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JavaScript Middleware in Context

Why doesn't he get the "doubled is not specified" error when first loading the page?

I always use EJS instead of Pug, and when I put something like <%= message %> in my template, I have to set that message to null every time there's a get request without a message. Else I will get an error saying "message is not specified" or "couldn't find message" or something of that kind. Is this a view engine-related thing?