As Russell Crowe‘s Gladiator once said, “Are you not entertained?” That’s not even an option when it comes to Tiger King (of course you’re entertained, that’s why you’re reading a recap about the show!). It’s the most buzzed-about series to hit Netflix in quite a while. It’s our country’s favorite guilty-pleasure and diversion during these crazy times.
As we roll into Episode 6, the penultimate episode leading into the Episode 7 Series Finale, the murder-for-hire plot finally thickens. Up until now, we’ve been dropped into a world full of tigers, ex-cons, low-lives, zoos and eccentric animal trainers, where we’ve been given twist after unbelievable twist (Joe Exotic had not one but two husbands, who turn out to not even be gay???). Finally, we get to the real “true crime” chapter in the Joe Exotic story. We figure out just why he’s been giving phone interviews from inside Oklahoma’s Grady County Jail.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder, Tiger King kicks into another gear. If you’ve already seen Tiger King Episode 6, you won’t mind reading on, But, if you haven’t and don’t want to be spoiled, you may want to turn back.
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE, AND THIS IS YOUR LAST *SPOILER* WARNING!
Yes, finally, Episode 6 gets down in the muck to explain exactly why Joe Exotic is in prison. This episode is basically the culmination of the whole show up to this point, and the main hook that probably kept us tuned in. We just love stranger-than-fiction true-crime stories. But, if you’re looking for Joe’s side of things, you’re going to have to wait until Episode 7. Episode 6 basically lays out the case against him, and elevates a few previously “minor” characters in the story to “major players.”
One such “major player” is Allen Glover, a former convicted felon who was brought in as a handyman at the G.W. Zoo by new zoo owner Jeff Lowe. The two had a history together, and Allen immediately got under Joe Exotic‘s skin as an employee. That’s why it seems somewhat implausible that Joe Exotic would hire Allen to travel to Tampa, Florida to kill his arch-rival and nemesis, and owner of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin…but that’s exactly what he’s accused of doing.
Up until now, it’s more than obvious to anyone watching Tiger King or who even knew Joe Exotic in passing, that he hated Carole Baskin. That and “hated” isn’t too strong a word. Joe’s internet show was full of references – on video – of him wanting to murder Carole, torture her, or otherwise provoke her. Knowing Joe’s strange sense of humor, it’s feasible to think that this was just Joe’s dark-and-twisted sense of humor. Ge wouldn’t or isn’t capable of ordering a murder, is he?
Following the death of one of his husband Travis Maldonado by accidental suicide, it was clear that Joe was in a bad place emotionally and that his overall demeanor had changed, for the worse. But murder? Sure, the motive was there, and Joe’s disdain for Baskin was no secret…but…murder?
According to Jeff Lowe, it all started when Jeff discovered that Joe Exotic had been embezzling money from the zoo. At this point, the zoo was owned by Jeff Lowe. He’s a man that Joe Exotic describes as an opportunistic con-man who swooped in and stole the zoo.
But not exactly denying the charges, Joe Exotic decides to leave the zoo that he helped build. He takes several of his animals with him. It doesn’t quite help us believe he’s innocent when he’s shown burning and otherwise destroying boxes full of documents and other materials. Joe goes off the grid, hoping that Jeff doesn’t come looking for him, and he tells others that Jeff has a hit out on his life.
That makes things all the murkier: Why then, would Joe hire Allen Glover to kill Carole Baskin? He has a shaky relationship with Allen and he knows Allen is one of Jeff Lowe‘s right-hand men. As revealed by another elevated “major player” this episode, James Garretson, Exotic had detailed talks with Jeff Lowe about not only that they should kill Baskin, but exactly HOW they should do it. Because you don’t quite know who to believe in all this madness. Let’s just say that James had become a confidential informant for the FBI because of…various alleged reasons. But here he was, an FBI informant, sitting in on a conversation between two men as they discussed the best ways to kill a rival zoo owner.
According to this side of the story, Joe Exotic gives Allen Glover $3000 to travel to Tampa and to shoot Carole Baskin on a walking path that she frequents near her home and sanctuary. Everyone agrees that $3000 is a bit low for a hitman these days (I’m afraid to find out just why, for example, that Doc Antle seems to know exactly the going rates for such things) and Joe has his own explanation for the payment (you’ll have to wait until Episode 7 to hear Joe’s side of the story).
But Allen, a cocaine-addict and alcoholic, never quite makes it to Florida and instead blows the money partying. It’s unclear, even hearing the story directly from Allen, whether or not he ever really intended to make the hit on Carole. Or was he just trying to screw over Joe Exotic in any way that he could?
Things get next-level complicated when Jeff Lowe runs into trouble in Las Vegas for what sounds like domestic abuse. Facing some tough charges, James Garretson brings him into the FBI informant loop. This basically saves Jeff from prison time in exchange for help bringing down Joe and this crazy murder-plot. Jeff goes on to tape all his conversations and encounters with Joe, and he gets some pretty incriminating stuff. The Feds hint that they are working on much bigger fish to fry than just little Joe Exotic.
Got all that?
The episode ends with us hearing from Joe Exotic – by phone from jail. This teases us that he has proof that this entire story about the murder-for-hire is all a bunch of BS. He claims that Jeff and Allen are literal partners-in-crime, who simply use and abuse people like Joe to make money and get by in life. Did Joe hire Allen Glover to kill Carole Baskin? Did Jeff Lowe have a hand in crafting this entire plot against Joe Exotic? And what about the animals, the real victims in all of this drama?
Episode 6 sets the stage. But, you’ll have to wait until the final episode of the series, Episode 7, for any real answers.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK JOE IS GUILTY? WHAT ABOUT CAROLE BASKIN? AND DO YOU BELIEVE JEFF LOWE’S SIDE OF THE STORY?
[Photo Credit: Netflix]