Ink Master season 10 episode 7 review: A battle for the ages

Josh PayneInk Master season 10 episode 7 was, at least for the sake of drama, the best episode of the season. For a couple of moments in the second half of the episode, we started to think that we could be getting one of the biggest shock eliminations in show history (and that’s saying something after seeing self-proclaimed “Tattoo God” St. Marq go home a few seasons ago pretty early on in a similar situation).

All of this started with DJ Tambe deciding that Josh Payne needed to go into the face-off against Gary Parisi after he apparently was at fault for the team tattoo not going as well as it should have. To a certain extent, DJ had a point — Josh’s ego caused serious problems since it felt like he was the coach more than DJ was. Yet, it was still a hard sell that Josh was the weakest link in anything and instead, DJ saw this as a chance to send in his champion to destroy someone on another team.

Yet, this was close. Gary did by far his best tattoo of the entire season as Anthony Michaels challenged the two of them to come up with fantastic black-and-grey tiger heads. Josh wasn’t perfect, but he was still good enough to hold on. What we did like about this face-off was that you could see that Gary and Josh had genuine respect for each other; Gary never shied away from the challenge and Josh didn’t spend all of his time putting him down. Losing Gary was a loss to Team Steve – he’s a really wonderful tattoo artist.

As great as this challenge was, it also did expose what we consider to be a significant problem with this season so far: The edit going too all-in on both Josh and the coaches. We learned a lot about Gary and his family in this showdown and we found ourselves wondering why we didn’t know that much about this before he was close to going home. Heck, you could argue that we actually learned more about Josh here and exactly what motivated him to be an artist with some of his early struggles. It would benefit the show more to actually give us personal insight on the contestants rather than just feature a bunch of people screaming at Josh and vice-versa. At this point, we get it: He’s a lightning rod in the competition. But, he’s also really good. It’s pretty clear at this point that he is not going to let some of the stress of the competition get to him. If he was, there would’ve been some significant struggles on this subject before now.

Other things worth noting

How good is Team Anthony looking right now? He’s managed yet again to keep the bulk of his team safe and we wonder how long that can last. The one thing that is still troublesome about Anthony’s team is that it’s hard to know just how many actual favorites are on his team other than Jason Elliott and Juan Salgado. Daniel Silva’s ego is too far off the charts for it to probably happen for him.

It also wouldn’t be a shock at this point if DJ’s remaining team lasts for a while. Josh, Deanna Smith, and Frank Ready are all really strong artists — though it’d be nice to get a little more airtime on Frank at some point.

CarterMatt Verdict

Just in terms of intensity itself, probably the best episode of the season. It did also show that in having all of these coaches on the show this season that there are limitations when it comes to how much of the focus is on the contestants and some truly inspired artists aren’t getting as much screen time for us to get to know them as they should.

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