‘Ink Master’ season 7, episode 10 review: Anthony Michaels, Jesse Smith face off in freehand tattoo battle

Ink MasterLast week, we had an epic “Ink Master” duel of the ages courtesy of Sausage versus Matti Hixson, and when you think about that,  it was a heck of a challenge for the show to try to remotely match that level of intensity.

Ultimately, they didn’t, but at the same time there was some other intrigue. Tonight, we learned that Anthony Michaels is really all about integrity and owning up for his mistakes. The first part of the episode focused on teams of three working on American Traditional clipper-ship tattoos, and both were very good. However, Anthony felt he was the worst, and his decision to vote himself as the worst of the three put him into a battle against Jesse Smith, who ended up doing more of the same.

If we were in Anthony’s shoes, we’re not sure we would’ve made the same choice since this was a chance to try to get out someone like Cleen Rock One; however, this season seems to be in part about people just wanting to beat the best, and not taking a sneaky way out. It’s not that strategic, but it does make for good drama.

Anthony’s second surprising decision came in choosing to do a giant eagle in American Traditional style on his canvas’ back in the face-off, even though there were no limitations to what he could or could not do other than that it had to be freehand. Jesse did something that is vintage Jesse, and on paper he had the clear edge. However, Jesse had some saturation issues with his creature tattoo’s color, and that left the door open for Anthony. His eagle was extremely ambitious, though there were some hiccups here and there as well.

Ultimately, we wouldn’t have been upset with either decision, but we’re happy to see Anthony stick around. He’s been there since the beginning, and structurally we prefer someone winning this who didn’t show up until a few episodes ago. Overall, a solid episode, but not nearly as exciting as last week’s. Grade: B.

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