The Apprentice 9 – Week 9 Summary

So it’s time for Alex’s vampire chickens to come home to roost as, after 8 solid weeks of giving it the big “I Am” from the backseat of the Apprenticar, Lordalan forces Myles and Dr Leah to stop sniggering behind their sleeves and let him be Project Manager already. It’s a make-or-break situation, so of course Alex breaks like a virgin’s neck at his own foul hands, and he’s a dead dead man walking all episode.

The task is to create, formulate and brand a ready meal and then sell it to three major retailers that Lordalan has laid on who then buy quantities according to the quality of the…erm…potential quality of the…no it’s gone. To have one of these “Lordalan blatantly decides the winner based on nothing” tasks only one week after the last one feels a bit…unfair, but I guess we have to clear out our remaining comedy candidates asap before the end-game.

Neil is PM for Evolve, and he and Luisa form an unholy Power Couple, forcing Francesca into the kitchen despite her own stated inability to cook. She spends the whole episode squeaking and complaining about how they’re stabbing her in the back and setting her up to fail, and it’s kind of sad. Although at the same time, kind of hilarious, as Kaen swans around obliviously saying “oooh, Luisa’s really changed! She’s not game-playing anymore! I like her now! What a professional businesswoman!”, whilst Francesca curses her very name and sets her own hair on fire whilst trying to create a Caribbean/Thai fusion meal. The end result is utterly utterly tasteless which…looking at the process of creating it, is the happiest outcome you can get. Imagine it having a taste. Yick. Anyway, Luisa and Nick create the branding (straight from 90s gameshow Banzai) and then Neil pitches everyone into a coma. Including Kaen, who is apparently now off the Neil Neckbeard Love Train. This means that the ultimate outcome of Kaen’s Feminist reccy on Luisa is that…she’s the best. Job’s a good’un. Promote Detective Kaen to the Head Of The Wimmin In Bizniz Unit.

Over on Endeavour meanwhile, the whole task comes down to a clash of wills between Alex and Myles, their simmering feud boiling over in a battle to decide whether the team should go for “Horrible Histo….Dinners” or “Foods From Around The World feat. Popty Ping”, the former being the suggestion of Myles, and the latter the brainchild of Alex. Popty Ping is a little mascot that Alex has created (it’s a stickman). Mercifully “Popty Ping” is somehow not something incredibly racist, but the Welsh for “microwave”. Alex hems and haws forever on a car journey to nowhere that seems to last half the episode, and eventually settles on Myles idea. Which, we’re told for the rest of the episode, is inappropriate for any number of asinine reasons dreamt up by hypersensitive parents and an incredibly sour Nick. This sadly means that all the amazing work done by Jordan and Dr Leah in the kitchen is for naught. Everyone apart from Alex pitches – Jordan is good, Myles is awful, and we don’t know how good Dr Leah is because all the men keep on yammering over her. What a shame that Detective Kaen of the Feminist CID can’t follow both teams, she would have put a RIGHT stop to that.

Anyway, Evolve win for whatever bloody reason, who even cares, and then they go and drive Ferraris around and hate one another some more. In the boardroom, Alex clearly just wants to yell abuse at Myles for a solid 15 minutes for spending the last three episodes doing literally nothing other than dicking him over, and I’m almost sorry that he doesn’t get the chance. Almost, because Lordalan forces him to bring back Dr Leah as his other option, and she and Myles spend the whole boardroom yelling psychotically at one another about how boring they think the other one is. Lordalan acts like Dr Leah being a boggle-eyed aggressive nut is an entirely new side to her, because apparently that whole episode in Dubai NEVER HAPPENED, and…it’s kind of hard to tell whether he likes it or not, but I’m going with the former.

Alex gets fired for being a lightweight dilettante, and also for not finding some way to stop Myles dicking him over despite Lordalan’s best attempts to buy him a clue. It’s been a one-two punch to this blog’s readers Personal Favourites these last two episodes, and I feel for you all in your collective hour of need.

Next week : Speaking of chickens coming home to roost, Lordalan restages “Men vs Women” to see what’s changed. Unfortunately, it’s via the (*sigh*) “Smelling What’s Selling” task.


40 thoughts on “The Apprentice 9 – Week 9 Summary

  1. OdaMay

    Urgh is it wrong that I hate them all? Jordan was fine this week (unbearably smug every other) and Dr Leah is alright but the rest are meh. Loved how Karren went right off Neil the second Luisa started flirting with him. I mean last year it took Tom getting pissed with Adam on a lads day out to a VINEYARD to incite that rage and drop that crush and all it took this year was Luisa lol.
    TEAMFRAN though Neil (THE PM) or LUISA(THE ONE WITH FOOD KNOWLEDGE) should have been in that kitchen if only Rebecca and Jason were still kicking about (I miss them both) The wrong team won (we all know ‘THESE’ tasks this late in the game are rigged to the hilt) if only Alex’s end game plan was decent and something he knew and Lordalan wanted (LIKE HELL HE WAS GONNA GO INTO LAW CONSIDERING HOW HE WAS TO EVERY LAWYER THAT DARED BECKON THE BOARDROOM) but had it have been Luisa and Neil ripping chunks out of each other would have been magic
    Long comment sorry this episode gave me to many feelings

    1. monkseal Post author

      Alex suddenly revealing he wanted to be a lawyer (or whatever) was one of the most random moments of this series. Just…ok. Why not?

      1. Tim

        When he talked about it being a ‘legal umbrella’, was I the only one who immediately thought of the old Legal & General umbrella logo? No? Just me, then?

      2. Chris Reynolds

        The perfect job for somebody with advanced blood-sucking skills now that torch-weilding villagers/trading standards officers have chased him out of the tombstone business. Now Sugar has fired him he’ll have to hope for an opening at Wolfram & Hart.

  2. Ferny

    I guarantee Karen will pop up with a leopard print scarf next week, now she’s hopped on the Luisa love train.

    Sad that Alex and Jason have gone in 2 weeks, and also sad that Leah and Myles have fallen out 😦 And I also don’t get the Leah being quiet thing…I mean yeah in the the first few weeks but not since then. At all. I feel like maybe they’re trying to build-in a non-existent journey for her which makes me think she must get to the final at least.

    And the Lord Sugs advice going from one extreme to the other everyweek is ridiculous. Alex’s team obviously were much better, but Neil only won because he didn’t have a skull on it. That’s literally it. They had fusion, it didn’t work, the packaging was weird, the name was bad and the pitch was boring. ????

    1. Jack

      Well “Oh My Pow”‘s packaging was universally praised so I think weird is a tad harsh and only one pitch was deemed boring. The fusion only didn’t work due to Francesca’s poor cooking skills so to say that they only won because they didn’t have a skull I think a very harsh assessment of Evolve’s work.

    2. monkseal Post author

      I think the key thing is Endeavour’s choice to market direct to children for a product that children aren’t necessarily going to be all that bothered about. I can see how that would be a difficult balance to strike, and I guess they didn’t manage it.

  3. Alex B

    Hmm, I do wonder what Myles’s inspiration for the whole horrible meals thing was? Could it perhaps have been yet another massive dig at Alex being a hideous Nosferatu look-alike? Surely not!

    I liked how they made such a point about Myles having children, purely because i spent much of the episode wondering exactly what percentage of Monaco’s children look suspiciously similar to him.

  4. Tim

    Although I think Jordan’s been pretty solid throughout, the fact he did the best pitch on his team was somewhat aided by the fact he went last and therefore had the chance to learn from his teammates’ errors. Oh well.

    Sad to see Alex go, but I guess this and last week marks the beginning of the “Let’s Get Serious” stage of the season. But, seriously, surely this can’t be the beginning of a Luisa redemption arc? (She was still seriously bitchy towards Francesca, though.

    And what is it that Asda buyers are on? Being won over by a throwaway line about improving the recipe? Still, it was Asda who were hoodwinked by Jedi Jim’s promise of a multimillion pound biscuit advertising campaign …

    My usual weekly random thoughts …

  5. durnovarian

    Couldn’t help noticing LS tearing a strip off one team for ignoring their market research *just **one** week* after tearing a strip off a team for doing what their market research told them.
    Consistency has never been a feature of this programme but really….

    1. Neio

      That really took the piss. I kind of think they should get rid of market research in these tasks, as it only becomes a convenient stick to beat the candidates with, one way or the other.

      1. Lois

        And in this case it was even more stupid, because they did the market research in question long after it would be possible for them to make any changes. “The parents all hated the packaging, why didn’t you take that on board?” “Because the product was already finalised and we couldn’t do anything about it?”

      2. monkseal Post author

        …and that’s entirely the reason they won’t get rid of it, obviously.

  6. Anne

    More confusion over the matter of market research: I’m sure I heard Lordalan dismiss it for Evolve and champion it for Endeavour. Oh Lordalan – what should we non-business types believe?

  7. TheBockingfordKid

    Alex’s Popty-Ping character travellin’ the world, flogging the local cuisine (via a rubbish ready-meal, but that bit is unavoidable) and teaching kids about, er gondalas (Venetian food that, is it?) was actually one of the more professional sounding ideas on this show – it’s a shame he was brow-beaten by Myles to go for that stupid ‘Entrails & Pig-Blood (but not real pig-blood mum!)’ crap, which failed on so many levels. Myles is an actual idiot I’ve decided. What has he done?
    Anyway Alex lost because his weird business plan involved the law and Sugar ain’t going there, obv.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I just thought Popty Ping was a bit…lazy? It felt like he was creating a cartoon character more than a proper brand. And there are enough of those on the show already.

  8. Ross

    Am I the only one who now wants Luisa and Neil together? They were actually really cute together!

    Sorry to see Alex go. He wasn’t one of my favourites but he was a lot of fun.

    1. octodoll

      They would make a great power couple but the combination’s just a little bit too scary for me… (and I suppose Neil’s wife might not be too keen!) It was good – and surprising – to see the pair of them working so effectively together and getting on so well, but the way they treated Francesca was awful and made it hard for me to root for them.

      The only reason I wanted them to win was so that their machinations wouldn’t result in getting Francesca fired.

    2. monkseal Post author

      …in a sex way?

      (Actually that could work for either of those two thoughts couldn’t it?)

      1. Ross Nolan

        Honestly, I genuinely think Luisa has a bit of a crush on Neil, though I don’t think it will lead anywhere. Even last week I thought there was an element of sexual tension to her protestations about ‘Neil Clough’.

        (of course I actually like both of them seperately more than anyone else left so take with as many pinches of delusional salt as needed.)

  9. PadsterMo

    Dr Leah quiet? Was anyone in Dubai? Anyone at all?

    I can’t decide if Leah is getting a ‘bump in the road’ edit so we see her improve and cheer her on to victory or an ‘actually a bit rubbish’ edit so nobody complains when she gets fired.

    I’d love to have seen Neil and Luisa against each other in the boardroom tearing chunks out of each other, although I imagine they’d have united against Francesca. They’re both toxic, but smart enough to play the long game – like shoving Francesca into the kitchen so they had the scapegoat for it going wrong.

    When Nick spoke about how wonderful Jordan’s pitch was I half expected him to lean across the table and lick him.

    1. octodoll

      I’m not sure Leah’s got enough time to improve – unless she has a spectacular performance in the interviews in a couple of weeks’ time.

      She’s been enough of a character in the series to pull it out of the bag, though – I think more so than Jordan. I’m sure Jordan is very good, but his edit has been very unendearing. Almost every time he does anything positive the effect is undermined by a *smugface* shot.

      It would be good to see Jordan in the boardroom as it would be a chance to show his personality a bit more.

    2. monkseal Post author

      I love Dr Leah, but the idea that anything done in this episode was done to stave off a potential public backlash should she be fired next week/whenever seems…unlikely. Actually I doubt there’d be a public outcry whoever went, which is kind of why I’m loving this endgame. It’s like Series 4, only I’m one of the people who gets to NOT hate everybody.

  10. Johnny

    Whenever there’s a “create a food/drink” task, the show always tries to pretend that the end result of a few hour’s work by people who don’t know what they’re doing is set in stone. The supermarket buyers usually go with the stronger brand, and the Oh My Pow! box was very well designed. Deadly Dinners tried to market exclusively to kids and failed because of it.

    I thought Alex’s foods of the world thing was a very good idea, the sort of thing that would appeal to parents (maybe not in an actual supermarket, but on this show, trying to look good for the cameras).

    1. monkseal Post author

      Alex’s half-cocked mission to “teach children about geography” via a cartoon stickman was so beautiful and so misguided. It’s like he’d decided he was going to “teach children about music” by bellowing “Call Me Maybe” at them.

  11. Neil K

    I can’t believe they marketed a product with not one, but two skulls on it. If we’d all been asked to think of the worst idea that they could come up with, none of us would have thought it went as bad as making the products look like poison. Taste like poison yes, but look like poison? Miles got a massive let-off due, presumably to having a good business plan despite being a tit and Francesca got a lucky escape too. People are saying she should be excused because she stated she didn’t know about food and so Neil or Luisa should have created the product, but does the girl not eat ? I’d like to think if you have taste buds then you can tell what works and what doesn’t. Not even tasting the product is as dumb as dumb gets on this show and she’s overstayed her ability on this show by about 5 episodes. If anyone is a dead woman walking on this series it’s her…

    I might have a fiver on her being next to face the boot..

    1. octodoll

      Francesca was right that she’d been stitched up, but she did not help herself at all by failing to taste the food. Her argument for being project manager was that she ate ready meals all the time – so surely the least she could have done was apply her sole area of expertise and taste the stuff! Then she might have had a better chance of blaming Luisa for giving her a poor recipe and pointing out that she herself didn’t have the culinary expertise to improve on what Luisa had told her.

      I agree – she’s now the weakest candidate left and if the girls lose next week she’s surely getting the chop, regardless of what happens in the actual task.

    2. monkseal Post author

      I think Alex went because Myles has been setting him up to go exactly like this. I doubt he envisioned himself coming so close to going down with him though.

  12. Neio

    It kind of seemed Alex got fired as much for his totally random legal umbrella business idea as for his poor performance as PM. It was almost as random as the Helen Entity’s concierge service for getting the country back on its feet (before she suddenly came up with her bakeries idea that she’d totally been thinking of all along…). I’d imagine Myles and Leah’s ideas are at least better than that.

    I did feel Leah was being treated a little unfairly in the boardroom, with both Lord Sugar and Myles basically telling her to “Shut your face, you blahddy woman!” And saying she’d been quiet and hadn’t done anything in previous weeks wasn’t really the truth. I remember her being a good saleswoman and negotiator in quite a few episodes (though not in Dubai…), and admittedly she wasn’t a great PM in the away days task, but she’s been a lot more impressive than someone like Francesca for instance.

    Were those the exact three ASDA execs that Jedi Jim pitched to a few years back? I definitely recognised the blonde woman in the middle and the shaven-headed guy. Not sure about the other woman.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I tried to find a picture from the recap of the episode, and failed, but found this instead. I’d forgotten just how evil Helen looked towards the end. Truly the Helen Entity manifest.

  13. Definitely Not John

    Myles blew it this week. Previously I thought that people were thinking that he’s better than he actually was. Can only imagine Jordan winning.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I’ve never really been a huge fan of Myles, but in terms of position in the end of series Monkies Ranking, this episode did him nothing but good. It’s the first time I feel like I really GOT Myles as an Apprentice candidate.

      My list of potential winners is basically Dr Leah and Neil at this point. Of course last series it was Nick and Tom soooooo….

      1. tabithakitten

        Sooooo… welcome Surlordalansugarplumfairy to your apprentice – Luisarabbitduracellbunny (chuck her a carrot and she’s happy).

      2. monkseal Post author

        I mean, I guess it could be Jordan? Sometimes it’s hard to *really* accurately tell who Lordalan actually doesn’t like personally but…they don’t seem like a fit in any way. Anyway, it’s DEFINITELY not going to be Francesca (*Francesca….you’re hired*)

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