Towards the end of the third paragraph of Tiger King 2– Netflix’s follow-up to March 2020’s explosive documentary series about the wild lives of big cat collectors and nature lovers – a “psychic detective” gets emotional over an empty chicken coop located near a Porta Potty. The psychic, hired by the daughters of the missing millionaire Don Lewis – a key figure in the original series – believes that he came across the place where Lewis was murdered “from behind” in 1997. “Did you notice that I have talked about chicken all day? ” he says with wet eyes.The scene is emblematic of it all Tiger King 2 experience: confusing, chaotic and leaves the viewer with more memes than it makes responses.
What happened to Carole Baskin’s husband Don Lewis? According to a caller to a tip line created by Lewis Family Lawyer John Phillips in August 2020: “You can all go ahead and stop because we all know Carole Baskin did.” When Tiger King‘s first series highlighted fierce speculation that animal rights activist Baskin murdered her husband, many viewers –including OJ Simpson– considered the case open and closed. In something of a mea culpa for Baskin, Tiger King 2 dedicates two episodes to exploring Lewis’ disappearance and describes a series of people who would have him dead or gone.
“I was a bit shocked at how resounding the public court’s opinion was about Carole,” said co-director Rebecca Chaiklin in a press release issued by Netflix prior to the release of Tiger King 2, which hit the streaming service on Wednesday. “I thought it was really important that we dive deeper and get a better understanding of her narrative and her missing husband’s narrative to investigate who else might have been to blame for his disappearance in his very complicated life.” But with little new information about Lewis’ disappearance (a detective assigned to the reopened case, Moises Garcia, refuses to answer questions because of the ongoing nature of his investigation), the audience is instead treated with speculation after speculation (the friendly Garcia notes) can often be inappropriate).
This is where we see the beginning of a new genre: real crime. A confusing scene shows a man who has been hired to serve Baskin with a summons, telling the camera that he asked for a selfie, and she obliged it – he then suggests that the fact that she agreed to the picture, on somehow is suspicious. “I handed her the case and you take a selfie with you me? ” he says in disbelief, as if he had not asked her to. Along with the psychic detective, the five episodes of 40 minutes contain musings from a man nicknamed “Ripper”, who runs a 5,000-member Facebook community: The Official Don Lewis Cold Case Files Group. With ponies strolling behind him, Ripper (real name Jack Smith) proudly declares, “I tell people I got my law degree from Google.” In Garcia’s assessment, Ripper is prone to conspiracy theories.
Lacks significant discoveries, Tiger King 2 becomes a strange cocktail: a part look at the impact of our first documentary, two parts Don Lewis and two parts oh yes, about the cats. Meanwhile, the series is particularly light on Tiger King himself, Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic. Life at the Maldonado Passage’s exotic zoo in Oklahoma had been the primary focus of the original. Tiger King, but – minus a few video calls from prison – he is clearly no longer the central character of the series in its sequel. There is also a key point missing, other than chaos for the sake of chaos.