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'Ink Master' season premiere is ‘Inking with the Enemy’ on Spike

The first meeting of the Rivals on Ink Master Season 5
The first meeting of the Rivals on Ink Master Season 5
Photo courtesy of Spike used with permission

Tonight’s “Ink Master” returns for season five with a new twist, and fans could not be happier. What is at stake is an editorial feature in Inked magazine, the monetary prize of $100,000 and the most enviable of all prizes; the title of “Ink Master.”

“Ink Master Rivals” presented in the intro are: brothers Jayro Scott and Robbie Ripoll, Angel Bauta against Cris Element, Emily Elegado versus Aaron Is, LT versus Ty’esha Reels, Don Peddicord versus Erik Siuda, Mark Longenecker against Ryan Eternal, Julia Carlson versus Caroline Evans, Cleen Rock One versus Tim Lees and maybe the biggest rivalry of all, the one that occurred on Season 3, Joshua Hibbard versus Jason Clay Dunn.

As the episode begins, the artists are in New York City’s Grand Central Station. Dave Navarro announced the first challenge, as he stood with his fellow judges, Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck. The rivals must tattoo as a team with their rival on the same canvas, and also as a tag team. Each hour they must switch artists, as the looks of horror and disgust came across their faces, this would not be an easy one, but they headed back to the shop to begin. Dave also reminded them that they are not only competing against their rival, but the rest of the artists as well.

Each team met with their canvas to discuss their choice of tattoos and styles. It was not easy as the first half of the teams started their part of the competition. As the competition proceeded, some teams worked well together, while others did not. When time was up, they went back to the loft for a short time, for bragging and talking shit about other’s artwork.

When the critique began, Angel and Cris were first, and from afar it was great, but up close, it was a weak tattoo. Don and Erik’s flaws were pointed out. Josh and Jason set the bar for everyone else with an awesome tattoo. Mark and Ryan’s tattoo was not impressive. Caroline and Julia’s was messy and light and did not impress the judges. Emily and Aaron’s was haphazard. Robbie and Jayro impressed the judges with the color, but not the action of the tattoo. LT and Ty’esha missed lines and the shape of the face was not properly done. Cleen and Tim did a giant back tattoo of an owl and were told that it was stupid to do one so big. Cleen said he could have done it by himself, but was emphatically reminded that it was a team effort. They were sent back to the loft while the judges conferred.

At the loft, it was quiet for a moment when Oliver came in to summon the entire group back. The worst tattoos were: Mark & Ryan, Ty’esha and LT and Caroline & Julia. The rest were safe from elimination for now. Dave told the six, they would have one more chance to remain in the competition.

The six rivals will compete against each other head to head, with one catch. Their rival will choose the style they must use in their tattoo. The losers could be going home. Julia chose neo-traditional for Caroline; while Caroline chose bio-mechanical for Julia. Ty’esha chose color-realism for LT; who chose cursive lettering for her. Mark gave Ryan Japanese, and was given color realism by Ryan.

While the artists were conferring with their canvases, Emily Elegado came in to heckle them further. She is a bully, and had a comment about each critique. When Ty’esha said she could not wait to see how she does on her own, she brazenly told her that she would be gone by them, so it would not matter. When Ty’esha called her a Barbie Bitch, Emily replied that Barbie wished she had these.

As the competition progressed, the hours were counted down until time was up. Back in the loft, the bragging and bullying was relentless. As LT tried to hold his own against the other competition, Josh Hibbard, took him aside to tell him it was part of the game, and Josh should know, as the same thing happened to him in season three.

When the six faced the judges as the rest of the field observed, Caroline was first, and her skull inside a rose was very lack-luster. Julia’s bio-mechanical needed more soft gray, and Ollie told her that without soft grays, she will not make it. Mark’s sea turtle looked like a paint-by-numbers set and the turtle only had one flipper. Ryan’s Japanese tattoo lacked several points, and although he stood by his tattoo, he was told, on Japanese day, he would not stand a chance. Ty’esha’s cursive lettering was a good choice, because although she thought it to be perfect, the judges found several hiccups in the swirls. LT made a flower, but put a blue border around it that was unnecessary.

The winners of the face-off were; LT, Ryan, Julia and when it was over, Caroline was told those dreaded words; she did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.”