Apprentice
To Lead Or Not To Lead

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Jacob Clifton: B+ | Grade It Now!
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Lesson Eleven: Be Bold, And Mighty Forces Will Come To Your Aid

From one drama to another, as Alla lectures Felisha about her acting choices, going against her original promise not to do this exact thing they both knew she'd be doing. Felisha lays out the basics of the burning bed she made earlier, in which they're both now obliged to lie: "I'm listening to what Alla says [true], but making sure that I'm heard as well [lie]. I don't think we can win unless we do this has a team [precisely and exactly half true]. Alla doesn't feel comfortable without creative control […duh]." There is then a brilliant moment where Alla commandeers an innocent producer into the fray, forcing him to point out that if Felisha is the one being filmed, she's in no position to make direction decisions. They all laugh fakely and it's incredibly tense, and Felisha and Alla fall all over each other about how it's "collaborative" and they're both directing, and again the guy points out that, here, "collaborative effort" actually means that Felisha would have to clone herself and be behind the camera at the same time as she's in front of it. Well, what he's really saying is, Get your fucking ducks in a row because we're on a deadline, but Alla suddenly feints with a brilliant "Are you sure you want me to do this?"

As tired as they both look at this point, I think Alla would actually be funnier in the role, but of course it's more about the balance Felisha has to draw here. "I'll be fine with it. I'm fine with it." Camera guy reminds them that again, it's totally Alla's show, so Alla fakes a near-freakout, such that Felisha is obliged to "calm her down," taking her by the face and saying, "It's okay. I give you the authority to be the director." Oh, Felisha. She's got you by the roots and you don't even know it. Brilliant, this. Cut to Alla, interviewing that Felisha has "gone away," only to be replaced by "somebody who is insecure and cannot make decisions," and is "frazzled." She actually seems bewildered by this sudden transformation, which is either terrifyingly compartmentalized or a last-ditch attempt to avoid a total villain edit. Either way it's pretty disingenuous.

There are various directing issues, care of which Felisha cannot take, because she's the actor, so Felisha has to -- for example -- put her bags into the trunk of a car one hundred times, which wears her very worn self out even more. She interviews that Alla is "trying" to take over, which is just about smurfy-level dumb at this point, and ridiculous, because her response to this is to convince herself that the cloning was, in fact, successful, and that she can actually see the frame -- in which she currently is -- better than Alla, who is currently holding the actual camera monitor in her hands, herself. This is a frigging joke. They yell some more. Alla interviews that if you give her a task, she will rock it, but for some reason Felisha is giving her the hamstring every time, and her hands are tied. "That's…suicidal! Why would you do that?" Felisha's acting is pretty much not acting as she goes through the motions of a businesswoman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Can you even have a fourth wall in a reality show? It's like a hypercube of fakeness, and Felisha is staring out one wall of it, starting to drool at you.

Much later, Felisha and Alla sit in the editing bay, and Felisha blandly tells the editor guy that Alla "knows what she's doing" and is "going to take the lead." The last glimmer of Felisha's grasp on things shines out for a second, as she interviews, "She doesn't partly contribute. If I'm going to get something great out of Alla, I have to just let her go." It's variously too true, too bad, and too late.

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Apprentice

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