Photo: Oxygen.com

With Two You Get Eye-Roll

The Inkers tattoo couples, and Lara is unexpectedly hilare. Crackerjack, or Memento?

Intro/Welcome

The Inkers practice sketching. We see that Alayna has a Band-Aid tattoo on her knee; cute. Karly misses her kids and husband (who has even longer and crazier dreads than she does).

Flash Challenge

Sabina greets the Inkers at a photography studio and is impressive at boiling a baroque Flash-Challenge brief down to the basics: famous photog Mark Hunter will photograph you, and you'll translate those photos to photorealistic self-portraits on canvas.

After a snide cut to Lara while Sabina is talking about the beautiful photos they'll take (brrr!), Sabina then notes that the pics would look even better with everyone's SOs. Karly immediately bursts into tears and Lara hugs her. Fine: aw. Then Lara breaks down when her (adorbs) boyfriend rolls in, and she jokes that she's turning into May May. …Fine! Bwa! …Don't make me like you, girl, you'll just go home.

Hilariously, Darnell gets a "blind date" -- after the producers called his mom to ask her his type. This is all fairly clever and should probably have taken center stage as the main challenge some way, but anyway, then it's photo shoot time. Alayna's boyf is making heart shapes with his hands; Mr. Karly is funny, and would be a Mikkelsen-style fox without that foolishness on his head. Alayna, Karly, and Lara are all with dudes named Steve. Joe and his GF are very college about their "sexuality" and some Reddi-Wip.

Karly and Alayna finish in the top; Alayna wins her first Flash Challenge.

Ink Challenge

The Inkers have to do pin-ups, which Alayna is thrilled about because it's her specialty (and Willy is bummed, because it's his weak spot) -- on pairs of skins who want tattoos to symbolize their relationships. Pete Wentz has to go to a sound loop to explain that the dudes get pin-ups, and their ladies get complementary tattoos to the pin-ups, and it all sounds sort of typically needlessly complex, but for this particular IC, it makes sense.

The skins tell their stories. There are compasses; there are cupcakes; there are cats; there are "…chrissakes" faces from Joe Capobianco. High five, my large friend.

Alayna's advantage: choosing two artists to have their work time cut by half an hour. Alayna plays it smart and cuts Joe and Willy's time because they always finish early. And because she's intimidated by Joe, according to…Joe.

Dramz

Lara tactlessly tells her skins that she doesn't want their hitchhiker to look "like a bag lady," while Darnell is concerned that a Day of the Dead pin-up is…not a pin-up, really. Alayna is nervous about living up to the judges' expectations.

Capo advises Darnell to redraw his piece so it's closer to the challenge brief, and asks Joe how he's feeling about the time; Joe's "not really worried about it." Bye, Joe. All the skins seem content with the art, but Willy's worried.

Wentz announces -- again via ADR; figure it out, bro -- that Joe and Willy's docked time will come at the beginning, so they have to beat it while everyone else starts on the pin-up half of the challenge.

Darnell's still concerned, now about the fact that his clients want the pin-up in black and white when pin-ups usually feature color. I think that sounds cool, but what do I know.

Joe still manages to finish his pin-up early even with the time dock, and uses the extra minutes to talk shit about everyone else's cartoonish pin-up work. Then it's time to switch to the companion pieces, but Lara fits in a snotty remark about Joe's color story (and I totally agree. And I think she doesn't have a mandala in hers this week! Up is down! She also adds that Joe's dad is industry and he's had things handed to him; I don't think we'd heard that before. Thanks, Lara!).

Biggest Gap Between Challenge Brief And Tattoo Art

Darnell's, I guess? But it's what the clients wanted, and it's a very vintage-y, classical-tat look with roses and skulls. He could have amped his contrast a bit.

Tattoo I Would Consider Copying

No clear candidate this week, though I like Karly's space-age-décor stars behind the cat tat; it gives it a mid-century feel that I dig.

Client Who's Saving For Laser

Joe's pair of tats looks kind of small and cramped, and the reds and greens are muddy and clashy.

Judging

I wish Capo hadn't used the word "stiffening" to describe the competition, but he's spot-on with his critique of the hand on Willy's pin-up as "club-like." Everyone loves Darnell's, though Sabina says that "sugar skulls are not pin-up" and she and Capo get in a brawl about it. I love it when they fight because it's informative, and here we learn more about what qualifies a pin-up tattoo as pin-up.

Hannah expected better of Joe, and I choose to view her nitpicking of the ellipsis in the song lyric as a shout-out to me. Sabina calls out the "atomic background" of Karly's.

Lara's is a lot worse on review than it looked "in action" and she's clocked for a too-busy background. (Not seeing a mandala, though!)

It's a top and bottom two this time; Alayna and Darnell finish in the top, and Darnell wins. Noice. They in turn clock Lara and Joe, and in the lounge, Lara returns to her usual grouchy level to complain about the best-friend take on how the bottom two/three get chosen.

The panel seems genuinely torn about the decision, which is pretty rare…as is the call to send Joe packing because he's coasting. This is basically why I keep watching; they take the job seriously.

Lara comes into the lounge and makes a big show of reading a comic book while everyone exchanges Ann Veal looks.

Quote Du Jour

Capo defies Sabina's comments at top volume: "LOOK AT MY PORTFOLIO!"

Crackerjack Or Memento?

Cool challenge, legit judging, and I liked Lara for a hot minute. Memento!

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