Spoiler alert: The following article discusses the entirety of Netflix’s “Kaleidoscope.”
In “Kaleidoscope,” Netflix’s trippy caper series and first-of-its-kind watching experience where viewers can follow heists, betrayals and secrets as they unfurl in a randomized order, one man — Giancarlo Esposito’s Ray Vernon (alias: Leo Pap) — goes to unforeseen lengths to pull off a decades-long-gestating, career-defining robbery. As he goes against corporate security titan and friend-turned-foe Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell, whose character’s real name is Graham Davies), Leo runs afoul of the FBI, the uber-wealthy and equally shady figures known as the Triplets and his own daughter Hannah (Tati Gabrielle), who warns of the effects of all-consuming vengeance.
While the show is designed to view in any order, served to the audience member according to Netflix’s algorithms, “Kaleidoscope” is bookended by episodes “Black” — a one-minute introduction to the experience — and “White” — the series’ version of a finale, depicting the actual heist and meant to be saved for last. Creator Eric Garcia described the final installment as the key to the puzzle, which “unlocks everything” and is peppered with clues to some lingering questions, the most notable being Leo’s eventual (possible?) demise.
In “Pink” (technically the penultimate episode at No. 8, but who’s keeping track?), we find the crew — or what’s left of it — 6 months out from the heist, picking up the pieces and moving on after the failed mission. At this point, Leo’s Parkinson’s has worsened and a botched revenge plan from Bob (Jai Courtney) leaves him and Ava (Paz Vega) dead.
Sensing that he’s at the end of the line, Leo finds closure with his daughter, agreeing to visit and meet his granddaughter, Lily, named after his late wife. He then makes a final visit to Salas (who’s facing 20 years, but likely 8, in prison), coming face-to-face with the man who betrayed him 24 years ago and who he has since become in his quest for revenge. When Salas asks if all the years spent plotting and scheming were worth it, Leo can’t answer him, switching the subject to ask if Salas could have saved Lily from the fire more than two decades ago.
In the episode’s final moments, we see an unidentified man in a black shirt with a multi-colored kaleidoscopic cartoon graphic and blue jeans following Leo in the park. Before the camera fades to a pink hue and later black, the man draws his gun and presumably fatally shoots him. So who is it?
The gasp-worthy answer lies in “White”: It’s none other than Salas’ son Brad (Nate Katsuki), who is spotted in the same outfit while talking with his father on the night of the heist. Conjecture? Possibly, but in an interview with TheWrap, Garcia teased that the clues pointed to the killer’s look and lied in plain sight, to be discovered with just a bit of digging and close viewing.
Additionally, we can rule out some other figures: It can’t be Salas’ personal hitman Carlos, as he’s killed the morning after the heist. It wouldn’t make sense for it to be the FBI, as Nazan wouldn’t have handled the matter via extrajudicial means. After Hannah’s laundering of their money, it’s safe to assume the Triplets wouldn’t sully their hands either with tying up loose ends anyway.
That leaves only Brad: desperate to join the family business, prove himself to and avenge his father, who is serving time after being framed with the origin story’s stolen necklace.
In many ways, “Kaleidoscope” is about “how we are all circular creatures,” Garcia said. Each character, the writer-producer explained, has addictions and needs that ultimately shape and harm them. Whether it’s revenge or a toxic relationship, Leo cannot run away from his past and finally succumbs to it. For Garcia, the show is as much a thrilling tale of a takedown as it is one’s journey — notably Hannah’s — to “escape” that soul-sucking cycle. As for what will come of Brad — if his daddy’s powerhouse lawyers will shield him from accountability — the series doesn’t answer that question, but we can only assume that the interweaving layers of comeuppance have found its final resting place, and only Hannah — brave, strong, not the inside man and the sole daughter of Lily and Ray Vernon — has emerged unscathed.