You’re The Mexican Martha Stewart (Episode 1-9)

There was no doubt about it; this was the night that Marcela would be going home. Even during the preview for this week’s show, it was obvious who’d be fired. Leave it to Martha to throw us a curve ball on tonight’s episode of The Apprentice.

Most of Martha’s candidates have avoided forming alliances, but with seven contestants remaining, personal relationships take on greater significance. Jim and Bethenny have been on the same team since the show began, making Dawna the outsider on Primarius. And Matchstick had its own interpersonal problems.

As soon as Marcela became Project Manager, Ryan and Amanda formed a bond based on a lack of professional respect for Marcela. Even if it was done unconsciously, they planned to work poorly under Marcela, thereby ensuring the team’s failure and getting her fired for being unable to lead them.

Ryan and Amanda were so successful at slacking off that even the Viceroys noticed something amiss. Charles and Alexis both noted Matchstick behaving weirdly, supporting Marcela’s claim that Ryan and Amanda went into the task half-heartedly. Leslie refused to lay the blame on Marcela and the usurpers’ coup was exposed.

Ryan foolishly accused Marcela of besmirching his integrity. If he’d really felt hurt, and wasn’t doing it for show, he would’ve talked with Marcela privately and not made a declaration in front of Martha and the Viceroys. That action alone showed that he’s not clever enough to ultimately win the game.

But the biggest fool of the night was Amanda. She’d worked diligently to not help Marcela, to the point of refusing to answer her questions. She criticized Marcela’s marketing strategy but never offered an alternative despite being asked repeatedly for ideas. In the conference room, Martha asked if Amanda had been withholding ideas. If she hadn’t, why not offer the ideas she had, or at least admit to not having any ideas?

When asked what skills she could bring to Martha’s organization, Amanda’s composed veneer shattered. She claimed to be an expert in public relations, even though she works as an attorney. She went on about her interests in decorating and gardening, telling some maddening story about her husband planting a flower bed.

Essentially, Amanda tried to say that she was Martha. But if she really was just like Martha, she’d want to become her own brand name, not work for the original. Amanda’s babbling took all of the focus away from what went wrong in the task. Instead, she put the focus on what was wrong with her.

The best part of the episode wasn’t that Marcela was saved from falling at the hands of Ryan and Amanda. It wasn’t even that Amanda slit her own throat. It was the brilliant way Marcela defended herself in the conference room. Bolstered by a pep talk from Jim, of all people, Marcela told Martha that she wanted to help Martha’s company reach out to Latin Americans, a group presently underserved by the company. Marcela said that she didn’t want to be the Mexican Martha Stewart; she wanted to help Martha be the Mexican Martha Stewart.

It was a simple, honest answer that changed the way Martha and the Viceroys thought of Marcela. We finally got a glimpse of the quiet force Marcela said she possessed. Even if she doesn’t become The Apprentice, Martha had best find a use for Marcela within her organization. Otherwise some rival network could have a hit by giving Marcela her own show. She just might become the Mexican Martha Stewart after all.

On The Apprentice: Martha, in two weeks:
Marcela returns to a hero’s welcome and Martha looks for thinkers among her remaining six candidates.