Spartacus: Blood & Sand – 1.11 – Old Wounds

PREVIOUSLY ON SPARTACUS: BLOOD & SAND! Sparty and Varro are betrayed! Ilithyia is the most tricksy hobbit ever! Batty’s plans for fortune and glory are shat upon by Calavius! And Numerius got laid.

Hello creepy dead Varro, how you doin’? Spartacus is staring at Varro’s pasty dead body and gritting his teeth through the manpain. Doctore sneaks up behind him to offer some wise words of commiseration on fallen bros, and yet Spartacus somehow manages not to weep manfully in his gloriously bemuscled arms. Opportunity: WASTED.

Spartacus is clearly feeling some pretty harsh guilt, despite the fact that Varro’s death was entirely horrible little Numerius’ fault (and Ilithyia’s, obvsly) and not his own. Doctore tries to comfort Spartacus not with tender mancuddles but with the thought that Varro died with honor, and as a gladiator. Spartacus is way too grief-stricken to be ready for this kind of comforting, though. Also the nasty gash that Varro gave him across his ribcage is looking kind of funky. He paws at it distractedly and wibbles a little, stoically.

Should’ve gone for the cuddling, dude.

*****

Out in the yard, the men are in the middle of their busy training and sweating schedule, but stop dead when Varro’s body is brought out on its bier by Spartacus, Rhaskos, Hamilcar, and some other dude. Aurelia is waiting by the wagon and looking completely fucking miserable. Spartacus stumbles over his greeting to her, and she doesn’t even notice, because her main concern is finding out the truth: did Varro die at Spartacus’ hand? Sparty can only nod kind of helplessly in the face of her teary accusations and bitterness.

Lucretia and Batiatus are, as always, observing from the balcony, and Lucretia grumbles that Spartacus is surely not going to take the loss of his beffie very well. She’s got no ally in Batty on this subject, as Batty is also well and truly pissed, not only about the loss of a well-earning gladiator at the hands of a stupid boy, but the loss of his political dreams at the hands of the Magistrate. And oh, he has plans, you see. PLANS OF GREAT VENGEANCE.

Concerned, Lucretia kicks out Naevia and the rest of the slaves to get to the bottom of these plans, but foolish Batty refuses to confide in her, because her glorious scheming mind is just pearls before swine, as per usual. SIGH. Batty turns the conversation towards Ilithyia’s help in securing her husband’s august patronage for the ludus, and consequentially for Batty’s attempt at political office. Ilithyia’s already departed for Rome, and they expect Glaber’s arrival with her any day now, but Lucretia’s still scared out of her mind at the thought of conspiring to kill the Magistrate. PULL IT TOGETHER, GIRL.

Batty scurries off to whisper with Aulus in the tablinum – Aulus has set the wheels of their murderous plot in motion, and the Magistrate has been snatched up outside the city and is being held at an undisclosed location. Ashur is standing watch over the Magistrate, which I’m sure won’t turn out horribly for everyone involved. Batty makes plans to visit his hostage that very evening, and sends Aulus off to get laid and drunk with the villa’s slaves.

*****

Outside in the yard, Sparty’s not looking quite up to his usual delicious form. He’s a bit flaily and uninterested, and Crixus is all too eager to stand around bitching about him to anyone who will listen; specifically, Doctore, who agrees that a true champion would honor a fallen brother with blood in the arena and not emo man tears on the practice field. Once Crixus has his willing ear, he rants at Doctore about the upcoming games against Pompeii, in which Crixus hopes to fight in the primus instead of Sparty. Doctore turns a thoughtful glance towards Spartacus as Waffle-Face Hector comes to summon him up to the villa.

*****

Batiatus is sulking up against a column and glaring at the statue of himself by the impluvium, and takes a moment to assure Sparty that he and his wallet greatly regret the loss of Varro. Spartacus remains unimpressed, and points out that maybe Varro’s wife and child might just miss him a little bit more, eh? Batty then chooses to rashly reveal to Spartacus that plans are already underway to avenge them all against Calavius and Numerius, and Spartacus wants in immediately.

Batty has no intention of wasting Spartacus on his plottings when he could be earning money instead, and tells Sparty to concentrate on his upcoming fight in the primus against Perikles, the Champion of Pompeii. Spartacus agrees on the condition that his winnings from the match be paid directly to Aurelia, along with all his future winnings in the arena. Batty’s startled, but impressed enough to match the funds so that Spartacus can have some peace of mind, and obviously be a better fighter for it. Sparty is momentarily gobsmacked, as are we all.

On his way back down to the ludus with Waffle-Face Hector, Sparty very calmly refuses to rise to Waffle-Face’s bitchy baiting, despite Hector’s best efforts to wind Sparty up over Varro’s death. Sorry, Hector, but if Spartacus had decided to go wild with rage and start a-stabbin’, I highly doubt you’d have survived. So shut it, bitch.

As they walk through the slave quarters of the villa, Spartacus catches sight of Aulus frolicking drunkenly with a couple of naked slave girls, one of whom is Mira. Hector shoves him along before they can exchange more than a glance or two, because he’s a jealous diaper baby.

*****

Down in the baths, the gladiators are reading over the fight schedule for the games against Pompeii. (I still can’t figure out just how bizarrely anachronistic it is for them all to be able to read, and it is driving me batshit.) Duro sulks over his pairing with Agron in a fight, as he’s finally realized that he has to prove himself without his brother’s help, but Agron seems a bit relieved. Crixus is next to snatch the list, and stomps off in a huff once he realizes that he hasn’t managed to secure the primus for himself.

Spartacus sits alone on the side of the tub, staring off into space, picking at his wound, and generally looking pastily unwell. Idiot Duro loudly proclaims that he would die before killing a sworn brother, and Spartacus snaps, getting all up in his grill about his brother’s wife and child. Duro’s confused, as he’s still talking about Agron, and Sparty’s clearly talking about Varro. The conversation loses its thread completely when Spartacus starts hallucinating Varro off in the distance, and runs off to catch him. Ruh roh.

Sparty runs and runs, but of course he’s not going to catch up to a hallucination. Instead, he ends up standing out in the yard, staring up at the sky and twitching a bit. He doesn’t even hear Mira come up behind him until she touches his shoulder, and he leaps like a startled kitteh at the whims of a tricksy toaster.

Mira’s been sent by Lucretia to raise his spirits and presumably his cock, which Spartacus insists he doesn’t deserve. Mira hasn’t got time for his protests, because she’s just noticed his ghastly wound which is really just not healing very well at all. She tries to help him to his cell, but Sparty sends her off with his usual total lack of charm and pleasantries, before realizing that he has an important question to ask her – about Aulus.

Mira gets all defensive and icy, insisting that she was ordered to frolic nakedly with him, and that he means nothing to her, dammit! Spartacus doesn’t give a shit about her feelings – which really, she should have realized by now – he’s interested because Aulus was supposedly injured trying to save Sura’s life. So next time Mira fucks him, can she please say thanks, on Sparty’s behalf?

Inexplicably, Mira does not slap him before he stumbles off to his cell. HOW? IDEK.

*****

Aulus, Ashur, and Batty have Calavius blindfolded and tied to a chair down in the sewers of Capua. As Aulus yanks off the blindfold, Batiatus smarmily apologizes for the sub-par accommodations. You have to admit, he has a certain bitchy panache.

Calavius is wild-eyed with disbelief and confusion. What the shit can Batty even be thinking? Batiatus prepares to tell him, at great length, how Calavius is the biggest meanypants ever to mean, even as Calavius prepares to beg, bargain, and bribe his way free.

Calavius seriously cannot fucking believe that Batty would be so insane as to kill a Magistrate over some hurt feelings, over being told to “leave politics to the men with the breeding for it”, over such casual conversation at a goddamn party, ffs. He scrambles to apologize, ruining it completely when he says his only intention was to spare Batty the humiliation of being denied his overreaching ambitions. Batiatus’ considered response is to kick Calavius in the solar plexus, knocking him and his chair over. Calavius, dude. For serious. You are digging your own grave here.

Batty lunges at Calavius to stomp on his throat, ranting like a loon all the while about his ancestors and their relative worth. Ashur, off to the side, looks nervous and concerned, rather like he’s about to say something stupid. And he delivers, pointing out to Batty that maybe the reason Calavius isn’t answering any of his shrieked demands is because someone, who could it be, has their foot on his throat. Lols.

Calavius, presumably realizing that he’s got nothing left to lose, decides to give it to Batty straight: Batty’s a fucking joke; no one can stand him and his grasping ways; everyone only tolerates him because he owns Spartacus; and when Spartacus dies, no one will give a shit about Batiatus ever again. Furthermore, Batty’s beneath him and will always be so, forever and ever. SO THERE.

Calavius loses some of his bravado when Batty reveals that further plans are in motion involving Numerius, though. Batty makes his dramatic exit as Calavius is re-blindfolded, and Aulus knocks him out with a vicious punch to the head, for the lulz. Ashur foolishly decides to verbally express his doubts about the wisdom of the entire venture, and Batiatus tells him to stop being such a little sissy bitch, and STICK TO THE FUCKING PLAN. I can’t decide which I want more – Ashur to successfully betray him, or Ashur to fail utterly and be caught. Conundrum!

*****

Back at the ludus, the men are training in preparation for the upcoming games. Spartacus is paired with Agron, who spends more time trying to apologize for Duro than he does in trying to defeat Sparty. Sparty is noticeably flagging, and after Agron gets in a good smack to his wound, Sparty’s hallucinating Varro all over the place again. He gets ghost!Varro in a headlock, as Doctore shouts at him to quit his crazy shit, and ghost!Varro tells him to “tend to the wound”. Once Sparty’s back in the real world, even Agron draws his attention to the gross oozing wound. Sparty pokes at it worriedly and then passes out facedown in the sand.

*****

Spartacus, unconscious, is being tended by the medicus when Batiatus runs in, full of worries and accusations at Doctore for not noticing Sparty’s worsening condition. The medicus reports that the fever may well kill Spartacus before he can fight in the games against Pompeii, and Batiatus sends everyone scurrying for medicine and sponge baths and Mira, who will surely want to help, right?

Batty storms off to the villa, with Doctore following closely behind, and rants to the heavens about his great misfortune. Yes, you poor man. Doctore suggests that a suitable replacement for Spartacus can be found, and there’s only one man they can be talking about – CRIXUS.

*****

Crixus has just given the “good” news to Naevia, and she’s not taking it as well as he’d hoped. Crixus is so excited about his return to the arena, and in a primus no less, that he brushes off Naevia’s worries – both for his well-being, and for the chance that they might be discovered canoodling together. Crixus does not give a good goddamn, woman! He wants to prance about and proclaim himself a god! He promises to share his victory with Naevia by looking to her in the pulvinus when he wins his fight, and totally doesn’t understand why she’s not thrilled. Sigh.

These two are such goons, oh my god. Just for one minute I’d like for Naevia to realize and accept that Crixus’ love for fighting and prevailing in the arena doesn’t mean he loves her any less, and for Crixus to realize that Naevia’s love for him will always mean that she’d rather have him alive than dead, no matter how glorious his death might be. SO FRUSTRATING ARGH.

Fortunately they are able to meet on common ground by making out wildly. HUZZAH.

*****

Ashur is skulking cloakily through the marketplace late that night, and ducks down a dim alleyway for a presumably prearranged meeting with Solonius. After payment, Ashur confirms that Solonius doesn’t need to worry about further reprisals from Batiatus at the moment, as Batty has much bigger things going on these days. Naturally, Solonius wants to know more, and when Ashur tries to put him off, Solonius can clearly see that Ashur is freaked out about these mysterious happenings. Hook: baited.

Uncharacteristically, Ashur begins to spill his concerns with barely any encouragement, rambling on about Batty’s clouded judgment and thirst for power, but breaks off nervously as soon as Solonius presses for further details. Hook: swallowed.

*****

Spartacus is shivering and spasming with fever, and the medicus pours some random concoction down his throat as Mira holds him down. Spartacus is lost in a fever dream, thinking he’s off in the baths with the rest of the gladiators. As a slave tries to help him bathe, the strigil catches on the edge of the gross wound, and gold coins start pouring out of his torn flesh in a really fucking unpleasantly graphic way. After two seasons of splattering blood and decapitations and intestines flying about willy-nilly, it’s this one scene that seriously almost makes me barf. What the fuck.

You guys, it is so grotendous. HERE LOOKIT.

but wait there’s more

Told you.

Sparty winces in pain as the coins spill out of his guts and clatter on the stone floor, and ghost!Varro sits at his feet and pokes at the wound, telling Sparty that this is all he is, just gold ripped out of flesh and bone. Across the room, Spartacus further hallucinates a masked woman rising from the bathing pool, who speaks to him in his wife’s voice. Sparty yanks off the mask and there’s Sura, bloodied and half dead as she was the last time he saw her; she dies again in his arms.

Sparty half wakes from his dream, screaming and thrashing, and Mira and the medicus struggle to tie him down to his bed.

*****

Meanwhile, the games against Pompeii are underway, and Duro and Agron’s fight seems to be going pretty well, as far as Agron’s concerned. As he finishes off his opponent, he notices his derpy brother getting his ass kicked all over the sand, and rushes to his defense. Agron throws his spear into the back of Duro’s opponent’s head, killing him instantly as the crowd roars approval. Does Duro say thank you? He absolutely does not, the brat! He pouts up at his brother and feels terribly sorry for himself instead.

The usual crowd is up in the pulvinus: Lucretia and Batty, accompanied by Naevia; Domitia and Numerius; and a bunch of fashionable hangers-on. A fat man in an utterly ridiculous ringlet wig is seated alone – a magistrate from Pompeii. He and Batty exchange some bitchy comments about their men’s chances in the arena, but Batty is on top of his game and filled with murderous good cheer. Calavius’ absence is noted by everyone, but no one seems terribly concerned. He’s a busy man, after all.

*****

Ashur stops by the hostage sewer hideaway, to check up on Aulus and Calavius for Batty. Aulus is napping up against the filthy wall, and Calavius seems to be having a doze as well. Ashur berates Aulus for sleeping on the job, as they’d all be totally fucked if Calavius escaped. Aulus tells him to chill the fuck out – Calavius hasn’t moved an inch since last night. Hm.

Upon closer inspection, Ashur realizes that Calavius isn’t breathing, either. OSHIT. Ashur and Aulus fall all over themselves, each blaming the other for Calavius’ death before the climax of Batty’s plan. Aulus decides to make sure that Calavius is dead, and moves in close to check for signs of life. And what’s this? Oh Calavius, you cunning minx!

Calavius be faking that shit, y’all. As soon as Aulus realizes that Calavius is still breathing, Calavius lunges and sinks his teeth into Aulus’ throat, tearing out a huge grotendous chunk of flesh. Ashur restrains Aulus from kicking the living shit out of Vampire Calavius, and sends him back to the ludus for medical attention. As Aulus flees, Ashur looks thoughtfully at Calavius’ many heavy gold rings.

*****

Back at the arena, Crixus is pacing nervously, awaiting the primus, which is being held for Calavius’ late arrival. The crowd is getting even more wild and rowdy than usual, so Domitia asks Batiatus to announce the fight in her husband’s place. He feigns reluctance and then rises to the challenge.

Oh dear. The crowd is cheering for Spartacus. How embarrassing. When Batiatus announces that he won’t be fighting in the primus, but is replaced by Crixus, the crowd boos and hisses and is loudly and obnoxiously unimpressed.

Oh Crixus. His little face of sadness and hurt feelings and woe! Doctore sends him out with encouraging words, but Crixus is looking pretty bitter. The rotten fruit and veg pelting him is probably not helping things very much.

To make awkwardly awful matters worse, when Batty announces his opponent, Perikles, the crowd cheers him wildly. OH YOU FAITHLESS WHORES. Crixus and I are disgusted.

Perikles is a huge lumbering murmillo who looks even less pleased than Crixus to be there. Fatty Pompeiian Magistrate dude smirks that the match will likely be over pretty quickly, and Numerius hisses to Batty to start the fight and see the smile wiped off his smirky fat face.

The fight gets off to a bad start – Crixus is slow to attack and weak on defense, and seems very much unlike his usual ass-whupping self. Naevia and Lucretia both look extremely concerned, and even Batty’s rattled enough to let some worry show. Every time the Pompeiian Magistrate laughs and smirks, Naevia looks like she might rend the very flesh from his bones with her bare hands. NAEVIA Y U SO AWESOME.

*****

The medicus is cleaning up Aulus’ neck wound, which he’s angrily attributed to a dog’s bite. Mira is off to the side, sponging Sparty’s fevered brow, and somehow managing not to feel him up simultaneously. Now that, my internets friends, is WILLPOWER.

Aulus takes his smelly medication and lies down for a nap, and the medicus excuses himself for some lunch, leaving Mira in charge of the two injured men.

*****

Crixus is struggling against Perikles, who keeps getting him up against the wall for a relentless shield-battering. Crixus looks like 10 pounds of shit in a 9 pound bag, and Perikles isn’t letting up for a second. Up in the pulvinus, Lucretia is pounding down the wine, and Naevia is refilling her cup without even being asked.

The crowd is outraged by Crixus’ failure to be his usual awesome self, and is anachronistically pelting him with iceberg lettuce wedges. Pudgy Magistrate Jerkface is practically writhing in an orgy of obnoxiousness, mocking Crixus’ failure, and a visibly drunk Lucretia insists that Crixus will prevail because he “has the heart of a lion”. As if in response to her words, Crixus staggers to his feet, and Lucretia drunkenly leaps up to point at him giddily.

Batiatus takes one look at her hot mess self and orders Naevia to take away the wine and give her water instead. Domitia comes over to assist, concerned for her friend, and Lucretia manages to pull herself together, blaming the heat. Batiatus sends her packing, instructing Naevia to take her back to the villa, and Lucretia is too wrecked (and too concerned with social standing) to put up a fight. She staggers off with Naevia at her side.

Crixus hauls himself carefully to his feet, just in time for Perikles’ next attack. Once again, Perikles pins him to the wall and raises his sword for the kill. BUT NO. Crixus counters with a vicious kick to the face that knocks Perikles ass over teakettle, and immediately wins the crowd’s love once again.

Instead of waiting to defend himself, Crixus attacks repeatedly, slowly wearing Perikles down. Perikles loses both sword and shield, and Crixus, ever-honorable, holds his attack until Perikles regains his sword. But his chivalry is wasted, as Perikles’ final desperate lunge leaves him gutted on Crixus’ sword. The crowd screams for a kill as his intestines dangle messily. Pleh.

Crixus, upon stomping Perikles’ face to death, looks to the pulvinus to share his heartwarming moment with Naevia, but she’s already gone. Crixus looks more crushed than we’ve ever seen him, even though the crowd is once again chanting his name.

Batiatus and Numerius don’t even attempt to contain their smug good humor, and Pudgy Pompeiian Magistrate tries to slink off in a foul sulk. Batty’s about to insist that he stay and have a drink, when his guards appear with a mysterious messenger….

DUN DUN DUUUUUN! Magistrate Calavius’ carriage has been discovered, abandoned, all the guards murdered! And there’s no sign of Calavius except some tracks leading back to Capua, how shocking! Batiatus looks ever so concerned. Numerius and Domitia are horrified, but when Pudgy Pompeiian Magistrate offers his assistance, they assure him that they can take care of it themselves. As soon as he departs, Batty takes charge of the search, and Numerius insists upon joining him.

*****

Companies of guards march through the streets of Capua, searching for Calavius. Solonius, meanwhile, is lurking in the shadows with Ashur, angry at having been kept waiting, as he’d rather be taking part in the search for Calavius. Oh Solonius, don’t you realize that this is what Ashur’s been keeping from you? Ashur nervously hands over a small package, containing a ring…. Calavius’ ring, Solonius is shocked to realize. Ashur then reveals all: that Calavius is Batty’s prisoner; that Batty intends to murder him; and that he, Ashur, no longer wants any part of these plans. GASP.

Solonius is horrified, and demands that Ashur take him to Calavius at once. But Ashur knows that Calavius has seen his face, and wants to flee Capua before Solonius frees the Magistrate. Solonius hands over a heavy purse, and promises more when Batty’s schemes have been exposed and the Magistrate rescued.

Ashur quashes Solonius’ plans to get more men to accompany them, insisting that there’s not enough time, and the two men hurry to the hostage sewer hideout.

*****

Back at the ludus, Mira is bandaging Spartacus’ grotendous wound, as both Sparty and Aulus sleep quietly. Spartacus wakes up inside yet another fever dream, and gets up off his slab, calling for Mira and the medicus. When no one responds, he stumbles across the room, only to turn back and see a dead body under a sheet on the slab. The body is bleeding through the sheet, and Sparty realizes it’s his old longhaired self lying there. Ghost!Sura walks in and asks why he killed him, and Spartacus wails that he had no fucking choice!

Looking back down at the slab, Sparty now sees Varro and not himself. Again, Spartacus relives Sura’s moment of death, and again, ghost!Varro tells him to “look to the wound”. But this time, he’s not talking about Spartacus’ wound…. he’s talking about the wound that Aulus supposedly received when “defending” Sura. Spartacus realizes that when he saw Aulus with Mira and the other slave girl, there was no sign of this supposed wound healing on his belly.

Spartacus awakens, his fever finally broken, and Mira runs over to calm him. Spartacus looks over to see the sleeping Aulus, and remembers everything. Mira goes to fetch the medicus, but Spartacus grabs her and demands that she first remove the straps holding him down, so that he can have a little chat with Aulus. Mira looks gobsmacked by this random request, and even more concerned when Spartacus tells her to keep watch throughout.

She’s certainly going to be no match for Sparty’s big blue eyes, is she.

*****

Batty and Numerius are rushing through the streets with their guards, hunting for Calavius. Batiatus cleverly manipulates Numerius into deciding to search the sewers, and the men crash through the gates, swords at the ready.

*****

Ashur and Solonius hurry into the hostage sewer hideout where Calavius remains tied to the chair. Before Solonius can free the Magistrate, Ashur hears the sound of Batty, Numerius, and the guards approaching, and flees in cowardly terror. Solonius decides that helping Calavius is more important than pursuing Ashur, and moves to untie the Magistrate.

Solonius cuts the ropes with his dagger, and Calavius falls limply off the chair and half on to Solonius, who eases him to his back on the floor. When he removes the hood from Calavius’ head, however, he sees Calavius’ throat already slashed – Calavius is very, very dead.

Aaaaaaand oh man, does it look epically bad for Solonius when Numerius and the guards burst into the room to find him hunched over the throat-cut corpse of Calavius with a dagger in his hand.

Well played, Batiatus. Well fucking played, Ashur. Solonius sees Batiatus, with Ashur peeking over his shoulder, and the look of extreme and orgasmic triumph on their faces, and realizes in horror just how badly he was duped. Batty swears to Numerius that Calavius’ death will be avenged, and Numerius looks appropriately bloodthirsty.

*****

Spartacus leaps onto Aulus and rips his shirt open, searching for the alleged wound. Aulus wakes up, confused, but there’s no time for him to shout or struggle, and Spartacus has him by the neck, demanding to know what happened when Sura died. Aulus tries to stick to his story of an attack on the road, but when Spartacus shouts about the missing wound, he knows the jig is up. As Spartacus throttles him to death, Aulus gasps that he was only doing as Batiatus commanded, and Spartacus, looking enraged and betrayed, crushes his throat.

Mira comes running back into the room and is horrified to see dead bodies all up in the place. Sparty tells her to strap him back down to his bed like nothing ever happened, and to never speak of this again. Um. How are people not going to notice that Aulus was choked to death? Leroy Jethro Gibbs would see through this sham immediately and probably slap Spartacus on the back of the head.

*****

Later, Aulus’ body is carried out of the ludus, and Ashur confusedly tells Batiatus that the wound didn’t look like it would kill him. Apparently NCIS: Capua passed up this shocking case after all. Batty also seems confused as to how Aulus could have drowned in his own aspirated blood, but once Ashur comes to the pleasing conclusion that Aulus is just one more loose end that won’t need tying up, Batty’s no longer concerned.

Ashur and Batty then argue matily, each insisting that the other is awesome, played their part in Solonius’ deception more cunningly, and is more dashingly dressed. To further delight Batty, Spartacus is back to training with the men, his wounds well on their way to healing. Batty calls down to Spartacus to see how he’s feeling, and Spartacus calmly replies that he’s “feeling himself again”. Batty’s either too far away or just too complacent to see the death in his eyes.

*****

NEXT WEEK! Glaber and Ilithyia return from Rome! Spartacus plots his revenge! Lucretia makes two shocking discoveries! And Solonius finally meets his match.

*****

FYI – A Spartacus: Blood & Sand marathon, in honor of the late Andy Whitfield, begins tomorrow 10.02.11 on Starz at 9pm EST.

Also, the entire first season will re-air starting on 12.16.11, leading up to the start of the second season in January 2012!

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