The Apprentice Episode Ten Review: Never Mind the Scallops – bye bye Gabrielle Omar AND Stephen Brady
We’re getting to that stage of The Apprentice now where everyone is just trying to hang on before the final and these weeks always seem to produce episodes that are fairly lacklustre. It started in a rather uninspiring fashion with the candidates leaving their house to go to the city during a massive downpour of rain which seemed to make everything seem a little more depressing than it actually was. I like to think that the top of one of the city’s skyscrapers is where Lord Sugar hangs out on a regular basis, just crouching and growling at the opposition working below him, anyway this is where he met the teams to explain this week’s task. At least the assignment felt more modern than those given in recent weeks, as they had to make deals with various top end companies which they would then give to a daily deals website, who would select offers from those the teams had given to them before putting them live on the website for 24 hours.
Obviously with Stephen having thrown down the gauntlet to project manage Sterling, he came into this one all guns a-blazing with the strategy to make as many deals as possible at each separate vendor in order to win the task. He deployed Ricky as a one man band while he stuck with his female team-mate who had now rechristened Gabriella, claiming that he needed to keep her under a short leash, I have to say whatever these candidates get up to when the cameras aren’t rolling I really don’t want to hear about on this show. Jade put herself forward as Phoenix PM straight away claiming this is what she does on a regular basis, which she saw as getting good offers and providing good pitches so they set to work finding the vendors they wanted to visit. There was obvious pressure for Jade to win this task after almost going when she led her team in the ‘smelling what’s selling’ task where one of our faults was spending too long planning, before going out to sell however she seemingly made the same mistake here again as her team spend hours trawling through lists of possible clients while Sterling were already out on the road. But Stephen and Gabriella’s first stop, at a dentist’s to get multiple deals on teeth-whitening, was a venue that Nick had already discarded as he didn’t see as top end claiming that dental cosmetic surgery was offered on all of these deals websites.
Ricky meanwhile was off looking at the hotel restaurant run by Fred, who was previously seen on Michel Roux’s Service training rookie waiting staff. Before entering the restaurant Gabrielle tried to give Ricky a pep-talk telling him to be clear straight away about the deals he wanted and what Fred would be able to do, however these suggestions were mocked as he told her not to teach him how to suck eggs. But maybe he should’ve listened to Gabrielle’s egg-sucking tips as every time the part-time wrestler tried to steer things back to a business direction, Fred would show him another view or get him to try the world-famous scallop dish that his chef had prepared, so when Ricky finally told Fred why he was there he was surprised to learn that no deal could be done at all with Fred not even able to knock £1 off a meal. I have to say this meeting does beggar the question why did Fred think Ricky was there in the first place? Did he maybe think he was a potential investor and if so why was he being followed by a camera crew? Surely he knew this was for The Apprentice? Well anyway I’m not going to waste any more time as Ricky didn’t want to do either suggesting to Stephen that he not travel an hour each way to a hotel spa in Tring, just in case the same thing happened there and he wasted his entire day. After initially telling Ricky that he would put his neck on the line if no deals were available in Tring, Stephen’s confidence then took a drop as he turned to Gaby for help who told him straight that Ricky needed to come back with more than one deal. It was in this moment I felt Stephen completely lost the plot by not sending Ricky off to his original destination letting him just organise his own meetings for the rest of the day.
Jade’s team finally left their offices as she and Nick headed off to an all-female spa to negotiate a mega-deal realising that this was the place which the website would love to promote. I thought that Jade would have to do this pitch single-handedly, as this was a female-only spa after all however somehow both of the Nicks were also allowed in. After an hour’s worth of haggling, Jade managed to get a great deal with 50% off a luxury package however the three women from the spa looked a bit shell-shocked after she’d left like they’d been briefly hypnotised into giving these amateurs half-price discounts. Adam and Tom were less successful only managing a 35% discount from a restaurant, however the market trader put his best negotiating hat on eventually talking the proprietors into adding a free hot beverage to this discount. Later Phoenix began cold-calling with Jade even trying Thai massage and spa only realising after the fact that she’d just tried to net a deal with a brothel like establishment. However Tom and Adam still were behaving like naughty schoolboys dismissing a lot of merchants as they didn’t see them as high end, before trying to lie to a perfumery retailer that they were aware of their products… however they did manage to get a 50% deal on scented candles. I honsetly felt like if I was a teacher I would separate these two, putting Adam with the more sensible Nick who would be able to calm him down, while Tom would be able to help Jade with her maths skills which were diabolical when dealing with the chef who runs the restaurant at St. Pancras Station. Though initially they annoyed this man with their inability to use a basic calculator he was still willing to take their 30% offer for dinner for two meaning they got another deal in the bag.
Ricky was successful too negotiating two separate deals with a restaurant, however he only got 300 units on this offer and I feel this was his most fatal error but at least he’d gone something to show for his day. Though this offer must’ve taken it out of him as afterwards he was invited to sit down and taste his second plate of scallops for the day. Gabrielle rightly pointed out that those fish pedicure things were big business and after Stephen had tried his hand, or should that be foot, at one of these treatments they managed to bag three more deals. As the time started to run out we were shown footage of both teams running around with Stephen and Gabrielle getting another deal with an urban golf company while Ricky got another restaurant deal which was served with yet another plate of scallops. Then 7pm hit and both teams rushed back to the website office presented their deals and then went home to have a night’s sleep before the boardroom.
I have to say at this point that this felt like one of the longest boardroom sections of the series thus far however we were treated to a heap of new information here, namely which deals were picked up and how many units were sold. Stephen was praised for his multi-deal idea but then it was revealed that of all of the negotiations he and Gabrielle had done, only the urban golf one was picked up with not much money coming in from this offer. In fact it was Ricky’s two restaurant deals that were the big hitters for Sterling, however it was suggested that he could’ve got more offers as both of these sold out. On Phoenix none of Tom and Adam’s deals were picked up however Jade’s smooth-talking paid off as the health spa deals one it for them and they went off to have the most expensive afternoon tea in the city. For the first time in this process Stephen didn’t have to pick who he would bring into the boardroom, as they were only a team of three however all were criticised for different things for the project manager it was changing his mind on a regular basis, for Gabrielle it was lack of contribution and for Ricky it was not going to Tring as well as capping the number of deals he’d done with the second restaurant.
So who went this week? Lord Sugar asked the candidates who they thoughtwas responsible for the failure of the task and Ricky said that he felt Stephen buckled under the pressure, causing the two of them to bicker until Lord Sugar interrupted. He then asked Gabrielle if her fighting spirit had gone.
After the candidates all told Lord Sugar why they shouldn’t be fired, Lord Sugar delivered his verdict saying:
“Ricky – I must admit you did sell some stuff here but also you made, what I consider, a belligerent decision not to go to the spa, which I think was a very very serious mistake. Stephen – you leapt across that table, virtually, saying ‘please make me the Project Manager. I will win’, and you haven’t won, it’s as simple as that. There was an air of panic that I can detect… Gabrielle – I don’t think you contributed much in this task at all, to be honest with you. Over the course of the ten weeks I’ve observed you, I’ve observed you in this boardroom, and I’ve got to weigh up who has a chance of being my business partner. I’d just like to reiterate that it’s the person who I feel is most responsible for the lack of contribution in the task that leaves, and on that basis I’ve got to say that Gabrielle, as nice a person that you are, it is with regret that – You’re Fired.”
Lord Sugar wasn’t finished though, telling the two remaining candidates:
“There’s no smoke without fire. Stephen – you asked me for the chance to be the Project Manager, I gave you the chance. You told me you were going to win, you didn’t win, you lost. I think on that basis I’ve made a decision, and that is that – You’re also Fired.”
With a nervous Ricky left alone in the boardroom, Lord Sugar decided to follow his gut instinct and sent him back to the house.
As she was driven away in a black cab, Gabrielle commented: “Plans for me now are really just to get to grips with the businesses I already have and to make them a success and show everyone that behind this smile there is a brain and I’m going to go far in life.”
Meanwhile in another black cab, Stephen reflected, “I only wish I could turn back time and if I could I would have stuck to my gut feeling.”
I have to say I wasn’t a fan of this episode as there really wasn’t much to it although I did like the fact that it was a fairly relevant task like the app task was last series. Again nobody really shone even usual favourites Nick and Tom were seeming to be having an off day the former with his poor maths skills and the latter with his blasé attitude to the task which I think came from his pairing with Adam as I feel he’s a bad attitude on the impressionable young wine broker. In fact it was Jade’s pitching prowess with the Health Spa that won her team the task proving that she isn’t as average as I’d first pegged her to be and after tonight she may well be the last woman standing.