It all seemed to be going Sterling's way, after a unique task of securing discount bargains on products and services for a daily deals website.
Lord Sugar was very impressed with Sterling's approach of gaining multiple deals wherever they went, in contrast to Jade's emphasis on quality for fewer deals.
But the figures spoke for themselves...
Phoenix: 6 deals offered, 2 accepted - £14,563 (mostly Jade's one spa deal - quality!)
Sterling: 9 deals offered, 3 accepted - £6,090 (mostly Ricky's restaurant deals - all the scallop quaffing paid off)
Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar decided that, although Ricky had made "a belligerent decision, a very serious mistake" (and it was the fourth time he was in the final three), he had brought in the most money, while "the other two were running around like headless chickens".
He also noted Stephen's sense of panic, but he was more concerned with Gabrielle's lack of contribution on the day. On that basis, he decided that, "as nice a person as you are, with regret... you are fired."
But Lord Sugar wasn't done.
Stephen was destined to be the leader after his brash promises last week, and both his team-mates thought he'd buckled under the pressure. Lord Sugar agreed.
"There's no smoke without fire. Stephen, you told me you were going to win. You didn't win, you lost. On that basis... you're also fired."
Team Sterling had had a disadvantage from the start, with only three of them against Phoenix's four. And Phoenix, with Jade at the helm, happily settled in and worked on one big deal - which paid off when they got a whopping 50% discount for their efforts at a central London spa.
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They didn't have quite the same success at their meeting with restaurateur Marcus Wareing, when their calculator skills let them down... "anyone got a phone?" asked Nick.
Wareing was suitably disapproving, while Nick Hewer looked on. But they got their act together, and a 30% discount in the bag. They were on their way to Cliveden for a £500 tea, while Sterling were left in the Losers' Cafe to reflect on spreading themselves too thin... "I learn from my mistakes," said Ricky. We shall see.