Different views of “Kaleidoscope”


Credit: Alyssa Ao

WSPN’s Nadya Chase and Aimee Smith review Netflix’s new TV series, “Kaleidoscope.” This new crime show allows you to watch the eight episodes in any order you wish.

Nadya Chase and Aimee Smith

Vengeance. That is the first word that comes to mind when we think of Netflix’s new TV series “Kaleidoscope.” Released on Jan. 1, “Kaleidoscope” takes a unique approach to what first seems like an average heist show by allowing its viewers to choose the order that they watch the eight episode series in. While being able to choose the episode order was what originally drew us in, the cliffhangers and plot twists were what kept us watching.

The episodes range from 24 years before to six months after a heist to steal $7 million worth of bearer bonds from the three richest people in the world occurred. Each episode felt like its own smaller story, filled with new twists and betrayals, and adding to the overarching themes of vengeance and obsession in the series.

This format allowed each episode to stand alone, while also allowing each episode to smoothly connect to whichever order of episodes the viewer decided to watch. That being said, the only rule that viewers must follow is to watch the episode titled “White” last. “White” is the episode where the actual heist takes place in and reveals most of the plot twists.

To write our review, we decided to watch the episodes in a different order from each other, and come up with an agreed-on, preferred order after watching. The following lists were our episode viewing orders:

Chase: “Red” > “Orange” > “Yellow” > “Green” > “Blue” > “Violet” > “Pink” > “White”

Smith: “Yellow” > “Green” > “Orange” > “Blue” > “Violet” > “Pink” > “Red” > “White”

While we both enjoyed our different watching experiences, we definitely thought that some episodes worked better together than others. The suspense from episode to episode carried over in a more cohesive order depending on how you viewed it.

Our suggested order is as follows:

“Yellow” > “Orange” > “Green” > “Blue” > “Violet” > “Red” > “Pink > “White”

After watching all the episodes, we decided that “Yellow” is the best starting point for the show because of the background information it provides. In “Yellow,” you meet the heist leader, Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) as he recruits a crew to steal the bearer bonds. The only snag is that the bond owners’, otherwise known as “The Triplets,” have the bonds stored in supposedly impenetrable vaults protected by Roger Salas (Rufus Sewells).

For Chase, watching “Red” first meant she was thrown into the aftermath of the heist, without any context behind who the characters were or what the goal of the heist was. While she was able to pick up the pieces after a bit, watching “Yellow” first would have given her a smoother introduction to the story because it provides the viewer with a solid background on the crew and the heist.

At first glance, the plot of “Kaleidoscope” seems unoriginal and similar to every other heist show, fueled by money and greed. However, the complicated relationships between the characters take the show to a different level and leave the viewer guessing about almost everything, including the characters’ real identities and motives for the crime.

To complete the heist, the show introduces a diverse cast, with each character specializing in different fields. Included in the crew is the smuggler Stan Loomis (Peter Mark Kendall), the wealthy, crooked lawyer Ava Mercer (Paz Vega), the getaway driver RJ Acosta (Jordan Mendoza), the chemist Judy Goodwin (Rosaline Elbay), the safecracker Bob Goodwin (Jai Courtney) and the insider Hannah Kim (Tati Gabrielle).

Other than the crew, the series also focuses on FBI agent Nazan Abassi (Niousha Noor), who becomes obsessed with stopping the heist. We learn more about her background, how she became an FBI agent and why she’s interested in the heist in “Orange,” making it a good second episode because she plays an important role in the show.

Furthermore, we thought that some episodes worked best when one follows the other. For example, we thought that it was important to watch “Green” before “Blue,” because while “Green” gives some background information about Leo’s life before the heist, “Blue” explains his past more in-depth and reveals important information about his past that is left unanswered in “Green.” We also thought that it was important to watch “Pink” after “Red,” because they both take place after the heist, and “Pink” reveals a shocking plot twist that connects to information we thought we knew in “Red.”

Even though we watched the episodes in drastically different orders, the plot twists still managed to surprise us. While the random episode order left some cliffhangers unknown for several episodes, the plot was pretty cohesive no matter the order. Each episode revealed clues and new information that explained gaps from previous episodes, and from episode to episode, there were tensions that kept us hooked.

As a whole, we didn’t predict the major twist revealed in “White.” The twist tied the whole series together nicely, but also felt a little random, like the show purposely chose something out of left field to prevent viewers from guessing the ending in the earlier episodes. This meant that the big twist had very little build up and clues, which was a little disappointing.

Oftentimes, heist show plots can seem overdone and predictable, and while “Kaleidoscope’s” plot wasn’t groundbreaking, the actual crime was well-written and enjoyable to watch. Seemingly unimportant things would return in later episodes, forcing the viewer to recall the smallest of details.

With an engaging plot and innovative idea of viewers being able to choose their episode order, “Kaleidoscope” is a must-watch for any action and crime enthusiasts. Overall, we would rate the show a solid 8/10 because of the plot twists, plot development and creative liberties viewers can take.