Doctor Strange: “It’s not about you.”

Doctor Strange is like other Marvel movies in its good sense of humor, awe inspiring special effects, and the story of a regular man becoming a hero. Yet, within all those laughs and spectacular fight scenes there is a bit of wisdom that delves into what we’re meant to do here in our life. What we’re meant to contribute. And it all resides in one line: “It’s not about you.” I believe what makes this line so important is how it contrasts against Doctor Strange’s original statement, “You’re just another tiny, momentary speck within an indifferent universe.” It represents the progression that Strange makes throughout the movie, as well as a point of view that anyone can take on in life. It’s the difference between believing that nothing we do matters and that we should really on care about taking care of ourselves, a rather nihilistic point of view as it were, against the idea that what we do matters, and each point of view in itself sends out ripple effects in the way a butterfly’s beating wings can create a hurricane.

Starting at the beginning of the movie, and the idea that we’re just momentary specks and the universe in no way cares what we do, and is essentially in no way affected by our individual actions, we can see how such thoughts would create a rather narcissistic personality that Strange portrays. He only cares about himself and what makes him look good. He wants to be the best doctor there is, not by saving as many lives as he can, but by picking the most interesting medical cases and then only those he knows he will be successful in. He’s not alone in this, as after his accident another doctor points out that he won’t take on Strange’s case because he has his own reputation to think of. But this isn’t just about narcissism, which is something that Strange comes to realize when his very words are said back to him by the villain Kaecilius, who is intent on handing the world over to Dormammu. Kaecilius is narcissistic in a way, in thinking he knows what’s best for the world. Thinking he knows how to save it. Beyond that however, he believes that this world is doomed and that on our own we can’t make a difference, on our own we’re only going to be suffering, namely because here there is death.

One could say Kaecilius is trying to find meaning in what he sees as a meaningless world. After all, what does any of it matter if it’ll all end in death anyway. He doesn’t believe in what anyone would consider a normal code of ethics. He kills freely, and doesn’t even appear bothered when his own followers die. This isn’t exactly strange in a villain, but his pursuit of Dormammu in the idea that there will be no more death, and perhaps his belief that it’ll undo the deaths that have already occurred makes his actions one that have to be taken in a different light. After all, he thinks he’s saving the world from the very meaninglessness that he feels. Kaecilius would definitely have understood Macbeth’s words,

“Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Just like Macbeth, Kaecilius sees this world as nothing and empty, while Doctor Strange isn’t as aware of his feelings as such. Not until he loses the use of his hands, in at least the capacity to use them for surgery, at which point the entire meaning he has given to his life evaporates. Without that, he is lost. He goes to extremes to get that sense of importance back. He sees the world and his life within it as hopeless and empty. Even as he tells The Ancient One that she’s nothing but a tiny momentary speck, he really sees everyone that way, including himself. The universe has been indifferent to him, he had his great gift taken away because of it, if the universe had cared then surely someone like him would’ve been spared such a tragedy. Yet, ultimately, isn’t he given something even greater than the chance to show off how skilled he is with a scalpel? He is instead placed right where the universe needed him to save the world. After all, “It’s not about you.”

The Ancient One even points out that his becoming a doctor was never about helping others. It wasn’t about doing what was right or good. “You became a doctor to save one life above all others. Your own.” Strange doesn’t have a true foundation of ethics, he doesn’t try to do what is good, because he doesn’t really see things in such a way. Sure he doesn’t agree with Kaecilius’ actions, and he wants to stop him in a vague sort of way, though it’s not for him to do such, and he complains when he gets put in a position where he’s forced to fight them. Yes, he wants bad people to be stopped, but away from him so it won’t bother him, because it’s all meaningless in the end and he just doesn’t want to be bothered by it. So while he might argue his code of ethics as a doctor to do no harm, in reality he just doesn’t see the point of any of it. Just like Kaecilius, his nihilistic point of view leads him to be unwilling to put himself in harm’s way to do good, because that forces him to face his own mortality; the one thing he’s been trying to prevent in his pursuit of bettering how doctors can stave off the clutches of death. He too sees death as the ultimate destroyer for the meaning of life.

Once more The Ancient One understands this fear as she tells him, “We don’t get to choose our time. Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered, your time is short.” Because death isn’t what makes life meaningless, it’s focusing only on ourselves, and letting our fear of the unknown control us is what will truly destroy the meaning of life. “It’s not about you.” It’s about all the things you can do in this world, and for this world. It’s about all the interactions, and the consequences of those actions. Like any superhero movie, it’s a subsequent set of events that ultimately leads Doctor Strange to having mystical powers and rising up to fight Dormammu. It took not just his hands being destroyed, but a series of interactions with other people that made him who he now is.

It took a nurse at a physical therapy clinic to not just tell him of a patient who overcame an irreversible injury, but to take the time to find the file and prove to Doctor Strange that it did really happen. That a paraplegic was able to get up and walk again. Now some have asked what are the odds that the one person who was helping Strange during this time would happen to know of this one other case, but that’s life isn’t it? Sometimes coincidences happen, and things just line up perfectly, and if we’re there to act when it’s required of us and do what needs to be done we can make a difference in another person’s life that we may never have imagined possible, or even ever know that it happened. We can’t see the ripple effects our actions send out, we can’t see the tiny changes and larger outcomes to everything we do. It would be wonderful if we could, but all we can do is be willing to take a chance, to be there to do what needs to be done, and to believe in something bigger than ourselves, even if that is simply the betterment of humanity. Now beyond that nurse, there was Jonathan Pangborn, the paraplegic, who was willing to tell Strange of what he did to be cured and able to walk again, and where he needed to go to seek help. Baron Mordo saved him from the thugs, and then brought him to Kamar-Taj, where he also beseeched The Ancient One to teach Strange their ways and give him a chance. Then there was The Ancient One who did choose to teach Strange, and give him a chance, and understand that he would accept the choices The Ancient One had made, even as Mordo could not. These were all the tiny ripples that made Doctor Strange the hero that no longer feared for his own life or well-being, but chose to sacrifice himself again and again to Dormammu in order to hold the destruction of Earth at bay.

Strange finally came to see that life had meaning, that it was worth fighting for, that there is good and evil in the world and that there needs to be someone to hold the line. More so, that he had the capability to fight that evil, and so he had the obligation to do what needed to be done to save the world, even at the possible cost of his own life. Repeatedly. “The bill comes due” (Mordo). In the end everything we do has consequences, and so everything we do has meaning, because with each action we change not just our lives, but the lives of those around us. We have meaning in this universe because of what we can bring to it, and each of us are at times placed in a position that could make huge changes in another’s life whether we realize it or not. Let the ripples we send out be those to make the world a better place; let the universe know that you do indeed have a purpose and that it cannot be indifferent to someone who could so easily change it.

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Beauty and the Beast vs. Stockholm Syndrome and Abusive Relationships

I love Beauty and the Beast. I have since I was little and saw the cartoon version, and I love the live version even more. Perhaps it’s the book nerd in me falling for a guy who gifts a girl a huge library, but there’s always been something about it that I absolutely loved. However, now are the days of questioning every story and trying to find the evil within. Is this the tale of Stockholm syndrome or an abusive relationship that’s going to lead girls to believe they can change their abusive boyfriends/husbands if only they love them enough. I find both ideas utterly ridiculous. Maybe I’m blinded by my love of the tale, but I’m at least going to back up my reasons for why.

First off, it couldn’t possibly be Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is described as “positive feelings toward their captors and sympathy for their causes and goals, and negative feelings toward the police or authorities. These feelings, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” I stole this from Wikipedia but I’m sure you can find this sort of info from a more reputable site if you’d like.

However, looking at this it doesn’t follow with what happens. First off, Belle chose to stay with the Beast so she wasn’t really taken hostage then. Sure she is being held captive, but it’s not like he went and kidnapped her. During that time the Beast and her barely spend any time together, and when he does act angrily and throws a tantrum, she stands up to him. She doesn’t back down, and while she doesn’t leave, she does move about doing whatever she wants. He yells a lot but all his threats are empty considering she doesn’t stay locked away and she does eat well. And she actually does try to escape, during which the Beast saves her life and when it’s clear she could make a run for it, she once more chooses to stay in order to find out what the curse is all about and to try to help the servants more than she is trying to help the Beast. More so, when the Beast gives Belle the opportunity to leave she does so. She doesn’t wish to remain there, and she doesn’t turn on the townspeople thinking they’re the bad guys. Besides she doesn’t even have rescuers of any sort to think badly of. The townspeople instead ignore her father’s plight and try to have him locked away instead of ever really asking what happened to Belle, and only go to the castle to murder the Beast, because even though they never knew he existed and he’s given them no trouble they’re suddenly afraid of him and decide to hunt him down and kill him in the castle he’s locked himself away in. So not much of her turning on any sort of rescuer, as it is trying to stop them from hurting people who are under a curse. In the end the only reason she shows any softening towards him, is because he finally stops acting so cruel and begins to try and be a decent human being. She also doesn’t fall in love with him until after he’s given her her freedom. In fact if he hadn’t been attacked it’s questionable if she would’ve returned or declared her feelings in time to even save him.

Now, much of this also answers why it’s not about an abusive relationship. Firstly, if you’re building your relationship ideals off Disney then you clearly don’t have any good ones to look upon in real life. Instead of blaming TV maybe we should question why they don’t have people in real life to look up to. Regardless, this isn’t the tale of someone who thinks they can save this cruel man if they just love him enough. Instead, she stands up to him repeatedly showing she isn’t going to bow to his will to just because he yells and demands it of her. While he does tear up a lot of stuff, the Beast never harms Belle or his servants. He clearly isn’t someone who they even fear because they disobey him readily. Showing he’s more bark than bite. Yet, the main thing to note is that it isn’t until he acts better, and shows that he cares, and that he’s trying to be a better man that she actually begins to love him. She isn’t loving him to make him better, she loves him as he becomes better. Once more, only upon him undoing all the wrongs he’d committed against her does she love him. Once he frees her to help save her father, who is only in trouble because of the Beast, and gives up his chance of breaking the curse does she finally let herself fall in love with him. Only once he’s completely turned from all the things that led him to becoming the Beast does Belle actually see him as someone worthy of her love. That is not the description of an abusive relationship. Belle wasn’t trying to save him, instead the Beast was working to become worthy of Belle.

Beauty and the Beast

No surprise if you’ve read anybody’s review, but this movie is amazing. As pointed out by this youtube video, a lot of the silly mistakes made in the cartoon version were fixed or clarified. And yet they still managed to pay homage to them as they kept everything that was so wonderful about the original alive. They didn’t go trying to rewrite it, but instead magnified the magic. If you’ve seen the cartoon then there won’t be any surprises, instead you’ll enjoy getting to fully know the characters. They gave them background stories and fuller lives to help you better understand them. Like why the Beast was so cruel and yet had servants who truly wanted him to be happy, not just to break their curse but because they cared for him. We get to know about Belle’s family more and how they came to be in a town that never really accepted them. The acting was on point with Watson perfectly playing a loving and bookwormish Belle, who also shows plenty of backbone, and Dan Stevens is a gruff and grumpy yet with a dry sense of humor Beast that you can’t help but fall in love with. Not to mention the songs will have you wanting to sing and dance along to them. Altogether, it was a well done movie that I can’t wait to see again.

The Trouble with Time Travel

While I lay here wishing I could fall asleep I found myself thinking about the Minions movie. If you’ll recall the scene at the villains fair you may remember the part where a scientist kept grabbing future versions of himself to help him in the present, which then led to the original version accidentally being killed and all future ones disappearing. And that got me thinking. Let’s say I have a bowl of soup, and I want to go to the future in order to bring back the future soup so I can then have 2 bowls of soup. The problem is eventually I’m going to eat the soup and then there’s no more soup. So if I go too far into the future then there will be no soup, but if I get it too close to the present then I’ll just have a constantly disappearing bowl of soup that keeps getting snatched up in the past. But mostly the problem is the soup is going to get eaten, and so if, let’s say I have a viewing glass that let’s me see into the future, would I even be able to see said soup because the only possible future that exists for it is that it’ll be eaten. Even if I decided I wouldn’t eat it until I brought a future version of it back the future would still show it gone.

Because isn’t traveling to the future in a way like traveling to the past. I mean of course we’ve all heard of the butterfly effect. Step on a butterfly you alter the future. So any events we might experience in the future or things we may bring back from the future would alter our present self which would change the future’s past that had been the time-line that led to the future we experienced that would no longer exist to be there for us to go to to alter our present.

Besides even the butterfly effect for our past doesn’t really make sense. It’s like the movie The Time Machine. In it the man builds a time machine to go into the past to save his fiancé, but while he’s able to alter the past in where she dies or how she dies, the fact is she always dies the same night, because if she never died he would’ve never built the machine to go back to save her. In other words we can’t change the past in such a way that would’ve kept us from going back in time to begin with. So no matter whichever direction you travel in you would create a paradox that would prevent all reasons for your travel or keep you from traveling to begin with.

In fact the only way I can see time travel existing is if it’s already a part of our time-line. As in we travel in time to cause events that already happened. Kind of like the movie Deja Vu, where the ending may have varied but it took the time travel bits to create both outcomes to begin with. Or more simply, like The Terminator, because if the robots hadn’t sent a Terminator to the past to kill Sarah Connor the humans wouldn’t have sent Kyle Reese to the past to protect her, and they wouldn’t have hooked up to create John Connor, the whole reason the robots were after Sarah.

And these are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now Go Watch Deadpool…

deadpoolLet me begin by saying this movie was probably the most hilarious movie I’ve ever watched. With that said I feel the need to give a warning that I feel some of the people watching in theaters with me might’ve should’ve heard.

First, if you have a young kid, they definitely shouldn’t see this movie. Sure he’s a brightly colored superheroish (big on the ish) guy, but he is not for kids. It’s vulgar and graphic. Get a babysitter, or wait till it comes out on DVD and then send them to bed early.

Second, don’t take your kids with you to this movie at all. I don’t care how old they are. They could be full grown adults. This is not a family movie. There are some things no kid should watch with their parent, it’s just wrong. The parents should go, and, depending on the age, the kid should go, but neither should the two meet. If you’re both cool enough, talk about it later, but seriously that’s just wrong.

Now on to the movie. Not only was Ryan Reynolds hilarious and witty, which I expected no less from him, but everyone else did a great job as well. Every line perfectly delivered, and absolutely keeping with the image Deadpool is trying to create. Plus the fact that Deadpool can break the forth wall (only after he’s turned into Deadpool) made it able to be both a comic book movie, but also make fun of comic book movies. It’s like he knows they exist and he’s just playing it out, but the fact that his ability to talk to the audience at times confuses other people within the movie does make me wonder if he knows we’re out there or if he’s just insane, or both.

More so, this movie also managed to have serious moments, showing Wade Wilson’s true feelings for Vanessa. That’s probably the best part of the movie, that they were able to make that so real and moving while not making it feel out of place in such an over the top ridiculous movie. It could one moment be making non-stop dick jokes (which it does), and the next pining for all that he’s lost, and it all flowed well and realistically together. Though I have to say my favorite part was Colossus. I mean of course Deadpool is the star, but Colossus was a good character to play opposite him. His good hero advice delivered in that Russian accent was just the perfect counterpoint for all of Deadpool’s less than hero-like actions.

In the end, definitely worth going to theaters for. So go and have a Happy Valentines Day!

Aliens vs Germs

So I was thinking about War of the Worlds today, go with either the movie or the book, in the end it is germs that kill the aliens, because they had no immunity. I know folks that said that was lame, a total cop out, but thinking about it today it really does kind of make sense. I mean a large portion of the Native Americans that lived here when European settlers came over were wiped out by germs. Sicknesses that they had no immunity too, and that’s dealing with people who live on the same planet as each other. I’ve seen this dealt with in other science fiction stories. I’m currently reading Vorpal Blade by John Ringo (2nd in the Looking Glass series), and while getting ready to go into space they’re inoculated with one of those nice unknown shots that is basically supposed to hopefully protect them from whatever might be out there. Even in Agents of Shield episode FZZT from season 1 had humans getting infected by an alien virus that is carried through skin cells left behind on a Chitauri helmet. So it’s not like this isn’t something considered and dealt with in the science fiction world.

However, like really thinking about this, shouldn’t that be the number one issue that we would have to over come if we ever were to go out into space, or if aliens ever really came here. Although, that’s something that was also sort of explained in The Host by Stephenie Meyer. There the aliens abducted people in order to cure their illnesses so they wouldn’t have to worry about it, though that was more so their host bodies would be healthy, since they’re a parasite. So I’m not sure if that really had anything to do with their own immunity, but would make sense for alien abductions before invasion. Regardless, if we ever do make it out into space, wouldn’t any habitable planet be full of microbes that could infect us. Things we have no immunity for. Would any existing microbes carry over even if we terraformed a planet?

Heck, right now our antibiotics are beginning to fail against the sicknesses we currently have here on Earth. How could we ever truly prepare for whatever may be out there? We are often so afraid of the aliens that may exist if we started traveling the stars, but shouldn’t we be more worried about all the tiny things that could crawl under our skin into our veins and kill us from the inside out. The next thought is could it jump species? Germs do here, it might take a bit for it to adapt and become something that can infect us, but after a while it’ll get us before we can get it. Screw aliens beings, alien germs are what freak me out.

The Fifth Element

fifth elementSo the Fifth Element is one of my all time favorite movies. First off, Bruce Willis is his bad ass self complete with quick wit and dry humor that just makes you love him. The futuristic world shows the great advances we  may one day make, as well as warn us of some of the downfalls that are to come if we don’t change our ways. The excessive consumerism that leads to layers of garbage and smog covering the earth as we build up and away from it. Plus there’s aliens, not an overabundance, but I never like it when any show or movie has us going far out into space and there’s still only humans about. It’s kind of a let down. But while this is science fiction, it still some how managed to mix in this almost mystical story line that is just wonderfully romantic in the end.

Plus I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the whole thing I wanted to talk about was the fact that in the end the Fifth Element wasn’t just some perfect being. The divine light wasn’t just some mystical mumbo jumbo. It was love. Diva Plavalaguna told Korben that Leeloo needed his help, that she needed his love. And when the time came in the end she couldn’t stop the evil that was coming, she wasn’t able to do what she was created to do, because she didn’t know love. It was only after Korben told her he loved her and kissed her that she was able to produce the divine light. In the end the only thing that could stop evil was pure love. So while this is definitely one of those movies where people are fighting, things are blowing up, and Bruce Willis manages to reign havoc on 2 planets, it’s probably one of the most romantic movies I’ve ever seen. Definitely a movie everyone should watch at least once. Ha! Like you could only watch it once.

The Dad of Limitless

limitlessI am loving the show Limitless. The movie was great, but honestly I didn’t think it would work out too good for a show. The fact they’re doing it as an extension of the movie, having Bradley Cooper still play the part of Eddie Morra, and more so as a perhaps slightly bad guy who may  not even realize he’s a bad guy, really helped set it off to a great start. But really it’s Jake McDorman, as Brian Finch, who made this show so wonderful. Most crime shows tend to be a bit of a downer, but Brian is a quirky guy who really makes being super intelligent an arts and crafts montage of good humor. He showed that just because a drug may make you smarter, it doesn’t change who you are. It just magnified it, and so with this new intelligence he’s doing what he can to make the world a safer place, and helping out those he cares about along the way as well. Altogether just begin a good guy.

Which is why Brian’s dad, played by Ron Rifkin, bothers me so much. I like the actor, he’s a cool dude, and at first he seems like a great dad. Always being there for Brian, and sticking up for him when the FBI was after him to begin with. You would think to finally see his free loading son not only make something of himself, but do so in a way that’s really noble like assisting law enforcement in apprehending dangerous criminals, would make him happy. However it’s like he doesn’t like his son no longer being dependent on him. Brian has a good job, lives in a nice apartment, and is happy, and suddenly his dad cuts him off. He actually refuses to take his phone calls, and then shows up to tell him he no longer wants all the stuff Brian has made him over the years because basically he no longer loves him now that Brian doesn’t tell him everything. This is just terrible parenting.

Sure when you’re raising your kids you have a lot of control over their life, and really need to know what they’re up to. But once they’re grown they have a right to their privacy, and a right to live the life they choose whether you approve of it or not. Especially since Brian is clearly doing good for himself. I understand being concerned, but to basically cut your child off like that is just wrong. And then when Brian finally tells him everything, because he doesn’t want his dad out of his life, his dad turns it around and assumes Brian needs saving still. He ignores Brian’s wishes, and breaks their own confidentiality by telling others. He also is determined to see Brian as someone who needs saving, because that’s what his dad wants, he wants to be the guy that Brian has to rely on to function. And I hate that. It really is making me angry, and now I hate it every time he shows up on the show.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. Regardless, still think the show is AWESOME!

Frozen vs Big Hero 6… and Tangled

frozen vs big hero6So this popped up on my Facebook, and it’s actually been a while since I’ve seen anything about Frozen pop up, but the first time I saw anything not saying Frozen was the greatest movie ever. I have to say I’m thrilled finally someone else sees it, maybe not to the degree I do, but still someone says another movie is better than Frozen.

Now Big Hero 6 is a wonderfully deep and heart wrenching movie that also manages to be sweet and funny. It deals with loss, depression, and the desire for revenge. These are big issues and they manage it well in a movie for children. As also pointed out in this post, it shows women being smart and capable, and people from multiple ethnicities. I actually read someone complaining because the girl who was Latino didn’t look or act Latino enough, but I liked that the characters didn’t fall into stereotypes. They were just kids doing what they love and trying to make a difference in the world, which is an amazing idea to try and imbue in children. That you can achieve anything you put your mind to no matter who you are.

But back to me complaining about Frozen, which probably would’ve been a bigger deal if I’d done it at the peak of the hype, but still better late than never. First, at the beginning the little troll people say that fear will be Elsa’s greatest enemy, so what do her parents do? They lock her away, keep her from her sister, and make her afraid of her own self. They don’t notice that previously she did have control, where as afterwards it was beyond her abilities to stop the constant spread of ice around her?

Secondly, when she does set off that snowstorm, everyone keeps raving about how she’s unleashed a never ending winter. It had been a day. How do they know it’s never ending? Wait a week, it might just melt since she went away. Lastly and most important, while I think it’s great that Anna basically undid her own curse thingy with her own act of true love, I think it was tainted by the fact that they felt the need to make Hans evil. No where through the whole movie is there a hint of him being evil. More so they already had that Duke being the bad guy. The Duke is the one who tried to turn everyone against Elsa and sent men off to kill her, while Hans tried to stop them and tried to reason with Elsa.

I think it would’ve been a better message to show that just because he’s a nice prince doesn’t mean it’s true love. That people can’t just fall in love in a day and think it’s cool to get married, and that not every nice guy will necessarily be the right one for you. Even that though is ruined by the fact that they practically try to shove Olaf down your throat. Of course the prince is evil and Olaf is the real one you should be falling in love with in a day. And how he keeps saying he knows the love guru’s who would tell you how you can’t marry someone after only knowing them for a few hours, and then the trolls tell her to marry Olaf right then. Not only that but they sing that annoying song about how they’re both just fixer uppers. What happened to loving someone just they way they are?

If they really want to see a princess being awesome and saving the day and it actually making logical sense, watch Tangled. Rapunzel is the one who escapes the tower, she’s the one that gains herself allies that come to help when she needs it, and she’s the one who save her true love. Why wasn’t that hailed as amazing? Because it still involved a man in the true love saving the day moment? Like having a man as part of your happily ever after is bad?

Columbo: The Game Show Killer

The Game Show Killer  by  William Harrington  description:

For over twenty-five years, Columbo has been the most popular , and persistent, detective on television, drawing millions of viewers a week. William Harrington’s compelling new novel pits the famous TV detectives against one of the most brilliant and flamboyant lawyers in the country. It may seem like the perfect murder, but if there’s the tiniest flaw, the famous Lieutenant Columbo will find it.

columbo gameBOOK 4: The Game Show Killer   4 STARS

So by those that lent them to me it was recommended I start with this book, work my way through to the end, and then go back to the first. Not sure how much it’ll end up mattering, though personally I do say to watch the show first since it came before the books. and that is what these books are based on. Plus if you don’t like the show I highly doubt you’ll like this, because Harrington did a great job of capturing the Columbo we all know and love. Though I do love that with the books you get more of what’s going on with the killers, which like the show you know who it is from the beginning, but more so Columbo’s dealings with the other cops on the force and even reporters. And getting to see what others really think of him and how they are able to work with him in humorous little bits, because unlike the show this book has him as famous as such a detective would be, even as everyone is still surprised by his rumpled appearance. The mystery he’s solving is also an interesting one because for once he doesn’t actually seem so sure of the killer, and I believe it’s because he’s good at reading people and while Erika is the killer Columbo always knows when there’s more to the story. So it really is a great novel that uses every part that made the show great, but also added much to the story line to keep you wondering which “one more question” the little fella will ask next.