My DS9 Rewatch Odyssey

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by ananta, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Excellent review as always....I agree, this episode was more predictable than amusing. Wallace Shawn’s cackling gets tiresome, and the first actress for Moogie was better. Though I appreciated the motif of equal rights for women in both the Zek/Ishka and Rom/Leeta plots, overall it was just too goofy--a giant step backwards after the serious treatment of Quark in “Business as Usual,” and the stronger Ferengi comedies.

    Ira Behr said, “We weren't doing a cartoon. I saw the tone more along the lines of a Bringing up Baby kind of thing. But we pitched it at too high a level, and I think it's the first time that Zek got away from us. It was a show that worked well in dailies, in little snippets, but put it all together and you're saying 'Enough already!'"

    Great idea about borrowing writers from “Frasier!” Watching reruns is one thing that helped me get through the pandemic :hugegrin:
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
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  2. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great observation. RHW said that when they wanted to sharpen the comedy around Shimerman, they would add Grodenchik and Eisenberg to the episode. Almost by default, trying to be funny, the episode becomes more Ferengi. It might be a feedback loop, and the increasingly comedic and increasingly Ferengi tone might make the episodes look out of place in the series to some people.
     
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  3. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    @ananta: great review, bad episode, it's not a horrible episode like the one that comes later but it's far from being a good one and leaves a lot to be desired to even be an average one. I don't see how you could say that Cecily Adams and Andrea Martin look similar. To me, they're completely different. They don't look alike, they don't talk alike, they have very different voices, they don't move alike. They're nothing alike. I mean even the character is different. The new moogie is a lot meaner than the old one, full of criticism and resentment while there was genuine motherly concern in the former one. I wonder how much of that is due to the writing and how much to the acting/actress.
     
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  4. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    About that, remember that the mutants (as they call themselves) learn to speak dominionese in no time?
     
  5. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Super review. I don't have anything to add because this is frankly a middling episode for me. It has its charms and moments, but it really doesn't do much for me. Not a bad episode... just kind of there.

    A 5 for me, too.
     
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  6. dupersuper

    dupersuper Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wouldn't be surprised if those Cardassian necks are a bit more...durable.

    It's EXTREMELY common with Odo: he is his clothes. Every time he's onscreen (minus his "solid" arc), he's naked. Every. Time.
     
  7. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    Still, if a bullet goes through a Cardassian spinal cord, in his neck, I don't think he can survive.
     
  8. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    Ah, interesting that Ira’s comments mirrored my own feelings. I guess it was one of those things that just did not come together in the final product. Definitely a case of overkill when generally a little goes a long way with the Ferengi.

    Me too! Timelessly brilliant series. I want to rewatch it all over again already!
     
  9. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “SOLDIERS OF THE EMPIRE”

    [​IMG]
    “...and you should hear what they said about Martok’s mother!”

    There’s a moment early on in this episode where Dax asserts that “the Klingons are as diverse a race as any.” I couldn’t help but let out a snort of disbelief! The Klingons—diverse?! In which parallel universe? One of the reasons I was never a huge fan of Berman-era Klingons was their utter homogeneity; something that also plagued many other Trek cultures, from the Romulans and Vulcans to the various minor alien species whose entire cultures and behaviour could often be described with singular adjectives. Post-TOS Klingons were reinvented as barbarous space-vikings; lumbering armour-clad warriors that all looked and acted pretty much the same. Needless to say, for me, the novelty wore the heck off very quickly. By the middle of TNG’s run I was already burned out on them and I wasn’t initially overly pleased when DS9 decided to go Klingon-heavy. To begin with, the DS9 showrunners didn’t do much to overcome the Klingon stereotype of grunting, brutish warriors obsessed with honour and death. So, I greeted Dax’s statement about Klingon diversity with a sense of astonishment. To its credit, however, “Soldiers of the Empire” does its best to prove her right.

    While I was delighted to see a shift away from the Klingon focus this season, I have to admit this is definitely one of the show’s strongest Klingon outings; one that actually creates rounded Klingon characters rather than mere caricatures and serves as a showcase for the brilliant General Martok, who could well be my favourite Klingon of all time next to John Colicos’ Kor (or as Colicos pronounces it: Kuuuuuhhr). It’s a tight little drama with a simple, well-executed plot. I admit I had no great hankering for an episode set predominantly aboard a Klingon ship. It almost guarantees a visually grubby-looking episode, with ugly sets filled with smog and dimmed reddish lighting that looked pretty terrible on the VHS videos I originally watched the show on and not much better on DVD. I was expecting certain beats that appeared without fail: namely mounting tension between Worf and the rest of the crew, testosterone in overdrive, threatened mutiny and, of course, A FIGHT IN THE MESS HALL, which seems to be an obligatory prerequisite for any episode set on a Klingon ship.

    But it works. It’s a nice psychological exploration of the lingering trauma Martok suffered at the hands of the Dominion, something no Klingon would likely be adept at dealing with because I find it hard to imagine there’s such a thing as Klingon counsellors or CBT therapists. J.G. Hertzler is wonderful throughout. He has a mesmerising screen presence and doesn’t hesitate to chew the scenery to splinters and does so GLORIOUSLY. Worf is used particularly nicely too, as his hero worship and brotherly bond with Martok initially prevents him from seeing just what has happened to the General.

    Terry Farrell also gets a chance to shine as Dax. Sadly, she’s been rather in Worf’s shadow since their relationship began, and will continue to be so (we haven’t had a singularly Jadzia focused episode since “Rejoined” and, unless my recollections are faulty, we won’t again). However, by this point I’d grown to appreciate the pairing again following the tumultuous lows of “Let He Who Is Without Sin...” Farrell delivers a feisty and spirited performance and works nicely alongside Worf, seeing exactly what’s happening on the ship and helping to open Worf’s eyes to the looming danger.

    One of the best things the episode does is create three bridge crew characters who genuinely FEEL like characters and not just two-dimensional grunting goons as so many Klingons have been in the past. We quickly get to know the sarcastic provocateur Leskit, the tough but reasonable Tavana and the depressed, broody Kornan, who seems on the verge of a very violent breakdown. I love the way the episode builds a very ominous sense of danger and dysfunction aboard the Rotarran; what seems like a powder keg just waiting to be lit. Ron Moore’s script is a strong one and LeVar Burton handles the directorial duties with an atmospheric flourish, with all the actors turn in solid, engaging performances. Despite my reservations about most things Klingon, I found it an engrossing episode and a fairly decent psychological study of a commander scarred in more ways than one by a traumatic incarceration.

    We all know there’s an uncomfortable confrontation looming and it results in Worf attempting to relieve Martok of his command when the crew come braying for his blood. I didn’t find the climatic knife fight terribly well directed (as I recall from “To the Death”, LeVar Burton isn’t particularly adept at action scenes) but it does the job and successfully restores Martok’s mojo, albeit at rather painful cost to Worf. We end up with a rousing Klingon singalong as the Rotarran prepares to go into battle. It’s perhaps a little anticlimactic that we then cut away and don’t see even a few seconds of the resultant battle. The focus of the story, however, was never the Rotarran’s actual mission, but Martok recovering his self-belief. The closing scene, in which Martok welcomes Worf into the House of Martok, is a good and unexpectedly uplifting one. Martok’s presence on the show definitely adds to Worf’s character significantly and it’s nice to see him have such a strong bond with another Klingon after so many years of estrangement from his own people.

    Definitely a solid episode. There are some cliches along the way, and the Rotarran crew perhaps came around to Martok too easily following the fight (making Klingons seem incredibly fickle), but it works surprisingly well and adds some much needed dimension to what, by this point, had become a very stale depiction of the Klingon race. Klingon-heavy as it is, this isn’t an episode I’d probably ever throw on to watch in isolation, but each time I watch it I during a series rewatch I find there’s plenty to appreciate. However, we do get a scene where Bashir complains to Martok that his blood spattering makes a mess of the Infirmary carpet. Um, Julian, about carpeting your Infirmary—perhaps don’t. Rating: 8
     
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  10. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Great insights on this episode, always so articulate. True about the monolithic Klingon culture, guess there was an attempt here for more individualization, with Kornan who’s sure they are cursed, the determined woman engineer Tavana, and Leskit the troublemaker; one has no sleeves, one is a redhead, there’s even a blond.

    It did seem strange not to include any scenes of defeating the Jem’Hadar ship and rescuing the survivors on the B’moth-- maybe a budget issue. The focus was on the demoralization by soulless killing machines, and recovering courage and self-respect. An overdose of Klingon culture, after an overdose of Ferengis. But, good character dynamics with Work, Dax, and Martok…just wish he’d wear an eye patch! ;)
     
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  11. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    @ananta: Great review!

    To me, Martok will always be general hilariously obvious:

    Author of the well-known martokisms:

    "When a father and son do not speak, it means there's trouble between them."

    "War is a lot more fun when you're winning."

    ...
     
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  12. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There is one thing that bugs me about this episode: when the Klingons enter Quark's when Dax talks about Klingon diversity, the sense is that they are hardened, not the bruisers they turn out to be.
     
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  13. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Speaking of Frasier, and Klingons....

     
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  14. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    I remember that one! General No Shit, Sherlock!

    I loved that episode, hilarious.
     
  15. ananta

    ananta Captain Captain

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    “CHILDREN OF TIME”

    [​IMG]

    “I just felt someone walk over my grave! Oh, wait...it was me.”

    I’ve always loved this episode, which is perhaps as close to a classic Trekkian morality play as DS9 ever got. Indeed, it’s a tale that could easily have been told on just about any other Star Trek series. While that may disappoint some hardened Niners, it’s nevertheless handled in a uniquely “DS9 manner, as evidenced by its beautiful characterisation—which will have long-term consequences for a certain relationship—and a morally ambiguous twist at the end that perhaps no other Trek show would have dared.

    Although the opening scenes initially brought back unpleasant memories of “Meridian”, the phenomenal hook—a planet populated by the crew’s descendants—is so good it’s a wonder Trek hadn’t done it years before. Of course, this necessitates a technobabble explanation and the ramifications are a little head-scratching when you start to think about it (“I hate temporal mechanics!”), but in the context of the story it’s a killer premise and one that immediately and understandably ruffles the crew’s feathers.

    Something this episode does masterfully is give pretty much all the characters their own little arc as they deal with this unsettling predicament in very different ways, and ways that remain true to each character. Miles is the most resistant of everyone, because there’s simply no way he can contemplate a life without Keiko and his kids, much less accept the idea that he would hook up with some Ensign and start a new family. He refuses to engage with these people because he’s simply not willing to accept a timeline without his wife and family. It’s a great episode for Jadzia, too, as she not only wrestles with the guilt of having been responsible for the whole incident but also must deal with a future incarnation in the form of Yedrin Dax, a man whose friendly demeanour masks not only conflicted emotion but blatant deceit. Although his scenes are actually quite few in number, Gary Frank gives a superb performance as Yedrin, capturing enough of Terry Farrell’s nuances to be convincing as a future host while also creating a unique and compelling character of his own.

    Worf spends some time with members of the colony who have deliberately embraced the Klingon way of life, which makes for a fairly interesting recognition of the power of culture and upholding certain tradition and values. Sisko stays neutral for most of the episode, which is probably only appropriate for a commanding officer, as he tries to approach a no-win situation with objectivity and impartiality. I’m surprised we didn’t get to see his pain at the thought of Jake being fatherless, although it does get mentioned by Yedrin and we can assume it must be tearing him apart. Bashir is the only character that doesn’t really have a substantive role here; in fact, he seems like he’s actually rather enjoying himself and nonplussed at the notion of staying on the planet and hooking up with a certain Ensign.

    The central relationship here, of course, is Odo and Kira, and it makes for riveting viewing. Rene Auberjonois aces it as the future version of Odo—an Odo that, over the course of two hundred years, has finally mustered a more believable humanoid face (I always wished the makeup department had subtly altered Odo’s makeup across the course of the show’s seven years to reflect that). This is an Odo that has spent two centuries living with bitterness and regret; and the moment he sees Kira he lets the cat out of the bag and confesses his undying love for her. Who could have predicted that Kira would learn about Odo’s long-held feelings only a quarter of the way into the episode? Had this been any other Trek you could almost guarantee that by the end of the episode Kira’s memory would have been wiped or things would have been substantially reset to avoid having to deal with the fallout in further episodes. But, no, this episode comes with consequences and I have to say it’s beautifully played. Nana Visitor is excellent as Kira not only has to deal with this altogether unexpected declaration of love but also wrestling with her fate as she visits her own grave. How can she vote to save her own life when it means the deaths of eight thousand others?

    The dilemma is handled thoughtfully and sensitively and, true to life, there are no easy answers. As it happens, I always appreciated a certain piece of dialogue by Sisko, which I always highlight when anyone defends the actions of Janeway in VOYAGER’s “Tuvix” episode, a piece of television I despise with every fibre in my being and which turned a Star Trek captain into a Nazi-like executioner. As he tells Yedrin: “Who are you to decide who lives or dies? Who are you to make that call? [...] I will not ask Kira to sacrifice her life for eight thousand people; or for eight million. No one has the right to ask that.” Amen. Burn, Kathy, burn.

    Ultimately, the crew decide that they can’t live with themselves knowing these people will be erased from existence so they decide to recreate the accident that sends them back in time. I can see it from both perspectives and don’t think there’s actually a right or wrong answer. But I do wonder two things. Firstly, aren’t there any temporal directive protocols in place to navigate such dilemmas (time travel not being altogether unheard of in the Trek universe)? Can it be asserted that this accident was meant to happen, and thus must be recreated to uphold the timeline, or did the accident damage the timeline? Secondly, no one gives a thought to all the crew’s descendants that will not be born because they never returned home? For instance, we have Ben and Kasidy’s future child, and the possibility that Miles and Keiko would have more children, and all the rest of the crew as they resume their lives aboard the station? It’s not a black and white issue at all.

    Then we have the final twist which I certainly never saw coming. I bet Odo was NOT looking forward to paying that trip to Kira’s quarters (where, incidentally, we get to see just how ridiculously impractical her boot heels are as she lies in bed; for which I think we can safely blame Rick Berman). Our Odo now not only has to deal with the awkward fact that his secret is out, but also must confess that his future self committed a deeply morally questionable act in order to keep her alive.

    Clearly, future-Odo was a very different man, and one that had been damaged by the loss of Kira and many years of grief and torment. Was his choice a sane and rational one, or was it insane and irrational? Future-Odo didn’t seem particularly cray-cray, but he was rather intense and obsessive. Depending on how you view his action, he was either safeguarding the timeline and stopping an accident that should never have happened, or...he just committed genocide. Although does preventing someone from ever being born constitute murder? Again, the crew’s decision to stay prevented likely just as many future children being born had the accident never happened and the timeline stayed on its original course. I love the moral ambiguity and the fact this episode leaves you thinking long after the end credits roll. Although these events are never referenced again, there are consequences for Odo and Kira’s future relationship, which I very much appreciate.

    Production-wise, Rene Echevarria’s teleplay is first class, and I’ve already complimented the performances: Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois are brilliant, and it’s also a strong episode for Avery Brooks, Colm Meaney and Terry Farrell, with Gary Frank putting in an excellent guest performance as Yedrin. Allan Kroeker’s directing is first rate and while I’m not always sold on Paul Baillargeon’s music, his score is quite wonderful here, with some beautiful melodic touches. Some nice sets and location work, too, even if it looks windy as heck. There’s actually so much packed into the episode I feel it could have easily stretched to a two-parter, yet it never feels rushed or overloaded. Overall, I find this a classic episode and a highlight of the season. Rating: 10
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  16. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great review! This has always been a personal favorite from this season.

    Quite a lot of this I agree with, though personally I don't think the Klingons were overrused by this point or in the middle of TNG's run... though I can understand and see why many think that.

    I will agree with you about Jadzia, but I will also add that she essentially becomes Jonathan Frakes for the rest of her time on the show. What I mean by that is while Frakes does a decent job of episodes thst center on him (with some that are outstanding), I feel he is at his best serving as a mirror when in scenes with other characters. For example, in "Ethics" when he tells Worf that it's Alexander's place to assist his suicide and not his... that is one of the best scenes for Worf and Riker. Or in "The Bonding", when he talks to Data about how they felt after Yar's death. Or "Legacy", when talking to Data about friendship and betrayal.

    My point being is that he functions better as a mirror in scenes than on his own, and I feel Jadzia became the same. Which is not to say that's a bad thing... the above scenes I mentioned are excellent ones. And being a mirror to help other characters be at their best is a good thing. Otherwise, we wouldn't get so many damned awesome scenes throughout the franchise.

    I also use this episode as a showcase of Klingons being more three-dimensional. My wife hates Klingons because she feels they are ludicrous, but I enjoy them. That being said, they can be somewhat repetitive at times. But when you get characters like Martok, Kor, and Worf, they are an awesome race.

    I actually talked with LeVar Burton about this episode when I met him years ago. I, too, thought it was a missed scene with no battle for them with the Jem'Hadar at the end. But he felt, and convinced me as well, that it wasn't needed. The way the scene ends after Worf lets Martok stab him basically tells you a victory will occur. That's actually a hallmark of Ronald D. Moore... his dialogue has a way of leading you to a visual without having the need to see it. It's a great trapdoor if your show needs more money for later episodes.

    This episode is a big reason why Martok ended up being my favorite Klingon, just slightly endging over Worf. I give this one a 9.
     
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  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe the thing that most distinguishes DS9 from much of the rest of the franchise is in evidence here, where there is no happy ending. The crew doesn't get to both live their own lives and preserve the lives of their descendants.

    It's a great episode for the conundrums it raises, though it's hard to ever look at Odo quite the same way again after this.
     
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  18. Swedish Borg

    Swedish Borg Commodore Captain

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    @ananta: Great review! You really aced it. However, I wouldn't characterize what Odo did as a morally questionable act... I'd call it mass murder. IMO dying is ceasing to exist, so causing people to cease to exist is murder and in this case mass murder. Now if you believe in an afterlife then causing people to cease to exist without an afterlife makes it even worse, don't you think? That Odo is an unmitigated mass murderer and if the surviving Odo is potentially like that... I don't like Odo anyway, I mean he's an interesting character but to me, he's sort of a crypto villain in you see what I mean. He's with the good guys most of the time but every once in a while he does or says something that I find revolting.
     
  19. Vash

    Vash Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Elegant analysis of “Children of Time,” one of the best time travel episodes and a beautiful, haunting reflection on transience and legacy. So many little plot holes could be pointed out, but overall a memorable, character driven story. A poignant moral dilemma with serious ethical and metaphysical questions, and the acting was magnificent.
    I sort of wish O'Brien hadn't been so quick to change his mind, in the planting scene.
    Kira’s responses sometimes don't seem true to life, I think basically she is written as an object of love more than a participant. We get Odo’s viewpoint rather than hers.
    Quark as a ‘virtual’ math teacher was a nice comic touch.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  20. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One of the best reviews you've done to date! Excellent!

    I'm not sure I agree that this episode could be done on any STAR TREK show. Each one would have a somewhat happier ending. DS9 is the only one that is secure enough with itself to be unsafe, if that makes any sense.

    Regarding Odo... when I was younger, I might agree that it would change my view of Odo. As I got older, and particularly after I lost my grandmother, I don't agree. Keep in mind that it is a future Odo that did this... someone with centuries of regret and pain. Some people never do recover from that.

    One little thing that gets overlooked about future Odo is that no one from the colony talks about him. It seems like he distanced himself from them on purpose. That tells me two things. First, it's likely he harbored some bit of resentment and anger that they couldn't save Kira... everyone survives the crash, but the only death was the woman HE loved. He probably felt, despite it being unreasonable, that it was almost a punishment to him. Second, it tells me that the decision to alter the course at the end was an easy one. If you are that far outside a colony, do you care more about a group of people you don't ever associate with, or care more about the almost guarantee of saving your one love from dying? Frankly, I think the choice he made was actually easy, from his perspective.

    While some could argue that it was odd Sisko didn't seem to show much concern for Jake here the way Miles did for his family, there's a couple of arguments for why it wasn't needed. First, Jake is already an adult... barely one, but still old enough to become his own man. Second, Sisko has the benefit of his experience from "THE VISITOR". He knows that had he not appeared sporadically in his life, Jake would have a good career and a marriage. That was likely comforting... and also I feel this explains why he appeared to Kasidy at the series's end instead of both her and Jake. Miles never got to see any of that with his kids, so of course he would feel cheated by being robbed of the experience of watching his kids grow up. Plus, they are still very young... one an infant, another not even a teenager. Age does play into here as a factor.

    I also rate this a 10.
     
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