Netflix's seven-episode documentary, Tiger King, follows the life of a man who calls himself Joe Exotic. Not only does he own over 200 big cats on his private zoo in Oklahoma, but he is also accused of being involved in a murder-for-hire plot. The series has animal rights activists, a true-crime plot, and some wild characters (pun intended). Lucky for you, we are recapping each episode.
Episode 3: The Secret
The episode we have all been waiting for. Did Carole kill her husband and feed him to the tigers?
Note: I am not a detective. I did not study criminal justice in school. I have, however, watched a lot of Law and Order.
"What a story! It is so wild it must not be true."
The story begins in 1981. Carole Baskin was 21 and Jack 'Don' Lewis was 42, they both were married to other people at the time.
Carole and her first-husband got into a fight and she decided to go for a walk. For some reason, Don was driving around and stopped Carole three different times asking her to get into the car because he needed someone to talk to. The third time, he gave her a gun and said that she could use it on him anytime she felt unsafe.
Note: Don't get into the car with a stranger. Especially one that offers you a gun?
That was the first time they met and the affair continued for about three years.
Don had two children from his first marriage and Carole had one daughter. Don's children appear in the documentary with their mother and do not appear to be big fans of Carole.
When Don left his family in 1991, he told them that Carole was an angel. His ex-wife, Gladys Lewis Clark, said: "she is an angel sent straight from hell and one day you will find out."
Note: This is what we call foreshadowing.
The newlyweds opened an animal sanctuary called Wildlife on East Street after buying bobcats and lynxes from exotic animal auctions.
Carole wanted to collect and love these cats as if they were pets. Don, however, wanted to breed the cats and sell them.
Note: Don had money. Like, a lot of money. He was tightlipped about his exact fortune but it ranged somewhere between $7 million and $20 million.
Don would fly to Costa Rica to sell these cats. While he was gone, Carole would spay and neuter as many as she could so the breeding would stop. This is when the fighting started.
Note: It is rumored that Don had a girlfriend that he would visit in Costa Rica. So, these trips down there weren't all for business purposes.
Annie McQueen, Don's executive assistant, knew everything about Don. He trusted her with everything. So, when he handed her an envelope with a restraining order in it claiming that Carole threatened to kill him twice, she knew something was wrong.
He was denied a restraining order in June of 1997 claiming there was no real threat.
On August 18, 1997, Don was leaving "early early early" for a trip to Costa Rica according to Carole. He needed Anne to send some things to Costa Rica before his trip. She tried getting ahold of him all weekend with no luck.
On August 19th, Don was officially reported missing to the police.
This is where things start to get interesting.
According to multiple sources, Don was planning on divorcing Carole the morning he left and moving everything to Costa Rica.
If Don had gone through with the divorce, Carole would be left with nothing. No car, no house, and no cats.
Police searched the entire property (all 40 acres) and did not find anything suspicious.
What they did find was a van with keys and a briefcase inside parked at the airport.
Note: If you were trying to get away why would you leave your things at an airport? It was either planted there or it was a poorly executed escape plan.
At this point, everyone had a theory of what happened to Don. Did he try to fly himself to Costa Rica and his plane crashed? Did he run out of gas? Was he pushed out of the plane somewhere over the Gulf?
Carole's theory was... interesting.
She said that her husband was in multiple plane crashes and never "was the same" after the last one. "He could remember things from childhood but not from five minutes ago."
Note: No one believes her.
Joe Exotic believes that she fed her husband to the tigers. Or maybe, his body is hidden beneath the septic tank. Either way, she would be able to keep everything, including her beloved cats.
Note: Joe wrote an entire song about this. I highly suggest you watch the entire music video.
But, how was Carole able to keep everything?
Anne was removed as the power of attorney and the new one gave Carole complete control. In his new will, the first sentence includes all the normal legal jargon.
Except, this included the phrase "upon my disappearance."
Yes, that is as sketchy as it sounds.
Exactly five years and a day after his disappearance, Jack 'Don' Lewis was legally dead.
Carole took 90% of everything and gave his kids the rest so long as they don't bring up the disappearance again.
"There is a god. Her name is Karma and she has a sick sense of humor."
While there is no physical evidence that points to a particular person... I'll let you make your own decision.
It seems like Joe has made his. "She [Carole] has a lot of answering to do. Her day is coming."
MORE TIGER KING RECAPS