Tonight’s episode of “Ink Master” is now down to ten tattoo artists who are competing for an editorial feature in Inked magazine, the monetary prize of $100,000 and the most enviable of prizes; the title of “Ink Master.” Last week, Keith Diffenderfer and Bubba Irwin were eliminated from the competition, with two more artists going home tonight, who will be eliminated next?
As the episode begins, Sausage and King Ruck return to the loft. As the rest of the group finds out that two artists were eliminated, they know it is game on. Nobody is taking anything for granted now, but when Halo overhears Scott and Matti talking about him not making it to the finale, he has been given a shot of motivation and thirst for their blood.
For the Flash Challenge, the theme for the week is Adaptability, as they are brought to a courtyard filled with graffiti. Adaptability is the ability to adapt to whatever comes their way; light skin, dark skin, or anything in between and make a tattoo that adapts to the person. For this challenge they are given canvases that are risk-takers. They must tattoo a word that represents how they face the challenges of life and an image of that depicts that word and both must go together perfectly.
As they went inside to meet their randomly assigned canvases, they had three hours to complete the task. Jim had a canvas he can truly relate to, as his word was conquer, as both he and his canvas conquered their addiction. King Ruck did a graffiti tattoo, but it was incomplete and Oliver told him that he had to do things which he could complete in the time limit. Jim’s lion head with conquer beneath was clean and crisp. Jay made a microphone with the word strive beneath it, but it was a bit off in the design, he stated that he treated it the way he would treat walk-ins and did the design as he saw it. Melissa did a sword with a black cat for the handle and the word thrasher through the sword. Sausage’s shred word was beautifully done and he got good marks from the judges, but Jay said it was a design that one would see on a little kid’s lunchbox. Lydia’s canvas wanted tribal letters with two hands holding the world and the word explore above it, but the letters did not mingle well with the image. Halo did a pit bull with the word courage that was just awesome and as promised, he is in beast mode. The lettering in Matti’s design was improperly spaced, detracting from the tattoo. Scott made graffiti letters for his design with a flag in the background that was met well by the judges. Kyle made an hourglass with a rose wrapped around it, inside the hourglass were the words carpe diem. The judges found a few things wrong with his, but he stated that they found nothing wrong with Scott’s tattoo, even though the flag was backwards and one could not read what it said. Halo won the best tattoo and will choose the canvases for the Elimination Challenge, as he believes that the shift of power has only just begun.
Back in the loft, Kyle got on Scott, because he claimed his tattoo was better than his and he gets critiqued each time, while Scott seems to pass through each critique unscathed. Scott told him to worry about his own tattoos, not his, but Kyle seems to think the judges unfairly favor Scott over several others; himself included.
For the Elimination Tattoo, in addition to the three judges, America’s vote which will factor in the season finale, one other judge will be critiquing the tattoos for this round; Freddy Corbin, owner of Temple Tattoo and Tattoo 13 in Oakland, Calif. Again, the theme was Adaptability and it must show, especially in the round where the winner will put one artist up for elimination. This round, the artists will be doing a cover up, where they must make another tattoo from an existing one and make sure the previous tattoo does not show through. Then Dave related the message that once again, two artists will pack up their machines and leave the competition.
With the power to choose the canvases, Halo was told not to make any decisions he will regret. His plan is to give himself the easiest tattoo to cover up and give everyone else the crap. When King Ruck got a dark black tattoo, he told Sausage he was definitely going home. Halo did give himself a small cover up, it was his choice, but nothing is easy in a cover up tattoo.
As the challenge began, they had six hours to complete their cover up. Scott gave Melissa some help, only because he knew he was better than her and even after she called him Mr. Big Dick Swinging. There was a couple, an ex-husband and ex-wife who each had drunken lions when they were married. The husband was given to Matti, but the wife was picky and wanted changes as King Ruck was fighting for his life. When time was called, they headed to the loft. Kyle is having serious self-doubts and it mainly concerns Chris Nunez, who he stated has not given him a good review yet. With the announcement that two artists will be eliminated today, the paranoia is setting in.
At the critique, Jim did roses over the name Marko, and admitted to the viewers that he was partially color-blind, something he had not previously revealed. Chris told him that putting yellow on the roses will certainly make the tattoo underneath show through, but he stood his ground and asked him what he would do; the reply was not yellow. King Ruck tried to put yellow horseshoes over the darkest part of the tattoo and it did not work at all. Matti had the other drunken lion, but did a great job covering it, because he used dark over dark, but Freddy told him the cross he put on the tattoo was crooked. Halo did a beautiful seascape with a turtle and it was lauded by all the judges. Sausage’s Holy Mother was beautifully done, the problem Chris saw was the color of the praying hands was much darker than the face. Scott’s was well done and Freddy said one would never know it was a cover up. Chris told him that people behind him were shaking their heads, but he knew it was a good job. Gentle Jay did a skull wearing a baseball cap, but Freddy said it screamed cover up, because he used too much black. Lydia did a good job covering up her tattoo, but Chris would have liked to see more shading in the skull’s eye sockets. Melissa did an engine part, but her lines were not up to the judges expectations. Kyle was next, Oliver told him he was completely insane. The woman had a very small tattoo and now she has a tree on her thigh, with too few flowers. If she wears shorts, one can only see the bottom of the tree.
The two best tattoos were Halo and Scott, and Halo was determined the winner. Now he must choose the worst tattoo, the choice should be simple. When they went back to the loft, Sausage and Kyle were talking. Kyle said he was doing everything to please the judges and nothing is working. Sausage reminded him that last year he came in fourth by being Kyle. He differed, and stated that last year he continued to change everything that makes him Kyle until he did not know who he was anymore. He has had it.
Halo met with Jim, as Jay was listening to them talk. He told Jim, he would probably be on the bottom regardless of his choice, then he told him his secret about being partially color-blind. When Oliver came to ask Halo who he was nominating, he chose Jim, then Oliver asked for Jay, King Ruck, and Melissa. King Ruck was voted by the human canvas jury as having the worst tattoo of the day.
Dave then told King Ruck he did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master,” and in the next sentence, Dave told Jim he did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.” Chris then stated that there were several bad tattoos, and when they returned, to tell Kyle Dunbar, he should have been there too and could have justifiably left. Now there are eight left, and who and how many will be leaving next week?