When Ink Master season 9 episode 13 airs on Spike, you’ll see something that is a little bit different (but not something we haven’t seen before). Typically, the tattoo artists are in control, (in one way or another) of the human canvases that they end up getting. This time around, the human canvases are going to be in control, as they will get to choose (to some extent) the shops that they want working on their ink. They’ll wander around to each one of the remaining shops, hear what the artists have to say, and then make their decision on who they want from there.
We’re always interested to see what happens in this competition where the canvases have more of a choice, and also where the artists can implement some strategy. You see that with Unkindness Art and Black Cobra, as they intentionally steer canvases away from them, because the ideas are too wacky or difficult under the time constraints. Meanwhile, Empire State Studios tries to use Tommy Helm’s pre-show fame coupled with geography in order to secure a canvas, and Cleen Rock One of Golden Skull just tries to recruit everyone. His thinking is pretty clear: Treat this challenge like he would any tattoo that pays the bills. Find out what the client wants, and then try to make it work.
Is Cleen going to regret this decision? He might, given that he’s handed over one of the strangest-sounding tattoos that we’ve ever heard described on this show. Meanwhile, Black Cobra ends up getting saddled with a tattoo they really didn’t want just because of the random order in which the canvases get to choose a shop. This is once more an interesting idea, but just like any other way to hand out the canvases, there is a degree of luck to it since so much is based on matters outside of your control. Maybe you were several canvases’ second-favorite artist, but you don’t end up getting anyone other than the one you didn’t want.
Beyond just the whole premise of this elimination tattoo, what makes Ink Master season 9 episode 13 fascinating is that there’s no real obvious weak link. Every artist left is very good, though some do have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, Unkindness Art and Old Town Ink are two of the likable underdogs of the group, but they also have a clear alpha and beta artist on their team. Meanwhile, Golden Skull is extremely strong, but Cleen and Aaron Is winning basically means that the champion of the season wasn’t part of the competition for much of it. One way or another, this is probably a season that will generate all sorts of discussion by around the time that we get to the finale.
What do you want to see on Ink Master season 9 episode 13?
Let us know some of your early expectations now in the comments! Meanwhile, head over here if you missed our exclusive exit interview last week with Allegory Arts, the most-recent shop to be sent home from the competition. There will be a review of Tuesday’s episode online moments after it airs. (Photo: Spike.)