When Ink Master season 9 episode 8 airs on Spike next week, things are going to be that much more competitive than they’ve been. After all, Matt O’Baugh and Katie McGowan from season 6 are going to be returning to the show, and they’ve got the potential to be the most threatening team we’ve seen on the show so far.
Just think about their arrival in terms of optics for a moment here. Not only have they both competed on the same season of the show together, but they also work together and have for a long time — long before their first appearance. After their time together on the Masters vs. Apprentices season, they are the only team with that distinction. Oh, and add in here that Matt came very close to winning his season and was in the finale.
You never see either Matt or Katie’s faces in the preview for what’s coming up next week, but it’s very clear that this is the two of them stopping in based on the back of their heads. (Yes, that is what we’re going on at this point.)
Beyond just their arrival, the preview also makes it clear that a war is brewing between some of the veterans and a group Christian Buckingham is referring to as the “cool kids” — which is more than likely Unkindness Art, Allegory Arts, and Artistic Skin Design. They’ve won enough that they’ve been able to dictate some of the action this season, but we do think the whole notion of Ink Master strategy is mostly overblown. In the end, your success/failure on the show is defined more by how well you perform on a given day, and not so much who you’re working with or what your experience is entering the competition. (Also, Allegory Arts has this quality where they occasionally become the snake eating their own tail — their relationship outside of the house puts so much more weight on everything that they’re doing inside of the house.)
Who they really need to be worried about
Old Town Ink. They’re the most dominant duo by far this season, and even if DJ Tambe can occasionally get a little bit intense with his human canvases, whatever he does works. They’re incredibly creative, but more than that they’re super-proficient and know how to get the job done in almost any circumstance. Unless you start saddling them with tough tattoos on an almost weekly basis, we’re not all that sure that you’re going to be able to get rid of them before the finale.
The teams that really need to step it up at the moment are Black Spade Tattoo and Classic Trilogy Tattoo — neither has done enough to show that they can win; instead, they’ve just managed to squeak by and survive. If there’s a time to get it together, it has to be now. Otherwise, they’d be fairly unsatisfying winners if they somehow take it at the end.
What do you anticipate coming up next on Ink Master?
Be sure to share in the comments below! Also, head over to the link here in the event you want some other insight, including our review for Tuesday’s episode.