blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness (2020) s01e03 – The Secret

Has Michelle Pfeiffer ever played a femme fatale? I almost want to say no, which will make Tim Burton’s Tigers even better. Because Carole Baskin sure does seem like she killed her second husband, rich guy Don Lewis (it’s unclear how he got rich but they’re in Florida so it doesn’t seem like it was legit), chopped him up in a meat grinder, and fed him to her tigers. Joe Exotic, for one of his country music albums (because of course), made a music video with a Baskin look alike feeding tigers chopped up husband.

Frankly, it’s awesome.

Because nothing Baskin says in the episode ever makes her seem any less guilty. When she says something about achieving her “highest possible self,” you’re not wondering if she chopped him up, you’re wondering if she fed him to the tigers whole. Neat tiger trivia? Their stomach acid is so intense it’ll break down the bones. They don’t shit bone. They wouldn’t have shit any of Don Lewis out.

There’s a lot with Lewis’s first family and ex-assistant. See, Lewis was out cruising one night in the eighties, saw twenty year-old Baskin walking down the street, picked her up, married her immediately following. Because of course. They started getting into the animals, but apparently he didn’t like how much she was spending on the tigers and she was sick of his complaining. There’s some weird stuff with the will, like Baskin had something added to make it easier to declare him dead if he disappeared.

I mean, at least Baskin is using the money for something good… she’s not breeding the tigers, she is rescuing them… at least so far as “Tiger King” has told us so far.

There’s a bunch of stuff with Joe Exotic’s crusade to bring Baskin to justice for the husband’s murder, all from his website. It’s unclear if he was on YouTube or just self-hosted. The show really hasn’t engaged with how popular Exotic is online, though it’s established Baskin’s got clout.

It’s a good true crime episode. The cops look like they really want to say they think Baskin did it but know they shouldn’t.

Making already skeezy reality show producer Rick Kirkham even more skeezy is his enthusiasm recounting how dangerously obsessed Exotic was becoming with Baskin.

It’s a lot. “Tiger King” is a lot and in the most compelling ways.

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