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Supernatural 5.13 "The Song Remains the Same" Review: Aaaaand, they're back. - Featured

What an awesome episode! Keep 'em coming, plz.


Supernatural has been getting better and better for the past couple of seasons, but then had a disappointing return from this winter's hiatus. "Sam, Interrupted" was a waste of time. "Swap Meat" was a little better, but still not up to the show's current standards. The weakest two episodes in years, in my opinion. But with "The Song Remains the Same" Supernatural is back with a vengeance.



So much awesomeness. I don't need to tell you, you've seen it yourself.


I do have a couple of minor complaints, like Anna's ridiculously feeble "fighting". She had John, Mary *and* Sam right within reach, and instead of killing them (as is her mission) just threw them around and apologised. And then moved reeeeally slowly, so they'd have time to pick themselves up and get away, heh. I don't believe this is necessarily the case, but the way it played out, you'd think she was sabotaging her own efforts on purpose. However, with the epic awesomeness of the episode as a whole in mind, these little issues are easily forgiven.


The ep raises some questions though, and two stand out in my mind.


One: Just how divided *are* the angels? They're all pulling in different directions, no two of them in agreement on what to do or how to do it. Heaven seems like a shoddy organisation, if you ask me. Is anyone in charge up there?


And two: What's the deal with free will? Angels are lying bastards, but if they're right and free will is just an illusion, then what does that say about God? He's not only absent, but an evil puppet master who created everything for his own entertainment, and is now sitting back with beer and popcorn and enjoying the show? It *would* explain a lot, I guess.


I hope Kripke knows how to wrap up the religious mythology, because if he pulls a Battlestar Galactica on us, I'll be- well, maybe not as pissed as I was when BSG did it, because BSG was all about the mythology, and Supernatural has a lot more going for it than that, but I'll be a little miffed.


What do you think?

Comments

| Feb 27, 2010 4:20AM EST
In "Mystery Spot" where he kills Dean several times he said that Sam has to accept that Dean is going to die.You can see at the end of the episode that Sam has changed and that is what the angels want for him to accept destiny and for him to be bad. Yes, he needs a vessel, but once he has a vessel he can do pretty much whatever he wants. I think they killed Trickster the first time they met him and then Gabriel made Dean and Sam think he was the Trickster. At least that's what I think.
| Feb 19, 2010 3:27AM EST
Damn the Olympics indeed. I agree with you that it's weird that the angels wouldn't have noticed what was going on with the Winchesters until Dean was already in Hell and about to break the first seal. So, it's quite plausible and maybe even likely that they wanted it broken all along. About the bit with Gabriel, however: huh? You saying that the original Trickster we met in Tall Tales was *not* Gabriel? I definitely don't agree with that. How could Gabriel take the form of another being? He's an angel, he can't just take whatever physical form he likes, he needs a vessel. One that consents. I'm not sure what you're saying here. Also, this bit: "did all he could to make Sam more independent and accept Dean's death." Why would he want to do that?
| Feb 14, 2010 2:03PM EST
Xanxei, you have to consider all that they had invested in the Winchesters. They all knew that the first seal was Dean torturing in hell and the last was Sam killing Lillith. If they wanted they could've saved Dean, it's not like they didn't have the time, when he made the deal he had a full year, and they had to know that Lillith "the first demon" was involved. In "Changing Channels" Gabriel basically said that they wanted it to be over because of the godless universe.The first time they met the Trickster they did kill him, but then Gabriel took the form of the trickster and did all he could to make Sam more independent and accept Dean's death.If you watch "Changing Channels" you'll see that Dean dying was a part of their plan. I think that Michael could use Sam as a vessel, just not for very long. Eventually he would have used up his body. If there anyone thinks there is fault in my logic, please let me know. Damn the Olympics!
| Feb 13, 2010 7:03AM EST
Calette, to (not really) answer your second question first, possibly because they didn't realise what was happening in time - Cas does say in the end of "On The Head of a Pin" that 'once we realised his plans for you, we laid siege to Hell...' (or something to that effect, I can't remember verbatim) but I suspect we can't really trust that, even if Cas himself believed that he was telling the truth. It's quite possible the top brass among the angels were waiting to rescue Michael's vessel until *after* he broke. It could have been either John or Dean, it wouldn't have mattered, but John hung in there until he escaped, and almost as soon as Dean broke, they got him out. So, yeah, suspicious. As for your first question, yeah, I think so. They do say the bloodline goes back to Cain and Abel, so - same bloodline, presumably. At this point, I don't believe a word out of anybody's mouth, on that show.
| Feb 13, 2010 6:18AM EST
Just wanted to ask (on a relatively unrelated note) that if Dean inherited being a vessel for Michael from his dad, doesn't that mean that Sam did too? Oh, and I definitely believe that the Angels rescued Dean late on purpose. If not, then why did it take them only 40 years to break jim out when John was in hell for 100 years.
| Feb 13, 2010 6:02AM EST
I dunno, Kaplan. I mean, yeah, that all makes sense, but believing that every single thing since the beginning of the show is part of someone's master plan kind of makes me feel like one of those nutjob conspiracy theorists. Only kind of, though. Sam breaking the last seal was certainly orchestrated, and we know Zachariah was in on it, but Dean breaking the first? I was kind of hoping that the reason Zachariah and Co. wanted to free Lucy was that it had already begun, so they wanted to get it over with. I don't think we have any definitive proof, or even strong indication (or am I forgetting something?), that they also helped to *start* the whole thing. It's certainly possible, though. One point in favour of that theory is that John Winchester was also a righteous man stuck in Hell, right? And he was there for like a year, and I don't recall any angels laying siege to Hell to get him out. Waiting for him to break? If the angels helped break the first seal, then that takes them right out of the gray area and puts them firmly in the villains' camp, I think. Man, I Iove this show. I think that Gabriel still has a major part to play, and I think that in the end, he'll be a force for good. Or maybe I just hope that because I adore that guy. Nevermind. About Uriel's vessel. The one in 1978 looked around 20, 25, I thought, and the one he wears in our time looked to be in his fifties, so I'm thinking it's the same guy. Not important, though. How great was "Bloody Valentine" eh? I wanted to write a review as soon as I watched it, but the only words I had in my head were "oh" and "wow" and "ow." Ben Edlund, man. It's not often I like a writer so much I want to follow him from project to project.
| Feb 12, 2010 3:04PM EST
Uriel's vessel wasn't younger it was another vessel probably the first vessel's father or something. They don't wear the vessels in heaven so he had to take another one when he met the Winchesters. And as for Hell wanting Dean's head on a plate, Lucifer has to keep up appearances, so the demons don't realize that he wants Dean to say yes to Michael. The demons doesn't want Michael to have his vessel for obvious reasons. He doesn't want the demons to know that he doesn't care about them and only uses them for his own profit. I think the angels higher up are the only ones that want the big showdown to happen, and the angels lower on the food chain don't even know what the arcangels are planning, that way they can't rebell. Xanxei, that doesn't seem farfetched at all. You think that Dean ending up in hell and breaking the first seal, or Sam breaking the last was a coincidence. It was all orchestrated by the angels and demons, maybe not together, but they both wanted to make Sam break the last seal. It's all about misinformation, Lucifer hides his plans so the demons don't go against him and the arcangels hide their plans to make sure the angels don't rebell, meanwhile getting the Winchesters to believe in fate in order to make them say yes.
| Feb 9, 2010 11:26PM EST
"...besides the Michael monologue, I'd be tempted to call this episode a stall" I was thinking about this, and I am going to have to disagree. There is one character who possibly gets affected by the time travel - Uriel. Uriel convinced others to help bring on the apocalypse, that's why he killed angels in "On the head of a pin". Now I'm wondering if Anna going back in time put the idea in Uriel's head that the apocalypse was possible. In "In the beginning", Dean going back in time put the Azazel on the trail of Mary (even though it was John that he needed) to get to Sam. So maybe, Anna going back in time was the same deal for heaven. Another thing that I had forgotten, was what Cass said to Uriel in "On the head of a pin": "Strange how a leaky pipe can undo the work of Angels when we ourselves are supposed to be the agents of fate."
| Feb 7, 2010 5:27AM EST
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| Feb 7, 2010 1:55AM EST
Skimming isn't reading, clenzor. The problem with "Sam, Interrupted" and "Swap Meat" isn't that they're stand alones, it's that they're subpar stand alones. If "Sam, Interrupted" had had a giant suicidal teddy bear in it, I for one would not be complaining.
| Feb 7, 2010 1:10AM EST
The fan base with Supernatural proves to me how fickle the TV audiences are and how quickly they are persuaded. The first two seasons were pretty much all stand alone episodes with a few main arc episodes at the end. The third season started to move towards more story oriented episodes becoming a show that kinda requires you to watch the previous episodes and people freaked out. "We want the monster episodes," and all the hate for the show that was the third season. Now just two short seasons later, people are complaining because we have two stand alone monster episodes that if they were viewed in the same light as the first two seasons would have been pretty good episodes (other than the fact that it was obviously the nurse in Sam Interrupted). I know that we all want to find out everything there is to know about the end of the show and stuff but seriously, enjoy the ride while it lasts.
| Feb 6, 2010 11:47PM EST
"I don't understand why Uriel was "younger". I would imagine that it was just his meat suit that aged, but he noticed that Anna had aged. I thought that the body Anna was in was born on earth after 1978 and that, well, Angels don't age. So I'm confused there." Uriel's meat was younger - same vessel, thirty years earlier - and Uriel was the 1978 Uriel. (Obviously, since present day Uriel is dead.) I don't remember what exactly he said to Anna, but I think he would have looked right through her meat to whatever an angel really looks like, and seen that she's not the Anna from his own time. "Another thought....If Sam is Lucifer's true vessel and until Lucifer can piggy back on Sam the fake vessels get used up, then what happens to Lucifer when the fake vessels are used up? Are there more and he just keeps jumping from one vessel to another or are there only a couple and when he can't get into another vessel he goes back to hell?" He definitely doesn't go back to Hell, he just doesn't have a vessel, I guess. Remember when Cas tried to "talk" to Dean in "Lazarus Rising" and shattered a bunch of glass? Angels don't NEED vessels to hang around. I guess they just need them in order to communicate with humans, and be visible to them without burning their eyes out. Or... something.
| Feb 6, 2010 11:30PM EST
Kaplan, you make some good points. How does this sound: At least one faction of the angels, including Michael and Zachariah, want the big apocalyptic showdown to take place, and are trying hard to secure Michael's vessel in preparation for it. (IIRC, Zachariah even facilitated Lucifer's escape in order to bring about this ultimate showdown.) This faction doesn't seem to want Sam dead, so, possibly, they also want Lucifer to have HIS true vessel. (Interestingly, while the angels seem to want Lucifer to have Sam, Hell is offering rewards for Dean's head on a plate. What might that mean?) So, this is the faction denying free will, and claiming destiny is set in stone. I say: hooey! And hooey, also, to everything Zachariah's shown us, including the future world of "The End". Lies, lies, filthy lying lies. Okay. Then we have another faction which wants to prevent this final battle. This, I guess, would include Anna, although she was in prison, so she may have been coerced or misled by whoever is part of this faction. Or maybe we DON'T have another faction, and Anna was never meant to succeed in killing the Winchesters. Maybe this was her punishment for disobeying, and she was simply used and then sacrificed by Michael's faction in order to mess with the Winchesters' heads (would explain her feeble fighting). Maybe the whole purpose of sending Terminator Anna after past John and Mary, was so that Michael could swoop in, save the day, and meet Dean face to face. Talk at him. Show him that he can occupy a vessel and leave it undamaged. Wear John's face while he's at it, for added powers of persuasion. Hammer the point of no choice and unavoidable destiny and all that. Suddenly the angels don't seem so disorganised. Hmmm. Put like that, it's kind of convincing, but it seems farfetched that Michael & Co. would be able to predict that Cas would discover Anna in 1978 AND bring the Winchesters back with him, instead of going alone. Or maybe it's not that farfetched, I don't know. Back to the unavoidable destiny stuff. We've heard it from Cas, too, at the end of "In The Beginning". But that doesn't necessarily make it reliable, right? This was before Cas rebelled, so he could have been lying. He could also be ignorant, and believe the stuff himself. He thought the Colt would kill Lucifer, so he's certainly not infallible. He's just a widdle baby angel who believes what the big angels tell him, heh. And it now occurs to me that the angels might have waited with busting Dean out of Hell until after he broke the first seal. (Cas and other soldiers wouldn't have had to know.) Yeesh, the more I think about this stuff, the more twisted it gets. If anyone would care to pick apart my reasoning, please do. Many brains >>> one brain.
| Feb 6, 2010 3:36PM EST
Although, Anna traveling back in time to kill Sam did, in a sense, work. She didn't kill Mary or John but she did kill the Sam from the future. Even in closed circuit of time travel, she wouldn't have changed the past. It does, though seem futile to try to kill either Sam or Dean since the other side can just bring him back to life. If Michael hadn't brought Sam back the Lucifer could have. I don't understand why Uriel was "younger". I would imagine that it was just his meat suit that aged, but he noticed that Anna had aged. I thought that the body Anna was in was born on earth after 1978 and that, well, Angels don't age. So I'm confused there. I agree that "The End" was fake. I had doubts when Lucifer mentioned that five years into the future that scene was going to happen. Five years is just too long of a time frame. Another thought....If Sam is Lucifer's true vessel and until Lucifer can piggy back on Sam the fake vessels get used up, then what happens to Lucifer when the fake vessels are used up? Are there more and he just keeps jumping from one vessel to another or are there only a couple and when he can't get into another vessel he goes back to hell?
| Feb 6, 2010 1:36PM EST
There is a reason as to why Michael erased Mary and John's memories even though he says different, it's because they could change destiny and Michael was afraid. I think that God is letting it play out, because of free will. The angels believe that they don't have free will or say they do, but Cass and Anna rebelled. They are rationalizing because after a century of a godless universe they just don't care about anything and want everything to be over. I think they planned everything ahead to make it seem as though Sam and Dean don't have a choice, because everyone wants it to come to pass and that would be a brilliant tactic, even most of the viewers are fooled. And don't forget it is a tv show, Kripke planned the whole show perfectly if you think about it and obviously after planning 3 years ahead before the show even began he's not gonna end it with the world ending. In the episode Dean didn't say yes to Michael, but Michael said that it was destined. So that may mean that the episode "The End" was a fake, but you have to wonder if there is no free will why do the angels need consent to enter a vessel. btw... as soon as I saw the light coming to John I knew it was Michael and I knew he would take John as a temporary vessel, because it has been established that it lies in the family. Please feel free to write back if you disagree. This ep was awesome!
| Feb 6, 2010 9:38AM EST
All these different ideas as to the truth story we've posted are all logical enough with just the right amount of required deviousness as is fitting with the nature of the show. We've got to be onto them somewhere, I refuse to believe I haven't got the gist. The question has to come down to free will, and if that is in fact real, then the past/future CAN be altered. So.... OOOHH! Maybe if they do encounter God, they can convince him to alter the nature of reality to INCLUDE free will.And with that idea, the spectrum of possibility becomes to great for me to want to ponder. Kripke and the writers could go in any direction, and I can only imagine it'll have to be a toss-up for them on what final concept they settle on. I'm off to class now, damn it. (lol)
| Feb 6, 2010 5:34AM EST
"Eric Kripke has shown us that being possessed doesn't mean you have no control over your own body." That was with demonic possession, though. There's no precedent for an angel's vessel having any control whatsoever. "So why in the name of all that is knowledgable of the holy script doe Anna of all the people, try to go back in time and do something wich can't be done?" That bothers me too. A LOT. If destiny can't be changed, why are the angels trying so hard to manipulate the Winchesters? I wonder whether we can trust that Zachariah really did send Dean into the future in "The End". I'm kind of tempted to think that it was a fake world (like what the Trickster/Gabriel used to cook up). That would make it fit into the rest of the mythology. But if that trip was real, and if destiny can't be changed, then... well, then that's how it ends, isn't it? Sam says yes, Dean doesn't, and Lucy kills him wearing Sam's Ginormotron body and a douchy white suit. And there's nothing anyone can do to change that. Lucifer says as much. So, wtf? So, my tentative conclusion, based on that, is that the angels are lying their butts off about the Winchesters having no real choices. That making them believe that is just another way to manipulate them. I'm also starting to think that maybe Lucifer isn't the only angel who rebelled, and that maybe there was a secret coup up in Heaven, and some of the most powerful angels overthrew God or whatever, imprisoned him, and kept this secret from the rest, continuing to give orders in his name. So now the Winchester boys have to rescue God. Heh. Okay, so maybe I'm spazzing out a bit.
| Feb 6, 2010 2:53AM EST
this episode was awwsomeenessss...... i was wondering that may be this is the reason john knows the real deal of sam and all because he said in hospital to dean to kill sam and also he told yellow eyed demon that he know what they are planning for sam. and as for the free will, i guess sam and dean will prove wrong to angels and demons and they will make a free will or choice of there own. i think god will help them resisting the offer, angels and demons are doing what is planned for many years, i guess god is waiting for hope and ability to make a right choice and thats where the brothers comes in. well thats my theory on wrapping up this season. any thoughts....
| Feb 6, 2010 1:09AM EST
....besides the Michael monologue, I'd be tempted to call this episode a stall. All memories of the events were cleared in Mary and John's minds, It's another jump back in time wich changes nothing, mainly because time-travel ideas follow a certain dichotomy of either, past can be changed(wich makes no sense unless it's a multiple universes as Fringe) or you can't change the past because it's already happenned. So why in the name of all that is knowledgable of the holy script doe Anna of all the people, try to go back in time and do something wich can't be done? First time they have the time travel was ok, Castiel told Sam you can't change destiny, where we can see destiny as big critical moments or situations in your life. So...in the end...what did this episode bring except a little more infos on how hell seems better organised than heaven(but they can't do crap because they're all at each other's throats) and that Michael is a lying angel(another one...)...I mean, come on, free will doesn't exist? I ask what happenned to I believe the children are our future to the stand please! All in all, wasn't surprised, and..what should be scary about the death horseman...haven'T heard from him in a while and after such a big fuss and character sacrifices..the least they can do is give us a little something...then again, war horseman was a real joke...
| Feb 6, 2010 12:18AM EST
Actually, I kind of like the idea that God is an elementary teacher in Hell, Michigan, because who would look for God in Hell? I think God is on earth to enjoy the surroundings. people are killing in the name of God, or worshiping celebrities, or depending on God to provide for them when they won't lift a finger to provide for themselves. The angels were divided, and then people started to prove God wrong in the greatness of humanity, that God went on vacation. When an absolute leader leaves, there is no organization left behind. The angels had to think for themselves for the first time and chaos ensued. As far as free will is concerned, I definitely think it exists. If you look back on the events that happened to get Dean and Sam where they are now, most of the time they were being played by either demons or angels who knew more about what was happening than either of the Winchesters. If Dean knew, most likely as his father knew, what the first seal was then he would never have broken it. Likewise for Sam. Even in "Lucifer Rising", there is a scene where Sam has doubts but they are manipulated with the false message from Dean on his phone. They show us this again in "I believe the children are our future" when the child makes the decision to be good when he is given all of the information. But, let's say that both Sam and Dean say yes. That doesn't mean that they will kill each other. Eric Kripke has shown us that being possessed doesn't mean you have no control over your own body. In both "Devil's Trap" and "Sympathy for the Devil" the demons were able to be pushed out of the driver's seat, so to speak. I think that Sam and Dean are too co-dependent on each other to allow one of them to be killed, regardless of who is wearing their meat suit.
| Feb 5, 2010 2:02PM EST
You're certainly right about that. If I was to guess why they don't normally do that, I'd say that they like to be able to switch the stand alone episodes around if they have to. Shoot and/or air them out of order if necessary. Or, maybe different writers work on different episodes simultaneously, and keeping the main story arc out of the stand alones is a way to avoid contradicting each other. Although, considering this would only be a few lines in a single scene most of the time, they could edit that out easily. So... uh... no, I've got nothing. Maybe they just can't be bothered.
| Feb 5, 2010 12:54PM EST
True true. There are episodes, like those, not connected to the arc that will leave you laughing long after the prime-time shift. Enough that I'm barely agitated I have to wait another week for progression, or maybe even another stand-alone in a row.I just feel like they have enough material within any particular arc to hint at or even relate the plot of the filler ep in some way to the main story is possible, even on that end note while Sam and Dean get into the Impala and drive off to a yet-to-be-determined moon-lit and haunted town.
| Feb 5, 2010 10:57AM EST
Ooh. Much to think about, there. "These filler stand-alone episodes that have sucked so badly recently should always have some overlap with the main story outside the themes of brotherhood and family. That's got to be what's missing." Have to disagree with you on this one. In my opinion, we don't have to have the main story arc in every episode as long as the stand-alones are as innovative and hilarious as we've come to expect. I usually love the stand alones. I mean, Monster Movie, Yellow Fever, The Real Ghostbusters. Those were *great* stand alone episodes. And there are plenty more where those came from. How about Giant Suicidal Teddy? You don't hook your audience on such coolness, and then try to feed them some pedestrian little 'are they crazy or aren't they' story like "Sam, Interrupted". Or if you are, then you'd better pad it with a lot more funny than was in that episode. The pudding joke was good, I'll grant you, but not enough. And I feel justified in expecting a body swap episode written by the Supernatural writing team to be funnier than Swap Meat ended up being. I didn't think these episodes *sucked*, but for a show like Supernatural, they were among the very weakest.
| Feb 5, 2010 8:29AM EST
Straight from Michael's mouth, the most bad ass angel in God's ranks, comes the infallible (?- if not, then would seemingly be the most amazing thing EVER if the Wincester's could prove it wrong) idea of the destiny trumping free will. I don't think there is a "daily" destiny, like there is most likely room to move within a margin as there are a whole lot of paths to the same destination, but you are born to be who you are, by nature one in fitting with their particular fate. It simply wasn't their destiny to be killed by Anna. So I guess having Anna procrastinate with all the throwing around of bodies, and biding her time was for hour-long-minus-commercial-breaks and action purposes. Otherwise, Michael would have had to show up A LOT sooner to stop her. Even if she did kill them, they'd have to be brought back, and that would officially make resurrection overdone and death for the boys obviously meaningless to even the least thoughtful of viewers. As to your question of whether or not anyone is in charge up there, well, I have issue with this as well.God is rudely and panic-inducingly AWOL, so why wouldn't it be like he has a second in command? Would it be he'd never need one (then where the hell is he?!)? Surely, the gap in power between he and a right hand would be INFINITE, but what about leadership? This being would at least have superior judgment. Why won't Michael or any of those other 3 who've actually seen God have tried to clean up the dissension and create some order to find God (if they don't know where he is, because they might), and give the other angels some focus and figure out what the right path is to actually stop Lucifer. Do they have ANY idea what happened to him, and are being mysteriously quiet because they were told to, being blindingly obedient for the sake of loyalty itself because they are manifestations of God's conceit? Right now, all it seems like is the strongest angels are truly just as lost as the rest, or they are being stopped by direct order or oath or trick, or don't care that the remainder of the angels are factioned and scrambling to do whatever they can with whatever they think they know or understand. It could be that this game-changing bit of info on what is really going on in Heaven just hasn't trickled down to human ears yet, but I hope that is what's happening, because what can be done with chaos and anarchy up there from a writing standpoint? It would be sloppy and lazy and disappointing.Along these lines, I can only speculate that the plan of the show is to reveal God as some frail and retired old man whose power was consumed in the making of all realities and the omniverse. Or, his power is being contained in some way by something even he can't overcome. That makes it sound like he's been reduced to someone who'd barely be able to maintain their own status as King of Heaven, which could be yet another clue of yet another something. These filler stand-alone episodes that have sucked so badly recently should always have some overlap with the main story outside the themes of brotherhood and family. That's got to be what's missing. I feel gypped whenever I'm left without any new revelation or fresh new relevant player, be they friend or foe. Its probably posing too great a challenge for the writers, which is why they can't, but I still can't help feeling like my time was wasted.
| Feb 5, 2010 5:08AM EST
No, I saw that. Still, I think that if you have the strength to hurl someone across a room, you have the strength to break their neck, or stab them with the wicked looking knife you're carrying, presumably for that purpose. And what about later, at the old house? She would have had time to recover a bit, and she was still all half-arsed about it.
| Feb 5, 2010 4:57AM EST
Regarding the fighting of Anna: She just went back through time like Castiel. Castiel had 2 guys with him so he got knocked off completely, but even alone it must be torture.It is even quite clear, that this is the reason why Anna didn't fight harder. We had a little view of her vision while fighting and she was very dizzy. To everything else. Yes this ep was awesome

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