So, the negotiation challenge, where the teams have to buy a variety of items while spending as little money as possible, is an old standby for this series, but this year they decided to put a little twist on it, by having both teams split up, with half of them searching for items in Dover, and half of them searching for items in Calais.
God, was that a mistake. More for the dudes’ team than the women’s team, as nobody among the dudes could speak French - the best any of them could say was that they had an A-level in the accursed language - which meant that in more than a few negotiations, they were left just speaking very slowly and hoping that whichever person they were talking to understood English. The good news for them was that a lot of French people in Calais do speak at least some English, but when they didn’t, it was painful. It really was.
The task was an interesting one this week, as we saw a face-off between consistent mediocrity (the dudes’ team) and equal-parts-brilliance-and-shambolic-failure (the womens’ team). While the dudes fumbled their way to at least some sort of victory, the women fell chronically short despite managing to out-bargain the dudes on almost every item that both teams actually bought.
I say ‘almost every item’, because they actually failed to buy several: They bought the wrong kind of cheese, didn’t buy any mussels (which you can find in nearly any fishmongers), and didn’t buy one of the biggest and most important items - a specific kind of mirror. Of the items they did buy, they got some amazing deals, on almost all of them bar one: An inflatable boat.
In a move that in a more specific challenge might see them fail, the men bought a tiny kid’s boat, the sort you’d toss into a paddling pool or a swimming pool. Since the brief never specified that it had to be a full-sized boat that you could take out onto the ocean, it was allowed.
The women, meanwhile, bought a full-sized inflatable boat. It was catastrophically expensive, and the poor contestant in charge of buying it wanted nothing more than to walk away and leave it - only to be convinced by her team leader that she absolutely had to buy it.
So, predictably, that team ended up in the boardroom, for the third time in as many weeks. Their team leader nearly doomed herself by taking responsibility for almost everything, something which she admitted later that she did because she hoped it would make the rest of the team rally to her defence (it didn’t), and was only saved by bringing in a team member who had consistently performed in a mediocre fashion.
(No, I didn’t catch any of their names. It’s still too early for that.)
The poor woman gave a whole spiel after she was fired, lasting nearly two minutes, while everyone around her looked steadily more bored. In it, she talked about how she was really sad that she hadn’t shown Lord Sugar what she could do, because all of the contestants apparently feared being in the final with her. It was as if she was trying to convince him to change his mind, even though she’d already been fired.
I’m actually surprised the team leader stayed in, after she essentially said that everything in the task was her fault.
Next week, we have the pet show episode, because what could be worse than having the Apprentice candidates interact with animals. I hope one of them gets eaten by a horse. I hope it’s the dude with the stupid moustache.