Last week on The Apprentice, the teams had to take an empty storefront property and transform it into a bridal shop. Mosaic, with the help of bridal salon owner Sandy, trounced Apex, making 12 times more in profit. Chris, project manager for Apex, failed to bring his team together and was ultimately fired. Eight contestants are left – who will be fired tonight?
In the suite, Jennifer says that Chris had been lackluster in the task, and that they all knew he would be going at some point soon anyway. Indeed, Ivana and Kevin return to the suite confirming Jen’s observation. Ivana is still confused as to why Chris let Jen off the hook, and Wes says that maybe Jen’s getting by each week because she knows how to dog somebody out in a really nice way. In what might have been some creative editing, Jen doesn’t reply and instead takes a deep sip of her wine.
The next morning, as usual, the phone rings. Wes answers and Rona tells him to meet with Mr. Trump at 9am at the Levi showroom.
At Levi’s, Trump asks each team who their project managers are, and the answers are Kevin and Wes. Since the teams are somewhat uneven now, Trump asks Mosaic to pick one person to send over to Apex. Wes wants Kelly, but Maria disagrees. Kelly ends up being the chosen one however, and joins Apex. Jen says that she’s very happy.
Now it’s on to the task. After hearing that Levi’s has been around for 150 years and that they’re worth $4 billion, the teams find out that they are required to create an instore catalog for Levi’s. They will have access to world renowned photographers, and experts at Yellowfin graphics. The team to deliver the most exciting and innovative catalog based solely on the opinion of Robert Hanson, President of Levi Strauss, wins the task. One more thing to note; George is away again, so Bill Rancic is back to take his place this week.
Kelly says privately that Wes pushed him away because he is stronger than Wes is. Indeed, Apex seems very enthusiastic to have Kelly among them, and they immediately pull together and brainstorm. Ivana comes up with a “fit wheel” tool, which will help people figure out which style of jean they want. Jen has no idea what Ivana is talking about, but the men catch on immediately. Even after having it explained a couple of times, Jen just cannot get her head around how the thing works.
Over at Mosaic, Wes is giving them all a pep-talk after having lost Kelly. Maria jumps in with her ideas for the task, singing her own praises about her business experience in advertising. Hold on there just a minute – hasn’t Maria already blown it twice after stepping up based on her “experience”? When will these project managers ever learn? Sandy is quick to point out that Maria was all over everything and wanted to control the entire project.
I know you’re asking yourself, “But what about Trump’s lesson of the week?” Well, I’m glad you asked! This week we learn “Never Lose Your Cool”. The footage doesn’t go along with the lesson at all. We’re shown footage of the reveal of the cover of Trump’s newest book, and he doesn’t like the photo on the cover. He says that you should never lose your cool unless you’re doing it intentionally to scare your employees or get them to work harder. Okee dokee.
Apex arrives at the photo studio, and they decide to be the models themselves. Kevin says they didn’t want 110-pound models, they wanted real people, and there is a lot of diversity on their team. Ivana adds that their focus is on making the butt look good. Jen comes out with model-like hair and makeup, with tight jeans and a little tank top, and Kelly looks like one of those cartoon characters whose tongue rolls out and across the floor.
Meanwhile, Mosiac is working their own photography with a group of four models. Wes is directing them, but Maria doesn’t like the way things are going. She takes over completely, telling the models and the photographer what to do. Privately she says that no one is stepping up to take the lead on this task. Wes comments that when Maria flew in on her broomstick, the entire mood of the room changed. Maria wants to take dozens of shots of each person, but they’re running out of time. Andy reminds Maria that they have a deadline, and Maria shuts him up. Wes finally steps in and tells Maria that they need to get things done, but Maria shoves him and tells him to back off. He does, and lets Maria continue. Bad move Wes, bad move.
At Yellowfin, Maria once again takes over the design of the catalog. She also comments privately that someone needs to take the reigns of this task. She shoos everyone else out of the room and won’t let anyone else see what’s going on with the editors. As Sandy complains to Wes, Maria walks into the room and a fight between Sandy and Maria gets heated. Of course this is when Bill decides to pay a visit and witnesses the whole battle. Andy comments that Wes should have stepped in and not let the fight escalate, while Maria says that she hates being labelled a control freak because she’s not. Mmm-kay. Maria finally apologizes to Sandy, but then gets passive-aggresive and begins to cry, eventually walking out of the room. She tells the camera that she’s constantly reminded that she has no friends here.
Apex is also at Yellowfin, and Ivana is checking out the fit wheel. She comes up with another great idea – to put the wheel in a “pocket”, since their focus is on the butt. I’m really impressed with Ivana on this task, I have to admit. Jen is doing what Kevin calls “busy work” – writing text for their catalog. Jen knows that she’s been marginalized on this task, but she thinks that it’s because Ivana wants to get her fired. She tells Kevin that once she sees the fit wheel, she’ll understand what they’ve been talking about all along.
It’s time to get ready for the presentations, and Andy tells Wes that if they are going into the room dressed casual but not completely in Levi’s, then they should go all out and wear suits. Maria says it’s cool like it is, and Wes agrees.
Mosaic is presenting first, and their campaign is based on “if jeans could talk”. Wes starts off the speech, but Maria soon jumps in with arms flailing and lashes batting. They have an average-looking catalog and a giant poster of a girl wearing a bandana as a halter top and a pair of men’s jeans cut into a mini-skirt. When Robert asks Maria why they used men’s products on a woman, she says “Why not? If being sexy is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.” Andy looks away, clearly embarassed. When Robert asks why there aren’t any butt shots, Maria says that the jeans fit too loosely for a good butt shot. Oops, insulting the product? Wes says privately that Maria didn’t like the butt shots, and that’s why they weren’t included. Robert asks them why they aren’t in Levi’s, and Maria says they didn’t have time to buy them.
Apex is up next, and they walk in fully decked out in Levi’s products. Kevin starts things off, and he’s wired. He’s sweaty and talking fast, but at least he seems enthusiastic. Ivana carries on with their idea of making the seat of the pants the focus of their promotion. She shows them the fit guide, and when Robert asks how they came up with the idea, Jen jumps in and talks all about the ideas behind it. Ivana is clearly angry, but waits for Jen to stop talking before jumping in again. Even Kevin is annoyed that Jen was trying to take credit for an idea that she didn’t even understand until the last minute.
Trump shows up with Melania, who is wearing Levi’s. The teams are both called back in to meet with everyone, and Robert delivers his judgement. He loves Apex’s presentation and their focus on the butt. He likes the fit wheel, which he says is clever, but thinks the whole thing lacks a bit of a wow-factor. On the other hand, Mosaic nailed the sex appeal factor, but missed out on everything else. Robert hands the win to Apex, and tells Trump that he thinks that Jen did the best job overall. Ivana simmers while Trump congratulates Jen and tells her that her education is finally paying off for her.
Apex’s reward is to meet with Billy Joel, who is currently running a Broadway show called “Movin’ Out”. They will get to spend a lot of time with Joel, listening to his music and talking with him. Of course Mosaic’s fate is the boardroom, where someone will be fired.
Apex arrives on Broadway and Billy Joel is there to meet them. I know in my mind that Billy is getting older, but when I think of him I still picture him with a full head of brown hair, so seeing him is a bit jarring. He’s still the same guy though – wise, talented, and down-to-earth. He gives the team some advice on taking risks, and plays some of his favourite songs for them on his piano. Yeah, he’s getting on in years, but he still sounds great. Apex is very impressed.
In the suite, Maria is talking a mile a minute, saying that for anyone to place the blame on her means that they themselves sat on their butts and did nothing. She says she’s going after Wes, the “operational misfit”, who is the only person to have been pm and lost his task twice. Wes knows he’s on the hot seat, and tries to talk to Andy about it. Andy doesn’t say much though, because he’s smart and knows he’s not in the line of fire this week.
In the boardroom, Trump addresses Maria first, asking her why they didn’t show off “the ass”. She says that they did, but Trump points out that they didn’t use those photos. Wes says that Maria had problems with all the butt shots, and Maria starts talking over him. Bill asks Sandy why there was so much fighting, and she tells them about Maria shutting her out at the graphics office. Maria and Wes point fingers at each other – Wes says that Maria took over and promised things she couldn’t deliver, while Maria says that Wes was a terrible leader because he didn’t plan and execute.
Bill asks Andy why he hasn’t said a thing so far, and Trump seconds the question. Andy says that he knows when to talk and when to listen, and he thinks that one of the problems with his team on this task was that no one was listening to each other.
Trump asks Wes who he’s bringing back to the boardroom with him, and he decides to keep the whole team there.
Carolyn tells The Donald that she thinks Wes is a very sharp guy, but he can’t delegate and is a bad leader. Bill says that Wes can’t control the troops. Carolyn adds that Maria doesn’t seem to work with anyone too well, and she’d like to see Sandy get her ideas across a bit more. Bill says that Sandy was underutilized, and that’s partly her fault and partly Wes’ fault.
The team is called back in, and Trump asks Maria and Andy if Wes is a lousy leader. They both say yes. Wes wants to defend himself, and tells them that when he asked Maria to speed things up, she yelled at him and told him to back off. Carolyn says that if any one of her employees spoke to her like that, they’d be fired. Bill asks why Wes didn’t put Maria on the bench, and Wes says it would have been a reckless decision to cut his workforce by 25% when they had a deadline in 30 minutes.
Trump asks Wes if he would fire Maria, and he says he would because she is not able to work as a productive team member. Trump tells Maria that she was difficult to work with and lashed out at the project manager, which is unacceptable. To Wes, Trump says that he lost control of Maria and failed as a leader. “You both did a horrible job. Maria, you’re fired.” But Trump’s not finished yet. He adds, “And I just have to do this. Wes, you’re fired also.”
We get a bit of after-dismissal boardroom chat this week, as Trump and Carolyn agree that this one was a no-brainer. Carolyn adds that this one was easy, and Trump says it wasn’t pleasant. He also says that Andy better step up to the plate now.
Wes and Maria have to share a cab, which is actually quite funny to watch as they sit stiffly beside one another, obviously wanting to be anywhere but there. They both have no regrets and would do it all again in a heartbeat because they learned so much from the experience. Wes adds that it would have been nice to get his own cab though.
Well I knew it – as soon as I pegged Wes as the one to cheer for, he’s fired. That happens a lot with my faves. So I won’t say exactly who I’m rooting for now, except that she’s blond and she’s not Jen. 😉
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