Director: Eric Goode
In early 2020 as the pandemic was just beginning and the world was heading into lockdown the show Tiger King on Netflix was the second biggest thing people were talking about. In the office the day started with shock about last night’s news followed by ‘have you seen Tiger King yet?’. It was a global phenomenon that quickly fizzled out as 2020 progressed, at least for the people who weren’t living it. While Amazon have shelved their promising Nic Cage series, saying the time had passed, Netflix doubled down with a second season of the original hit.
Tiger King 2 give us an update on the lives of the owners of big cat zoos in America that somehow weren’t put in prison after the first season. Over five episodes there’s updates about what’s happened since as well as a deeper dive into the history behind Joe Exotic and company.
In the year and a half since the first season it feels like a lot has happened, while the same struggles are continuing. There’s an episode detailing the attempt to get a presidential pardon for Joe Exotic, which fell back seat to the Capitol Riot on January 6th of this year. Two entire episodes based around the disappearance of Don Lewis, that pretty much just goes over the stuff we already know without adding anything substantial. The more interesting bits deal with Joe’s life before owning the zoo, his life as a police officer and his first husband. There’s also an episode centred on Tim Stark, and his legal battles since the airing of the first one. It’s a really sad moment for the way he’s treated animals and you can only hope he’ll never be in that position again.
Much like first season it’s a whirlwind of bizarre and horrific people who should probably all be locked up alongside Joe. There’s nothing really new it adds to the story, it rehashes many moments from the first one, and in a shorter time flies-by without really deepening your understanding of the situation. It reeks of a cash grab and desperation. Lots of moments that feels like rejects from season one. Maybe not enough time had passed to really give an update worthy of more than one episode or maybe it’s just impossible to capture what the first season did again.
There are still some good moments, the Christian Clairvoyant who has an obsession with chicken, being probably the best. There’s a lot of people who have attached themselves to those involved, looking for their own moment in the limelight, but the whole thing just shows how desperate people are and how they will take advantage of those in need. It’s shocking how deplorable people are.
Tiger King 2 wasn’t needed. It’s still fun and passes the time, but these people don’t need to be glorified anymore than they already have been. The way Joe Exotic and co. have treated animals is disgraceful. It has funny moments, but that’s undercut by the horrific ways that animals are tortured and kept in small cages.
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