Upstairs Downstairs: A Voice from the Past

Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: The Bellamys hired a housemaid, Sarah, who turned out to be something of a sociopath and compulsive liar. She had a flirtation with James, and then decided she was too good for servant-ing.

It’s autumn 1908. The Bellamys and Hudson are off to Scotland, leaving the house in the hands of Elizabeth and James. I can’t see how that would be a bad plan at all!

Elizabeth’s doing some charity work in an East End soup kitchen, and James tags along because he’s bored. While there, they run into none other than Sarah, the most repulsive character in this show’s history. In fact, she might be the most repulsive non-villain character I’ve ever come across on a television show, ever. She faints dramatically as soon as she sees James, then spins one of her elaborate lies about looking for a friend and blah, blah, blah. Clearly the past four years have not treated her well, and Elizabeth–who has no experience with this little nutter and therefore doesn’t know what she’s in for–takes her back to Eton Place and basically tells the servants there to figure out what to do with her.

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Upstairs Downstairs: Why Is Her Door Locked?

Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: The kitchen maid, Emily, made it very clear she had some serious problems when, after being dumped by her boyfriend, she hanged herself.

It’s October 1907, and apparently London is plagued by some serious fog. And Mrs Bridges is plagued by something as well. She’s acting very oddly, barricading herself in her room, locking the door after leaving, coming down ridiculously late in the morning looking like absolute hell, and throwing around quite a bit of attitude. Any one of those things would normally be enough to get a servant fired, but I guess the Bellamys are feeling generous. Also, Marjorie’s got a dinner party the following week. Even so, she has some strong words with her cook and demands to know why her door was locked.

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Life in Squares: Loving in Triangles

Previously on Life in Squares: The Stephens family became the nucleus of the early Bloomsbury Group, which included Clive Bell, who married Vanessa Stephens, and Duncan Grant, who became very attached to Vanessa as well, despite being homosexual.

‘Let me remind you that I’m not the marrying sort.’

‘Not an easy feat keeping Roger as a friend and Clive as a husband and Duncan as…?’

In the 1920s and in 1912, Vanessa and Clive are preparing for a party. In 1912, it’s Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s wedding, which the Bells are hosting. Would have been nice to see how Virginia came to embrace marriage, but since this mostly seems to be Vanessa’s story, I can understand the oversight. There’s some good-natured ribbing amongst the group, but Vanessa seems glum and removes herself to her studio to be a little depressed. Duncan comes in and asks to see some of her more recent work. He asks if she’s sad to lose a sister and she riposts that she’s ‘gaining a Leonard’ and suggests playfully that they find someone for Duncan next. He reminds her that he’s not the marrying sort. They return to the dining room, which is a cozy little domestic scene of friends being friends together.

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Life in Squares: The Price of Love

Life-in-Squares-323242Pull on your bluestockings and open your marriage, it’s time to join the Bloomsbury Group!

‘Is it true what I hear, Thoby, that you’re running some sort of degenerate salon?’

‘To friendship: that rarest good deed in the naughtiest of worlds.’

We join the Stephens family while they’re clearly in mourning, and poor Vanessa’s being bored to death by some loser who can’t shut up about trout fishing. Later, her aunt, who clearly set up this awful date, scolds Vanessa for not being a bit more forthcoming, before turning to their brother, Thoby, and telling him that it’s not quite proper for his two sisters to be unchaperoned in the wake of their father’s death. Thoby reminds the woman that he’s totally respectable—a lawyer and everything—and everyone chimes in to say that Virginia’s unstable mind isn’t so wavering these days, so everything’s fine, just fine! Auntie gets in a jab at Vanessa for her painting before leaving.

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Mr Selfridge: Something Happened in Paris

MR SELFRIDGE S3 EP116Previously on Mr Selfridge: Doris got run over, not long after confessing her affair to Mardle; Harry sold shares in the store so he could fund the Selfridge Estate, unaware that Nancy is conning him.

Mardle is hosting Doris’s wake. Grove sits looking sadly at a photograph of his wife. Mardle is looking really awful. Like she’s aged at least a decade. Outside, Harry climbs out of his car and approaches the house. George, Victor, Kitty, and Edwards all talk about how sad this is. Mardle answers the door and is surprised to see Harry there, since she wasn’t expecting him to come. You weren’t? The deceased is a former store employee married to one of his top men. This seems like exactly the sort of event Harry would show up for. She directs him to Grove, and as he comes inside, she sees Doris’s lover, Billy, approach. Mardle firmly tells him to leave, because this is not the time. He asks where Doris is buried and she directs him to the spot. Grove watches their interaction through the window.

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Mr Selfridge: Prove Yourself

Mr-Selfridge-s-actress-Kelly-Adams-casting-Jeremy-Piven-husband-children-Christine-Smith-560599Previously on Mr Selfridge: Gordon was promoted to deputy head of the store, Kitty got attacked and then smeared in the press, Loxsley continued his crusade to ruin Harry, and Nancy turned out to be a con artist.

Victor and Violette, in their separate homes, are lost in thought. Harry is called away from the breakfast table for a phone call from Purkiss. Violette goes out into the hall just as her dad is hanging up the phone, ready for her punishment. Harry slams down the phone and informs her the police aren’t pursuing a prosecution. This time. He forbids her from leaving the house or speaking on the phone and tells her he’s glad her mother’s not there to see her shame. Ouch, Harry.

The musicians pack up and leave Victor’s place. Elsa asks if they’re reopening and Victor says he just needs some time.

At the store, prior to opening, Gordon dorkily practices introducing himself as deputy manager.

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Mr Selfridge: Public Relations

mr_selfridge_episode-5_4Previously on Mr Selfridge: Agnes took Henri back to France to help him get over the PTSD he acquired in France, Harry started dating Nancy, Kitty got attacked, and Victor decided it was time to start going straight.

Harry gets dressed and leaves Nancy’s place first thing in the morning. After some cute talk and kissing, he manages to get out the door and off to work. At the door to Selfridge’s, he’s greeted by a reporter asking about the attack in Kitty. Harry dismisses him and hurries inside. The reporter sees Kitty and Connie approaching.

Harry gathers Crabb, Grove, Kitty, Mardle, Grace, and Gordon in his office to announce that he wants to fill Henri’s position of store deputy from amongst the current employees. Why is he only announcing that to this bunch? There are way more heads of department than just this. I know it’s probably because the show doesn’t want to go introducing a bunch of new characters who’ll have no purpose to the story, but this is kind of what extras are for, right? This just seems silly and like blatant favouritism.

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Mr Selfridge: Professionalism

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 16.08.34Previously on Mr Selfridge: Henri had a total breakdown, freaking out Agnes; some drunken, frustrated vets nearly raped Kitty; Harry paid way too much for a field; and Violette started coming on to Victor.

Harry and Nancy take Kitty to the hospital, where she’s taken upstairs by some doctors. Frank is summoned and absolutely hauls ass up to the emergency department, clearly freaked out of his mind. Harry tells him that Kitty’s got a cut on her face and is pretty traumatized, but otherwise all right. Frank is allowed into Kitty’s room, where he immediately wraps his arms around her and tenderly comforts her. Awww. You know, if you’d told me way back in season one that I’d be totally rooting for a Kitty/Edwards pairing I would have thought you were crazy, but I actually really like these two together.

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Mr Selfridge: The Breaking Point

Mr-Selfridge-3-3Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry decided to bankroll a charitable housing project, no matter what the cost. Henri slid further into PTSD territory, Violette whined for a job, and Mardle became head of fashion.

Harry and Kitty launch a major beauty event in front of the press. For some reason, Agnes is hanging around in the background of all the photos. After the launch, Kitty explains to the girls down in cosmetics that she’s going to be giving demonstrations of all the new products. Gordon comes over and congratulates Grace, the young woman who used to work in the tea department with him, who is now head of accessories following Mardle’s move to fashion. Grace is sweetly modest; Kitty is a bit bitchy about it. Once a catty bitch, always a catty bitch. Gordon suggests he and Grace go out and celebrate sometime.

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Mr Selfridge: No Man’s Land

mr_selfridge_episode2_05Previously on Mr Selfridge: Rosalie married a total golddigger, who comes with an equally greedy mother. Agnes and Henri finally made it official, though Henri’s struggling to hide his lingering PTSD from the war. Victor’s got a nightclub to run, which is made difficult by a crooked copper and George, who decides what Victor really needs is him on the payroll.

Lanvin has sent some exclusive designs to the store, which Thackeray unwraps reverently, refusing to let anyone else touch them. Lanvin’s creative director is coming by the next day to see how the dresses are to be displayed. Thack’s plan is apparently to do as little with them as possible, to ‘let them speak for themselves.’ Let’s just see how well that goes. Crabb comes swirling in looking for Harry. He’s nowhere to be found.

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