Lordalan never sent me flowers. *sniff*
7am and one of the Apprenticars wends its way through London. It appears to be being driven by a triffid. Operation Chrysanthemum is GO!
The villainous plantlife FIEND arrives at Apprentice Mansions And Discount Art Warehouse, carried in the arms of a burly manservant, and is handed over to Harry 1. It hands over a little card to Harry 1 saying that it has a message for all of the housemates. (FLESHLIFE IS OBSOLETE. THE FUTURE IS IN THE GLORIOUS BE-CHLOROPHYLLED HANDS OF THE TRIFFID EMPIRE.) Harry 1 reads the card and heads off to rouse the other housemates, but not before telling Lewis to try to work out how to access the message. Erm…could be something to do with the massive great iPad that Captain Triffid is also holding?
Harry 1 first stumbles upon…a cupboard. You mean Harry 1 doesn’t know where all the girls are sleeping and what time they get up and use the shower? I am SHOCKED. Anyway, he tells them all that they’ve been delivered a bunch of flowers and a tablet. Presumably the tablet is to take after their mission on behalf of the Triffid Empire is complete, to leave no trace of evidence, Jonestown style. At the news, all the boys get into their suits, and the girls just wander down in their pyjamas. Given how wantonly ill-fitting all the boys’ suits are, the girls actually look more business-appropriate. Even with Gwynnie Hayley’s hair all up in natural organic handmade rollers, constructed out of pine-cones and Tic-Tacs.
The iPad? Of course holds a message from Lordalan, with clever editing hiding the giant bunch of begonias holding a gun to his head just out of shot. He tells the candidates that he hopes they all like the flowers that HE sent them to brighten up the house HE arranged for them. Jeez, someone wants some appreciation. Thanks Uncle Alan! Also, like that house needs brightening up. I have to watch these segments through sunglasses as it is. The most important fing is that e’s not goin GAY or nuffin, the plants are a clue to the next task. In that the teams will be selling plants.
A clue so fiendish that not even the great HOLMES OF BAKER STREET could have figured it out unaided.
Anyway, the teams are first going to be taught how to arrange the plants, so their mind-altering poison sacs are hidden, but still operational. Then they will pitch them to big businesses, so they may take control of some of the most powerful and influential people in the land. Then they’ll…I dunno, scrabble round with them in a wheelbarrow or sumfin, whatever you want, JUST DON’T LET THEM TOUCH YOU. WITH THEIR TENDRILS! THEY ALREADY GOT KAEN!
The triffid has another envelope, stating that it has decided that the teams this week will be shuffled up, per it’s divine leafy will. Generic will now consist of Rabid Irish Badger James, Probable Eventual Winner Lizzie, Pitching Wizard Haya, 30something Businessman On The Run Harry 2, and GOOP Jr Magnate Hayley. Atomic Kitten are now Fashion Queen Gbemi, “Can’t Babysit, Can’t Add, Can Sass A Little” Hannah, Posh Hate Magnet Boy Edition Harry 1, Uppity Lewis, and Posh Hate Magnet Girl Edition Zara. The PMs will be Hannah and Lizzie. Quite right too your polleny majesty. Can’t let this opportunity to RULE THE WORLD be foiled by letting one of the boys PM. Hannah seems pleased to be taking on responsibility. Lizzie…a little less so. I think she swears under her breath a little.
Two days then! Two days to learn how to arrange flowers, do some pitches, and then some generic street sales stuff. All for a slice of the £1.2 billion pound floristry industry. Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that this week will be the first week that boys and girls will be mixed within teams. Yeah, right on, can’t leave all the boys to handle flowers on their own or they’d probably accidentally disembowel one another. Harry 1 enthuses to Lewis that he thinks they’ve got a really good team now on Atomic Kitten, but also one with big personalities, whilst Harry 2 and James sit and mutter about dumb ol girls around the breakfast table. Lizzie walks in and bellows “I’M WEARING THE TROUSERS TODAY BOYS!” and James snorts “feminist…” under his breath.
Everyone dispatches to the Apprenticars, and in Generic Apprenticar B, Haya asks Harry 2 if he’s sent flowers before. He says yes…to his mum! In the retirement home. Definitely not to his wife, after the Henderson account fell through and he had to spend all night at the office definitely not shagging his secretary. Meanwhile in Atomic Kitten Apprenticar A, Hannah and Zara are trying to make Harry 1 enthuse about being a TEAM. Harry 1 looks like he’d rather lick paint, but does their weird “WE ARE ONE!” hand-signal anyway. I’m guessing that’s part of the choreography for the Generic group routine to The Saturdays they did last night into their hairbrushes before they got MIXED WITH BOYS. Zara says “you know what they say, there’s no “I” in team”. Unless it’s a pirate-themed team obviously. AYE MATEYS, SHIVER ME SEA-COOKIES!
Teams arrive now at Southwark College, with its “award-winning Flower School”. How has there not been a reality tv competition based around flower-arranging? If The Great British Bake-Off can succeed, no reason that couldn’t. Everyone enters, and Lewis pulls a face that could curdle milk and says that this is his idea of HELL. James also protests too much that flowers don’t do it for him! He just sees them as POUND SYMBOLS. He definitely won’t be caught later in the episode eating them and crying that he could never be that beautiful no matter how many he ingests. HIS SECRET SHAME.
Helpful Voice-Over Man informs us all that flowers come in all shapes, sizes and prices. From 30p chrysanthemums to £8 a stem heliconia, which look a bit like furry dog-penises, but which I like, just for their bizarreness. Better than borin’ old roses anyway. James of course doesn’t like them and is being all Lordalan cynical about everything like that’s going to win him any brownie points.
First business of the day is to decide who is going to pitch, and who is going to hang out back here at the ranch, learning how to arrange flowers. Hannah asks Atomic Kitten what they think she should do as PM, and Gbemi tells her to make her own decision based on what she wants to do. So she does. It’s her, Harry 1 and Gbemi learning how to arrange flowers, and Zara and Lewis off pitching. I feel the idea of separating Lewis and Harry 1 is probably at the heart of this notion. And sensibly so. Hannah interviews that as Project Manager she aims not to overlook anyone, as she knows what it’s like to be overlooked herself.
She then does not speak for the rest of the task. Well…more or less. Not in a way that has any impact on anything anyway.
The decision for Generic goes less smoothly. Harry 2, James and Haya all want to pitch rather than get stuck flower-arranging, so Lizzie gets all bolshy and “suck it up” and “make a decision” about it, before Harry 2 smoothly slides in to say that Haya has done GCSE Art, and so is probably the most creative of everyone here. So she should stay here and do the flower-arranging. Haya, so flattered, says she IS really creative, but she’d really like to pitch. Really the obvious combination is Haya and Harry 2, but the thought of James stuck in that room whinging on about hating FLAHRS is enough to tip anyone’s hand. So it’s James and Harry 2 pitching. Lizzie interviews that she likes to think she’s a nice person, but she killed someone once in a netball match SO DON’T CROSS HER. Haya interviews that she thinks Harry 2 and James are going to be crap at pitching flowers because they hate them. They demonstrated this hatred by wanting to go and pitch rather than staying here to learn how to flower-arrange.
Well there’s the Catch 22 of floristry for you.
The home-teams now learn how to do floristry. Ish. Generic seems to do better at it (surprise generic surprise), so well that the woman in charge breaks off to give them a mini-lesson in what a mark-up is. It’s where you charge more for retail than you pay for wholesale. It feels a bit like when that lady explained what a baby was last week (IT’S A HUMAN YOUNGLING!). Meanwhile over on Atomic Kitten Gbemi grasps three wilted begonias together and calls it a bunch, whilst Harry 1 tries to penetrate one flower into a bunch that’s not going to take it with his tongue poking out. It’s all a bit “awkward first time”. Then the head falls off. Oh very dear.
TO PITCHING! In Atomic Kitten Apprenticar B, Zara talks Lewis through her plan of attack. I’m sure he doesn’t need telling “just sit in the corner and don’t wet yourself” more than once Zara. Lewis meanwhile is staring out the window and marvelling at the magnificent riches of London. That looks like a palace over there! Oooh, a pigeon! THE PRIME MINISTER LIVES THERE! He declares that he wants one of the tasks to involve cruising in London (on the river, be quiet). Meanwhile James is still rabbiting on about how he hates nature and animals and flowers and all that and ALRIGHT WE GET IT. Harry 2 panicks that they’ve not got a pretty girl doing the pitching, like the other team have with Zara.
a) Ooooooh, Harry 2 and Zara sitting in a tree etc etc
b) I love how obvious it is to everyone that Zara would be doing the pitching.
First up for the boys of Generic to pitch to is a ruby wedding anniversary party in a 5-star hotel. As it’s a ruby wedding anniversary, the clients want red flowers arranged in posies down the middle of the table, and one larger arrangement for the fireplace. The sort that makes you go “GOSH!” when you walk in, just before the heliconias open to reveal tiny teeth and eat your tongue. James waffles on about seeing flowers as an art, not a business. It’s about as convincing as when they spent a series of Strictly Come Dancing pretending that Robin was straight. He tells the nice hotel women that he’s just going to go off and commune with the nature-spirits and determine what man-money needs to be charged for the wonderful blossom of creativity that they will birth.
Harry 2 and James retreat to a side-room, phone Lizzie with the order, and ask for a price. She hasn’t the foggiest. She just about manages to eke out a price for 5 posies (£120), but says that they’ll have to wait 5 minutes until she can come up with a price for the mantlepiece display. Harry 2 tells her they haven’t got time to wait for her to work out how to turn her calculator on – they need a price now. Lizzie tells him not to raise his voice to her, in possibly the best example I’ve ever seen of someone doing that just to get the other person to back down, because he’s shouting about as much as I am. She then hangs up on him, leaving him to come up with a price all on his own based on guesswork. By which I mean “she leaves him to ambush James on the spot in front of the clients with a demand to come up with a price”. James comes up with £175 after some slightly frantic umming and ahh’ing. Marvellous.
First up for Zara and Lewis is “Ghost – The Musical”. Zara is so happy to be here and get to work with the lovely cast and crew of the spin-off musical to the film that she directed (the DTV threequal to). It’s opening night, and four bouquets are needed for the four principal actors. Zara rings back to base and Harry 1 constructs a hypothetical bouquet which will cost them £10 to make. So they should charge double that, because that is this weird thing called “markup” that the lady told them about. Zara agrees to proffer and offer of £80. And then goes in with one for £100. Kaen pulls many faces and says that Zara and Lewis are playing a DANGEROUS GAME like Lewis had anything to do with it. In the Apprenticar Lewis snivvels that they should have gone in with £80 and got the cheapest possible price, but Zara counters that there was the possibility that they’d try and negotiate them down (which they did, and Zara responded to it by pretty much bellowing “NO!”). Lewis pointed out that it was Hannah’s orders (via Harry 1) and Zara’s all “erm, no, erm, that was a minimum, we’ll be fine”.
Harry 2 and James now, with the same people. They’re trying to shift the heliconia on them. Yes I can just picture Richard Fleeshman, sweaty, shirtless and covered in clay…actually I can just picture that for a bit. Hang on. Anyway, yes I can picture this sort of naffaround film-to-musical junk musical ending with the leads being presented with Plan 9 From Outer Space murder-penis-flowers. The producers aren’t interested. Harry 2 then…tries to get them interested in the shiny shiny wrapping paper. And roses. Lovely roses for the lovely girls. This is an uncharacteristic display of marblemouth from Harry 2 it has to be said. Maybe he’s just remembering his first date with his lovely wife to see Ghost. In the cinema. In its original printing. James rushes in to save the day (/”save the day”) by offering a price – £140. Looks like Zara was right then. Ish. In her instincts.
Ruby-wedding Hotel now for Zara and Lewis, where Lewis is whining away and Zara is saying “Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys” down the phone. It’s all a bit this. She’s trying to lever a price out of Harry 1, Hannah and Gbemi, with Hannah eventually serving up £165 based on Harry 1’s maths. They re-enter the dining room and Lewis gives the hotel women an offer for posies of roses, crysanthians, Jermainejacksons and helicoptiers. All for the knock-down price of £200! Well…Zara says that bit. Obviously. The hotel women look a bit put-out at the expense, and say they’ll consider it. Zara rings back to homebase and lets them know that she completely ignored their price and bumped it up by just over 20%. Cheers! Harry 1 and Gbemi bluster that they’ll just go with the team who offer the lowest price and Zara umms and ahhs and says she’ll erm…ammend…something. Lewis, who has been naturally of Harry 1 and Gbemi’s instincts so far, is so put off by Harry 1’s phone manner that he now decides he agrees with Zara. Or at least wants to take the piss out of Harry 1’s accent. FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY.
4pm now, and it’s time for the hotel to decide who they want to hire. They want to hire Atomic Kitten. Harry 2 and James do their happy dances, before James makes sure the phone is shut off before announcing that they’re going to make the posies out of cheap shite LOL. Someone has learnt well at the try-hard cynicism altar of Lordalan over 7 years of The Apprentice. TEACHING THE WORLD VALUABLE BUSINESS LESSONS!
Final pitch time now, and Zara and Lewis are entering Lewis’ natural playground. That’s right, it’s a HAIRDRESSERS. Daniel Galvin to be specific. THIS IS SO RIGGED (!!!!!111!). It’s worse than when Sandy got a bridal shop task to PM in the US series when she ran a bridal shop. Of course this is Lewis so he finds a way to screw things up. They meet Daniel himself, and his minder, and it’s all a bit “my partner David Furnish”. Daniel sits in the corner muttering about his art which the minder handles business. They want 4 classy, understated, tasteful window-displays. Use the windows! Use them as your postcards to the world! Show everyone just how artistic and clever you can be. Her own levels of pretension briefly dwarved, Zara promises to give them something…sunny.
She and Lewis retreat to the pavement outside and ring Gbemi, who is apparently in charge of the design aspect of the flowers. Harry 1 wants to play, but Gbemi tells him to butt out and stay with his MATHS. BOYS DO MATHS! GIRLS DO FLOWERS! Gbemi and Zara discuss over the phone how they want an all-white bunch with as few coloureds in as possible. I see they’ve learnt Lordalan’s lesson from last week then. Harry 1 tries to interject again, Gbemi tells him to screw off, again.
Back in the salon now, in the separate room Daniel and Minder have designated for pitching, and Zara is waxing lyrical and artistic about crushed ice and playing on themes of white and green when…Lewis’ mobile goes off. Minder tells him that he’s made a BIG MISTAKE and Lewis, bless him, looks around awkwardly like he doesn’t have a clue what he’s done. Minder very sternly tells him that you don’t come into a pitch without turning your mobile off, and Zara promises that it won’t happen again. It then happens again. Kaen rolls her eyes and makes a note. To be fair, it’s as much the fault of the people trying to ring when they KNOW that the team will be mid-pitch, rather than waiting for them to ring back. I wonder what they wanted. I bet Harry 1 wanted to offer to do a bunch IN THE SHAPE OF A HIPPO. Lewis flaps and waffles and says he doesn’t even know how to operate the phone anyway. Damn Amstrad technology. Just say “Lordalan is the best!”. That’s how you get it on silent mode. You don’t want to know what you have to say to put it on vibrate…
On the way outside Lewis mumbles ” tha’ bloody phone…” and Zara just blands “be professional.” I love her quite a bit, especially now she’s stopped force-feeding ice-cream to 4 year olds. Once out they discover who the call was from, and it turns out it wasn’t from Atomic Kitten HQ at all. It was from the theatre! They want to hire them to do the bouquets! Huzzah! Zara does a truly terrifying vibratey fist-pump dance and Lewis thanks them so so much. They then get on the phone to “the other team” (SUCH UNITY!) to tell them how they did.
…just as Harry 2 and James rock up to pitch. They look through their notes and discover they’re pitching to David…Danny…Daniel Galvin! James muses out loud whether he should greet him by telling him he’s a big fan of his work. James is the worst schmoozer EVER. I think Lordalan might even to be able to detect it. They arrive at Chez Galvin, and descend past the indoor waterfall and pretentious photography to his LAIR. Once there, Harry 2 tries to pitch the giant heliconia things again, completely ignoring the instructions from Daniel to keep things light and feminine and fragile and froofy. James even goes as far as to call the heliconias “rainforest chic”, like that’s a thing that exists. They’ll tie in so well with the “water feature”. Yeah, I doubt Daniel was going for Patagonian Rainforest with that James so much as “tinkly tinkly ooh ahh”. Minder tells them that they’ve ignored the brief entirely, so they can piss off. Oops.
Nick interviews some rubbish about how they should have brought a girl with them cause girls know all about style and delicacy. Jog on Nick. Maybe they should have brought a boy who knows not just to try to flog the most expensive thing regardless of what people actually want?
Minder rings up Zara and Lewis, and lets them know that they have won the battle for Daniel Galvin’s heart. They share a big hug, and celebrate their decisive victory on this part of the task. Probably. I’m guessing they charged more than £75 for the window display stuff.
6pm now, and the flower-arrangement teams are coming up with bunches to sell in the mad dash tomorrow, and trying to come up with a pricing structure. Harry wants to go for £5, £10 and £20, but Gbemi wants to opt for £3, £5 and £10. We don’t even get to see Hannah offer her verdict (she goes with Gbemi) – instead we just get Harry 1 complaining that the florist lady said they could as much as triple their prices as part of that magical “markup” thing she was talking about and instead they’ve just doubled them. He is of the opinion that this will “transpire” in the boardroom. If you say so Harry.
Next morning now – 9am, and the teams are leaving Apprentice Mansions and Discount Art Student Warehouse. They’ve got 9 hours to deliver on their promises of yesterday, and flog new stock to the public. As if to ram home the point of where this task will be lost, we see first a vignette of Hannah telling Harry 1 she’s going to double their cost-price for retail and him looking pensive, then one of Hayley and Harry 2 (having set up their stall in Westfields in Acton) persuading Lizzie to triple their cost-price for retail, on the promise that they’ll lower it later if the stuff doesn’t shift. Hmmm. Harry 2 and James then do some more hi-larious mugging about how flowers are really girly and stuff and not at all like them. Oh BOYS.
Meanwhile, in Spitalfields, Atomic Kitten are setting up shop. Somewhere between the car Hannah has decided to change their “Standard” bouquet cost from £5 to £6. She’s also decided that “petite” needs an accent over the e. Oh dear. The first order of business is getting the bouquets off to the corporate clients. To her credit, Gbemi seems to have done a bang-up job on construction. Everyone runs about getting everything together, and Lewis accuses Harry 1 of trying to steal all of the team’s bouquets for his “mobile unit”. It turns out they’re for Ghost-The Musical. OOPS! Maybe Lewis should dial back on the Harry-Hate…just a smidge. Anyway, Zara and Harry 1 get in Atomic Kitten Apprenticar B and sit in silence. Harry 1 asks Zara if she’s too nervous for small-talk. Zara replies that she’s just focusing on getting to the appointment, like her silence is willing the car in the right direction. Yeah, that’s a plausible excuse for not wanting to talk to him. That’ll work.
Meanwhile, over on Generic, Lizzie and Hayley are constructing their order for the hotel mantlepiece. It’s crap. It looks like midly over-ambitious pot-pouri, not a centrepiece display. Nick tries to gently poking them into realising it’s not good enough, but Lizzie grins that they never specified what they wanted beyond red and white. Usually Lizzie, “not crap” is a silent requirement in all business orders.
Harry 1 and Zara arrive at Ghost, and deliver their bouquets, with Zara babbling on like Rain Man about what they’re going to offer a price if the producers want to negotiate. They’re not going to negotiate now Zara, they’re an actual business, not…well, a team on The Apprentice. Outside she gives Harry 1 a great big hug (which makes him say “golly”, bless him) and they rush off to Daniel Galvin’s, where they put up their displays, which Minder LOVES. Given that Zara is a keen negotiator, Gbemi has produced some great displays despite her futzing over the price, Harry 1 was right on price and is about to sell out the dog-penis flowers, Lewis (who has done nothing) is the OBVIOUS 100% CAST-IRON IMMORTAL LOCK boardroom choice if they lose right? RIGHT?
Kaen interviews that she really has to take her hat off to the kids. A few days ago they knew NOTHING about flowers(they did?) and now they’re operating a succesful floristry business (they are?).
Now it’s time for Haya and James to deliver their displays (in both meanings of the word) to the Landmark Hotel, home of the 40th wedding anniversary celebrations. The women in charge seem rather disappointed with the fact that there’s about 3 flowers in each arrangement. Haya waffles a load of unconvincing nonsense about how they don’t want to clutter the table, and the woman in charge smiles that she doesn’t think there’s any danger of that. The table arrangements will have to do, but she’s not accepting the rubbish they’re expecting her to put on the mantlepiece, so James offers to knock £25 off the price for failing to meet the brief. For some reason, the hotel agrees (probably not wanting to be mean to the poor kids on the telly), and sends them off with £150 in their pockets.
We’re then treated to a BONUS SCENE of the head hotel lady telling her sidekick once the kids are gone to call housekeeping and to get them to knock something up for the mantlepiece. Then they make out. Not really.
Back to Spitalfields now, and Harry 2 is going great guns with his sales technique, whilst Hayley is just…kind of flapping at people. Still, they’ve sold out of bamboo, so something must be going right. Lizzie shoves four roses of four different colours at a guy and honks “I’ll give em to you for a fiver!”. I’m guessing this team has a…slightly rigorous approach to it pricing scheme than Atomic Kitten do. She interviews that everything’s going great and they’ve got the right area to sell in, so it’s all going GREAT! Harry 2 sells a guy some flowers for his wife’s birthday, then wistfully ponders. When will he be worthy of his family’s love again? When? When he wins as PM?
Back with Generic, and their pricing structure is reiterated by Helpful Voiceover Man with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and Lewis (after pronouncing it “boo-kets”) interviews that Hannah’s tactic is to try and sell as many bunches of flowers as the team can. SO CUNNING! Zara offers up a great big bunch of about 8 roses to somebody for £5, and some random member of the public marvels at how cheap everything is, especially by London prices. Oops. Somebody getting a good deal? BODES POORLY.
Meanwhile, Harry 1 and Gbemi have taken their show on the road, carting around a great big trolley of flowers to sell to local businesses, and getting along like a house on fire with fireworks inside. Here’s a sample piece of dialogue :
Harry 1: GBEMI!
Gbemi : WHY ARE YOU SAYING MY NAME?!
They flog a few small bunches to local cafes and tourist shops…erm shoe shops, but Harry 1’s main focus is on shifting the heliconia. Cue montage of everyone staring at it like it’s going to kill them in their sleep and eat their brains. To be fair, it totally is.
Back on Generic, and James and Haya are stationed outside Shepherds Bush Station with their mobile unit, and taking the rather different tack to Gbemi and Harry 1 of approaching passing trade rather than going into shops. James is deploying his usual sales charm. This time in the form of rhyme :
Roses are red
Violets are blue
They’re all really gay
How much will you pay?
Or something like that. Actually that’s giving him too much credit, because that actually scans properly. Haya is also trying and is also…not the world’s most natural salesperson. Ah well.
Meanwhile…HARRY 1 HAS FOUND A BUYER FOR THE HELICONIA! CELEBRATE! It’s to a small restaurant, who are initially reluctant to accept it, but Harry 1 puts the full hard sell on, and even gets a few customers to join in, so the owner is powerless to resist. The owner buys it for £150, whilst Gbemi hovers around in the background. Ahem. (To be fair to her, she did do a bit of negotiating over a possible order of three bouquets for the bar, but I think that got abandoned in favour of trying to shift the GIANT DOG-PENIS-FLOWERS OF DOOM.). Harry 1 rushes back to Hannah and tells her has GREAT NEWS! HE SOLD THE HELICONIAS FOR A TRIPLE MARK-UP! WOO HOO! Everyone hugs and high-fives and celebrates and Gbemi grunts “…ugh, group hugs” and…
Zara’s already back in that red-outfit and tight white dress combination. I’m so disappointed. She seemed the sort to have an outfit ready for every week. Already with the repeats. Everyone sits and rolls their eyes and slouches and twitches their mouths, and then it’s time for them to enter the Boardroom.
In they go, and Lordalan enters shortly afterwards. You will be surprised to hear that this task was really very simple – just go and sell some flowers. But also other stuff, like putting them in arrangements and vases and ahvver stuff, what does he look like, Michael Angelo or somefin? Kaen mugs merrily that Lewis called bouquets “banquets” at one point. Not that he heard him we didn’t. Harry 2 shoots him an avuncular smile from the other team.
We start with Atomic Kitten and “good team leader?” provokes a positive response, for once, and we cover how the teams were split up on the initial day. Hannah explains that she, Harry 1 and Gbemi all stayed back and learnt how to flower-arrange whilst Zara went off to pitch and babysit Lewis. This is, as ever a cue to undermine somebody, so Lordalan asks Zara how the hotel pitch went. Zara replies that they ended up not getting it, and Kaen explains to everyone that this was because the quote they were giving was too high. Hannah told them to charge £165, but instead they went in charging £200 because Zara is a LOOSE CANNON. (It’d be interesting to see where this fits in with regards to the whole “doubling the price vs tripling it” debate, but that would probably involve picking apart Hannah’s maths so…let’s not.) I’d take this newly interested Kaen a lot more seriously if I couldn’t see her bra as clearly through her clothing as if she was wearing it on top of it.
We then cover Zara’s pitch to the theatre and the hairdressers next, and specifically how they went much better because Zara is fluent in bullshit.
Next covered is Hannah’s pricing plan for the stall of £3 for a petite bouquet, £6 for a standard bouquet, and £10 for a Supreme, which frankly sounds like a burger. Hannah and Harry 1 explain that these prices were arrived at by doubling the wholesale prices, as explained to them via the bouquet lady who told them about the fabulous, almost sexual, world of mark-ups. Harry 1 makes sure to slide it that she also said that the upper limit was tripling it, not that he’s going to say that’s what he wanted to do before the results are revealed or anything.
Next up is the mobile unit, and specifically Harry 1 bragging about how he sold the MONSTER PLANT to the bar for £150. Hannah feebly pipes in to say that Gbemi was there as well so it was also kind of her sale (so was the cameraman Hannah, what’s your point?). Harry 1s mouth twists around like knickers on a washing line in a gale, and Gbemi takes advantage of his brief silence to say that yes it was definitely a joint sale it was, looking shiftier than a middle-aged man in his own at a Glee Live Tour performance.
Generic are covered next, and there’s no “good team leader?” for Lizzie. Instead we get right in to explaining the day 1 team split. Lizzie starts in undermining the boys from the off, saying that they seemed very very against the idea of staying back and learning flower-arranging for some reason. Jeez Lizzie, at least wait until you’re told you’ve lost. James pipes in to say that the reason he didn’t want to stay back and do flower arranging was because of the responsibility of working out costs. He hates numbers! Lordalan (and everyone else) chuckles at this because HO HO JAMES IS BEST AT GCSE ECONOMICS IN IRELAND!
(Sidebar : My dad has an Economics degree with nothing beyond O Level Maths. I had a friend at University who did Economics & Politics with nothing beyond GCSE. Just saying.)
Anyway the salient point is really not so much grubbing around in people’s RAY-ZOO-MAYS with all the finesse of Lara Croft : Tomb Raider, but the fact that the maths they were doing was not exactly difficult stuff. Lordalan really believes this to be a feeble excuse. FEEBLE.
Next up is the hotel pitch, and the fact that they won the pitch with their bid of £175, but only wound up getting £150 because their mantlepiece centrepiece was utter garbage. Nick sneers that it was something he’d expect to find poking out of a jam-jar, not offering up as the focal point of party celebrations at a five-star hotel. Except maybe in Birmingham, eh Nick? We also cover the disaster of the hairdressers pitch, where they were summarily dismissed on the spot, when James said “rainforest chic”. Or at least that’s how Harry 2 is presenting it. Nothing to do with him trying to force the heliconias down their collective throats. It was HUMILIATING LORDALAN.
And also definitely nothing to do with him.
James splutters and futzes and says he panicked and he thought the flower was from the rainforest and that’s why he said “rainforest chic” oh claumny, oh woe ie he.
Finally we cover the pricing structure. Harry 2 says they as a team decided to triple the wholesale price, and Hayley pips in to say that this was her idea. Harry 2 blusters that it wasn’t her idea, and Lordalan asks whose idea it was, and Harry 2 mutters something about it being “their idea”, before Hayley clarifies that she thought doubling the wholesale price would still be too cheap, so she wanted to go for tripling, and Nick snaps in in the editing suite three months later to say “Hayley. Is. Right”. Was that an editing hatchet job on Harry 2? I think it was.
Atomic Kitten spent £407 and made £858, for a total profit of £451
Generic spent £449 and made £912, for a total profit of £464
Hannah clutches her head in pain, Lewis winces, Harry 1 looks to the skies in frustration, Zara looks furiously at Hannah, Gbemi is bored. Lordalan snorts that well done, Generic have won by £13, kudos to them. Maybe they worked that out themselves with their WONDERFUL MATHS POWERS EH? It was probably the pricing structure that won it he thinks. Probably. Maybe. In that it’s the clearest point of difference between the two teams, and it sounds better than saying “you won because James estimated his price-gouging discounts about right off the top of his head” or “you won because Lewis spent more time sticking pins in a Harry 1 voodoo doll than selling”.
The reward is a visit to Fortnum & Mason’s to have a slap-up three course banquet, with each course containing chcolate. Pfft, big deal Lordalan, I did that last night. Star Bar, Yorkie then a Galaxy Caramel. Nom nom nom. Out they go, and Hayley and Haya practically start dry-humping one another in celebration. I hope they never become a female equivalent of a bromance (what’s that? A sismance? Oh, no, I forgot, women on tv are never friends) because the team name would be IMPOSSIBLY. Harry 2 and Lizzie embrace, James stumbles around on his own scratching his head. Ah, group dynamics.
The losers are dispatched, and told that their superior creativity was as naught, because they didn’t make enough money. Oh boo. Lewis sighs “I though I’d never get out of that boardroom” as he leaves. Oh Lewis, never mind. I’m sure you won’t have to sit through TOO many more.
Reward time now, and everyone sits down at a table of fulsome, professional looking flower arrangements, presumably in a jab in the eye of what they themselves put out. Lizzie leads everyone in a toast of their chocolate milkshakes and congratulates them all on winning, despite all their quarrels. What quarrels? Harry 2 and Hayley fighting over attribution of the price-structure? The minor tiff over who got to pitch? For all Lizzie’s supposed HARDCORE NETBALL SCTRATCHING-ness she doesn’t appear to know what a proper fight looks like, even on this show. Please don’t tell me they edited out some HARDCORE ACCENT MIMICKING ACTION.
The group have their meal (scallops with white chocolate sauce ; duck in a dark chocolate sauce ; cop-out ice-cream sundae for dessert) and James smiles awkwardly that the flower arrangement “ARE QUITE RAINFOREST CHIC AREN’T THEY?”. Everyone laughs at him as he shakes his head and grumbles “what the hell was I thinking?”. Such a cheery demeanour bless him.
Loser Cafe now, and everyone drinks their tea, barring Hannah who, as was pointed out in my comments last week, is drinking the COLA/RIBENA OF DEATH. It’s a proper Apprentice curse ladies and gentlemen. Gbemi meanwhile is doing some proper Lordalan bounceback action, saying that it’s clear they lost because they didn’t triple their prices. It’s so obvious. Why did everyone ignore her when she definitely said that? Hannah is reduced to mumbling generic “we won as a team, we lost as a team” rubbish. Why not ask Zara, who clearly saw the entire first day as a two-person task with her as PM, about that whole “team” thing?
Gbemi interviews outside that she liked Hannah on the task, but she didn’t lead people so much as just work with them. She was indecisive. Back inside Zara grandstands and says “c’est la vie” and commiserates that this is just how life is sometimes. It was just the whims of fate that they lost, nothing at all to do with her not sticking to the prices Hannah suggested lah di dah, tum ti tum. She interviews outside that you need to really look at who contributed the least to the task, and on those grounds you have to identify Lewis and Harry M. Apparently.
Back inside Lewis says that it’s not all about the sales figures at all. Definitely not. And anyway, Harry 1 may have sold £150 in that one sale but…erm…WHAT ELSE DID HE DO EH? WHAT ELSE? Harry 1 asks him to clarify if he’s trying to pin the entire loss on him. And global warming. And the Texas Rangers losing the World Series. And Spiderman 3. Of course he is Harry 1, it’s LEWIS. Lewis himself grumbles outside that he doesn’t know who is responsible for losing the task, maybe it was all of them like Murder On The Orient Express, can he go home now please?
Everyone files into the ante-chamber and Lewis, Hannah and Zara all pile onto one sofa. Gbemi very deliberately sits right on the end of the other sofa, leaning as far away from Harry 1 as she can. Harry 1 then awkwardly sidles up to her like a park-bench wierdo. Well this is a team that’s identified its outlier isn’t it?
Candidates are ushered in, and Lordalan reiterates that they lost by a tiny £13 margin. He’s worked out, since they all went off for strawberry milkshakes and jelly snakes, that if they’d landed the hotel deal they would have won right? So, Hannah, why did they lose the hotel deal? Let’s just ignore that Kaen already said why. Hannah merrily pips back that they lost the hotel deal because they went in too high, and that was because Zara ignored her instructions. Zara replies that she completely ignored everything Hannah said all day and won two of the three pitches, so p’neurr on her. Gbemi snarks that Zara was TOLD, and Zara protests that she was just leaving room for negotiation – she knew in her heart that she’d end up paying the price suggested anyway.
Lordalan then asks if anybody wants to bring anything else up, other than the hotel deal, otherwise this boardroom is going to be very boring. Harry 1 says the hotel deal was definitely a factor, but doesn’t offer anything else, so we’re on to Lewis. And what he contributed. IE nothing. Lewis protests that, after last week, when Kaen called him a glory-hunter, he didn’t want to come across as overpowering, so he let somebody else do the pitches for a change. Everyone has a good joke about how Lewis left his phone on and couldn’t work it despite being a YOUNG PERSON, but Hannah protests that she thinks Lewis did a good job driving custom to the stall on the second day. Lordalan’s all “whatever, we can’t get that on camera, let’s talk about the pricing structure”.
So we do, and Harry 1 dredges up how he came up with a pricing structure which got ignored and criticised by Gbemi, for £5 for a small bouquet, £10 for a normal one, and £20 for a Diana Ross Featuring The Supremes bunch. Lordalan asks him where he came up with his numbers and he just shrugs. Gbemi protests that she didn’t think anybody was going to buy anything off them for £5 when they didn’t know they were trustworthy. She’s so right – I would be worried to buy flowers for that amount in case I got them home and the engine didn’t work.
Next we cover Gbemi and Harry 1’s Travelling Family Fun Show, and Harry 1 talks about how they sold about £10 worth of bouquets to each business for the most part, with Gbemi making up the bouquets and Harry 1 selling them on, with occasional crossover. Gbemi protests that she sold too, and Harry 1’s all “I JUST SAID THERE WAS CROSSOVER DUH!”. Hannah snorts that Harry 1 made sure to impress on her that all the sales were his alone. Harry 1 protests that he really meant just the last big sale, and then once again Gbemi complains that he took too much credit in general, and then Harry 1 says that she was STOOD OUTSIDE during the last sale and Gbemi says that’s all very well but blah blah blah.
Lordalan cuts them off because this little tug of love is getting boring, so he resorts to just asking who should go home. Hannah says Zara, and Harry 1 scrunches his face up in protest. Zara says she doesn’t think this is fair, but then Hannah gets defensive and asks that she please be allowed to express her opinion. Which is that if Zara had just stuck to the prices she’d told her to offer, they would have won. They didn’t, so they lost, so it’s her fault. Zara is then asked whose fault it was, and she says “the person who decided the pricing for the bouquets”, because they were too low. So Hannah then. Or Gbemi. Or Lewis, because he seemed fairly keen on lowballing everything.
Lewis is then asked who he thinks is responsible, and his response? “It’s really hard. Do I have to actually say?”. The answer, obviously enough, is yes. So he says that it was between himself and Zara, but he TRIED REALLY HARD AND TRIED TO UP HIS GAME A LOT. At least he’ll willingly take on blame I guess.
Anyway it’s time to decide who’s coming back to the Boardroom, and Hannah chooses Zara and Harry 1, who snots “just to clarify, Zara and I brought in the lion’s share of profit…” but Lordalan cuts him off before every week can become Jedi Jim’s Fun-Time House. Well, that was the worst possible decision wasn’t it? Gbemi thanks Lordalan on the way out, but he tells her to direct her felicitations to Hannah, not him. So she does so, as Hannah feebly mumbles “you did a good job”. Oh how noble.
Candidates go out, the heliconia ACTIVATE and kill us all in the name of the Triffid Empire, candidates come back in
Hannah is asked exactly what the supposed reasons are behind the on-show hari-kiri of bringing back Zara and Harry 1. Hannah says that she brought back Zara because she completely ignored her instructions, and she brought back Harry 1 because nobody likes him (/”he’s not a team player”). Harry 1 asks if he can respond to this HIDEOUS ACCUSATION. Lordalan says that he may. Oddly enough.
Harry 1 announces that they lost because of the pricing, because he could have sold £13 more stock easily if the prices were higher. Lordalan profers his agreement, saying that they easily could have started off with high prices and slashed them if they weren’t working. Why go in cheap from the off? Hannah protests that she thought it was too much, and Lordalan asks if she sees that that was the wrong decision. She says that, with hindsight, she does, but on the ground at the time she didn’t believe that tripling the wholesale price was the right thing to do.
(This adherence to either flatly doubling or flatly tripling the wholesale price is so odd, but then again teenagers are very rigid thinkers.)
We cover next Zara’s hotel pitch error, with Lordalan saying it’s obvious she’s just in here for that one mistake, given that she did everything else well enough. So what say she on that score? She replies that she’s going to recognise (WORD LIFE) that she lost that one pitch, but that’s not enough for her to be here given that she single-handedly brought in almost £300 on the other two pitches. Hannah protests that she agrees that brought in a lot of money, but she completely ignored instructions given to her by her manager. Zara manages to bluff this out seemlessly, saying that she just thought that £165 was the minimum “profit margin” (bless) and she was factoring in room for negotiation. Her tactics worked in two pitches, and not in one. It’s a decent success rate!
Almost I believe her. Almost.
Next up on the table is how everyone hates Harry 1. Lordalan reminds him that this has come up before. Harry 1 says that everyone got on fine with him this task! He was laughing around with them, sharing jokes. Zara even left one pitch with him arm-in-arm. Zara’s face at this revelation being shared with the Boardroom is a PICTURE. It is pure “cool kid doesn’t want it known she’s friends with a 4th year and goes pony trekking with her without any of her mates finding out”. Hannah says that teamwork is very important (*Harry 1 screws up his face*) and it’s not something you can learn just in one task. Harry 1 protests again that she can’t say he does not work with the best interests of his teams at heart. Hannah’s all “ERM, I JUST DID, BIZZOTCH! HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?”
I love when the quiet, terminally ineffectual ones turn into raging sarcy bitches in the boardroom. Reminds me of Kimberlypuff. Sigh, Kimberlypuff.
She carries on rabbiting on about Harry 1 is flawed, not just as a businessman, but AS A HUMAN BEING, because he is fundamentally selfish and evil. Harry 1 then asks her to identify specifically on this task where he was selfish and evil and Hannah replies he showed it in not allowing Gbemi to take credit for sales that she didn’t make. Harry 1 rolls his eyes and asks Zara to back up that he is a great person and that she really likes him. Zara hilariously BODYSWERVES having to admit she doesn’t hate (/quite fancies) Harry 1 in public by saying that it’s NOT IMPORTANT. The important thing is that Harry 1 didn’t lose the team the task, Hannah did with her inept pricing scheme and selling things too cheap.
Hannah says that it;s true that they sold things too cheap, but… Harry 1 starts to speak at this point and then she shuts him down with a “JUST LET ME SPEAK!” and then starts waffling about how he’s allowed to respond if he wants because everyone needs space to respond obviously, erm, etc etc. Oh dear. She’s slouching awfully as well. SEND HER HOME. Harry 1 then finishes her off completely by saying that the fact that she brought back the two people responsible for making the most profit shows she didn’t really understand the task at all. Cause it was about bringing in the most profit. Ahem.
Zara is asked who should be fired, and she says Hannah “on a purely professional business level”. Harry 1 also selects Hannah (*cue massive roll-eyes”), although that’s only because the other two people in the boardroom are amazing and possibly getting married NUDGE NUDGE LORDALAN. If it were Lewis and/or Gbemi here, he’d be giving a different answer.
Firing time now, and Zara gets a patented Lordalan “you shouldn’t even be here” with no criticism proffered, and Harry 1 gets the fire-tease for being a colossal pain-in-the-arse but Hannah’s going home because…of course she is. Worst Boardroom choices EVER yes/no? She still gets a “with regret”. Somehow. She chimes “thank you very much!” on the way out, in a manner that I really hope is sarcastic. Lordalan tells the other two she is a very special lady (who can’t add up, didn’t manage, and didn’t really show…any stand out skill on the programme but at least presented herself as a together human-being which is half the battle) who went out for poor decision making. Now go hug and prepare for the next battle.
Out to the atrium they go and Harry 1 gives Hannah a great big hug. Bizarrely, Zara tries to come in behind him and hugs her with him as filling in a girl-sandwich. I’m sure he appreciated it anyway. In her LOSER CAR she says she’s disappointed she didn’t make it further, but she’s learnt so much more than she knew before she arrived. Now she knows about the magical world of MARKUPS! THE WORLD IS HERS!
Back at Apprentice Mansions and Warhol Skip, everyone is, as usual, discussing the likely result. Gbemi says that if the question were “who do you want back?” the obvious option would be Hannah and Zara (James and Hayley nod fulsomely), but she thinks that it could be either Hannah or Harry who actually winds up leaving. Lizzie says that everyone loves Hannah, and Lewis agrees and says he’ll be FURIOUS if she doesn’t come back. Lewis’ FURY? Consists of stomping off to the loo in a huff making helicopter noises. I KNOW I’M SCARED. Gbemi gives the best *awkward* face I’ve ever seen, and Harry 1 says that Hannah got a with regret and was fired for poor decision making, TUM TI TUM NEXT WEEK IS WEEK 4 AND THEY ARE HALFWAY THROUGH THE PROCESS! HOORAY! WHO’S WITH HIM?
And to think he’s unpopular!
Next week : She’s sleek. She’s sophisticated. And she actually comes from Barcelona. WHAT CAN IT BE?