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12 September 2014

Outlander - Episode 5 - Rent

***Spoilers ahead - kind of.  If you haven't read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and want to, you might not want to continue reading.  If you've read the books, you know what's going to happen...the show is one interpretation. ***

***Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.  When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.*** 

You can watch the first episode for free until June 2015 on Starz play.  Other episodes are only available with a Starz subscription.

Most of my "review" is written live while watching the episode and then edited for clarity.

We start out with a lovely poem quoted by Claire and Neg Gowen (the lawyer!) by John Dunn.

Absence, hear thou my protestation
Against thy strength, 
Distance, and length; 
Do what thou canst for alteration:
For hearts of truest mettle
Absence doth join, and Time doth settle.

The rest of the poem can be read here.

The information about smoking thorn apple/Jimson weed for asthma is interesting.  Like Ned said, smoking a pipe for a cough? Whaaaa?!  (Heh, looking at that link, it appears it is a hallucinatory "herb".)

Dougal's woman voice is great.  I really like his acting out of his joke pushing up his lady boobs and all.  

Ned can write quickly.  My hand aches for him - well, it would if he had to actually do all that writing.  Poor Ned had to take a live pig after all.

I thought they did wool waulking with their feet... eh, what do I know.  I think they were just messing with her about needing fresh urine. Angus has great timing. Ha!

"Geronimo"  *Snort* Whachit Claire.

Well, that kid figured out he was outnumbered quickly.  Oh no, a Redcoat!   Hey, wait.  He looked like he was the blacksmith or something in the village. Why would a redcoat be working in a Scottish village?

(I found out!  On Diana's site, she responded to others asking the same question.  "Having seen all the daily footage, I can answer that one.  His horse had thrown a shoe and he'd stopped to make repairs; he's borrowed the apron he's wearing from the local farrier.  In the scene as shot, he introduces himself immediately as Lt. Jeremy Foster, and asks Claire if she's all right, whereupon the Highlanders menace him away. They cut the first part of the scene when they edited the episode, and then added that quick visual of him putting on his hat and coat, so we'd know he was a soldier, and recognize him when he shows up with his buds at the end."


Hmm.  In my opinion, I think it would be better to show the why he was there so we weren't confused as to why a redcoat was in the village.  I can't imagined it added to much longer to the show's running time.

During Dougal's first speech, there didn't seem to be enough sense of outrage and anger at what he was saying and seeing Jamie's back.  It felt more like pity than anger.  I am really hating Dougal in this episode.  I think that is the point though, you are supposed to feel the outrage and frustration with Dougal that Claire is feeling.

Black pudding looks like poo.

Claire thinks she has it figured out.  Dougal is such a horrible person that he is stealing money from his brother.  I think Ned is obvious in his how he lets her think she has it correct. He acquiesced way too quickly and she is just so cocky about it she doesn't notice.

I liked the exchange she has with Ned, "You'd make a find advocate, yourself. It's a pity they don't allow women to practice law."

"Not yet."

"We have a few centuries before that happens!"

"Only two."

Despair, hopelessness, frustration, anger - I think Claire is showing those feelings quite well this episode.  She wants to get back to the stones and where she started out hopeful this trip would bring her close enough to escape, the men's hostility and distrust over her (and vice versa) is making things look very bleak for her.

I think showing The Watch looting and burning the farmhouse helped move our feelings along to the injustice people of that time faced.

"It doesn't matter where you come from, you're here." ~Jamie to Claire.  I think that's a very poignant statement, not just for Claire/the show - but for all of us.

It seems rent collecting started out like an adventure and has become a chore and the stresses of being on the road has taken it's toll on everyone's spirits.

And after an entire episode hating Dougal for how he treats Claire, he seemingly selfish rent collecting, and his humiliation of Jamie for his benefit, it is nice to see his compassion and humanity for that family stripped of everything they had by the Redcoats. We needed to see that of Dougal, I think.

How much does Claire's sympathy for Jamie (with the Dougal and shirt ripping/back thing) help her develop her feelings for Jamie?

How much of her sympathies over all of the clan's fate help her relate to them? Now, it's no longer just history written down in the records being read and spoke about.  The people that lived that history are no longer faceless names.  She knows them; personally knows men, women, and children that will die for their beliefs and for what they think is right.  Not - might die.  Will die.  Violently.

GAH! Scotland, stop being so breathtaking!!

Then, to further our Highlandish sympathies, and to align us against the Redcoats Sassenachs, we get the "traitors" on crosses.  Yes, I put traitors in quotes.  They were marked traitors by the Redcoats, they are not traitors to those they choose to follow.  (Well, I suppose they could be, but I think the assumption is that they are not and that they probably just pissed off the wrong lobsterback.)

Dougal's speech following finding the persecuted is much more passionate.  There is more anger, outrage, and patriotism in that one than all the others they showed.  And the response is stronger.  (And therefore the profit was greater.)  And that's when Claire is really clued in; she knows enough Gaelic to understand "Long Live The Stuart"!

If you haven't read the books and are confused - here's a brief history lesson.  The Scottish king, James Stuart, lives in exile.  Scotland is ruled by King George, against their will.  The British put down one attempted revolution in 1715 where Scotland attempted to put King James back on the throne.  Now, 30 years later, his son Charles (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie), is being pushed to make an attempt to regain the throne.  He lacks the funding to raise an army, so his supporters (*cough*Dougal*cough*) is raising funds themselves.  

The show does a good job explaining the history as they go, but sometimes a little prior knowledge helps.

The scene where Claire steps on Jamie sleeping outside her door is perfection.  It's made of the sexual tension the fans are dying for.  We know it's coming, just get here already!

His scandalized reaction to her suggestion to come into the room to sleep is very believable and adorable.  Sam (the actor who plays Jamie) plays that very well.  And then they do a close up of her handing a blanket to him and he lightly brushes her thumb and you are supposed to feel the sexual tension (kudos to the music playing - Bear McCreary).

While watching that scene, Adam exclaims, "Oh no, not thumb action!" I reply, "Next thing you know and we'll see her ankle."  Which sent him rolling in recollection of a post he saw on Tumblr and we had to pause the show to allow him to catch his breath.

The next morning - the looks they give each other are like they did something naughty.  Geez, get a room already!  And, well, go in it together.

Even though I'd still like translation for the Gaelic you can definitely get the gist of what those guys were saying about Claire.  Those MacKenzie men kick some ass!

After, Claire is all repremanding them when - "We were defending your honor.  You're a guest of The MacKenzie; we can insult ya, but God help any other man that does."

Claire is all, 'aaahhh - that's just so sweet!'  (not an actual quote from Claire)

"I believe your left hand gets jealous of your right. That's about all I believe."

Oh, BURN! Go, Claire!

Jamie looks impressed with her.

Heh. Stand up fora lady's honor, have her make a joke to your expense, and poof she's respected more and trusted.  Will Claire be able to make her escape now? (spoiler - no)

That's a good time to interrupt Dougal's interrogation - though bad group of people for the interruption.

"Tell me madam, are you here by your own choice."

And, I knew they were stopping there for the week before they stopped.  The music was reaching a suspenseful crescendo, the expectant look on Dougal's face - begging Claire to answer appropriately for her safety and daring her to call him out because if she said he was holding her against her will, there would be a fight. She knows what the Redcoats mean to these Highlanders, what it would mean to the whole group - Jamie included - not just thorn in her side, Dougal.

Who's ready for the next episode already?!

Me me me me me! I am!

Do we hate Dougal, or respect him? Little bit of both?  I've never been a fan of his - though in the books I totally respected him...not sure I do in the show...yet. I didn't get why the family with the baby that needed their goat for milk is less important than the family that had everything stolen. Children needing food does that to me though, no matter the reason.  There's my compassion showing. 

Guess Who's Back!

Scout is back!!!



About a week ago, Scout's owner called and said she was bringing Scout back to the barn and asked if we could help take care of him cleaning stalls and looking after him and Carus could ride him as often as she wanted.  We agreed and then we made a plan to surprise Carus.





We started out going out to the barn to do a riding lesson on Mister (another horse at the barn who is also such a sweetheart) with Geneva.

Karen showed up and I called, "Hey Carus, come see what Karen has in her trailer."

Carus was very happy to see Scout.  I was very happy we were able to surprise her - I love surprising people - good surprises only.

She brushed him down and loved on him, and he followed her around the arena without a lead, and then Carus helped Karen give him a bath.





Carus is very happy to have him back, I am too. He's a good horse and it makes me happy to see how much they like each other. She says, "my Scout" and I have to have permission to touch him or brush him. Mostly she asks me to pick his hooves because she doesn't like that job. I've been paying attention during her lessons on how to tack him up for rides, but um, listening to how it's done and then actually doing the job, yeah, two very different things. But we're learning.

 Last night, after riding and untacking Scout, before we put him back in the pasture, Carus had him following her as she ran around the arena. He was staying right at her side, just behind her. It was adorable. Scout is a perfect excuse to go to the barn often. I don't even mind the prospect of spending cold evenings in the winter mucking out his stall. Bring it on!

06 September 2014

Outlander - Episode 4 - The Gathering

***Spoilers ahead - kind of.  If you haven't read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and want to, you might not want to continue reading.  If you've read the books, you know what's going to happen...the show is one interpretation. ***

***Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.  When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.*** 

You can watch the first episode for free until June 2015 on Starz play.  Other episodes are only available with a Starz subscription.

Most of my "review" is written live while watching the episode and then edited for clarity.

We open on Claire running through the forest and the guards aiming their guns. Eep.  Good thing she's playing with the kids huh.

What does a Scotsman wear under their kilt? Claire knows!  Her cockiness at Angus and Rufus is cute.

Rufus distracted.  Now for Angus.

Geillis is a snooper.  Claire is so careful to not say Frank is dead, "he's not alive."
Veiled warnings from Geillis...do they make Claire nervous?

Adorable Mrs. Fitz to outfit Claire again.

Slight appearance in The Hall for the oath-taking.

Diana Gabaldon's guest appearance! She did beautifully! Lovely little quip exchange with Mrs. Fitz.

Haha! Carus didn't recognize Colum without his beard. She doesn't like it.
Hee, DG just shushed Murtagh. I'm with Claire in appreciating his interpretation of Colum's Gaelic speech.

Column can hold his alcohol!

And there's how Claire is going to ditch Angus. Spiked port.

Time for the escape!

Waylaid by Loaghaire...for a love potion. Nice quick thinking on her feet. Also, absolutely hilarious with the Wizard of Oz reference there.

And that stairway is proof of why you shouldn't be trying to escape Claire. Just start kissy kissy with Jamie already.

Ahh. Jamie seems so distraught that his Sassenach teasing might be hurtful to her.  Her remorse about knocking Dougal out is cute.

Is that Angus in the group 'escorting' Jamie? It's going to take me ages to figure out who's who. I'm guessing on Angus, Rufus, and Murtagh - mostly Angus and Rufus.

Ahh, there's Angus. Still standing after all that port. Wow.

Uh oh. Dougal is conscious in time for Jamie's oath. What is Jamie going to do? Die now or die later? *Snort* Murtagh didn't mince words for Claire. "This is all my fault." "Aye, it is."

That's a lot of daggers and swords being loosened.

Yay, a smile from Colum! It works.

Chug chug chug!

The Hunt!

Suspenseful. The building crescendo of banging on the shields was very fitting.  Is that what they did/do when hunting boars? 

The death is another good insight into Claire's personality. For us and Dougal. And Dougal's personality too.

Sports are a good way for Dougal to take his grief out. Poor Jamie though.  Well, he did hold his own. More so that poor guy with the crotch shot.

And another great ending spot - Dougal to Claire: Hey, you just became more interesting so now I'm going to parade you around to see what we can find out about where you came from and why.

I have been happy with where they are choosing to end the episodes.  It doesn't feel like it's a complete cliffhanger, but you are excited to see more.  

I think this week has released the most previews/trailers of the next episode (I believe it's called Rent) since the previews leading up to the first episode.  Is it going to be a significant episode?  I have been avoiding all of the previews.  I was excited for each and every trailer leading up to the release but now that it's out I want to enjoy some extra anticipation. 

* * * * * * 

What do you think? Whose your favorite character?  Besides Jamie or Claire. (I like the show Claire a lot more than I like book Claire... I like her fine in the books but I'm not as attached to her as some of the other characters - Jamie, Roger, Brianna - not sure why.)  Are you making lists of knitting/crocheting projects with me?  

04 September 2014

First Days of School

Carus started 7th grade Wednesday.





Adam started 10th grade Thursday.

I was a dork that forgot to get photos in the morning before they headed off to the bus stop so their looks of exasperation are for me and my requests for photos when they got home.

Outlander - Episode 3 - The Way Out

***Spoilers ahead - kind of.  If you haven't read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and want to, you might not want to continue reading.  If you've read the books, you know what's going to happen...the show is one interpretation. ***

***Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.  When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.*** 

You can watch the first episode for free until June 2015 on Starz play.  Other episodes are only available with a Starz subscription.

Most of my "review" is written live while watching the episode and then edited for clarity.

A 1943 goodbye between Frank and Claire.  Nice little glimpse into Claire's stubbornness and empathy.

What.  Wait, huh?!  I knew they were going to tweak things, but telling Mrs. Fitz?

Oh, hahahahaha. It was her imagination.  Phew.

It was nice to see her working in her surgery.  Poor Angus and Rufus (I believe that's who it is) are so bored.  At least they have an excuse to get drunk, huh. Ha.

I like Colum's fortitude on insisting he not be treated as less than.  At that time I'm sure those who were deformed where not treated kindly.

You know Colum, you might want to ask if she wants to massage you *before* you take your pants off.

Claire is being all nice to Loaghaire and encouraging of her crush.  She's really trying to include Loaghaire and direct his attention to her. And Jamie just belittles Loaghaire all over the place. Poor Loaghaire.

Claire is drunk, again.  I'd like to try that Rhenish.  *Snort* And another dis to Loaghaire (when Jamie handed the glass to her to return).

Jamie is flirting with Claire again...and she is flirting right back. Ha! The closed captioning just said "intimate music" when Claire got up to look at Jamie's bandages and get all close to him.  I know they aren't supposed to kiss yet, but yet I was really waiting for it.

Carus and I are admiring the knitted cowls and gloves.  I've heard someone will be making patterns for the show.  I hope so.

I wonder if I could be as diplomatic to that priest as Claire was.  Nope. Probably not and I'd be burnt as a witch.

Oops, Jamie didn't want Claire to see him snogging Loaghaire. Her teasing Jamie at dinner is adorable.

In the village at Geillis's house.  Dun, dun, dun. Her manipulation of her husband really shows how conniving she is. And her nonchalance about it shows her callousness. Her irritation about interruption of interviewing Claire is suspicious.

Jamie is smitten; willing to do anything Claire asks him.  She has a good 'faint'. There they go flirting again around the Black Kirk.

Father Bain is a turd bucket. I love Mrs. Fitz, so much. Especially for telling that priest off.

Yay! Claire saved the boy! Too bad the Father isn't happy about it.

Jamie is so stinking adorable - "didn't you see me waving?"

Another great ending hearing the legend of a time traveler like Claire.  Could she go back 'home' too?

* * * * *

What did you think of the episode? Do you want to smush Father Bain too? Do you think there is chemistry between Jamie and Claire yet?



03 September 2014

Outlander - Episode 2 - Castle Leoch

***Spoilers ahead - kind of.  If you haven't read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and want to, you might not want to continue reading.  If you've read the books, you know what's going to happen...the show is one interpretation. ***

***Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.  When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.*** 

You can watch the first episode for free until June 2015 on Starz play.  Other episodes are only available with a Starz subscription.

Most of my "review" is written live while watching the episode and then edited for clarity.

I've heard there are complaints of Claire's narration and it is felt that those complaints are from those that haven't read the books - or they would know Claire narrates those...

Me, personally, I don't mind the narration.  I think it is a good tool to have and I imagine that there will be less in some episodes and more in others.  There was a good bit in episode 1 and 2 - but we are setting up the story so it's expected.  We'll have to see if it continues.

I've started watching with closed captioning on.  Carus was having problems with the Scots accents, and I had to really listen a couple of times so it's been helpful.

I still wish there were subtitles for the Gaelic, but then I wanted them when reading too.  (When things said weren't explained or the meaning wasn't easily gleaned from context.) Hey, they're keeping it close to the book.

I'm still waiting for Mrs. Fitz to unzip her forehead (Doctor Who reference), but I do love her in this episode.

Claire's flashbacks are nice.  I like that.  It helps convey her panic and disorientation.

DUDE! Jamie's back is as much as I was expecting but at the same time, not enough.  I've never seen a lashed back - fresh or scarred - so I don't know what I was expecting really.  I think they did a pretty good job though.  (Here's a bit on how they do the scars.)

You'd think those bodices were a bit harder to rip in half or something.

Lallybroch is much larger than I pictured.  I don't know why I pictured it as an average farmhouse; it's not described as such.

I like how we are starting to see Jamie's sense of humor in this episode and you can feel the chemistry between Claire and Jamie.

Hahahaha - Mrs. Fitz gives some broth and then takes it away so quickly.

The costuming scene with Mrs. Fitz and Claire was the best!  "It's a brassiere. It's from France."

The CGI on Colum's legs look pretty good.  It definitely looks like his condition would be painful.

Oh, snap! "Is there ever a good reason for rape, Master MacKenzie." Go Claire!

God, Scotland is beautiful!

Leticia's voice was surprising.  More gruff than I was expecting.

One wine, two wine - floor.  The awkwardness between Dougal and Colum is quickly apparent at dinner - who's really in charge?

Hoo-boy did Claire step in it with Hamish! Be careful what you say when you're toasted, Claire.

Gah! SCOTLAND IS GORGEOUS!

Chew with your mouth close, Jamie. Add "murder" and "ruckus" to the list of words I could stand to hear from a Scot on a regular basis.

We meet Geillis! Slightly sweet and kind, but her random presentation of her knowledge of how to loose a child gives a peek to a dark side.

Loaghaire's father is a douche waffle.  Poor girl.  Well, for a moment before Jamie steps up and cockily offers to take the punishment.

I pictured Angus much taller.

OOoh. Jamie said, "Claire" so perfectly.

Ha! That look Mrs. Fitz gave Dougal shows she knows those MacKenzie brothers well.  And she looked sad for Claire.

*Snort* Did you really think you were going to get to leave Claire?

They ended this episode well too.  Dougal closing the door on Claire and that final click of the latch shows how she's trapped and her defeated walk back into the room shows her despair.

* * * * *

Are you still watching?  What do you think of the first two episodes?  Do you want to visit Scotland too?

26 August 2014

Outlander Episode 1 - Sassenach

***Spoilers ahead - kind of.  If you haven't read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and want to, you might not want to continue reading.  If you've read the books, you know what's going to happen...the show is one interpretation. ***

***Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened.  When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire's heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.*** 

You can watch the first episode for free until June 2015 on Starz play.  Other episodes are only available with a Starz subscription...for now.

On to the review! Which, FYI, is a written "live" while watching the episode.  


I've heard some negative comments about the opening sequence, and while I do agree that it wasn't what I was expecting and it isn't an extremely gripping opening sequence, I do like it.  The singer's voice is very lovely, and the song's words (see below) are nice and fitting to the story.  They took the words to the Skye Boat Song and tweaked it. This version was composed by Bear McCreary and sang by his wife Rava Yarbrough. So overall, I'm pleased.  (YouTube link to the opening sequence.)

Skye Boat Song

"Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,
      Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
      Over the sea to Skye.
Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
      Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
      All that was me is gone.
Sing me a song of a lass that is gone,
      Say, could that lass be I?
Merry of soul she sailed on a day
      Over the sea to Skye."


I've been wondering how they were going to do all the back-stories - not just Claire, but Jamie's and the other characters too - so far we've seen a lot of flashbacks.  Do you think they will continue that? I think they are good and I did like the scene of Claire in a field hospital. We don't get to "see" that in the book, only her memories being discussed.  

Some of the dialogue between Claire and Frank seems forced. (Robert, who has only seen half a scene so far (between Claire and Frank), thinks that Claire's (Caitriona Balfe) acting is a bit cheesy. But maybe it is supposed to feel forced/cheesy...their relationship is strained and they are attempting to get to know each other again.  We (the readers) know that the connection twixt Claire and Frank isn't the connection we know Claire and Jamie have so we think nothing of it, but his comment made me think.  Claire's narration in the show of how they are trying to find each other helps those that haven't read.

Uncle Lamb!!!  I was hoping they would show him and Claire's childhood! I'm pleasantly surprised to see him so early.  We don't get to meet him in the books and I'm glad he made an appearance in the first episode.

God, Scotland is BEAUTIFUL!

Roger:  There has been some disappointment that we haven't seen Roger yet.  The scene he made his appearance in the book was in the first episode - but no Roger.  And we (the readers) know how important Roger is to the story overall, though he's not important yet, and the scene he should have been in he wasn't that important so I get why it was left out.  We know Roger has been cast though so we will see him soon (as in some time in the first season).

How the show gave the explanation of what Frank did during the war makes me think we'll get to see more of his story line of what he was doing during the war.  And probably what he was doing after Claire's disappearance.

Claire's swearing ("Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ") has always felt awkward to read.  To me anyways, not sure about anyone else.  But hearing Claire say it; it works so much better.

I'm slightly disappointed in the ghost scene.  There didn't seem to be enough wind and the ghost was more clear than I expected.  When I read it, I see mist and wind and driving rain so hard that Frank is having trouble making out who the man looking up at Claire is.  In the show, it's just dumping rain.  No wind. I totally could make him out...not so mysterious.

The druid scene is my favorite!  The lighting on the dancers and the rocks are splendid.  Though the light on Claire and Frank is wrong and annoys the shit out of me.  The costumes! The music! It starts out slow and then takes off. The slow-motion twirls, the amber glow from the sunrise, the shadows and costumes draping and twisting and flowing perfectly.  All the light is amber/gold and then Claire and Frank have white light which is wrong and annoys me.  And then afterwards they are exploring the stone circle and the light has become mid morning instead of sunrise.  Where's the consistency, people?!

After Claire's fall:
The forest reminds me of Oregon forests.  The running scene is great.  The bagpipes are PERFECT! for that scene.

I like how Scots pronounce "whore" - "ah-hoorrrrr".

The CGI on the dislocated should was believable.  But we have another consistency error.  (His arm was all slung up and they handed him his coat and he comes out of the house with his coat on and the arm through the sling, he would have needed help to do that guys.)

I like how Jamie (Sam Heughan) looks at Claire; like he is immediately smitten.

Her flash of her future/past at the end, on approaching Castle Leoch, is excellent.

It's a good ending.  You want more.  You want to find out what happens next.  Yet it's not leaving it on a cliff-hanger where you have to find out more now.

Did you see it? What did you think?

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