Tonight, Ink Master season 11 episode 7 basically concluded what we’d consider to be a certain era of the competition. We don’t mean this to be overly negative, but it’s been clear for weeks now that Austin Rose is not long for the competition. He’s struggled throughout the past several episodes and while he may have a compelling backstory, there was only so long that a guy like him was going to last on this show.
With him gone at the end of this galaxy-themed tattoo challenge, there may be some additional drama now regarding eliminations just about every week.
Let’s spend a moment analyzing how we did get to this point, though, given that there is some interesting stuff at play here. Take, for example, us wondering whether or not Cleen Rock One made the right decision after winning the Grudge Match showdown between the coaches. Each face-off gave him a chance to declare an artist safe for the week, and he eventually chose Tiffer Wright, Tony Medellin, and Turk to be safe. This makes sense from the vantage point that these are artists Cleen feels to be particularly talented, but think about this for a moment: What happens in the event that he makes Austin safe? Does he raise his chances at getting rid of a particularly talented person from Christian’s team? Jess Cavazos was in jeopardy for much of this episode, and even Angel Rose, one of the stronger artists this season, had some trouble. Depending on how one of his currently-safe artists did if they were in contention and Austin was safe, there could been a big power swing here.
Of course, this is a decision that we can armchair-quarterback here, mostly because if Cleen did this and lost one of his better artists with Austin safe, people would criticize him through the nose for it. Cleen knew that Austin wasn’t going to win this season, so we don’t think he had any problem letting him go here, even if he was reasonably well-liked by everyone in his team.
The big takeaway for us in this episode, beyond of course Austin’s elimination, was the emergence of Amanda Boone as a clear Christian Buckingham confidante and someone that he explicitly trusts. She was named safe because he appreciated her help, and we really appreciate in general the array of artists and personalities on Christian’s team. Chris, of course, remains the wild card — he seems to be the most defiant of the group and isn’t all that much of a team player, but he showed at the end of the episode that he can be an exceptional artist. With him getting Tattoo of the Day, Team Christian made an interesting gamble in putting Kyle into the bottom, despite him having a tattoo that the judges really liked. In doing this, they ensured that only one of their artists would be down against Austin, who they assumed would be there and they were right.
Did Team Christian out-strategize Team Cleen? It may look that way given that their risks worked out whereas some of Cleen’s did not, but we really foresee this episode more as a situation where the weakest artist left went home, even if he was an underdog and we enjoyed watching his journey. Hopefully, Austin did take a good bit away from being on this season.
What did you think about Ink Master season 11 episode 7, and did the right person go home to you? Share right now in the attached comments! (Photo: Paramount Network.)