With Joe Exotic behind bars, we all thought the “Tiger King” story had found its conclusion. Sure there were some loose ends here and there but we had our fill of faux animal activism, bad music videos and alleged assassination attempts (he probably did it). 2020 was a wild year so it was nice that we had a little bit madness to keep us companied.
Well, the ride isn’t over yet. In spite of Exotic’s incarceration, Carole Baskin and a handful of sordid tiger-rearing nutjobs are still on the loose! The first time we saw “Tiger King”, our collective minds were blown as Netflix struck gold with a documentary series so wild and strange, it gave us pause. Now, we’ve see documentary series from haunted hotels to Satanic serial killers but “Tiger King” still sits on a pedestal for us.
“Tiger King 2” has a lot to live up. So will it deliver on the first season’s insane high-points? Hopefully we’ll get more information on what really happened to Baskin’s husband at the very least. Buckle up and get ready because we’re going back in!
It’s important to remember that “Tiger King” really isn’t about tigers or conservation. Rather the show mostly revolves around the colourful personalities drawn into the life of rearing big cats. In the wake of Joe Exotic’s prison sentence, there is a power vacuum that needed to be filled. Like a season out of “Game of Thrones”, a former ally has risen to capitalise off the Tiger King’s fall, Jeff Lowe. Lowe was Exotic’s former business partner but after a messy fallout with Lowe conspiring to put Exotic away, the man and his wife Lauren has seized the throne for a time. Beside Lowe, this season of the show also focuses on the other benefactors of Exotic’s arrest. His husband Dillon Passage has made full use of his “Tiger King” fame to secure various business deals.
And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. Joe Exotic will be featured in the show, though mostly in the form of blurry prison video calls. The series is fully aware that their main attraction can only be shown in a very limited capacity. So how do they make for it? Well, they also track the online phenomena of the “Tiger King” craze and how the series has inspired fans to advocate for Exotic’s release. One mega-fan, who is a Texan millionaire named Eric Love, has even launched a whole campaign to get Exotic a presidential pardon from Donald Trump.
Have you ever come across a TV series where the creators try to pander and build off their fanbase? “Tiger King 2” is a textbook case of what happens when you buy into your own hype. Honestly, we don’t care about any of these secondary players! Where are the other eccentric psychopaths and nutjobs who run the tiger zoos? We get that certain big cat owners like the pseudo-cult leader Doc Antle would be hesitant to appear due to his portrayal in the first season. Still, this is not the way you pad out content. This feels transparent and very calculated like that crappy after-show episode “Tiger King and I” in the first season.
Those who are interested in learning more about Joe’s past will at least leave with a better understanding of his childhood. There are some fairly interesting facts that this season covers, like how he was the youngest police chief in the state of Texas. He also used to strip for the mayor of the state as well. Stories like that are worth telling. Where it falls off the rails though, is when it focuses on the fan reaction of the series. It frankly feels self-congratulatory and desperate, which betrays either a lack of vision…or a lack of content.
This season dedicates a surprising amount of time to discussing the disappearance of Carole Baskin’s husband, Don Lewis. In the previous season, it was hinted that Carole possibly had her husband murdered and fed his corpse to the tigers. The first season masterfully played on this grim fact for dark humour with plenty of clips of Joe accusing her of that. Here though, we turn this oddity into a semi-serious true crime investigation involving vigilante detectives like Ripper Jack.
It’s dull, meandering and definitely eats up a good chunk of the runtime…which we suspect is the point. At the end of the day, the results of this prolonged segment is inconclusive. Great, we had to sit through all of these interviews and swallow all this information only to leave with little answers.
The rest of this season is the show trying to convince us that Jeff Lowe is every bit the psychopath that Joe was. Sure, the guy’s shady and he’s incredibly manipulative but damn it he’s no Joe Exotic! Call us back when he becomes a gay polygamous ex-Presidential candidate, TV star. Admittedly, “Tiger King 2” does provide a sense of finality to the whole series. The federal government is finally clamping down on big cat owners. The party’s over. Along the way, we get to meet some pretty interesting characters like Zuzana Kokel – now she’s someone who deserves far more screen time.
Netflix’s “Tiger King 2” is a disappointing and dull follow-up to the series’ excellent first season. This five-episode entry shows a clear lack of creativity and content, in its length, narrative and pacing. When it’s not trying to bank on the fanbase’s goodwill, it’s busy gathering as much secondary sources of information in an effort to pad its runtime. “Tiger King 2” has lost its edge and its throne.
Look you guys had a good run, but perhaps it would be better to let the series rest for now and only return when there’s more developments to report on. For those who can’t get enough of Exotic, you can now catch “Tiger King 2” on Netflix today!
So what do you think of “Tiger King 2”? Do you think Carole Baskin really killed her husband? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
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Netflix's "Tiger King 2" Review
Netflix's "Tiger King 2" is a disappointing and dull follow-up to the series' excellent first season. This five-episode entry shows a clear lack of creativity and content, in its length, narrative and pacing. When its not trying to bank on its fanbase's goodwill, it's busy gathering as much secondary sources of information to add to its runtime. "Tiger King 2" has lost its edge and its throne.
- Netflix's "Tiger King 2" Review