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Discussion of 1.16 "The Ring" - Aired 2/29/2000 (WB-US)

Flannen

Flannix
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A routine missing person investigation leads Angel to an underground arena which uses captive demons for sport. When Angel is captured and forced to fight in the arena can he survive long enough to find a way to free himself and the other captives?
Source: TV.com

Discuss this episode here!
 

evilonion

Townie
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Mar 14, 2010
Messages
75
Anyone else ever notice when Cordelia is pretending her and Wesley are cops, she introduces herself as Detective Andrews (I believe) and Wesley as Detective Yelsew (as in "Wesley" spelled backwards)? I just picked up on that tonight after seeing it for like, the 50th time and thought I was all clever for noticing, haha. Kinda pathetic, I know.

That is all.
 
HisMrs
HisMrs
LOL!! I never noticed that before... We have a member here named Detective Yelsew and I never knew where the name came from. ;)
Wesley Pryce
Wesley Pryce
I didn't notice that,nice catch

HisMrs

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Sineya
I don't care much for this episode. I feel sorry for Angel having to unleash the monster in him unwillingly just to survive, but overall this one is not a fave.
 

Jules

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Black Thorn
Its ironic that Angel refuses to work with W&H in this episode, stating that there are thousands of reasons why they shouldnt work together, yet in later seasons he's one of their employees :)

I love Wesley and Cordy together, they have so much fun!! The undercover scene was so funny and Cordy acted the part really well!

I like the irony in this episode. All they way through you want the demons to band together and get out of being slaves and at the end Cordy points out that they'd released a bunch of demons on the street. So the demons go from being the victims to the bad guys right at the end :)
 

Amethyst

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Sineya
Wesley and Cordy just make me LOL :D
I couldn't belive those bloomin trickster guys grrrrr :mad:
Poor Angel :(
I thought Angel's chat to the Demon was kinda funny :)
Wesley's clumsiness makes me lol but I was also quite surprised and into Wesley being a bad ass!! lol
 

FuzzyHandcuffs

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Sineya
Does this episode not remind anyone of Gladiator with Angel as Maximus? Although the episode predates Gladiator by about 3 years, it's amazing to look at the parallels.
 

thetopher

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Sineya
The idea for this episode has been done to death, but Angel did it reasonably well.

The highlight was definitly Cordy and Wes working together, making a pretty good (albeit snippy) team.
-Wes shows some steel while tracking down Angel. Nice.

-Cordelia had a pony! :)

-Man, Angel sure can take an asskicking like nobody else.

-And they just killed that guy and let those demons go. Very morally grey episode.

Not my favourite. Solidily middling.
 

Charmander

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I really like this episode! Probably my favourite of S1 so far.
Cordy and Wes were an especially awesome pairing here.
Favourite moments were Wes standing up to the bookies and the scene at the end where the two demons are helping Angel get out of the ring.
Trepkos was an awesome looking demon!
 

white avenger

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Does this episode not remind anyone of Gladiator with Angel as Maximus? Although the episode predates Gladiator by about 3 years, it's amazing to look at the parallels.
Actually, it put me in mind of a Grade B movie called "Ring Of Steel," where swordsmen of various styles fought to the death for the edification of the audience.

Something that really struck me as silly about this episode was the lock pick made from a single horse hair,
 

Mr Trick

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The idea for this episode has been done to death, but Angel did it reasonably well.

The highlight was definitly Cordy and Wes working together, making a pretty good (albeit snippy) team.
-Wes shows some steel while tracking down Angel. Nice.

-Cordelia had a pony! :)

-Man, Angel sure can take an asskicking like nobody else.

-And they just killed that guy and let those demons go. Very morally grey episode.

Not my favourite. Solidily middling.
Well its not as if they could stop them to be fair:D Also, what was Wesley's plan before the demon nicked the key off him? I guess it goes with the theme of the episode and much of that of the Buffyverse that in this case the humans were far more heartless than the demons.

An avenge episode, the highlights being Wes and Cordy, and Lilah's stunning debut.
 

Carrie Hopewell

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Sineya
I really like this episode. It's funny and has some genuinely moving scenes. It's a Tim Minear episode and his episodes are, more often than not, good. I'll split my comments into two parts:

Cordy/Wesley scenes:

- I liked the initial scene with Cordy and Wes arguing about the demon database and just making fun of each other. Angel asking if they needed couples therapy and calling them "children" highlights the wonderful family dynamic they have going on.
- Love Cordy's line is amazing: "Okay, first I say ‘yuck’ and then I hit search.”
- Love Wesley pulling out a tangle of weaponry. You think he's about to get really killed, but then shoots someone with an arrow and acts like a total badass. I think this episode has the right mix of goofy Wes and protective, inteligent watcher Wes.
- Cordy playing detective was perfect, she's great at improvising and interacting with people.
- Cordy and Wesley's reactions when Angel killed the demon were excellent. Two normally cheerful characters looking frightened and shocked contributed to the seriousness of the situation.
- Cordy managed to get a key. Sneaky.
- Cordy saved the day, again, with pony hair and she just had to burst everyone's bubble at the end.

Angel/The Ring scenes:

- Seeing this season again has brought to my attention how depressed Angel was - he rarely smiled or expressed emotion. Even in his post-Hell days in Sunnydale he was happier, I mean he smiled on his death bed. His depression in S2 makes a lot more sense now. He really wasn't alright, and his state of mind was fragile.
- Liked the scene at the poker game and how Angel faked pulling out a lighter and instead pulled out cash.
- Great introduction to Lilah, She looked so young.
- The other demon's did not appreciate Angel's spirit. I find it hilarious that he was actually the most talkative person in the room.
- Angel was pretty badass when he was trying to get that demon's food back to him.
- I had a bit of second hand embarrassment when Angel had one of the humans by the throat and no one would help him. It's bad when you are trying to help people and don't want your help, although they had their reasons and Angel was being a bit naive. I think this is actually progress for him as he used to be much more cynical. Not too long ago, Angel would have fought his way out of there without trying the non violent approach first.
- I thought Angel's first fight was amazing. When Angel kills the demon, without even meaning to, he looks so haunted. To him, this is just another innocent's death on his hands. I felt sad for Angel. Alexis, Charisma and David's acting is pretty solid and the music helps set the mood.
- Loved the scene with Lilah. Angel's sardonic smile when he listens to Lilah's proposal is the kind I'm used to from him. He looks less defeated in this scene. Poor Lilah, she seemed like she wanted Angel to be her new boy toy. Also, Angel looks pretty badass walking into his jail again. That takes courage.
- The second fight was brilliantly choreographed, even if Angel got his ass handed to him. I really liked the emotion of the scene. Throughout the episode Trepkos looked inspired by Angel's resistance and when Angel doesn't kill him he returns the favor. It's a sweet moment.
- I liked it when Cribb did the right thing by releasing all of the demons. It's a big win for humanity. People (or demons) can surprise you with their kindness.
- The concept of this episode reminds me of Jasmine. It's true that a lot of the demons were probably violent, but they still didn't deserve to be slaves.
- Last, but not least, Angel looked incredibly hot this episode. In fact, I can't watch season 1 without drooling everytime he's on-screen.
 
Taake
Taake
You're making me feel like I need to watch this again :D

Mr Trick

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I really like this episode. It's funny and has some genuinely moving scenes. It's a Tim Minear episode and his episodes are, more often than not, good. I'll split my comments into two parts:

Cordy/Wesley scenes:

- I liked the initial scene with Cordy and Wes arguing about the demon database and just making fun of each other. Angel asking if they needed couples therapy and calling them "children" highlights the wonderful family dynamic they have going on.
- Love Cordy's line is amazing: "Okay, first I say ‘yuck’ and then I hit search.”
- Love Wesley pulling out a tangle of weaponry. You think he's about to get really killed, but then shoots someone with an arrow and acts like a total badass. I think this episode has the right mix of goofy Wes and protective, inteligent watcher Wes.
- Cordy playing detective was perfect, she's great at improvising and interacting with people.
- Cordy and Wesley's reactions when Angel killed the demon were excellent. Two normally cheerful characters looking frightened and shocked contributed to the seriousness of the situation.
- Cordy managed to get a key. Sneaky.
- Cordy saved the day, again, with pony hair and she just had to burst everyone's bubble at the end.

Angel/The Ring scenes:

- Seeing this season again has brought to my attention how depressed Angel was - he rarely smiled or expressed emotion. Even in his post-Hell days in Sunnydale he was happier, I mean he smiled on his death bed. His depression in S2 makes a lot more sense now. He really wasn't alright, and his state of mind was fragile.
- Liked the scene at the poker game and how Angel faked pulling out a lighter and instead pulled out cash.
- Great introduction to Lilah, She looked so young.
- The other demon's did not appreciate Angel's spirit. I find it hilarious that he was actually the most talkative person in the room.
- Angel was pretty badass when he was trying to get that demon's food back to him.
- I had a bit of second hand embarrassment when Angel had one of the humans by the throat and no one would help him. It's bad when you are trying to help people and don't want your help, although they had their reasons and Angel was being a bit naive. I think this is actually progress for him as he used to be much more cynical. Not too long ago, Angel would have fought his way out of there without trying the non violent approach first.
- I thought Angel's first fight was amazing. When Angel kills the demon, without even meaning to, he looks so haunted. To him, this is just another innocent's death on his hands. I felt sad for Angel. Alexis, Charisma and David's acting is pretty solid and the music helps set the mood.
- Loved the scene with Lilah. Angel's sardonic smile when he listens to Lilah's proposal is the kind I'm used to from him. He looks less defeated in this scene. Poor Lilah, she seemed like she wanted Angel to be her new boy toy. Also, Angel looks pretty badass walking into his jail again. That takes courage.
- The second fight was brilliantly choreographed, even if Angel got his ass handed to him. I really liked the emotion of the scene. Throughout the episode Trepkos looked inspired by Angel's resistance and when Angel doesn't kill him he returns the favor. It's a sweet moment.
- I liked it when Cribb did the right thing by releasing all of the demons. It's a big win for humanity. People (or demons) can surprise you with their kindness.
- The concept of this episode reminds me of Jasmine. It's true that a lot of the demons were probably violent, but they still didn't deserve to be slaves.
- Last, but not least, Angel looked incredibly hot this episode. In fact, I can't watch season 1 without drooling everytime he's on-screen.
See this is another one which I put in my argument for S1 not being that great:p Its not a bad episode. There are good things in it, but its another avenge 6/10 episode for me. The best things are Wes/Cordy and Lilah's debut. The only problem with Lilah's appearance is that its a clunky bit of storytelling. She makes the offer to Angel, he says no, and she says alright, back to the fight club for you!:D What was the point in that?:rolleyes:

And the other thing is that the demon fight club is a ripped of b-movie idea which reminded me of 1987's Runnerman:D
 

Bluebird

two by two, hands of blue
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Messages
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Black Thorn
I really like this episode. It's funny and has some genuinely moving scenes. It's a Tim Minear episode and his episodes are, more often than not, good. I'll split my comments into two parts:

Cordy/Wesley scenes:

- I liked the initial scene with Cordy and Wes arguing about the demon database and just making fun of each other. Angel asking if they needed couples therapy and calling them "children" highlights the wonderful family dynamic they have going on.
- Love Cordy's line is amazing: "Okay, first I say ‘yuck’ and then I hit search.”
- Love Wesley pulling out a tangle of weaponry. You think he's about to get really killed, but then shoots someone with an arrow and acts like a total badass. I think this episode has the right mix of goofy Wes and protective, inteligent watcher Wes.
- Cordy playing detective was perfect, she's great at improvising and interacting with people.
- Cordy and Wesley's reactions when Angel killed the demon were excellent. Two normally cheerful characters looking frightened and shocked contributed to the seriousness of the situation.
- Cordy managed to get a key. Sneaky.
- Cordy saved the day, again, with pony hair and she just had to burst everyone's bubble at the end.

Angel/The Ring scenes:

- Seeing this season again has brought to my attention how depressed Angel was - he rarely smiled or expressed emotion. Even in his post-Hell days in Sunnydale he was happier, I mean he smiled on his death bed. His depression in S2 makes a lot more sense now. He really wasn't alright, and his state of mind was fragile.
- Liked the scene at the poker game and how Angel faked pulling out a lighter and instead pulled out cash.
- Great introduction to Lilah, She looked so young.
- The other demon's did not appreciate Angel's spirit. I find it hilarious that he was actually the most talkative person in the room.
- Angel was pretty badass when he was trying to get that demon's food back to him.
- I had a bit of second hand embarrassment when Angel had one of the humans by the throat and no one would help him. It's bad when you are trying to help people and don't want your help, although they had their reasons and Angel was being a bit naive. I think this is actually progress for him as he used to be much more cynical. Not too long ago, Angel would have fought his way out of there without trying the non violent approach first.
- I thought Angel's first fight was amazing. When Angel kills the demon, without even meaning to, he looks so haunted. To him, this is just another innocent's death on his hands. I felt sad for Angel. Alexis, Charisma and David's acting is pretty solid and the music helps set the mood.
- Loved the scene with Lilah. Angel's sardonic smile when he listens to Lilah's proposal is the kind I'm used to from him. He looks less defeated in this scene. Poor Lilah, she seemed like she wanted Angel to be her new boy toy. Also, Angel looks pretty badass walking into his jail again. That takes courage.
- The second fight was brilliantly choreographed, even if Angel got his ass handed to him. I really liked the emotion of the scene. Throughout the episode Trepkos looked inspired by Angel's resistance and when Angel doesn't kill him he returns the favor. It's a sweet moment.
- I liked it when Cribb did the right thing by releasing all of the demons. It's a big win for humanity. People (or demons) can surprise you with their kindness.
- The concept of this episode reminds me of Jasmine. It's true that a lot of the demons were probably violent, but they still didn't deserve to be slaves.
- Last, but not least, Angel looked incredibly hot this episode. In fact, I can't watch season 1 without drooling everytime he's on-screen.

Season 1 Angel is pretty yummy. :D The only issue I have with this episode are the extras in the crowd. They are so bad lol!
 

Carrie Hopewell

Little girl lost in the woods
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Sineya
See this is another one which I put in my argument for S1 not being that great:p Its not a bad episode. There are good things in it, but its another avenge 6/10 episode for me.
It's above average to me. It's hardly a masterpiece, but I think it's a great story character wise, which is what interests me the most. Cordy and Wes go above and beyond the roles they were given this season. I think the drama in this episode worked really well. I felt for Angel when he killed the first demon and when he was faced with the choice to kill the second one. I think it says a lot about Angel's character that he didn't make the second kill and didn't even mean to do the first one. Angel saw those demons as people forced to take part in a barbaric game and refused to kill them. He refers to killing them as taking a life, regardless of the fact that they're demons. Being a champion to Angel means defending what's right, being a good role model so to speak, and although he fails often, he tries.

The only problem with Lilah's appearance is that its a clunky bit of storytelling. She makes the offer to Angel, he says no, and she says alright, back to the fight club for you!
The scene with Lilah is about Angel's character. Angel is offered an easy way out of the fight, but the price is too high - it would mean making a pack with the devil and letting those bastards go unpunished. Angel shows he has integrity and courage by saying no to Lilah. Also, he had to go back, those two men had those caddle prods and Angel was already weakened from the fight, being shot, etc.

This season really builds Angel up as a champion by constantly challenging him with moral dilemmas - usually the right, selfless choice vs the easy, selfish choice. Angel makes the hard choice in 'In the Dark' (destroying the gem), in 'I Will Remember You' (giving up humanity), in 'The Ring' (going back to being a slave), etc. This show is about redemption, trying to make the right choice in a world full of bad ones, being the best version of yourself. With Angel being on its first year, you have to convince the audience that the PTB didn't make Angel their champion for nothing. The best part is that Angel is very likable this season - he's brave and righteous - but in the second season they destroy him as a champion. If Angel season 2 had been a follow up to Buffy season 3 no one would have been very surprised by his obsession with Darla (rebound, loneliness) and depression, but what they did was make a guy, who previously had tried his best to save a bunch of demons, lock humans in a cellar with two crazy vampires. I think season 1 is great character wise, especially when it comes to Angel's character. Season 1 and season 2 are the best of Angel in this regard.
Anyway, I'm digressing...

And the other thing is that the demon fight club is a ripped of b-movie idea which reminded me of 1987's Runnerman:D
Well, I don't watch movies like that, but yeah... it's obviously not a creative storyline, but I think the writer pulls it off. Like I said, I enjoyed it for the characters. I found them very compelling.
 
Season 1 Angel is pretty yummy. :D
He's soooo yummy :p I swear I fangirl so hard watching this season. I have just enough class not to write "Angel looked hot" in every review. I could easily write an entire paragraph on how good he looked. Ugh... must focus. :rolleyes:

The only issue I have with this episode are the extras in the crowd. They are so bad lol!
Really? I didn't notice that.
 

Bluebird

two by two, hands of blue
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Messages
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Black Thorn
Really? I didn't notice that.
Now you will. :p

But it's the only negative thing I can say about the ep. I similarly love it for the reasons you do. Season 1 Angel is totally about Angel as a character, and realising who he is and who he can be. I think the show picked up a lot of new viewers so you need that world and character building.
 
Carrie Hopewell
Carrie Hopewell
Thank you! That was the point I was trying to make. You just expressed yourself more eloquently and succinctly :)

Mr Trick

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I understand the purpose of the scene between Liliah and Angel at W&H. I like the interactions too. Its just that its long winded way to do something very little and story drags as a result. They could have had her making Angel the offer at the fight club. There was no logic narrative wise having Angel go to W&H.
 
Carrie Hopewell
Carrie Hopewell
To show Angel's walk of 'shame'?
telperion66
telperion66
I actually liked the scene as like a nice "change of pace" moment for the episode as a whole. It gave us a breather from the fighting ring setting and comes at a nice time. This scene is very different to the rest of the episode.

Give Us A Kiss

Fuffy Apologist
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Messages
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Sineya
I agree with Cordy, A Demon database should not be called that...

W&H should be listed...

Wes, Cordy, let's stop with the insults...

They took off Jack's finger :eek:

The man's shaking :(

Gamblers, don't mess with Angel...

Angel's finally getting some answers :)

There's always slime, Cordy :(

Wes, the internet is faster than a book :p

That demon looks a bit like Voldemort with a nose...

Lilah's first appearance :eek:

Demon wrestling...

That knife is pretty, I bet Faith would like it...

He found Jack :eek:

Angel hates it when people tase him...

Angel is in a cage again :(

Jack has become a commander of demons :(

Clumsy Wes :D

Cribb is scary...

It burns demons :eek:

Wes defends Angel :D

He can beat you up...

Lilah knows Angel has a soul...

Vampires with a soul don't like to fight :p

Vampires cannot be killed by conventional weapons either...

Cordy, smart ;)

Angel, find the key :p

Angel is at Lilah's place :eek:

Lila, you tilt your head more than blonde vamps, rouge slayers and electricity girls combined...

Ouch!

Angel goes back :eek:

How will horse hair help ??? o_O

Angel is not dead yet :p

The stake went in the wrong place :p

And now the rest gang up on the tasers :D

At least Angel healed fast :)

Next time: Angelus is freed again :eek:
 

Oromous

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Sineya
Wesley's shenanigans as the clumsy comic relief reminiscent of his Buffy season 3 version continues to bug me. If you've read my posts about Xander, one of my least favorite characters in the Buffyverse because of being said comic relief/butt monkey, then you'll know how I feel about such a "character archetype," if you could even call it that. I might be in the minority, but I find little amusement in such a character. In the same light, it's also the reason why Giles as the "awkward English guy who can't American" isn't that amusing to me either, a non-American Chinese (and also why Giles is so forgettable to me in spite of his occasional Ripper persona, a persona that frankly doesn't appear enough). I'm eagerly sitting at the edge of my seat waiting for Wesley to become the popular badass character everyone's come to love, though I'll admit that bits of this character development surfacing (Wesley being competent in combat at times and also being competent in demon lore) is enough to keep me sated... for now. Given how much I liked Doyle, I will indeed continue giving his replacement a hard time.

Compare this to Cordelia, whose lack of tact does brings me amusement and appreciation because this is properly offset by her social competence and ruthless confidence. She's interesting; Wesley, not nearly as much in spite of the bits of character development regarding his abusive father. I realize that this is still early in the series, so my critique is probably unfair, but like I said, I'll continue giving him a hard time, same as how I gave the writing of feminist themes in this show a hard time. I don't have the benefit of hindsight since I'm watching this show for the first time, so any appreciation of how great both Wesley and the show eventually become is non-existent, and I'll be writing my reactions as if I'm watching this without knowledge of future season context. Likewise with Buffy and Faith.

Looking back at this, Cordelia might be the most balanced character in the show that isn't Angel, in that she serves an obligatory role to keep things lighthearted while still being able to intrigue me with her colorful personality. To be fair, she's had three seasons of Buffy to mellow out; Wesley only had one. However, I just can't but notice the difference in the way both characters played out their comic relief moments; Cordy uses her charisma as a woman to sway dumb male bodyguards to her will, while Wesley's comic relief composes of tripping on things and messing things up. Cordy's "funny" lies in her confidence to be manipulative and tactless; Wesley's "funny" lies in his goof-ups ("Haha, Wesley's an idiot for letting that frog-tongue demon steal the key from him")

Wesley-critique aside, this is also the first appearance of another popular character (I think) called, erm... Lilac? Lilah? Yeah, her role isn't particularly memorable here. Guess I'll have to wait and see, as usual.

Overall, I ended up talking about these other stuff that isn't related to the episode's main plot because, well... it isn't that interesting in Angel's character development. We already know he's altruistic and messianic - that's not new information - so there's not much to talk about other than it being a fun episode. And it is a fun episode, especially with that hilarious music-less deadpan ending where the gang realized they just set a bunch of demons free. In fact, it's actually a funnier and more entertaining episode than many of Buffy's "fun episodes" thus far (the ones where no important character development exists). I wish they would use that deadpan ending effect in either Angel or Buffy more often; it's just so effective for me as a humor element. Such ironic humor is also why I've enjoyed Whedon's comedy at his best, that self-aware "oops, did we just do that?" writing.
 
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telperion66

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Just a point on one of the highlights of this good episode for me.

Darin MacNamara... That's right, the guy we see coming to Angel Investigation for help at start of the episode.

Turns out that his asking for help was just a ploy to entrap Angel and recruit him for his underground fighting ring.

But, my point here is that after Darin is revealed to be "evil" in the episode, the actors' performance is just great.

So grounded, believable and often humorous ('Who do you think you are, Moses...?) Douglas Roberts' performance really holds the episode together in a great way, in my view.
 
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