Tiger King 2

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Joe Exotic in Tiger King 2.
Joe Exotic in Tiger King 2.
Photo: Netflix


Tiger King 2




3/5 Stars


A follow up from Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Tiger King 2 seeks to answer some of the questions raised after the explosive first season, with eccentric characters, and a few shocking twists.


The long-awaited Tiger King 2 is finally here, but if you're tuning in for the drama, mayhem and absurd music videos that the first series slapped us in the face with, you may be slightly disappointed.

Before you even get your claws stuck into this sequel, make sure you've seen the original Tiger King. The follow-up builds on information revealed in the first season, so yes, you'd pretty much be lost without some context.

While Joe Exotic was the star of the first Tiger King, the eccentric former G.W. Zoo owner finds himself in jail in the sequel, serving a 22-year sentence for the murder-for-hire plot against rival and Big Cat Rescue owner Carole Baskin.

Made up of five episodes, Tiger King 2 sets out to (try and) answer some of the biggest questions raised after the crazy first season and gives an in-depth look into some of the characters just briefly mentioned before.

But unlike with Tiger King (S1), where episodes felt like they followed chronological order, building up to explosive moments at the end, season two felt a little all over the place.

The show hops back and forth between numerous characters and seems to be unsure of the tale it is trying to tell. While each episode is themed, the flow wasn't as smooth as it could have been.

We see an in-depth focus on Jeff Lowe, with many people speaking out, questioning whether or not he had set up Joe Exotic to take the fall for the planned assassination against Carole.

But then, there's also a focus on the mysterious disappearance of Don Lewis. Some shocking revelations are made regarding Don's life, including claims of paedophilia, as the show digs into what could have happened to Carole's ex. This was probably the most eye-opening part of the docu-series. But if you think you're going to get any closer to a possible conclusion, you're wrong. The series goes between theories that Don was murdered (whether by Carole or other dangerous people he found himself involved with) and others who claim he could just be in hiding.

It also points to the possibility that Don's will could have been forged, but if you're a Tiger King fan who has kept up with the news, then this would not be new information to you. We also see what happened when Jeff Lowe's animals were removed from his zoo by the US government – again, this is an old story and probably something you'd go into the series already knowing.

Then, in an odd turn, we're also given a closer look at the life of animal breeder Tim Stark.

Tim, who attempted to open up a failed zoo with Jeff Lowe, has been accused of mistreating animals for years. Right off the bat, his behaviour and lack of respect for others are quite alarming. For a short while, we follow the story of Tim – painted as the Joe Exotic of this season. Again, a fascinating tale that had me raising my brows, but not enough time had been allocated to truly get stuck into the details in the same way Joe's life was laid bare.

With so much happening in Tiger King 2, it was tough for me to keep up. Still, I longed for something meatier this time around. Season one was the craziness that got us to bite, and season two should have been the one that reeled us in.

Tiger King 2 feels a little more serious than the first one – more of a crime documentary than a showcase on the eccentric life of a zoo owner. There are so many interesting storylines and theories, but four episodes was not enough to flesh it all out. In the end, I was left with more questions than answers.

The main themes producers tried to address were: What happened to Don Lewis? And was Joe Exotic framed? Though it seems they took the scenic route to get there – and then ran out of petrol somewhere along the way.


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