Endeavour Episode, PREY (Series 3, Episode 3): Review + Locations, Literary References, Music etc. SPOILERS.

Hello everyone and welcome to a new post. Sorry that there has not been a post recently but I’m working hard on my book about the Endeavour series which I am hoping to have finished within the next two weeks.


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Early June 1967. The missing persons case of Danish au pair Ingrid Hjort proves far from routine, pulling Endeavour into the duelling worlds of Oxford scientific academia, the city’s vast parks, as well as an urban legend said to haunt the untamed wilderness of the Oxfordshire countryside. Fred thinks there may be a connection to another girl in 1963, Sandra Jordan. Sandra was found badly injured and is in a coma. Sandra also attended the college that the missing girl was last seen. Strange has been promoted to Sergeant so is technically Endeavour’s superior. Meanwhile the Mortmaigne family are looking to turn the grounds of Crevecour Hall into a safari park. However…


Directed by Lawrence Gough – No other connection to the Morse Universe.
Written by – Colin Dexter (characters), Russell Lewis (written and devised by). Russell has written all the Endeavour episodes. He also wrote;
Lewis (TV Series) (screenplay – 4 episodes, 2010 – 2012) (story – 1 episode, 2006)
– Fearful Symmetry (2012) … (screenplay)
– Old, Unhappy, Far Off Things (2011) … (screenplay)
– Falling Darkness (2010) … (screenplay)
– The Dead of Winter (2010) … (screenplay)
– Reputation (2006) … (story)

He also wrote the Morse episode, ‘The Way Through the Woods’.

My Review

The premise of a tiger on the prowl in the Oxford countryside is ridiculous. It’s about as ridiculous as a fire at a Sea Parks. It’s a plot device that would never have been entertained in either the Morse or the Lewis series.

It is also ridiculous that no one saw or heard the tiger in all its time in captivity or when it escapes. Wytham Woods is a popular destination for ramblers, birdwatchers, lovers etc. But we are to believe no one happened across the tiger where it was caged. Which by the way could never contain an animal as big as a tiger. The ‘caged’ area was a ramshackle mix of bits of wood and chicken wire.

A tiger’s roar can be heard over a mile away. That’s about 2km. So, nobody over the years heard its roar while walking in the woodland?

One could argue that big cats have been seen in the British countryside but there has been no convincing evidence this is true. But even if there was evidence for such a thing to make it a plot device in a crime drama is asking the audience to suspend their disbelief to almost broken point.

However, if one ignores the ridiculous tiger plot there is a good episode lurking among the undergrowth. There is an enjoyable amount of tension in the episode, and I don’t mean in regard to the tiger. One area of tension is the investigation into the missing people and the subsequent interactions with possible suspects. The tension between Thursday and Hodges is fascinating and we see it boil over with Thursday assaulting his suspect. The writing and the acting of the aforementioned suspects was very good and kept this reviewer wondering who was involved in the young au pair’s disappearance.

The more interesting slice of tension was between Strange and Endeavour and at times between Endeavour and Thursday. With Strange getting promotion to sergeant and thus making him Endeavour’s superior makes Endeavour’s annoyance palpable. This is greatly illustrated in the scene in the police station when Strange indicates to Endeavour to answer the phone that is ringing in another room.

Endeavour’s frustration continues when Thursday tells him to investigate the disappearance of a bird watcher in Wytham Woods. Morse would rather continue the investigation into the missing au pair. However, we know that this seemingly trivial matter of a missing bird watcher will put Endeavour in the thick of a major investigation. The tension between Thursday and Endeavour continues when Endeavour must pull Thursday off the suspect, Hodges.

There are many good scenes in the episode. Two that stand out for me are the scene with San and Fred and the scene where Bright tells his story of the man-eating tiger when he was stationed in India. Both are well acted, and both create an emotional response that is honest. Sam and Fred have a son and father heart to heart while Bright’s story, related wonderfully by Anton Lesser, is a masterclass in storytelling, tension and acting. Bright’s story is reminiscent of the story told by Quint (Robert Shaw) in the film Jaws about the events of the Indianapolis ship. (Of course, there are many connections to that Steven Spielberg film throughout the episode).

Fred Thursday trying to tell his son Sam, that he loves him is sublime. We watch Fred stutter and stammer while he tries to find the words to tell Sam that he loves him. Those words never make their way out of Fred’s mouth but he does get close by saying, “I’m proud of you, you know that.”

As many of my subscribers will know I have always said that prey is the worst episode in the Endeavour series. I was blinded by the ridiculous tiger plotline and found it hard to get beyond that. Before watching the episode for review purposes, I had only viewed it three times. But as my review above shows I was wrong in believing it to be the worst episode.

However, I wish the tiger plotline had been replaced with something like a serial killer, or a sadistic cult. I understand Russell saying in an interview that his idea came from knowing rich people in the UK kept wild animals, in particular big cats. But, in a serious crime drama like Endeavour it doesn’t work.

The end scene in the maze perversely is missing tension. We know that Endeavour cannot be killed or mauled or seriously injured. It was beyond stupefying for Endeavour to enter the maze without a weapon. But on ignoring the tiger storyline and other misdemeanours my score is…

Episode Jag rating – out of ten.


Where’s Colin?


I couldn’t find Colin anywhere else in this episode. This is the best guess I can make but this is as clear a picture we can get in this scene.


(All ‘modern’ music is what was used in the original UK broadcast. For legal and copyright reasons the music may be different in broadcasts in other countries and on DVD.)

At the beginning of the episode we have a montage and playing over it is BACH’s Mass in B Minor BWV 232.

At 13m a group of young people are sitting around a fire. One of the girls is singing Scarborough Fair the Simon and Garfunkel song.

Endeavour is at home listening to music. He is listening to “Slavonic Dances” Dance No. 10 by Dvorak.

At 29m Endeavour is searching for the missing bird watcher and hears music. Overture of Don Giovanni by Mozart.

Strange at 34m brings Endeavour a present. It’s an album by James Last. They listen to a track, Going Home by  James Last.

strange's house warming gift for morse

As an aside the shot of the album cover is edited out of the British DVD version.

Up next is one of my favourite composers, Eric Satie. In this episode we hear at 58m42s Satie’s Gnossienne No. 2 (Lent).


Literary References.

At the end Thursday says about Win being gone for six days, “Longest six days of my life.” Endeavour replies, “And on the seventh, he rested.” In Genesis 2:2-3 New King James Version  “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day”



At 2m20s we see the Raimer College.

This is the mansion house at Carmel College, within the grounds of Mongewell Park near Wallingford, Oxfordshire.


At 3m we see the exterior of Endeavour’s flat.

I created a video of my search for this location. Watch my video by clicking HERE. The address of Endeavour’s new flat is 14 Wellington Square for those who don’t wish to watch the video.


At 5m we see the exterior of the police station. The Oxford Police Station.

This is actually Southgate Town Hall, 6 Palmerston Cres, Palmers Green, London N13 4UA.


At 9m Endeavour arrives at Crevecoeur Hall.

Crevecoeur Hall is actually Rousham House and Gardens, Rousham, Bicester.

crevecouer hall2


At 20m Endeavour is investigating a possible drowning. But it turns out a boy the girl was with has disappeared.

The bridge the High Bridge over River Cherwell, Oxford.


At 25m Endeavour and Thursday are seen walking through the corridor that connects Radcliffe Square with the Bodleian Quad.


Endeavour meets Max coming off a bus.

This is looking from Catte Street onto Radcliffe Square.


Endeavour and Craven are talking at about 55m.

This is St James the Less Church, Dorney Parish Church, Court Ln, Dorney, Windsor SL4 6QP.



Endeavour talks to Georgina at around 56 minutes.

This is St James the Less Church, Dorney Parish Church, Court Ln, Dorney, Windsor SL4 6QP.

Two unidentified locations.



At around the one minute mark we are in the kitchen of the doctor and we hear a radio announcer, “Egyptian airfields came under heavy bombardment from Israeli war planes. There are further reports of fighting between Israeli and Egyptian troops. This is in reference to what was called the six-day war.


At around 11m Bright and Thursday are talking about the missing au pair. Fred mentions a connection to a case back in 1963. The girl was badly beaten and is now in a coma. Bright says, “Awful thing, to lose a daughter. Or as good as. Any child.” This is alluding to Bright’s daughter Dulcie who died in India.


The young people sitting around a fire and then a girl gets up followed by a young man. The young man chases her playfully through the woodland. They begin to undress to go swimming. Of course, this is reminiscent of the Steven Spielberg film, Jaws.


The taxidermy in the office of the caretaker Turnbull is reminiscent of the stuffed animals in the office of Norman Bates in the film Psycho.


There are many references to the film jaws that this episode could be seen as an homage to the film. The ripped tent of Dr the birdwatcher Dr Moxem resembles the ripped and torn inflatable in Jaws that the young boy was lying on before the shark takes him.


At one hour and 7m, Turnbull while being interviewed by Endeavour and Thursday says, “Old Tom was chiming ten by the time I got back into town”. ‘Old Tom’ refers to Tom Tower that is a bell tower in Oxford, named for its bell, Great Tom. It is over Tom Gate, on St Aldates, the main entrance of Christ Church, Oxford, which leads into Tom Quad.


Endeavour comes across a book in Dr. Hector Lorenz’s house titled, The Leopard Men of West Africa.


The book appears to be a mock up specifically for the show. The only book I could find of a similar nature was, Man-Leopard Murders: History and Society in Colonial Nigeria by one David Pratten. The book’s blurb states that, “This book is an account of murder and politics in Africa, and an historical ethnography of southern Annang communities during the colonial period. Its narrative leads to events between 1945 and 1948 when the imperial gaze of police, press and politicians was focused on a series of mysterious deaths in south-eastern Nigeria attributed to the ‘man-leopard society’.”


Ingrid Hjort, is the Danish au pair. Hjort means deer. Get it!


Craven, the gamekeeper of sorts, is out surreptitiously looking for the escaped tiger. This is why we see him at various times and why he is following police movements.


Two people say, “It’s in the trees….” “It’s coming.” This is a reference to the Kate Bush song, The Hounds of Love and the film Night of the Demon a 1957 British horror film starring dana Andrews.


While in the maze looking for the tiger Craven realises the tiger is behind him. he says, “clever girl.” This is reference to the scene in Jurassic park when a raptor gets behind the hunter played by Bob Peck.


Max says on examining the remains of the boy: “This was no punting accident! It wasn’t a boat-propeller.” This is referencing the film Jaws.


Ricky Martin, the young man who appeared at first to have drowned is named after the tiger in the novel, Life of Pi.


The maze is a photoshop.


The tiger was photoshopped into many of the the scenes at the end in the maze. In an interview with D.M. Barcroft, Russell Lewis said.

DAMIAN: It’s obviously credit to the special effects team that I’m even asking this question but what exactly was shot with a real tiger and what was CGI?

RUSS: It was all real tiger, clever editing, and ‘comping’. We did a two-day shoot with the real Shere Khan, at a sanctuary rather than transporting it to set. Its well-being was paramount, and we didn’t want filming to disturb its regular life and habits any more that the absolute minimum. Aside from setting a couple of maze hedge walls into its enclosure, and encouraging it to take an interest in the pram – which was achieved on the rangers’ advice by loading the vehicle with its lunch – what you see onscreen is pure legerdemain.


Thanks to Paul in the comments section who mentioned the similarities to the Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. It had crossed my mind, but I couldn’t remember enough about the story to think of any connections. Paul wrote “Craven as Stapleton and the Mortmaignes as the Baskervilles. Obviously, the storyline isn’t exactly a match but it’s hard to avoid the comparison.”


Actors who appeared in the PREY Episode and/or Morse or Lewis or other Endeavour Episodes.

No actors in this episode have appeared in either Morse or Lewis.

Connections, other than actors, to the original Morse and Lewis series and other Endeavour episodes.

We meet Phillip Hathaway.

Phillip Hathaway is father to James Hathaway (played by Laurence Fox in the Lewis series)

We get to meet the older Phillip Hathaway in series nine of the Lewis series.


Nicholas Jones as the older Philip Hathaway in the Lewis episode One for Sorrow (Series 9, Episode 1).


In the scene in the pub at 35m with Strange and Endeavour we have two connections to the original Morse series. Strange says, “There you go. Radford’s.
That was right, wasn’t it?” Radfords brewery is the main focus of the Morse episode, Sins of the Fathers. The second connection is when Endeavour says, “Thanks. Bit cloudy.” This reminiscent of the older Morse saying a similar thing to Lewis in the episode, A Way Through the Woods.


The bridge where we see the young student and Endeavour.

This is the same bridge we see George Fancy and Trewlove kissing in the Endeavour episode, Quartet.


The Mortmaigne family also turned up in the Lewis episode, The Dead of Winter, (Series 4, Episode 1). I have been trying to piece together the family tree to this family and the following is the best I could do. The Earl of Mortmaigne Hall had four children;

Guy Mortmaigne played Ben Lambert.

Georgina Mortmaigne played by Stefanie Martini.

Julia Mortmaigne played by Amy McCallum.

and finally Augustus Mortmaigne who we don’t see in the Prey episode played by Richard Johnson in the Lewis episode.


Guy Mortmaigne states in the Endeavour episode that he is a ‘spare’ which will be a reference to the phrase, ‘heir and a spare’. This ‘spare’ is the second son who is Guy. In the Endeavour episode, Ride, Kay Belborough mentions that they are off to Kenya and staying in a house owned by Guy Mortmaigne. Is it possible that this is where Augustus Mortmaigne was during the time of the Endeavour episode?

Augustus had two children, Scarlett with his now dead wife, Jocinta and Titus with his current wife, Selena.


Scarlett played by Camilla Arfwedson


Titus played by Jonathan Bailey


In Dead of Winter Selena is Augustus’s current wife.

Then there is Philip Coleman the nephew of Augustus.

philip coleman

Philip Coleman played by Nathaniel Parker

Russell Lewis did write the Lewis episode some six years before the Endeavour episode. Julia Mortmaigne has a baby in the Prey episode called Milo. Is Philip, Milo’s half brother, Julia possibly remarrying sometime later? What happened to baby Milo?


Endeavour finds Thursday sitting at the bedside of Sandra Jordan.

This is reminiscent of the older Morse sitting at the bedside of Michael Steppings daughter in the Morse episode, Deadly Slumber.

Pub Locations

At 3m30s the students learning Spanish visit a pub. I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s the The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, Beaconsfield HP9 1XT.


Endeavour and Strange go out for a drink at 35m.

This is The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green, Beaconsfield HP9 1XT.



Ingrid Hjort, Danish au pair.

Killed by a tiger. However, Georgina Mortmaigne is partly to blame. She doused Dr Lorenz’s handkerchief with female tiger musk in the hope that the tiger would kill him but unfortunately Ingrid borrowed the hankie.


The birdwatcher Dr Moxem.

Killed by a tiger.


The young boy at first deemed to have drowned, Ricky Parker.

Killed by a tiger.


Dr Hector Lorenz.

Killed by a tiger.

Another victim of the tiger.

Another victim of the tiger.


Hodges attacked Sandra in 1963 who is now in a coma.




At around 2m30s the janitor tells Ingrid Hjort that the telephone is “school business, not private calls.” This reminded me of the Morse episode Masonic Mysteries. In that episode the janitor says to Beryl Newsome when she apparently receives a call during a rehearsal, “We’re not supposed to take private calls. Not really.”


Sandra Jordan was found badly beaten in 1963 and is now in a coma. In the Morse episode Deadly Slumber, Steppings’ (Brian Cox) daughter is in a coma after a botched surgery procedure.


At 15m30s Endeavour visits Turnbull’s office. There he finds shrunken heads.

This is reminiscent of the a scene in the Lewis episode, Expiation. In that episode the shrunken heads are in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford.


In the same scene as above we see stuffed animals, examples of taxidermy. Taxidermy plays a part in the Lewis episode One For Sorrow..


At 19m Phillip is talking to Craven. Craven says, “You know bloody well who.” Hathaway corrects him, “Whom”. This is the kind of thing James Hathaway, and the older Morse would have done.


At 22m we meet Professor Kemp.

There was a Doctor Theodore Kemp in the Morse episode, The Wolvercote Tongue.

Both characters were obnoxious and rude.


At 25m Thursday tells Endeavour a bird watcher has gone missing in Wytham Woods. Wytham Woods is most famous in the Morse Universe in its connection to the Morse episode, A Walk Through the Woods. Russell Lewis wrote the screenplay for that episode.


Professor Kemp tells Endeavour et all that Dr DeBryn has, “Fly fishing on the Tay”. (The Tay is the River Tay in Scotland). This connects, tenuously, to the Morse episode Dead on Time. In that episode a doctor who had been treating the murder/suicide victim was missing from the inquiry due to him fly fishing in Scotland.



At around one hour and six minutes Starnge comes into Fred’s office and says; “Just got off the blower with the Taffs.” This is a slang term for people from Wales.



Darrell D’Silva as Geoff Craven

Ben Lambert as Guy Mortmaigne

Peter Forbes as Hodges

Eleanor Williams as Ingrid Hjort

Sean Rigby as DS Jim Strange

Shaun Evans as DC Endeavour Morse

Milo Twomey as Dr. Hector Lorenz

John Draycott as Turnbull

Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday

Sam Coulson as Mark Bryden

Georgina Mortmaigne played by Stefanie Martini

Rob Callender as Philip Hathaway

Anton Lesser as Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright

Hugh Simon as Professor Kemp

Amy McCallum as Julia Mortmaigne


Author: Chris Sullivan

Up until a few years ago I was my mum's full time carer. She died in, 2020, of Covid. At the moment I am attempting to write a novel.

20 thoughts

  1. Hi Chris , great insightful writing. Thank you . Tried to make a payment a couple of times via PayPal but the link doesn’t seem to work . Best regards Phil

  2. Hi again , been able to donate using the link at end of article . The link at the start doesn’t seem to work. Thanks again for your brill efforts . Best wishes Phil

    1. Thank you Phil for the donation. I have fixed the ‘broken’ Paypal button.

  3. Thanks, Chris, for all the work you put into this review. Yes, the tiger plotline is absurd. So are many “Endeavour” plotlines, but this one takes the cake. But, as you say, there’s a reasonably good episode hiding in here. As I have said in my comments before, I continue to watch “Endeavour” for the characters, acting, sets, costumes, and locations. I will add that I also enjoy the quirky “UK-isms”, as well. I have given up on “Endeavour” offering any sort of decently well-written crime drama. “Prey” offers a lot of the things I appreciate but does not offer a believable plotline. You mention some of the good, such as Mr. Bright’s recounting the tiger episode in India. Well acted. It was also great to see Mr. Bright be vindicated when he saves the day in the maze. I have grown to like Mr. Bright’s character more and more as I have watched the series.

    You pointed out the many references to “Jaws” in this episode. This was perhaps the only episode where I got so many of the references, as I have not seen the original “Morse” series yet. I was waiting for someone to work in something similar to the line “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” into this episode. Maybe a constable with a night stick sights the tiger and says “I think I’m going to need a gun”. Okay, I’ll stop trying to be a writer.

    1. Hi Lawrence. Thank you for your lovely comment. It’s always nice to know that the website is appreciated. I like your idea regarding referencing the famous Jaws line. I’m surprised it wasn’t part of the script. It could have worked to comic effect if during the scenes when they are searching for the tiger through the woodland with one of the constables getting scared and paraphrasing the Jaws line with something like, ‘I wish I had a bigger gun.’

  4. Hi Chris. Great review. It’s always worth going back to any Endeavour, Morse or Lewis episode you initially didn’t like and giving it a second chance. I’ve always thought that Prey could have been a fantastic episode but the execution was poor. For my money I’d say the inspiration is pretty clearly Hound of the Baskervilles with Craven as Stapleton and the Mortmaignes as the Baskervilles. Obviously the storyline isn’t exactly a match but it’s hard to avoid the comparison. The other distant reference is clearly the Beast of Gévaudan myth. Bodies that look as though they’ve been mauled by a giant beast piling up and so on. Neither of those rich seems get mined very deeply though.
    Russell Lewis must also have had in mind people like John Aspinall and his tigers. I think he missed a chance though to develop a much more interesting storyline in that regard. Namely the myth and mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lord Lucan and the sometimes popular theory that he committed suicide and was fed to a tiger to get rid of the body. It seemed like an obvious line to take but sadly I always come up empty handed when I look for references in Prey (which being set in 1967 obviously predates the Lucan affair).
    In any event the whole episode falls a little flat for me in spite of having a lot of potential.

    1. Hi Paul. I have never heard that story regarding Lord Lucan being eaten by a tiger. I had thought about the Hound of the Baskervilles but as I hadn’t read the book in a long time I wasn’t sure if the connection worked. However, I will add your info to my post in the miscellaneous section.

  5. you didn’t include the Tiger in the cast LOL. Sadly, this episode was the one that confirmed to me my complete indifference to the Endeavour series. If they had decided to do the tiger plot line and play it as camp, that might have been interesting for a one off, but they did not. In TV mythology there is a well defined point in any series where it is considered to have “jumped the shark” and I feel that Prey is a fantastic example.

    1. Hi Thomas. That’s an interesting thought regarding playing it camp with their collective tongues placed firmly in their cheek. That would have worked better.

  6. It might be worth mentioning that the character Craven could also be a nod to the Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter, a goateed, lion’s mane vest-wearing Russian baddie that will be the subject of a live-action film later this year (2023). Also, Stefanie Martini would go on to star in the short-lived “Prime Suspect” prequel “Tennyson,” in effect placing her in two prequel series to highly-regarded mysteries, “Inspector Morse” and “Prime Suspect.” (Unfortunately, the creator of Jane Tennyson reportedly did not like Martini in the title role and withdrew the rights for another series/season. I had always thought it would have made for a great crossover or cameo opportunity by the time “Endeavour” caught up to the early 1970s era of “Tennyson.”)

    1. That’s a good connection regarding one of Spiderman’s nemesis. The Prime Suspect prequel was terrible and didn’t deserve a second series.

  7. I saw this episode last night (I’m fairly new to the Endeavour universe, and quite obsessed). Very glad to have found this brilliant website, with so much detail.
    A pretty daft episode in many ways, but as you say Chris, good things in it, like the Endeavour/Strange scenes and the insight into Bright’s previous life. I found myself wondering about his age – I don’t know at what age police officers retired at that time.

  8. Prey was beyond ridiculous in parts, but has it’s good moments too.

    When Bright was mentioning about India he mentioned Pankot Palace and the Thugee incident in 1935. This is of course Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – so referencing another Spielberg film.

    1. Hi Mark. By coincidence I added that reference about two weeks ago to my Endeavour book.

  9. Actually, this episode is one of my favorites. I think the tiger plot line was believable considering the burgeoning safari parks being founded in britain at the time and aspinall’s keeping tigers and bears at his home. True, its not realistic that no one would have heard or found the tiger in the woods but there have been many aspects of endeavour that are not believable. We suspend our disbelief to enjoy the show. I loved watching the tiger and was impressed with the filming of it. Beautiful creature. The acting was top notch and i enjoyed learning more about Bright and Thursday’s pasts. Also, enjoyed the interactions between Strange and Endeavour. Stephani Martini was excellent in the role. I liked her in Tennyson as well and enjoyed that brief series. All the references to Jaws, Life of Pie, and other films were fun as well.

    1. To simply put him in danger and to try and heighten tension. A gun not firing is a plot device that has been used in countless films and TV series.

  10. Chris, thanks for your work. I don’t always agree with you but I so appreciate your dedication to the Morse universe. What a body of work – I’m rereading the Morse novels now. Best wishes from Seattle.

  11. Good review! I don’t think the episode’s premise is as ridiculous as you suggest, though. You’re quite right that it would be impossible to keep a tiger without someone hearing or seeing it. But isn’t that the point of the ‘Beast of Binsey’ legend Strange mentions? There have been stories of a big cat in the area for a while, so surely Brutus the tiger is the Beast of Binsey. I really enjoyed this episode personally. I liked that it led the audience to think there was a human killer disguising their crimes as big-cat attacks. The reveal that it actually is a tiger has to be one of the biggest twists the series has pulled off. I loved it! As a side note, Russell Lewis, creator and writer of Endeavour, appeared in the horror anthology film Tales that Witness Madness (1973) when he was a child actor. In his segment of the film, he plays a young boy who befriends an imaginary (or so his parents think…) tiger! I like to think Lewis was referencing this when he came up with the idea for this episode.

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