Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry drunk drove himself into a coma and was haunted by his douchbag, deadbeat dad. Grove lost his wife and let his misogynist flag fly while he was briefly in charge of the store, giving Crabb, of all people, a chance to step up and be kind of awesome. Henri revealed an inexplicable crush on Agnes.
In the pre-dawn hours, Harry races around the Selfridge manse, turning on all the lights and resetting the clocks. Rose asks him what the heck he’s doing and he laughs and says he had this great idea to set all the clocks forward five minutes. It’s a slippery slope to Sandringham time, Harry. Rose guesses he’s still being kept awake by nightmares. He apologises for putting his whole family through hell and promises to be around to drive her crazy for a while yet. She hugs and kisses him and asks him to stay home one more day. He counters by suggesting she come to the store and have lunch with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. She’s a fan, so she agrees.
Agnes helps George get ready for work and he randomly says her future husband will be a lucky man. She says she’s not looking to find a husband just yet and suggests George instead look for a wife. He doubts anyone would look twice at him and she says he just needs to put in some effort. To that end, she rips some ribbons off of her petticoat and uses them to dress up her hat a little.
The store’s in a tizzy, because it’s Harry’s first day back. Even Grove says he’s glad to have Harry back, adding an apology to Crabb for not having quite been himself. Harry appears on the mezzanine to greet everyone and tell them to open the doors. He races downstairs to check on things and greet Edwards, who asks for a quote for his readers. That quote: Life is for living. Wow, profound. I think a couple of brain cells just died. He rushes off to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who’s already showed up and started signing books. Didn’t the store just open about 30 seconds ago? I feel like I’m watching a whole scene in fast forward or something.
Edwards makes his way to Kitty’s counter to ask for a set of ivory-topped pencils for his interview with Conan Doyle. She slinks over to get them and tells Edwards she’s a big fan of Sir Arthur’s. He compliments her on her brains (heh) and on her lovely hair, asking her what colour it is. Isn’t he supposed to be a writer? A newspaper man, at that? He doesn’t know how to describe hair colours? She says it’s strawberry blonde, and all real.
Harry’s got the heads of departments in his office to ask them to think about how they can improve their departments. He wants new product lines and fresh suppliers. He sends everyone off, save Irene, whom he wants to thank personally for her handling of the suffragette crisis. He should really be thanking Crabb, though, because from what I saw, all Irene did was tell Henri to open up the new window already, which is something anyone could have done if anybody else on this show ever exhibited the most basic levels of common sense. Irene immediately asks Harry to give her Agnes as a sort of thank you and he agrees, calling her one of their best employees. Whatever.
Selfridge manse. Rosalie’s being fitted for a dress and is stressing out over the straps. Rose tells her to stop fussing and Rosalie reminds her that this isn’t just any dress for any party, it’s for her official coming out, which for some reason that beggars belief, her own parents aren’t allowed to attend. Lady Mae’s going to be taking her instead. That makes no sense, really. Unless this is a court presentation, which it can’t be, because that outfit’s all wrong for that. There were actual rules about how a young woman being presented at court had to dress, and I wouldn’t nitpick about that now if it weren’t for the fact that these characters were explicitly discussing said rules just a couple of episodes ago. Anyway, Rose tells Rosalie to chill out and go change, leaving her alone with her mother-in-law. Lois asks if Harry’s still having nightmares and Rose says he’s fine. Lois wonders why he takes so many risks and Rose guesses he was just born that way. She’s awfully blase about that risk taking considering it almost killed her husband not so long ago.
Musker swings by Harry’s office to check up on him, basically. Harry asks what’s up in the business world and Musker says there are some buyers sniffing around the adjacent buildings, but he’s sure the prices are going to be out of their reach, so things should be fine until Selfridge’s stock issue, which should happen in about two months’ time. Because Harry has all the patience of your average toddler, he decides he wants this to happen in a week. Musker tells him to chill, because the bank’s a bit spooked after Harry’s accident and the new chairman is still settling in. Plus, they won’t take kindly to some pushy American coming in and telling them how to do things. Jesus, Harry, what’s the rush? Whatever it is, Harry says they’ll either get the bank to move things along, or he’ll get Crabb to bring the bankers to the store. Poor Crabb looks like he’s about to soil himself. He looks at Musker in bewilderment.
At the Selfridge manse, Lois reads from the paper that Roddy, the hack who did Rose’s portrait, just did a show in Paris that was very well received, so prices for his work are bound to go through the roof. Rose tries to keep her face neutral as she says she made the right choice, then.
At the store, Kitty finds a mysterious gift addressed to her. It’s a box full of mint humbugs and an anonymous note. She breathes that she always wanted a mystery admirer. She wonders who it is and her eye immediately lights on Edwards.
Rose arrives at Harry’s office and he immediately sweeps her off her feet, literally. She smiles and giggles, and then her eye briefly rests on her portrait. She quickly looks away.
Harry takes her downstairs and introduces her to Sir Arthur. She’s cutely awkward and fangirly and asks him to sign a couple of books. He does, nicely, and introduces a Mr Grinnell, a medium who’s apparently just hanging around with Doyle, even though Doyle’s interest in and involvement with spritualism and the occult didn’t come about until after World War I. Apparently, Rose is rather interested in talking to ghosts as well.
The Catty Bitches head to a nearby teashop for lunch, where they run into George. Kitty greets him a bit coolly and the girls go to the counter to order. While they’re there, Doris notices Bunting, the woman who got suddenly sacked a few episodes back, sitting with a cup of tea. Kitty kind of makes fun of her but Doris looks concerned and goes over to say hello and to find out how Bunting’s doing. Bunting admits it’s been hard to find work without a reference, and in fact she just interviewed for a job she knows she won’t get. The poor woman is clearly trying to remain upbeat, but it’s hard in the face of such hopelessness. Kitty comes over to hurry Doris away, and Doris, bless her heart, bids Bunting farewell, but then pretends to find a coin on the ground and hands it right over to Bunting, telling her the buns are really delicious at the counter. As she’s a heartless bitch, Kitty asks Doris what she did that for and Doris tells her that the poor woman’s clearly hungry. Bunting wipes away a few tears and goes back to her tea.
Over a much nicer and more plentiful meal, Rose is explaining to Sir Arthur that, even though Harry was unconscious, it was as if he was in another world. Yes, Rose, an unconscious world. That sentence actually doesn’t make a lot of sense. It would be strange if he seemed to be in another world while he was awake, but while he’s in a coma? Not so much. Doyle tells her about a Mrs Haskins who apparently returned from the dead. He goes on to say that they’re not quite sure about how fine the line is between this world and the next. Rose brings up the fact that one does hear about people being exploited by mediums and Doyle says he’s come across quacks but has also seen some strange things. Grinnell breaks in and offers to hold a séance in the store that night, just for the staff. Harry doesn’t seem enthusiastic, but Rose begs and gets her way.
Mardle’s been tasked with telling Agnes she’s to be moved to fashion, but only if she wants to. Agnes definitely does, and Mardle tries not to look disappointed by that. It helps that she’s distracted by Kitty and Doris just standing around sucking on humbugs. Honestly, how do these two still have jobs? I feel like I ask this question every week! Mardle sends Agnes off with good grace and then goes to tear the Catty Bitches a pair of new ones.
Upstairs, Harry asks Crabb how things are going with the bank. He says he’s working on it, but this is a delicate matter. Harry tells him about the séance before heading into his office, and Crabb looks like he’s just been slapped, presumably because this is yet more ridiculous crap to pile on his plate. Crabb turns and sees Blenkinsop and Mardle standing nearby, wringing their hands over the idea of having something like a séance when Mrs Grove is hardly cold (not that that fact didn’t stop Mardle from trying to jump right in her still-warm spot in the bed last week, mind you).
Grinnell gets the séance set up, and it looks like pretty much the whole staff’s turned up (the staffers with lines, that is), along with Lois, who’s seated with Rose. Grinnell tells everyone there’s nothing to be afraid of and explains why they put out food and drink, along with a planchette. The séance begins, with a circle of people sitting around the table chanting ‘momento mori’ until Grinnell finally makes contact and says he’s talking to a woman, not long dead, who wants to pass along a message to her husband. The séance circle puts their hands on the planchette as Grinnell asks the spirit for a name. The planchette points to a card with an ‘H’ on it and Mardle, of course, immediately guesses this is the late Hetty Grove speaking to them. Grinnell says the woman’s out of pain and wants to thank her husband for all his years of care. Grove is looking increasingly sceptical.
The next spirit to come through is, apparently, a huge asshole. Grinnell keeps telling it that they don’t pass along hostile messages and asks it to leave, but it won’t, so he calls an end to the séance.
Afterwards, Grinnell tells Harry that the dickhead spirit was apparently drawn to him, and he’d be happy to offer a private session. I’ll bet he would. And anyway, why would someone want to pay extra to be abused by the dead? Understandably, Harry turns him down.
The Selfridges return home and Lois asks Rose if she knows what Harry’s nightmares are about. She does not, and assumes he’s just seeing what he saw when he was unconscious. Lois comments that he used to have nightmares when he was a boy and Rose says most boys do.
The next day, Mardle whirls into Grove’s office, practically giddy because she’s certain that Hetty was giving them her blessing during the séance. Grove’s doubtful and tells her not to dwell on this. Still pushing rather inappropriately, she keeps insisting that his dead wife wants them together and he finally tells her to just back off, because he’s still adjusting to a massive change in his life. Mardle reminds him that she gave him her childbearing years—hold on, what now? How long have they been together? I thought they met when they both came to Selfridge’s, but I guess not. Which does make me suspect a tiny but that he had her hired, or perhaps did the hiring himself, to have her close, which is incredibly stupid, considering they both knew that this relationship could get them fired.
Anyhow, Mardle essentially thinks that Grove owes her a marriage, and she’s not happy about his foot dragging.
Downstairs, Irene tells Agnes the new mannequins have arrived and she’s going to let Agnes dress them. Agnes is…well, I guess she’s supposed to be pleased, but this actress sucks at conveying excitement or much of anything really. She spots Henri walking across the shop floor and rushes over to tell him her news. He says he’s pleased for her. I half expect him to pat her on the head, she’s being so puppy-like, but he doesn’t, which disappoints me a bit.
Musker returns to the store, this time for lunch with Mae. He tells her he understands Harry’s impatience (really? Would you care to explain it to the rest of us?) but worries that this is going to end up putting the bank’s nose out of joint. So, he needs a little helping hand from Mae.
Doris is back at the teashop, where she once again finds Bunting, nursing a cup of tea. Bunting mentions that she’s down to her last farthing and sees no hope getting another job. Just to be clear, it doesn’t appear that she’s trying to get anything out of Doris here, it just feels like she has nobody to talk to and confide in and she just really needs it, the poor woman. She tells Doris that she’s not a thief—really, she’s not, she was just really desperate. Doris believes her, and then makes the mistake of asking how Bunting’s sick mother is doing. Dead, it seems. Doris tries to make up for that blunder by offering Bunting dinner that evening, Doris’s treat. She does a really great job of making it not seem like she’s taking pity on Bunting by doing this, which is making me reassess Doris’s brainpower. She may very well become one of my favourite female characters on this show.
Victor’s back at Lady Mae’s, attending to her needs. A servant knocks on the door and delivers a telegram, which she dispatches Victor to collect. Bizarrely, even though they’ve clearly had sex and she’s topless, he’s still wearing his trousers. He doesn’t cuddle, he doesn’t get undressed…I’ll bet he sucks at foreplay too. The telegram is from Musker, summoning her to the store. Wouldn’t a phone call have worked better for this purpose?
Crabb reports to Harry’s office and tells him that the chairman of the bank and his deputy are going to visit the store at 4 pm that very day. He sounds like even he can’t believe this actually worked. He does mention that he’s concerned about their approach to the bank and Harry says that’s duly noted.
Downstairs, Kitty gets yet another message, asking her to meet her secret admirer at the tea shop that day. Doris asks if she thinks it’s Edwards, and of course Kitty does, because the note’s written in pencil. Doris gets sad at the thought of losing Kitty, whom she’s rather thought of like a sister. A bitchy, condescending sister, I imagine. Kitty says she’s not gone yet, but then adds, unconvincingly, that they’ll always be BFFs.
Agnes is trying to figure out how to put the mannequins together in a back room. Henri comes in and pulls a little packing straw out of her hair and she looks a bit hot and bothered.
Dear Doris makes her way to Grove’s office, knocks on the door, and hesitantly enters. She gathers up her courage and tells him that Bunting’s in dire straits and asks him to give the poor woman a reference. What a sweetie this girl is. Why is she friends with Kitty, exactly? Grove gives her a coin to give Bunting and tells her he’ll broach this subject with Selfridge and see what he can do. As Doris leaves, he observes that she has a soft heart. Doris leaves, looking rather delighted.
Crabb fetches Harry downstairs to meet the bank chairman, Sir Oliver, who’s there with his assistant, Fitch, and Musker. Harry greets them really awkwardly and shows them around, crowing about how great the store’s doing. Fitch observes that Harry seems to value speed above all else. Harry says that Musker has complete confidence in him, and surely they have confidence in Musker? They do, but they have a problem with Harry, which he’s aware of. He tells them that the store is strong and will go on long after Harry’s gone.
Right on cue, Lady Mae comes wandering over and is happily greeted by Sir Oliver. She asks what they’re up to and gets a fairly dismissive ‘just boring business stuff’ response from Oliver. She guesses he’s advocating caution and tradition while Harry’s being impetuous. She says that Harry’s rather refreshing and asks Oliver to at least extend the courtesy of listening to him. Oliver says he will, of course. She wanders off and seems to have charmed them.
In one of the subplots I couldn’t care less about, Kitty heads to the tea stall and, of course, George is the one waiting for her. He immediately starts apologising for liking her, and she gets upset with him for a second, scolding him for not signing the note and letting her imagination run wild. He keeps apologising, saying it’s just that she was oh so pretty. She softens and they walk off together.
Crabb goes to Harry and tells him the bank will meet to discuss the stock offer on Monday morning. Man, Crabb’s just been on fire lately, hasn’t he? Give this man a raise, Harry! He gives him a handshake and a congratulations instead, and Crabb seems pleased with that. Harry next turns to Musker and thanks him for getting Mae to help out.
The store’s shutting down for the night, but Agnes is still trying to dress her dummy. Henri bids her goodnight, but before he goes she asks him for his advice. He looks at her work and tells her that the horribly clashing scarf she has draped around the thing is the wrong colour. And we’re supposed to believe that this girl is the future of the fashion department and one of the store’s best employees? He picks a different scarf, and she kisses him. Seriously, it happened just like that. Before we know it, they’re full on making out in the back room.
Rosalie’s getting ready for her big party and starting to get really nervous. She tells her mother that she wishes she was coming along. Rose reassures her there’s nothing wrong with being scared, and Rosalie eyerolls that her father never gets scared. Rose says he has, and he does. She goes on to tell Rosalie how lucky she is not to have lost her father in a war and to have to live under that shadow her whole life. Lois’s face changes to one of serious guilt as Rose speaks and she slips out of the room.
She goes down to the study, where Harry’s relaxing, or, at least, trying to. She tells him she did a terrible thing when he was a boy. She lied to him about what happened to his father, claiming he died in the war. Harry tells her he already knows about all that, and he doesn’t want to end up like him. She admits she was ashamed of being left and she’s really sorry she roped Harry into her lie. He says that everything he’s done in his life is because of her and they should really put this behind them.
In comes the butler to announce Mae. Lois goes out, while Harry takes a minute to look at a picture of his father before stashing it in a drawer.
He goes into the hall and thanks Mae for her help with the bankers. She accepts his thanks and acknowledges that he now owes her yet another favour. She also warns him that going public with the company is bound to shine even more of a spotlight on his family, and he should really be ready for that.
Rosalie comes downstairs, accompanied by Rose, and Harry happily embraces her and says that everyone will fall at her feet. Mae gives her a gift of a fan, which is sweet, and when Rosalie admits to being nervous, Mae kindly tells her there’s no need, because all the men will be mad for her. This bucks Rosalie up, and she embraces both of her parents and goes out with Mae. Once they’re gone, Rose tries to get Harry to go to bed and get some actual sleep, but he says he won’t be able to sleep a wink until Rosalie’s safely home.