Star Wars: Ahsoka - 01:02 - Part Two: Toil and Trouble.

ctg

weaver of the unseen
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Ahsoka and General Hera Syndulla travel to New Republic shipyards and make an unexpected discovery.
IMDB score: 8.8 Runtime: 44 minutes
 
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As a two part pilot this is so much better than Mandalorian pilot, even though that one is one of the best Mando episodes. Maybe the reason is that it's a huge thing if you have watched the animated series because it gives you so, so much more instead of reading through my explanations.

Let's see how this pilot finishes...
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So Ashoka didn't took the rebel girl to her ship, but to Lothal Capitol get a proper treatment. But instead of showing her into a Bacta tank, she's on bed and look after by the classical med droid.

Ashoka was right to order her to take rest after she learned the details about what happened before the fight. And a detail, the droid she took out before she got stabbed. I guess we are going to see some droid surgery.

Going to her place, Tano sensed the battle and then met the cat. Didn't feed her. One thing that was missing was the droid. It had engaged a ninja mode and were lurking in Sabine's place, waiting for a rescue. Then it had no choice but to try to take out the lady. Only the plan fumbled as it lost its head.

The droid surgeon turned out to be Sabine Wren instead of one of the actual droid surgeons. She couldn't retrieve the full memory core. But she got a clue leading to Corellian Ship Yards. Ashoka didn't allow the rebel girl get out from the bed, but 'mum' approved of what she'd done.

Along the tour 'mum' told Ashoka took Wren under her wing and look after her. But she denied in her usual way. No apprentices for the Grey Knights as you become one because there is no Grey Council or Order.

When Hyung the Jedi Trainer Droid suggested Ms Wren to pick up her training, the rebel girl denied and stated, "Ashoka doesn't train if she doesn't want to."

"That is an excuse," Hyung answered. "And a poor one."

"Hey," Ms Wren snapped back. "She quit on me."

Answer came back as: "The past is the past. Move on."

Droids are the best, but nobody never listens to them. Thing is that their programming doesn't exactly allow them to lie. The truths, like the fact that the Rebel GIrl isn't a Force User and doesn't even compare to the students the Jedi Trainer has had over the centuries, just speaks for itself.

The thing is that in somewhere in that cybernetic brain is an idea that the droid has formulated over a long period of time through countless observations. The fact is, a lightsabre is a force extender. It magnifies the Force that is needed to keep the beam stable through the kyber crystal(s) that you can find inside each hilt. You only need to be Force Sensitive to be able to use it effectively. And Sabine is one as she was able to win and use the Black Sabre in battle.

That is not a small feat as we've seen how difficult it is to handle that beast in the Mandalorian. So in that theory, given time, training and practice opponents she can absolutely be up to level on sabre combat. And her Mando kit can deal with the rest, where she lacks the use of Force Powers.

Back in her place, the Mando kit was the first one she took out after greeting the cat. All painted as I remembered it. Including the helmet that still wores the Clan Wren symbols. So see, not all Mando's are counted for in the Mandalorian.

I cried when they honoured the Rebel ending by Ashoka coming to pick her up. It was so beautiful.

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I should have guessed that the actual Corellian shipyards are located on the water instead of space, because they are fish people. Only the New Republic Administrator wasn't one of the squid heads. Instead, he was a human. A typical corrupted bureaucrat that didn't want to open up about all the shady deals that he does with former Imperial assets.

'Mum' and Ashoka listened quietly his tales as he took them around the shipyards to explain that Lady Morgan assets were all part of the system.

In the Admin office the general noticed a massive hyperdrive and then used her statue to make the Administrator to squirm as he hastily tried to give her the right answers instead of admitting to being a corrupted Imperial asset for the New Order and the Cult of Palpatine.

He denied the information to the General because it was classified. He did the same thing when Ashoka asked about the HK model, which the Collector Droid was not. It might have shared part of the programming, but it most certainly didn't have the body.

His downfall was the admin droid, who, like I stated at above, could only tell the truth. It had encountered a model that held New Republic classification status and denied access. The next thing was that Imperial spies revealed their colours and tried to take down the general and Ashoka.

That fight didn't last long.

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So Ashoka did what Jedi's do and went after the stolen asset, forcibly only to encounter one of the Inquisitors and a Collector Droid, while the asset slipped away. To my eyes taht droid doesn't fulfil the HK parameters, just like an Inquisitor isn't a Sith but one of Palpatine's brainwashed Jedi's.

For the asset, 'Mum' took Chopper out for the spin, doing her usual tricks and being overwhelmingly superior pilot to anything besides Force Users that the New Order can throw at her. All while Ashoka commited to the 2v1 fight, knowing very well that she's wasn't locked in the battle. It was the opposite, the droid and the Inquisitor were locked in one with her.

One which she was the beast and in full control of it the whole time. First one to go down was the droid. The Inquisitor realized it was a go time and threw his extended battle, while the Sith arrived to lay down on suppressing fire on Ashoka running after her. So the Grey Knight came in eye contact with the Sith for the first time.

Now they cannot hide as we know from the SW lore as the Force Users can read the other one's aura and sense it wherever they go. All while on the orbit Chopper delivered the deal by tagging the transporter.

As a note I loved hearing Chopper highly modulated speech that you can listen very carefully. I loved hearing him saying things like "I cannot find it General. Did you took it?" or "Got ya," when he tagged the ship. Not talking flexing out those little droid arms and stating, "Chopper Wins!"

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Another monument for the Force Users. This time a place that looks like a proper NightSisters place of worship. Baylon called it as 'a reflex point' that he'd located on Planet Seatos. When Lady Morgan arrived, Baylan asked, "Who built it because it wasn't done by the Jedi?"

Her answer was, "An ancient people, who came from another galaxy. Would you like to see it?"

Then she proved that Lady Morgan is proper NightSister as she produced green flames and opened the map. When he saw it, Baylon called the link between the galaxies as "the Pathway to Peridia," before explaining that it's an old fairy tale that Padawan's learned in the temple. "Tales which are based on truths."

Baylon didn't believe any of it. He was also complete ignorant to what NightSister can do and learn through their 'magical' force connection. Yet, the pathway to Grand Admiral Thrawn had been found.

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Now that is a freaking huge jump ring. Bigger than anything we've seen since the Episode 3. It is also Lady Morgan's flagship. At the board, she contacted the Sith and told them to take out Ashoka, because nothing can prevent their mission. Baylon stated that it was going to be hard because there's only a very few Jedi left, without realizing that she's not one. Ashoka quit the Jedi order!
 
"107 easter eggs and not an ounce of decent plotting in sight" would make for a great summary of this show and the rest of Disney's SW...

I jest. I think.

To be honest Part II was much better than Part I. It's never a good sign when a platform releases two episodes to premiere a new show. Usually it means they don't have faith in the qualities of the first episode alone to hook the viewers. This turned out to be the case here again. Part I was dull. Part II tried harder.

The standouts to me are the VFX and locations. They are really amazing, worthy of a full blown feature film. Meanwhile, the script is only worthy of your average episode in that 1990s Sci-Fi show you used to do your homework to (Seaquest? Stargate SG1? Take your pick).

So, the pros:
- Hera turned out to be a real character and not somebody who had just shown up in Part I for unknown reasons.
- Chopper is a great little droid and I hope he is given more opportunities to shine
- Sabine is the most interesting character when it comes to potential for growth. But... (see cons)
- The Corellian shipyards
- The planet Seatos

The cons:
- The story is really boring
- Sabine's story with Ahsoka and why the latter chose to give up on the former's training would have made for a more interesting story. So why is that more interesting story something that happened off-screen and that characters only allude to vaguely? It's the MEAT of the show.
- The showrunners are trying hard to insert a lot of 'cool character moment' where protagonists sit by themselves contemplating their past as they look on the horizon (or their Mandalorian helmet). But there's zero weight behind those scenes because we haven't been given the context for them. They all fall flat.
- The lightsaber duels are such a bore in Disney's SW universe. Everybody can take on everybody and the fights will last however long they have to last for the director to feel like they have done a good job. I wish there were overpowered players in there that made short work of any opposition (Ahsoka for instance). So that when those major payers finally face off, we are given a real show. Instead all the fights look the same. Bland.
 
I've watched both the opening parts of the Ahsoka series. Here are few random thoughts.
1. Is this a girls only production? Every major character on the Jedi side is female.
2. How in the world do you survive a straight through hit with a light saber?
3. How does Ahsoka go from hating the Jedi to running around with a "Jedi?" drone?
4. What's the story with the map? Why would a map be left?
5. Is the "cat" going to become a major character? --- It made me want to see a "tree-cat" from the Honor Harrington series in a movie.
6. Would anyone who hadn't watched the animated series have a clue as to who anyone is?
7. I kept looking for the "Super-human" abilities of the Jedi as seen in the animated series but there was little of that. Is this a good thing?

Despite the mediocre start to the series I'll watch some more. But it will take better than what I've seen to recommend it too highly.
 
1. Is this a girls only production? Every major character on the Jedi side is female.
No. It's not, but it's female lead one. There is a subtle difference. Some could call it being part of the 'woke' culture. I'm not ready to say it is. It's just at this point, all the boys are gone. There's no Ezra and there's no Kanan. The only 'boys' that's left in the main cast are the droids ... at the moment.

2. How in the world do you survive a straight through hit with a light saber?
Because it was a through-and-through wound that missed vital organs. Maul survived being sliced in half. Others have survived direct bolt hits. Some has lost their limbs and the fact is their med technology is better than ours and the capital city hospitals were a short distance away from the com-tower.

Remember that there is no bleeding. Just a massive burn trauma.
3. How does Ahsoka go from hating the Jedi to running around with a "Jedi?" drone?
I'm not saying she's hating them. She just doesn't get along with them after she said no and left Anakin to hold up the shop. You've seen how well that happened. Hyugan is a very, very old droid that goes all the way back to the Old Republic Era and he has thought countless Jedi's in their training. Mainly specializing on the sabre technology.

He also survived the Rebels, and he helped Ezra to build new sabres. Along the green one you'll see Sabine carrying.

Why he's in the ship? Well, Thrawn invaded the Jedi temple and it is no longer functional. So Ashoka's ship is a safer location for him. And in there he provides counter-balance because the Force related business can get on nerves sometimes.

Note also that Ashoka's ship is one that Jedi Council issued to Jedi's back in the Old Republic era, and it was in the storage during the time the Emperor was alive.

4. What's the story with the map? Why would a map be left?
Astroarcheology. SW galaxy is full of old ruins and places that goes to way back to time when there was no hyperspace lanes. A lot of them have survived, but you didn't see a lot of them in the movies unless you were paying attention.

5. Is the "cat" going to become a major character?
Just a side one, just like Chopper.
7. I kept looking for the "Super-human" abilities of the Jedi as seen in the animated series but there was little of that. Is this a good thing?

What do you mean?
 
The only 'boys' that's left in the main cast are the droids ... at the moment.
The droids are boys? I wouldn't have given them a sex.

SW galaxy is full of old ruins and places that goes to way back to time when there was no hyperspace lanes. A lot of them have survived, but you didn't see a lot of them in the movies unless you were paying attention.
Okay, but if you were trying to hide why would you leave a map? It seems very much like a plot device that doesn't make a ton of sense in the real world.

What do you mean?
Well they could run much faster than a nomal human, they could jump much higher and farther than a normal human, and their ability to flip in the air was far beyond an olympic gymnist.
 
Okay, but if you were trying to hide why would you leave a map? It seems very much like a plot device that doesn't make a ton of sense in the real world.

I read on another forum something along the lines of this:

- Thrawn didn't leave the map and he's not trying to hide. He's trapped in that other galaxy. He has no knowledge of the map, which has been hiding in that temple for centuries, perhaps longer.
- The last time he was seen, in the show Rebels, Thrawn disappeared alongside whale-like creatures 'swimming' toward the unknown regions.
- The heroes (and villains alike) then assume that if they find clues as to the whereabouts of these creatures, they can find Thrawn.
- The ancient temple where the map is found is decorated with engravings of the whale-like creatures. The map is probably a device that depicts the creatures' migration routes.

It's a little annoying, really. As a worldbuilder more than a writer I love it when the world of a story feels ancient and lived in, and it's full of little unspoken events that I'm supposed to just accept as facts and try to tie together myself.

However after two episodes of Ahsoka I'm starting to believe Filoni and whoever else is helping him perhaps don't fully understand that if every plot point and little character growth moment is built upon layers upon layers of events from a past show, they will ring hollow with new viewers.

It's perfectly fine, understandable even, that Filoni would want to continue the storyline from Rebels Season 4. But then have the show be called Rebels Season 5, not Ahsoka. And if your goal is to make Ahsoka a success and draw in huge numbers of new audience members, make sure you give those new guys enough tidbits of information to hook them.

Like I said earlier I really like Sabine, I think she has a lot of potential for character growth. But that scene of her kneeling in front of her Mandalorian helmet and cutting her hair felt like superficial fluff to me. It's a pretty common trope of samurai films so one would think you don't need to know who she is to understand that it's some kind of ritual she uses to mark a new beginning in her development, and that's fine. On the other hand, that's a character that new viewers will have spent a grand total of 10 minutes of screen time with at that stage, and giving her such a solemn scene at that moment in the show, before we even get to know her, felt undeserved, superficial and empty to me, since I'm not that familiar with the show Rebels and whatever events she may have lived through in that other show.

Filoni needs to understand that it's a pretty risky gamble. Ahsoka cannot be Rebels season 5 AND be successful with new viewers. It must stand on its own two feet.
 
Phenomenal. I sat through the first episode just smiling. E-wings, A-wings, new Astromechs, Dathomir, Jedi Survivor, and a love letter to Rebels fans. It’s nice to have live action rebels kinda feel to temper the dysfunction and nihilism of Andor and Obi-Wan.

Thought there could have been a lot less ‘moody silences’ in the second episode though.

Loving the concept of what would happen if a Jedi trained a muggle.

The droids are boys? I wouldn't have given them a sex
Better not tell that to L3! She’d be very unhappy. Not all droids are boys (TC-14 from ep1 eg) — even the Falcon is female ;)
 
With all of the interfacing he did, R2 is an absolute stud.
 
Have I done something to offend you, sir? Why the hostility?
No hostility meant at all. I might be a bit more tuned in here than some. One of my friends is a fairly radical feminist and she will not cut me any slack when I make an assumption that a physics professor is male or that an interior decorator is female. And so when I see robots I try not to infer any gender to them. They are an "it," not a he or a she. --- I have to admit that I do have a problem with this as well. I can't stop thinking of the Murderbot as female although the author, Martha Wells, is very careful not to give it a gender. --- Also Chopper would seem to be no gender unless crazy is considered one.

Better not tell that to L3! She’d be very unhappy. Not all droids are boys (TC-14 from ep1 eg) — even the Falcon is female
I had to look up who L3 was. So: "femine programing" what does that mean? (And oh what an opportunity for sarcastic jokes I've opened myself up for. -- Please refrain from these. Is there a real answer?)

*And of course all ships and cars are female. Everyone knows that.
**Parson wonders how that got started. I suppose it has something to do with both females and these modes of transportation being labeled, unfairly I think, as tempermental and difficult to predict.
 
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I had to look up who L3 was. So: "femine programing" what does that mean? (And oh what an opportunity for sarcastic jokes I've opened myself up for. -- Please refrain from these. Is there a real answer?

There’s a delightful scene in Solo where she (L3) confides in Han that Lando is pansexual and is after her but she doesn’t feel the same way. Very British humour moment that I really loved. Phoebe Waller Bridger is great and when she becomes the MF, it’s so sweet and heartwarming. (To me). Didn’t think you were being rude or anything btw. Just teasing ya :)
 
Re: The non-death of Sabine Wren.
How in the world do you survive a straight through hit with a lightsabre?
Because it was a through-and-through wound that missed vital organs.
Firstly, the scar appeared in a different place to the original wound. The original wound was higher up, definitely through a lung, possibly through ribs, and with possible spinal damage. Such a wound would move other organs around, and the heart would be affected by the trauma, just as it would from a gunshot wound to the same place. People die just from that kind of heart trauma alone.

Sorry, but I hate it when serials do that kind of changing/editing of the ending. As a child, I hated it in Flash Gordon, and I hated it in the TV Batman. It is just lying to the audience, but okay, let's move on...

Secondly, let's pretend that the wound did miss all vital organs and caused no damage at all...

So, why didn't Shin Hati make sure Sabine was properly dead and slice her in half or cut off her head? She had plenty of time.

Thirdly, I do understand that their medicine is very advanced.
Bacta tank
their med technology is better than ours and the capital city hospitals were a short distance away from the com-tower.
Are you sure about that distance? You would still need to get into a tank or have that tissue replaced pretty quickly (and a lightsabre would would be quite a lot wider than that wound we were shown?)

And finally,
Maul survived being sliced in half. Others have survived direct bolt hits.
Remember that there is no bleeding. Just a massive burn trauma.
You mean like Anakin's wounds? How come he couldn't get his burn tissue regrown/replaced but had to wear a box instead?

Ah! Well! She didn't die and the Loth-Cat doesn't need to be rehomed after all. It seems like they aren't house-cats anyway and would be able to survive on their own in the savannah.

Re: The Petanque ball that was actually a map.
What's the story with the map? Why would a map be left?
The ancient temple where the map is found is decorated with engravings of the whale-like creatures. The map is probably a device that depicts the creatures' migration routes.
That wasn't at all clear, but it does make some sense. What I couldn't understand was that it the previous episode, much fuss was made and energy expended in order to "unlock the map" and yet it is clear that only the Witch, Lady Morgan, could do her witchy-stuff and hubble bubble, toil and trouble, the pathway to the other galaxy.
Lady Morgan is proper NightSister as she produced green flames and opened the map. When he saw it, Baylon called the link between the galaxies as "the Pathway to Peridia," before explaining that it's an old fairy tale that Padawan's learned in the temple. "Tales which are based on truths."
So, Ahsoka might as well have left the ball, er, map for lady Morgan and then followed her. No one would have got hurt and it would have been far more productive.

I don't understand some of the other arguments being made. I got that Sabine was marking an acceptance and a big change in her life going forward. I guess almost dying does that to you.
 
Are you sure about that distance? You would still need to get into a tank or have that tissue replaced pretty quickly (and a lightsabre would would be quite a lot wider than that wound we were shown?)
Remember Book of Boba Fett and the Sheriff got shot with bolters straight into the chest? Boba put him in the bactatank and his town was far away from Boba's Palace. I expected that Mando would have put him in the charge in Mando season three, instead of him liberating that planet from the Pirates?

I'm pretty certain that those same pirates are going to show up in this show as well and we are going to learn more about what's going on with the Pirate Nation and Imperials. Lady Morgan is most likely going to follow Thrawn's tracks and bring him back into the main galaxy and what he'll bring back is the Force Magick and a lot more knowledge on how to deal with the Force Sensitives and the Users.

If you have read over the years, I have wished two things, the NightSisters and Ventress. Latter I know I cannot have, because she's dead. The former we'll have, and I expand on it when they show it as I do within my usual reviews. I feel Dave Filoni wants to do the same thing as he wants to show what Force can really do instead of what we got with the last trilogy.

I just leave you this as a clue to how people sometime survive mortal wounds in the SW universe...
 
As far as I'm concerned there are three problems with Sabine's wound not being lethal and none are actually about the placement of the wound, the properties of a lightsaber or the proximity of emergency services.

These problems are:

1/ The contextual problem. This is but the latest example in a growing list of Disney nerfing lightsabers. Nowadays, too many people survive being run through with one. Sabine is by far the least egregious example. The Grand Inquisitor and Reva from the Obi-Wan series are the worst (yes, the GI apparently has two stomachs, but did the average viewer know that? Nope). In the space of a little over a year, three major players have been stabbed with lightsabers in a SW show and lived to tell the tale. This lessens the sense of threat or danger in the fights to the point where we have to ask: "Why even write it in if it has no long-lasting effect over the plot of the characters involved?" Which leads me to...

2/ The structural problem. The showrunners decided to use Sabine's defeat/wound as a cliffhanger moment at the end of the first episode. Their intent was clearly to shock the audience into a "Ohmigod, no! They went there!" moment. Which was immediately nullified - for most - by the following episode which aired... on the same day. This was a cheap move, a shock for the sake of shock, that knocks all the wind out of the scene. Basically this wound was useless. Hati could have disarmed Sabine or pushed her away or cut her lightsaber in half rather than injure her, because her injury has zero consequence over the show. It rings hollow.

3/ The in-universe problem:
So, why didn't Shin Hati make sure Sabine was properly dead and slice her in half or cut off her head? She had plenty of time.
Exactly. The wound was clearly not immediately lethal and Shin Hati is a fool for not finishing the job there and then. Now this could have been turned into an interesting character moment if the show had hinted at Shin Hati not being fond of killing. A villain that has qualms about killing the nice guys, now that would be something new... But nope. The episode also showed her mercilessly killing people earlier.
 
Yes, @Dave, I remember Flash Gordon / Buck Rogers with Buster Crabbe being thrown INTO a fire pit, and literally dying in the flames. Next week, he'd be clinging on to the rim of the pit with his fingertips. So this wasn't THAT bad. But it was pretty bad.

My son and I joked that women must be immune to lightsaber strikes, given Sabine's harmless puncture wound and Reva's TWO-TIME survival from lightsaber stabs.
I would have thought a more dramatic ending to episode 1 would have been built up as follows:
  • Following Sabine's desperate urge to be useful again and rejoin Ahsoka as a Padawan, SHE is the one haranguing Ahsoka to take her on, with Ahsoka saying she is not ready, too angry, and joining for the wrong reasons.
  • She rejects Sabine, who gets to work on the map thing at her radio tower house to prove her worth. When the sith attack, Ahsoka sees and feels guilty for abandoning Sabine. Ahsoka rushes over to the fight, and we see it from her perspective, side-on, when she disembarks from the ship, as Sabine is stabbed. Sabine slumps to the ground (camera doesn't show the wound) and we are to assume she is killed.. already??!?!?!
  • Episode 2 starts with Sabine waking from troubled dreams in searing pain. She asks where she is. Droid (exposition) explains she is lucky to be alive; had the saber struck one inch to the left, she would be dead. Ahsoka, meanwhile, says luck was nothing to do with it: her Jedi training had her instinctively dodge the blow. Maybe the force has not fully left you! But because she is injured and TOTALLY immobile, she can't take her on her mission - she needs weeks to recover.
  • Sabine uses determination throughout the rest of the episode to rise, check herself out of hospital, and go back to radio shack. She has a mechanical aid there PLUS the Beskar armour, so she (painfully) squeezes into that. She is shown struggling, but channeling her determination.
  • Episode ends more or less as it does, but with Sabine barely able to walk. But she insists that she is ready to rejoin Ahsoka as a Padawan. Ahsoka sees this inner desire, and a more focused calm, and agrees to take her on the trip.
Boom, far more believability, far more motiviation and plausible conflict between the characters. As it is, this show is just so flat. The only three characters with ANY kind of charisma are the cat, the droid with the arms in his head, and the green-horned general played by Mary-Elizabeth Winstead. Everyone else has had a personality bypass. I actually found myself longing for the whiny, bratty attitude of Annakin or young Luke as a form of conflict with the calmness of Obi-Wan.

Think back to Star Wars, A New Hope - were there ANY bad characters? They ALL had personality, charisma, and conflicting takes on things which lead to cracking dialogue and interplay. Ahsoka, like Kenobi before it, literally has none of it. I really don't see the point in it's existence. We watch this on Friday nights and we watch Last of Us straight after, or sometimes The Bear, on Disney. The level of character development, dialogue, drama, interplay, etc. are absolutely worlds apart.

So far, for me, this is ranking below Boba Fett, and season 3 of Mando. Maybe still a notch above Kenobi, but not by much.
 
A serviceable episode. Loved seeing Corellia, but why are they breaking down serviceable Star Destroyers to make smaller ships? What an incredible waste of resources for a navy slowly rebuilding its forces.

Loved the architecture of Lothal, but their roads don't go anywhere. Weird.

I haven't yet changed my mind on anything.

it's probably been mentioned, but the lady that plays Morgan Elspeth is the niece of Bruce Lee. (Well, i thought it i was an interesting factoid.)
 

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