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Recap / DuckTales (2017) S1E6 "The House of the Lucky Gander!"

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Loose as a goose and ready to gander!
"Finally, a proper adventure!"

Donald competes with his cousin Gladstone Gander to impress Louie at a mysterious resort in Macaw, while Scrooge tries to lure the kids away from the resort's endless distractions to go treasure hunting.


  • Above the Influence: Scrooge is never seduced by the attractions of the casino. Scrooge even implies he's all too familiar with tourist traps.
  • Absentee Actor: Mrs. Beakley does not appear in this episode.
  • Abstract Eater: Liu Hai feeds off the luck of his patrons. He was a well-fed Fat Bastard with Gladstone, but only a few seconds with Donald cause him to become emaciated.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the comics, the boys always hated Gladstone as much as Donald did and found his smugness and annoying luck just as unbearable as their uncle did, or at least they were indifferent or neutral toward him. Here, they practically worship Gladstone... until they see his true colors.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Donald is feeling put upon that no one looks up to him because Gladstone is the Cool Uncle and more charming. This despite the fact that he's been breaking his back taking care of Della's children for a decade.
    • Gladstone has alienated his family due to his selfishness. He almost sees how truly bad it is until his Ignored Epiphany.
  • Advice Backfire: Donald's advice to the nephews that family must help family comes back to bite him when they insist on helping Gladstone.
    Donald: Why did I say that?
  • An Aesop:
    • Winning all the time can be a burden. Gladstone may be lucky, but it got him held up in a life of servitude from an evil luck demon and he doesn’t have any actual talents because of it.
    • Louie’s pep talk towards Donald really makes the moral of the episode more clear. Winning isn’t everything, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying, not give up, and trust your instincts.
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  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Liu Hai's casino always manages to time its distractions just right to keep the kids and their Uncle Scrooge in the casino. Huey with his interest in natural phenomena gets distracted by the floor-show "Aquarioon: The Sacred Waters of Aquarien", Dewey by the pet Jade Tiger, and Webby by the buffet table containing food from around the world including a fountain of chocolate.
  • The Backwards Я: The sign for the buffet is stylized to resemble Chinese characters, with "乃" and "七" used in place of the letters B and T.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Gladstone called the others to Macaw in the hopes that they could help him, his main idea being that Donald's Born Unlucky status would break his streak.
    • Scrooge pretends to want a room to get the manager to lead him to the check-in desk, as it's usually next to the main entrance.
    • Scrooge tricks Liu Hai into taking Donald in Gladstone's place, as Donald was regarded as lucky enough to beat the luck Gladstone. It was quickly revealed that Scrooge knew that Donald's natural bad luck will starve the spirit in seconds.
  • Beneath the Mask: Gladstone's personality and charm is somewhat smarmy and phony throughout the episode, but a glimpse of his true nature becomes apparent when, after Donald storms off and Louie suggests they hit the really high-rolling tables, Gladstone rudely snaps that he needs Donald, not Louie.
  • Big "NO!": Huey when Donald accidentally destroys the water show that the former had become enamored with.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Huey's criticism about how wasteful the water show is could be seen as a dig towards Disney's various nighttime shows using tons of water such as Fantasmic!, World of Color or Rivers of Light.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The family gets out alive and frees Gladstone, but his behavior has further soured the family to him, and he ignores a chance to change himself for the better, indicating he's learned nothing from this experience. And the golden cricket that Scrooge wanted to see all night turns out to just be a regular cricket.
  • Blessed with Suck: Gladstone's luck actually works against him here, since he's improbably incapable of losing at the casino games, which causes him to call Donald in desperation that his bad luck can break his streak and allow him to escape the mystical entity feeding off of his luck. More subtly, Gladstone is so used to coasting through life via his luck that he has no idea what to do when it fails him, his other skills all but non-existent. Webby even notes that he might not be as lucky as he thinks he is.
  • Breather Episode: After two episodes featuring Magica — the second one more prominently than the other — we get a more family-focused episode.
  • Broken Pedestal: By the end of the episode, Gladstone has shown what a selfish, petty jerk he is, so the kids no longer think he is the "cool" uncle.
  • Casino Episode: The bulk of the episode takes place in a casino named "The House of Lucky Fortune".
  • Chaos Architecture: If Liu Hai doesn't want you to leave, the Casino warps space and time to make the exit impossible to find. Scrooge manages to outwit this by pretending he wants to rent a room, making the front desk appear, which is always right next to the front door.
  • Chirping Crickets: The end of the episode has no sound other than the song of the Golden Cricket...which turns out to be just your average chirp you hear from a cricket. Just to add to the emptiness of the atmosphere, the family is shown all bored out of their mind listening to the chirping.
  • Combat by Champion: Of course, Liu Hai never told Scrooge that their game wouldn't be one of these...
  • Comically Missing the Point: Scrooge is extremely annoyed that he doesn't get to fight any of the supernatural dangers in this episode.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: The Buffet of Many Lands.
    Liu Hai: Imagine taco dim sum. Fettuccine eclairs.
    Scrooge: Why would I want to imagine any of that?
  • Crying Wolf: It's subtle, but the reactions of Scrooge and Donald to Gladstone's less than imperiled circumstances (on first glance at least) imply that Gladstone has called on Scrooge and Donald before to help with emergencies that were not exactly emergencies. It doesn't help that he seems to be pretty comfortable in the casino when everyone arrives.
  • Cutting the Knot: Donald wins in the end by pretty much just smashing his way through every obstacle instead of trying to navigate his way around the intricate path.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Scrooge scams Liu Hai (a spirit that feeds on luck) by convincing him to trade Gladstone with Donald, and making him think this is a good deal.
  • Domain Holder: Liu Hai can create physical illusions and reorder the interior of his casino, but doesn't seem to have any power outside of it.
  • Doom as Test Prize: Once Donald beats Gladstone in the race, Scrooge points out that Liu Hai should find the winner of their race more desirable luck-wise, and thus frees the loser instead. This is, of course, a trick to free the both of them, because Liu Hai would never let go of Gladstone but immediately has to get rid of Donald.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The House of Lucky Fortune is a "house" to Gladstone (the eponymous lucky gander) in the sense of "casino", but also "place of residence" (because he can't leave).
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Everyone escapes the House of Lucky Fortune thanks to Donald beating Gladstone at the race, and Scrooge tricking Liu Hai into taking Donald over Gladstone (then letting him go). Gladstone's conclusion is that he's the real hero because everyone benefited from him losing the race, which was a result of sloth, arrogance, and blind luck, not intent.
  • Epic Fail: Donald tries to win a game where he has to guess how many fingers a toad is holding up by constantly betting twenty-seven. There's bad luck, and then there's just foolishness.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Twofold:
    • Donald's flashbacks show what it was like for a Born Unlucky duck like him to grow up with a Born Lucky duck like Gladstone: with Gladstone shown to be callously indifferent to young Donald's suffering and willing to gloat over his own good fortune that was gained at Donald's expense.
    • When the family rushes to answer Gladstone's call for help, they find him to be seemingly fine; getting a massage, boasting of his winnings, and smarmily inviting them to join him in his slothful lifestyle while showing no consideration for how much he worried or inconvenienced them.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Despite their strained relationship, both Scrooge and Donald harbor a deep dislike for Gladstone: Donald because Gladstone's always had great luck while he was Born Unlucky (and his bad luck got even worse when Gladstone was around with Donald suffering because of it) and Scrooge because he had to work hard to be successful while Gladstone just coasted off his luck.
    • Scrooge is shown to have a strong distaste for casinos, considering them to be a "monument to moochers" that trick people into wasting money on cheap thrills like gambling.
    • Everyone is furious with Gladstone for lying about why he needed their help. Scrooge still helps him, but afterwards Gladstone is left to fend for himself.
    • When Scrooge seemingly leaves Donald in Liu Hai's clutches, even Gladstone thinks it was a heartless thing to do.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Liu Hai seems to think everyone successful is completely dependent on luck like Gladstone is. This leads him to underestimate Scrooge's intelligence and honestly believe Donald was more lucky than Gladstone, because Donald beat him at one contest (where Gladstone was barely trying).
  • Exact Words: When Gladstone kept telling Donald, no, he didn't want to embarrass him, and, no, he didn't bring him here just to show him up in front of the boys, he was telling the truth.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: The Cirque de Soleil-like show of "Aquarioon" which impresses Huey is full of this:
    "And though noble Aquarioon fell that day, his soul lives on, for we are all Aquarioon."
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Dewey gets a huge jade tiger, which he names... Dewey Jr.
  • Foreshadowing: There are numerous hints at House of Lucky Fortune's true nature and why Gladstone actually brought his family there:
    • When Donald says Gladstone called them for help, Gladstone responds "I do need your help", only for his panda massager to stare back at him before Gladstone adds "spending my winnings!". (Mainly because this was a reminder to Gladstone he was being monitored by Liu Hai through the panda.)
    • When Donald gets tackled by a security guard because the anti-theft tag is still attached to his tuxedo shirt, Louie comments he has the worst luck. Gladstone replies "I'm counting on it." and walks away while Liu Hai stares at him.
    • When Gladstone wins the "How many fingers am I holding up?" game twice in a row, even he gets annoyed at his own good luck. This is the time when Donald storms off and Gladstone desperately tries to keep him around.
    • When Liu Hai does his first card trick to Scrooge, the pictures on the card are of his true form. He also noticeably gets annoyed when Scrooge calls them parlor tricks.
    • A couple of times when, while trying to find their way out, Scrooge and the kids note that parts of the building seem to be moving around as they do.
    • The walls, rugs and floor paneling all have the same design as the playing cards, even before the illusion's revealed.
    • People familiar with the story of Liu Hai and the toad that loves gold might think it suspect that a "Toad Liu Hai" shows up, given what happened the last time the show referenced Chinese mythology.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Yup, Launchpad crashed the seaplane again outside the Temple of the Golden Cricket. No wonder Donald thought he was about to do the same thing in Macaw at the start of the episode.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Gladstone Gander becomes this to his family by the episode's end; they'll protect him if he needs it, but none of them like him or want to be around him.
  • Frog Men: Some of the staff of the House of Lucky Fortune are anthropomorphic toads, including Toad Liu Hai himself.
  • Gilded Cage: The casino is a tourist trap in every way possible. On the surface it offers a lot of amenities and wonderful distractions, which draw in the kids. But once you enter, you're not allowed to leave. At all.
  • Girls Love Chocolate: Initially, Webby isn't impressed with Liu Hai's buffet like Huey and Dewey are. But once he shows her the chocolate fountain, she runs right over and sticks her head in it.
  • G-Rated Drug: The episode is applies a similar effect with gambling; it's set at a casino, but shows no games of chance you'd expect to see there. Instead we see pachinkonote , a wheel-spin and even "how many fingers am I holding up?". However, playing cards are used as a constant motif in the episode (and Scrooge does name-check Pai Gow as well), though nobody is actually shown playing. Even the games we do see never show anyone putting money down. Possibly justified as the kids are shown to be accompanied by Scrooge and/or Donald at all times, who are far more conscientious chaperones than Gladstone and would likely steer them away from the more hard-core gambling. Scrooge continually steers the kids away from all attractions and Liu Hai tries to tempt them with things kids would find more appealing (shows, exotic pets, buffets, etc), and Donald accompanies Gladstone and Louie specially to ensure the visit isn't too bad an influence (thus why they use only G-rating gambling games). Louie practically lampshades this after Donald storms out in a huff, claiming that now that he's gone they can hit the "big leagues."
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The episode is not subtle about Donald’s seething jealousy towards Gladstone. Interestingly, the episode also portrays Donald as the sympathetic one in the situation, as Gladstone is smug and obnoxious about his good fortune and, inadvertently or not, takes every opportunity he can to rub it in despite knowing full well that he ultimately deserves none of what comes naturally to him.
  • Hate Sink: Much like in the comics, Gladstone Gander. He's a Smug Snake who rubs his blessings in everyone's face, he insults and belittles his family members, and endangers the lives of said family members to save himself. And at the end he has an Ignored Epiphany, learning nothing from his adventure. The most positive thing that can be said about him is that even he seems to be upset when Scrooge seems to sell Donald to Liu Hai.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Gladstone gets a tiny one when Donald gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how he knows Gladstone was born lucky, and he doesn't have to rub it in and show up Donald in front of his nephews.
    • Louie also gets one when he sees how emotionally hurt Donald is, to the point that Donald wants to stop playing. When Donald prepares to forfeit the climactic footrace, knowing the odds are against him, Louie gives him a rousing speech that motivates Donald to finish and actually win.
  • Hero of Another Story: While Scrooge, Donald and the kids help Gladstone, Launchpad goes to visit an old girlfriend. When it's time to leave Macaw, he is out of breath, wearing an eyepatch and ancient armour punctured by arrows, and carrying a baby panda in a basket on his back, having apparently battled a crime family and who knows what else with said old girlfriend. When Dewey asks what happened, he brushes it off as "tourist stuff."
  • Heroic BSoD: Donald has one when he loses one game too many (and Gladstone wins again). It takes Louie's rousing speech to give him motivation to win.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gladstone's luck works against him in this episode; he's being held prisoner in the casino by Liu Hai, the spirit of chance and fortune (and a "luck vampire", as he puts it), and since he literally can't lose he has no way out. Ultimately, though, Gladstone escapes thanks to luck instead of his own actions—in this case that by having family willing and able to bail him out.
  • Honorary Uncle: This is the first time in any English comic or cartoon that the boys refer to their mother's first cousin as "Uncle Gladstone."
  • How Is That Even Possible?: Even Liu Hai is flabbergasted by the $20 bill that suddenly appears to distract Gladstone from winning the race.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The floor manager of the House of Lucky Fortune is Liu Hai, the spirit of chance and fortune, and as Gladstone Gander describes, a luck vampire who feeds off the fortune and success of others.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After everyone else leaves, Gladstone begins to consider that coasting off his luck hasn't been the best way to live and he should improve himself. Then a woman in a gold yacht stops by and offers to sell it to him for $20, which he eagerly agrees to do.
  • Inn of No Return: A non-fatal version; Gladstone is trapped in the House of Lucky Fortune (and stays at the inn) so it can feed of his luck.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Gladstone is shocked by Donald's "The Reason You Suck" Speech, implying he doesn't know people hate how he shows off his own good luck. At the same time, he doesn't really learn.
  • Irony: The gang's original adventure idea was to find the rare golden cricket, and Scrooge saw the casino as a waste of time. The casino ended in a massive adventure against a spirit that feeds on luck, and the golden cricket turns out to be boring to everyone, even Scrooge.
  • It's All About Me: Gladstone summons his family to rescue him from Liu Hai, deliberately doesn't let them know the danger he's putting them in, and eagerly embraces a potential opportunity to free himself at Donald's expense. Even at the end, when Webby comments that he might not be as lucky as he thinks, he gets so caught up in justifying how he is still the luckiest in the world — and is also a hero to boot — that he doesn't notice his family just walk off without even bothering to bid him goodbye.
  • Jerkass: Again, Gladstone Gander. He can't stop rubbing his luck in other people's faces even when it's in his best interest not to. Furthermore, he doesn't even try to lose the final game; while granting that he's not exactly unjustified in wanting to get out of there, his blithe willingness to throw Donald, Scrooge and the others to Liu Hai to save his own neck without considering any possible third options when the only reason they're in that position was because they willingly came to help him doesn't exactly earn him sympathy points.
  • Kick the Dog: Gladstone is apparently okay with his family (including the kids) becoming slaves forever to Liu Hai in his place and doesn't even attempt to Take a Third Option by throwing the race. Although even he seems taken aback when Scrooge willingly — even eagerly — seems to offer Donald as a slave in Gladstone's place.
    • More specifically, after Gladstone spends all episode encouraging Louie's blind admiration of him, when Donald is about to leave and Louie suggests they just let him go so they can spend more quality time together, Gladstone snaps that he doesn't need him, he needs Donald, and leaves Louie in the lurch.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Downplayed, but there's just something satisfying about watching Gladstone be knocked over by Donald when he's thrown out at the end of the episode.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The casino gives you anything you ask for — indeed, anything you could possibly want... and holds you prisoner forever.
  • Moral Luck: Gladstone rather audaciously tries to take credit for his part in Scrooge's Batman Gambit that saves everyone, even though Gladstone's intent was to save himself at the cost of others. No one buys it.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: Some of the employees of the House of Lucky Fortune, a casino in a Chinese principality, are of course pandas, who work as security guards and massagers.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Ziyi, Launchpad's old girlfriend in Macaw, apparently disappeared in the course of Launchpad's adventures. At the end, Launchpad mutters wistfully,
    Launchpad: "Goodbye, Ziyi, wherever you are."
  • Noodle Incident:
    • What the heck was Launchpad doing with his old girlfriend Ziyi that left him looking like that?
    • Scrooge remarks at one point:
    Scrooge: "I navigated myself out of the Infinitaur's labyrinth. Freed myself from the Forever Fields of Fantoom. Why can't I find the blasted hotel exit?"
  • Not So Above It All: Even Webby, prime expert on Scrooge McDuck, and his work values, is charmed by Gladstone.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: The security guards and massagers at the House of Lucky Fortune are giant pandas. Also at the end, Launchpad is seen carrying a panda kid in a basket on his back.
  • Panthera Awesome: Giant jade tigers are among the gimmicks of the House of Lucky Fortune. Dewey is the most impressed by them, naming one of them "Dewey Jr." and wanting to keep it as a pet.
  • Pooled Funds: Gladstone has a jacuzzi tub full of casino chips in his suite, and imitates Scrooge by diving into them and swimming around in them, even spitting up a mouthful of them at an unimpressed Scrooge; of course the chips are made of plastic rather than gold, implying that Gladstone's fortune comes not from hard work as in Scrooge's case but through his slothful reliance on luck.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Admittedly, he was worried about Liu Hai finding out, but if he had just told his family what was going on, Gladstone probably could have escaped the casino with less hassle. PROVIDED he could HAVE told them without Liu Hai finding out about it. As Liu Hai himself pointed out, a direct telling them would have done just that—and made him more ready to fight them keeping Gladstone.
  • Punny Name: Macaw is the Duck-universe's equivalent of Macau, with a bird-related pun in its name.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Gladstone is freed from the casino at the end, but his fragile relationship with his family is in tatters because he manipulated them for assistance instead of just being honest with them. Not to mention, he was apparently willing to let them all become slaves forever in exchange for his own freedom.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: After seeing that Louie wants to hang out with Gladstone, Donald acquiesces on the condition that he comes along.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • After Gladstone wins two cars and invites Donald to play, Donald says that he doesn't want to gamble anymore. He says he knows that Gladstone is the Cool Uncle, while Donald is the Butt-Monkey and the harried caretaker, but Gladstone doesn't have to rub it in.
    • Later, when they're all prisoners of Liu Hai, Donald calls out Gladstone for lying about the danger he put the family in, even though they willingly came to help him.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: OK, amphibians in this case, but the casino dealers are all toads, which only adds to the shifty mood of the place.
  • The Resenter: Donald, who hates Gladstone has great luck and he has horrible luck when they are together.
  • Rousing Speech: Louie voices one on behalf of Donald:
    Louie: "Come on, Uncle Donald! So you have the worst luck in the world. Who cares? No matter how bad things get, like really, really bad, you keep going. It's kind of ridiculous. You never had the common sense to give up before. Why start now?"
  • Running Gag: When Donald thinks back to growing up with Gladstone, all three flashbacks involve Gladstone finding a $20 bill while something awful happens to Donald. It comes back as a Brick Joke during the final game, and at the end of the episode Gladstone is offered a golden yacht for $20.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: While Gladstone loses to Donald, he points out that this was the best possible outcome for everyone, as it allowed them all to escape from the casino and even destroy it for good. He then uses this to claim that he's the true hero of events despite it being blindingly obvious by that point that he's anything but.
  • Seen It All: Scrooge isn't so easily taken in by so-called "tourist traps", as he's seen them all knows they're just a waste of time and money.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Scrooge and the gang do get to see the fabled Golden Cricket at the end... only for its song to be normal cricket chirps that bore everyone to death. Guess their little diversion was a blessing in disguise.
  • Skewed Priorities: Scrooge is more upset over the fact that he doesn't get to fight the demon than Donald's potential fate after he's forced to compete instead.
  • Thicker Than Water: Invoked by the nephews when they remind a grumbling Scrooge and Donald that they came to help Gladstone:
    Huey: "Like Uncle Donald said, family always helps family."
    Donald: "Why did I say that?"
  • Three... Two... One...: When Louie and Gladstone chew Scrooge out for selling Donald out, he simply counts to three then Donald is kicked out.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: When Donald gets into his Unstoppable Rage mode, his rising blood pressure turns his face red, despite being covered with white feathers.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth:
    • It takes all of three seconds for Liu Hai to spit out Donald after attempting to feed on his particular brand of luck. He actually becomes emaciated and is sent running back to whatever dimension he comes from.
    • Earlier when Webby asks if she can dip her hand in the chocolate fountain and then asks if she can dip the floor manager's hands, Liu Hai pauses for a bit as if he's weirded out by Webby's request before shrugging.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: After the group gets lost in the casino one too many times, Webby tries to help by leaving a trail of food so they know where they came from. Unfortunately, Dewey Jr. eats it all.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Donald weaponizes his temper once more, working himself up into such an unbelievable fury that he's able to steamroll through the obstacle course without stopping. To put it in perspective, all of his life Donald has been feeling inferior to Gladstone thanks to his bad luck even getting worse while Gladstone's gets even better when the two are together. So much that Donald has nothing nice to say about him before they catch up with Gladstone in Macaw, and it gets worse when the kids see Gladstone as a Cool Uncle and take Donald for granted. Even playing the games with Louie and Gladstone shows Donald unable to get even a slight bit lucky. When he has to run the footrace against Gladstone, his now unbelievably impossibly bad luck (while Gladstone has unbelievablly impossibly GOOD luck) sinks Donald to a deep depression that his fatalistic "What's the point?" is heartbreaking, and he's in a bad place emotionally that he's ready to give up. Not even having Scrooge and the kids in danger could snap him out of it; he's already giving all he had and STILL Gladstone is way ahead without even a drop of sweat or a scratch on him.
    • It is only Louie, of all people, reminding he's The Determinator ACTUALLY helped Donald convert his sufferings past and present (and all the inner anger at the unfairness of it all) involving Gladstone into such an unearthly high level of an Unstoppable Rage eclipsing the one in "Daytrip of Doom!" when all he did was beat down two Beagle Boys single-handedly in that episode. The level literally becomes an anger-based, not insanity-based, Power Born of Madness.
    • What does he do with all that rage? He dispels a jade tiger illusion with a single Donald scream taken Up to Eleven, scales a giant pachinko machine, then does a Wall Run inside said machine at breakneck speed and even breaking a few of the metal pins along the way to zoom past Gladstone. And given the "Who's Next?!?" look on his face Donald's not ready to let up even after winning, he's still mad enough to keep going.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Donald calls out Gladstone for putting everyone in danger to free himself, rubbing his luck in everyone's faces, and making him look bad in front of the nephews.
    • Louie and Gladstone call out Scrooge for leaving Donald in the casino... then it gets Subverted when Scrooge reveals that his nephew was never in any danger; his natural bad luck would automatically get him kicked out after three seconds.


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