Well here we are. Episode nine. Katie “can’t believe” that there were 20 aspiring entrepreneurs at the start of The Process and now there are only eight. That insight rather calls into question whether Katie understands how The Process (always call it The Process) works.
But Lord Sugar understands. He knows that the early bird gets the worm. And that the maddest ideas make the best telly. So Lord Meshugenah (as he will henceforth be known) pitches up at the candidates’ luxury rental property to surprise the would-be apprentices in their pyjamas.
It’s terribly sweet. They look about nine years old, standing there all puffy-faced from sleep. They’re at their very weakest. As Lord Meshugenah knows, when you negotiate, it’s always best to have your opponent at a disadvantage.
Buy buy, bye-bye
In a reversal of usual Apprentice practice, there was no selling. This week was all about buying. Buying weird objects straight from Lord Meshugenah’s febrile imagination: a kosher chicken, some oud oil (whatever that is) and a diamond. Your standard weekly shop, really.
Whoever spent the most would be sent home. Surprisingly, there was fierce competition for the poisoned chalice of the team leader role this time.
Daniel pushed very hard on the basis of having ‘near-cabbie levels’ of London knowledge. Mark rivalled his bid by boasting of having lived in Britain for nearly two years. Colombian import Felipe remained silent. If only he’d adhered to that policy all day…
Brothers in arms
Sanjay, leading Team Summit, opted to do a couple of hours of research before sending his team off on a madcap scavenger hunt around London. Daniel went for a more seat-of-the-pants approach.
Indeed, Daniel was a revelation as team leader. He constantly complimented his team-mates. The most touching moment of the whole episode was when he and sidekick Felipe needed to cross a busy road and spontaneously held hands. Felipe called this task “the time when Daniel became a man". Surely this was a bromance that would last forever….
Never overlook the obvious
The normally quite sensible Roisin was quite resistant to her team’s advice that Hatton Garden, the city’s internationally famous jewellery district, might be a good place to look for a diamond.
But once she did cave in to common sense she drove an astoundingly hard bargain. Sanjay was only slightly exaggerating when he said, “You basically just stole that diamond off him. It was like something out of a heist movie.” She’s still my tip to win The Process.
Daniel play-acted as an impoverished blushing groom for the benefit of the diamond dealer. Not altogether sure how convincing that might have been, what with the camera crew there and clapperboards emblazoned with the title with ‘THE APPRENTICE’ being waved about. Still, he managed to get £3 off….
Dirty work at the crossroads
Not content with getting a pretty good deal for Team Tenacity, Mark did his best to poison the well at the scrapyard where apparently everyone in London buys their kitchen sink.
He asked the scrapyard supremo to charge the Summit hopefuls a bit extra. Guess how well that worked? Not at all.
Scrapyard owners are a law unto themselves. Stig of the Dump punted out a beaten-up looking sink to Bianca at a knock-down price. You might think that Lord Meshugenah might look askance at the condition of it, but he had bigger gefilte fish to fry.
Money for old rope?
Best bargain of the day. The old rope. Nobody pays for old rope. Both teams got their old rope for free. But Katie's bit of old rope was too long. Which cost her, in the long run. Oh, Lord Meshugenah, you’re so exacting. Let’s hope no one else tries to bend the rules a bit….
Make no bones about it…
One of the scavenger hunt challenges was an anatomical skeleton. The fact that Solomon can’t actually say ‘anatomical’ wasn’t the disadvantage you might think. The fact that he was willing to pay literally anything to anyone was more of a problem. Luckily Buzzword Bingo Bianca was with him to keep him on track, saluting the right flagpole, and going forward.
Felipe’s major contribution was the masterstroke of not buying a skeleton at all. Instead he tried to palm off Lord Meshugenah with a paper model of a skeleton. The Benny The Ball lookalike made great play of being trained as a lawyer, and averred that his paper bones met the specification adequately. This is why you should never trust a lawyer.
Daniel was so won over by Felipe’s wizard wheeze he completely macerated his metaphors: “I think that just shows us, think outside the box and we can really smash them out the water.”
By contrast Lord Meshugenah was unimpressed with Felipe's brainwave. “You’re not in a courtroom debating with some doughy judge,” he barked. “That’s not a bleedin’ skeleton!”
The twist in the tail-bone
At the final reckoning, Tenacity were leagues ahead. But, there’s a twist. A last-minute £300 fine for the substandard skeleton denied them victory. And Felipe was so proud of his skeleton coup, too.
“You’ve rolled the dice with our lives,” said a furious Mark. Meanwhile Sanjay had won his team a day at Silverstone. Even if it had taken them two hours to get off the grid.
Felipe’s last words, as he was whisked away in the taxi to obscurity, were: “I believe that I’m a winner”.
If we thought Katie might not understand The Process, we definitely know Felipe doesn’t.