One of the big differences between the first season of Tiger King and the second is that Joe Exotic spends the entirety of the five-part follow-up in federal prison, sentenced to over two decades of hard time after being convicted of murder-for-hire and multiple charges of animal cruelty. Whether or not Joe really attempted to behead his arch-nemesis Carole Baskin, he’s doing the time for it, even if his legions of die-hard devotees think something is amiss. Among those devotees is a staunch legal advocate introduced in Tiger King 2 who believes he can secure a presidential pardon for Joe. But who is Eric Love?
Eric, a native of Euless, Texas, is the head of Team Tiger, a devoted advocacy team backed by Eric’s substantial fortune (he’s a millionaire, though it isn’t entirely clear how. Supposedly he has a past as a police officer and private investigator, which aren’t the most lucrative career choices, so something’s up.) Eric has never met Joe, but is nonetheless dedicated to freeing him from prison and making a huge deal of himself in the process – one suspects that his motives are entirely self-serving, but they make for good, hilarious television when it all goes wrong.
And it does all go wrong, naturally. Eric assembles a team to lobby for Joe’s presidential pardon, an approach that would have been impossible were anyone else in the Oval Office besides Donald Trump. But Trump is somewhat sympathetic to Joe’s plight, at least in part because a) he was a controversial celebrity and b) they were roughly politically aligned. Eric admittedly put in the necessary work by compiling a 200+ page document containing supposedly incontrovertible proof of Joe’s innocence, but he got far too confident in Trump’s sympathy and ended up making himself and Joe look rather stupid.
In truth, there’s a good chance that Trump would have pardoned Joe had Eric’s efforts come at a more appropriate time. But with the President and his wife having contracted Covid-19, and the small matter of Trump’s supporters raiding the U.S. Capitol in a clear act of domestic terrorism, the Tiger King couldn’t be a priority. Eric and his team had everything in place, from a tiger-striped private jet and stretch truck limousine, to a standby hair, makeup, and wardrobe team just waiting for Joe to waltz out of prison like nothing ever happened. Of, course, the only thing that never happened was Joe’s release. He remains in prison.