This week on The Apprentice
we have seven people left and two weeks to the final. Next Tuesday there's a "Final Five" special on BBC1. What could possibly be about to happen?
6am, Ricky Martin answers the phone to be told they're going to The City. After challenging LdAlan to make him PM last time, Toothlicker is feeling positive and motivated, because this week the editors are getting the ironic foreshadowing in early. We're told The City is the financial hub of over there, but LdAlan is high above it all. They mean literally though, he's quite high up so we're meant to be impressed he knows how to use a lift. Mind you, these bladdy modern contraptions etc. The teams will be trying to arrange discounts for a daily deal website, and they have to be quite high-end quality offers. No, really this time - the website will veto any that aren't good enough so no "let's ladle out some meatballs and if the majority of people who eat them survive that counts as gourmet."
Toothlicker is of course automatically Sterling PM, LdAlan tells Phoenix to "sort it out amongst yourselves" 'cause he can't be arsed. Phoenix somehow manage to stop staring at Tom's scarf (did he cut up one of my granddad's old jumpers or what?) long enough to pick Jade, 'cause she does email marketing which is totally the same thing in that they're both internetty And That. Toothlicker tells us that some things are beyond Gabrielle because he wasn't hateful enough already and needed to patronise someone just to seal the deal. His "strategy" is to try and wangle multiple deals from each visit, and his first stop is at a dentist's, to try and get tooth-whitening discounts. ALL THE BETTER TO LICK THEM! Barren Krady shows us that her own teeth are very white already, thanks, she won't be needing a 50% off voucher. Ricky Martin is at a restaurant with a view, and the view is of every little corner of the restaurant, which the maitre d' insists on touring him round. For an hour. Then he gives Ricky Martin some scallops. Ricky Martin confirms they are nommy. Then he's finally allowed to talk about arranging some discounts, at which point the maitre d's all "oh, I never had any intention of making a deal with you, I just wanted an extended free advert for my restaurant on BBC1. You get out now before I release the hounds. LOLLERSCATES!"
"Meanwhile" (according to the edit) Jade's team is still making calls, but they've got appointments set up, it's all fine. They go to an all-women health spa where it takes them an hour to get the owners even to consider giving a 50% discount, but they get it in the end. Tom and Adam are stuffing their faces with food instead of getting pissed this week, so that's a nice change. Adam's redemption arc continues as he slightly salvages a not-as-cheap-as-they-wanted deal by getting the restaurant to throw in free tea or coffee. Oh god, he's making the final, isn't he? I can't wait to hear his business scheme: "I've discovered this thing called 'women.' They make your tea, clean the house, it's great." What? Why wouldn't someone pitch white slavery this year? They did last year. And then Jade tries to phone a few more businesses she's found in the yellow pages, and her call is not particularly welcome to a "massage parlour." In the first of Jade's attempts this episode to be my new favourite, she puts down the phone and cackles "I think that was a whorehouse! Mwahahahahahaha!"
Meanwhile Ricky Martin is supposed to be going to a health spa in Tring, the only place in the UK to be named after a bicycle bell. But he doesn't wanna, 'cause it's miles away, and also it's called Tring. Toothlicker says he wants him to go anyway, and says he's putting his neck on the line about this. Then he dithers to Tortoise about it before calling Ricky Martin back and changing his mind. Stephen and Gabrielle themselves will be going to one of those fish pedicure places, which the editing attempts to simultaneously tell us is wacky and gross and crazy, and
totally passe and everyone's already doing it and it's nothing special. CONSISTENCY! Barren looks horrified - I know, I could have done without a closeup on Stephen's feet too.
Jade and Nick are at a restaurant in St Pancras. Jade hopes they can make a "magical experience" for their customers - actually I think you're confused Jade, Platform Nine And Three Quarters is at King's Cross. Still, some of that magic seems to have crossed the road and affected the electronics, because in her second attempt to be my favourite, Jade blames the fact that she hasn't worked out the figures properly on her calculator going "a bit weird." The chef says he's going to go away for a bit and they can talk to him again once they've had a long hard think about what they've done. Also in a restaurant, again, is Ricky Martin, securing deals for both lunch and dinner, and celebrating with some food - they give him scallops! This is totally a coincidence, and in no way because the camera crew had a word with the chef behind Ricky Martin's back about what would be a HILARIOUS running gag.
Then it's all "there's only an hour left to submit to the website, hurry hurry!" although what this means in practice is vague, it doesn't seem to be like the shopping task where anything that doesn't get back to the boardroom in time doesn't count so it's just false jeopardy. Jade and Nick manage a 30% off dinner discount; Tom and Adam try for a perfume shop where as soon as they get in Adam ASSERTS HIS MASCULINITY by making sure everyone knows it's Tom who knows about this stuff not him; and Ricky Martin gets given more scallops. Which he's not that surprised by because the camera crew sniggering and poking each other in the ribs gave it away. Jade's team finally hands in 6 deals, Stephen's hands in 9. But the website has to do its quality control before we get to the...
BOARDROOM! This year's NotFrances is so pissy with the Apprenti, isn't she? Fair enough, I guess, having to deal with those smug faces every day. 3 Sterling deals got accepted, for a total of £6,440; almost all of that came from Ricky Martin's lunch and dinner deals. Only 2 Phoenix deals got accepted but they totalled £14,563; mostly from a health spa not unlike the Tring one Toothlicker changed his mind about. *wah wah wah wah* Phoenix's treat is to go and have afternoon tea. Pfft. Oh, it's a proper treat though because this particular afternoon tea normally costs £500 a head. No, actually it's still a pfft. Just because it's overpriced doesn't stop it being a cup of tea and some cakes.
At Loser Cafe Toothlicker tells the cameras the result's "pretty simple, we didn't sell enough." Obviously this is not remotely what happened, and they mainly lost because they didn't choose expensive offers that the website would actually accept. In fact the task didn't involve any actual selling as such this week. Maybe the fact that the PM didn't know what the task was might have contributed to them losing. Obviously back in the boardroom Stephen tries to shake off any responsibility for anything that happened, again, some more, as usual, because that's what phrases like "I'm putting my neck on the line" mean, right? The rest of his boardroom technique continues to be the same as usual too - he can tell people are slagging him off, doesn't seem entirely sure what it is they're actually saying but thinks aggressively interrupting them with questions he won't listen to them answering will get him somewhere. So when Ricky Martin says Stephen buckled under pressure Stephen just jumps in with a sarcastic "you sure?" Which is a rubbish comeback because he then just has to say "yes." Gabrielle finally snaps at one of his interruptions with "will you let me finish
please?" She doesn't tell him off while she's at it for still calling her "Gabriella" after ten tasks. Of course I once had a boss who couldn't get my name right after eight years of me working there, so as far as I'm concerned this is just standard practice in how srs bzns is done. In any case, I've spent the last ten weeks calling Gabrielle "Tortoise" so I shouldn't throw stones.
Anyway I like Tortoise but in this boardroom she really looks like she's had enough, it's almost one of those "please fire me" moments, and indeed LdAlan does, and everything is calm and safe in the boardroom. BUT NOT FOR LONG because we haven't had a double firing yet this year and it's really overdue. And Toothlicker did
say he'd definitely win this week. And then he didn't. So he's fired too. LdAlan even fire-teases Ricky Martin as well just for the LOLs but no, he's going back to the Apprenticave, where the winning team are meant
to react with fake horror to a double firing. But Jade makes her final attempt to be my favourite by responding instead with "Double firing? Yay!"
Dozing off in the cab home, Gabrielle is lucky: The figure stalking her dreams puts her out of her misery quickly with a sniper shot to the head. Because the Blonde Kruegersassin has no time to waste, she's going to spend a long
time making sure Stephen suffers...
Next week: That task that used to be the final until it wasn't any more.