Ink Master season 12 episode 5 review: A face-off in many forms

Ink MasterInk Master season 12 episode 5 was a little bit of an unorthodox installment for the Paramount Network series. For starters, there were no mentors this time around. There was also no flash challenge. Everyone went straight into doing the elimination tattoo from the start, and mere minutes later, it was clear that this was not going to be an easy night for Pony Wave who is someone that we’ve long thought was a dark horse in this competition. Think of this as a snowball that turned into an avalanche and she couldn’t stop its momentum.

There seemed to be a prevailing theme for Pony throughout the episode, and it was her not being able to do everything that she wanted to with her tattoos from start to finish. With the first tattoo of the night, she (alongside the other artists) had the flexibility to basically do whatever she wanted — the judges were looking at the pieces blindly, so the panel was more unbiased than ever (wish they could do this every week!). She unfortunately got a canvas who couldn’t tolerate the level of pain she was getting.

Difficult human canvases are the stuff that Ink Master downfalls are made of. They’ve taken down many an artist, and they will take down many more moving forward. It’s really hard to say whether or not a different artist could have handled this canvas any better, mostly just because this one may have been even more argumentative than they came across on screen. Pony did seem to struggle with communicating with them, but that can happen given the rigors of this competition.

The important thing to note for Pony here was that this was not the only thing that necessarily doomed her in the episode. Even though she was voted last among the judges, there was still one more opportunity to save herself. With that in mind, let’s turn to the final face off. Pony and Alexis Kovacs ended up being in the bottom two, and they each had to take one person into the final showdown with them. Pony ends up selecting Tito, which makes sense because he is on the men’s team. Meanwhile, Alexis chooses Ash Mann, which makes no sense given that she is not on the men’s team. She puts one of her own team members in jeopardy and you got to think that that is going to cause some problems a little bit later on down the road.

All four artists were tasked with creating neotraditional lady faces for their final tattoo, a suggestion of Ash and Tito’s combined choosing. This is where things somehow managed to get even stranger. Pony’s tattoo looked like it could have used another hour or so to be properly touched up, that way she could have made all of the colors a little bit more blended and bolder. Now that we’ve said, did anyone else out there think that she actually had the best illustration on the face? Hers was easily recognizable, but to the judges, most of the problems were super-visible once you zoomed in. That ended up being the reason for her elimination. Alexis did manage to move forward despite having a face that was probably the least pleasing of the four. Alexis is going to be moving forward alongside Ash, which should make things at the women’s team MIGHTY awkward now…

 CarterMatt Verdict

Ink Master season 12 episode 5 was effective, mostly because it took the established form of the season and changed it around giving us something we weren’t expecting. This show doesn’t have to do anything fancy like bring in returning artists or enormous gimmicks; or, to make the remaining contestants create a form of art out of something that they have no experience with. Sometimes, just give them the opportunity to create and/or force them to make strategic decisions. The competitiveness of this was exciting, even if we’re not entirely sure that the judges made a choice that everyone will agree with.

What do you think about Ink Master season 12 episode 5 as a whole? Be sure to share in the comments, and stay tuned for more news.

This review was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter. (Photo: Paramount Network.)

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