Is there a right way to watch 'Kaleidoscope'? The cast weighs in

"Kaleidoscope" is Netflix's latest "it" show of 2023, and it's unlike any "it" show that came before.

The heist show follows a group of criminals attempting to break into one of the most secure vaults in the world to steal $7 billion. But viewers can choose the way they want the story to unfold.

“Kaleidoscope” was designed to be viewed in any order. The eight episodes, which are named after various colors, take place at different time periods surrounding the heist, from 24 years before to six months after. The finale features the actual heist.

Rather than relying on cliffhangers, viewers are able to piece together the characters' histories and relationships however they see fit.

Online, people are weighing in with their "Kaleidoscope" viewing strategies. Some feel "strongly" that the "only way to watch is chronologically." Others take the rainbow approach, going in order of ROYGBIV. Some just implore you to save "White," the finale, for last; others disagree.

The official Netflix account also suggested a few orders, including one in the style of a Quentin Tarantino movie.

But is there a right way? Here's what the cast told, in their own words.

Is there a right or wrong way to watch 'Kaleidoscope'?

Tati Gabrielle, who plays Hannah Kim, emphasizes that there's not a correct or incorrect way to watch "Kaleidoscope."

"I think the beauty of the way that (creator) Eric Garcia and our writing team developed (the show) was so that anybody can watch it however they want to," Gabrielle says. "The viewer has an opportunity to have a very unique experience — an experience that's personally theirs."

Episodes appear differently in each individual queue, but the show always ends with the heist. Depending on the order in which people viewed the events leading up to the "White" episode, they could have different perspectives about the characters, their motivations and where they end up.

Rosaline Elbay, who portrays Judy Goodwin, advises people to put their phones down before turning on the TV.

"The right way (to watch) is without distraction," Elbay says.

Though episode order doesn't necessarily matter, Giancarlo Esposito, who stars as mastermind Leo Pap, says one way to firm a better grasp of the show is to watch it twice.

"Go for the ride on this one and don’t expect anything. Then go back and ride it again without any expectation and you’ll find something really fascinating happens," he says.


What's the meaning behind the episodes' colorful titles?

Much like an actual kaleidoscope, "Kaleidoscope" exhibits an array of colors ... at least, in the titles.

"I think the show reflects the very interesting tapestry of color," Esposito says. "I think there's a reason why there are no numbers and it's all colors. I think that it reflects our lives and how moments in our lives are stronger than others. It reflects relationships that are past, present, future, failed, indifferent, resentful."

Will viewers feel satisfied by the end?

Viewers' journey to the "Kaleidoscope" finale will be unique. Will they be satisfied when they get there? It's something Gabrielle wondered while making the show.

“People will feel satisfied with the ending in the way that the ending is what you’ve all been waiting for is the heist itself,” Gabrielle says. “But at the same time, I’m curious to see the reaction because in ways, the way that you leave some of the characters may not be exactly the ending that you wanted, or may not even be a full ending.”

Since the show's release, Esposito says he's heard people say they wanted more after the final episode.

"They didn't want it to end. That's a marvelous thing to have people say … because you can imagine you want to solve the mystery," he says. "That's what this is about — it's a heist. You want to solve it."

He could foresee viewers so much enjoying the challenge of solving a mystery or making predictions that by the time the ending is revealed, some could be shocked or disappointed.

"Isn't that the way life works? It's our expectation that kills us," he says.

Kaleidoscope. (L to R) Paz Vega as Ava Mercer, Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap, Jai Courtney as Bob Goodwin, Peter Mark Kendall as Stan Loomis in episode “White” of Kaleidoscope. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 (Netflix)
Kaleidoscope. (L to R) Paz Vega as Ava Mercer, Giancarlo Esposito as Leo Pap, Jai Courtney as Bob Goodwin, Peter Mark Kendall as Stan Loomis in episode “White” of Kaleidoscope. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022 (Netflix)

Is there anything people should be on the look out for while watching?

Without giving away any specific details, Courtney says some clues give viewers another thread of storylines or events to track, reiterating Esposito's recommendation to watch the show twice.

“There are sort of micro-themes woven into (the show) all throughout,” he explained. “Little things that you might miss if you don’t have your kind of gaze set for it.”

Gabrielle noted: "I would say just in general, pay very close attention. Pay very close attention. You don't want to miss a thing."


When do episodes take place?

Here's a breakdown of the episodes and their timeline:

  • “Yellow: 6 Weeks Before The Heist”

  • “Green: 7 Years Before the Heist”

  • “Blue: 5 Days Before the Heist”

  • “Violet: 24 Years Before the Heist”

  • “Orange: 3 Weeks Before the Heist”

  • “Red: The Morning After the Heist”

  • “Pink: 6 Months After”

  • “White: The Heist”

So, if you want to watch in chronological order, here's your game plan: "Violet," "Green," "Yellow," "Orange," "Blue," "Red," "Pink," White."

Here's reverse order: "Pink," "Red," "Blue," "Orange," "Yellow," "Green," "Violet," "White."

Whatever road you take, you're heading to the same destination as everyone else.

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