We’ll do a debrief for you… Kaleidoscope, watch in the order you want
One series, 5040 choices: it’s your choice in which order you want to watch the eight episodes of Kaleidoscope available on Netflix!
What is kaleidoscope? Married and the father of a little girl, Leo (Giancarlo Esposito) is a high-flying burglar. With the help of his accomplice Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell), he breaks into the chests and dismantles gems in the safest spots. But when a burglary turns tragic, Leo is arrested. Years later, he decides to escape from prison to start a new coup to get revenge… With a lawyer who doesn’t care much about the law (Paz Vega), his ex-con Stan (Peter Mark Kendall), Judy (Rosaline Elbay), who specializes in explosives, and her boyfriend Bob (Jay Courtney) set their sights on a high-security corporation storing $7 billion in Treasury bonds.
First series launched on Netflix this year, kaleidoscope is a seemingly classic heist story loosely based on a real-life event (the disappearance of $70 billion worth of bonds from a Manhattan safe deposit box during Hurricane Sandy in 2012) during and after a heist spanning 25 years. In terms of script, the series is not particularly innovative and is reminiscent of other fictional heists, such as those of Money Heist, Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job… It is, however, an entertaining, well-written, and well-constructed story. Although: The focus is on the question of the construction of the series kaleidoscope.
Each episode obviously has a place in the chronology: one takes place six weeks before the robbery, another seven years before that, another the morning after the robbery… and so on. From one to the other, over a period of twenty-five years, we discover the past of the protagonists, the recruitment of the heist team, the organization of the plan, an escape from prison, the aftermath of the heist, the investigation led by FBI agent Abassi (Niousha Noor ). In which order? Well, it depends and that’s the point.
Because showrunner Eric Garcia wanted to do something different. In this case, the episodes can be displayed in the desired order. They are not numbered but color coded. We have to start with black explaining the basic principle and theoretically we end with white narrating the robbery. For the rest it’s open bar: you do what you want. You can follow the order proposed by the algorithm (different for each user), choose the episodes randomly, in chronological order or by color preference.
There are 5040 possibilities in total (40320 if we decide not to necessarily end in white) and therefore there is a good chance that the story will not be linear. Therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to certain details that explain the events that have occurred or will occur. It’s all about putting the pieces together as you watch the show. Some recommend a specific order; not us. It’s best to just go with the flow and enjoy the story in the order it comes to you.
As I said, the story itself is enjoyable and effective, and that’s a key element. Because without a good story, it doesn’t matter what order it’s presented to us in: it wouldn’t have worked. Here we are told the “before” and “after” of a robbery, with a whole range of secondary dynamics, relationships between the characters (including that of Leo with his daughter Hannah, played by Aunt Gabrielle in adulthood), and events in the protagonists’ lives , which shed light on their motives. It’s a story we already know: the gang that organizes the robbery of the century, the betrayals, the vagaries, the personal rivalries, the hero’s quest for revenge / redemption (great Giancarlo Esposito, but it’s no surprise), added the escape Prison breakout and sometimes a little touch of sound from Fargo. In short, elements already seen elsewhere – but it works very well.
Also read: We debrief for you… Black Mirror – Bandersnatch, choose your own nightmare. | VL Media (vl-media.fr)
So the real question is that of “experience”: does it do anything, does it work? In fact, it all depends on the viewer’s expectation. kaleidoscope isn’t the puzzle it promises, it’s less complex than that. Yes, the viewing order can be changed and will affect the way you pick up on the story while viewing it. For example, starting with the Violet episode (25 years before the heist) gives you a lot of pertinent information about Leo’s past and the reasons why he orchestrated the heist right from the start. On the other hand, if you start with Rose (6 months after the robbery), you will not be affected by events in the same way and you will perceive Bob’s character differently.
But all in all, each episode is nothing more than a flashback or flashforward or revolves around a specific character. When the series is over and all the pieces are put together, or when we imagine what watching it would have been like in a different order, we tell ourselves that kaleidoscope lives up to its title: it’s an optical illusion. And of course the big picture is ultimately the same. It’s not a complex Rubik’s Cube, it’s a fun and fascinating puzzle. And that’s not bad.
Kaleidoscope offers a classic heist story, effective and captivating, divided into flashback and flashforward. By adopting traditional elements of the genre to weave its plot, the series focuses its ambition on the idea of ”experience”, which is watching the episodes in the order you want them to be. The result is surprising and works very well – even if it’s not as revolutionary or destabilizing as we were promised. But that doesn’t matter because in its form, Kaleidoscope is original and fun enough to get you hooked.
8 episodes from 34′ to 56′ minutes.
Available on Netflix.