Ink Master season 12 episode 8 review: The fall of a favorite

Ink MasterInk Master tends to have an elimination or two every season that catches everyone off-guard and for season 12, it looks as though we’ve already seen it!

On Tuesday night’s new episode, what we ended up seeing was the downfall of Fon who we thought had finalist written all over him. His elimination tonight serves as testament for a few different things, starting with how devastating a flash challenge loss can be. The women were able to mix colors and come up with a better ink-cap creation and because of that, they were able to unleash a devastating skull pick that put Fon in big trouble.

For starters, Fon doesn’t do a lot of original drawing outside of the show. He’s a portrait artist and makes most of his work based on some sort of a reference. Having to therefore create a tattoo about a horse riding a cowboy was an unthinkable challenge. He spent too long thinking about the right drawing (this was also new-school, far from his signature style), and by the time he got into the actual tattoo, he had to rush — and the final result ended up colliding with another tattoo that his canvas had.

This was one of those strange Ink Master episodes where a part of you knew about midway through that Fon would probably be going home — there were just too many cards stacked against him and he wasn’t able to recover from them. Yet, there was still drama given how good he was for most of the season. Would the judges find a way to keep him? As it turns out, not so much — there just wasn’t any way to justify it based on the tattoo he produced. This show is not usually one that looks at tattoos as a cumulative thing all season long. It’s what you do in the moment.

Make no mistake, though — if we wanted some sort of portrait or recreation of an existing piece, Fon is the artist we’d go to from this season. He’s incredible.

Why coaches can matter

No disrespect to the Kelly Doty who we absolutely love, but it feels like Jime Litwalk was the best coach we’ve seen on this show all season and it was no shock to see him show up for new school week since he’s an expert in it. Given his knowledge of color theory and new-school, he was the perfect mentor for the women this week — even though many of them were already knowledgeable. He brought them together, he was empowering, and he made sure they all felt like he was constantly in their corner. We haven’t heard someone gush about one of their coaches all season like Ash Mann did in confessionals. She’s struggled this season and Jime made her feel like a fantastic artist who could do anything. If we were tattooing, we’re pretty sure after this we’d want Jime to be our guide.

The women demolished the men this episode and there is no denying it — the entire bottom three was all guys and deservedly so. We don’t know if this is a one-episode thing or a trend that can last, but the women put out a huge statement that when it comes to bold, creative ideas with lots of color, they can wipe the floor with the men.

CarterMatt Verdict

Ink Master season 12 episode 8 was fascinating in that you were watching what felt like an inevitable disaster. You knew that the women were going to kill this fairly early on in the elimination challenge, but there was still a lot of drama. We lost a great artist, we saw the women show how strong they can be, and it puts the men now in a position where they have to assess what went wrong and try to move forward. That many not be an easy thing for all of them.

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This review was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.

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