Warning: spoilers ahead, and like usual, they come up fast.
According to his Apprentice bio, Fort Worth's Clint Robertson has degrees from TCU and SMU, which may or may not make him torn when stuff like this happens. We really didn't see much of Robertson on this week's Apprentice though, other than his hawking ice cream so aggressively that he didn't face any danger of being fired in Thursday's challenge.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. After the same lengthy, Donald Trump-aggrandizing intro we appear to be getting every week during this recession-themed season, we get a little bit of a member of the Fortitude -- i.e., women's -- team asking Gene (who also has North Texas connections) what Octane, the name of the men's team, means. "It sounds like a drink," she says. I don't think I want to go to a bar or a gas station with this woman.
Last week's exit of Nicole is celebrated by the women, then David, who appears to be a little unstable volunteers to be the men's project manager for this episode's task, even though he doesn't know what the task is yet.
"This could be the kiss of death for us," Clint says, having had a run-in with David on a previous episode. Speaking of kisses of death, after Poppy becomes the women's PM (by this time, the ice-cream-selling challenge was common knowledge), she assigns Liza, who has less experience in sales than other Fortitude members, to accounting. "Anybody who knows me in real life knows I'm not an accounting person," Liza says. "But I can't handle it." Sounds like a Kiss of Death if ever I've heard one. Turns out I'm wrong about this -- this week, anyway.
Both teams set up shop in Manhattan's busy Union Square, where they both immediately have trouble selling ice cream on a hot day, despite little tricks such as wearing uniforms and costumes (the men's barbershop-quartet outfits are a little silly, but they are more attention-grabbing than the women's pink tank tops). Price is an issue for the women: "Ice cream sandwiches for $5!" a passer-by says. "You oughta be ashamed of yourself!" Yeah, isn't this supposed to be a recession-themed Apprentice? I can't get one of those out of the upstairs vending machine for under a buck!
The men decide to use sex appeal, with David sending good-looking contestants Anand and Steuart out to grab customers, or as David puts it, "I let the stallions out of the barn." But they're not the only ones hustling -- we see a shot of Clint talking some dude into a $50 sale.
Over on the women's team, there's increasing indications that Stephanie, who is kind of a control freak, really wants to be the project manager of this task, every other task, and possibly some of the men's tasks as well. This is contrast to Poppy, the actual PM for this task, who seems about as laid-back as a boss can be. This isn't going over all that well with the other women, who seem put off by Stephanie's aggressiveness and Poppy's lack of it.
On day two of the two-day task, the guys, who had abandoned Union Square for another location on day one, return to the scene of the crime, getting to Union Square a half-hour before the women do. "What took y'all so long?" Clint says. "You ladies took a while to get dressed this morning?" This would have a little more effect if the guys weren't wearing boater hats and barbershop-quartet outfits, which, along with their aggressive sales techniques, leads Stephanie to say, "The guys looked like a bunch of serial killer circus monkeys." (Interesting image.) "I would never buy anything from someone who was that aggressive and arrogant." Apparently, it's OK to be as aggressive and arrogant and Stephanie -- but not more.
As time is running out on the challenge, the women make a move that turns out to be smart -- they go to where the men are selling, and start giving the ice cream away (where's the woman who was upset about the $5 price tag now?). Naturally, this puts a crimp in the men's sales. We are treated to an image of a melting popsicle, representing the men's limp ... performance at the end. Looks like Apprentice gurls -- er, girls -- can melt your popsicle just as well as California ones can.
In the Boardroom, Poppy, put on the spot by Donald Trump to tell him who Fortitude's weakest player was, waffles. She finally says Liza was the least-strong player, without using the word weakest. Liza says she came up with the idea of the eye-catching pink tank tops and goofy headbands. Trump says, "Liza -- you're fired!" much to the astonishment of everyone, including me (after the mid-episode elimination on America's Next Top Model Wednesday, I was easily duped by this). Trump then says "Just kidding" while all the contestants wonder how much longer they can be in the Boardroom before they can change their pants. Liza continues to go after Poppy and her performance as a PM, but the women back Poppy up.
David is equally waffly, but when he's asked to pick a weak player he just goes ahead with his indecision and names two: Alex and James, accusing Alex of having a "puppy-dog mentality" and James of being a strong candidate who overthinks everything. Most of the other men say that if they had to fire someone, it would be James, who defends his work on the task (especially since James, a New Yorker, was essentially the men's location scout). David says of James, "He puts me to sleep." James says of David: "You're susceptible to breakdowns." Then both stick their tongues out at each other. Just kidding.
As tends to happen in The Apprentice, the team that appeared to be struggling the most -- the women -- actually wins the task, with $1,800 of sales against the men's $1,500 (if only the women hadn't sabotaged the men at the end, they could have sold more than $300 worth of ice cream in the final 10 minutes!).
David nominates James and Alex for firing, but the real action isn't in the Boardroom -- it's back where the the women are watching the Boardroom. Poppy tries to get an apology out to Liza, who doesn't even let Poppy finish before saying, "Don't even frickin' look at me, bitch! This isn't a celebration!" Brandy speaks up: "Don't call Poppy a bitch!" Liza: "She is!" Brandy: "You're isolating yourself right now, Liza. Don't go down that road."
In the Boardroom, David praises the men's efforts -- except for those of James and Alex. "[They] took me away from the task," he says, sounding a bit finger-pointy. "The other teammates rock out loud."
Alex proves to be a pretty poor salesman for himself, while David and then James go after him. Clearly, he's not in their league, even though he says he can be in their league. Just not yet. He's fired. The good news is, right after leaving the show, he finds a dream job in construction management and can provide for his family again. More good news: There's Blue Bell in the break-room fridge, and after all this talk about ice cream, I'm craving some.