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This Is Us The Beginning is the end is the beginning This Is Us The Beginning is the end is the beginning

This Is Us

This Is Us – The Beginning is the End is the Beginning (3×09)

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My jaw was on the ground tonight after the winter finale of This Is Us which seemed to be the desired outcome, but I wasn’t completely satisfied or fulfilled.

The writers packed so much into the less-than-an-hour long episode that I felt just as overhwelmed as I did underwhelmed. How is this show able to bring out so many emotions out of me?

The potential for storylines is there, it’s never been an area the writers lacked in, but instead of providing some answers, I came out with plenty of questions.

Do Randall and Beth get divorced? Why is their relationship so fraught in the flash-forward timelines? Was it because of Randall’s decision to continue with the campaign? Is there a possibility that he wins? Why does future Beth need a “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” game to go to Rebecca’s house? That’s what the Big Three always played so is this some kind of goodbye? Who died in the boat explosion? Did Jack know his brother survived?

Holy shit, Nicky Pearson is alive.

Yes, all of this will keep me hooked until 2019, but talk about keeping me on the edge of my seat in hopes that I’ll come back to watch. Come on, This Is Us. You know I’d never leave you!

Let’s grab that glass of wine we didn’t plan on drinking tonight and dissect everything that went down. We’re probably going to need a whole bottle.

I guess Nicky Pearson is a good place to kick things off with. In between punching his patient brother and getting high to numb the pain, Nicky survived the mission.

And he’s alive, though definitely still numbing the pain, in the present day.

Since the whole Pearson clan believed Nicky died in the war, it’s likely that he lost contact with Jack because he didn’t want to continue “dissapointing” him.

Instead, he let his family believe he was dead. I’ll even go out on a limb and assume that Jack believed this whole time that his baby bro died in the boat explosion.

However, since his name wasn’t listed on the memorial, someone must have known he was still alive.

I can’t wait for Kevin’s documentary to unearth the real story and possibly reunite Nicky with Jack’s children. Can you imagine living your whole life not knowing that there was this whole family out there and then finally meeting them?

Zoey said it first, this isn’t the end of the story, this is just the beginning.

This Is Us has a way of showing you that life is an endless road of ups, downs and possibilities you’d never even imagine.

I couldn’t hold back the tears as I watched Kevin roam the very same fields where his father fought, especially since it was contrasted with Jack’s time there.

Like the Vietnamese historian told Kevin when met with him, it may not be the answers he was looking for but it’s a huge feat that they are peacefully sharing a meal and exchanging stories about their brave fathers. We’ve come a long way.

I wish Kevin was more impressed or touched by the experience but he was simply mad he didn’t find out what he came for.

Though the Nicky reveal is unexpected and major — something we’ve come to expect from This Is Us — I am slightly dissapointed that the historian wasn’t the little boy that Jack helped cure back in the day. I was convinced he was going to recognize his mother in the picture and give us some insight as to the necklace.

Kate is expecting the worst when it comes to her baby, which is understandable for someone who has only experienced loss and pushback for most of her life.

Toby and Kate aren’t optimistic people by all means and that’s fine, but it was nice to see them embrace this moment and finally allow themselves to celebrate.

In the end, if Kate were to lose the baby, it would be just as heartbreaking as if they’d celebrated his creation.

And maybe sending good vibes into the universe will give their fate a little push in the right direction.

As will Kate focusing on pursuing some personal goals of her own so she isn’t stressed out and focusing on what could go wrong all the time.

I’m here for back-to-school Kate. Toby is the sweetest husband in the world for always lifting her up. We know it isn’t always easy for him.

And yes, I did refer to Kate’s baby as a he because their cake revealed that they are expecting a baby boy!

I’m not sure on how much time has passed between this moment and the flash-forward’s we are seeing with Randall and Tess, but my guess is that Beth is bringing the game over to Rebecca’s house to celebrate Kate’s son’s birthday.

Now, you know nothing is ever as it seems with this show, but I’m going to say that’s a pretty logical guess.

One thing I hope I’m really wrong about is Randall and Beth’s divorce down the line.

There was a lot of betrayal, secrets, lies, and tension but this is family that always finds its way out in love!

Someone, anyone, please tell me that scene with Randall and Tess going to meet up Beth in the future didn’t give you “they’re divorced” vibes!

Beth and Randall are the most solid relationship on this series. They are stronger than Rebecca and Jack which says a lot.

I can’t fathom that a disagreement over Randall’s candidacy for Mayor would cause such a rift that they’d end up divorced.

On the plus side, the “her” in question this whole time is Beth. Hey, I assumed she was gravely ill so at least we know she’s doing just fine.

And Rebecca is still alive, so that’s good! If my math is correct, she’s deep in her 80s so given how apprhensive everyone is about this gathering, I’m not sure her condition is that great. But for now, I’m going to say it’s a good sign she’s still alive. Maybe everyone’s just nervous because so far into the future, a lot has changed? Maybe they aren’t as close anymore?

Beth is right that things have gotten complicated at home with Tess’ announcement and Deja wanting to reconnect with her birth mother, but what did she expect was going to happen when it came to raising three girls?

I want to be on Beth’s side here, I really do, but she was overly supportive of Randall and pushed him to crush the debate, which he did, by the way. He Serene’d it!

But the moment the numbers came back negative and things got a little bit hectic at home she wanted him to drop out completely?

I respect Randall for sticking through it even in the face of loss.

The numbers may not be weighing in his favor but after that debate, I’m thinking people will change their mind.

And if they don’t, he’ll lose with grace and they can go on with the next chapter of their lives.

Seeing her react so strongly to him wanting to carry out his promise to the people makes me think she didn’t believe he’d win in the first place.

And before you all say that he made a promise that he’d drop all of this the moment she wasn’t on-board, it’s pretty messed up for her to expect him to drop it when he’s so close to the finish line.

Beth, come on!

I am going to be so upset if this fight — and they’ve had worse — is the straw that broke the camel’s back!

On another upside (they feel so limited sometimes, don’t they?), it seems Beth landed back on her feet professionally and even put her dance degree to good use by opening up her own ballet school. She seems rather important based on her interaction with the personal assistant!

Other Thoughts

  • Elder Rebecca is so wise and her advice about being honest and living your truth is so key. Tess is lucky to have such a caring grandmother.
  • I am dissapointed Aunt Kate betrayed Tess’ trust and told her mother about what she was going through.
  • Randall and Beth’s acceptance of their daughter is everything. We need more of that nowadays so parents and future parents, take note. Acceptance and understanding is the key to it all, even if you are taken aback by the revealtion. Of course, we knew they wouldn’t care but they still managed to keep their cool while being blindsided. Be who you are, always. Authenticity is power.
  • Why is Tess so hesitant to see her mother in the flash-forward? Did they have a falling out?
  • I can’t wait to see Rebecca’s even older prosthetic makeup!
  • Madison is such a good friend, I can’t believe we ever doubted her.
  • The casting of adult Tess is IMPECCABLE. Props to the casting department!

Thoughts on the winter finale? Are you happy with the amount of questions raised and storyline possibilities offered? Or do you think This Is Us is trying to give too much at one time?

Will Kate have a succesful pregnancy? Will Beth and Randall divorce? Comment with your thought, and we’ll see you in January!

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This Is Us

This Is Us – 18,615 (3×08)

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This Is Us Six Thanksgivings

Are you ready for six Thanksgivings? I sure hope so because somehow, This Is Us managed to have several timelines celebrating the holiday and each act connected with a previous one seamlessly, even if they were dozens of years apart.

Let’s kick things off with Jack and Nicky’s time in Vietnam. We finally found out the mystery behind Jack’s necklace and it wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. I assumed this woman was Jack’s profound first love, which would have been a little painful to watch given his soulmate is Rebecca, however, his encounter with her had Jack Pearson written all over it.

Jack noticed the woman’s son had an injured foot after splicing it on wire set up by the troops. After the troops were flown in a turkey to feast the holiday, he offered the woman up some leftovers and took a look at the kid. The foot injury was so infected, it was causing a massive fever, however, Nicky, the medic, was reluctant to help.

I know the series has made quite a huge ordeal out of the necklace since Jack gave it to Kevin when he was in the hospital, but the depth of Nicky’s storyline and what he’d gone through during the war completely over-shined it.

Nicky came into the war as an innocent boy and was quickly ruined by the atrocities he’d witnessed. He saw the worst in humanity from people that he and his troops tried to help and even showed kindness to.

Seeing the man who stood up for him killed after being betrayed by an elderly woman who showed pretended to be his friend explained why he was so reluctant to help the townsfolk or why he thought of them as more than just women and children. Kindness can be perceived as weakness or a threat, but at the same time, how did he know the woman wasn’t being threatened to give up the man’s location?

A promo showed Kevin meeting the little boy that Jack helped so it seems to me like Jack’s act of kindness went a lot further than he ever anticipated. I honestly don’t know how this series is able to capture so many emotions in one given moment.

Nicky is living on borrowed time and Jack’s attempts at helping him are feeble. Again, based on the promo, it seems like he tries to drown himself in the nearby body of water. If that’s the case, I’m not surprised Jack was always hesitant when it came to talking about it.

Our next timeline involves the Pearson clan celebrating the last Thanksgiving before the children go off to college, or as we know, the last Thanksgiving as a family in general. It’s bittersweet to watch them all laugh, roast each other and share inside jokes knowing that shortly after, all of this comes to a heartbreaking end.

However, the focus was more on Miguel, who was celebrating his first post-divorce Thanksgiving. It was a trying time for Miguel as he blamed himself for losing his wife and his children by being too consumed by work. Thankfully, his best friend is Jack, a man known for giving the best advice on the planet. He assures Miguel that he’s a hard worker who never stopped caring or providing for his family. As for his children being turned on him, he said it would only happen if Miguel allowed it which explained why he always made an effort to patch things up with his kids.

However, the present-day timeline as Miguel and Rebecca make their way to his daughter, Amber’s, home for the holidays explains why we’ve never met these now-adult kiddos before. They are terrible human beings who are awful to their father. This explains why Rebecca stopped being friends with Shelly, though I’m really hoping to see more of that storyline as Bec seemed very torn about hosting Miguel at her home because she was Shelly’s best friend.

Amber wasn’t all that bad, though she was pretty snooty, but Miguel’s son, Andy, needed to be put in place. Thankfully, Miguel came through and for the first time, found his voice! When Andy made a rude comment about Rebecca stealing their father from their mother, Miguel laid it out how it really happened: they separated, he made an effort, their mother remarried, he reconciled with Rebecca ten years after Jack died, and they mended each other’s broken hearts.

Miguel wasn’t just being a good husband to Rebecca, a woman who didn’t deserve to be treated that way after all she’s been through, he was also being a good friend to Jack by once again having his wife’s back. Miguel really is the best friend anyone could ever ask for.

And the way he was embraced at the Pearson household — little Annie calling him grandpa — was a stark contrast to how his own children regarded him. Miguel deserves better.

So, now we’ve caught up with the current timeline that the Pearson children are on.

Kate and Toby watch Randall’s house and prepare dinner when the rest of the family goes to help out at a homeless shelter.

Tess stays behind because she isn’t feeling well and pretty soon, it’s revealed that her ailment is actually the dreaded time of the month.

Her first, in fact, which Toby learns the hard way when he bumps into Tess leaving the bathroom with pads and tampons.

Seeing Kate and Toby get hands-on training as parents is really awesome. They’ve got this whole parenting thing down.

Kate offers to chat with Tess which leads to a major revelation that I presume has something to do with the flashforward scenes and the “her” Randall is referring to. When Kate mentions Tess is going to have a boyfriend sometime soon, Tess admits it’s probably going to be a girlfriend.

Kate quickly embraces the suggestion and assures Tess that she’ll keep her secret but that her parents would be understanding.

I truly hope Kate didn’t betray Tess’ trust and Beth didn’t rush home from the soup kitchen because she found out via text.

It was the first time we’ve ever seen Kate and Tess interact one-on-one and let me say, the writers can forge emotional relationships with just about any of these characters.

Over at the soup kitchen, Beth, Randall and Jae-Won weren’t seeing eye-to-eye about how to run Randall’s Mayoral campaign.

Unfortunately, when you need all the votes you can get, Jae-Won’s tactics of setting up a more public volunteering event and getting a photo-op were probably more sound.

However, Randall is a good husband who wanted his recently-fired wife to feel important so he let her call the shots even if they weren’t in his campaigns best interest.

Eventually, Beth figured it out and it was soul-crushing. While Randall thought he was doing her a favor, it was more upsetting to Beth that he couldn’t just be real with her.

Hopefully, none of this diminishes their chances of winning the race because as we all know, Randall actually cares about bettering the community.

And on the brightest of notes, we reconnected with William and saw him meeting Jesse for the first time. The two cool cats bonded over their addictions and some breakfast food which is where Jesse shared that his vice was crack cocaine.

It wasn’t one of the most pressing storylines, obviously, but I don’t think anyone will ever complain about seeing more of William or unraveling the layers of his backstory.

The episode concluded with Randall’s college entrance application in which he discredited their question and said that every single person you meet whether it be a stranger or a family member leaves some kind of impact on you, shaping you into the person you are at this very moment.

It was profound, as everything Randall says is.

Other Thoughts

  • Deja is proof that things can and will change for you. She used to be on the other side of the food line with her mother but now, she’s volunteering and giving out more cookies than she’s allowed because she gets what it’s like.
  • Kevin and Zoe are still in Vietnam but Facetime’d with the family at the dinner table which just goes to show you that this trio’s bond is unbreakable. I wonder what Rebecca thinks about his trip to learn more about his father?
  • Toby ordering Popeye’s because he burnt the turkey and ruined the cranberries is really so Jack Pearson of him. Kate found a good one. I’m also glad his meds are kicking back in and he’s managing his depression more again.
  • Okay, how RIPPED is Randall? Beth, you lucky lady!

There were so many reveals this week! What was the most shocking/ your favorite?

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This Is Us

This Is Us – Sometimes (3×07)

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This Is Us sometimes

The first Pearson road trip occurred on tonight’s This Is Us and let me tell you, Jack is not a talker. For short car rides, that’s fine, but when you’re spending a number of hours in the car with someone, it can make for some awkward moments.

Thankfully, he’s also a charmer who can read the room and pick up hints: “People don’t slow dance nearly as much as they should.”

I’ve said this before, but I’m a sucker for origin stories. I love established relationships, but there’s something so pure and innocent and raw about beginnings. Jack and Rebecca’s is one of my favorites.

Jack drove Rebecca to Los Angeles for her record label meeting, but she used it as an opportunity to get to know the guy she’s been dating for a week and who she wants to be around at all times.

Her mother definitely had a point about driving across the US with a guy she just met, but then again, when you know, you know.

Jack wasn’t forthcoming with his upbringing nor his time in the war, which Rebecca told her LA friend was frustrating because she just “wanted him to let her in.”

Some things are better left unsaid and by the end of the episode, when Jack broke down during her emotionally charged musical debut, Bec knew that he truly meant not bringing in what happened during the war into their relationship.

This Is Us has a talent for stripping down a scene and making it an emotional gut punch. When Bec sang and Jack, the man who never cries, broke down, I couldn’t help but cry along with him.

There was an unspoken exchange between them where Rebecca recognized terrible things transpired and Jack allowed her to see him at his weakest. It sealed the deal.

And honestly, screw the record label guy, Rebecca is more than “Pittsburgh good.”

While she was having her demo heard at the label, Jack ventured off to Reseda where he visited the parents of one of his squad members who died in Vietnam under his watch.

The scene was also powerful as Jack apologized for letting his guard down and getting him killed, but Mr. Watterson assured him through tears that it wasn’t his fault.

While we saw flashbacks to Vietnam, we still don’t really have an idea as to what happened to Nicky. Based on their intense reunion and Nicky’s attitude about the war and Jack taking his “Superman” nickname too seriously, I imagine he killed himself from all the pressure of his “unbecoming conduct” sentence.

It would surely explain why Jack bottled up all emotion, refused to talk about what happened, and blamed himself for Nicky’s death. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t help or save his brother.

I was particularly fond of the scenes involving the “traveling necklace.” Kevin was spot on for thinking the necklace connected to the woman in the photograph. I’m going to assume these replicas are only a recent addition to cater to tourism, but the necklace Jack’s “maybe lover” had was authentic.

The necklace made its debut when a soldier bought it for a woman he was crushing on. When he saw that woman cozying up to another soldier, he chucked it onto the bar where another soldier scooped it up. When he died in the field, the woman from the picture lifted it from him and eventually, it made its way into the arms of its current owner, Kevin.

Every scene with Bec and Jack gave us more insight into the beginning stages of their relationship. They vowed to sleep in separate beds but that didn’t last long because soon enough, they were breaking the bed.

However, the most illuminating moment focused on Kevin and Zoe, who have both declared that they are falling in love with each other. Despite Beth’s warnings about Zoe “eating men up,” so far, she’s been really good for Kev. However, the moment she ate bat soup (a local culinary treat), I knew things were not going to go over well.

Their arc loosely mimicked Jack and Rebecca’s only, in this case, Kevin was the one trying to get information about Zoe’s past, and Zoe, like Jack, was hesitant to tell him anything. Eventually, she revealed that her father sexually abused her when she was a little girl which is why she avoids him.

Kevin, dumbfounded by the answer, stammers that Zoe always seems strong and she tells him, “I am strong.” And yes, girl, you are.

We’re all strong in our own ways. Jack chose to keep this part of his life hidden from Rebecca and they made it work, but the fact that Zoe trusted Kevin enough to let him in on her heartache meant a lot.

I’m rooting for them, and I’m rooting for Kevin to find out as much as he can about Jack’s time in Vietnam because that’s the only way we’ll find anything out.

Kevin has really grown into his character these past few seasons and seeing him concerned and taking a leap of faith has to earn him an Emmy. Don’t snooze on him!

Given the ongoing wildfires ravaging California right now, the episode was a nice touch reminding us that California is a place that’s alway sunny, optimistic and full of dreamers. We’re keeping all of those that have been affected in our thoughts.

What did you think about the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter at CraveYouTV!

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This Is Us

This Is Us – Kamsahamnida (3×06)

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THIS IS US - Kamsahamnida

This Is Us gets political just in time for the midterm elections.

Did you expect anything less from Randall Pearson, the son-son whose superpower is his brain?

Randall may have had a hard time getting his campaign off the ground, but it didn’t come as a shocker that he would finesse his way into the light.

You know why? Because unlike brother Solomon, Randall actually cares about the people and cares about helping their community.

He couldn’t convince the African-American community who saw him as a foreigner but also a threat, so he went to the Korean community, an untapped part of the city where Solomon wasn’t focused and folks didn’t think anyone cared about them.

Admittedly, I find it a little irritating that Randall only appreciated his brother’s movie star status when it benefitted him.

He’s always been supportive of Kevin, however, initially, he was embarrassed to be seen with him because he didn’t want his white, famous brother to ruin his street cred.

Seeing the flashback storyline of Randall trying to learn how to box from Jack so he could be “strong like him” only made Randall’s victory during his run for City Council that much stronger.

When he confronted two-faced Solomon with a smile on his face, a tactic his father told him boxers used, I couldn’t help but smile. Jack Pearson still runs through their blood.

Beth isn’t doing as hot as Randall these days, but you can’t win them all.

She’s the strongest woman on the show, aside from Rebecca, so when her cracks began showing it was comforting to see she’s still a human underneath the super-mom disguise.

Her freak-out on the girls when they were trying to sell Girl Scout cookies was natural in every way. She was already feeling like a failure for being fired and not securing another job, but then to fail her daughters by not knowing about a credit card swiper was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I really thought Deja was going to call Annie out for acting like a  brat seeing as she comes from a broken home where selling Girl Scout cookies wasn’t even in the equation.

You’d be lucky if her mother held a decent paying job long enough to keep the lights on.

However, what Deja said about Randall calling her “exceptional” and being madly in love with Beth made my heart flutter.

I know she resented the Pearsons for a little because they “took” her away from her mother, but it’s nice to see her exposed to real love and positive role models.

Living in that house for a bit really did make her the Queen of pep talks!

I firmly believe that everything always happens for a reason, and in this case, Beth was fired just in time to join Randall’s campaign and bring it to the next level.

Her skills are unprecedented and there isn’t another person who could rally and vouch for Randall the way she can!

With Jae-Kwon and Beth on his team, Randall has this thing in the bag. Especially because pretty soon, people will see he’s not only genuine and transparent but also a man of his words. Not to mention, he has really nice hands.

Kevin was inspired by his brother’s “get out there and go” attitude and made the choice to get answer’s in Vietnam.

It’s the first time we’ve ever seen Kevin take a calculated risk and feel so certain about it. I always say follow your gut and Kevin is doing just that.

I hope this storyline finally gets Justin Hartley that long-overdue Emmy nomination. This is the strongest and most confident his character has ever been.

His impassioned speech about needing to “peel off the wallpaper” and finding out who the woman in the photo was enough to convince Zoe to go with him.

We already knew she would end up on the trip with him since the teaser in the first episode of the season, but seeing them successfully get to this point in their relationship was vital.

I’m curious to see if they’ll be able to locate the woman and what her story will be. Was Jack in love with her? Did she help him get over Nicky’s death? Was she the reason Jack survived the war? Did he lose her before being discharged?

There is another Pearson baking in the oven and the family couldn’t be more thrilled.

Unfortunately, as Kate’s wishes came true, Toby spiraled back into a state of severe depression.

It’s important to note how subtly the series addressed the lack of education surrounding anti-depressants, depression, and mental health in general.

“Can’t he just get back on the meds,” is such an ignorant question, yet it’s most people’s go-to when they find out someone is suffering from the invisible disease.

There is no magic pill —  overcoming depression takes constant work. And once you take the meds, it doesn’t just go away either.

The sad reality is that it never goes away. For most people, it’s a lifelong struggle.

This Is Us has never shied away from the realities of life even when they are painfully brutal, unfair, or downright disheartening, and I’m so glad they don’t plan to stop now.

This series is such a rare gem.

Toby wanted to be better for Kate; he wanted to be her support system, to get out of bed, and to show her that he was going to be her rock, but realistically, that wasn’t possible.

And for the most part, Kate was understanding of it.

Her chat with her mother really helped her come to grips with the reality that motherhood is a mess of uncertainty. She isn’t always going to have the answers to everything but she’s going to do what she thinks is best.

I think having a child of her own is going to make her appreciate her mother and all that she did for the children just a smidge more.

As for Toby, if she continues being understanding and supportive, there’s a good chance he’s going to be alright.

There was one hiccup on her part for throwing a fit after came down on her for taking her eyes off of Audio. Her actions could have been discouraging to Toby as just before she came home, he forced himself to shower and get dressed.

In Toby’s case, just those “everyday” acts are half the battle.

Not only was he feeling down, but his anxiety from past relationships walking out on him when the going got tough messed with his mind.

Unlike those other women, Kate is invested and dedicated to helping him get back on the right path.

Yes, it’s going to be hard because she’s pregnant and her hormones are going to start acting up, however, just being there for someone is another part of that battle.

I’ve defended Kate a lot this season because I can understand how having children takes a toll on your life and emotional stability.

But though it isn’t an opportune time, she needs to reciprocate all the care and support that Toby has given her throughout the seasons.

We’re taking a heartwrenching two-week break from This Is Us, however, the promo for the episode delivers on Jack and Rebecca’s first road-trip together just a week after they met.

I’m excited to finally see their first moments as a couple, but I noticed this parallels the trip Kevin and Zoe are taking.

They may have been dating longer than a week, but it’s still a big trip to take with someone you’re just starting to be real with.

Is Zoe Kevin’s Rebecca?

I wonder if the writers will somehow tie them together into one profoundly symbolic moment. I don’t have any doubts about it.

What did you think of the episode? Will Kevin find what he’s looking for? Did Randall’s blessing help him with the decision?

Will Kate and Toby make it through this blip in their storyline? Will Randall win the elections.

See you in two weeks, Cravers! Kamsahamnida.

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