Ink Master season 9 certainly created a bit of confusion during its latest episode in terms of what’s going on with judge Oliver Peck. In the preview for tonight’s installment (as first seen August 8) Peck was shown in the footage, which immediately gave us (and many other fans) the impression that he’d be a big part of this episode. However, we didn’t end up actually seeing him for most of the episode this week. He was away from the Flash Challenge and for most of the Elimination Challenge, only to then return for the judges’ critique.
When Peck did return, we were quick to learn that his medical emergency was even more serious than we’d thought: He suffered a heart attack, which led to him having a couple of stints put in. He said “I’m better than I was before” when describing his recovery at the start of the critique, and then the competition went on as normal like a heart attack is no big deal. Kudos to Oliver for being so cool and determined about this; we’ve never gotten the sense that he covets the spotlight or tries to make this show about him, and that was precisely how it felt in this moment. He talked briefly about what happened, and then the competition moved forward from there.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if we learn all that much about his procedure or anything else — if he wants to share more personal information about it, he’s certainly at liberty to do so… otherwise there’s no reason to invade his privacy, so let’s just say that we’re happy to hear that he’s doing fine. Hopefully he’ll be around to judge the remainder of the season; honestly, we’d be surprised if it is even brought up on the show again after this week’s episode.
Peck has been a cornerstone of the entire Ink Master franchise from the very beginning. He’s served as a judge throughout, and is well-known and respected within the industry. You could see the sort of respect that he carries by how some of the contestants reacted to seeing him back for the critique. He’s also well-known for co-owning his studio Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, which was a focus for part of the Peck vs. Nunez season that recently aired on the network. Obviously, having him around the show gives everything that much more credibility, given that this is a man who’s tattooed for so many years all around the world and understands both the industry and the art. Hopefully, he continues to be a part of the show for a long time still to come. (We know that there is an Ink Master season 10 already on tap.)
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