The Apprentice review: James Hill clashes with Bianca Miller whilst Lauren Riley is in the firing line (Spoilers)

by Matt D
Lord Sugar Nick Karren

Lord Sugar Nick Karren

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been commenting on how the producers of The Apprentice do their best to fool us into believing that the team who appear to be doing awfully pull it out of the bag. Sometimes, for example with last week’s coach trip task, it appears as if they struggle to put a negative spin on a team who are doing so well; often focusing on the clashes between contestants which don’t affect the final score. In other tasks, such as the candle challenge, there’s more room for doubt and this week I felt that a good job was done in putting doubt in my head that Team Summit may lose despite an infinitely superior project.

This week’s task started with an obscure destination as Lord Sugar decided to lay down the rules of a board game task whilst on the HMS Belfast. Apparently the logic behind the destination was to do with the inspiration for the game Battleships but I have to say it was incredibly tenuous. After last week’s confrontation with Lord Sugar, James stepped up to be Project Manager of Summit but I personally feel he contributed very little to the overall product. Instead, Roisin’s idea for a family board game based around geography later entitled GeoKnow was what propelled the team forward and, after seeing the game played a few times, I wouldn’t mind having a go myself. As this was Roisin’s baby, she went along to design the game whilst James and Bianca worked on the good old focus group as well as shooting the picture that ultimately went on the front of the box. The friction between James and Bianca, which boiled over into a full-blown argument, felt too constructed to be genuine and came out of nowhere. However it did provide a little bit of doubt primarily as it demonstrated that James’ inability to control his troops could be his undoing.

The Apprentice James Hill

However, it appeared as if James would have basically had to slaughter all his team and destroy the remaining board games in order to have a chance of losing. This was due to the shoddy product produced by Tenacity who were this week led by Pamela; the possessor of the worst poker face in Apprentice history. Much was later made of the fact that both Mark and Lauren had opted out of being Project Manager despite the latter claiming that she’d be happy to lead. The team decided to pitch their game at a more adult market with Mark deciding that a game based around dating could be the key to victory. However, upon consulting a group of nerds who enjoy playing fantasy board games as a pastime, half of Pamela’s team learnt that the game could have felt sleazy. I personally enjoyed the focus group scene due to the fact that Mark was discussing dating with a group of men who are lucky to have had one date between. Undeterred by this feedback, Pamela went on with creating ‘Relationship Guru’ but made the fatal error of making Daniel write the majority of the questions. The main problem with this was that Daniel seemingly wrote all of the questions from a male perspective therefore they came off as utterly sexist. Daniel also claimed that he’d injected humour into the questions but I feel that Tenacity have a skewed view of what is funny, after all they did come up with Fat Daddy.

The questions weren’t the only issue in Tenacity’s game as it became apparent that the concept of the product itself was hard to figure out. Of the brief times we saw it being played, The Relationship Guru seemed to have a confused concept to go with the questions that looked like they’d come from the 1970s. Proving himself to be one of the standout candidates; Mark was able to get Toys R Us to commit to 60 units by convincing them that this could be a fun game for couples to play. In fact Mark did better at Toys R Us than James did, making me question once again if Tenacity could actual clutch victory from the jaws of defeat. More doubt was cast on Summit’s victory when Bianca made a faux pas after offering one shop exclusivity for the whole borough of Westminster. This was brought on by the fact that James had offered a previous shop exclusivity for a particular postcode in order to clinch a particularly good deal. On the other hand Bianca only managed to sell six items and made a deal which later damaged Summit’s chances of getting a decent order from Waterstones. But despite Bianca’s mistakes, it was still clear to me that Tenacity were fighting a losing battle and Pamela had already pinned the blame on the disheartened Daniel and Lauren.

Apprentice 2014 Daniel

But not even I could have predicted the landslide that Summit won by as there was almost a £1,000 difference between the two teams. Whilst the winners got to go and kick footballs at David Seaman, who was presumably being paid a lot of money for his time, the losers picked over the task at the Bridge Cafe. It was here that Pamela started to accuse Lauren of sitting on the fence and playing a clever game. While it’s true that Lauren wasn’t keen on the product, I don’t feel that her enthusiasm for the product was any less than say Katie, who stayed invisible throughout the task. Meanwhile, Pamela’s other accusation; that Daniel had done very little, was also flimsy due to the fact that he’d created at least half of the game. It came as no surprise when Daniel and Lauren were brought back into the boardroom, where Lord Sugar picked apart the CV of the former. Lauren as well was given an unfair grilling as Nick Hewer wondered aloud if she had the spark that Lord Sugar needed in a business partner. I have to say that Lord Sugar was fairly contradictory during his summation, as he accused Lauren of not stepping up to be Project Manager while at the same time telling Daniel that project managing a winning team didn’t mean anything. As Daniel has been portrayed as somewhat of a dodgy character, I felt that he was for the high jump and was then a little surprised when Pamela left. Having said that, Pamela contributed very little and had been very critical of her past two project managers so she probably deserved to go.

Despite them both being chastised in the final boardroom, I believe Mark and Lauren are still strong candidates and will be looking to prove themselves next week. Meanwhile Roisin would be another candidate who shone through and basically won the task for the angry and petulant James. This week’s episode of The Apprentice felt like a filler instalment, especially when compared with the previous coach trip task. There were no classic moments, no big boardroom bust-ups and no memorable candidates being fired. However, I’m sure this is just a blip and The Apprentice will be firing on all cylinders when the candidates travel to New York next week.

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Apprentice? Was the right person fired?

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