Warning: This post contains spoilers. If you want to watch this weeks The Apprentice you can watch it on BBC iPlayer.
So in this episode of The Apprentice, we saw the hopeful candidates switch their suits for high-vis jackets and steel toe-capped boots as this week’s task required them to set up and run their own handy man business over the next two days.
Once again they were summoned to a location by a quick early morning phone call. A routine that has been part of the shows episode opener for years.
This time, Sir Alan selected the team managers choosing straight talking “Brett the builder” for team Connectus and Construction Executive Elle for Versatile (who has yet to be on a winning team) due to both of their “experience” in this field.
However Elle’s expertise left a lot to be desired as she boasted about not knowing how to build a house but definitely knows “how to order people around and make sure they build it for me.” She then goes on to suggest that “you don’t need to actually have a knowledge of anything, to be good at your job” It’s all about convincing people you know what you’re talking about even if you don’t. Quite an ironic statement really; considering most of the candidates seem to have this habit of trying to make nonsense sound like good business patter.
Missed deadlines and disagreements
After much discussion about people’s strengths, what services to offer and how to word the flyer, the teams were off in their white vans. Elle was off to a great start as project manager by missing the deadline for the flyer leaving the team having to make do with Mergim’s make shift flyers despite much disagreement from April.
Each team splits into two. With one half off to find work while the other visits two commercial contacts set up by Lord Sugar. Both teams have to provide a quote for the service required which the owners have time to think about overnight then decide the next morning which team to go for based on the price.
Brett’s working half of the team start off doing market research much to the bemusement of Sir Alan’s fiery aid Claude. He claimed to the camera that they were wasting time, not making any money. “Their strategy is what? Standing around doing market research, not doing business.”
“If we get this bid, do we have to do it”
Back at a south London football ground, after much deliberation about the price of cleaning the stadium chairs. As well as a stupid question that left a slight smirk on the usually grumpy Claude’s face from Sam “If we get this bid, do we have to do it” Not really understanding the meaning of “hard work” there are you Sam? Of course a “well worded”, private tutor couldn’t possibly get dirty! Brett, Sam and Selena came to a price of £480 slightly cheaper then David’s earlier estimate.
Mergim, April and Charleine become window cleaners but only charged £10 an hour for services meaning as Alan’s trusted female aid put it “that’s only £3.33 each”. Mergim seemed to struggle with the basic task of putting up shelves with an on looking Karen shaking her head. A sign that has become signature to her disapproval. She went on to ask him if he knew what he was doing. He replied that he was “screwing a nail” Again eloquently put by Karen – I don’t think you crew a nail. He believed that the shelves were meant to be slanted, they were not meaning they had no choice but to not charge the lady for the shelves, only taking money for the windows. Much to the annoyance of the other half of the team off the phone.
Back at the theatre, PM Elle relies on Joseph to cost everything and Richard to do all the pitches. Karen states that this is what she does for a living hence why she was made PM but she’s not demonstrating that. “I’m not sure what she’s doing.”
Sam, Gary and Vana from Connectus sets themselves a very big task of completely renovating a garden thanks to Scott being too eager to close a deal. A concerned Claude states it could be a disaster, impossible to do in a day and Vana seems to agree with her doubtful looks.
There was a result for Brett – winning the Football contract while there was a call back from the theatre for Elle. She left the negotiation to Richard as it is something else she says she cannot do. Surprise surprise… It was quite a rapidly reduced to 375. David couldn’t believe it but an optimistic and also experienced Joseph reminded them it was money in the kitty and gave them an efficient strategy on how to get the job done.
Next morning Brett’s troupes hit the road while Elle’s team discussed fixing their approach. Getting rid of “£10 jobs” and changing to painting.
At the costume store ‘refirb’ Joseph might as well have been project manager. Elle seemed a little lost considering this is what she supposedly does for her day to day job. Well no actually, she usually just bosses other people to do it, yet she couldn’t even manage that today. While on Brett’s other team a sensible Vana stepped in on Scott’s elaborate promise and reduced the job to a feasible cleaning and tidying up job.
While on a painting job – Mergim “does what he does best” and lost the team money after doing a shoddy job. April voices her concerns that he isn’t taking the task seriously and it could cost the team dearly. While Brett came to the realisation that he has to be honest to the employer that they couldn’t finish the job which could cost them dearly.
Richard summoned up the task as a slow extinction of Elle on the last paint job. Charleine cheekily tried to charge a bit more despite the confusion of the price of painting the fame being caused by lack of common sense yet who I’d have to call ‘Candidate of the Episode’ or ‘Man of the Match’ Joseph was respectful to the lady and led the final task. Whilst all of Connectus had a mad rush to try and get a final jobs.
The Apprentice Board Room
Versatile started. Elle gave huge praise to Joseph for his military style leadership for the theatre job whilst Mergim painfully explained how he messed up two jobs, of course the whole room had a good laugh at his expense. With Alan releasing yet another debatably witty anecdote of his vision of Mergim trying to fix a toaster in the bath.
Connectus PM Brett tried to explain his professionalism by doing more than required for the stadium job then realising he couldn’t finish the job. Alan agreed with Selena that it would have been more professional to get the job finished instead of doing everything to his own personal standard. Alan seemed a little concerned on why the other half of the team spent the first day just doing market research as rightfully said how hard is it to do a bit of painting or heavy lifting? They tried to justify it by saying they weren’t experts and needed to know the target market and areas to go to… Okay then.
Down to results. After figures were called out it was a first win for team Connectus with a profit of £1,50.08. Brett was praised and they were sent to be pampered at a Russian Spa much to their delight.
Alan was quick to remind Elle she was in the losing team for 6 weeks running and that he was surprised they have lost considering the resources in their team.
At the losers café Elle seemed to have already given up not saying much apart from admitting she has messed the whole thing up and attacking the sub team along with Joseph. “They couldn’t put up a shelf, they messed up a sign” David apparently can’t measure properly. April owned up to some responsibility of the bad pricing method on the first day.
Back in the boardroom. Lord Sugar stated his disappointment especially since they seemed to be doing better than the other team on the first day. April’s business acumen was questioned and we saw a pathetic display from Elle. Things took an unusual turn as not only was Joseph told he would definitely stay in the process, Elle was fired straight away with yet another one of his famous puns referring to her job and task in hand “You’ve dug yourself a very deep hole”. In the taxi she completely agreed with the decision even saying that he would have looked an idiot if he didn’t fire her and she couldn’t see how she could of done things differently, even whilst being teared apart. Really? It was definitely her time to go.
In a new twist, since Mermit was sub team leader he was now classed as PM and had to choose two people to bring back. After listening to feedback from Joseph he decided to bring back April and David. Alan told Charleine that she was left of the hook and shut her down when she tried to justify herself.
But this dramatic turn doesn’t stop there as both Kosovo refugee Mergim and Jamaican Boutique Owner April are both fired. Order is restored. With the one white male in the line up being saved. Which is maybe something people will discuss considering out of all 10 winners only 2 have been of an ethnic origin. However Mergim was given a nice send off, being told to stay in touch after his touching speech about wanting to prove himself and his family background. April was reminded that in task 1 she was told if it were week 5 or 6 she would be fired so subsequently she was. Whilst of course April didn’t agree with being fired she accepted why she was. After a grilling from the panel David returned to a shocked house.
So overall an interesting episode and at least the number of morons have been more reduced but it still makes for entertaining viewing. Mergim embraced his failure upon reflection in the taxi and took on everything that was said. It was well his best performance throughout the whole process. Even trumping his innovative sale to the café owner in last week’s task. In the midst of the ignorant and arrogant characters there are real potential candidates that can be a worthy winner. Let’s see what madness the next task brings.
Do you agree with Sir Alan’s verdict on this weeks The Apprentice? Let us know in the comments below.