Steve's Herpetological Blog

An insight into the life of Steve, his research and the many books he reads

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#SteveReviews: Tiger King 2

I’m sure many of you will agree that the original Tiger King was the one series that stopped us all going insane during the first lockdown of 2020. When it looked like the world was falling apart, Tiger King was there to help remind just how normal we all had it. Due to the incarceration of Joe Exotic, I assumed that it would be the last we’d see of him. However, a second season of Tiger King was recently released on Netflix and so I was prepared to re-enter Joe’s insane world. Unfortunately, Joe doesn’t feature all that much (I guess that’s what happens when you’re behind bars), however there are a number of new people we meet that are even more insane as Jeff Lowe and Joe Exotic combined! The first season may have shed light on Joe’s ego, his rise and subsequent fall, and the feud with Carole Baskin. This new season called Tiger King 2 will have you scratching your head more than the first. Why is that you may ask? Well, buckle up and let me explain.

The biggest issue that I have with this series is that it is still riding the wave from Tiger King. One of the recurring themes throughout both series is the disappearance of Carole’s millionaire husband Don Lewis, who Joe is convinced she killed and fed to her tigers. It seems Netflix did some digging, especially in Costa Rica where Don had been travelling to on some ‘business trips’ before his disappearance, trying to set up root there. It seems that he was investing cash in property and businesses such as hotels, and other such fronts. These had a darker side to them, as he had a thing for underage girls, and some of these hotels later became brothels. Twisted, I know! It has always troubled me that people assumed that Carole killed her husband. She may have had the most to gain from his disappearance but with Don’s shady goings on in Costa Rica (and perhaps elsewhere in Central and South America), it’s it more likely in my mind that he was murdered by someone he crossed. There is also the distinct possibility that he didn’t want to be found and so moved elsewhere, under a pseudonym. Yes, there are some issues with Carole’s alibi and other holes that people try to pick, but seeing as Don’s van was found in an airport, doesn’t it make sense he left never to return? I guess we’ll never know.

Tim Stark is one the people who is featured more heavily in Tiger King 2, who is just as crazy about big cats and exotic animals as Joe Exotic. He only played a small part in the first season, but has a whole arc in the second. It is people like Stark and Exotic which demonstrate why big cats (and other large exotic animals), should not be seen as pets or traded as they are in the US. It’s a lot harder for people to get away with something like that here in Europe, which is one of the reasons why we’re all hooked. Elsewhere in run of five episodes, the audience is taken on a journey to probe whether or not Joe Exotic’s conviction was sound. This includes a campaign to try to convince President Trump (at the time of filming), to pardon Exotic. This doesn’t work, and as far as I’m aware, Joe hasn’t yet been re-trialled. If he’s exonerated and released, I’m sure we’ll all learn soon enough as he’s gained some notoriety over the past couple of years. To me, the second season is more about people’s personal disputes than Joe’s life and journey, which was to be expected. It’s not as gripping as the first but it still serves a purpose. Hopefully you don’t feel like you’ve wasted your time by watching it.

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