We then move to an entirely unfamiliar lobby where an entirely unfamiliar secretary is answering phones and holding the candidates in a waiting room we've never seen. Inside what we are to believe is Trump's office, Trump is having the usual Things Are Going Great™ conversation with a couple of executives from Staples, who tell him that...things are going great! I breathlessly await the first one of these in which one of the executives says, "Well, our backs are against the wall, sir, and we're dearly hoping that this desperate stab at notoriety will rescue what was once a proud and thriving company." And then Trump would beat them about the head with his telephone for "inspiration," and then the task could begin. The stakes? Higher than ever!
Trump lets the candidates in. He tells Ms. Staples and Mr. Staples that "these people are very talented," which is false advertising if ever there was such a thing. Let's see...Kendra...Craig...Tana...Bren...Alex. Are "very talented." I mean, honestly. When the final five have gathered, Trump welcomes them to Week 13 of their 16-week "interview" process. He tells them that Staples does $13 billion a year in sales, and is the big kahuna of office supplies, both nationally and around the world. Trump next tells them that every year, Staples has a national contest for inventors who present ideas. For their next task, they're to come up with a new product to "make office life easier by cleaning up clutter." In working on the product, they'll have a design and manufacturing team to work with them. They'll present the product to Mr. and Ms. Staples and a group of office managers at a Staples store. Most innovative product wins, and the other team goes to the Boardroom. Kendra is exempt, but this is the last exemption that will be available, he reveals. After this, everyone will rise and fall by his or her individual level of suck. Or, I should say, by his or her relative individual level of suck. And then he sends them out.
Back at the L-Pal, the candidates are joined by Carolyn and George, as Bren interviews that after 13 weeks without a break, it's now "about survival." Carolyn sits down with Bren and Alex and asks if there's a PM. Alex takes on the task. He tells us that he did that to put himself in a "do or die" situation. "You do great, or you get fired," he says. He goes on to tell us that he was willing to take a risk, because the person who wins the job will have to be a risk-taker. Hmm. Theme? Alex tells Bren that they need to talk to some office managers to find out what their big problems are, and Bren agrees to take care of this part. In an interview in which he looks even scragglier than usual, Bren tells us that it's important that he and Alex win, because his ass, among other things, is riding on it. I immediately feel like I have maxed out on Bren's-ass references for the week.
Over at Magna, Craig is the PM, and he tells Kendra and Tana to brainstorm in writing. Which...I'm not crazy about, as it seems a little artificial and motivational-seminar-ish and makes me want an easel, but okay. He then tells us, all confidential-like: "The biggest obstacle at this point would be Kendra. I want her to understand that, you've had your chance to lead the way that you lead, and I want you to respect mines [sic]." Yikes. Putting aside the rather unfortunate use of the word "mines," did Craig really give Kendra the opportunity to lead the way she wanted last week when he totally ignored everything she asked him to do and made her finish the entire task by herself? That sounds like a fairly weak argument to me. Back in the L-Pal, Kendra tells Craig that she thinks they'll definitely want to ask some people who buy office supplies what they think. Craig's response is to chastise her for talking when she's supposed to be writing. He's just really cranking up the overbearing-dick thing already. Kendra interviews, "Craig and I have really dysfunctional and poor communication." Heh. Exactly. She says that whenever he's talking to her, she's never sure what he's trying to say. And indeed, I'm not sure I'd know what he was getting at either, particularly if he did what he does right here, which is to solemnly tell Kendra that he's "experienced lives being changed" by brainstorming. Yes, I remember the day I started spitting out possible career aspirations and shouted, "Maybe someone could pay me to talk back to the TV!" My life was changed, that's for sure. ["Good thing I happened to be walking by." -- Sars] Basically, Kendra then interviews that it will be more productive to just let him talk for a few minutes, and then do what she thinks is right. And while she can't ignore the PM, I sort of agree with her that you hit a point with people where you just have to kind of let them listen to themselves talk for a while until they run out of bluster, and then you do the best you can. In other words: sit back, relax, and enjoy the remainder of the recap.