Season 2 of Tiger King has been out on Netlfix for two weeks…
The series follows Joe Exotics incarceration tale with Carole Baskin; this time moving away from the tigers in their zoos to their lawyers in their courtrooms. The first episode to this season starts off with a bang! It reintroduces Joe exotics family but without Joe on the ground relies on his enormous fanbase for the excitement left behind by his flamboyant personality.
Following up the Netflix docuseries which gained notoriety during lockdown for its vibrant, eccentric portrayal of an already vivacious character, the second season has a lot to live up to. We last saw joe exotic imprisoned after a documented breakdown where he waged war, and lost, to a fellow tiger park owner, Carole Baskin.
From someone described as mulleted, gun-toting, polygamist, who’s also a country singer, you’d expect his life to be like his titles; complicated. And it was! Each episode delved further into his extraordinary life, from his strange business associates, his wild promotion tactics, his enigmatic around-the-park rituals to the death of his young husband and the breakdown from grief, he managed to capitalize on each experience, making the last season a binge-worthy watch during lockdown.
This season deals less with the dogmatic world of tiger parks and homes in on its true crime factor, asking the question; what happened to Don Lewis? However, since his ex-wife, Carole Baskin refused to take part in this season we see her role in the story through the eyes of the remaining cast. Usually painted in a controversial light by the family of her late husband.
Through attempting to alleviate the stress brought on by Joe’ fans from the first season she makes herself look both foolish and incriminating! She feeds the theories against her by posting questionable diary entries from her late husband’s disappearance, not to mention the ‘dancing with the stars’ debacle, and the cringeworthy tiger costume!
Regardless, the theory stands that a younger Carole Baskin would have been fearless enough to refuse don’s divorce proposal, forge his will and feed her husband to the tigers. And since there are discrepancies between the diary entries on her YouTube channel and don’s friends accounts, the theories are still getting clawed at by fans.
After the first season we were all dying to find out what happened to the enigmatic cast of characters surrounding joe. With the boost of fame they received, most chose to capitalize on it, including joe exotics ex husband Dillon passage, who invested his money into social media fame, to Joe’s chagrin. Another being Jeff lowe, Joe’s former business partner turned nemesis, putting the money back into the park. Unfortunately, the park itself has been closed, the animals handed over to animal sanctuaries.
The last we saw of the exotic family including characters like John Reinke, and Saff Saffery they were unhappy with Joe’s treatment of the animals and advocated his incarceration. Now, it seems after Joe has received all the fame he desired, his old family comment nonchalantly that his eventual exoneration is around the corner.
After the big break ‘Tiger King’ received, I was eagerly anticipating the second season, however, it must be said; this second series feels like a cop out. With the meat of the season surrounding the disappearance of Don Lewis, I found myself asking “where is tiger king?”
The last episode opens with a splattering of news clippings, and Joe’s own music over prison accounts of him complaining! We see his world as limited to the outskirts of both those who love and support him and of those who’ve succeeded over him. My frustration for this season bubbled at the last five minutes as the scene of Joe exotics lawyer entering the courthouse, for the first time, pans out and fades to black. I was left on the edge of my seat, praying they wouldn’t leave the series on a cliff hanger!
The third season of tiger king has not yet been greenlit, so we have no idea if or when it’ll hit our screens. Regardless my hopes for this upcoming season start with Joe’ prison phone experience, and hopefully end with Joe exotic out in the wild where he belongs!
word: Namra Tahir sub-editor: Salma Ahmed