The Netflix series Kaleidoscope added a humorous twist to the conventional heist thriller by focusing on the criminals’ prior motives as well as their subsequent actions. Did the eight-part series effectively capture your interest?
Giancarlo Esposito plays Ray Vernon alias Leo Pap, a former thief who escapes prison in the midst of a 25-year sentence to plan the heist of an impregnable vault housing $70 billion in untraceable bearer bonds.
His crew consists of Ava Mercer (Paz Vega), prison buddy Stan Loomis (Peter Mark Kendall), chemical/explosives expert Judy Goodwin (Rosaline Elbay) and her safe-cracking boyfriend Bob (Jai Courtney), wheel man RJ Acosta Jr. (Jordan Mendoza), and “man inside” Hannah Kim (Tati Gabriela) — aka Ray’s daughter.
Roger Salas, portrayed by Rufus Sewell, is the CEO of SLS, the elite security firm that developed and guarded the vault in question, and he views Hannah as his protégé.
The cast also features Niousha Noor as Nazan Abbasi, an FBI agent on Leo Pap’s trail, Bubba Weiler as Abassi’s associate Samuel Toby, Hemky Madera as SLS goon Carlos Sujo, and Soojeon Son as Hannah’s roommate/”sister” Liz.
Following an introduction named “Black,” Netflix delivered eight episodes in a semi-random order with the following titles:
- “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” (finale)
If we choose the simple Ocean’s Eleven analogy… Ray’s Terry Benedict was Salas, upon whom he sought vengeance by escaping a severe financial defeat.
The difference with Kaleidoscope is that we received an entire episode (“Violet”) that introduced the men’s past friendship/criminal relationship… followed by the terrible incident that forked their paths when Roger fled the scene of a botched burglary rather than perhaps saving Ray’s wife from a fire.
(Knowing he would be caught shortly thereafter, Ray handed Hannah over to Ava, who would find the child a new home.)
Back in the present day, “Leo” created a team of both familiar (Ava, Stan, Judy, Hannah) and unfamiliar (Bob, RJ) thieves, with “love triangle” tensions between Stan, Judy, and blowhard Bob frequently disturbing the team’s efficiency.
Ava grabbed the notice of Abassi, a discredited FBI agent with whom she had crossed paths years earlier, during a diamond district robbery planned to provide the team with quick seed money. Abassi immediately threatened to deport Ava’s longstanding nanny if she did not inform her of the crew’s whereabouts.
The episodes “Pink” and “Red,” which were both set after the robbery, provided indications about what had gone wrong and the possible loss of life but did not provide explicit details.
Particularly, “Pink” revealed that soon following the theft, Judy strangled Bob and left him for dead, after he led her to murder RJ and nearly kill Stan. Bob nonetheless lived, but without a functioning voice box.
He then arranged a bargain with an imprisoned Salas and enlisted two buffoonish minions to pursue Leo/Ray and, preferably, Stan. Ray, however, created a trap in which Abassi and company captured and shot Bob.
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As for Ray, he was last observed suffering from Parkinson’s disease. And after making the promised FaceTime connection to Hannah, he was strolling through Central Park when a stranger approached him from behind, drew a revolver, and… A gunshot was heard after the screen turned pink.
Is Ray dead now? Giancarlo Esposito, who portrays Ray, told TechRadar, “I want Ray to pass down that tunnel and meet Hannah once again.
I want him to have one last embrace. Parkinson’s is a debilitating, incurable disease, but Ray once again possesses the will to combat it. You do not know if he survives, but at this point in his trip, he does not want to suffer another setback. He only desires to live.”
What about the theft itself? Using a swarm of bees (!) to thwart the gait sensor, office plants distributed by Liz to sprinkle knockout gas, and a plastic mask to fool a face scan, the “White” climax explained in detail how the vault’s numerous precautions were circumvented.
Ava had to blindly blow the bomb that Judy was too sluggish to set in order to short out the temperature sensor when hurricane rainfall rushed in, but Judy remained unharmed.
Bob and Stan then began safecracking as the others placed the waterproof bins of bonds onto a dolly, which Judy then transported up to RJ by elevator.
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Along the way, Hannah secretly caught the cab and, working with Liz, hastily switched in containers of colored paper before sending the dolly to RJ. In “Red,” the crew learned the bindings were gone until afterward.
And, as shown in the “White” conclusion, only Ray was aware that Hannah had made the transition. She confessed it and her explanation to her father just before he went back down into the flooded vault to deposit the priceless stone from their failed theft decades ago in Salas’ personal safe — to ultimately alert the FBI that he is not who he claims to be!
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