A legend passes…
6am at the Apprentice Hacienda
and time for Phone-Answering Wars to enter its final throes. Making a break for the antepenultimate point it’s
Ricky Martin! Really, now that everyone else is fatigued I expect him to take the end of this competition in a cake-walk thanks to his conditioning. Maybe they should put the phone inside a steel cage, or at the top of a ladder, or on a pole. Spice things up a bit. Scores are now
Gabrielle – 2
(Azhar – 2)
Stephen – 2
Ricky Martin – 2
Jade – 1
Whoever-It-Is tells Ricky Martin that Lordalan wants to meet them in the city. Well that’s specific isn’t it? Which city? I guess it’s too late in the series to hope that it might be Bangkok?
The Apprenticars will be outside in 30 minutes. Which you think would be ample time to get ready with only 7 people left. But with only two ladies left, the mood in their bedroom has turned feral. Jade is positively
ramming that mascara home, whilst Gabrielle
appears to be trying to start a fire in her suitcase with a bath bomb, like the start of 2001 : A Space Odyssey. It’s not been a good series for the women has it?
The mood in the men’s bedroom though is positively torpid. When Ricky Martin arrives, all the men are lolling around sleepily in bed,
clearly aware that they could spend all day scratching their arses and one of the women would still go home (SPOILERS : this actually literally happens). Well, all of them except
Stephen. Who is already awake, dressed, and grinning manically about how he is so energised and ready and totally not coked-up today and so motivated to do really really well. He’s so positive today Ricky Martin! He was born to win this task. He was born ready to be The Apprentice. This is it. This is the big one. This is him singing Knees Up Muvvah Brahn on top of a bus. This is his Pollo Pancho. This is his Redemption Arc. This is his Alamo. He is ready. Ready to face his Apprentice Destiny. HE CAN FEEL IT!
Everybody troops out to the Apprenticars in the pouring rain. In the Sterling Apprenticar, Gabrielle grins to Ricky Martin and Stephen that they’ve got no other option but to win this.
(SPOILERS : turns out they do, in fact, have other options). In response Stephen continues to prate about how last week he was on the edge of a cliff, one step away from disaster, but Lordalan pulled him back in, because he saw in Stephen that Stephen was ready to win in the greatest COMEBACK STORY OF ALL TIME. Bigger than the Elvis Comeback Special. Better than Manchester United vs Bayern Munich. MORE SHOCKING THAN WHEN THEY ROLLED BACK THE STONE AND JESUS WASN’T EVEN THERE NO MORE!
IT’S GONNA HAPPEN! HAPPEN SOMETIME! MAYBE THIS TIME!
He closes by saying that he’s going to give 110% in pursuit of this victory. Too much Stephen. WAY too much. Meanwhile, in the Phoenix apprenticar, Adam mumbles about nearly being in the home-straight now, where nobody wants to lose. Like this episode is in any way about Phoenix.
The teams arrive in “The City” and decamp to the nearest roof-top as the sun rises. I would imagine this
was supposed to be one of those late-episode Glamour Shots of the sun’s burnished rays making everyone’s faces look all glowy and dynamic before the “run around everywhere at 100mph” task. Thank you, British weather. I guess you can at least see that giant building they made out of the bottle for Prism.
See? Chris Bates’ legacy will outlast us all.
Lordalan rolls up,
looking not at all sinister, and tells them all that they are currently looking out over the great expanse of the City of London. Personally I’m currently looking out over the great expanse of
Nick’s hair. I think by weight it’s currently making up about 37% of the candidate pool. Rapidly he is looking less and less like the Boris Johnson impersonator I took him for than one for (*shudders*) Widdy. Lordalan tells them all that Londoners love to work hard and play hard. And also, they believe lunch is for wimps and greed is good and that if you want a friend, get a dog (…where have I heard that one before?) and other cliches straight out of Wall Street. Unfortunately, these are Troubled Times, so hookers and blow have rocketed in price. People are really feeling the pinch. At this
New Nirrck solemnly nods his head, like he’s personally REALLY FEELING THE PINCH. Whatever New Nirrck, you’ve got your Countdown money.
Lordalan explains that the natural upshot of this desperation is, of course, the Internet, and money-saving deal websites. This week the teams are going to serve as agents for one of them, for 24 hours. They will be hunting down luxury vendors and trying to persuade them to allow their goods to be flogged on the website for half-price. They’ll take these deals to the website owners, who will pick the ones they like best (/that the producers tell them so we can all point and laugh as Stephen gets fired) and then put them up for public consumption for 24 hours. Whoevers’ deals accumulate the most revenue…WIN.
Before the teams are despatched, we’re briefly reminded that Stephen made that desperate gamble to be Project Manager and win this week.
A fact which Stephen vigorously nods along to. Phoenix are told that it’s up to them to identify the most needy amongst them. He already twisted Jade’s arm until she almost passed out to force her to be Project Manager once – he’s not about to do it again. Frankly they’re lucky he turned up at all this week. He was going to send a DVD again, until the BBC threatened him with commissioning “The Apprentice – Piers Morgan” instead.
I think I speak on behalf of us all when I say “THANK YOU FOR BOTHERING TO TURN UP THIS WEEK, LORDALAN!”
As they drive away, Nick looks
kind of perturbed. It may well be because Tom has become SO “Of Finland”
that his crotch has expanded to the size of a particularly laden baguette. Poor Nick. Unless someone spins up a fake old-wives tale about how the size of a man’s hair correlates directly to the size of his Swing-a-Ling, he just can’t compete.
You may think this is an irrelevant, lewd sidebar (ON THIS BLOG?) but Helpful Voiceover Man is currently in the middle of explaining what a website
and a discount
are so…you wouldn’t have missed much if I hadn’t doubled back. He then goes on to explain what happens in a restaurant (FOOD GETS EATY!) and in a spa (HAPPY ENDINGS!) before this is mercifully cut short to show Stephen
quacking on about how simple this task is. It’s so very simple. It’s just about negotiating, guys. And persuasion. And he’s super persuasive. 110% persuasive. He was BORN persuasive. He feels so energised to be persuasive now, you guys. Ricky Martin says that there’s no way they’re losing. He’s not even thinking about whether they’ll win, he’s thinking of the MARGIN of victory he’s personally going to bring down on Phoenix. (SPOILERS : somewhere in the region of -225% Ricky Martin.)
9:30am, and the teams are arriving at the headquarters of Keynoir. Which is the company they’ll be “working for” this week, and not how my mum spells quinoa. This is their CEO
who may have had a good chance of being this week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend but for the facts that
- he’s better looking in profile than he is straight on
- as seen on You’re Fired, the Groupon CEO is infinitely hotter
- ZOMG MARCUS WAREING
- he called his website “Keynoir”. What does that even mean?
- said website describes itself as “an exclusive lifestyle buying club”. JESUS WEPT.
On the other hand, he does appear to fill Tom with a
molton, liquid hatred not seen since Adam said that Bento Boxes were for poofs, so he must have something going for him. He wanks on about how his website is amazing and only lets the best deals appear on its front pages, because his subscribers are sooper-sofisticated. So, you know, no “2 for 1 on a Chicken Zinger Tower Meal” please.
Time for the teams to retire to their Strategy Rooms now, to pick a Project Manager in the case of Phoenix, and a method of suicide in the case of Sterling. I hear poison can be a very peaceful way to go if you do it right. For Phoenix, it is a choice between Jade, who does e-mail marketing for this sort of website as her job (apparently) and Adam. On a task based on high end product. When he was too naff and car-boot sale for a “Street Food” task. Yeah…not much of a choice is there?
Jade it is. She smugterviews that she’s by far the best person for this task, and demonstrates it by saying that her strategy is to PICK THE VENDORS she wants the team to try to win over, and then SORT OUT WHO IN THE TEAM is going to pitch to them.
This is already 500% more strategy than she displayed during her last stint as Project Manager, GOOD JOB GIRL.
Meanwhile Stephen is telling his team that they should try and get more than one deal from each place they visit, thus increasing their potential revenue. This is actually a really good idea on Stephen’s part, that the other team miss. Not that Kaen cares, as Stephen’s so fired she’s already in the middle of scribbling down ideas about what to call him on “You’re Fired with Dara ERRRRRRRRRRRR Briain”
“lipless cretin” is currently in the lead. (How much secret product placement money do you think watch manufacturers shelled out this series? I’m thinking it’s A LOT). At this point Stephen splits his team, determined to get them on the road as soon as possible. Ricky Martin is being sent on his own to tour the provinces, whilst Gabrielle is being kept with Stephen to navigate central London. Stephen explainterviews that he’s doing this because Ricky Martin is a great negotiator, who he can trust, whilst
“I’ve positioned myself with Gabriella because some things are beyond her”. Maybe like knowing the names of people you’ve lived with for over a month now? That sort of thing. Stephen concludes by saying that he thinks Gabrielle benefits from being kept on a short leash. Or at least that’s what Nick tells him.
Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that both teams have been given a map of London and a list of likely businesses, in order to help them. Between “admitting that the Internet exists” and “not pretending these teams are organising meetings with major companies out of thin air”, I really feel like this show is growing. Growing and changing. *sniff* Stephen’s team charge off like REALLY REALLY motivated and energised bulls in china shops. That just know they’re going to SMASH that china today guys, really SMASH IT.
Jade meanwhile is staying put, and tells her team that her strategy is
“quality over quantity”. As far as Adam’s concerned, she might as well be talking about Thermat’s Last Theorem, or Game Theory, or the Water Temple from Ocarina Of Time. In this vein, Tom suggests this really GREAT restaurant that he knows. It’s run by this guy that they probably haven’t heard of, called Marcus Wareing? And the reason for Marcus Weiring’s success, his renown, his culinary mystique if you will is, and he doesn’t know if you guys know this, but it’s because his food is really yummo. And that means people like to eat it in their faces and stuff? So simple, and yet when you REALLY think about it, so true, and so now.
Jade seems keen, and suggests a couple of other ideas and places, including a dentists for “tooth whitening” but Nick dismisses this idea as not being exclusive or high-end enough for Keynoir.
So guess where Stephen is currently rolling up?
Tee hee. He leads negotiations for a “deluxe whitening treatment” that includes a take-home kit, going in for a 40% discount, and ending up on about 20%. He then goes for a second deal, on the same treatment but without the same take-home kit, which he also gets. Meanwhile Kaen thinks
“maybe…’desperate and weird’. That’d get a laugh. Be funnier than anything Andy Parsons says anyway”. Meanwhile
this picture sums up the subteam’s entire vibe for the episode better than my mere words could. Meanwhile
I consider how much better this series would have been if this Sassy Dental Assistant was the “Lordalan’s secretary” instead of whatserface.
Once Stephen & Gabrielle are done with the dentist, they ring Ricky Martin to check on his progress. He is
stood in a car-park. That’s his progress. He’s waiting for his first appointment, and asks Stephen where he should move on once he’s finished. Stephen says “Tring”. Ricky Martin points out that Tring is a 2 hour round trip, and if the hotel he’s going to don’t like their deal, he’s wasted a very large proportion of his day. Of course he’s totally happy to do it (arse-cover, arse-cover, show that you’ve fully understood both options so you can’t be blamed, arse-cover) but what does Stephen think? Stephen says that Ricky Martin is so amazing that the people of Tring are sure to love him. He bets Ricky Martin does 8, 9, maybe even 10 deals with them. Stephen’s got a GREAT feeling about Tring you guys. He’s so motivated about Tring. Tring is going to win them this task for sure. TRING.
(Fun Fact : before this episode, I thought Tring was in Scotland. My UK geography is SO BAD.)
Gabrielle gabbles some really basic nonsense down the phone about “MAKE SURE TO ASK QUESTIONS!” and “GET A DISCOUNT!” because this task is about money and therefore she’s more out of her depth than Eric The Eel trying to swim the Channel. Ricky Martin tells her to sod off.
The car park Ricky Martin is standing in is that of a high-class hotel/restaurant. Which he is then shown around for the next half-hour.
Fun times. Really it’s never less than 100% obvious that the owner is making sure to get lots and lots and lots of free publicity from the BBC. Look at the view! Look at the classy decor! Listen to his tales of what famous and important people have dined in his restaurant! Tour the spotless, world-renowned kitchens! Sample
SCALLOP DISH NUMBER 1! Post-production do a sloppy job of copy and pasting in Ricky Martin saying “I’ve not got much time”, but it’s blatantly from when he was stuck outside the loos back at the Apprentice Hacienda and Adam had been clogging it up for 10 minutes. He’s just enjoying the ride.
Phoenix are still at Keynoir. And they haven’t even opened up their packet of tiny stickers yet. Jade is ringing round and putting into good practice that whole “if you smile on the phone, the person on the other end will sense your positivity, and be charmed” office-training lesson into good practice.
Except instead of “smile” it’s “be incredibly obsequious”. She’s successful in getting an early appointment with a health spa, telling them that they are top of her list and her number one priority and her future besties. This done, it’s finally time to hit the road, as Jade pulls back Nick into her constant attempts to recreate the BEST SUB-TEAM EVER! (Nick seems kind of over this at this point), and sends Tom and Adam off to…go get pissed somewhere again probably.
In their Apprenticar, Nick sort of haltingly bumblingly suggests that he might quite like to sort of maybe do the pitch, because it’s quite important. Jade tells him that she’ll be fine thanks. Nothing is going to stop the JADE NASH SMUGNESS EXPRESS on its glorious choo-choo to victory, the utter humiliation of Sterling and the ultimate destruction of Stephen. As if to punctuate this
she lets rip with a hair-flick the likes of which I have not seen since the glory-days of Stella English.
It turns out it is a mere hop to the spa that Jade just set up a meeting with,
and she gets going with her pitch, whilst Nick prods at his iPhone in the corner and sulks a bit. The women run through their services, and Jade pokes at them to try to get a deal to offer their wares on the website at a discount, but this prompts nothing but a negative response. One woman squeaks that they’ve NEVER offered a discount of the likes that Jade’s suggesting before. One woman just sits there and gawps in disbelief. The other one
actually develops a twitch in her eye at the word “discount”. I’m thinking this is going to take a while. Let’s check back in on Ricky Martin.
Oh, great, he’s
still being shown around that restaurant. This time he’s out on the Fire Escape. The tone with which he says “oh fantastic, another view again” is rather suggestive of someone trapped in one of the prettier MC Escher paintings. I’m half expecting this restaurateur to peel back his face and reveal that he is Q from Star Trek : The Next Generation. THERE IS NO ESCAPE RICKY MARTIN, UNLESS YOU LISTEN TO 40 MINUTES OF QUASI-PHILOSOPHICAL BULLSHIT THAT GENE RODENBERRY DREAMED UP WHILST HIGH. Finally Ricky Martin gets his vaguely lizardy host to sit down for 5 minutes to explain why he’s actually here. Would he be interested in appearing on Ricky Martin’s Daily Deals website?
Well, that’s that sorted, then.
Outside, Ricky Martin sighterviews that he’s very disappointed with that meeting, because it took a lot of time, and the guy in charge was clearly leading him on just for camera-time without any intention of actually signing up with him. Still, he’s learnt his lesson from it, is going to get right to the point in future, and use this as motivation for the rest of the day. It’s all very professional and grown-up, and kind of undermined by the fact that his eyebrow is leaping around his face like Scrappy Doo, begging to be let back into the restaurant to punch Frenchy St Lizard-Face in the chops.
Seriously, you can practically hear it yelling “LET ME AT HIM! LET ME AT HIM!” can’t you?
Back to Jade now, where
New Nirrck appears to be losing the will to live. This may be because Jade has been negotiating with them for a solid hour. Now that’s dedication to a pitch. She’s got them to promise “full access to the day spa, a 25 minute treatment, a glass of bubbly (I HOPE IT’S ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE!), a two course lunch (mmm, carrot-sticks and a Muller Corner!), and a product” for £99 each, which is a 50% reduction on their usual price. Hang on a second…
The twitchy woman tries to wriggle off the hook at the last minute, almost ably assisted by Nick choosing to answer her question of “is there any room for manoeuvre on the discount?” by going “well…well…well” 15 times a second like Rappin Ronnie Reagan. But
Jade is not letting this fish go after spending an hour trying to catch it, and takes down the deal by gushing about how the spa really matches the website’s brand and she’ll make sure that they’re the Number 1 Deal of the Day. Slightly emasculated, Nick scribbles the
final score down in his notepad, and makes a mental note to ask Gabrielle if “body butter” is what he thinks it is. Oh, women. Such mysteries.
Outside, Jade is
amazingly pleased with herself, gushing that she just got a product package worth £200 for only £99! Like, she might even have won this task against PROPER opposition, not just Stephen and Gabrielle! She and Nick agree that was an amazing deal, and well worth the time they just put into it.
West London now and
oh yeah. These two. I’d forgotten they were even doing this task. They’re at a luxury boutique hotel, trying to get a deal on a “classy supper for two”. Adam gushes that it’s the “classiest reception he’s ever been in”. You can only imagine the competition can’t you? They both sample the food, and then Tom makes a pretty poor job of pitching himself, using words like someone who’s not entirely used to the whole concept of “speaking”, and trying to pull a Kristina Grimes “future business” angle that he mangles. Meanwhile Adam just stand in the back
pulling Wallace & Gromit faces over the food. Tom goes in at 50%, the hotel guy suggests 35%, Tom tries to flap him into meeting at the middle but can’t get ANY ACTUAL HUMAN WORDS OUT, so it’s left for Adam to suggest throwing in “complimentary tea and coffee” as some sort of super last minute bargaining chip. The hotel people figure “why not?” and shake on it.
Back with Ricky Martin now, who has decided he actually really doesn’t want to go to Tring. He rings Stephen up to tell him this, and they both repeat their earlier logic to one another, with the same end. Stephen has decided that Ricky Martin is going to Tring, because Stephen says so. Ricky Martin hangs up, then says that Stephen is managing this entire task wrong, like that should be a surprise to anyone at this point. Then, with all the steadfast steadiness of hand and consistency of purpose we’ve come to expect of Stephen…
he completely changes his mind, rings Ricky Martin back up, and tells him not to go to Tring after all. Poor Tring. I bet its tourist board are cussing this programme out right now. I was actually wondering what it might be like there for a minute. You know, all those people in sporrans, playing the bagpipes.
Back with Phoenix now, and Nick is cold-calling whilst they’re on the road to see Marcus Wareing.
It’s not going particularly well. In the “no” *hangs up immediately* sense. Jade is faring little better and indeed, hours trapped in a car with nothing but Jade’s phone-voice to listen to
appears to be taking its toll on Nick’s sanity. She rings up one Thai Massage parlour, gets a lot of garbled grunty “go away please” in response and then cackles insanely that she
THINKS THAT WAS A WHOREHOUSE! It’s Nick’s utter lack of reaction that makes it even funnier. And let’s face it, it doesn’t get *much* funnier on this show in the first place than a grown woman yelling “I THINK IT WAS A WHOREHOUSE!!!” whilst doing
inappropriate jazz hands. She closes by saying “right! paintball!”. Which I think elevates this whole segment to the status of art.
Meanwhile, Adam and Tom sit and talk about ten pin bowling and go-karting and riding a dinghy down the Thames. Who even knows?
2pm now, and Stephen is utterly out of ideas. No, seriously, barely 5 hours after this day-long task started, and he is dry. All that motivation, all that energy, all that zing. Gone. He asks Gabrielle if she has any ideas.
Gabrielle does. One idea. Sadly it is “FISH SPA!”. She says that they’re very popular right now. She had one once whilst interviewing the Ting Tings whilst actually DRESSED AS A FISH. The irony, gang, it’s just…Miquita Oliver levels of amaze right now on T4 Sundays.
In all seriousness, the last time I saw a Fish Spa it was being used as a Comedy VT on So You Think You Can Dance UK. I think the instant that happened its time had passed. Never mind the fact that this episode of The Apprentice would have been filmed mere weeks after the UK Health Agency issued that warning they spread both Hepatatits and HIV. Bereft of anything else to keep his wheels moving, Stephen decides “why not?” and they head to the nearest fish-spa.
Called “Fap”. Sounds classy. There follows lots of shots of Stephen’s feet, and…yeah, even watching them get ravaged by blood-sucking doctor fish, that’s not something there’s ever going to be pictures of on this blog.
Quite. Gabrielle manages to get a 50% discount on a fish pedicure, although even the owner of the spa is telling her “no, seriously, this stuff is really naff now, and it’s banned in every state of America, please pick something else to shill on your website”. Gabrielle is heedless. It’s fish! And they’re nibbling your feet! Tee hee! Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that Sterling now stand at FIVE DEALS. He neglects to mention that they’re all shit.
Back with Jade & Nick, and they’ve finally arrived at St Pancras to meet with this week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend
Marcus. He’s a chef. I don’t know if you guys have heard of him. Jade turns her terrifying charm on him, telling him she has half an hour to close a deal. It doesn’t entirely work.
She gives him a rather flowery pitch about enjoying a two course meal in an historic building, and the chance to relax with another “glass of bubbly” (jeez, such drunks this series), but Marcus wants specific numbers before he agrees to any sort of deal. Sadly for Jade, Nick is trying to work out these numbers on
this calculator. Jeez, who brought that? Who conceived the idea that there would be a task on The Apprentice that involved trigonometry?
Anyway, Nick makes a complete hash of operating the scientific calculator whilst Jade hoots that their calculator is WEIRD and STRANGE and POSSIBLY BROKEN and DOES ANYONE HAVE A PHONE and SHE CAN WORK IT OUT IF IT’S ROUND NUMBERS, until Marcus tells her he’s going to give her 5 minutes to get her shit together. Then he expects some proper numbers from her. He really expected her to have come to this meeting having done her homework, and with a sense of intelligence and professionalism, and he is DISAPPOINTED. He expected better.
So manly. So misguided. So douchey. Sigh.
To the West End now, and Ricky Martin is arriving at a bona fide Michelin starred restaurant – Rose. He says that the PRESSURE IS ON, as he hasn’t yet closed a deal anywhere. Having learnt from the first time, he goes straight for the deal without checking out the amazing views, the scintilating kitchen, or the picturesque alley round the back. He asks for a 50% discount on a three course set-menu for two, and the restaurant people seem interested.
VERY INTERESTED. They ask Ricky Martin how many he can sell and, after some hemming and hawwing about how he should probably just leave it up to them to judge their capacity, Ricky Martin says he’d guess somewhere between 50 and 100. The woman in charge is very receptive, and even suggests running a lunch offer at the same time. Ricky Martin accepts. And what better to seal this deal than
SCALLOP DISH 2 : RETURN OF THE SCALLOPS!
Already he looks…slightly fed up of scallops doesn’t he? How many scallops can one man eat in a day anyway? I guess we’re about to find out.
5pm now, and the sun is setting. Tom wonders to Adam where 7 hours just went. Odd, he was saying that on the first day of the last task as well. With just one deal signed, he tries to get hold of Jade for further direction. Unfortunately Jade is still cold-calling people, so the only voice Tom hears is that of the delightful O2 answerphone lady. And don’t we all love her?
Tom ponders where to go next – a photographers? A jewellers? A personal trainer? Maybe an Oddbins? Adam says that all those places will probably be shut – they need to focus on places that are open, like restaurants or takeaways. Tom points out that takeaways probably aren’t within Keynoir’s remit.
SCREW KEYNOIR, ADAM’S JUST HUNGREH!
Back with Marcus Wearing, Nick’s slavish adherence to the Holy Margins in previous task has paid off, as they have provided him with these numbers
out of nowhere, sealing them a lucrative 30% discount deal. Whoever said that religion never paid off? TAKE THAT RICHARD DAWKINS!
says that the deadline is now rushing towards both teams, and he doesn’t think that Jade or Nick are really paying much attention to the clock. But who can blame them when they’re having this much fun? WHEE! SPA DEALS AND WHORE HOUSES! GET IN!
1 hour to go until the deadline now and this means only one thing…
LET THE RUNNING BEGIN! Stephen and Gabrielle aimlessly leg it around London, stopping at any shop with some made-up awards in the window. Ricky Martin on the other hand isn’t running anywhere, because he’s closing his third restaurant deal of the day, and of course experiencing
SCALLOP DISH 3 : THE RESCALLOPING. Incidentally, everyone concerned does a really bad job of not winking to camera that this is a producer-mandated joke at Ricky Martin’s expense.
Least of all Ricky Martin.
LAST MINUTE RUSH-NEGOTIATING MONTAGE!
Nick leads a pitch to a restaurant; Stephen and Gabrielle get denied by a car dealership, then play urban golf; Ricky Martin flails around, full of scallop, looking for more deals.
We bring this last minute rush-negotiating montage to an ungainly halt in order to bring you the news from Phoenix Apprenticar B.
It’s not terribly exciting. Tom, like everyone else, is failing horribly at cold-calling. He rings one place up and asks to speak to their marketing team. The reply? “We don’t have a marketing team. Nobody hear but us mice. *squeak squeak*”. Somehow Adam gets them a meeting at a perfumers,
although Tom protests that he’s never heard of them, so they can’t be good. Of course this doesn’t stop Adam from lying that Tom is a huge fan of the shop, as is his girlfriend.
Tom’s poker face is…not the best. As Adam recounts how Tom’s girlfriend loves all their perfumes, Tom just smirks at him, although he does
almost manage a genuine warm smile when telling the perfumers they’ll have to sign his contract in the next 4 minutes or it will be void. Almost. The perfumers sign the deal, for 50% off candles.
RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH RUSH!
Ricky Martin assures Stephen that they’ve got some good deals, that people are really going to love. Kaen meanwhile settles on just saying “desperate”. She thinks the blunt meanness will get the biggest laugh of all. That is, after all, what we’re all here for.
The teams arrive back at Keynoir with their deals, and the PMs give a little interview to camera each to say how it went. Jade totally lies that she doesn’t know if she smashed it, or even did particularly well. This face
as she greets Master Keynoir kind of gives that away as a lie. She’s practically skipping into the room. Stephen on the other hand says that all he knows is that he can look himself in the eye, and know that he gave 100% to this task.
Still too much Stephen. Still WAY too much.
Helpful Voiceover Man informs us that Phoenix ended the day with 9 deals, and Sterling with 6. It’s up to Master Keynoir to decide which of these offers are worthy of being included on his website.
Well I’m guessing the Scooch dinosaur-minigolf experience is out for a start. They hem and haw and discuss what is “off brand” and “on brand” and what would be a unique grab for them and what’s been all over the other websites like Louis Walsh on a boyband.
Once they’ve made their decision, it’s time for some quality 24 hour time-lapse photography to show the passage of time. Who knows what happened in this missing day? Gabrielle could have read another book. The house could have participated in another Kinect Sports Tournament now that Laura wasn’t around to break it. Heck, the whole house could have spent the day in lockdown training to try to make Ricky Martin’s inevitable victory in Phone-Answering Wars less of a foregone conclusion. I think we all know one thing’s for sure : Stephen spent most of it trying to circumvent the Apprentice Hacienda’s Internet Block so he could get on Keynoir.com.
The candidates all troop in, and Stephen already looks like a defeated man. I hope he is still energised and motivated to give 90% to SMASHING this Boardroom though. Otherwise what’s the point of his even being there? The music gets stupidly epic at the point when everyone enters the Boardroom which, given that Stephen’s doom is approaching at operatic speed, I guess is only appropriate.
Gabrielle certainly looks like she’s prepping for it.
Lordalan finishes wondering if he can repurpose those fish into the cheapest Bond-Villain trap ever and ENTERS. He tells all the candidates that the tasks these days are supposed to replicate a business start-up. That’s why he ported them all in as reps for an already existing company with an established brand, ethos, and customer base. Makes sense to me.
Not so much Nick, by the looks of it.
We start with Sterling and
Stephen is so ready for this. We’re reminded of his Insano-Gambit last week, and that Lordalan called him on it, in order to further this melodramatic fall into the pit. “Goodteamleader?” gets Ricky Martin ramming into him below the waterline from second 1, saying that Stephen’s leadership was riddled with cracks and Ricky Martin had to do most of the strategising himself.
Nothing like “preparing for the inevitable loss” is there?
Lordalan asks Stephen what he done, and Stephen replies that he done got his team out on the road as quickly as he could, and took them to a fish spa because they’re quite in at the moment.
That’s Stephen repurposing Gabrielle’s idea as his because he thinks it’s the best, when in fact it’s the worst. Never disappoints does he? Jade makes sure to get a
extra smirky side-eye in to show that she KNOWS that fish spas are in fact not “in at the moment”.
Stephen next moves on to how Ricky Martin went to two high-end restaurants. Lordalan asks how that went, and Ricky Martin makes sure to get the first wasted trip right out on the table in full from the off. Lordalan tries get some “VAT WAS A MASSIVE MISTAKE BEING ALL BLAHDDY POLITE AND THAT. YOU SHOULD AHVE PUNCHED THE GEEZER ON THE NOSE AND SAID “WHERE’S ME BLAHDDY MAHNY?” RIGHT IN VE THE FIRST TWENNY SECUNDS!” about it, but Ricky Martin is readily admitting his faults, so he doesn’t really get anywhere. He closes by asking the team what they put forward to the website “restaurant wise”, and Ricky Martin reels off the two deals he got from Rose and Lordalan gets so excited by this that he
actually starts swiveling around his chair. Sadly he does not start doing the Dimbledance.
We then move on to the negotiations by Ricky Martin regarding the number of individual deals he got from the restaurant, and Lordalan chides him for giving actual numbers instead of just saying “give me as many deals as you can”. Say…a million units? A million units of deals? I love how this entire Boardroom run is devoted to trying to persuade us that there’s any chance at all of Ricky Martin being one of the Double Firing. It doesn’t really work does it?
Stephen then, having noticed that Lordalan liked the whole “multi-deal” thing, immediately claims it as his own idea (which, to be fair, it was) and brags that he got TWO deals from the dentists and THREE from the fish spa. He grins that they dealt with only FIVE vendors but got NINE deals – a multi-deal fact so overwhelming that
if the editors didn’t have to prune a clip of Lordalan falling out of his swivel-chair I’d be very surprised. Calm down Lordalan, you’re not on The Voice yet.
Over to Phoenix now and “smugteamleader?”
gets a positive response from Jade’s face. Lordalan asks her if she chose to do multiple deals, and for the sake of the castors on Lordalan’s chair, Jade readily admits that she did not. Her strategy was to go for “quality over quantity”.
Lordalan says that he doesn’t see the harm in asking “how about a deal on this? how about a deal on that?”
Seriously, if you can hear Jade yelling “I SPENT AN HOUR TALKING TO THOSE WOMEN AS IT WAS!” you’re not listening hard enough.
We next cover how Jade & Nick spent their day, running over the spa deal, the Marcus deal (with…brief calculator interlude brushed over swiftly), and then the deal Nick did at the end of the day, which Jade deems to be “a great deal”. There’a great bit where Lordalan asks after the Marcus deal if that was it and Jade all but yells “NO! WE DID ANOTHER ONE!”. Such a being in total charge of herself at this point.
We then cover how Adam & Tom chose to spend their day.
Well, quite. As they cover their candle deal, Lordalan tells them they better have been some BLAHDDY GOOD candles to warrant being put up on a top-end, higher-than-the-highest, holy-of-all-holies website like keynoir.com. Tom
full on rolls his eyes in Lordalan’s face at this. Stephen meanwhile
grins his face off. Oh Stephen.
One last “goodteamleader?” prompts Tom to say that she was good in the morning, but as the day wore on she stopped communicating with the sub-team. Well…wouldn’t you?
Phoenix had two deals accepted. The Marcus Deal took £5950, and the Spa Deal took £8630, for a total of £14580
Sterling had three deals accepted. Urban Golf took £350, and the Rose Dinner Deal and the Rose Lunch Deal combined took in £6,090, for a total of £6440
STERLING ARE OVER! THE DREAM IS DEAD! THE FOUR VS THREE CURSE IS OVAH!
Lordalan tells the candidate that it just goes to show. Phoenix took £14580 for only 1 day’s work. Just imagine if they did this EVERY day. They’d all be (*gets out Nick’s calculator*) BILLIONAIRES! Why don’t people just do this instead of working in offices or being a teacher or a lab technician or whatever. We’d all be minted! Troubled Times would be over! Lordalan has SAVED THE DAY.
I can see no holes in that logic whatsoever.
Their reward? To go to Cliveden, where they will be having afternoon tea. Eh, it’s no Tring is it?
No Victory Group Hug outside, just Jade
smugly marching off ahead of everyone else, incredibly pleased with her performance. Normally I’d find this sort of thing annoying, but Jade wears it so well that it’s kind of endearing. It’s like a three year old who just won their first game of Snakes & Ladders. She’s going to be singing the “I WON!” song tonight. The lyrics go “I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON I WON!”.
Back in the room, Lordalan says that Stephen may have made a comical gambit last week where he said he would be Project Manager and win, or get fired, but Lordalan is always fair (LOL) so he’s going to give Stephen a hearing based on how everyone else performed in this task, and make his decision based on that. Whatever. How much more awesome would it have been if he’d just fired Stephen right here?
This is Cliveden. Jade pores over the menu
and discovers that afternoon tea here is the most expensive, and therefore best, in the world. Adam giggles “have you thought of doing some sort of discount deal for a daily deals website?” and everyone cuts up laughing.
This show is included for no other reason than it reminds me that we just had an instance of a female PM managing a team consisting entirely of boys, and we didn’t get ONE “Jade’s boys” on the voiceover. Thank CHRIST. Also we apparently got through the whole thing without Adam doing something a bit sexist and patronising. Such a Redemption Arc (*sniff*).
Everyone manges down on their incredibly expensive sandwiches, cake and tea, before Jade snorfles “this is my favourite kind of treat…EATING!”
Amen to that sister.
To Loser Cafe, and we get a brief, rare glimpse of
the mysterious woman who runs the place. Such an enigma. Ricky Martin asks the two people about to get fired where they think the team went wrong, and Stephen waffles that it was that they didn’t sell enough. Also that whole “multiple deals” strategy was obviously wrong, given that it brought in a good 95% of the team’s revenue and Lordalan told the other team off for not doing it. He’s definitely going to call them out on that. Outside Ricky Martin
eyebrowterviews to the effect that Stephen is a dying man crawling around in the desert, and he is going to enjoy the next 15 minutes of peeing directly in front of him. Back in the cafe, Gabrielle mumbles that their deals were just too common, as Stephen
eyepopterviews that if he was sitting in Lordalan’s chair he’d be firing her, because he could have done everything his sub-team did this week entirely on his own, without her input. SPECIFICS STEPHEN, SPECIFICS. Gabrielle interviews
that Stephen should be fired, because he lost the plot. There’s not much more you can to that really is there?
I have to say I’m slightly intrigued by Ricky Martin’s
plastic ring here, and have been for a while. Is it a Scientology thing? I hope so. I hope we are looking down the barrel of “Ricky Martin – wrestling biochemist and Scientologist”. Reality tv doesn’t get better than that. Whoever-It-Is ushers the candidates in, at Lordalan’s behest.
We start with Lordalan giving what he deems “a little recap” : “we had nine items, which I thought was rather good at the time, but the only one that really came off well was the dinner deal”.
Stephen kind of looks like he’s hyperventilating already. Fortunately for him, it’s Ricky Martin who receives Lordalan’s ire first, as he still doesn’t understand why he only suggested 100 potential individual deals to Rose. Ricky Martin reiterates that he didn’t know what was a reasonable figure to suggest. Lordalan blusters that this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity and for Ricky Martin to only push for 100 potential individual sales is
SICKENING to him. SICKENING. God, he really is trying very hard to make us think Ricky Martin might be fired isn’t he?
Ricky Martin offers up that this was a grave GRAVE mistake on his part, and Kaen interjects to say that Master Keynoir would have expected AT LEAST 250 potential deals. AT LEAST. I mean, they still would have lost but…it might have been a bit less of a trouncing.
Stephen and Gabrielle’s sub-team can’t avoid getting it in the neck much longer though, and we turn to the debacle that was the fish spa. Gabrielle
literally and metaphorically unravels, remaining silent as Stephen shifts the entirety of the blame onto her. Lordalan grunts that EVERY website is doing the fish spas thing (you know, unlike restaurants or spa days) and keynoir.com don’t want to be just any old website. THEY WANNA BE SPECIAL.
Next up, we cover Tring. Why didn’t they go to Tring? There’s a health spa in Tring. The other team got lots of money out of a health spa deal, albeit one that wasn’t in Tring. Tring Tring Tring Tring, it must be the Apprentiphone! Ricky Martin says it was his idea not to go out to Tring, because he was very mindful of the deadline, and he felt he could spend his time more productively in and around London.
Stephen springs to life, saying that HE WANTED RICKY MARTIN TO GO TO TRING BUT HE GOT RESISTANCE FROM BOTH SIDES
Really this is all Gabrielle’s fault somehow. Lordalan tells them not going to Tring was another BIG MISTAKE, because the spa out there was even more famous than the one Jade went to, and probably would have landed them a massive deal. Stephen starts jabbering about he knew it was a great idea, and he really wanted to send Ricky Martin out there because he doesn’t know London very well, but he REFUSED. Lordalan points out that if Stephen felt like it was such a great idea maybe he should have gone,
rather than piddling around in dentists and fish spas and erotic cake shops. Stephen has no answer to this other than “we knew London better”.
Lordalan points out that they knew London so well that they brought in £350 worth of stuff, compared to £6090 from Ricky Martin. He may have made some cock-ups on the task, but Stephen’s the one who managed to wedge an entire hen-house up there. Stephen blames their poor product selection for their failure, and Lordalan asks whose fault that was.
NOT STEPHEN’S! Stephen says it was all Gabrielle’s fault, particularly the fish spa. Gabrielle just mutters something about getting three deals there and hoping that one would work. Poor Gabrielle. She’s so over this now.
Candidates go out, Lordalan grumbles about how Ricky Martin has been in four board rooms now, and has the worst record of anyone in the process and BLAH BLAH BLAH WE ALL KNOW HE’S NOT GETTING FIRED, JUST LET US SAVOUR THE DOWNFALL OF STEPHEN PLEASE, candidates come back in again.
We start right in with Ricky Martin being asked who should be fired. Hey, whichever answer he gives he’ll be right! Fun for him. Anyway, Ricky Martin says that both Gabrielle and Stephen should be fired. Whilst he made some mistakes, he brought in over £6000, and if there had been three of him on the team they would have won (such amazing horseshit logic! Ricky Martin <3). Stephen buckled under the pressure of being Project Manager, and Gabrielle gave him no support whatsoever. Stephen’s response is to just say
“are you sure Ricky Martin? Are you sure?” in a way that’s vaguely threatening, but mostly hilarious.
Ricky Martin then brings up that at one point Stephen rang Ricky Martin up and told him that he couldn’t take the pressure and he really needed him and he didn’t want to get fired. WHY WAS THIS NOT CAUGHT ON CAMERA?
Ricky Martin says that he’s not a one-man band, and it was too much of ask of him to have to motivate his Project Manager. Stephen huffs that by Ricky Martin’s standards, it’s a really weak and frankly incorrect answer to say that he and Gabriella were jointly responsible for the loss of the task. So true Stephen, because there is NO SUCH PERSON AS GABRIELLA. And if she were on form she’d be pointing that out right now, but sadly…the spirit is gone.
Stephen then starts jabbering away at Ricky Martin telling him that it’s a cop-out to say that he and Gabriella are both equally at fault, come on, if he REALLY had to say which of them was more at fault, which would it be, mate, come on, if he was really being honest, which of them would he say was worse, come on, be a pal and tell Lordalan the truth. Ricky Martin says “yourself, Stephen”.
HA HA HA HA HA HA. Oh this is sweet. Ricky says that Stephen buckled under pressure, was a poor project manager and “you say you’re as good at negotiating as me? You made £350 between two of you. How good’s that negotiation skills? TERRIBLE.” Stephen, chastened, then starts rehashing Tring, but Ricky Martin just says that if Stephen loves Tring that much, he should have gone himself.
Stephen then starts yelling
“MAY I PUT SOMETHING OUT THERE RICKY MARTIN? MAY I? MAY I? MAY I?” to which Ricky Martin replies
“no you may not”.
That, ladies & gentlemen, was an utter decimation. Lordalan tells Ricky Martin that he’s made himself clear. Maybe now Stephen could explain how he’s not responsible for this mess? Stephen completely ignores the question in favour of yelling insanely about how in all the previous tasks, ALL OF THEM, he has influenced somebody in the team to do something that has been adapted into the final product. Whether it be a pitch, whether it be the name of a sauce, whether it be repeatedly climbing on and off a bus dressed as Julius Caesar and a slice of Pepperoni Pizza, he has contributed
WHEREAS GABRIELLE HAS DONE NOTHING.
Oh we’re back at that particular well again. Gabrielle is briefly prodded into life by this assault, and says that whilst she’s not as articulate as the two boys in the boardroom, but she does try to put her ideas across and she thinks she’s the most rounded candidate of the three.
Yes it’s so hard to believe she’s more rounded than Stephen, the candidate equivalent of a pointy stick. She’s excelled at SELLING and she’s done DESIGN and whenever there’s a brief she always tries really hard to ANALYSE it.
She’s constantly teary-voiced and halting throughout, and I’m so sad that this is the brand of crazy she’s chosen to bring to this boardroom. Lordalan asks her who was responsible for the failure of the task, and she says it was Stephen, because he lost the plot. She asks him what he did on the task, and Stephen tells her to “come on”. This is the most passionate he’s seen her
AND HE LIKES IT. (Excuse me, I think I need to throw up) If she’d been like this (teary, incoherent, tired) on the task, they would have got a much better result.
Begging time for Stephen and
“From me, you are going to get somebody who will make mistakes, but will come up the next day with a fresh mind, a fighting spirit, and do the same thing again. I can guarantee you that”.
Yes, he actually said it. This Boardroom is so amazing.
Ricky Martin begs next, and says he should stay because he’s really succesful in his industry (wrestling biochemistry) and he’s also learnt so much in this process, and implemented all the lessons Lordalan has taught him every step of the way.
Yeah alright Ricky Martin, that was a bit crawly, calm down.
It then gets worse when Lordalan starts his request for Gabrielle to beg by telling her that she’s a very nice girl and he’d love to have her as a friend. Not to be all “he’d never speak to a man this way”…he wouldn’t. Because it’s really patronising. Can you imagine getting fired and then having your boss pull this “BE’S MY FRIEND!” bullshit? No. Lordalan asks her where her fighting spirit has gone, and Gabrielle replies that it’s still there and she still really wants to win.
Gabrielle says that she found Stephen really insulting and hard to work with, as Stephen rolls his eyes all over the place, and tells her to focus on herself and her own strengths and weaknesses. Ricky Martin then delivers his final coup de grace by telling Stephen to
stop being so condescending, and let Gabrielle speak. AMAZINGNESS. Of course Gabrielle doesn’t have much to say, but it’s the thought that counts.
DOUBLE FIRING TIME!
Gabrielle goes first, “with regret”
for not contributing, even though she is a nice person (*gag*) and of course, OF COURSE
she is followed after just long enough a pause for the nation to get their favourite swear word out, by Stephen. For not living up to his promise that he would win as Project Manager this week.
Lordalan then acts like he’s going to make it a Triple Firing and take Ricky Martin out as well but…come on. Give it up already. Especially as it robs us of seeing the moment when Gabrielle realises that Stephen has been fired as well. I bet it was magical.
Instead we just get this.
Just another hug.
In her Taxi of Shame, Gabrielle says that her plan in the immediate future is to take the businesses she already has, make them grow, and show everyone that there is a brain behind this smile.
A crazy, crazy brain. Stephen meanwhile says that if he could turn back time he’d go back and make sure that Ricky Martin went to Tring.
Not far enough Stephen. Not far enough.
Back at the house now, and the first words out of Nick’s mouth?
“Guaranteed gone : Stephen”. He then ponders on whether more than one person might be fired, and then gets everyone to conduct a thought experiment in which somehow Stephen was the only person not fired. Such a powerful brain under all that hair. I wouldn’t be capable of imagining that. Jade says that if Gabrielle fought her corner, and didn’t collapse like a sandcastle, she’d be coming back as well.
Oh well. Everyone asks if it’s a double firing, and Ricky Martin sadly nods his head to indicate that it is. Jade’s response? “YAYYYYYYYY! N’YA HA HA HA HA HA!”. Brilliant. Also
“well done mate – there’s a peppermint tea there for you”.
Such a break-out star of this episode.
Next week :
“It’s just going to be too fruity”. Ricky Martin’s words, not mine.
Oh alright, mine as well.