Ink Master season 9 episode 5 review: The ballad of Made Rich

Made RichDear Ink Master fans, we come here tonight not to bury Made Rich and Think Before You Ink, but to praise them for the entertainment gold that they brought to the show. Were they good tattoo artists this season? Not really, but they more than made up for it with insane conflict, incredible over-confidence, and somehow thinking that they were often on top more so than they were. We wish that they were still around, even if the writing had been on the wall for a while.

Here’s a little real talk: We do actually think that their tattoo was more visually striking than Classic Trilogy Tattoo or Pinz and Needlez. The flaws came more so when you took a closer look at it and realized the issues in line-work and also that one of the Romans in their battle scene was wearing a Samurai helmet. (Chris Nunez calling that out, and the way in which he did it, was one of the funniest things that we’ve ever seen on this show).

We perceive the exit of Think Before You Ink here as more of a cumulative thing — their struggles the past several episodes all led to their exit here. If Classic Trilogy (whose canvas passed out, rendering them unable to work for a while) or Pinz and Needlez (who had a seriously difficult client) had worse outings at other points, one of them probably would’ve gone home instead. Maybe we’re just saying this in our head as a way to keep Made Rich in the competition — we just feel for DTat, given that we haven’t even mentioned his name in here and he was basically relegated to an assistant during the Flash Challenge.

Made Rich is gone, but he made all of us a little bit richer while he was there. Tremendous entertainment – we could watch him all day.

Now, for some positive news

Kudos to Old Town Ink, who may have made one of the best tattoos we’ve ever seen on this show with that Pearl Harbor scene. It was incredible, and they put a lot of time and effort into it. There are few times when you see a tattoo and know it’s the winner, even before you see all of the others. That happened here, and it reminded us further than when DJ and Bubba are working together well, nobody on the show can topple them. The close second is Artistic Skin Design, but they’ve struggled the past two weeks in the elimination challenge. (With that said, their Flash Challenge piece was almost as killer as what Old Town did later in the episode.)

Also good news came for Black Spade Tattoo a.k.a. E.S. and King Ruck, who came in and weren’t eliminated / weren’t in the bottom. They didn’t do the best work during the episode, but kudos to them for also providing some really good comedy when describing some of the work. (We can’t repeat all of it because of the swearing, but it did make us laugh — we really like these guys.)

Overall

This was not anywhere close to the best episode in terms of artistic consistently, and the product placement for Corona again makes no sense to us given that drinking beer is the last thing you want any tattoo artist to do before coming into the shop and doing work. The idea of the newbie alliance is interesting, but we don’t think they defeated Made Rich so much as Made Rich defeated himself — him being so combative made the target constantly on him, and therefore he kept getting some of the toughest tattoos.

In terms of pure entertainment, this may be the best episode of the season. How the show follows this insanity up remains to be seen. Grade: A-.

What’s next?

We have a preview for the next new installment of Ink Master over at the link here, so be sure to check that out. Also leave us a comment in the box below with your thoughts on tonight’s elimination. (Photo: Spike.)

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