Consistency is key, consistency is consistently the word of the day on this week’s episode of Ink Master: Grudge Match, and you can’t talk about consistency without addressing Dave Navarro. Mr. Navarro was a founding member of Jane’s Addiction, struggled mightily with addiction to alcohol and heroin, and toured the world for decades with notoriously excessive rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, and Marilyn Manson. That’s a lot of miles. He’s 51 years old. Oh, and he currently looks like this:

Real men pull off a smokey eye.

You should check out Dave’s Instagram, where you can explore well filtered pictures of him hanging out with models and being suspended from giant metal hooks while not looking a day older than Gothic Jesus.

A snapshot of excess.

I see two options here.

1) Dave Navarro has made a sinister arrangement with Satan to perpetually look like a dark, beautiful angel.

2) Dave Navarro is an ancient vampire lord and the constant, unbearable bloodthirst is part of his sinister arrangement with Satan to perpetually look like a dark, beautiful angel.

The most consistently inconsistent: Stacy

So here’s the problem with being consistent: It takes a lot of hard work and experience and skill to get there. Unfortunately, Stacy has none of these. When Cleen and Christian are informed that the Flash Challenge is a pair of two hour tattoos, she actually says, “Do you wanna know what I can do in two hours? A whole lot of nothing.”

At least she’s honest and upfront with it.

Knowing this, Christian employs a strategy I completely agree with, and have often wondered why isn’t more widespread: He lobs her, the weakest player on the other team, an absolute softball. He even openly admits his strategy: keeping Stacy around for as long as possible is his actual goal.

Now, predictably, even all this sugar-coating wasn’t enough to keep Stacy out of the bottom. But Jamie Lee, a much stronger artist, got sent home, Stacy miraculously survived yet again, and team Cleen (or Teem Cleen, as it should probably be written) is weaker in every way.

I sat on my high horse and criticized Christian harshly (but fairly) last week for his strategic blunders, but I have to say, that was well played.

The only question is, will Christian’s strategy backfire, with Stacy somehow consistently missing softballs while evading elimination by the skin of her teeth all the way to a 100,000 dollars (a feature in Inked Magazine) and the title of Ink Master? I’m not saying it’s likely, but there’s definitely a pattern forming here guys.

Most consistently fabulous: Oba

Oh, Oba. First of all, that shimmering, magical cloak was magnificent, and probably your finest work to date. You have a huge heart, but your cardiovascular system turned out to be too unreliable for the high-stakes pressure of Ink Master. Or too inconsistent, if you will.

I’m going to miss you. You too, Oba.

The Tattoo Gourmet Caviar Moments of the Week

Number Three:

Mr. Nunez, with a very accurate observation of this week’s setup: “This is not team vs. team. This is team cannibalization.”

Number Two:

Let’s all take a moment and look at that cloak one last time.

Number One:

Dave Navarro, drama and politics are all good things, but seeing Christian and Cleen butt heads on that Flash Challenge was some pure quality tattoo content. These guys are remarkable artists, of course, but what gets me is the grinding commitment they’ve made to their craft.

Writer/basketball lover/semi-professional dog sitter. Born on a savage, volcanic island in the North, currently residing in the Big Apple.

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