Billions Season 5 Trailer: Anyone Can Be Bought But No One Can Be Trusted *UPDATED*

Damianista’s note: This article was originally published on March 23. I have been able to extract more juice from Official Trailer #2 and “Top Dog” teaser and updated the post accordingly. ENJOY!

First things first: I hope everyone is doing well and staying home during these surreal times.

My earlier “What to Expect When We are Expecting Billions Season 5” post was based on my own thoughts and a few hints from the first Season 5 teaser trailer. The recently dropped official Season 5 trailer, and a second teaser, while answering a question or two I had, makes me ask hundred more 😀

We all know they edit trailers in a way that they do not give away much but a taste of what is coming. Still, I cannot help dive deep into the trailer, dissect it, try to put the pieces together and ultimately have fun! Speculation rocks until we have Billions back on TV on May 3 9:00PM ET/PT.

So shall we?

Now that the BFFs Axe and Chuck – at least seemingly – won Season 4 by defeating the young rebels Taylor and Bryan as well as eliminating the true villains Andolov and Jeffcoat from their lives, what is next for them?

In the opening moments of the official Season 5 trailer, Axe mini-lectures someone, most probably Taylor, on what kind of people the two of them are:

“People like us… We’re different. We need power. We need it to feel alive, maybe even to be alive.”

Axe’s words remind us of the “eat or be eaten” nature of the world Billions characters are living in. And the trailer tagline “anyone can be bought but no one can be trusted” hints that alliances will form and shift like sand while trust will remain as the most valuable currency in Season 5.

We have already seen in Season 4 finale Extreme Sandbox that the most incredible alliance of all, the one that can move mountains if needed, may be on thin ice in Season 5 thanks to yet another impulsive reaction by Chuck!

It seems like there is a switch in Chuck’s brain that turns on when he is extremely pissed off and makes him do something outrageous. Exactly like when Chuck sees Axe and Wendy talking and laughing on Axe Capital balcony and sneaks into Wendy’s laptop that night to get information about her session with Mick Danzig! Or exactly like when Chuck learns that Axe bought his Churchill books and he starts his Ice Juice play in which he sells out his father and his best friend to get Axe! So it seems like this switch in Chuck’s brain is about his feelings about the relationship Wendy has with Axe! And, surprise, the switch turns on again in Season 4 Finale when Chuck finds out Axe has saved Wendy’s medical license. Lo and behold, Chuck asks Taylor whether they would consider taking Axe down together!

Well, I admit Axe has been rubbing Chuck the wrong way in the last few episodes of Season 4. For starters, Axe cutting his vacation short to attend Wendy’s mock interview and Wendy’s schoolgirl smile upon seeing that Axe is there for her have been quite hard for the insecure Chuck to swallow.

Axe and Wendy’s special relationship has always been Chuck’s soft spot. In addition, I do not think Axe telling him in Season 4 Finale that he should go arrest Taylor rather than wasting his time does not well with Chuck! But Axe saving Wendy’s medical license through a $25M donation to pancreatic cancer research led by the chair of the medical board is what brings Chuck to the edge! His words to Taylor shows that he genuinely believes it is Bobby Axelrod who has robbed him of his good qualities.

“When I look at the shambles my life has become… From my firing, to my public disgrace, to my election with strings attached, to the destruction of my marriage, to my family falling into disrepair Ah, did I make mistakes to cause it? Perhaps. But a truer reckoning is: it all tracks back to one source. One man. A man so corrosive, so virulently infective as to strip me of every good quality I ever had: my kindness, my empathy, my sense of justice. Maybe even my ability to love.”

And the man Chuck believes that has stripped him of every good quality he ever had seems to accept the compliment when a rival calls him a monster in Season 5 trailer.

“Yes, I am a monster. A carnivorous monster.”

The aforementioned rival is Michael Prince – brought to life by the brilliant Corey Stoll. Prince is a business titan and a social impact pioneer from a small town in Indiana. And Axe highlighting the fact that he is a carnivorous monster makes me wonder if Prince is a vegetarian or a vegan 😀

Corey Stoll reveals that his character and Axe are competitors the minute they meet.

“He has that same competitive streak as Axe, but it’s tempered with this drive to do good. There’s a lot of conflict between Prince and other characters, but stronger than that is the fight within himself to reconcile being a capitalist and a good person.”

I would add that the character is quite cool. Yeah Axe has his private jet but it seems Prince flies his own plane – well, hard to beat as a measure of coolness.

From what I can read from the promo videos Axe and Prince first meet at some kind of photo shoot for the “deca-billionaires” which may be related to the title of the first episode  – The New Decas referring to a new generation of deca-billionaires including Prince.

They later attend some kind of a conference/retreat which I believe was shot at the iconic Mohonk Mountain House in Hudson Valley.  And they are having a conversation with an audience. I am thinking they may be talking about their respective approaches when investment is concerned: Axe is all about risk return trade off whereas Prince probably cares as much about sustainability. And it seems this is where Prince calls Axe “a monster.”

The first words we hear from Michael Prince in the Official Season 5 Teaser is that when he competes he is going to win. And when Axe reminds him that the game is not over, we learn that Prince is aware of that. They are probably not talking about a game of chess.

And then we hear Prince in Official Trailer #1 say that he hates when someone messes with his money. I wonder if he is saying this directly to Axe or to the Attorney General of New York who may be taking a close look at his businesses:DWe may find some hints about the conflict between the two business titans in other Season 5 episode titles. Episode 4 Opportunity Zone may be referring to a Trump Administration policy giving unprecedented tax breaks to investors in selected “Opportunity Zones” with certain level of poverty and unemployment – the kind of giving Axe loves! So me thinks Axe and Prince may be competitor investors in an opportunity zone. And Episode 5 Nordic Model may refer to Michael Prince’s ideals – a combination of capitalism and welfare state typically observed in Scandinavian Countries where free markets and efficiency are supported with free education and universal health care.

One jaw-dropping moment in the Official Trailer #1 has Chuck saying that Prince and Axelrod are at war and that he knows how to work this – followed by  Chuck and Prince shaking hands.


How to interpret this now? Since this is Billions we need to look at the handshake from different angles.

It may be that Chuck is determined to destroy Axe and he shakes hands with Prince towards their common goal. Or it may be that Chuck continues to be Axe’s BFF and he is just manipulating Prince.

We hear Chuck talking about destroying someone – I assume Axe – in Official Season 5 Teaser:

“People like us must destroy people like him. He wants to be friends. So we’ll be friends. Right up until the moment we drop him.”

Ha! It seems Chuck has forgotten the fact that he typically fucks up when he underestimates his opponent whom we find in Chuck’s kitchen reminding him that the world was not a very comfortable place when the two of them were not friendly.

Firstly, why does Axe feel the urge to say that? What does he know?

Secondly, if this kitchen talk between Axe and Chuck takes place after the  handshake between Chuck and Prince, can it be that Chuck helps Prince in some way and Axe is now yelling at him for what he did?

“When did you help him?”

In another interesting moment in the trailer, we find Chuck,  Senior and Kate Sacker in Chuck’s dimly lit office. I do not know if this conversation is about having Kate raid a business or about Kate’s dad attending a hearing… or neither… or both…

…but we see the windbreakers raid a business with Kate at the helm:

“Lock ’em up and shut ’em down!”

And there is some kind of hearing at the Ceremonial Court Room in Yonkers City Hall and look who is on the stand! I wonder if it is Axe’s words that make Chuck Senior leave the room… And is the bald guy sitting in the front seat Michael Prince?

And then we see Axe looking victorious at the stand (or am I interpreting this wrong? Possibly!) in Official Trailer #2 with Prince sitting on the right.

…followed by a huge crowd leaving the building with Axe leading them… and I spy with my little eye familiar faces: Kate Sacker, her dad, journalist Randy Kornbluth recording a video on his phone, and Axe’s close childhood friend Eric. Yonkers being an Opportunity Zone in real life makes me think this should have something to do with the rivalry between Axe and Prince. And Chuck Senior is also involved which means so is Chuck. My head is spinning!

While their cooperation in Season 4 has been very fruitful for both of them,  it will be a thrill to see the tensions escalate between Axe and Chuck… Look at the scene from the trailer where Axe is terrified when Chuck throws wine at his “reproduction” Van Gogh! We all know the reproductions are staying at the Freeport managed by Danny Margolis  while the real stuff is hanging in Axe’s penthouse! I am so looking forward to finding out if Axe and Chuck’s “friendship” will pass the test of time or crumble away.

Moving from professional to personal lives –  yes the two men may have seemingly won Season 4 by defeating their enemies but, hey, they have both lost the women they loved!

I do not know what the exact medical diagnosis is but I do not think Axe is right in the head. The way he ruined Rebecca’s dreams in such a sneaky, cold and calculating way is SICK. Plain and simple. So while I always said I would take committed Axe over single Axe any day, I am okay with Axe staying single forever so he could not break another woman’s heart every again. That said I cannot help roll my eyes when Axe, with a bottle of whiskey in hand, approaches a  woman – he is attracted to the blondes for sure – half his age in the new trailer.

In the teaser, we see Axe single and bearded (yes, Santa got Holliedazzle’s letter!) on a BMW adventure motorcycle about to do some “single-man-in-his-late-forties- going-wild” kind of thing with his right hand man Wags next to him 😀 And whatever episode it is on, this scene should have been shot in the Adirondacks late October when Damian still had a beard!

And… I really have to share this with you guys!!! I gave a shout out to Axe’s beard (we the Fan Fun girls have dreamed of Axe with a beard several times in our posts and on social media) on Twitter and then asked Brian Koppelman if Damian grew the beard for the show or they used it since he had grown it over summer… and, um, I started something funny there 😀


In Season 5 trailer, we now get to see the bearded Axe coming out of what looks like a tent looking like he will throw up. Well, it takes some guts to go on an adventure with Wags, doesn’t it?

Now that I am done with Axe, I am turning to Chuck!

I always thought Wendy and Chuck were the strong couple in Billions. Because they have, unlike Axe and Lara, always been able to communicate even in hard times. And because they can talk, and get deep, they have been able to resolve their differences. They nested for a season but got together at the end with an understanding that they would always be true to each other and they did… until Chuck ruins it when he makes their unusual sex life public even though Wendy tells him not to and then when he pretends he saved Wendy’s license when she thinks it is Chuck that did it! Doesn’t Chuck see that his actions have done nothing but damaged his marriage? And I wonder what he would think if he knew Wendy ended up in Axe’s house that night!

Now, I do not think Chuck and Wendy are living together in Season 5 – especially Chuck eating guacamole and chips alone in his dark kitchen and visiting Wendy at an apartment hint that Wendy has moved out. She may be renting or is staying with her sister (what she did when the couple was nesting in Season 2) or a close friend.

Damianista’s note (03/23/2020): Damani Barham, one of our readers and a wonderful Billions fan has just let me know that this is the same apartment Lara was in when she left home in Season 2 Episode 10 With or Without You. WOW – great catch – this means Wendy is temporarily staying at one of Axe’s residences and Chuck should be pissed!

And even if I am wrong and they are still living together, the marriage is more than shaky and I bet it is Chuck whom Wendy is yelling at in the trailer:

“I told you never to come to my place of work.”

And from what I see in the “Top Dog” teaser, Chuck has a shrink this season with whom he will discuss “the switch” I have been talking about OR why he feels betrayed by the relationship between Axe and Wendy. It is very sad that Mark Blum who seems to play Chuck’s shrink in Billions has recently passed away because of the coronavirus.

And while Chuck and Wendy are not on great terms,  we find them dressed up like they are at a wedding in the Official Teaser.

I spy with my little eye Chuck Senior sitting at the table in the background… Now, in case this is a wedding, Chuck Senior cannot be the groom, right? Right?!?! Oh. My. God. How funny would THAT be? 😀 😀 😀

As we are talking about Chuck and Wendy, I think it is time to “meet” two intriguing new characters!

The wonderful Julianna Marguiles is joining Billions this season as Catherine Brant, an Ivy League professor of sociology and a best-selling author. When asked about her role in Billions, Marguiles says Chuck is lecturing at Yale (his alma mater) this season, and he meets Brant there.

In the teaser, it seems like Chuck is visiting Prof. Brant’s classroom where Brant is talking about being submissive as a strategy to be dominant. I am sure Brant knows about Chuck’s sex life so she probably invites him to her class to talk about himself. And the look on Chuck’s face as Catherine Brant is talking? WOW. He is more than impressed with this woman!

Marguiles reveals a bit about her character:

“She’s a conduit for Chuck Rhoades finding another side of himself. She comes from a place of nonjudgment and isn’t deterred by his behavior, which he finds quite enlightening.”

Hmm… When I first read about Julianne Marguiles joining the show, my first reaction was that, given Chuck and Wendy are not on very friendly terms at the moment, she could be a love interest for Chuck – you see Brant’s physical similarity to Wendy, don’t you? Like we have figured out Axe’s arousal template last season, I think we have Chuck’s as well: Beautiful, smart, ambitious, highly educated, dominant women. I cannot wait to meet my fellow academic Catherine Brant!

Another recurring character announced for Season 5 is Nico Tanner, a modern artist portrayed by Frank Grillo. In the teaser, we see Axe and Wags looking at his giant canvasses…

…while in the trailer we “meet” Tanner taking Wendy’s hand… intriguing to say the least!

And Official Trailer #2 gives us more Wendy and Nico!

The new season blurb Showtime has given to the press says that Wendy forms alliances that would go against the interests of Axe and Chuck. Well, is this about Wendy’s “alliance” with Tanner or is it about the handshake with Taylor?

Taylor is one person who is looking forward to benefiting from Axe and Chuck going at each other. They want to use their hostage situation at Axe Capital for their own benefit, and being an insider – a Trojan Horse, if you will – is more advantageous than being an outsider if they want to eliminate the boss. We have seen Taylor vowing to have both men get their guns out and kill each other in Season 4 Finale. And realizing from Chuck’s words that Wendy is a major friction between the two men, Taylor may somehow use Wendy to initiate and escalate the conflict.

And now that Axe has brought Taylor and their team to Axe Capital, how will this work? Will “Team Taylor” be a separate team working on different things or will they work along with “Team Axe”? Or will they be competitors at the workplace? It seems, in Wendy’s words, that it is getting tribal at Axe Capital 😀

And Dollar Bill and Maffee are about to resume the boxing match they could not finish last season as Wendy intervenes!

Another new character we meet in Season 5 trailer is Savion Williams, portrayed by the 17 year old actor Akili McDowell, a teenager growing up where Axe did – Yonkers. Savion’s reflection appears on Axe’s car window at 48th Street and Lexington Avenue in the trailer. While I have no idea how the writers integrate him into the storyline, Savion being from Yonkers hints that a major storyline will revolve around Axe’s hometown this season.

Finally, Roma Maffia is joining Billions as the tough Manhattan District Attorney Mary Ann Gramm. And the moment we meet DA Gramm in the teaser, she is threatening someone – probably Chuck.

There are other observations from the promotion videos such as Taylor wearing a helmet and breaking stuff in what looks like a hotel room (it may be some kind of stress therapy that will be filed under things I did not know existed before Billions) , Axe giving a talk at a school auditorium wearing a Rainbow t-shirt, Gordie and a classmate standing in what looks like a boiler room, a power outage in a building, someone passing an envelope under Axe’s hotel room door, Wendy arriving at a run down apartment to find Axe sitting on the floor and much more that if I start speculating about them this post will never end. So, I want to close instead talking about a character whose absence in the promos is notable.

Bryan “The Idiot” Connerty.

(Left) Bryan starting to listen to the recording and (Right) finding out that the idiot is no one but himself! (Left) Bryan starting to listen to the recording and (Right) finding out that the idiot is no one but himself!

While Chuck is surprised that Bryan has been so eager for tricks and even crime, I am not. As I wrote in my Episode 8 Fight Night recap, the U.S. Attorney seat is like the ring in Lord of the Rings. Whoever sits on it has an unhealthy obsession with the “precious” and wants to keep it no matter what. Accordingly, Bryan has chosen to be Jeffcoat’s pet to take Chuck down and is now going to pay for it.

Now, I obviously do not know how the law applies in this case, but I do not think Bryan is going to jail. Thanks to Kate, Jeffcoat’s Nixonian “if I order it, it is fucking legal” is on record, and Bryan seems to have done what his superior told him to do. That said I do not think Bryan can practice law, either. And even if he can, there is no way he can get another government job. So here comes the billion dollar question we have been asking for a while now…

Would Axe make a lion out of Bryan? 😀

We already know Axe loves to hire those who know the workings of government offices (read “Ari Spyros”) like the back of their hands!  Besides, in case Axe and Chuck go back to their pissing contest – and it seems Axe has a feeling that Chuck may want to do just that – having Bryan on his side may give Axe an edge. I am giggling as I imagine a scene with Bryan and Kate in which the former represents a billionaire as Kate listens to him with a smirk on her face! And, talking about Kate, I bet Chuck has already put in a good word for Kate to take the US attorney seat at the SDNY.

In the most intriguing scene we see her in the Season 5 trailer #2 is Kate is clinking glasses with Jackie Connerty – Bryan’s brother who has a special talent with safes – and more. What can I say other than WTF? 😀

Season 5 will be yet another season of some three-dimensional chess. And I am dying to know who will say:


Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

25 thoughts on “Billions Season 5 Trailer: Anyone Can Be Bought But No One Can Be Trusted *UPDATED*”

  1. Great post as always. I think Wendy and Chuck split up. The apartment that Wendy is seen in in the trailer is the same Apartment Lara was in in the With or Without You Episode.

    1. Thank you!

      How did you recognize the apartment? BRAVO! Oh then Wendy is temporarily living in an apartment owned by Axe and OMG Chuck should be furious about it, too!!! I will add this to the post and give you credit for pointing out that it is the apartment Lara was in.


      1. The shot of Wendy in the apartment is similar to the shot of Lara in the apartment after Wendy came to see her. And I recognized the curtains. Lol. Awesome! Thanks for the credit! I’m hoping since we are all stuck at home, Showtime will release episode 1 early. Lol

        1. Absolutely – for the credit. We always credit the readers that let us know about any info and that’s a GREAT catch!
          Fingers crossed for the first episode! It’s just that I don’t know if/when they will be able to resume shooting the rest of the season – they wrapped episode 7 before taking a break.

          1. I thought about the production halt but wasn’t sure how far they got. If the virus doesn’t kill me, not seeing season 5 might!

          2. Showtime has announced it will premiere on May 3 as scheduled. Who knows maybe this will fade away by late April early May and they will just resume and complete the season. That said, even if they can’t, for the last two seasons, the end of episode 7 is almost like a mid-season finale so a mini-season could work as well. After all this is something none of us has any control on! Stay well!

  2. This post is truly why you are great at what you do as the founder and leader of Fan Fun. I watched the trailer and everything goes by so quickly. I know you are able to slow it down but what you intuit about the images is amazing. And then using episode titles and Twitter remarks of where filming is taking place – just incredible. I can’t wait for May 3rd and hope they are able to finish filming but more than that hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

    1. You’ve made my day Nancy – thank you so much for your kind words. And believe me I have so much fun putting this stuff together – imagine a little kid playing her favorite game 🙂
      They wrapped episode 7 before they took a break. They typically had a 7-episode story arcs last two seasons so I think even if they can’t resume quickly (which is quite possible) we can still have a great mini-season. They need 10 weeks to wrap the season. I think if they can start again late April or so they can finish on a tight schedule. I am with you – I just hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

  3. Now this is how you get ready for Season 5! You know they are trying to head fake us with the editing of the trailer, and I’m good with that! There is so much I’m looking forward to (and some not), but that’s for another post!

    You always do an amazing job at finding all the details in the trailer! You even got the Rainbow shirt!!

    If they can only do a half season, then finish up in the fall, I’d be OK with that. Health before anything!!

    1. Thank you – putting these posts together is so much fun for me. Oh yeah they always edit the trailer in a way that a conversation you think is between two certain people is actually not between them. But speculation rocks until we have Billions back in our living rooms! I am completely fine with a mini season, too, health comes first and I am happy that they took a break at a very good time before the coronavirus cases exploded in the city.

  4. This is surely NOT the place for this comment, but can’t find anywhere else. Did anyone watch the final episode of Homeland last night? It contained brief footage of guess who!! Nice to see him. It was fitting since the objective was apparently to bring the whole series to a full circle. I haven’t followed it in recent years. Promised myself I wouldn’t after Brody’s death, but then changed my mind as I liked Quinn. When they killed him off too I lost interest. Did watch the last episode for old time’s sake you could say.

    1. Yes, I did! It was a big surprise to see Brody for the first few minutes and made me expect a sad ending to the series! I watched every single episode and this one was quite good. But I have to say I found the ending a bit unrealistic. My fantasy of Brody coming back at the end is as realistic and I think JaniaJania’s Homeland Fan Fiction would make a better and more realistic ending. Oh well, still, it is the end of an era on TV.

  5. On a slightly random note. I rewatched 5×01 and I realised that the Van Gogh in Axe’s ‘spare’ apartment is the same Van Gogh Chuck is tossing wine on!

    Is Wendy having a party? Is she still living there? Why is Axe there? Better yet, why is Chuck there? So many questions! I’m genuinely so curious to find out what is going on. I don’t think we’ve ever actually seen Axe in that apartment. Haha.

    1. After I saw the Van Gogh in the spare apartment I also realized that is where Chuck is tossing wine on.
      It could be many things…
      A party… but then why is Chuck there? Because they are separating on friendly terms? It seems in the next episode – let me give no spoilers here, maybe you don’t like them – Chuck does something that is inappropriate and pisses Wendy off – maybe Bobby and Wendy are inviting him to the spare apartment to talk and reason with him… and tensions escalate… I am also thinking whether once Chuck finds out the paintings are real, will he do something about the Freeport situation? 😀

      1. Oh, I’d forgotten about the Freeport sitch! That definitely seems like it could be in play in that part of the promo.

        I guess I’m mostly curious about what set of circumstances lead Chuck and Bobby to be in that apartment together, especially if Wendy is still there. I must say, I’m swayed more to the party side of things and Chuck ‘gate-crashing’ – simply because in the promo shot, there’s a trolley of wine glasses and 3 bottles of wine in the scene. I just doubt any kind of sit down between the three of them would require that much alcohol or that many glasses. Then again…..haha.

        We don’t know if Wendy is even there at all! And even if she isn’t, more so really if she isn’t, it’s super curious that Chuck and Bobby would be in that apartment together. Haha.

        Sorry if I keep rambling on about things! I’m new to Billions and this is the only place I’ve really found to discuss the show. Haha. There are just so many possibilities.

        1. My guess is Chuck found out about the Freeport and threw the wine on the painting to see what Axe’s reaction would be.

          1. Oh yes definitely. If you take a look at the new Billions sneak peek video you can see the paintings being moved! I am pretty sure Axe is saying that they are reproductions and the real ones are in storage at the freeport and Chuck says “ah okay then it’s fine to spill wine on this Van Gogh!” 😀 😀 😀 That will be a hysterical scene!!!!!

          2. The idea that Chuck would go all the way over there to throw wine on the painting is actually hilarious!

            Also, is a restraining order on assets and actual thing? Cause, WOW Chuck. Most of that money is probably Wendy’s anyway. Haha.

          3. Yes, it is. I looked it up as soon as I heard it on the promo video 🙂 People who think their spouses could drain their bank accounts, etc can have the assets frozen.

        2. Since we talk spoilers… I understand in episode 2 we learn that Chuck is putting a restraining order on their assets – like Wendy could drain the bank accounts or something, very disrespectful of her… It seems she finds out about it as she is paying a deposit or something like that for an apartment she liked. So I thought this might be a convo between Axe and Chuck about Wendy but of course it could be later in the show as well. As you say there are so many possibilities and you are right it looks like a party with lots of wine!!!

          1. Wow. I didn’t know that was a thing but I guess it makes sense?

            I just can’t believe Chuck thinks Wendy could do that to him? Like, is it a play for something else? Does he actually think she’d drain their bank account? Or…is it just the state of their relationship right now? Haha. It’s just so petty.

            I hope we find out in the next episode tbh.

          2. I don’t believe Chuck thinks Wendy will do that kind of thing to him. He is just pissed that she unilaterally had their separation statement drafted and published. I think he just wants to make her life harder. VERY PETTY indeed. Besides there is always Axe that can lend her a couple of million dollars in an instant. So this is also very stupid on Chuck’s end!

          3. Oh and I know at least one couple where one spouse withdrew all the money in the joint bank account – not that they were billionaires or millionaires but they had some savings. So I know that it happens!!!

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