Exactly one hundred years ago today, Germany decided to go ahead and poke a bunch of bears and marched its army into Belgium, provoking Britain into declaring war on Germany. The first four days of the month had been dedicated to Germany declaring war on Russia and France. And just like that, what began as a tragedy for the Austro-Hungarian royal family developed into the … Continue reading World War I
Previously on The Crimson Field: Quayle and Grace had a falling out, as did Catherine and Rosalie. Joan’s German fiancé escaped from a POW transport so he could drop in and say hi, and Soper caught her helping the guy escape on her motorbike.
Tom bandages up Joan’s hand, which has apparently been injured at some point. She asks if her fiancé, Anton, has been caught and Tom says he hasn’t, but it’d be better for her if he had.
Previously on The Crimson Field: Catherine and Tom made an assignation, but then Catherine’s abusive husband showed up and traumatized her so much she suggested she and Tom just be friends. Joan has a German fiancé she’s trying to get info on, and Grace apparently has ‘exotic’ tastes, whatever that may mean.
Joan heads into the forest late at night, the scenes of her journey intercut with bits of her writing the letter to her fiancé. She checks a designated spot and finds a note from the Belgian that tells her to meet him at midnight the following night.
Previously on The Crimson Field: Catherine and Tom exchanged some significant looks and a shell-shocked soldier named Prentiss got sent back to the front, thanks to Quayle, who’s bitter as hell over having been passed over for a promotion.
Most of the name characters, along with a group of soldiers, march out of camp to bury some of the unlucky ones. After the service, one of the soldiers addresses the others, reminding them that they’re the Lucky 13, and they’ll stick together and stay alive. They all agree and bow their heads to pray for the departed. I feel like they missed a trick by not stunt casting the actor who played Titus Pullo on Rome just so he could yell ‘Thirteeeeeeeen!’ at some point this hour.
Previously on The Crimson Field: Catherine had a lover and a baby and now her mother won’t speak to her. Rosalie is so repressed she can’t bear the sight of a penis, and when Joan tried to help her Rosalie completely lost it and went running straight into Quayle’s waiting arms.
Tom sits in his tent, fantasizing about Catherine in her underwear, standing in the surf at the beach. He’s rudely interrupted by some douchebag hammering on the typewriter and telling Tom to wake up. He grabs his coat and walks through the tents, watched a little nervously by Catherine.
Previously on The Crimson Field: Three volunteers and one nurse arrived at a field hospital in 1915 France, ready to do some healing.
Catherine wakes with a cry from a nightmare, dresses, and goes out for a walk to the beach, where she sits and looks at a letter until the sun comes up.
A little later, we see her back at the camp, writing a letter of her own—a begging one, from what we can see of it. As she goes to post it, she runs into Grace, who opens the post box and removes the letter once Catherine’s gone. In her office, Grace opens the letter and reads it.
There’s something we all need to accept about Sunday evening BBC programming: it’s generally feelgood stuff. They want your heart to be warmed before you start your workweek. So, we’re not going to get terribly hard-hitting or experimental drama. No Ripper Street or Prime Suspect. I think it’s important to keep this in mind when watching (and, in my case, recapping and reviewing) shows that come on at this time. Not that we can’t criticize them when they’re really awful or the writing/acting/directing are lazy, but maybe we just need to adjust our standards a bit.
So, the Crimson Field. We start out on board ship, as a young woman (played by Oona Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie, whom we last saw getting belly stabbed at the Red Wedding) tosses a wedding band overboard before disembarking. This is Catherine, and she’s just arrived in Boulogne in 1915. On the wharf, she passes an eager girl clutching a cake tin who introduces herself as Flora and is so excited to be in France. They catch up with a redheaded woman, Rosalie, and are all bundled off by an officious middle-aged officer to their transportation to hospital 25A, near the front.
Previously on Mr Selfridge: Grove inappropriately inserted himself into Mardle’s relationship, in the most offensive way possible; Harry’s daughters and mother came over from America just as Rose was getting some possibly-bad news from her doctor; and Mae and Edwards decided to try and clear Harry’s name.
The Selfridge dinner table is a noisy and lively place, with all the girls plus Mae (where’s Henri? Isn’t he still living at the Selfridge Manse?). Once they’re finished, the kids get ready to scatter, but before they go, Rose reminds them that Thanksgiving is coming up and she wants everyone to gather together for a good old-fashioned meal.
Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry got back from Berlin and had to clean up all sorts of messes, including mostly clearing Henri’s name, welcoming some terrible Americans to the store, and denying he had anything to do with this stupid procurement scandal. Mae’s left Loxsley, but finds herself on the outs with the Selfridges nonetheless, as does Edwards, and Mardle finally decides to give it a go with Florian.
Mardle wakes early in the morning, in bed with Florian, and tells him he’d better skedaddle before the household wakes up. He’s got an adorable blissed-out look on his face. Go Mardle!
Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry took a trip to Berlin that was so super-secret that just about everyone was able to find out about it; the store was mired in scandal thanks to Loxsley; and Henri was locked up on charges of theft during his time in America.
Harry, the world’s worst-kept secret agent, arrives home to find the press camped out on his doorstep, shouting questions about this procurement scandal. I hate to be bitchy so early in a recap, but I find it really difficult to believe that the big story on this procurement thing would be the fact that some American store owner may have recommended the manufacturer (a fact that hasn’t even been confirmed yet). If it involves some of the biggest names in the land, as is later stated, then that would be the big story—how a bunch of aristocratic leaders let their boys march off to war in shoddy uniforms. The readers of the penny papers love a good ‘aristocrats gone bad’ story.