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Best Ink's Cover-Up Challenge: Crackerjack, Or Memento?

It's May May and Darnell in the lion's den. Should you watch?

Should you leave last night's Best Ink in the bottom of the box, covered in peanut dust? Let's break it down.


Amy and a few others get stroppy because a couple of the guys erased Carey's name from the big blackboard already and ZOMG YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT: Willy's not here to make friends.

Flash Challenge

The Inkers meet up with Pete Wentz and Hannah Aitchison at a junkyard, which Pete calls one of the most exclusive, "VIP-only junkyards in Los Angeles," and he's kind of laughing, which made me laugh…I don't know. Each Inker gets a crusty windshield and 45 minutes to carve out some art relating to their pasts in said windshields. Typical BI brief, in that the basic challenge is cool and doesn't need the tacked-on "emotional" element.

After much flailing, bitching, malapropping (Rudy comes out "guns blaring"), and New-Age whiffing (Amy's piece is a phoenix carrying a tattoo machine; Lara blathers something about fictional sea monsters and the Fibonacci sequence), May May wins with a blobby illegible portrait of her connection to the…universe? Rudy and Willy whine about it.

Ink Challenge

Cover-ups! I like it. Izzi brags about how good she is at these, only to get boned by May May, whose Flash Challenge advantage is to switch skins with anyone else if she wants to, so she bails on a gnarly, dark belly tat in favor of a dainty bicep name tat.

The skins joke around about their bad decision-making, which is fun. Karly has immunity. She and everyone else have six hours.


Izzi is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of competition, and sulks self-righteously about May May's hideous betrayal and how she likes to see people get what's coming to them. She didn't abuse a child, Sheriff; bring it down all the notches. Izzi gives about 250 interviews about May May going home so neener, and back at the Ink Pad, she gives May May the silent treatment, which leads to an argument in which Izzi blares that May May shouldn't pretend she didn't do it to get an advantage in the competition, like, she's not doing that -- it's you who's taking exactly that way too personally!

Elsewhere, Anthony is having problems because his client is sunburned -- and comes in on actual tattooing day even more sunburned -- and Lara is refusing to go with puzzle pieces, which her client wants, because it's a symbol of autism awareness. I didn't realize that, and it's good for an artist to keep track of what means what and can warn clients that maybe they don't want to claim an affiliation inadvertently; it's less good that Lara has ten pounds of sand in a five-pound pair of panties about it.

Joe's client is hitting on him like whoa.

Biggest Gap Between Challenge Brief And Tattoo Art

Not really applicable here, though Alayna's skin's original ink is visible through the new work. I have a similar cover-up, and you can see Tat #1 if you know to look for it, but 1) I was okay with that from the get and 2) the other Inkers didn't let anything show through.

Tattoo I Would Consider Copying

Darnell's robot arm, with an honorable mention for Karly's Egyptian-inspired statue head.

Client Who's Saving For Laser

Danny's roses look like a cel from Beavis & Butthead. Anthony's Virgin Mary has an overbite.


"Playing Dirty" is notable for the on-point and informative comments throughout, from Inkers (Amy talks about which tattoos she likes to use for cover-ups thanks to their density of color and detail -- koi, dragons) and judges (Hannah's notes on Rudy's, er, rudimentary peacock feathers and the ways he failed on flow and detail).

I also enjoyed Joe Capobianco's amused flabbergast…ment? flabbergastery? Anyway, he suggested that May May use white as a highlight instead of dark lining on her lion's head; she took the tip, probably figuring she should listen to Joe, then got clocked for not having solid enough dark lines, so she's all "well but JOE told me to, so," and Joe's like, you can try throwing the head judge under the bus but "it ain't gonna fuckin' help."

The judges choose Joe, Amy, and Willy as their top three; those three kick shit downhill into Rudy, Anthony, and May May. In the end, Willy's tramp-stamp-expanding phoenix wins. Enh. Rudy and his crappy time management go home. Not my pick on either front, but not unjust either.

Quote Du Jour

Joe to May May: "This self-loathing bullshit kinda needs to stop."

Crackerjack Or Memento?

Solid challenge with real-world applications; we've identified our bratty villain for the season; and I learned a few things. Memento!

For Game Show Week we ask:

What game-show prize would be worse than tattoo art?

  • a Bunny Ranch gift card
  • anti-fungal drops
  • "second prize is TWO weeks in Branson, Missouri"
  • Bitcoins
  • goldfish
  • Turtle Bikini Wax
  • archery lessons
  • his 'n' hers genitalia plaster casts
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