As a whole, Tuesday night’s new episode may have been the most stunning of the entire season — especially since in the opening minutes it seemed as though we were getting set up for the most predictable one yet. We had three artists in Fonk, Doug Hardy, and Daniel Silva facing off (watch the opening segment over at the link here), and on paper this was Hardy’s to take home in a runaway victory. Just remember for a moment that this is Ed Hardy’s son, and he’s been doing work in the tattoo industry for the better part of 25 years!
Yet, Doug did not win — he defeated Fonk (who was a little too abstract and certainly not right for this show), but then lost to Silva, an artist who may very well be a savant. Despite doing this for only two and a half years — that’s 10% of the experience Hardy has! — this is a guy who produced three beautiful tattoos over the course of the episode, to the point where his victory was never in doubt. Not only did he beat Ink Master winner Ryan Ashley Malarkey in the Angel Face-Off at the end of the episode, but the victory for him was unanimous. Even the Angels chose him over Ryan!
To be fair, you can make a big case here that Ryan had the odds stacked against her thanks to a canvas that was more challenging than what Daniel had to work with — but that often happens on this franchise. It’s hard to have all parts equal all of the time and she is the master between the two.
What Daniel showed in this episode is that he has an astounding ability to do solid technical work — he didn’t have to venture too much outside of what seems to be his comfort zone artistically, but with his level of artistry that may not matter all that much. Out of the three artists who we’ve seen emerge through this competition in order to (maybe) appear on season 10 of Ink Master, he is the one we think has the best chance of winning. If he is this good this early, imagine what a little more training can do for him? He’ll have to stay humble — winning this is probably a dangerous ego boost at this point in his career — but he’s got the potential to go a long way in this industry.
In terms of surprising moments this episode of Ink Master: Angels brought us this episode was also incredibly entertaining. This was a strong episode in terms of drama and in terms of artistry. Also, we feel like we actually saw a potential tattoo star being born.
While the show still does need to tweak a thing or two (over-the-top conflict between the contestants), we will say that this was one of the most entertaining episodes this season.
Are you as amped-up for Daniel’s future (as we are) after this Ink Master: Angels episode? Sound off in the comments section below!
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