It has been a long time coming but finally the main man seemed to grow a pair after the latest abject failure, more formally known as “this week’s challenge on The Apprentice“.
Lord Sugar fired losing project manager Stephen (this year’s pantomime villain) for failing to walk the walk after talking and talking and talking and talking and talking the talk for the last few weeks. He also booted out Gabrielle for her invisibility act this week.
I have some sympathy for Gabrielle as she has at least attempted to ignite some creative sparks this series. But the truth is her contributions have diminished after each passing week and being lumbered all day with Stephen would make anyone throw in the towel.
At the end of the day, the ability to walk quickly with your hands behind your back isn’t even enough to win this competition…although it does display a degree of talent that most candidates can only dream about.
So we got our long-waited double firing, which probably should have happened in any number of tasks so far, and we also got a moment of pure comedy.
Having dispatched Gabrielle, his little lordship carried on talking and you could see the relief sweep over Stephen’s face as he thought he had once again managed to wriggle his way off the hook. And watching that same expression of relief rapidly disappear as it dawned on Stephen that Lord Sugar was still talking as he planned to fire two people was priceless.
It was a suitable and satisfying demise for Stephen, although none of the remaining candidates can feel too confident as none of them performed well last night (certainly not well enough to merit the title of The Apprentice).
Jade did lead her team to victory, but thanks largely to the inept leadership of her opponent.
Yet the deserved dressing down that Jade and the largely anonymous Nick were dished up by chef Marcus Wareing was conveniently forgotten as her team romped home to a win. As was the failure of Tom and Adam to perform at all in this task.
Tom’s star is falling rapidly. The strong, silent act isn’t enough anymore and after two very mediocre performances as project manager, along with this latest no-show, Tom’s billing as one of the favourites is starting to look a bit silly now.
Talking of silly, his partner in crime this week Adam once again showed how out of depth he is and even his now legendary selling technique deserted him this week.
We’ve come to expect the dumb, dumber, dumbest act from Adam – “How about a take-away?” he gleefully suggested as they searched for luxury, five-star brands for the discount voucher scheme they were attempting to sell (at least I think he was suggesting it as a sales pitch, rather than an indication that he was feeling a bit peckish).
Talking of which, Ricky once again found himself on the losing side and in the firing line, but at least he managed to blag free scallop dishes for himself from three award-winning restaurants along the way. He outsold Stephen and Gabrielle quite easily, but was also guilty of a few fundamental and mind-numbing errors – something Lord Sugar was happy to point out and which could easily have led to a triple firing.
As it is, we have two weeks left to run and no clear favourite any longer.
The five that are left – Jade, Adam, Nick, Ricky and Tom – all need to put up a good show next week. All five have failed to ignite in recent weeks, displaying the type of basic failures that his little lordship does not normally tolerate.
Obviously, such failings have not hindered winning candidates in the past. But it makes it tricky for us to pick out an obvious champion.
Instead we have five wannabes and absolutely no idea what to expect next.