Tiger King 2 on Netflix: who murdered Carole Baskin’s husband?

It’s a rather simple character test, of course, but it delivers very clear results: How do you behave after a victory? Especially towards the vanquished. As a winner, you can step away from the battlefield very quietly. Or you step after. No time for looooosers. That’s how the gauchos go. That stuff. At the Greater Wynnewood Zoo in Oklahoma they have a large metal dumpster with a white sticker on it with red writing: “Home of Joe Exotic.” So losers end up on the trash here.

After all, the zoo once belonged to Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, as Exotic is called in real life. Now he’s in prison: 22 years. He is said to have commissioned the (unexecuted) murder of the animal rights activist Carole Baskin. There were also various “violations of animal welfare laws”, which of course is one of those hideous euphemisms. Maldonado Passage, also known as the “Tiger King”, has killed healthy, protected animals, among other things – after he had previously kept them under living conditions that may have made death appear to be a more benign alternative.

Everything happened in the first season. Because you will only understand the second to a limited extent without it, and because there are supposed to be people who spent the first Corona wave reading, a brief summary of the madness so far: It was the eve of the first lockdown, March 2020, as Tiger King became a sensation. In the center, as big antagonists, the zoo operator Joe Exotic and the animal rights activist Carole Baskin. Exotic is a guy who looks like Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood, and Ziggy Stardust had a gay kid who graduated from clown college with flying colors in a meth mad and then crammed hundreds of predators into an amusement park to be with them to be able to play. He is married to several men with different drug addictions. One of them accidentally shot himself in the head, right in front of the campaign manager Exotic hired to become president. Or, because that didn’t work out, at least the governor.

"Tiger King 2" at Netflix: Will not be president - and also not governor. "Tiger King 2" but suggests that Joe Exotic could be innocently in jail.

Will not be president – and also not governor. But “Tiger King 2” suggests that Joe Exotic could be in jail innocently.

(Foto: Netflix)

Carole Baskin is an animal rights activist who, when it comes to clothing and interior design, also reveals a certain mania when it comes to cats. One theory pursued in the series suggests that she may have killed her first husband and fed her own big cats. Another theory suggests that her current husband, Howard, is performing a rather impressive version of Stockholm Syndrome.

It was, you have to admit, a lot of crazy fun. On the one hand.

For all the meta-irony, it was Tiger King but on the other hand also a show of rising above people. Europeans fumed about the sober stupid Americans. Big city democrats about gun-mad rednecks and the animal rights activists who are almost amorous. All together gazed at the actually outrageous self-presentation almost without exception of all those involved.

One loses an arm, a couple loses their mind. What remained for all of them was the mockery

What was the last, very moving level of this series: It actually and above all showed people who wanted to be loved in completely different ways. And mostly lost a lot or everything: Exotic, the elections, its zoo, the freedom. One loses an arm. A couple of the minds. What remained for everyone was the mockery – from the audience, but also from the filmmakers.

And with that, welcome to Netflix in 2021 – on the eve of the third lockdown in Germany.

And with the few winners and the question: How do they behave now? Well, Jeff Lowe, who owns the zoo, including the dumpster and sticker, at the beginning of the second season, has had a chub necklace bursting with bling-bling made for the celebration. “Tiger King,” says the trailer. Sure: Who would be satisfied with a zoo if you can take away your opponent’s nickname, which is actually your identity here?

Tiger King - press photos 2021

Jeff Lowe about his wife Lauren (in the background; in underwear): “If I have to send Lauren on the line so we can get through, we have to do it.”

(Foto: Courtesy of Netflix)

Even Howard Baskin, guaranteed to be found in “Webster’s Dictionary” as an illustration of the word “kreuzbrav”, fidgets in the car to the song “Lonesome Looser” by the Little River Band around as he drives towards the zoo to shred the “GW” logo with a screeching handsaw. The Baskins were awarded the area after a lengthy legal battle – first against Exotic, then against Lowe. “Have you heard about the lonesome loser / beaten by the queen of hearts every time / Have you heard about the lonesome loser / He’s a loser but he still keeps on trying …” It’s a particularly miserable world in which even the Kings of hearts mock the lonely losers.

Which now leads to Netflix again.

Netflix and the directors Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin are of course also doing this very cleverly with the second season. The accident effect that made part one so irresistible you couldn’t look away has now finally worn off. Gaffer jam resolved. Keep going, there is nothing more to see here. That’s why they are now diminishing the freak show a little – and increasing the documentary portion. In-depth research with a gigantic budget. True crime investigations across multiple countries. This time, the focus is on two questions: Was the alleged murder assignment only attached to Joe Exotic, so he is innocent in jail for that matter? And who killed Carole Baskin’s ex-husband Don Lewis? If he’s dead. He could just as easily have gone into hiding in Costa Rica – for example to escape the midlife crisis desolation in the American pet petting bourgeoisie.

But he could also have got involved with organized crime in Costa Rica. A contact who was found in San José whispers about boxes full of rolled up 100 dollar bills. Lewis may also have given in to pedophile tendencies – with a 15-year-old. He could even have run a brothel with minors, with children. The contact also whispers that. So Lewis could have given many people many reasons to wish for murder. Even the abandoned wife who is favored in the will. Raunt Netflix. To be more precise: Let Netflix whisper.

Because this is where it becomes problematic. Baskin sued the streaming service a good two weeks before the start of the second season. Reason: The release forms signed by her and her husband only related to the original documentation. “There is no mention of Royal Goode Production granting rights to sequels, rights to create derivative works from the film, or additional seasons or episodes,” the lawsuit said.

November 15, 2021, TAMPA, Florida, USA: Carole Baskin, left, her husband Howard Baskin, center, and attorney Frank Jake

Lawsuit against Netflix: Carole Baskin with her husband Howard and lawyer Frank Jakes (from left).

(Foto: Douglas R. Clifford/imago images/ZUMA Wire)

That sounds very technical and like another vanity in this behavioral universe. In fact, it is said that for season two, as far as Baskin is concerned, Netflix only handles the material from season one, which is sometimes several years old. That’s surprisingly thin for a documentary that believes she can commit a murder.

And it brings with it a dramaturgy problem. As is common with Netflix in these formats, there is no overarching narrator. The plot is driven by what the protagonists report. Baskin doesn’t report anything new – that’s why others have to do it for her. Tiger King 2 thus becomes, over long stretches, a series of increasingly insane whispers on top of each other. The final classification is largely left to the viewer. Believe what you want.

Allen Glover, the alleged hit man: “Joe was screwed from start to finish.”

Ripper Jack, a self-proclaimed internet investigator without any training and given a lot of space, says of Carole Baskin: “If Carole is innocent, okay. But she knows something.”

A Don and Carole Lewis housekeeper: “I suspect Carole’s father and Kenny Farr had something to do with Don’s murder. I have no evidence.”

Don Lewis’ eldest daughter about Baskin: “I think she’s lying.”

Entrepreneur James Garretson on Joe Exotic’s alleged murder assignment: “I think it was Jeff Lowe and Glover’s intrigue.”

Allen Glover, the alleged hit man: “Joe was screwed from start to finish.”

Jeff Lowe on his wife Lauren: “If I have to send Lauren on the line so we can get through, that’s what we have to do.”

Towards the end, a woman appears who sounds like the Russian secret agents who die in the arms of James Bond about halfway through the film. She says: “Jeff Lowe is opportunist and goes after people who are in trouble. He promises them probably heaven on earth, and then he fucks them over without lubrication from behind with a wire brush.” Short version: Jeff Lowe is not a very nice guy. You don’t quite understand where she gets her expertise from. Until this memorable statement: “That’s my opinion, of course, but I am rarely wrong. I am Eastern European bitch, so I can not be wrong.” Netflix Expertise, 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *