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The Apprentice Week 2 review: Ex-Slaughter and May lawyer Felipe in candlemaker existential crisis

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Has Felipe’s legal career burned out long before his passion for candle-making ever will?

Burning Christmas candles

So it’s week three. And after last week’s “shock” double-firing we’re down to “just” 17 candidates — that’s more wannabes than most law firms or chambers invite for an assessment day for a single position.

In last night’s episode, the candidates were dispatched to London’s Royal Exchange, where they were assigned a “home fragrance” task. Fingers were crossed that ex-magic circle lawyer Felipe — who’s used to living in the office — didn’t suggest ‘Eau de Slaughter and May’ (happily he didn’t).

In an exciting development, Felipe joined fellow solicitor Lauren (of St Albans firm Labrums) on ‘Team Tenacity’ after Lord Sugar orchestrated a personnel shake-up. Lauren has, of course, been in the news this week after the Mail Online suggested that fellow candidate and all round hunk James had caught her eye during the show, with the duo accused of breaking the first rule of business: mixing it with pleasure.

That update dealt with, it’s over to the action. An early scene sees Felipe being dissed as he is labelled, without irony, as one of the weakest contestants by dozy Daniel. Most viewers of week one — in which Felipe was impressive despite flirting with disaster — would dispute this assessment. But it’s a new episode. And with a different challenge to face Daniel could yet be proved right.

sale

Lauren kicks off with some research into the perfume market, as she looks to take a more prominent role than in the first two episodes. As the action unfolds, the family solicitor’s market research ends up being ignored as the team opt to produce scented candles. Still, wary of Lord Sugar’s dislike of quiet contestants, she seems determined to impose herself in this episode, making some prominent unconvinced facial expressions at her team’s choice of product name.

“British Breeze”, as Sugar’s trusty lieutenant, Nick Hewer, informs us, is an odd name given that none of the team’s scents come from Britain, or even Europe for that matter. Still, it beats Lauren’s suggestion of ‘lemonise’ (the cleaning task will no doubt come in a few weeks’ time, so perhaps she can resurrect it then).

Felipe, who had a quiet episode, moves from offering some corporate-sounding input into a discussion about “margins” to pouring wax into jars. It’s quite the fall from the dizzying heights of his former life at Slaughter and May and Latham & Watkins. But the look of nirvana-like contentment on the face of the City solicitor suggests that he may have found his niche. He really is good at this candle manufacture stuff. If/when he gets fired and finds the legal profession too snobby to re-admit him now he is tarred with The Apprentice brush, he’s got a real chance of forging a career in this area.

The arrival of the scented candles in final product form sees Lauren assume the custard-like pallor of the wax — hit by a premonition of doom, perhaps. She’s unimpressed with Sarah (who is extremely annoying) and in a confrontation with her is accused of being bossy — which finally dashes the reputation for blandness that she’d been in danger of being stuck with. Clever positioning from the family lawyer.

In the first week it was Felipe who was making this sort of fox-like manoeuvre. But, his mind clogged up with thoughts about his waxy future, he seems to be going backwards here, announcing drone-like that “the customer is always right”. In this utterance, he has sadly crossed the line from rising star lawyer to reality TV show tragedy. I’d fire him just for saying those stupid words and then force him to work forever in a candle factory. He’d probably be very happy.

Sales-wise, Lauren is doing a good job; Felipe, mired in his existential candle-maker/corporate lawyer crisis, less so. As time ticks on, urgency increases, until the point arrives that Felipe is running. I repeat, Felipe is running — although it’s more of a waddle than a run, a lawyer-penguin preparing for take-off. But to where will he fly?

The boardroom scene arrives. Lauren’s market research is predictably called into question. But it’s the loathsome Sarah who is truly under fire. Felipe is silent, day-dreaming about candles. Numbers time, ‘Team Summit’ have made a sweet-smelling profit of just over £1500; ‘Team Tenacity’ (totally ridiculous name) have made a similar amount. Silence descends across the board room. Confusion reigns. There’s just £14 in it.

FELIPE AND LAUREN ARE SAFE! Team Tenacity have managed to win the task, and celebrate with a spa, which seems just an excuse for the producers to get Felipe in tight-fitting trunks.

Two get sacked from the other team (one falling on her sword via a teary resignation). But who cares?! We’re going into week three with the two solicitors still in the game.

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Review: Ex-Slaughter and May lawyer very nearly got fired in first episode of The Apprentice [Legal Cheek]