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Riverdale. Once a safe, decent, innocent place, had become noir town, like the setting of a Raymond Chandler story filled with dames to kill for, postmen who like to ring twice and more mobsters than a Scorsese retrospective at the Bijou. We were a town of lost souls, each of us wrestling with demons, each of us with secrets we were trying to keep. Mine was on the large side, 6'5" to be exact. [...] I was covering up the death of a wicked man. But Tall Boy Petite wasn't the only fresh corpse in noir town. Claudius Blossom had taken the big sleep, and my girlfriend Betty Cooper had murder on the brain. And murderers, in Betty's world, needed to be brought to justice. [...] Meanwhile, Archie Andrews no longer felt hunted by Hiram Lodge. But he was still haunted. Trapped in that in-between place, avoiding his destined face-to-face with the Man in Black, Archie struggled, searching for a sense of purpose. [...] The only thing Archie knew for sure, was he was angry. And hitting things made it better. [...] With Hiram laid up the hospital, clinging for life, there was blood in the water. And sharks were closing in on the mobster's, Veronica Lodge. [...] Yes, we all had our problems. The town was drowning. And a hell of a good-looking one was about to walk through my door. [...] I didn't mind playing detective, especially for this price, but if I'd know then and there where this investigation would lead me, I never would've taken the money.

"Chapter Forty-Six: The Red Dahlia" is the eleventh episode of the third season of Riverdale, and the forty-sixth episode of the series overall.[2] It premiered on January 30, 2019.


KELLY RIPA GUEST STARS AS HIRAM’S MISTRESS — After one of their own becomes the target of an unseen assailant, the gang works together to get to the bottom of Riverdale's latest mystery. Meanwhile, Betty works with a surprising ally to piece together clues about a series of deaths in the town. Elsewhere, a spiraling Archie sets out on a new path, while Jughead comes face to face with Ms. Mulwray, Hiram's alleged mistress.[3]



Fangs, Jughead, and Sweet Pea lie about Tall Boy

In the Blue and Gold offices sits Jughead, typing away on his typewriter, documenting the sinister turn of events, one after another, that lead from Riverdale being a once decent and innocent place, to a noir town. A town of lost souls, each of them with a secret of their own that they’re trying to desperately keep. Jughead for instance, along with Sweet Pea and Fangs, are hiding Tall Boy’s death from FP. Unbeknownst to him, Tall Boy’s body lays under the bed as Jughead, Sweet Pea and Fangs fabricate a story, claiming that they drove Tall Boy to a bus station at gunpoint and forced him out of town. However, FP isn’t buying it considering Tall Boy murdered Joaquin. However, the boys stick to their stories. And with FP’s hands already full in search of Hiram’s would-be assassin, he lets it go, at least for the time being.

Betty discloses her suspicions to Hal

After discovering that Claudius Blossom has died while in his cell, Betty became infuriated, taking her anger and concern to her father. The Lodge Ledger is calling Claudius’ death a suicide, but Betty believes he was murdered, and suspects that Penelope Blossom was the culprit. Hal remarks that poison does in fact suit Penelope. But he can’t help but wonder why Betty is asking questions to begin with when no one else is. Betty explains that it’s wrong and that Penelope’s been getting away with murder for years. Darryl Doiley was poisoned with Oleander. Featherhead and the Sisters of Quiet Mercy were poisoned as well. Betty’s already found the pattern of murders disguised as suicides, so now Hal asks who else close to Penelope has died by suicide. Betty realizes that the only other person was Clifford Blossom, who hung himself. Hal wonders if that’s the entire story. Aside from Penelope, Cheryl was also there. So if there’s a witness then it’s not a perfect murder and Betty has a chance at proving her suspicions.

Archie gets into a fight with Vic

Meanwhile, Archie no longer feels under attack by Hiram, but he’s still haunted and struggles for his search of a purpose. And so, after thinking it over, reveals to his father that he’s having second thoughts on college, and now he would rather return to work at Andrews Construction. While there’s no shame in hard work, Fred questions Archie’s sudden change in heart. After everything he’s been through in the last few months, Archie wants to work with his hands and make peace with things. As luck would have it, Archie is back working on-site within the hour. With a sledgehammer in hand, Archie goes to work, slamming down on the concrete as his only sense of relief. Even when Vic calls for a break, Archie continues, this leads to a confrontation as Archie shoves Vic, which results in Vic kicking Archie off his crew.

Veronica gets a visit from Elio

With Hiram laid up in the hospital, just barely hanging onto life, the Lodge family has become vulnerable. While at La Bonne Nuit, Veronica is visited by Elio, who’s brought flowers on his family’s behalf. Elio claims that he delivered the flowers personally to let Veronica know that he’s hoping that Hiram pulls through. However, Veronica informs Elio that reports of her father’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, Elio warns Veronica about the potential attacks from other families as many are eager to swoop in on Hiram’s territory. Jobs like the hit on Hiram are very rare to go unfinished.

Jughead agrees to look into Hiram's shooter

Jughead’s writing is interrupted as Veronica enters the Blue and Gold with a job for him. She wants him to find out who shot her father. She pays him half the money upfront and assures him he’ll get the other half when he provides the name of the shooter. Veronica even gives him his first suspect, that being her own mother. Veronica recalls an argument between her parents just a few weeks ago that happened just before the quarantine when she had her seizure. She walked in on her mother berating her father on breaking a promise.

Jughead questions Hermione

Following Veronica’s directions, Jughead goes down to Town Hall to question the mayor, immediately asking if she shot Hiram, which Hermione claims to have had no involvement in. As records and witnesses will attest, she was on the phone with Hiram when he was shot. Jughead then asks what she and Hiram were arguing about when Veronica had her seizure. Hermione claims that Hiram was having an affair. She had become suspicious a while back and had Minetta follow him. He gave Hermione multiple photos of Hiram with a mysterious blonde woman. Apparently, Hiram was meeting her regularly at the Five Seasons. Hermione then asked him to end the affair and he supposedly did. She is sharing all this with Jughead because she has nothing to hide. She allows Jughead to keep the photos, alluding to the fact that maybe it was Hiram’s mistress that shot him, bitter after the breakup.

After having picked a fight with Vic the day before, Fred bans Archie from the job site. Archie claims he was only trying to do his job, but Fred isn’t interested in hearing it. Vic has been with him for a long time and Fred trusts him, but Archie doesn’t seem to care, walking off instead of communicating with his father. Fred then confronts Archie over the alcohol he found in his bedroom, to which Archie doesn’t stay to discuss, abruptly exiting the house.

Toni, Cheryl, Nana Rose, and Betty at Claudius' funeral

Betty attends Claudius’ funeral at Thistlehouse. There, she joins Cheryl, Toni, Penelope, and Nana Rose. At the podium, Penelope states that Claudius was never welcomed to Riverdale and that this is likely why he killed himself. Betty takes a seat next to Nana Rose, who is unconvinced by Penelope’s supposed grief. Afterward, Cheryl confronts Betty as she is well aware that Betty has ulterior motives for attending. Betty admits that she came to talk to Cheryl because people connected to her mother keep dying by poison or strange suicide, including her father. However, Cheryl has no interest in entertaining Betty, stating that her father’s death was nothing more than a suicide. Toni then approaches Betty, telling her to back off as Cheryl’s been through enough.

Sweet Pea and Fangs call Jughead back into the bunker to inform him that the Gargoyle Gang is riled up and looking for Tall Boy. And as long as his body is in the bunker, they’re all in danger. Unfortunately, it’s too risky to move him at the moment. Jughead orders Fangs to stay back with Tall Boy and lock the bunker down as he’ll need Sweet Pea to tail Hermione Lodge.

Veronica fires Nico and Leo

At Riverdale General, with the mob underworld smelling blood in the water, Veronica attempts to present a strong front, hoping to control the narrative, though Nico and Leo believe it may be too late for that. People are already talking as no one has seen Hiram lately and no one is collecting the vig, which angers Veronica. She wants to start collecting immediately but Nico and Leo have other ideas. They think it might be in the Lodges' best interest to align with Elio’s family, the Grandes. However, Veronica is very much against this. But as they remind her, Hiram took a bullet two inches from his heart and that their next move could be their last. So, she needs to be realistic. Rather than hearing them out, Veronica fires Nico and Leo, citing their inability to do their jobs.

Veronica calls her inner circle

After firing their last two capos, Veronica calls forth her inner circle, that being Reggie and Smithers. They need to show strength during a time of weakness. Smithers recalls a moment back in the trenches, where their numbers were greatly diminished and their enemy could storm the barricade at any moment. And so Smithers collected the helmets from their dead and propped them atop of their bayonets, high enough to create the illusion that their numbers were greater than they actually were, causing their enemies to pause. From that, Veronica comes up with an idea that’ll require Smithers’ bus driver cap.

Jughead and Betty stumble upon the Maple Club

Together, Betty and Jughead pick up the trail on Hiram’s mysterious blonde mistress. Starting at the Five Seasons. She may have wanted revenge after Hiram broke it off with her. Betty’s investigation into Claudius’ death is on hold until she hears back from Dr. Curdle Jr. Turns out there wasn’t an autopsy on Claudius. Penelope had him cremated, but Betty is hopeful that there’s something of use in Clifford’s autopsy report. The two of them come across a room with a glowing red emblem on the door. They knock, and when no one answers, they decide to let themselves in. They seem to have stumbled onto some kind of sex club. They meet a young lady named Laura. She explains they’ve entered what is known as the Maple Club. Jughead shows her a picture of Hiram’s mistress, and while initially reluctant, after Jughead bribes her with money, Laura reveals that she’s seen the woman before, telling them to try room 311. As they’re on their way out, Betty and Jughead bump into Penelope, who demands that they both leave. Betty and Jughead confront Penelope over her brothel, threatening to inform his dad should she not cooperate. In hopes of keeping Betty and Jughead quiet, Penelope agrees to answer their questions.

Penelope denies killing anyone

When Betty accuses Penelope of exploiting women, Penelope retorts that the women whom she chooses to employ aren’t victims. At the Maple Club, it is the men who suffer, as they specialize in domination. The ladies are making enough money to start new lives. While this may be true, Betty accuses Penelope of only helping herself, which she doesn’t deny. No one else has, Penelope explains. When she was eight years old, she was plucked from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy by the Blossom family. Jughead wonders if this could be motive and if Penelope killed the Sisters, though she claims to have done no such thing. Furthermore, it was the Monsignor who sold her, not the Sisters. As for Claudius, all Penelope knows is that he committed suicide. Even if it was murder, she maintains that it wasn’t her doing as she was right there at the Maple Club.

Afterward, as Betty and Jughead leave the hotel room, Betty is still very much suspicious of Penelope. Just as Jughead asks her to join him as he goes to check out room 311, Betty gets a message from Dr. Curdle. Jr., calling for her immediate attention, so the two part ways.

Josie gives Archie a cold shower

As Josie sings on stage at La Bonne Nuit, Archie drinks his pain away at the bar, with Reggie serving him. Reggie then declines to serve Archie any further as he requests another drink. He does, however, offer to call Archie cab, explaining that Veronica’s dealing with enough as it is, she doesn’t need Archie making a scene. As Archie begins to become unruly, he is roughed up by security, though Josie comes to his rescue, seeing Archie out and taking him home. Josie takes Archie into his bathroom and dumps him in the tub before turning on the cold water as he needs a cold shower.

Veronica comes to collect

Veronica arrives at the docks. With Smithers as the driver and Reggie in the back with his face hidden and only the hat on his head visible as he impersonates Hiram, Veronica begins collecting from all the businesses her father has a hand in. And her ruse works like a charm.

Betty arrives at the coroner’s office, where she meets with Curdle, who informs her that Penelope Blossom requested that there be no autopsy on Clifford. But Dr. Curdle Jr. ‘s father did one regardless out of sheer curiosity. While there was bruising around the esophagus, consistent with that of a hanging victim, tetrodotoxin, pufferfish venom, was also found in his bloodstream, meaning Clifford Blossom was already dead when he hung himself.

Josie advises Archie to get himself together

Josie concocts a home remedy consisting of lemon, ginger, and cayenne to sober Archie up. She asks where his dad is, to which Archie says that he’s at work. Archie would be too if he didn’t get fired after his first day for picking a fight. So, he went to drown his sorrows. While they didn’t talk much last year and she can’t even attempt to guess the hell Archie’s been through, Josie suggests that Archie channel his anger into something constructive like music. Or, if he’s in the mood to hit things, she recommends that he join Kevin’s dad, who boxes at the gym. Either way, Archie has to deal with his demons head-on. Archie agrees that he has to face this head-on, and there’s one person he hasn’t faced since returning to town, that being Hiram.

Veronica confronts her mother

While entering the day’s take into her father’s ledger, Veronica discovers a shady collection of invoices and receipts with her mother’s name on them, and so Veronica takes it upon herself to confront her mother. In digging a little deeper, Veronica discovered that her mother is a part of her father’s Fizzle Rocks empire. She also ordered the quarantine and paid the invoices. Hermione has an answer for all this. She found out that Hiram and Claudius were making drugs in the new prison and the Blossom maple factory. So, she told him to shut it down. She evens helped him create a distraction so that he could do it quickly and cleanly i.e. the quarantine. But then, Hiram lied to Hermione and took this opportunity to consolidate everything into the prison. Hermione wants no part of it just the same as Veronica. With them on the same page, Veronica comes up with a plan to destroy the Fizzle Rocks and the means of production, and burn it to the ground. However, Hermione recommends selling it. She already has a buyer lined up. He’s willing to take the drugs, the lab, and everything else.

Betty accuses Penelope of killing Clifford

Betty returns to the Maple Club to confront Penelope for murdering Clifford and Claudius. Betty knows everything, how she faked Clifford’s hanging and lied to the police. Betty presents Penelope with the proof; Clifford’s autopsy, which states that he was poisoned by pufferfish venom. While Betty may think she knows what Penelope has done, Penelope wonders if Betty has ever questioned why. Betty surmises that it’s simply because Penelope’s a serial killer who poisons people. Penelope corrects Betty in saying that she poisons men. She’s not admitting anything but they are the true poison. Clifford killed her son. Darryl was a Judas. And Claudius was a terrible man. He was responsible for all the seizures. Claudius was running a Fizzle Rocks operation from the Blossoms maple factory and dumping the runoff in Sweetwater River. The runoff from the manufacturing of the drug caused all the seizures, not the drug itself. As for why it only affected girls, not even Penelope had the answer to that. However, tests of the Sweetwater Reservoir were ordered and faked. But Claudius had every intention of continuing to poison the town with drugs. Just because someone’s a horrible person, doesn’t give her the right to kill them, Betty says. However, Penelope disagrees. Moreover, Betty did just that by handing Chic over to the Black Hood. So, if Betty insists on turning Penelope in, she’ll gladly do the same to Betty.

Jughead gets caught

Jughead gets caught after breaking into Hiram’s mistress’ room and rummaging through her work files. He picks up her Glamerge egg as she pulls out her gun and confronts him. While being held at gunpoint, Jughead explains that he’s only there to talk, calling her by her name, Mrs. Mulwray. She is forced to lower her weapon as Jughead points out that shooting him would result in the egg dropping to the ground and breaking. Jughead’s seen an egg just like it. Hiram likes to give them out as gifts, or as it seems in this case, payment. Mulwray admits that this is true and that the egg costs more than Jughead will ever know. Based on the things Jughead has found in her room, he knows that she’s a Health and Sanitation Inspector. The report says that she was sent to investigate Riverdale’s water supply, specifically the Sweetwater River and the reservoir. Given all the recent young women who had seizures in town, Mulwray was sent in to fix it. Sent in by Hiram, that is. He also made her write that letter to Governor Dooley, advising him to support the town-wide quarantine, Jughead concludes. Jughead’s also confused because the letter she wrote says the water is dirty but the report says the water is clean. So, she’s either lying to the governor or she faked the report. Or both. Mrs. Mulwray grows tired of Jughead’s accusations, telling him to leave before she calls security. Jughead leaves of his own free will, tossing up the egg as he exits. Mulwray manages to catch it, fortunately.

Sweet Pea and Jughead discover that Minetta is alive

Jughead then returns to the Blue and Gold to continue his writing, as he wonders why Hiram is faking water test reports and what he was hiding. And what any of it had to do with him getting shot. Jughead then gets a call from Sweet Pea, who’s followed Hermione Lodge as Jughead asked of him. Jughead meets Sweet Pea in the woods, just outside an old cabin. Just inside is Hermione, who is having an affair with Minetta, who was previously thought to be dead. From what Sweet Pea’s gathered, he and Hermione have been together for months. Just inside, Hermione informs Minetta that too many people are asking questions, which means that their problem, that being Hiram, needs to be taken out. She wants Minetta to use his old Sheriff’s gun. Then all signs will point to FP. Back outside the cabin, Jughead runs off to warn his dad as Sweet Pea stays behind to gather more intel.

Archie arrives at Riverdale General, entering Hiram’s room with a loaded gun and shutting the door behind him.

Jughead warns his father of Hermione's plan

Jughead finds his father at the sheriff station and warns him of Hermione’s plan to frame him for Hiram’s murder. FP is in disbelief as he too was under the impression that Minetta was dead. He and Hermione plan on finishing Hiram off and pinning it on FP. Before arriving at the station, Jughead stopped by the coroner’s office to confront Curdle. A week ago, the torso of Minetta supposedly was found without its head and hands. Jughead demanded answers as to who told Curdle to fake Minetta’s death. Curdle revealed that he was told to do so by Hermione. With that, Jughead then came to the station. They’re going to try to put this all on FP, which is why he has to arrest them. Unfortunately, he can’t, as it was FP who shot Hiram. Hermione came to him as she wanted Hiram dead as well. FP hadn’t forgotten about riot night when the Ghoulies nearly killed Jughead, and he wanted revenge for that. But if he and Hermione tried to kill Hiram, then why would she appoint him Sheriff, Jughead asks. FP explains that it was his payment. Luckily for FP, Jughead has an idea, which will require Alice’s help. But Jughead first reveals that Tall Boy is dead.

Archie plans to kill Hiram

Archie stands over an unconscious Hiram and contemplates killing him. Archie points his gun, but as he does, someone enters the room, forcing Archie to retreat to the corner. Unbeknownst to Archie, it is Minetta. Archie can not make out who the intruder is as he is wearing a mask but it is clear that he is there to finish Hiram, and though this what Archie came to do as well, he stops the attack, shooting Hiram’s attacker and scaring him off.

FP outsmarts Hermione

Hermione arrives at the sheriff station to find Alice preparing FP for his interview. FP announces that they’ve caught Hiram’s shooter. He claims it was Tall Boy. It seems that Hiram kept him alive in a secret cabin in the north to carry out odd jobs for him. Tall Boy allegedly resisted arrest and got violent, forcing FP to discharge his firearm, and thus Tall Boy died on the way to the hospital. Alice then tells Hermione that she would like to interview her next to get a better understanding of her perspective as both the mayor and wife of the victim. Realizing that she has been outsmarted, Hermione is forced to play along.

Veronica goes to Reggie with her suspicion that her mother may have hired someone to shoot her father so that she could make a profit from the sale of his drug operation. So, Veronica devises a plan to break into the prison, burn the drugs and destroy the equipment before her mother can sell it. Veronica then gets a call from Archie, and she leaves Reggie to meet him.

Archie and Hiram have a truce

Once there, Archie updates her on the attack on her father’s life. After checking in on her father, Veronica hugs Archie. While she’s grateful for his actions, she asks what Archie was doing there. Archie lies and tells her that he came looking for her, to apologize for his actions at the speakeasy. Veronica also apologizes for ever thinking that Archie would’ve shot her father. While there may have been a time when he would’ve, Archie doesn’t hate Hiram anymore. Veronica then informs Archie that her father’s awake and that he’d like to speak with him. But before Archie goes in, Veronica reminds him that she’ll always be there for him if he ever needs a shoulder. Archie and Hiram meet face-to-face for the first time since Archie’s return to Riverdale. Veronica told Hiram how Archie saved his life from an armed, masked, assailant. While they’ve been locked in a battle for some time now, Archie never set out to be his enemy. All he wants now is to live in Riverdale in peace. With that, Hiram sees no reason for them to continue fighting, so he proposes a truce. He won’t move against Archie so long as Archie doesn’t move against him. Archie agrees and the two shake on it.

Veronica meets back up with Reggie, and together, they burn all the Fizzle Rocks. As for what she'll tell her parents when they ask, Veronica says that she'll tell them the truth. Or maybe she won't.

Hal wonders if Betty can ever forgive him

Betty’s encounter with Penelope has shaken her world view and there was only one person she could talk to about it, that being her father. Betty reveals to Hal that she found proof of Penelope killing Clifford. Hal is impressed, asking what Betty plans to do next. But, not even she knows. She thought that she would turn Penelope in, but hearing her talk, seeing how she’s living her life and how she’s been twisted, Betty almost feels pity for her. Hal explains that he and Penelope are products of their environment. Raised by those who taught them a twisted sense of right from wrong. Hal asks if Betty still believes that Penelope’s a monster who deserves to be in jail. However, Betty isn’t sure. Maybe not every murderer is guilty and maybe not every victim is innocent, Betty says. She starts to interpret the world in shades of grey rather than black and white. Hal wonders if one day Betty will ever manage to see him in that same compassionate light.

Archie asks Josie if they can play together

Archie approaches Josie at the bar and thanks her for taking care of him and setting him straight when he got drunk. He’d been thinking about her advice in regards to doing something constructive, and Josie reassures him that Kevin’s dad would be more than willing to box with him. Archie then asks Josie if she would be up to jamming out together like they used to. She happily agrees, but only if Archie sings back up.

Hermione confronts Veronica for burning the drugs

Hermione confronts Veronica after discovering that she burned all the Fizzle Rocks. Veronica admits that she, along with Reggie destroyed the drugs and equipment. Hermione reminds Veronica that she had a buyer lined up and that they paid in advance. However, Veronica isn’t too concerned, suggesting that her mother just give the money back to the buyer. However, she can’t. Hermione used the money to pay off Governor Dooley to keep their names clean. The buyer's coming. And when they find out there aren’t any drugs, they’ll want blood. Veronica changes the subject from what she did to what her mother did and the fact that she’s not the only one who knows it.

Jughead is pressed by Hermione

Hermione finds Jughead at the Blue and Gold after realizing his involvement in it all. Jughead reveals what he’s learned, that Hiram’s mistress works for the Sanitation Department, and doctored false water reports for him. Jughead also knows about the runoff of the Fizzle Rocks manufactured in the Blossom maple factory. How it poisoned Sweetwater River, thus the cause for the seizure. That’s why Hiram had to doctor those reports, to cover himself. It’s also why he moved his drug lab to the prison, away from the water supply. Jughead surmises that Hermione was upset about his drug lab and what it was doing to all the girls in town. Soon after, she hired Jughead’s dad to shoot Hiram. And when that didn’t work, she tried to finish the job with Minetta and frame Jughead’s dad. As for why she did it, it was for Veronica, as Hermione knew he was responsible for her seizure. Hermione admits all this is true. Although, Jughead's forgetting one thing. Last year, Hiram hired Tall Boy to take shots at her during the mayoral debate. Jughead takes this to mean that the shot at Hiram’s life all stemmed behind revenge and that after he was dead, that Hermione would run off with Minetta to have a happy little life together. Unfortunately for Jughead, he can’t tell anyone about this because if Hermione goes down, she’ll take his father down with her. And so, the two will have to keep each other's secret.

Hermione lays in bed with Minetta in the hidden cabin in the woods. As she gets up, he asks her to get him a cigarette. He then wonders what they’re going to do about FP and Jughead as they’re loose ends. Hermione, in her own attempt to tie up loose ends, kills Minetta, firing five rounds.

"Forget it, Jughead. It’s Riverdale."

As Jughead finishes his writing, Veronica joins him in the Blue and Gold to find out who shot her father. After he woke up, it was the first thing he asked. Veronica told him it was Tall Boy, and she thinks he bought it. So, if it’s good enough for her father, it’s good enough for her. With that, Veronica gives Jughead the second half of his payment. As she exits, he asks if she wants to know who really shot her father, but she doesn’t care, simply stating "Forget it, Jughead. It’s Riverdale."



Guest Starring




  • The episode title may come from the second novel of the Anna Travis book series of the same name.
    • It may also either derive from the 1946 American noir film The Blue Dahlia, or a 1947 American murder that is widely known as the "Black Dahlia" case.
  • Several references to the 1974 American noir film Chinatown are made in this episode.
    • Hiram's mistress Mrs. Mulwray is named after one of the main characters of the movie.[4]
    • Her being a water inspector is a reference to the mystery of the movie being about water supplies.[4]
    • Veronica says "Forget it, Jughead, it's Riverdale." Which is an adaptation of the last line of the film.[4]


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