Apprentice
Season Finale

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Jacob Clifton: A | Grade It Now!
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Lesson Thirteen: People Aren't Metaphors

George asks what they did wrong, and Josh offers as many things as he can think of, for still random and unknown reasons. The weather, the biffed timetable, the total lack of Plan B. George: "Any others? Because I'll give you a couple." Ouch! George mentions how the celebrities were mixed up in the audience and he didn't know who they were or where they were, and that he thinks celebrities are entitled to certain recognition. Mark gives the right answer -- several of them, actually: "This is about autism, not celebrities." He then points out how Jim Kerr played up the celebrity component of the crowd, but that wasn't the focus. If I were George, I'd accept that. Trump says he finds Randal to be a bit low-key, and wonders whether Randal has that subtle quality that makes you fit for business in this "most vicious city." Josh says Randal has a great résumé, is balanced, and has a phenomenal instinct, but once redirected by Trump, says that Randal has the strength to "survive and thrive" in the Trumpanies.

Trump says something kind of cool and kind of weird now to Toral about how when Rebecca stood up for Toral, "Everybody was upset, and couldn't get it, and didn't get it...but I got it. I understood it." The creepiness of this, where just for a second Rebecca is Trump and Trump is Markus. "It was dangerous, but she showed loyalty and toughness. I LOVED IT." James agrees that Rebecca's loyalty and integrity are "unmatched." Trump: "I LOVED IT." Toral gives a little speech, here recounted: "This is someone I've seen from start to finish. I was there when her ankle was broken, and I was in the hospital room with her. She was extremely hurt -- I know she wanted to cry, but she didn't -- despite the tremendous pain. She has been through one of the most stressful competitions there can be, [and] she's done it with tremendous grace. And that also is a great example of someone who can lead an organization." I added punctuation to that, which Toral left out, because Trump has never let Toral finish a sentence in this entire season, so she said it all at once. Then something happens, and I'm not going to make a big deal about it, but Toral goes, "I think Rebecca is a better human being than I am." Ouch. Even Trump is like, "You just said a mouthful."

But there's something else there, something kind of heartbreaking, because how the fuck do you say that? Ever? I'm not arguing that it's true, I just think it's a long, long way to reach to make your point. The ground you're standing on, that is the ground you own. And you don't give that up. No matter what. Not for rhetoric, not for drama, not for effect. You don't step off that piece of ground, because then you've got nothing. Hearing and seeing Toral Mehta, who's got a lot going on that is honestly pretty great, and who has been smooshed into the dirt at every opportunity by you and me and Trump and everybody, and who has defended that square of land with a lot more arrogance and bullshit that we could have previously imagined, hearing her say that is kind of like opening your linen closet only to find a deep, dark Malkovich hole that extends into infinity, and it smells like absolute absence, and that's the most horrible thing I can think of. It's like dividing by zero: mathematics itself is creeped out by that shit. This is a person whose entire personality is that she's better than anyone else, ever. Take that away and what have you got?

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