee’s not too pleased with who he’s chosen: Athena. He goes to argue with his dad about it, but Adama tells him he trusts her. Lee counters that he’s risking literally all of humanity, and he doesn’t have the right to do that. It comes out that Lee doesn’t even want to try and rescue the people on New Caprica, since the 2,000 or so people still with the fleet are the “safe bet.” I see his point, but I can’t help but think this is “soft” Lee talking—last season he never would’ve abandoned 96% of the human race without even trying to save them first.
Lee, Starbuck’s going to kick your ass next the time she sees you.
Surprisingly, Adama agrees, at least with the part about how he shouldn’t risk the lives of the 2,000 people still with the fleet. He orders his son to take the Pegasus and the remaining civilian vessels and continue searching for Earth. Adama and the Galactica will continue on with what they both know is probably a suicide mission. They hug for what might be the last time.
Roslin and Tigh have a chat about suicide bombings. Roslin wants them to stop, and Tigh caustically asks whether she’s working for the Cylons now, which gets him slapped. That’s right, Tigh. Talk smack, get slapped. Tigh goes on to say that little things (like human lives) don’t matter anymore; his job is to stir the Cylons up and distract them, and bombings accomplish that, so he’s going to keep ordering them. Christ, he’s unhinged. I don’t think it’s all just “Tigh being Tigh,” though. The dude did get tortured.
Just as Roslin doesn’t like the suicide bombings, Caprica and Boomer don’t like the way their fellow Cylons are rounding people up. Boomer visits Cally in her cell, but not because she can get her out or anything. Instead she starts talking about how happy she is for Cally and Tyrol, which is completely useless and also somewhat insulting. Cally agrees; she yells at Boomer to get the frak out if she can’t help her get free.
Every Cylon except for Caprica and Boomer want to ramp up the punishments against humans. To that end they’ve written up an execution order for several hundred humans. They just need Baltar to sign it. Caprica immediately objects, questioning why they need to drag Baltar into their sin. We’re covering our bases, Brother Cavil explains, so if it turns out God doesn’t like murder Baltar will be the one to take the rap, at least spiritually speaking.
Baltar refuses–of course he won’t order the death of hundreds of his fellow humans—but Doral holds a gun to his head. Caprica stays in his corner, literally and metaphorically, telling her fellow Cylons they’re being crazy. So Doral takes the completely non-crazy action (note the sarcasm, please) of shooting her in the head. She’ll download into a new body, he explains to Baltar, but if we shoot you then you’re dead for good.
With everyone yelling at him to sign the order and a gun being held to his head, Baltar gets whisked away to his mental office by Head Six (she’s baaa-aaaaack!), who tells him he has no choice but to sign. Sometimes you have to do things you hate so you can live to fight another day, she argues. So he signs, a single perfect tear sliding down his cheek after he does so.
Gotta say, this show is doing a really good job of making me feel sympathetic to Baltar. He’s in a hell of his own making, but still, that hell is really, really extreme. I found myself comparing him to Jammer, who thought he was doing the right thing when he joined the NCP, before I remembered that before things got bad Baltar was a selfish little jerk who pretty much only ever acted to benefit himself.
On the Galactica Adama swears Athena in as an officer and then sends her on her way. Before she goes she asks how he knows he can trust her. He doesn’t, he responds. That’s what trust is.
Now to another major NOOOOOO!!! moment: Ellen Tigh is still sleeping with Brother Cavil, and because her face is bruised the way it was last episode I feel safe in assuming he’s still beating her up. It comes out that Cavil freed Tigh not because Ellen had sex with him, but because having Tigh still in the resistance benefits Cavil. With Tigh out Cavil can always threaten to lock him up again if Ellen doesn’t spy for him. He demands the time and place of one of the insurgent’s meetings; if he doesn’t that, Tigh loses more than an eye.
And wouldn’t you know it, Anders, Tigh, and Chief Tyrol are planning the most important meeting the resistance has held or probably ever will hold: The meeting with Athena. Right as Ellen walks in the trio decide on a place, and Ellen takes the map, pretending to burn it but instead pocketing it to deliver to the Cylons.
Gaeta’s found out about the death order Baltar signed, and he goes to yell at him about it, asking whether he even bothered to look at the names of the people he’s consigned to death. Of course he has, Baltar responds, defeated, but it’s not like there’s anything else he could do. Among the people set to die are some familiar faces: Roslin, Cally, and Tom Zarek, the last of whom has been locked up for the entire occupation because he disagreed with Baltar about surrendering to the Cylons. Gaeta watches the trucks filled with doomed men and women as they head to the execution site, desperate to do something to help but unsure of what that something could possibly be.
In a similar state of desperation of is Boomer, who fruitlessly tries to convince D’anna not to execute Cally, and Jammer, who’s going to have to pull the trigger on Cally and everyone else. The Cylons stop in the middle of nowhere to give the prisoners a five-minute rest break, which makes absolutely no sense to me—they’re about to die, why would they need to stretch their legs?—until the Cylon’s plan is revealed. Centurions show up on the hillside and start shooting at everyone, prisoners and NCP officers alike. The only one out of danger—relatively, at least—is Cally, because Jammer finally leveled up, cut her bonds, and told her to run.
Also facing heavy gunfire are Anders and Athena, who started their meeting only to have the party busted by Cylons. Ellen! *shakes fist at sky*
But the end of the episode had a slightly optimistic scene, too. Starbuck’s daughter isn’t dead, just wounded, and Starbuck and Leoben hold a silent vigil by her bedside. Starbuck prays to the gods not to punish Kacey for her mistake, and the gods seem to listen, because Kacey wakes up. Starbuck, relieved, reaches out to hold Leoben’s hand.
Why am I saying that’s optimistic? Not to be a cynical child-hater, but we’ve seen Kacey for all of five minutes, and I don’t really care if she lives or dies. And how is Starbuck warming up to Leoben’s advances by accepting comfort from him good?
It’s good because I firmly believe Starbuck’s playing that motherfrakker. She knows he’s trying to manipulate her, knows that he probably hurt Kacey, so she’s turned the tables on him without him even knowing. Cutting-off-your-junk time approacheth, Leoben Conoy. Be afraid.
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