How Can I Watch Kaleidoscope’s Randomized Heist Series?

Netflix releases Kaleidoscope with two gimmicks. Eric Garcia’s heist drama, Matchstick Men, revolves around colors. Each episode has a color name that influences its visuals. The show’s title also refers to a gadget that blends colors to create new patterns, which Kaleidoscope urges viewers to do. How? “The order in which people watch the episodes will impact their outlook on the tale, the characters, and the questions and answers at the heart of the heist,” Netflix says of Kaleidoscope. Thus, each pick will provide viewers a different show experience. How many experiences are possible? Save “White” for last and there are 5,040 possible combinations of the seven episodes leading up to it. Rule-breakers can watch Kaleidoscope 40,320 times. Let’s assume no optimum Kaleidoscope viewing order. Surely there are other ways to watch? These choices have pros and cons. Since surprise is crucial to enjoying the program in any sequence, we’ll avoid spoilers.

Randomize viewing order: “White.”

I watched Kaleidoscope this way. I watched “Red,” then “Blue,” “Yellow,” “Violet,” “Green,” “Blue,” “Orange,” “Pink,” then “White.” It seemed like watching a series out of order, even though the series achieved its experimental intentions. A narrator introduces each episode, making it feel like the first. It’s more confusing than enlightening.

Starting with “Red,” an episode set immediately after the primary theft featured in “White,” the intended climax, I largely wondered, Who are these individuals, and what do they want? Why is Giancarlo Esposito wearing a camouflage wetsuit? Kaleidoscope connects all the narrative dots towards the end, but watching the episodes randomly, or at least in the random combination I chose, doesn’t change the events so much as postpone explaining them. Discovering why the pink stuffed animal is important gives a tiny thrill. Kaleidoscope has many such moments, but none of them change our view of the people or what we’ve witnessed.

Is it a failed experiment? Nah. Randomness yields a fairly satisfying story. It also creates memorable dramatic irony. “We’ve got a chance to remedy everything that went wrong in our lives,” one character says of the large score, but viewers know he is wrong. (Possibly not.) Depending on which episode they viewed beforehand. Still, the uncertainty often feels useless, and anyone expecting Kaleidoscope to revolutionize TV storytelling would definitely be disappointed.

Sequence the Story.
Viewing order: “Violet,” “Green,” “Yellow,” “Orange,” “Blue,” “Red,” “Pink,” “White” Again, Kaleidoscope’s episodes can be watched in any sequence except “White,” which should be watched last even if “Red” and “Pink” take place one day and six months after the heist. According to the creator, we put it last. It’s a show about master crooks. Did they obey? Watch it third from the end for a chronological experience.

The story covers 24 years and takes viewers from beginning to end. Master thief Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) and Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell), the head of a security organization with an ultrahigh-tech bank vault in Manhattan, are at odds. Leo hires at least five crooks, each with a specialty, to steal $7 billion in unsecured bearer bonds, like in Die Hard, one of Kaleidoscope’s inspirations. Kaleidoscope is easiest to follow chronologically, although it may not be the most satisfying. In this manner, viewers soon discover Leo and Roger’s history, why Leo is so bitter, and the importance of one of Leo’s employees. These seem like subsequent revelations.

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

Kaleidoscope may be more radical this way. This method confuses more than watching in random sequence. Six months after “White,” characters die and are reincarnated one episode later. Characters will share beds only to find they switched partners previously in the novel. If you save “White” for last, you won’t learn why Leo wants Roger dead until the penultimate episode. CGI makes the old young! Children grow up or disappear! Madness! Ocean’s Eleven meets Irreversible (minus the latter’s scariest portions).

First, viewing order: “White,”

A fascinating idea, but it has all the drawbacks of watching the episode backwards and none of the benefits. Like doing a crossword puzzle after seeing the solution. This method isn’t recommended, but you can try it. Netflix is yours (unless you’re sharing a password).

Watching order: “White”

We’re breaking regulations now! Every episode of Kaleidoscope leads to the big heist. Maybe watch the big heist? Avoid: “White,” one of Kaleidoscope’s best episodes, is most enjoyable because of the team’s meticulous preparation. If you don’t know they’ve been worried about getting past a high-tech “gait detector” that identifies people by their stride, the innovative solution won’t be as pleasant. The episode’s closing shot, one of the series’ best, will be pointless. “White” isn’t Kaleidoscope’s only heist episode. One episode features a daring daytime jewelry store burglary and a prison break.

Watch Every Episode Except the Big Heist Viewing order:  then never watch “White.” Some viewers may like this perverted attitude. Maybe watching everything but the reward and letting the mystery be fun. Is the genuine Kaleidoscope ending greater than your imagination? “Yellow,” “Violet,” “Orange,” “Green,” “Blue,” “Red,” “Pink,” “White”

The Kaleidoscope landing page presents the episodes in random sequence, with “White” as the finale. However, that order is not required. I would have seen Kaleidoscope this way: “Yellow,” where Leo gathers his misfit squad (Paz Vega, Rosaline Elbay, Peter Mark Kendall, and Jordan Mendoza), is the finest spot to start the story. The episode introduces all the important characters while concealing their pasts and why they joined the team. Fast and fascinating. Start there, then alternate “Violet” and “Green,” the flashback episodes, with “Orange” and “Blue,” which chronologically lead to the heist. Watch “Red” and “Pink,” two post-heist episodes. They’ll be just confusing enough.

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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