caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Initial reaction 15.20: Carry On

Before we get started, friends, I want to tell you two things.

1. When I got home late from work Thursday, The Husband and I had this conversation:

You look beat. Going to bed early tonight?

Do you have any idea what tonight is?


Oh, God. Do you have alcohol?

Yes I do.

2. When I got in the car Friday morning, Pandora immediately started playing “Carry On Wayward Son.”

So, Thursday night, I sat down with a glass of whiskey and waited for the end of the world.

THEN: Chuck loses. Jack is God. The Winchesters are finally free.

NOW: Friends, get ready for a whole lot of fan service in the next few minutes. It's like TPTB have been reading everything we say and giving us what we want.

As a song about "ordinary life" plays, Dean's retro alarm clock goes off at 8:00. He shuts it off and sits up so we can see he's wearing a henley shirt (fan service points: 1). As he stretches, he's greeted by Miracle the dog (fan service points: 2)! Who is apparently his dog and definitely not Sam's!

But it's okay because LOOK AT THEM.

Meanwhile, Sam is running (fan service points: 3) and enjoying the beautiful day. When he gets home, he cooks (fan service points: 4) the same dry scrambled eggs that Stevie made for Charlie. Dean wanders in, wearing the dead guy robe, just as two slices of toast pop out of the toaster. I am not giving the robe any points because I don't think it's anything we all publicly long for and get excited about when it comes up, but I am willing to consider any opposing arguments. Sam, wearing just a t-shirt (5 points), tells Dean "it's hot" and I say mmm, yes it is. Dean adorably burns his hands on the hot toast and then brushes his teeth. You know what, I think the robe deserves a point after all. We're up to 6.

And we're not even two minutes into the episode.

And then they JUST KEEP COMING because Sam walks in, exposing his tattoo (7) because he's SHIRTLESS (8), scrubbing at his WET HAIR (9) with a towel, and I curse The Husband for deciding to watch with me because it means it would be kind of awkward to rewind and watch this a few more times. There's not even any dialog I can pretend I didn't catch.


He pulls on the grey v-neck t-shirt of sex (10) and proceeds to carefully make his bed. Dean, meanwhile, kind of sloppily throws his bed together and calls it done. Domestic Winchesters for 11 fan service points, please. Part of me feels like Dean's messy room is OOC, considering how proud he was to have his own room in the first place. But then I have to consider the trunk of the Impala, especially when compared to the hyper-organized neatness of her trunk when Sam's all alone in Mystery Spot, and it feels right. (Why am I thinking about Sam being all alone in Mystery Spot? NO REASON, NO REASON AT ALL.)

Sam's hair in his face while he makes his bed? Yes, please (12 points).

Dean washes the breakfast dishes (13), sneaking some leftover (because they were nasty) eggs to Miracle and looking around to make sure Sam doesn't see, because obviously Sam's going to be the one who doesn't want the dog to get table scraps. Sam put on a plaid shirt earlier, but we see him in the laundry room back down to one v-neck t-shirt (thank you Jack). He's reading as his laundry tumbles in the dryer, and he has to kick the dryer once to stop it from making noise, which I guess is why he's in there babysitting it. I keep reading on Tumblr that people want "at least one laundry scene," as if that didn't exist in The Monster at the End of This Book, but here's your laundry scene, friends. You were right to want it; it is marvelous (14).

Just look at that collection of plaid shirts and tell me it doesn't make you happy.

Dean times himself assembling a gun, complete with plenty of hand closeups (15) and then sits in the library with Miracle, scratching his ears (Miracle's, not his own) and apparently looking for a case. Sam comes in and joins them. He hasn't found anything, but Dean gets a serious look on his face and says "I got something."

Spoiler alert: It is my heart.

Title card!

The Impala pulls to a stop and the guys get out, still with serious looks on their faces. Oddly, the episode title flashes on screen really quickly. Or maybe it's just me. "Sure you're ready for this?" says Sam. "Oh, I don't have a choice," answers Dean. "This is my destiny." And that is exactly how I felt about watching this episode, friends. Not ready, but no choice. The camera pans to show that the boys are at the 43rd Annual Akron Pie Fest. In Akron, Iowa? Just north of Sioux City? Five hour drive? Say hi to Jody and the girls while you're there? Probably not. Probably in Akron, Ohio, almost 16 hours away.


Give me a break. This might be the last time I ever get to calculate driving time.

Anyway. Just pies! Nothing serious! Whew, I was concerned for a second. Dean is emotional.

This is just so beautiful.

Are you crying?

What? No. You're crying, I'm not.

No one is crying. There is no reason for ANYONE to cry.

Sam sits on a bench and watches happy pie eating families (sob). Dean returns with a giant box with six slices of pie (16 points). He sits next to Sam, and they have this conversation:

What's wrong?

Nothing. I'm fine.

Nah, come on, I know that face. That's Sad!Sam face.

I'm not Sad!Sam. I just. I'm thinking about Cas, you know? Jack. If they could be here.

Yeah, I know, I think about them too. You know what, that pain's not gonna go away, right? But if we don't keep living, then all that sacrifice is going to be for nothing.

Dean's right, Sam. Do not be sad. We will have no Sad!Sam tonight. Live your life, or else those sacrifices are wasted. (ahem.) Sam responds by pushing a slice of pumpkin pie into Dean's face. "I've wanted to do that for a very long time," he laughs. "You're right, I do feel better!" Dean scraping the pie off his face and eating it is pretty adorable.

I'd pay good money to lick that off his face. And not just because I love pumpkin pie.

Not quite 6 minutes in and we're up to at least 16 guaranteed bits of pure fan service. Just sweet, domestic Winchester brothers living their lives. How long has this been going on? I've decided it's been at least a year since the last episode. Maybe longer. A good long time. Lots of time for them to enjoy their newfound freedom. But right now things are getting dark. Because it's nighttime, and because I think somebody's about to die.

A mom sends two young brothers upstairs for bathtime. They pause when the doorbell rings. No one seems to be there, but then the dad is stabbed by people wearing creepy masks. The boys run into their room and hide. From their room, we hear the mom scream, and then a thump. One of the masked guys comes into the room and, after a fake-out when we think they might be safe, drags the boys out from under the bed.

So, domestic life in the bunker and then a hunt? Wow. We're getting it all. What a great episode, full of the things we love.

Is this Becky Rosen's living room?

Daytime. Agents Kripke and Singer (ugh, really? Kripke is good, but how about honoring someone other than the current regime?) show up at the scene. They learn that the dad's blood was drained, the mom is alive but her tongue was ripped out (wow), and the kids were taken. The mom drew a picture of the masks they wore, which the brothers recognize.

In a lovely, picturesque spot, the guys flip through John's journal. And I didn't realize we hadn't seen the journal in a while, but Tumblr informs me many of us were exicted to see it again, so boom. 17 points.

You know what this is? Mimes. Evil mimes.

Yeah. Or vampires.

VampMIMES. Son of a bitch!

Dean comes up with a silly portmanteau name for a monster? That will be 18 points. Sam determines the vamps will be heading for Canton if they follow their pattern, and the victims are families who live on the outskirts of town with children between the ages of five and ten. Well, that couldn't be too difficult to narrow down in a city with a population of over 70,000.

I'll handwave it.

Night. Canton, I presume. Two masked vamps get out of a van. One of them gets decapitated by Dean. The other is shot in the leg, and then the head, by Sam. Well, he's a vampire, so of course it didn't kill him, but the bullet was soaked in dead man's blood. {Sidebar: "Soaked?" Dipped, maybe, but do you soak metal? Discuss.} They ask where the missing kids are, and the vamp is all, you're gonna let me go if I tell you? "No," Dean explains, adorably disappointed that the vamp isn't a mime after all. "This isn't a you walk out of here kind of situation. But see, if you tell us quick, you get this." He displays his bloody machete. "But if you take your time, you get, you get that." And "that" is a switchblade which Sam casually pops open right on cue.

Yeah, I'll take that. I'll take that itty bitty one.

It's a bad choice.

You see, this, this is quick. It's clean, you know? No muss, no fuss. You blink and you're dead.

But a blade this small, I'm gonna have to keep sawing and sawing to get your head off. And you'll feel it. Every muscle, tendon. Every inch. Could take hours.

Oh, and if those kids are dead? He's gonna use a spoon.

GUYS. I said it elsewhere and I'll say it here. I absolutely love when they remind us that Sam Winchester, that sweet boy with the huge heart and the endless supply of empathy and the puppy dog eyes, I love it when they remind us that he is a fucking psycho when he needs to be. I'm not going to give it a point, because I don't think it's anything we've asked for, but again I'm willing to hear all arguments. Especially if they come with detailed examples of Sam going psycho. Just for evidence, you know.

Just casually talkin' bout torturing you to death. No big.

The vampire wisely decides to reveal the location of the nest where the kids are being held. Next we see the Impala pulling up in front of some kind of barn. The guys open the trunk to get their gear out, and Dean pulls out a throwing star. "Come on. One time." Sam says no. There will be plenty of other times for Dean to use his throwing stars, I'm sure.

The guys enter the barn and find it apparently empty, although we see masked vamps peeking at them from outside. They find the kids locked in a closet, but four vampires appear before they can escape. They shoo the boys outside and shoot the vampires with their dead man's blood bullets from a safe distance. No, they don't. Why? I got no goddamn idea.

{Sidebar: At some point during this fight, I realized they hadn't played "Carry On Wayward Son" at the beginning. And that we got a regular montage, not a seasone finale extended montage.}

Sam gets knocked unconscious, and Dean loses his machete and then gets pinned by a couple of vamps. But they don't kill him; they just hold him down while an unmasked vampire strolls in. Dean recognizes her from season 1, and pretends not to notice Sam's now-conscious hand surreptitiously creeping toward his machete. Suddenly the vampire loses her head, because Sam is behind her, and the fight starts up again. Dean gets thrown into a wall right next to a big metal spike, which we focus on oddly. And then he gets thrown onto the spike. Oops. Sam kills the last of the vamps and doesn't notice Dean's predicament. He's all, cool, fight's over, let's go get those kids out of here. "Sam," Dean says, "I don't think I'm going anywhere."

Dean tells Sam there's something stuck in his back and it "feels like it's right through me." He keeps touching his chest as if he expects to feel it poking through. Sam reaches around to touch his back and his hand comes back bloody, and if that gives you All Hell Breaks Loose feels, there's a good reason. Sam tries to pull Dean off the spike, but Dean stops him. "It feels like this thing's holding me together right now." Sam's starting to panic and so am I. He wants to go get the first aid kid and call for help, but Dean stops him. And y'all, I'm just gonna have to type the whole thing out.

Sam, Sam. Stay with me. Please, stay with me, please.

Okay. Yeah.

Okay. Okay. Uh. Right. All right, listen to me. Um. You get those boys and you get them someplace safe, all right?

Dean? WE are gonna get them somewhere safe.

No. You knew it was always gonna end like this for me. It was supposed to end like this, right? I mean, look at us. Saving people, hunting things, it's what we do.

Stop, Dean, just stop

It's okay. It's okay. it's good. It's good. We had one hell of a ride, man.

I will find away, okay? I will find another way.

No. No. No, no no no no. No bringing me back, okay? You know that always ends bad.

Dean, please.

I'm fading pretty quick, so, there's a few things I need you to hear. Come here. Let me look at you. There he is. I am so proud of you, Sam. You know that? I've always looked up to you. Remember when we were kids, you were so damn smart. You never took any of Dad's crap. I never knew how you did that. And you're stronger than me. You always have been. Hey, did I ever tell you, that night that I came for you when you were in school? You know, when dad hadn't come back from his hunting trip?

Uh, the woman in white.

The woman in white, that's right. I must have stood outside your door for hours, cause I didn't know what you would say. I thought you'd tell me to get lost, or get dead. And I didn't know what I would have done if I didn't have you. Cause I was so scared. I was scared. Cause when it all came down to it, it was always you and me. It's always been you and me.

Then don't leave me. Don't leave me. I can't do this alone.

Yes you can.

Well, I don't want to.

Hey. I'm not leaving you. I'm gonna be with you. Right here. Every day. Every day you're out there, and you're living, and you're fighting, cause you, you always keep fighting. You hear me? I'll be there, every step. I love you so much. My baby brother. Well, I did not think this would be the day. But it is, it is, and that's okay. I need you, I need you to promise me. I need you to tell me that it's okay. I need you to tell me it's okay. Look at me. I need. I need. I need you to tell me it's okay. Tell me it's okay.

Dean. It's okay. You can go now.

Bye, Sam.


And of course I haven't described Sam's face as he understands what's happening, Dean's occasional spasms of pain, the handholding, the fucking FOREHEAD TOUCH, the tears, the way Dean's hand drops away, the way Sam's hands shake as he clutches his dead brother (hello, AHBL again).

Maybe we just need to watch it.

Gifs borrowed from jaredandjensen on Tumblr.

And there's also the Always Keep Fighting shoutout, the "I love you," Dean calling Sam his "baby brother," the "I can't do this alone/Yes you can/Well I don't want to" parallel with 1.01. Infinite points, friends. I can't count that high.

(Things not to think about: Sam putting Dean's body in the back seat, and then putting the two young brothers in the front and driving them to safety. Sam driving 15 hours back to Lebanon with his brother's body. Do not think about these things.)

Aftermath. Sam and Miracle, and no one else, are giving Dean a hunter's funeral. And I know Covid means Sam couldn't have any friends there, but also? This is kind of perfect. Sam facing it alone. The song we hear as Sam lights his brother's pyre is "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits, in case you're not emotionally wrecked yet.

Yeah, I'm already there, thanks anyway.

Next we see Sam's slightly more modern alarm going off at 8:00. Note that Sam gets up later now, because at the beginning of the episode, he had already gone for a run and was cooking breakfast when Dean woke at 8:00. But now there's no one to cook for so he doesn't need to get back early and I AM NOT OKAY.


Sam gets up and faces his lonely day. He cooks eggs. One piece of toast pops up. He sits in the library with Miracle and looks at the names carved into the table. He wanders the halls with his dog at his side. (SAM HAVING A DOG WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE HIM HAPPY. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO MAKE US HAPPY. HOW DARE YOU.)

{Sidebar: Has Sam ever had a dog when he wasn't at a low point in his already-low life? Discuss.}

Eventually he finds himself at the door to Dean's room. The room is just as Dean left it, kind of messy, kind of very full of Dean. He sits on Dean's bed and pets the dog and cries and it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I am ROLLING AROUND IN ALL OF THIS BEAUTIFUL PAIN.

No one at all.

He hears a phone buzzing in Dean's desk. He digs out the one labeled "Dean's other other phone" and answers. The caller asks for "Agent Bon Jovi" and says he's had some bodies turn up without hearts in Austin. "A friend of mine, Donna Hanscum, said you were the one to call." Oooh, are we sending him to Austin? Is Walker, Texas Ranger just going to be another fake name and fake badge? Now that's how you do a spinoff!

{Sidebar: Does Donna know about Dean? Did Sam tell anyone yet? Is the trying to get him out of the bunker and keep him busy? If so, wouldn't she have given the guy Sam's number, not Dean's other other phone? But maybe it's someone she talked to weeks ago. Discuss.}

Sam tells the caller he is on his way, and we see him with a packed bag, heading out of the bunker with Miracle. He turns to look one last time and then turns off all the lights. We haven't seen the bunker this dark since the day they found it. I don't think he's ever coming back. Goodbye, bunker. I know some people hated you, but I was not one of them. {Sidebar: Did he give the bunker key to anyone? Surely he wouldn't want all those resources to go to waste!}

So, I guess the episode title refers to Sam having (choosing?) to carry on after he loses his brother. THIS IS FINE.

Now we're back at Dean's pyre, and this time we drift up with the smoke. We catch up with Dean, outdoors, in a lovely setting with trees and birds. "Well, at least I made it to Heaven," he says. "Yep," someone answers. It's Bobby! Real Bobby, not AU Bobby! Dean's actually standing next to a building - a cabin, maybe - and Bobby is sitting on the porch.

What memory is this?

It ain't, ya idjit.

Yeah it is. Cause the last I heard, you, you were in in Heaven's lockup.

Was. Now I'm not. That kid of yours, before he went wherever, made some changes here. Busted my ass out. And then he, well, set some things right. Tore down all the walls. Heaven ain't just reliving your golden oldies any more. It's what it always should have been. Everyone happy, everyone together. Rufus lives about five miles that way. With Aretha. Thought she'd have better taste. And your mom and dad, they got a place over yonder. It ain't just Heaven, Dean. It's the Heaven you deserve. And we been waiting for you.

So Jack did all that.

Well, Cas helped. It's a big new world out there. You'll see.

So, I guess Cas made it out of the Empty? Dean smiles at that, but doesn't suggest finding him or anything. I approve. Bobby pulls out a couple of beers (the green cooler made it into Heaven!!!) and they share some bad beer. Dean comments that Heaven is "almost perfect," and Bobby knows EXACTLY what's missing, because of course he does. "He'll be along. Time up here, it's different. You got everything you could ever want, or need, or dream. So I guess the question is, what are you gonna do now, Dean?" Well, Dean doesn't have everything he could ever want or need, but he does see one thing - Baby. With her Kansas plates! Friends, that's two things I requested before the end that I didn't think I would ever see: a forehead touch, and Baby wearing her original plates. Thank you, Jack.

Dean's face lights up. "I think I'll go for a drive." As he walks to his car, we see the cabin is actually Harvelle's Roadhouse, albeit smaller, I think. Dean settles into his car and says "Hey, Baby" and when he turns her on, "Carry On Wayward Son" begins to play.

I know he looks good in Purgatory, but DAMN if he don't look fine in Heaven, too.

We cut to the name Dean, which is embroidered on - a little boy's overalls. Sam's little boy. Oh, wow. I was not prepared for this. Sam has a son named Dean, and we switch back and forth between Dean driving through Heaven and scenes of Sam's life with his son and his mysterious, barely-seen wife. She has long dark hair, and I'd like to point out that she could easily be either Eileen or Dr. Cara Roberts. Just saying. Sam's house is full of family photos, including the one of him and Dean from his memory box and a new one from the episode Lebanon. I never thought about the fact that they might have actually taken a photo, and if they did, would it still be around after Sam smashed the pearl? Well, obviously, yes. We see Sam throwing a ball with his son, helping him with his homework (Sam in glasses? Check!) and just obviously really loving this kid and giving him the childhood he never had. We also see a really, really unfortunate grey wig that I refuse to screencap. You're welcome. As aging Sam sits in the hundred-year-old car in his garage, his dead brother drives happy along dirt roads in Heaven, and I'd prefer my Heaven have paved roads, thanks.

We end in Sam's house, now complete with hospital bed. Sam could be in his 80s or even 90s, which means he could have lived another 50 years, more or less, after Dean died. His son doesn't look any older than his 20s or 30s (and also looks vaguely South Asian to me), and I wonder how old Sam was when he finally let himself have a family. Remember when Dean said his happy ending was for Sam to have kids and get old? Well, he got it, finally. Did Sam get a regular job? Did he keep hunting? We don't know. What we do know is that his son has a anti-possession tattoo. Some people have taken this to mean young Dean is a hunter, but I don't think we can jump to that conclusion. It could just be 1) Dean wanted a tattoo like his father's, or b) Sam knows there are still demons out there and that his son would naturally be a target, hunter or not.

All right, I had to screencap teary-eyed Sam grasping the steering wheel and reliving his years with his brother in this car, so we can just pretend we don't see The Wig, okay?

Sam's evidently in hospice care. Or maybe we'll all have hospital beds in our houses in 50 years. Who knows. His son sits on the bed and takes his hand. Sam smiles at him, and Dean says "Dad, it's okay. You can go now." PARALLELLS! As some woman sings "Carry On Wayward Son" for whatever reason (why didn't they use the lovely a cappella version they already had from Fan Fiction?), Sam places his hand on Dean's and takes his last breath.

{Sidebar: Where is Sam's wife in all of this? Divorced? Already dead? She doesn't seem to be in the family pictures, so I'm going with divorced. Discuss.}

Heaven. Oh, guys. I've done this rewatch without tearing up at all but I'm about to tip over. The Impala pulls onto a bridge. Dean gets out. (Now your life's no longer empty, surely Heaven waits for you.) He stands at the bridge railing, enjoying Heaven, smiling. And then he feels something and he smiles even more because he knows it's Sam. Oh god, Jensen did such a good job here. Just this fucking smile killed me dead. "Hey, Sammy," he says. He turns and there is Sam, wearing the same outfit he wore in 1.01 (they both are, but Sam's is a bigger departure from his later years). Why? I don't know. But I know it means Sam Winchester is spending eternity in something that isn't a plaid shirt. How do we feel about that?

"Dean," Sam says. They face each other and smile, and it's the smile of we just survived a hunt I didn't think we'd survive or our son just overpowered God or something along those lines. Then they embrace, and I love the way Sam hesitates just a little before clapping a hand on Dean's back. Like he's afraid it isn't really happening, and he doesn't want to break the illusion. I also love that Dean, as always, takes the top (oh, get your minds out of the gutter) and hugs as if he were taller than Sam. Then Dean puts his hand on the back of Sam's neck and turns him to admire the view and he has this joyous smile like now, this is FINALLY Heaven. And he gazes at Sam like look, Sammy, look what we did. Look what we get. The lack of dialog in this scene is just ~chef's kiss~. The camera goes wide and we see the three main characters, Sam and Dean and Baby, enjoying the Heaven they deserve.

I would like to know where they filmed this, because it's gorgeous even without the Winchesters.

Did Sam's entire life go by in the span of Dean's drive? Or did Dean just decide he'd drive until his brother arrived, no matter how long it took? And how much do I love the fact that he could have gone and visited his parents but instead he said "nah, I'll drive around and wait for Sam?" SO MUCH, PEOPLE. SO MUCH.

Also, can we talk about the fact that Sam didn't know what to expect in Heaven? I mean, Ash said they were soulmates and would share a Heaven, but why would he believe that? And he might have even still believed he'd have a hard time getting into Heaven. What a relief it must have been to show up on Dean's bridge.

And then Jared and Jensen thank us. You're welcome, boys. Thank you.

So. Last night I was mildly positive about the episode. But on rewatch, I'm extremely positive. Sure, I would have loved the Six Feet Under ending where we see everyone's fate. And maybe that would have happened if not for Covid. But I'm just relieved we didn't get the Game of Thrones or How I Met Your Mother endings. I'm not sure this current cohort could have done better, honestly. Sam wanted a normal family life. Dean wanted Sam to have a normal family life. But Sam was never going to stop hunting as long as Dean was hunting. And Dean wasn't going to stop hunting as long as he was alive. Dean got the end he wanted/expected and the Heaven he earned (and Sam caring for Jack was directly responsible for Heaven's improvements). Sam got to live a normal life and have a family. As I said earlier, I suspect his marriage didn't last. (Or maybe he and Eileen or Cara got married for insurance purposes, and happily co-parented little Dean, but knew they weren't each other's one true love.) But I actually prefer that. Dean loved Sam more than he loved anyone. Sam loved Dean the same way. I'm glad Sam got to have a child (who he loves as much as his brother, but in a different way), but I don't want Sam and Dean to share their Heaven with Sam's wife.

Now, would I have done Dean's death differently? Yes. I did appreciate that they had him upright, so the brothers were face to face, just like AHBL. But being impaled on a spike was just less dramatic that I would have liked. I would have preferred that Sam immediately see his brother was dying, instead of Dean having to explain it to him. Dean could have had his jugular torn, slowly bleeding out, and still been on his knees (held up by Sam, hell yes) making his deathbed speech. And then I wouldn't have thought "would an ambulance be here by now if you'd called them?" halfway through it.

{Sidebar: What if Sam had fed Dean some blood from one of the dead vamps. Wouldn't that have kept him undead long enough to get fixed up, and then they could have done the vampire cure? Discuss.}

I know some people are very unhappy about the finale. Honestly, from what I can tell, most of those people are hard-core Destiel shippers. And I guess they wanted, as they always do, for the Dean and Castiel relationship to be more important than the Dean and Sam relationship. Sorry, guys, that was never gonna happen. In the end, it came down to the epic love story of Sam and Dean, just as it should have.

So, I'm sad and I'm happy. I'm bereft and I'm full. I miss my boys, but my boys will always be with me. I hope you guys will be with me for a long time, too.

Next up... 1.01! I don't know when I'll start my rewatch recaps, but I hope some of you will stay tuned. And if not, thanks for being here. Thanks for reading, thanks for lurking, thanks for liking, thanks for commenting. I love you all so much.

Post all the fucking spoilers you want in the comments.
Tags: 15.20 carry on, i am not okay, initial reaction, pretty, season 15, supernatural

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Posts from This Journal “initial reaction” Tag

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