The Apprentice 3, Episode 16: The Finish Lineby Betsy Wasser -- 05/13/2005
It’s time to get ready for the final task, and Kendra is hard at work. Where we left off last week, Aimee from PlayStation was very unhappy with their space. Kendra directs Michael on how to set things up, imploring him to “make it look nice.” She says in an interview that she can understand why Aimee was upset. Among other things, “it smells like feet.” She gives Michael more directions and tells him, “Don’t be grumpy.” Michael assures her that everything is taken care of.
Meanwhile, Tana puts Kristen in charge of putting together programs for the guests. Kristen explains to Tana how she wants to lay it out, and Tana thinks it’s a great idea. Tana explains that the programs will go to everyone and will have the order of events – they’re very important.
Chris and Brian hang banners and do a pretty sloppy job. Brian declares one of them “close enough for government work.” Apparently, Brian is counting on the fact that no prospective employers of his own televisions. The two guys decide that if they hang the banners in a way that’s not too perfect, it won’t look like they screwed up. I’m not sure I follow their logic. Kristen arrives and sees their shoddy work. She tries to get them to fix it and they give her a hard time about it. Brian tells her to get lost and work on the program, since that’s her job. Tana arrives as Kristen is asking some of the workers where they usually hang banners. Chris tattles to her that Kristen is trying to do their job. Tana tries to handle the situation, but Kristen walks off without listening to her. Tana says in an interview that she’s worried and flustered and knows she can’t count on her team.
The next morning, Tana wakes everyone up bright and surly – oops, I mean early. Ew, shirtless Brian! Tana says she wants everyone to go to Chelsea Pier to prepare, but I’m distracted because Brian just stretched and there is a chance that he could be naked under that sheet. Ew! Tana summons her team as Kendra energetically applies eye cream. She says she’ll be pissed off if her team isn’t ready. Kristen whines that Tana needs to understand how other people work. Like if they don’t work well with no sleep, Tana? Tana complains that it’s very disrespectful for her team to keep her waiting. Chris, for once a model of patience, tells Tana that everyone is tired, so she should cut them some slack. Everyone’s finally ready, and she herds the team out the door.
Kendra’s team is at Webster Hall setting up. Because the video game for the tournament is Fight Night Round 2, they’re setting up a boxing ring. Kendra asks how the boxers will enter the ring and learns that they’ll duck under the ropes. She notes that there aren’t any PlayStation banners and directs someone to hang some. Next, she checks out the PlayStation area that Aimee was so unhappy about the night before. Wow, what a transformation! I don’t know if it smells like feet or not, but it sure looks good. Aimee declares, “We’re getting there!” She says that PlayStation will not pull their sponsorship and that she thinks Kendra will do well.
George has been in the background watching as all of this goes on. He says that he saw the faces of the executives and that they seemed pleased and relieved. He thinks Kendra handled the situation very well.
Meanwhile, Tana explains that she is in charge of Governor Pataki, Bruce Jenner, and all of the athletes. Her team will handle the rest. Um, given that you think your team is stupid, is that really the best plan? Kristen finds her and tells her that the water coolers are ready. Tana tells her not to bother her with such minutia. As Kristen leaves, Tana makes a face and mutters, “Leave me alone.” She says she hates depending on her lousy team.
Someone asks Chris who is in charge of the pool. Chris pauses, then says, “That’s interesting. No one.” He finds Tana and asks her who is in charge of the flow of events. He thinks she needs to delegate it to someone. Tana pretty much blows him off. In an interview, Chris says that Tana expects other people to take too much initiative. That said, he wants her to win and is working hard.
Vinnie from the governor’s office arrives and asks Tana for a program. She says that they aren’t printed yet, but will be ready at 10:15. The governor arrives at 10:30, so Vinnie thinks that’s cutting it pretty close. She says she’ll get one to him as soon as they’re ready. Couldn’t she find a proof to give him? Or call the printer and see if there are any ready?
Someone else finds Tana and complains that there is a box of banners still sitting out and that she doesn’t appreciate having to talk to Chris about it. We get a montage of people telling Tana about problems that are going on. She calls it “a catastrophe.” Tana feels like all she’s getting are problems. “I have an idea,” she says to herself, “Does anyone have a compliment?” At this point, I have to conclude that Tana is in way over her head. She’s been great in previous tasks, but here she is really falling apart. And it would be great if we got positive reinforcement all the time in the business world, but the fact of the matter is, if you’re doing your job, you won’t get praised.
Vinnie tells Tana that Governor Pataki has arrived and is just sitting around with nothing to do. Missing the point, Tana asks if he’d like a cup of coffee or a doughnut. That would be nice, but even more, I’m sure he’d like to not waste his time.
The next crisis arises, and it’s a big one. Tana explains that they’d received hints about the various VIPs – who would be difficult to work with and so forth – and Kristen printed them word for word in the programs. Wow, Kristen is a moron, but did Tana not even give them a glance? Tana scurries around hiding all of the programs so that no one will see them. Amy of the NYC2012 office is very unhappy and can’t believe no one proofread the programs. Meanwhile, Vinnie tells Tana that the governor is still waiting. “Okay,” Tana chirps, only to find out that it is most certainly not okay.
Trump arrives at Chelsea Piers and says hello to the governor and to Tana. Tana says that it’s exciting to see all of the athletes, then directs them to where they need to be. She then tells the governor where he needs to go to lead a procession. He’ll be with a group of kids holding flags of countries participating in the Olympics. Governor Pataki wants to carry the American flag, but Tana can’t find one. Someone points out one hanging from the rafters, but no one can find another. Tana says that the show must go on, then gives a chipper, “So if everyone wants to take their seats,” again failing to see the seriousness of the situation.
The procession begins, and indeed the governor has no flag to carry. To make matters worse for Tana, he tells Trump that there was no flag for him to carry. Trump says, “To me that was a big mistake.” We watch a bunch of athletic demonstrations, and Tana shows someone her goose bumps.
Chris coordinates the track events, allowing the athletes the amount of time they need to warm up. Someone tells Tana of this plan, and she immediately asks if it was Chris’s idea, and says, “that was not how it was supposed to be.” Carolyn sees the entire thing, then says in an interview that Tana is blaming her team for everything, which is unprofessional..
Chris then tells Tana about the next step in the events. After he leaves, Tana scoffs to someone, “He’s tryin’ to tell the boss how to do the job!” Amy from NYC2012 is concerned that people might have left early, not knowing what was next. Tana, on the other hand, is very confident that she is the next apprentice. “It just could not have gone any better,” she enthuses. What? It couldn’t have gone better if, say, there had been a flag for the governor? Or if there had been usable programs? Those are just a couple of ideas off the top of my head.
At this point, I’m wondering what’s going to happen in Kendra’s task. Unless she screws up hooking up the video game consoles and electrocutes someone, I think she’s got this in the bag.
At Webster Hall, George and Carolyn check out the boxing ring. George asks, “Wanna fight?” and Carolyn puts up her dukes. It is adorable. Also, if you’re not watching The Contender, you should, because it is awesome. And I don’t even like boxing! Anyway, Kendra explains to Erin how the foot traffic should flow, then introduces herself to Fabulous, a rapper who will be the MC for the event. Carolyn meets Aimee and learns that she’s happy with the set-up. Kendra arranges for a spotlight for Trump when he arrives. Hey, and here he is. Trump introduces Fabulous, Fabulous kicks things off, and the games begin. In an interview, Kendra says she’s feeling confident. People are having fun, and she really thinks she made the sponsors happy. At the end of the event, Trump tells her she did a good job. Kendra is positively glowing.
Tana thanks her team for their work. She says, “Hopefully it all came through, and if it didn’t, it wasn’t my destiny.” She then sends her staff home, explaining that she doesn’t want to walk out with the employees, but will go alone like an executive. That’s not a very nice way to treat people who had nothing to gain from helping you. She says she did the entire task on her own and “there was no love.” She clutches a bowl of pretzels and hangs back, waiting for the guys to get in their car, then when they’re out of sight, scurries into her limo. She says that the day started off badly, but she shifted gears and it went great. The job, as far as she’s concerned, is hers. I wonder if she spent too much time breathing in the swimming pool fumes. “We aint in Iowa anymore, Toto,” she says nonsensically. Yep, pool fumes.
One of the sponsors tells Kendra that if Trump doesn’t hire her, they will – she and her team did a great job. Kendra leads Erin, Michael, and Danny in a group hug. Her eyes well up as they tell her she did a great job and they’re proud of her. In her limo ride back to the suite, she says they really worked as a team. Though she had her differences with some of them, right now she can’t remember what they were. She appreciates her team and loves working with people who believe in her.
Do you think we’re supposed to notice a contrast? It’s awfully subtle…
At the suite, an emotional Tana greets Kendra with a big hug. Kendra admits that she’s been crying too, and Tana clearly hopes that she cried during the task because it went so badly. Nice try, Tana. Tana, fishing for any Kendra problems, asks how her team was? Kendra says they were great. Tana responds that she certainly didn’t have the same experience. She thinks Kendra’s team was stronger. I think that overall, they probably were, but it’s hard to say since Kendra did a better job of managing her people. The two women head to the bathroom to get ready for bed. From a stall, Kendra asks Tana who fought on her team. Tana doesn’t hear her and goes to bed. From behind the door we hear Kendra say, “Tana? Tana?” Funny!
The next day, the two women get ready for the boardroom. Tana says that she has a great life at home with her husband and children, but that she wants more. Kendra says she really wants the job. Tana says that Kendra had to go to school while she was out making money. Kendra then says that she has the total package – book and street smarts. Tana thinks the non-college grads are fighters. Both say they’re confident they’ll win. Tana says that they’re opposites – she’s vocal, Kendra’s quiet. She’s a leader, Kendra’s a follower. Tana calls herself “a shark in a goldfish costume,” and Kendra says that this is her last dogfight and she will shoot Tana down.
The women arrive in the boardroom. Trump says that the season began as book smarts vs. street smarts, but to win, you have to be “just plain smart.” He leads by asking Tana if her team was hard to manage. Tana thinks that she did very well given the difficulty of her team. Carolyn interrupts and says that she didn’t like the way Tana put down her team. Tana admits that she put them down in front of Carolyn. Carolyn says it wasn’t just that, but also the way she put Chris down in front of the sponsors, a move that does not inspire confidence. Trump asks Tana if Chris was uncontrollable, and she says no. As well she should, since Chris didn’t seem to do anything wrong in the task. Kristen, she says, was “okay,” but created too much drama.
Trump asks about the programs, and Tana says Kristen was in charge of them. Carolyn wants to know why she didn’t proofread them. She reads aloud from one, “Injured, won’t swim, but is great on camera.” Kendra looks shocked that the programs went out that way. Tana says that she put Kristen in charge of the programs, they were Kristen’s responsibility, so she did not proofread them. No one looks impressed. Trump then asks why there was no flag for the governor. Tana says she thought there was one in the box of world flags, but apparently not.
On to Kendra. She says that her team members did even better than they did when they were trying to work for Trump. She gets teary again as she says that they worked well together and had no arguments. Tana hands her a tissue as Trump says there’s nothing wrong with crying. I seriously doubt he really believes that. Kendra says that she feels she ended the game “with grace and tact,” and that she likes to inspire people to do their best.
Kendra says that the sponsors were her number one priority, and that things started out great. George begs to differ. Why wasn’t she there for that initial meeting? Kendra says she should have been, but didn’t realize that Danny had started the meeting without her. Trump thinks she should have known Danny was a loose cannon. Kendra answers that after that incident, she kept a much closer eye on Danny, a good answer. George says fine, but why did she leave Danny alone with the sponsors? Kendra says that was never supposed to happen, that Danny intercepted them.
Tana, is your lack of education an issue, asks Trump? She says no, that she can handle people on the street any day. Unless, of course, they’re Chris, Brian, and Kristen, apparently. Kendra thinks it’s a liability. She believes that if you start something, you should finish it. Tana explains that she went to college for three years, then got married and her husband transferred somewhere else. Instead of finishing school, she had children. Trump says he respects that decision.
Trump says that New York is a tough place. Can they handle it? You know, I’m from the Midwest, and I really resent the implication that we are a bunch of softhearted morons who can’t be tough. Tana says that she can run with the wolves and is not needy, I guess implying that Kendra is. Kendra says she works with New Yorkers every day and has clients across the country. She’s used to working with tough people.
Tana says she’s strong, doesn’t frazzle easily, is nice, but has a killer instinct. Kendra says she wants the job more. Tana disagrees. She left her husband and children, whereas Kendra left nothing. Kendra thinks she’s better suited to work for Donald Trump and thinks that her education is a factor. She also says that she has the best record as a project manager, with three wins. And the time that Tana lost, it was against her. She adds that she has the longest winning streak – nine wins. Tana says that Kendra may have a good record, but she was the last to be project manager (that’s not quite true. Kendra was the last on Magna to be project manager, but the last overall was Craig). Tana says that she stepped up to the plate sooner. Kendra explains that that was her strategy.
Trump tells them that they’re both great and sends them outside. Carolyn says that they’re both strong. Tana is very nice, and Kendra is a good leader. George agrees that they’re both good. He says Trump should remember that the had tough tasks. With that, Trump sends in Tana and Kendra’s teams.
Next week, we have the season finale, and could it be a bigger anti-climax? Basically, unless Kendra punches George in the gut, she’s pretty much got this one sewn up. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really don’t respect Kendra’s under the radar strategy. I don’t like the idea of someone winning after holding back for so many weeks. But the fact of the matter is, Kendra obliterated Tana on this task. She had difficult employees just like Tana did. It didn’t seem like that, but I believe that’s because Kendra managed them so much better than Tana did. Tana openly talked about how worthless her team was, yet delegated major tasks to them (the programs, for example) and didn’t follow up. Not smart. And if Tana had performed as badly in previous tasks as she did in this one, there’s no way she’d have made it to the final two.
Like I said, I don’t think there’s much suspense next week. I’ll tune in to see where Kendra will be working and what color her new Solstice is. See you then.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online and is prepared to admit that fellow Associate Editor Mike DeGeorge was right about Kendra. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com