Credit: Tommy Baynard

Okay, so could last night have been any worse? Not only was I nursing a fever and was forced to miss Lost’s premiere in order to blog about The Celebrity Apprentice (oh, to have TiVo), but NBC also decided to punish all of us TV watchers by giving us not one, but two hours of this sad excuse for television entertainment (please, oh please let the rumored upcoming end to the writers’ strike be true!). So please forgive me, PopWatchers, if this week’s recap is brief and a bit joyless. Because if anything can suck the life out of me more than the flu, it’s Celebrity Apprentice.

On the upside, however, last night’s episode wasn’t short on drama (a welcome change from last Thursday’s snoozer). Not that we really needed two hours of petty conflict, but let’s face it: Trump is usually prone to overindulgence. And though it was a letdown to wait two hours only to see Vinnie’s resignation, I have to give the producers major props for toasting the actor’s ouster with a Journey classic and a cut to black. Oh, don’t stop believing, Vinnie.

Last night’s challenge was to create a campaign to raise awareness about Crocs’ shoe-recycling program. On the men’s side, Hydra once again decided to use Lennox “I Like Cats” Lewis as their campaign figurehead, proving that their creativity might be wearing thin. But before we delve into the men’s plans, why don’t we give three cheers for our favorite boxer? Lennox certainly made more of a contribution this go-round than just stating his affection for the cute kitties, but it was Trace who ultimately created Hydra’s slogan of choice: “Wear Them, Share Them.” And as much as we might question the team’s originality, one has to admit that Piers’ ultimately ill-conceived plan to send Vinnie to infiltrate Empresario as a mole was quite clever.

Of course Nely would be the Empresario member to fall for the men’splan the hardest (poor, gullible Nely). But it seems Vinnie’s presencehelped Empresario more than it hurt them. After all, without theactor, the women would have opted to spotlight Miss USA with a Croc ona leash (huh?), but instead Vinnie convinced them to use Carol as thecampaign’s figurehead. Perhaps it was the fact that the girls werereceptive to his ideas, but Vinnie soon experienced a change of heartand decided to fully support Empresario. Cue: The actor explaining hischoice through a dissection of The Godfather’s plot. Sigh. Marilu said it best: “He thinks he’s still on The Sopranos.”(Butin all fairness, Vinnie did later state that he is not, in fact, BigPussy. Not that this revelation is keeping him from shamelessly quotingGoodfellas.)

But it didn’t take long for knowledge of the secret plan to spread.After a hysterical exchange between Piers and Stephen about religionand Jesus — I can’t remember the last time The Apprentice washome to such heated philosophical discussion — the two Hydra membersdropped hints of the sabotage to Nely, who, not surprisingly, wasshocked by the confession. This prompted Piers to proclaim, “Why wouldyou trust a guy that has come out of The Sopranos, ever?” Um, maybe because The Sopranosis a TV show, and Vinnie is not actually a mobster? I mean, I know it’soften difficult for these celebs to separate fiction from reality,but come on. But rather than welcoming the mafioso wannabe for helpingthem avert a disastrous campaign, Empresario opted to fire the actorfor being a snitch.

It wasn’t long until Vinnie’s return to Hydra resulted in a shoutingmatch between Piers and the actor, culminating in Vinnie’sever-so-cunning insult: “You arrogant British fart!” This argument, ofcourse, carried on into the boardroom, where Vinnie criticized Piers’stereotyping, only to further some Italian stereotyping of his own by threatening the Brit’s life. And though Hydra managed topull together an effective campaign, the girls overcame “hugeobstacles” (not sure how Vinnie’s crossover was any more than a minorannoyance, but to each her own) to land their first victory, thanks totheir presentation and impressive, if impractical, giant shoereceptacle.

What did you think, PopWatchers? Were you shocked that Omarosafinally quelled her grudge against Carol? Are you surprised that Ivankais a fan of sabotage (she is a Trump, after all)? Do you think thegirls should have given Vinnie more credit for his contribution? Andfinally, what do you think was the night’s most touching moment: Carolresponding to her win with tears of joy, or Omarosa’s assertion thatthe supermodel “is a 10. I’d say I’m a 9.5”?