How does one go about writing the recap for episode 16 of Marry Him If You Dare (Mirae’s Choice)? One one hand, proper English grammar, syntax, and logical reasoning feel wasted when used on the 60-minutes that just transpired onscreen. On the other hand, writing a recap consisting of “buh?” and “whut?” and “WTF!?!?!” and “Bwahahahaha!” isn’t very easy to read along. Though my heart says just to heck with it and write pure nonsense like the screenwriter of this drama has given us, my mind says I’ve come so far already in recapping 15 episodes properly I ought to stick with it to the very end. With that said, I’ve never had to dig so deep to coherently recap what is completely incoherent plot, which has basically been this drama since episode 7. Everything up to episode 6 was lovely and promising, even though there are some viewers who never warmed up to the drama from the outset. I quite enjoyed the premise, was patient to let the writer tell her story (even if some elements caused me a sense of foreboding worry), and felt like this drama could be an underrated gem that offered something different. Starting from episode 7 onwards this drama went on a complete and total derailment of character and plot that rivals any hot mess K-dramas of yonder years.
I’m going to have to think long and hard about which drama was the bigger writing mess in 2013 - I Summon You, Gold (long lost twin love triangle, yay!) or MHIYD (shoving the heroine with the second male lead against all sense and sensibility). There is no finger pointing at the cast or fandom because it’s ultimately the screenwriter who wrote it this way. But the sharp coupling U-turn was jarring and induced whiplash in the viewers, when all along Mi Rae had only eyes and heart for Shin yet the writer kept siccing Se Joo on her like he was a bloodsucking leech and she the only arm around. Thanks to the involvement popular leading lady Yoon Eun Hye, her huge DC fandom rose to the occasion and drama fans who saw the original script ending revealed that this was NOT the drama Eun Hye signed up for and the ending was intended to deliver what rational drama fans would have wanted. Shin and Mi Rae get married and have a son in this time line as well, and with the help of all their friends manage to overcome his fate of being ruined. In the end, Se Joo and Yoo Kyung get married and also find happiness and a successful marriage. Too bad this drama destroyed so much audience goodwill and hope, in the end it was Pandora’s Box with only all the evils of poor scriptwriting going off the rails to pander to some fans but without the glimmer of hope left within afterwards. To those who watched alongside, thanks for keeping me sane though it all. For a drama with a title that included words like marry, dare, and choice – in the end we saw Mi Rae do none of the above. Fantastic moral of the story, writer-nim.
Episode 16 recap:
Shin hesitates between the two scripts and then delivers the one that toes the company line and doesn’t mention the humidifier product failure death. The production team in the NTN studio all shake their heads in frustration that Shin didn’t read that story. Mi Rae and Se Joo watch the broadcast from future Mi Rae’s hospital room and Mi Rae turns off the TV in disappointment. Not sure why she’s disappointed since she did warn him against reporting it.
Oppa talks with the Time Cops who are here to take future Mi Rae back but now they can’t do it because its dangerous and she might die in her current weakened state. Oppa asks if future Mi Rae needs to go back, can’t she just live here with them?
Mi Rae sits down next to future Mi Rae’s bed and Se Joo asks why future Mi Rae fainted and is there something he doesn’t know. How about an entire story worth of information, dude. Mi Rae says future Mi Rae came from a far away place and Se Joo knows about the future story and asks if Mi Rae believes her? Mi Rae says future Mi Rae feels like a long lost twin and when she sees future Mi Rae hurt she hurts. Se Joo tells Mi Rae to get some rest and leaves. Se Joo walks outside and sees Oppa leaning against the wall looking exhausted.
Shin finishes his broadcast and walks off the stage with all the production team members looking at him in disappointment.
Mi Rae goes to the visit the man whose son died and looks at his pictures. The man shows Mi Rae all the files he’s kept of how his son fell ill. He thanks her profusely for listening and taking on his story. Mi Rae takes out a tape recorder and asks to do an audio interview with him. The man has nothing to hide and says the people who should be ashamed are the company men who sold the product.
Future Mi Rae wakes up and is confused. Oppa and present Mi Rae run to the hospital to take care of her. Future Mi Rae is struggling to leave the hospital and is being restrained by the staff. She recognizes Oppa and is freaked out to see present Mi Rae – future Mi Rae thinks she’s 32-year Na Mi Rae. The doctor comes to check on her and hears that her memory has regressed to 25 years earlier due to shock and should come back in time.
Future Mi Rae sleeps and Mi Rae keeps watch over her. Oppa remembers hearing from the Time Cop that Kim Shin is alive in future Mi Rae’s future time line. He was saved after the accident by a heart procedure and has been waiting for her to come back. Mi Rae asks if its so painful future Mi Rae wants to forget it all, or she just doesn’t want to go back?
Mi Rae and Oppa get dressed up to go to a dinner with Se Joo and Miranda who cuts to the chase and says to set a wedding date since everyone knows about them already. This will lessen the gossip and get Mi Rae married into the family earlier and start learning the wifely skills. Oppa asks what Mi Rae needs to learn and Miranda says cooking and flower arrangement, to which Oppa says Mi Rae already knows how to do those things. Oppa says they can marry right now since he’s not married yet so he wants to see his sister settled first. Miranda says that is fine but asks where future Mi Rae is since she’s supposed to be their relative. Miranda claims she’s friends with future Mi Rae so Mi Rae has to reveal future Mi Rae is sick in the hospital.
Future Mi Rae wakes up and asks where Oppa or her journal is? She also asks where Kim Shin is? Kim Shin visited her every day with flowers so where is he?
Shin sits in his office and he can hear the striking reporters yelling from the lobby. Hee Kyung comes to see him and he asks if she brought him to the family gathering because she knew the network would be in an uproar soon. Yoo Kyung knocks on his door and happily sticks her head in to greet him. Hee Kyung asks who she is and Yoo Kyung cheekily says she’s Shin’s ex-girlfriend. God I love her.
Shin and Yoo Kyung go to a coffee shop to chat. She asks him to review her scholarship application because she is going to study abroad. Shin compliments her on doing all this and Yoo Kyung says he should have fallen for her instead. Shin agrees with a smile and Yoo Kyung asks if he knows that Se Joo and Mi Rae are getting engaged. Shin does. She asks him how he feels but he’s cut off by a call from future Mi Rae begging him to come see her because she’s scared and stole the nurse’s cell to call him.
Se Joo drives Mi Rae home and apologizes for his grandmother’s pressure. Mi Rae reveals she saw Miranda a few days earlier to discuss this. Se Joo asks how she would feel to give it all up to marry him? He then says he’s joking and knows that she is happiest working. Se Joo asks if Mi Rae has considered going back to school?
Shin arrives at the hospital and future Mi Rae runs into his arms the moment he walks in the door. Turns out he called Mi Rae already and heard about what happened to future Mi Rae. Shin sits down with future Mi Rae and they discuss how after the car accident he would visit everyday after work with flowers. Future Mi Rae asks why he’s forgotten already? Shin says they both tried to escape their fates but look at them now, still in the same place. Future Mi Rae says that if one wants to escape fate, one is still being controlled by it. She asks Shin to visit her again tomorrow.
Shin walks through the lobby of NTN and sees the striking reporters. The dad goes to beg Shin to report his story since he lost his infant son and can’t live anymore. Shin apologizes and goes work.
Mi Rae shows her evidence to the production PD about how the humidifier solution with the insecticide mixed in is still being sold in supermarkets and more people could die. The PD says their production relies on sponsors to be broadcast.
Shin is on the roof of NTN and thinks about the dad who lost his son and remembers future Mi Rae crying about how they had a son named Gun who died. He looks down at the script with the news about the death. An older man asks Shin if he wants to broadcast that story? Shin asks who he is and the man says he’s a man whose life was ruined because of Shin. He claims to be Shin from 35-years later.
This future Shin is the man who didn’t report the story and has regretted for the last 35 years. He got money and fame and became news anchor, head of the news department, head of the network. He got it all but everyone left him. His wife died and his kids are all distant from him. He doesn’t even have any friends. Shin asks what about Na Mi Rae. Future Shin says that is a name he remembers fondly. He came today because he always wondered what his life would be like if he made a different choice. He points to his own face and says this is the Shin who made the decision not to report it.
There is a knocking and Shin looks up, then future Shin disappears and he’s sitting in the anchor desk at NTN. Was future Shin just a figment of his imagination? Shin starts to report the news. Future Mi Rae and Shin sit and watch the news together. Mi Rae is upset that future Mi Rae’s memory loss and asks why she’s doing this since she started it all and she can’t just feign memory loss now to avoid dealing with the consequences!
Shin pauses for a moment before his closing speech and changes it to report the news story about the humidifier deaths. Future Mi Rae yells out “no” when she sees what he is doing. Everyone is watching this including the YBS team, with Yoo Kyung worried about Shin. Se Joo watches this from his office. The man whose son died watches it and says thank you, thank you. Shin closes with a request that their young reporters will gather more about this story and report it tomorrow.
Future Mi Rae tells present Mi Rae that she needs to stop Kim Shin and starts to get frantic that she needs to be sedated. Shin walks off the set and all the production members bow deeply towards him in respect and restrain the big wig coming to chew him out. Hee Kyung walks up to Shin and says she’s very disappointed in him. Shin asks if he will be fired and pay a penalty. Hee Kyung says it will be even greater the price he has to pay because it includes disappointing her. Shin says Article 5 of the contract says he needs to report the news truthfully.
Mi Rae arrives at the hospital room and sees future Mi Rae crying and hears that future Kim Shin is alive and waiting for her. She is so happy but future Mi Rae is so ashamed and says he must be so angry at her. Mi Rae encourages her to beg forgiveness and he’ll forgive her. Future Mi Rae says she ruined this present Shin as well, how can she go back to face Shin? Mi Rae says all they need to do is make sure present Shin isn’t ruined.
Mi Rae goes to work and starts gathering information. She tells Oppa that they need to report on the humidifier story and tie it to the NTN cover up and the strike by the reporters. Oppa says this is digging their own graves but Mi Rae believes in it because its the very premise of Pandora’s Box and looking for hope.
Miranda calls Se Joo and asks what Shin did? Even she is somewhat respectful of Hom Group and wouldn’t mess with them. Shin is in way over his head this time. She tells Se Joo to watch what he’s doing.
Mi Rae hands the new script to Writer Bae and Yoo Kyung and begs them to help her air this segment tomorrow. Everyone is busy and she can’t do it alone. Writer Bae says she’ll do it, the most that can happen is that she’s fired. Yoo Kyung also says she’ll do it and handle the consequences. Mi Rae thanks them both.
PD Lee won’t do it but the young news anchor asks what will happen to Shin and hears that he will be fired and pay a huge penalty. They remember that future Mi Rae’s prediction has come true. Shin will get blacklisted for doing this but Mi Rae says helping him is what Pandora’s Box is about. PD Lee agrees to do it and gets the the young anchor to agree as well.
Mi Rae goes to Se Joo to get permission to air this segment and he refuses. She asks if Hom Group is exerting pressure on YBS as well and hears that Hom Group is the largest advertiser and pays all their bills. Se Joo asks if she’s doing this for Shin but Mi Rae says no, she’s doing this for herself because its right. She thought Se Joo was like her and different than Miranda.
Shin arrives at NTN and the reporters go thank him and apologize for putting him in that position. Shin tells them to do their jobs and he’ll take care of himself. Shin walks into his office and finds someone else sitting there already. He smiles and closes the door and leaves. Se Joo is in his office thinking about what Mi Rae said and remembering how he told the Board that he wanted to change YBS with his own hard work and convictions. Se Joo calls Oppa and tells him to run the segment.
Pandora’s Box runs the segment on the humidifier deaths and how Hom Group exerted pressure on NTN to squash the reporting on it. The Chairman of Hom Group is raging as this news program airs. Miranda watches it in the boardroom and demands Se Joo be brought to her. Future Mi Rae watches from her hospital room. The program ends with Yoo Kyung reporting that Announcer Shin has been relieved of duty for reporting this news and now the public has to protect him. Shin watches in his living room. The program ends and everyone happily congratulates each other.
The program is now the talk of the town and Shin’s fate is on everyone’s lips. There is now a petition to reinstate him. Miranda chews out Se Joo for what he did and asks how he is going to take responsibility. Se Joo asks if they will quash the news if it was one of their products? If so then he can’t work here. Miranda blames Mi Rae for leading Se Joo astray and calls Kim Shin a betrayer and she should have realized his true colors when he left YBS. Se Joo asks if he’ll be seen as a betrayer as well then? He then gets up and hands Miranda his resignation letter.
Se Joo sits with Yoo Kyung and she worries that he’ll get a reputation as a quitter since he’s left two jobs at YBS. Se Joo encourages her to become a news anchor but she reveals that she got the scholarship to go to the US East Coast news station. Yoo Kyung asks what he plans to do and if he’s going to Jeju for a few days off? Will Mi Rae go too? Se Joo says nothing and Yoo Kyung asks if Se Joo had met her first and not Mi Rae, would he have fallen for her? Se Joo says….definitely. They both look up at the sky with a sigh.
Miranda calls Mi Rae into her office to ask her to break up with Se Joo. She sees Mi Rae as ruining Se Joo and their YG Group. She shows Mi Rae the resignation letter from Se Joo. Mi Rae says that is Se Joo’s decision. Miranda threatens to ruin Shin forever and he can’t stay in this industry if she doesn’t break up with Se Joo. Mi Rae says she won’t break up with him for that reason and tells Miranda that people can’t be bought with money.
Se Joo walks through his office one last time and gets a call from Mi Rae. She’s cooked him a home meal and he marvels at how they seem like newlyweds. Mi Rae doesn’t respond to that and looks slightly dismayed. They sit down to eat and Mi Rae says she has something to say to Se Joo. He says likewise and asks to go first. He’s tendered his resignation and Mi Rae says she already heard from his grandma. Se Joo plans to go study abroad and learn more. He learned a lot during the Pandora’s Box broadcast. All this time he has been under his grandma’s protection and control and he wasn’t doing what he wanted. He wants to go abroad and learn to produce the programs he wants to do.
Se Joo asks Mi Rae if she will go with him? Mi Rae apologizes and says she can’t stay by his side any longer. Since she met him, she’s always been accepting things from him. Now she wants to do something for him and its not something money can buy. She wants to become someone who can help him and for that she will need some time. She won’t ask him to wait for her, and he can meet someone else during that time. Mi Rae takes off the ring and tells him that if his heart hasn’t changed in the future, will he give it back to her then. Se Joo closes her hand with the ring and tells her to keep it. Mi Rae goes to make him some tea and Se Joo gets up to give her a back hug. Mi Rae puts one hand on his arms around her waist.
Mi Rae goes to the hospital as future Mi Rae is ready to go back. Time Cop is worried her health won’t allow her to make it but she wants to go back. She’ll die here soon anyways. Mi Rae asks if she’ll stay a few more days but future Mi Rae wants to die beside Kim Shin. Even if just for a few days, she wants to spend it all with him. She wants to apologize to him and she knows he’s waiting for her. He’s been waiting for her all this time. God, I’m tearing up over a love story we barely saw but remains the most moving part of this entire stupid drama.
Mi Rae and Oppa walk future Mi Rae to the time-travel elevator. Oppa thanks her for coming and she asks him to get regular check ups and eat well and marry a girl that Mi Rae approves of. Future Mi Rae and Mi Rae say their farewells. Future Mi Rae tells her not to live in regret of the past and live well. Mi Rae thanks her for coming and making her stronger. Mi Rae hands future Mi Rae a key and says to dig up Pandora’s Box that she will bury in the front yard of their house. Future Mi Rae can dig it up when she gets back. When asked what will be put inside, Mi Rae doesn’t know yet but she’ll think carefully about it. Future Mi Rae gets into the elevator and leaves.
Shin is leaving NTN with his belongings packed into a box. He sees people protesting outside in support of him. Mi Rae is there to talk with him and they go on a walk. Mi Rae asks how he feels that future Mi Rae’s predictions came true? He’s not feeling bad since people are helping him. Mi Rae asks how he’s doing now that she’s not by his side. She teases whether he thinks she’s here to get back together with him? Why should she since he was so mean to her. They smile and he says he saw the program and wanted to thank her but she came first.
Mi Rae reveals that future Kim Shin is still alive and waiting for future Mi Rae who went back. Shin says what a relief. Mi Rae jokes that she won’t see him anymore since he’s a guy with a huge debt. Shin asks if she’ll see him after he pays if off. Mi Rae doesn’t know but she doesn’t want to think about the future and dictate her actions because of it. Shin agrees and ruffles her head, saying she’s grown up a lot. They bid each other farewell and walk off on divergent paths.
It’s three year’s later and Mi Rae is a guest on Yoo Kyung’s YBS program. Mi Rae is a well-known screenwriter and best selling book writer now. Yoo Kyung congratulates Mi Rae on her new book release today and asks what she is doing since its Christmas Eve. PD Lee invites them both but both ladies decline since they have plans.
Se Joo arrives at Incheon airport and is picked up by the driver. He’s come back a day earlier than schedule and the driver asks what the reason is? Se Joo asks him to drive him somewhere.
Mi Rae goes home and picks up a baby boy who is Oppa’s son. Oppa’s wife is pregnant with another child already.
Writer Bae teaches a class on screenwriting. Writer Bae name drops being friends with famous writer Na Mi Rae and turns out her husband is a lawyer who is representing Shin and has helped his resolve the lawsuit with NTN.
Shin nows runs an internet news program called The News and is doing well. His lawyer invites Shin to dinner but Shin declines as he has other plans.
Mi Rae walks into the bookstore and picks up her just released book called Mirae’s Choice (Future’s Choice). As she walks past the display, Shin walks over and picks up the same book with a smile. Se Joo walks into the same bookstore and heads to the same book display.
Mi Rae narrates that Christmas makes people think of miracles. A friend who has left comes back, lovers who have not been in touch find each other again. Even if Christmas doesn’t make every miracle come true, people still dream and this Christmas is the happiest Christmas of her life.
Mi Rae walks back into the bookstore and pauses right by the door as she sees someone. Shin? Se Joo? Both? Neither? She sees her coffee prince Gong Yoo? She spots her crown prince Joo Ji Hoon? She runs into her hotel prince Kang Ji Hwan? Whoever she sees brings a smile to her face. The end.
A silent epilogue after the credits show future Mi Rae digging up the time capsule and inside are pictures of happy Mi Rae cuddling a little boy. A man’s hand then closes over future Mi Rae’s hand. Did the writer forget that present Mi Rae and future Mi Rae are in different UNIVERSES hence they do not have anything to do with each other’s actions? Present Mi Rae’s time capsule would NOT show up in future Mi Rae’s backyard. Even in the very end we are faced with massive plot holes we can all drive the Death Star through. Thanks writer-nim.
Thoughts of Mine:
Who could have guessed that the only romance and love story development in this entire drama would be in flashbacks between future Mi Rae and future Shin’s time line, as well as the resolution of their painful marriage which turned out to be they still loved each other and wanted to be together. So all future Mi Rae had to do was sit her ass down while her husband was in the hospital and not hop on a time machine to change her own past. So much makes no sense though. She thinks Shin died, one would hope she saw him declared dead before coming to that conclusion. If so, did future Shin get resurrected? LOL, maybe she’s going back to a re-animated zombie Shin. Who knows? If he was in a coma and she jump to conclusions that he was dead, hopped on a time machine and while she was gone he was saved by the doctors, then she continues being one of the most idiotically motivated plot devices in the history of K-dramas. Next to the jar gummy fetus time-traveling tumor in Dr. Jin. I want to hate her, and I do, but she also provides the only sliver of romance in this drama. I actually teared up when she said she wanted to go back and die next to future Shin, and if she had any time left she wanted to spend it all with him. So she loves him, like he still loves her and is waiting for her. This also totally confuses me as to why she would spend all the early episodes painting him as a villain of the first order. If she loved him and simply wanted to change their fate and save his life, there are so many ways she could have explained things to present Mi Rae that didn’t involve calling Shin a horrible man who caused the death of someone she loved. I still can’t figure out if that death is referring to their son Gun or Shin’s supposed death himself. This drama, it makes my head hurt, just like everything future Mi Rae did makes my heart hurt. I wished present Mi Rae and Oppa would have physically punted her into that time machine.
Having reached the only logical conclusion that this drama has no logic whatsoever, how do I interpret the ending? Its as inconsistent and weak-willed as Mi Rae has been all drama long. Did Mi Rae pick Se Joo or Shin in the end? The fact that this drama even created so much narrative mess that it could plausibly have an open ending is in itself a sheer joke. The story was developing towards Shin and Mi Rae falling in love despite future Mi Rae obstacles this time around, and picking each other still but making different choices to overcome perhaps the same problems to come. It was about how choice can change how outcomes, not about making different choices to avoid problems. The abrupt change midway through to keep the Se Joo love triangle alive could only be explained as fan service to give his character reason to keep interacting with Mi Rae because his character was popular (whether due to his fans or just drama viewers who liked the nice rich guy and not the prickly straitlaced guy). It was failed fan service since in the end more screen time was to the detriment of Se Joo’s character development, and also a big waste of Shin’s character since he was shunted to the side to serve as plot devices but not much else. His move to NTN, his deciding to report the news, all of that gave Mi Rae something to do to help him.
This drama’s script change is the perfect example of shooting oneself in the foot. Giving Se Joo more screen time with Mi Rae but without making her suddenly love him back just killed both their characters. But it wouldn’t make sense to have her suddenly love him back, so the writer couldn’t go there either. Nor could the writer completely relegate Shin to second lead status that obviously, so in the end the three leads suffered the ignominious fate of behaving unlikeably for no commensurate pay off. While most drama viewers are appalled by this ending, fans of all the leads alike, there are still a vocal contingent that are pleased and insisting Se Joo got the girl because Mi Rae kept the ring and put the choice in Se Joo’s hand as to whether he would still want her in a few years time. Since Se Joo came back and went to buy her book, the implication is that he still wanted her. I think the writing at the end intended to point more towards Se Joo than Shin. The backhug continued the pattern of giving them more skinship, with Mi Rae and Shin barely have any scenes together for the last 4 episode and definitely zero romantic gestures. The way Shin and Mi Rae said farewell with calm maturity and they walked diverging paths can also be taken as a sign.
So let’s posit that in this timeline, because of future Mi Rae’s meddling Mi Rae ended up with Se Joo and everyone is fine with it. Yoo Kyung let him go and made something of herself with her own two feet. Can we stop to give her a round of applause? She also got the confirmation from Se Joo that he would have fallen for her definitely if he met her first in Jeju. That made her happy and gave her closure, though it made me roll my eyes that all it takes for Se Joo is one look at a girl in Jeju and he’s all hers. Whatever, Se Joo hasn’t ever appealed to me with his thinking so I’ll just let others appreciate his brand of myopic persistence. Shin seems fine with it, though he did ask Mi Rae whether he they could meet again after his debt is paid and she said maybe and three years later his lawsuit is all over and done with. Let’s assume Shin and Mi Rae never contacted each other during the three years because she was making a name for herself and he was fighting his battle with NTN and also forging a new internet news program career. So this Christmas Eve, they could also run into each other with the possibility of rekindling things. Or not. At this point I don’t care, and I don’t think the characters even seem to care. Everyone seems fine and dandy. I would then prefer all four to find totally random new significant others and make brand new choices in life outside of this mess. Though if we take future Mi Rae’s epilogue that she opened the time capsule and the pictures are from present Mi Rae’s timeline, then she ended up with Shin because that looks like their baby son Gun. So I still don’t know definitively who Mi Rae picked, LOL. This word “choice” should be stricken from the drama title since Mi Rae didn’t actually make one as far as anyone can see.
At least Oppa came out of this meddling smelling like roses, alive and with a pretty wife and kids. While one can surmise that there is a moral of the story that people can make choices to follow their heart and principles and still overcome the odds, the journey this drama took undercut all of those and in the end just threw easily resolutions on the wall and called it a day. It’s mind-boggling that this drama had leads charisma-filled Yoon Eun Hye and Lee Dong Gun and didn’t even let them kiss or cuddle or do anything remotely romance-derived for the entirety of the drama. I love them both so so much and watching them give their all to something written so ineptly pains me. If I wanted to watch a drama about people moping unhappily for the majority of its run, then I would pick a drama with titles like “Most Depressing Life Ever” or “There is No Romance Here, Just Depressing People” or “Watch Out, Crazy Second Male Lead Straight Ahead”. This drama was supposed to be about Mi Rae marrying Shin because she dared to love him, it was about her making a choice because she had the courage to overcome the stacked odds. In the end, Mi Rae can marry the ahjusshi down the street and I could care less, and she definitely didn’t make any choice I could see that resulted in a satisfying conclusion for the viewers. Worst K-drama ever? Yeah, MHIYD can submit its name for the pantheon now. How it ranks on the pantheon of suck is a question I haven’t the time, energy, or heart to ponder.
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