The Apprentice, Series 16, Episode 3: Girlboss Blood Pact

If I only had 30 minutes to get ready at 4am, I’d look like this too.

Welcome to The Apprentice we have NO FUN AND NO BEER.

Now, in most shows when someone wanted to leave the process there would be a scene in which the other contestants (or a makeup free Michelle Visage wearing very big sunglasses and clearly not wanting to be there) would try to convince them not to leave and then they’d leave regardless and everyone would be upset for 10 seconds – an emotional exit to an unseen bathroom is optional. However, this is The Apprentice so Shama’s exit had to be done in absolutely the most unnatural and weird way they could possibly orchestrate it, with Sugar gathering everyone at the Mercato Metropolitano, for no real reason other than that he could make himself look like a religious leader

cannot believe that Karren has done how many series of this show and she still doesn’t get to stand at The Right Hand of Lord and Saviour Alan Sugar.

And just as The Reverend Sugar begins his sermon, Shama steps forward to announce that she will be yeeting herself out of this competition, citing that her arthritis is flaring up, which isn’t a surprise considering the candidates seem to be sleeping on beds with no mattresses?

It’s a luxury apartment on a BBC reality TV budget – you can have the novelty hippo phone OR mattresses – and quite frankly I think they got their priorities correct.

So it is a sad farewell to Shama, potentially the only candidate with a level head – it does however mean the gender balance is a little more even? But there’s still a team mixing session to go through as Harpreet, Brittany and Francesca are sent over to the boys in exchange for Navid Minaj and Akshay. I’m quite frankly devastated by the separation of Francesca and Kathryn – may they return to their regularly scheduled sniping next week.

This does mean we get Team Name discussions, with Nick’s team being very boring and just immediately going for Diverse as their team name. The other team has more of a discussion with Navid opening up as only a Barb with a stan account could by suggesting Megatron as their team name – should’ve lead with Anaconda mate. And you would think Megatron would be the worst suggestion and then Sophie piped up, opening with “So I’m really into crystals and healing” at which point Kathryn just saw nothing but a void of blind panic starting to engulf her

don’t worry, it gets worse, as Sophie explains that she wants the team name to be Malachite because “it’s the most strongest crystal to have ever been invented.” – you know, that famous man-made crystal, malachite. Everyone is a lot more polite about it than I would have been with Akshay telling her “it’s a bit too specific.” before suggesting that good old go-to of a name: Infinity. These team names go on to matter not a jot, but I am saddened that we’ll never get to hear Alan Sugar saying “Team Megatron”.

As for what this week’s task was, the teams had to create their own non-alcoholic drink and pitch it to retailers.

Peachy Keen

With Sophie owning a bar that is developing its own non-alcoholic menu and nobody being dissuaded by her affront to the science of minerology 10 minutes prior, she is made Project Manager without anyone so much as whispering that they’d like to lead the task – knowing full well that a food task on The Apprentice will never end well, I imagine. Sophie’s plan of attack was to go as classy and sophisticated as she could to battle against the louder and more garish branding that drinks companies go for. As for the flavour, it became a fight between wanting to go for something spicy or sweet and sour – with Kathryn heavily vouching for Sweet & Sour but putting the ball firmly in Sophie’s court with all the energy of the Daenerys Targaryen meme

Sophie finally opting for spicy and putting herself, Stephanie and Navid in charge of the flavour creation – the latter exclusively because “he has to mix chemicals in his pharmacy” and I think they might be mixing up a Rowlands pharmacist and an evil scientist? It’s easily done. As it turns out, Navid was no help at all, serving exclusively as Chief Syringer for a time

before he ballsed it all up by mixing up their Sample A and Sample B – thus forcing Sophie to take away his syringe privileges. The only brief the team had really come up with by this point as to what their drink should be was “spicy” – however, obviously you can’t flavour a drink solely with a veritable Christmas cake of mixed spice, you need a main flavour which the team had at no point discussed and The Three Horsemen of the Teetotal Apocalypse decided to go with Peach as their “main” flavour with absolutely no communication with the branding team, who were steadfastly focusing only on the spiced side of life and dubbed their drink “Crafted and Spiced”. Amy had once again taken the helm of the branding mission and was very proud of their vintage looking beer label

drawing particular attention to the burnt orange band which was all her idea

I actually quite liked this team’s branding, it is a little muted but I think it certainly achieved Sophie’s brief of looking sophisticated. Amy’s leadership didn’t end at the label design though as they also had to create a “smart label” with this team going for the absolute bare minimum, but Amy at least got to live out her Spielberg fantasy again by trying her best to direct Akshay who once told to “stand naturally” just completely forgot how to operate as a human being and repeatedly struck the awkward pose of a 16 year old boy who couldn’t get a date to prom

and his voice over on the smart label wasn’t much more natural as he read through the spiel of their drink like it was the audio tour of the Derwent Pencil Museum.

Before they went to pitch to the drinks industry titans, the teams of course had to do the old product reveal at which Sophie immediately focusses on the fact the label does not mention peach anywhere and so begins the third installment of Amy Having a Terrible Time

and very quickly trying to diffuse the situation by saying “we have the colour of a peach on the label.” I was under the impression that it was burnt orange. But of course Sophie wanted to focus on the label because their drink kept doing this to people when they tasted it

and if you thought Amy was having a terrible time having her Burnt Peach label torn to shreds, Kathryn trying to get to the bottom of what this drink tasted like was Shama vs The Word Bouji all over again as she kept drinking it despite nobody asking her to

and finally only being able to say “I can certainly taste the pepper” – which would make it a great accompaniment to Nick’s salty lime concoction, but more on that later. And so it was on to the pitch where somehow the team had to try their best to sell a bottle of peppery beer that looks like it came from 1950 to the likes of Majestic and ASDA. As to who was pitching, it was initially meant to be The Three Wise Mixologists with Navid being very excited to be part of the pitch and bring his very important skills

The look of utter disdain when she said “you are a male” <3

Unfortunately for Navid, along with his Syringe Privileges, Sophie had confiscated his right to pitch, turning the pitch into what looked like a Sugababes album cover in 2007

stream Change.

Sophie had decided that she was going to lead the pitch though, continuing the theme of the uncanny and for some reason delivering it with the same cadence as your grandmother typing out a text. There. Was. A. Period. Point. After. Each. Word. Bleep. Bloop. SophBot. Activate.
I did love that the recipients of said robotic monologue were trying their best not to laugh during the pitch and then finally lost it when she ended with “Let. Us. Take. You. To. Paradise.”

the sales didn’t go particularly well for the team either with Amy finding herself cornered by a man who was very keen to get her to admit that their drink tasted too much like peaches and Amy trying to brainwash him into believing that the spices were the dominant flavour actually – as to whether the dominant flavour was Peach or Spices, we cannot say, it seems to be a White and Gold or a Blue and Black dress situation – the only uniformity being that everyone hated it.

Lime Crimes

As it so happens, Nick’s forced leadership falls on a challenge that is quite well suited to his abilities – or at least his fondness for a Vodka, Lime & Soda because before anyone could so much as mumble a suggestion for their drink, Nick had laid down the law that his team would be producing a Non-alcoholic Vodka, Lime & Soda ( which we’re shortening to VLS from here on out because I refuse to type it out every time, this isn’t a university essay whose wordcount I’m trying to buff up a bit.) And Nick was VERY particular about the fact that this drink had to taste exactly like a VLS – now, did the man who appears intimately familiar with the cheaper end of a cocktail menu take part in the flavouring of his very particular drink choice? No, he did not, instead he gave Aaron, Alex, Akeem and Harpreet the task of somehow replicating the flavour of vodka using only fruits and spices, a task that drove Harpreet to the verge of a mental breakdown as she just began brandishing their mixture of lime and green tea like it was a weapon, demanding if it tasted like a VLS

and then because plan b was “just make a lime drink BUT NOT WACKY” they just began adding different fruit flavours, the final result being too sweet and so to balance the sweetness off, Harpreet, by this point a woman lost to a lime scented void, just added 10 drops of saline solution and called it quits – which might not sound like a lot, but was enough that Francesca could *smell* it during their product reveal

which you know, probably a bad sign?

But while Harpreet tried to Jesus Christ fruit juice into vodka, Francesca and Brittany had to mostly watch as Nick took the helm of the branding and didn’t listen to a single thing they said because along with his very specific flavour, he had a very specific look in mind and NOTHING was going to stop him from bringing it into existence. This look did involve the colour green, but you know, at least it wasn’t *that* green

I don’t think their graphic designer, who apparently didn’t suffer enough in the first episode and had returned for a second go could take it if Nick had requested the old #358614

much like Sophie’s team, he was also going for a very minimalist look, which wasn’t particularly original because I feel like I’ve seen these on the shelves before

but I think we should just applaud both teams for managing to keep the greens and browns separate this week – even though Aaron seemed to be getting dangerously close to making their drink a very upsetting shade of brown

on top of resisting the urge to slather their label with pastel brown, the branding team also had to make their Smart Label, which they were doing a lot more with by creating a face filter that would turn one half of your face into a hungover mess and then… not do anything to the other half of your face?

so, some of us would just end up looking like a hungover mess anyway. Now, quite why this all meant that Nick had to dress up like he himself was hungover after a 24 hour bender with a clown troupe I don’t know

perhaps he’s just a Method Project Manager? He’s the Jared Leto of the boardroom.

With their drink tasting, in Francesca’s own words, “like a watered down salty energy drink” – they were going to need one hell of a pitch, which Nick was of course choosing to lead, mostly so that he could make a grand entrance to Masked Wolf’s “Astronaut in the Ocean” which he describes as “very on trend right now” – so we can officially date this filming to the tail end of 2020 and that Nick spent a lot of time on TikTok. And if anyone finds his TikTok account, send it to me immediately if it holds such bountiful content as his “cool entrance walk”

bless his heart as he had to style it out when Francesca and Brittany absolutely LOST IT

it’s a high bar to clear but I truly think Nick might be the most cringe contestant to have ever been on The Apprentice? Every time he speaks I want to consume myself into nothingness.

Sadly Nick walking onto stage like a Paddington Bear going undercover at a rap battle didn’t come into existence and he managed to talk like a person so for the most part the pitch for Vodify went very well. The sales on the other hand? Well, they got lucky in the end because in negotiating with ASDA, Nick kept driving the point home that Vodify, the drink that tastes like someone brined a can of Red Bull, was going to be served in premium bars, clubs, restaurants, and The International Space Station- with Mr. ASDA pointing out that “premium doesn’t really fit with ASDA” and Nick looked like he had just seen a ghost

or at least, more so than usual – the man is in a constant state of haunted peril. Meanwhile Mrs. ASDA stood, in absolute silence, just relishing as Nick negotiated a grand total of 300 cases for ASDA, a company worth £6.8 billion

I hope someone bought her a proper drink after this.

The Boardroom Blitz

Skipping over the fact that Lord Sugar made us all far too aware that his urine looks like this

and using it as some sort of GOTCHA! over Nick because his drink looks like someone has a urinary infection as though that’s not the colour of every energy drink going and nobody has ever complained – the only thing it really does achieve is sending Aaron into a 1000 yard stare as he fears he’s created another toilet joke of a product

NONE OF YOU TOLD ME IT LOOKED LIKE PISS!

This apparently didn’t prove an issue with the buyers as one of them, definitely not ASDA, decided to place an insanely large order for Vodify, meaning Nick’s team wound up with a total of 10,675 sales. Meanwhile Sophie’s team only managed a paltry 2,502 – the 2 on the end there really tickles me – someone really failed to negotiate an extra 3 crates on an order, huh? A lot of the feedback as to why they didn’t like Cafted & Spiced was because of the packaging and branding, meaning that had Sophie wanted to firmly push Amy under the bus and definitely save herself, she absolutely could’ve done that and got away with it too – or at least on the show, she’d have been ripped to pieces by Gay Twitter who have taken Amy as their Queen this week. Instead, under some sort of Girlboss Blood Pact, Sophie opts to bring back Akshay and Navid because “they didn’t contribute at all” – which is a damn lie, Akshay gave a star turn as Robotic Museum Voice in the smart label and valiantly tried to flag down a speeding cyclist to taste their non-alcoholic beer

Navid? Now, Navid did absolutely nothing this task except kind of limply offer advice here and there and offer to perform certain duties with all the enthusiasm of a depressed teenager – it’s the stan account in him.

The fact Sophie owns a bar obviously comes up, and she at least has the decency to be mortified that she ballsed this task up so spectacularly but is very quick to deflect and say that Navid and Akshay were so useless on this task that she’d never employ them

THE WAY I SCREAMED. And the way Sophie’s internal shrieking began as the desire to watch the entire world burn consumed her like the Targaryen Curse

and of course she was asked who she thought should be fired, thus bringing about a moment of high art as Sophie takes a moment to mull it over, looks Akshay dead in the eyes for FAR TOO LONG before resignedly sitting back and spitting out an exasperated “BOAF!”

it is a moment of divine drama worthy of the best EastEnders storyline.

Sadly Sophie doesn’t get her way and due to the fact Navid never quite rose to the irritating, personality driven pastiche that someone with a Twitter account dedicated to Nicki Minaj should have, he’s eliminated without being forced to disastrously helm a task. He does of course OKURRRRRRR! on his way out though

bring on next year’s Swifty I say.

And so, 12 candidates remain…

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