‘Ink Master’ season 4, episode 2 review: Ashley Bennett quits, Kyle Dunbar not impressed

“Ink Master” season 4 started off with a bang last week as it threw the contestants into the fire with convention style tattooing in hopes to earn their shop (except for Kyle Dunbar who was told he had already earned his shop after being voted back in by America). We were disappointed when we learned that we weren’t going to see Kyle tattooing on the premiere since he is one of the reasons we were stoked for this season, but this week he will be back in the action once again.

Flash challenge: The competition this year has been pushing the idea that they are hardcore and edgy more so then a tattooing show that’s accessible to everyone, so with this in mind, the contestants will be tattooing “Fear Factor” style. They each had to tattoo either a tarantula or a scorpion, with the catch being that they have to not only photograph the bug themselves for source material, but they also had to handle the bug. We like the idea of them photographing their own source material and have seen that go down on “Ink Master” in the past, but they never had to handle the animals. It seems that the only point of it was to try to rattle the contestants (because they need to be more freaked out then they already are with tattooing on TV in front of judges that like to tell you how much you suck). If we wanted to watch “Fear Factor”, we’d watch “Fear Factor”.

The contestants were being tested on dimension this week (how to make a tattoo look like it was popping off the skin) and after seeing all of the tattoos we loved what Halo, Matti and Melissa did and although we though Melissa should’ve won, the judges gave it to Halo.

Elimination challenge: Dimension is still the name of the game in this challenge as the artists had to tattoo an eyeball on their canvas. There were some pretty hard tattoos given out, like Matti getting a woman who wanted hers on her neck, or Randy who got a guy who wanted his on the palm of his hand (not only did he get his client to change the location to the leg, but also props to Randy for doing an eye that looked inspired by Aeon Flux with the fly).

Judging: Ashley was on the edge of tears almost the whole episode, blaming her emotions on being a female (much to the chargin of Melissa and Lydia who don’t think being female has anything to do with it and don’t appreciate being lumped into that group). When the judges finally got to Ashley’s tattoo, she didn’t even want to see her tattoo or hear the critique, instead she just quit. Ashley says that they’d all be crying if they were in her position… but they all were in the same position as she was in!

Kyle Dunbar had enough of her drama and had no problem calling her out on it during judging, telling her to just go home. Some people looked shocked by his reaction, but let’s be honest here: Kyle went through this last season when Tatu Baby quit (then stayed in the competition) and edged him out for a position in the final three. It’s easy to understand that he wasn’t going to stand for it again.

We haven’t made it any secret that we dislike the idea of people quitting competition shows because they’ve taken a spot from someone who really wanted to be there, but we were happy to see her tell Dave Navarro that she wasn’t going to be talked into staying and that she was going home.

The worst tattoos of the day were given to Roland, Randy and Ashley (who had already left) and since Ashley quit, there was no further elimination. Also there was no best tattoo of the day (not looking good for this group so far.) Oh and they’ve added a new twist this year: Whoever earns best tattoo of the day also gets to nominate one person for elimination. Boom.

We are still not sold on this hardcore, edgy feeling that they are trying to give this show where everyone’s really intense, the challenges are creepy, with way more swearing and fighting and a lot less focus on the art and tattooing. They are losing the spirit of the show and what made it popular in the first place. Episode Grade: C

Were you surprised to see Ashley quit?

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!