On tonight’s episode of “Ink Master” sixteen tattoo artists from all over the country are competing for the title of “Ink Master,” an editorial feature in Inked magazine and the monetary prize of $100,000.
As the episode begins, the conclusion of last week’s challenge is shown, where the competition came down to the weak against the strong, as each artist had to show their best work. Unfortunately, this action put the competition in a place it never was before. As the weakest artists emerged from the beginning, they now must work their way back if they want to remain in contention. As the group saw Damon Butler sent home last week, back in the loft, they now know what they are up against, as this will not be an easy ride.
For the Flash Challenge, they were taken to a dark and rundown location, Dave told them that they better not be squeamish for this challenge. As they stood around a table, it was actually a glass case that housed hundreds of bugs and eyeballs. This week’s theme will be Dimension, where they must tattoo an object to make it look like it is above the skin. Each has been randomly assigned a human canvas where they must tattoo a bug. If that was not bad enough; they must handle the particular bug, photograph it, and then make the best tattoo. As nearly every artist was shuddering, the competition began with only two hours for the process from start to finish. Dave then reminded them that if the bug did not look like it was crawling on their canvas; they were screwed.
As most of the men were scrambling to take the best photo without touching the bugs in question, Melissa Monroe took her tarantula and placed it on her thigh and took her photo. Finally, everyone had their photos and no time to waste. When Dave called time, the challenge was over, even if the tattoo was not. Matti Hixson’s was nicely done, as was Scott Marshall’s and Melissa Monroe’s. Bubba Irwin did a decent job, but Oliver found flaws. Halo also got a good review. Ashley Bennett was freaked out enough, but the criticism she received put her in a darker place. Randy Vollink’s lacked the outline needed to make it stand out. Roland Pacheco did a better job than the judges expected. King Ruck needed just to clean the tattoo up a bit, otherwise it was good. Keith Diffenderfer’s shadows did not match up to the spider. Lydia Bruno did a decent job, but needed just a bit of tweaking according to Chris. Gentle Jay’s needed more dimension. Sausage made his bug a bit too dark, but the dimension in the scorpion’s tail was well done. Jim Francis needed more definition in the spider and less in the shadows. Kyle Dunbar made his scorpion too small and the shadows too dark to show much dimension. The top three included; Halo, Melissa and Matti. At the bottom were Ashley and Kyle. The all-around winner was Halo, who would get to choose the human canvases for the elimination round.
Back at the loft, the discussion igniteded when Ashley stated that she needed more time. As they pounced on her, as the competitors usually do to each other, she announced that she did not want to be there and stated she would quit. As they continued to berate her, Kyle, acting as the voice of reason, told her to find that champion inside of her, because with her attitude, she would never make it.
For the Elimination Round, they each settled into their official shop. Dave told them how the judging would proceed, and America had an online vote, that would have a massive amount of impact in the final rounds. The human canvases also would have a vote for the worst tattoo. Dave revealed one more twist this season; each week, the artist with the best tattoo of the day, would have a vote to put one artist up for elimination. Now this is getting ugly!
Dave announced the guest judge, Tommy Montoya, a specialist in black and gray. The challenge is remaining with the theme of dimension; where they must tattoo something that has so much dimension, that any flaws will be undeniable. As the winner of the Flash Challenge, Halo got to choose the human canvases for the group who must tattoo an eyeball for the first elimination challenge.
The canvases wanted eyeballs tattooed on various parts of their body, including one on the palm of his hand; a very difficult place to get definition. As Halo distributed the skulls, each artist was hoping they did not get the palm, which was given to Randy. Matti got a woman’s throat, which he abhorred. As Randy tried to convince the canvas that the palm of the hand was not a good spot, and he succeeded to move it to the man’s thigh. Matti also tried to convince the woman to divert hers to a different spot, but she was determined. Roland got a man who wanted his father’s eye on his shoulder; the eye was from an old man with wrinkles and skin tags, and Roland was not happy.
When Ashley attempted to apologize to Melissa and Lydia for her outbursts, they showed as much sympathy as the men. Melissa felt that Ashley is giving the woman tattooers a bad reputation, and the rest of the group are tired of her complaints.
At the critique, Halo was lauded by Chris and told he was the person everyone will be watching. Scott’s had lots of dimension and was a good job. Matti had a great eyeball, but the eyebrow was outrageous. When he defended the tattoo because the woman wanted to make a statement, Chris said it was just nuts. Melissa’s was flawed, and Chris pointed out that the iris and pupil should be two perfect circles equidistance apart; just Tattooing 101. King Ruck colored the iris blue on his black and gray tattoo; Tommy did not approve of the blue. When he stated his canvas wanted it, Tommy told him sometimes you just had to be the boss and pointed out that it was a competition. Bubba’s had dimension, but the iris color was weak. Jim’s was not liked by any of the judges, and the pupil was much too small. Lydia’s was critiqued by Tommy, who said her black was good, but the gray lacked the softness it required. Keith’s was shaded under the eye too heavily and looked like the person was beaten up. Jay’s was nicely highlighted, but some parts too excessive, although he stated he did it according to the photo; it was too much for Chris. David’s had a flame over the eye, that Chris found totally unnecessary and was unfinished. He said his canvas had enough, but Chris called him a banger, one who tattoos in a hurry and is done. He told him that if he does not complete his tattoos properly, he will be out of there. Sausage’s was a perfect tattoo of an eye that was ruined by waves across the eye. Kyle’s was an insane tattoo, and he totally went overboard on this one. Randy’s top eyelid was misshapen and there was a fly under the lid that was darkened. Tommy said it looked like the fly was on a piece of beef jerky and was one of the roughest tattoos of the day. Roland did the one of the man’s father, but there was no outline, no shading, and no dimension. As each name was called out, Ashley was holding back tears, and when hers was finally called out, she did not wait for her critique; she said she was a girl; she cried and walked out stating she did not want to be there. They questioned her motive and if she ever saw the show, but she left anyway.
Now the judges had a dilemma and sent everyone back to the loft as they conferred. When Dave came back to her room, she would not even talk to him. She just wanted to leave, and he wished her luck; she admitted to being a whiny bitch, and took her stuff and left. As the judges conferred further, they knew her tattoo was in the bottom three or four, but agreed that although there was a best tattoo vote each week; nobody deserved that title.
Oliver summoned the entire group and due to Ashley's leaving, there would be no human canvas jury and no best tattoo of the day. Oliver stated that the critiques were not to beat them down, but to make them better in the competition, they must take their lumps and soldier on.
Dave announced the worst three tattoos were Roland, Randy and Ashley. They announced that Ashley was gone, and although their tattoos were poor quality, Roland and Randy lived to tattoo another day. Ashley did not have to be told she did not have what it takes to be “Ink Master.”