Before we get to this week’s episode, I’d like to address the mail I’ve been getting about my reviews. It seems that if I even hint that Jennifer M isn’t the end-all be-all of human existance, people are upset. For the record, I like Jen. Really and truly, I do. Out of a whole team of women, most of them were just embarassing to the gender, and Jen stood out among them as someone who was willing to work hard and stand up for what she believes in. Having said that, anyone and everyone who appears on this show is fair game, and if I think they’ve done something worthy of a flippant comment, I’ll include it. That’s my job. But I love hearing from you! By and large, Apprentice fans send intelligent and insightful comments and that is very much appreciated. So whether you agree with me or not, I love hearing from you. Thank you!
Now, let’s get on with the task at hand…
Last week on The Apprentice, the teams were given run-down homes and asked to renovate them. Bradford, Rob, Jennifer C and Stacie J were brought back to work on the task with their former rivals. Mosaic pulled off another victory, sending Apex to the boardroom once again. Chris blurted out that his team wasn’t gelling, and he wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to lose. Raj was the project manager, and even though it had been Kevin who championed the contractor who didn’t deliver, Raj took full responsibility and ended up being fired. Can we have a moment of silence for Raj please? Nine contestants are left; who will be fired this week?
In the suite, Jen tells Andy that she hopes Ivana is the one to go. Privately she says that she thinks Ivana is disruptive and hopes she doesn’t come back. Cue Ivana, who walks in the door with Kevin. Jen is visibly disappointed that Raj is gone. Andy goes to welcome Ivana back, and says that you can’t build half a house and not have the project manager fired.
As a result of his outburst in the boardroom, Chris is the next project manager for Apex. He explains that, at the end of the day, Trump wants to see who’s strong and that’s why he put himself on the chopping block. Chris gathers the remaining members of his team and tells them that nothing about this is personal – it’s all business. He says that they all have to put up or shut up.
Over at Mosaic, there’s a mini-battle over who the next project manager will be. Kelly wants to do it, but Andy doesn’t want to be overlooked. He says that exemptions are huge at this point, and he wants to be the one to lead his team to victory. They decide to draw names, and Kelly winds up on top.
The following morning Rona calls, and Kelly is our ‘stud of the week’ once again, answering the phone in a towel. The teams are to meet with Trump at 9am at Tavern on the Green.
Tavern on the Green is a popular restaurant in Central Park, and the teams arrive to meet with Trump in the back courtyard area. George is back from his business trip, complete with a great new haircut. The Donald points out that at least once a week, a wedding is held here at Tavern on the Green. He says that he knows a little something about weddings, but one day he hopes to get it right. Their task this week is to take an empty space and turn it into a bridal boutique. Sandy, who owns a bridal shop, lights up like a Christmas tree, as does Kelly. Trump even mentions that Sandy has a huge advantage in this task, leaving Apex looking rather dejected. The teams will have four hours, from 5-9pm, to hold an exclusive sale. The winning team will be the one who brings in the most money.
Kelly is very confident, but Chris and the rest of Apex stand around awkwardly looking at one another. Chris says privately that if they can pull out a victory here it’ll be huge. They get to their store, and are very impressed with the amount of space. Chris wants to just ‘pack this place with vendors’, offering them no rent, but they have to split their profits. Sounds easy enough, no?
Meanwhile, Mosaic is plowing through their marketing plan. Or maybe I should say Sandy is plowing though, as she’s the one delegating tasks, giving out instructions, and making plans for everything. Kelly lucked out on this one, as he gets to sit back and just take credit for the whole thing.
Chris is on the phone trying to get vendors for the Apex shop, but he can’t convince even one of them to accept. He says the task is impossible, and continues to whine and complain and hold his head in his hands. No one else on the team is helping either – Kevin is flipping through bridal magazines, while Jen and Ivana sit on the floor and watch Chris talk on the phone.
Here come pearls of wisdom from Donald Trump. His message this week is to believe in yourself. He talks about having a positive attitude, but I’m distracted by the background music – it’s sort of Beatle-ish, circa Julia/The White Album. Anyway…
Sandy, Andy, and Kelly head out to the bridal shops to scrounge for inventory for their shop. Sandy asks for discontinued gowns, and the shop owners are all for it. At one of the high-end places, Andy decides to jump in and compare bridal gowns to cars, prompting Carolyn to ask, “You’ve never done this before, have you?”
Back at the suite, Wes and Maria are working on the marketing plan. Kelly calls to tell them that they’ve secured over 200 gowns so far, and that they need to pick everything up at 6:30. Wes says that the way Kelly has set things up is that he’s out with Sandy, who is a pro at this, and left Wes and Maria behind to do the marketing. So if something goes wrong, Kelly has two people to point to. I’ve noticed this before, but it bears mentioning – Wes is very well spoken. Maria gets in touch with TheKnot.com, and wrangles a deal where they will put up an advertisement on their site and send out an e-mail blitz to over 23,000 brides in New York for $1000. Nice!
Apex is still struggling, moping around doing basically nothing. Chris is still whining, so Jen suggests that they actually go to some of these stores and ask them personally for inventory. Ivana tells Chris to keep his head up, and he says that no task is eay, but this one is “friggin’ ridiculous”. Jen and Chris meet up with a few vendors, and Jen does all of the talking while Chris stands around looking bored. They end up getting a few vendors for the shop, so things are looking up.
Ivana and Kevin meet up with a vendor named Bernadette (from the Bridal Suite in Manhattan) who goes well out of her way to help them. She gives them sound advice about the industry, about advertising, and about displays. Kevin asks her if she could come and take a look at their store property, and she agrees. She provides even more input, telling them where to set up mirrors, where to put various products, and even giving them sales techniques. Look out Sandy, Apex has their own pro helping them out.
Sandy, Kelly, and Andy arrive at their store, and things get a bit ugly when Sandy realizes that their advertisement went out without a phone number for people to call to make appointments. On the phone, Maria says that she gave the advertisers the phone number, but they must have taken it out after she sent the final draft in.
Kelly and Wes go out to pick up the dresses, and Wes is driving the truck. He comes a little close to a pole and nearly takes off the side-view mirror before actually grazing a parked car. They get to the store and go to unload the gowns, only to find that the back door is jammed because the gown rack has toppled over during the accident. Their main concern? That Sandy never finds out.
Inside the shop, Sandy is working her butt off while the rest of them are playing around. Maria is holding dresses up to herself in the mirror, while the the others are browsing or hovering over Kelly and his computer. Sandy asks Kelly if she can talk to him, and voices her frustration. She’s also upset that Maria and Wes put all of their advertising eggs in one basket, with no plan B if it doesn’t work out. Kelly shares that concern, and Sandy says that she has a bad feeling about this.
Apex decides to do a marketing blitz of their own the following morning. They head out to Penn Station and Grand Central Station to hand out thousands of flyers to people passing by. They seem to think that this is going to work very well for them, as we get shots of the flyers lying in trash cans and puddles.
Sandy, Maria and Andy go over to TheKnot.com to ask if another e-mail can be sent out that includes their phone number. They’re told that the final draft of the original e-mail was approved by Maria, but they agree to send out another e-mail even though the brides may not receive it before the sale. Sandy is astonished that Maria is caught in a bold-faced lie.
Apex is busy setting things up when George arrives. He asks what else they’ve done as far as marketing goes besides handing out flyers, and Jen tells him that they have an artist ready to paint the windows for them. Kevin is optimistic that they will get some good traffic.
Five o’clock rolls around, and as Mosaic opens their doors there are at least 40 women lined up outside. Wes is working the crowd as Sandy helps the potential brides find the dresses of their dreams.
Apex also has a lineup outside the door, only theirs consists of two people. Jen says that they could have all the merchandise in the world, but if no one comes in to buy it, it doesn’t do them any good.
Sales are brisk at the Mosaic boutique, with everyone working hard to keep things moving. Kelly is ringing up sales and says that he thinks they’ve sold 16 or 17 dresses already. Andy closes up for the night, and Wes says that he feels they had an advantage having Sandy on the team, but Apex could easily have hired a bridal consultant themselves. Yes, yes, they certainly could have…
It’s time to find out the results, and the teams meet with Trump, Carolyn, and George in the boardroom. Getting right down to business, Trump asks Carolyn how Mosaic did. She says that their shop was beautiful and they showed great team work. They ended up selling 27 dresses for a profit of $12,788.94. George gets right to the point for Apex. They sold a whopping 2 dresses and made a profit of $1,060.47. Trump points out that Mosaic did 12 times the business their competitors did, and he’s impressed. For their reward, Mosaic gets to go to Graff jewellers where he bought Melania’s engagement ring, and they’re getting $50,000 as a team to buy something for themselves. Wowza, now that’s a reward!
In the suite, Chris is asleep as the camera pans in for a closeup of what he was reading when he dozed off – The Art of The Deal by Donald Trump. Jen, Ivana, and Kevin are in the kitchen lamenting the butt-kicking they just suffered, and Jen points out that Mosaic is now out spending $50,000 on diamonds.
Over at Graff Jewellers, that’s exactly what’s going on. Sandy gets to try on a $6 million diamond necklace, which she says was “blinging all over the place”. Andy decides to pick out something for his mother (aw!!), Wes selects an item for his wife, Maria gets a ring, Sandy picks up a necklace, and Kelly buys himself a watch.
Apex is preparing for the boardroom, and Chris says that he’s a straight-shooter, so if Trump is looking for someone to tell it like it is, then that’s him. Kevin is embarassed and thinks Chris needs to go. Ivana tells Jen the same thing, that Chris gave up within the first few hours and he should be leaving for that reason alone. Chris says that he’s not going down without a fight, and adds another comment that is bleeped so heavily that I honestly have no idea what he said.
In the boardroom, Trump asks Chris what happened, and Chris says, “Well, we lost”. He adds that the team came together, and when Trump says that they can’t have come together all that well, Chris corrects himself and says that their personalities came together. Ivana says that she feels that Chris gave up on the task, and Chris admits that he felt it was an impossible task. He says that the other team had an advantage in Sandy, and Carolyn cuts him off. She points out that both teams ended up with the same number of gowns, they had the same amount of store space, and Apex ended up with Bernadette who pretty much walked them through it. George jumps in as well, saying that their target market was handed to them and all they had to do was figure out how to get to that market.
Trump asks why they think Mosaic did so well, and Jen says that they had a great marketing plan set up early. Trump asks if they think that handing out flyers at Penn Station was a good idea, and when no one responds he answers it himself – it was a terrible idea. Kevin says that Chris is hard-working, but as a leader he feels that sitting down and planning is a waste of time. Kevin adds that Chris didn’t delegate anything to anyone.
Chris now gets to decide whether he’ll bring two people back or keep the entire team there. He says that out of all of them, Jen worked the hardest and she should be upstairs having dinner. Trump asks Jen who she would fire before she leaves, and she says Chris because he was the project manager and he didn’t give them any focus. Trump sends Jen upstairs and the other three into the lobby.
While they’re waiting for the results, Chris tells Ivana and Kevin that none of this is personal. They understand, but don’t understand why he’s protecting Jen. In the boardroom, Trump says they were all terrible. Carolyn adds that none of them said anything on a positive note about the entire task. Outside, Ivana says that Jen always skates by because she’s all presentation, and Kevin and Chris agree. Back in the boardroom, George says that he didn’t see any fire or any spark from any of them. Carolyn says “Send ‘em home.” Wait a minute – will more than one person be fired this time? Sweet!
The three Apex members return to the boardroom, and Trump asks Chris why he let Jen go. Chris says that the others are upset about this as well, and he defends himself by saying that two vendors told him that Jen would make an excellent salesperson. Carolyn bursts out “You sold two dresses! How good can she be?!”
Trump asks Ivana what she thinks about Chris as a leader, and she responds with “Chris is really good at identifying problems, and by that I mean that he’s really good at complaining.” Trump tells Ivana that she always has the most unbelievable backhanded comments, and Carolyn asks Ivana why they see her in there so often. Ivana says that she takes a lot on her plate, and therefore ends up responsible for a lot. Kevin and Ivana both say that they would fire Chris.
Trump points out that there is more spark now, in the final minutes before execution, than there has been in the last two days. He says that last week, Chris said that this team was a mess, and then he lets Jennifer go upstairs. Frankly, he says, he might have let Jennifer go if he had had the opportunity. Even his teammates wonder what the hell is going on with Jennifer, she continues to slip under the radar. Trump can’t believe that Chris led his team so badly, so Chris is fired. Rats, I thought he was going to dismiss all three of them. How great would that be? Can you imagine what would go on in the suite, after waiting hours and hours to find out who’s returning only to get the call for the next task with none of them coming back?
In the cab ride home or to the airport or to the hotel where they all stay in seclusion until filming is completed, Chris says that he regrets exactly nothing. At the end of the day he finished in ninth place out of over a million applicants. He’s got a great wife at home and they’re expecting their first child, and he’s got a tremendous business. If he were regretting anything now that would be selfish. He thanks Trump for the learning experience, and he guarantees that he will prosper from it. Way to go Chris, that was really classy of you.
Okay Jen M fanatics, what say you this week? Do you think Trump and the rest of Apex were too hard on her? Anyone else rooting for Wes now that Raj is no longer in contention?
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