Tiger King Season 2: Carole’s Big Break

Arthur Graham, Contributor

Last Spring Netflix’s attempt at a docuseries “Tiger King” took the United States by storm. A series that followed a community that is infatuated with Big Cats, and all of the abstract and unique individuals who own these Big Cats as well. Since the docuseries’ debut a handful of the “characters” became fan favorites and would ultimately develop a cult following after the season’s conclusion. Some of these characters include: Doc Antle, Carole Baskin and none other than the fan favorite Joe Exotic.

The amount of following that these individuals received is unreal, shirts with Joe Exotic’s face requesting that he be released from prison, a plethora of different TikTok trends and dances that arose as a result of the series, and the infamy that would later follow Carole Baskin after its release all culminated in a rollercoaster of content known as Netflix’s “Tiger King.”

In the first season, we mainly focused on Joe Exotic’s zoo and all of the perils and trials that he was forced to overcome as a business owner. Eventually, as the season continued on we would see the development of a quarrel between Joe Exotic and Big Cat Rescue owner, Carole Baskin. The two seemed to be at odds for the entirety of the show, and the conflict would only escalate after Joe made a music video, talking about his alleged theory of how Carole Baskin “killed” her late husband Don Lewis. After the introduction of that music video, there was a tonal shift of the docuseries, we shifted from following the antics of the obscure characters, to a more sinister undertone as the audience tries to uncover and understand what really happened to Don Lewis.

In the second season, we shift gears and focus more so on Carole and Don Lewis’ disappearance. After the release of the first season Carole was livid with her appearance in the docuseries. Due to the manner she was presented, she received a lot of backlash and hate, which given her character you would not immediately assume she would receive that kind of reputation. In addition, Joe Exotic was also arrested and imprisoned for an attempt at “foul play” on Carole’s life. Thus, all of Joe’s appearances this season were from prison, and not in person. Since Joe is unable to carry the show in the same way that he did the first season, that emphasis on Don Lewis’ appearance was what carried the majority of this season.

Most fans of the series hypothesized the many different ways Carole could have killed her husband; the most prevalent theory was that she trapped her husband in a cage and had him eaten alive. However, the second season of Tiger King was pivotal in disproving this prevailing community theory. We finally discover that Don Lewis was found spending some time in Costa Rica and ultimately that is the last place he was found, which exonerates Carole from the crime. Despite this, fans and members of the “Big Cat” community insist that Carole had some hand in his disappearance.

A plethora of different individuals were included in this season which only furthered the confusion and seriousness surrounding the topic. Particularly the inclusion of Don Lewis’ three daughters add an heir of mystery to the entire story as well. The three daughters are beyond convinced that Carole has had some influence in his disappearance. 

Overall Carole’s presentation in this second season is almost the worst, despite the fact she isn’t really interviewed at all. In a way using the contextual footage that already exists in addition to the statements made from all of the new cast members, Carole is made to be significantly worse than the first season. She has an heir of hubris that is unmatched and her “villainous” demeanor, in contrast with her seemingly sweet and innocent persona, leave room for a very confused and frightened audience. 

Overall Carole’s presentation in this second season is almost the worst, despite the fact she isn’t really interviewed at all

— Artie Graham

Tiger King season two, was a very different season when compared to the first. While it does not have that same chaotic tone, it seems to reveal more truth while also leaving subtle hints of a sinister undertone. I am looking forward to seeing how this second season of Tiger King influences the audience, and seeing what the ramifications ultimately are and seeing if the season maintains that same cult following that it did.