Netflix kicked off its 2023 with a bang, releasing Kaleidoscope, a heist drama starring Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito and Tati Gabrielle from The 100. Kaleidoscope differs itself from every other heist, with its main twist: you can watch the episodes in (pretty much) any order, changing it depending on what order you watch the show.
Each episode of Kaleidoscope is titled by a color, loosely fitting the rainbow color scheme that you might get in a kaleidoscope: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Pink and Violet, capped off by the heist episode, White, which you are supposed to watch last. And if you forget this review, Netflix has included Black, a primer that explains the concept.
I watched Kaleidoscope in the order in which Netflix presented the episodes to me. I began with Yellow and went on to Green, Blue, Orange, Violet, Red, Pink and White. To me, this order makes it seem like a broken Tarantino film, where we go back and forth in time, but it’s not quite right.
Yellow: Yellow takes place 6 weeks before the heist and I think this is the best place to start for watching. Like every good heist movie, there is a team. In Yellow, we meet our main characters and our antagonist, but not much else. Esposito plays Leo, the brains of the operation. Stan (Peter Mark Kendall) is the smuggler and supplier. Judy (Rosaline Elbay) blows things up and her husband Bob (Jai Courtney) cracks safes. Ava (Paz Vega) is the group’s lawyer and gives them all the guns they need. RJ (Jordan Mendoza) is the handyman and driver. Hannah (Tati Gabrielle) is the woman on the inside of Roger Salas’s (Rufus Sewell) security company that only protects the most valuable assets. The team is looking to steal a set of unsigned treasury bonds worth $7 billion, which are owned by a trio of billionaires who entrust the bonds to Salas and his firm, SLS. This episode is a great exposition for a story with a number of characters and storylines that intertwine a lot.
Green: Green is 7 years before the heist and follows Leo and Stan, who were cellmates in prison and their escapes. You find out that Leo has Parkinson’s and shakes that get worse as he gets older. You also see that Stan and Judy were together before Stan went into the clink, setting up one of the main conflicts in the team.
Blue: 5 days before the heist, the team realizes their plan won’t work and they make the last-minute changes to their plan to pull the heist off. The episode is great and sets up the heist, but the only pre-heist story left in this order is during White, so there is some left to be desired.
Orange: 3 Weeks before the heist, you follow Detective Nazan Abbassi, played by Niousha Noor, as she deals with her past and the obsession she has with catching Ava on a charge that she had been investigating previously. This episode is fine, and helps us explain the officers on our teams’ tail, but serves to add red herrings to this order of the show.
Violet: 24 years before the heist, Graham and Ray, or Salas and Leo, are thieves themselves. After a break in thieving, they make a plan for one last heist until something goes wrong and you see the betrayal that sets the whole story off. This episode is incredibly well done and helps to justify the show. And it’s even better that it’s this late in this order. Chronologically this is first and watching this one first would make many of the other episodes boring.
Red: The morning after the heist, you see the team argue after something went wrong. The bonds are missing and so is half the team. This episode is fast paced and goes easily. The viewer doesn’t know what happened, but all the bonds were replaced by construction paper, so someone has billions now. I initially hated seeing the aftermath of the heist before the heist itself, but it works.
Pink: Six months after the heist, we check in with each living member of the crew and where they find themselves. Mostly, they are hunting each other in search of the bonds they all believe each other to have. This episode took forever, as it was the only one remaining before the heist in this order and its hard to see the long effects of the heist without knowing what went wrong.
White: Finally, we get to watch the heist. Like every good heist movie, the plan works until it doesn’t, then it all falls apart. People are dead and others are missing. So are $7 billion in bearer’s bonds. And now we know why. The heist is great. We see the fulfilling of all the backstory and we see where Red and Pink are coming from. This was a great cap of the show.
Overall, this show was great and I would absolutely scramble it and watch again. A couple of episodes dragged, but I think you can fix that by making a few changes. If you decide to watch, my recommended order is Yellow, Violet, Green, Orange, Blue, Red, White and Pink. Yes, you’re supposed to watch White last. This is better.