H:LOTS – S05E17 – “Kaddish”
The episode titled “Kaddish” aired five days after The X-Files aired an episode of the same name! The episodes are not connected to each other; I just thought it was an interesting tidbit to note. “Kaddish” belongs solely to Munch, who inadvertently becomes the primary on the murder case of his former childhood crush. The episode shifts back and forth in time as Munch attempts to reconcile his long dormant feelings for the victim, bitterness over her decision to marry someone else – and in perfect nice guy tropery, the other guy is a “jerk” and didn’t treat her right – and ultimately his ambivalence regarding his crush’s death.
Richard Belzer is stunning in this episode, displaying a range of emotional responses and none of them feel forced or false. That said, the episode struggles to find an adequate emotional center and the flashbacks, which feel like outtakes from Levinson’s own Diner are somewhat jarring. It’s interesting that a show often adept at playing with time and space in such creative ways isn’t as successful when playing with in a straightforward manner. I’m not saying “Kaddish” is a bad episode; it’s not. It’s more that the episode feels a little disjointed and the payoff, while satisfying, is not as exciting as the episode’s premise would suggest.