After last week’s skeleton controversy I was more than a bit miffed with The Apprentice and I felt that it needed a good episode to redeem itself in the eyes of the nation. Whilst tonight’s pudding-based instalment had its moments, I once again felt that Lord Sugar had somewhat lost touched with reality. In fact, I found that his reasoning in firing one of the most promising of this year’s candidates was incredibly short-sighted and I think it proves how out of touch he is. As a result I do feel sorry for this year’s final five as they’ll have to struggle to get Lord Sugar to understand what their business plans actually entail.
The specifics of this task were for the teams to create their own premium dessert range and their sell it to three of the country’s top retailers namely Tesco, Asda and Waitrose. There was a bit of a shake-up on the teams this week as Sanjay joined Katie and Mark on Tenacity whilst Daniel was sent over to Summit. This pleased me in a way as it meant that we wouldn’t get another week of Mark and Daniel arguing and instead the latter appeared relaxed in his new surroundings. After being named project manager by Lord Sugar due to her desire to set up a ready meals business, Roisin quickly set to work dividing her team. Solomon fought hard to join her on the branding team for their tea-infused cheesecakes and as a result she sent Daniel and Bianca off to sort out flavours. Many of the highlights of this episode were seeing Daniel attempt to spot the flavours in the different teas he was tasting as he really didn’t seem to be that bothered. Thankfully Bianca was on hand and together they created several different flavour combinations that appeared to work for them. Meanwhile, Solomon proved his worth by getting Roisin to include a leaf in the design of their dessert which had now been christened ‘Tea Pot.’
The mood on the new Team Tenacity appeared to be incredibly harmonious as Katie and Mark gelled with Sanjay almost immediately. However, throughout the episode, I started to become increasingly annoyed by Sanjay’s tendency to muck stir whether it be his comment about Bianca covering her own back or about the many times Mark had dodged being in the boardroom. Katie had been appointed as this week’s project manager by Lord Sugar due to the fact that her business was some sort of healthy eating restaurant. In an effort to impress him, Katie went off on her own to decide on flavour combinations for her team’s upmarket cheesecake. One of the things that frustrated me about this episode was that, just because Katie wanted to be in the food business Lord Sugar felt that she should have something of a refined pallet. However, it seemed that she didn’t realise that huge amounts of saffron in her trifle would be quite costly and the taste wasn’t that great either. Meanwhile, Sanjay and Mark felt they were onto a winner with their title ‘A Trifle Different’ and the gingham-draped packaging that looked incredibly ordinary.
Even though they were on separate teams, Mark and Daniel continued their macho posturing as they both felt they would deliver the best pitch. After weeks of finding him rather smarmy, I think there’s a rather old-fashioned charm about Daniel and that came through when he spoke out of turn at the Waitrose pitch. Although this didn’t go down too well with Roisin, it was later revealed that the Waitrose team quite liked Daniel and I can sort of see why. Daniel also pitched in on the team’s incredible smooth pitch to Tesco which appeared to go smashingly as the supermarket’s panel looked fairly excited about Summit’s cheesecakes. Unfortunately things didn’t go as smoothly for Mark who had an uncharacteristically tough time as he got increasingly choked up. It looked like the pressure had finally got to Mark but luckily for him at least Daniel wasn’t around to rub salt into his wounds.
For once I genuinely didn’t know who was going to win the task as both teams had produced an admirable dessert albeit one with a few flaws. In the end it was another victory for Summit; who managed to get orders from both Waitrose and Tesco whilst Tenacity only managed to pick up orders from Asda. As we were heading towards the final five, it was clear that we would see a double firing in this episode so I was surprised that either Mark or Katie was potentially going home. In the boardroom everything was criticised; from the drab packaging, to the overuse of saffron to Mark choking during his pitch. My frustration for Lord Sugar kicked in again as he questioned why Katie knew very little about balancing flavours when she was going to open a restaurant. I did feel for her as she tried to explain her experience in the area and also to pitch that her healthy eating establishments could easily be rolled out across the country. However, her very well thought out words were falling on deaf ears and in the end she couldn’t sidestep the finger of doom. Katie’s firing was inevitably followed up by that of Sanjay who, to be fair, has done more complaining than anything else. The fact that Mark was able to pick up several flaws in Sanjay’s business plan saved Lord Sugar from waiting till next week’s interviews and so he sent the banker packing.
For the first time watching The Apprentice I feel that a candidate is genuinely better off for not having Lord Sugar investing in their business. I did sympathise with Katie when she was trying to fight her corner but apparently, in the words of Lord Sugar, a restaurant wouldn’t make him enough money even though he would’ve happily invested in Luisa’s cupcake emporium last series. With Katie now gone; it looks to be a two horse race between Mark and Roisin as also-rans Bianca and Solomon are lucky to have got to the final whilst Daniel must have just been kept on so Claude Litner can lay into him next week. Although I’m excited by the ever-popular interview process, these last two weeks have made me question Lord Sugar’s credibility and I feel that he’s made two poor decisions that have made this series of The Apprentice feel slightly contrived.
What did you think to tonight’s double firing? Are the right people in the final five?
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