Mr Selfridge: Memories

Jeremy Piven as Harry Selfridge in series 3 episode 1 of Mr SelfridgePreviously on Mr Selfridge: Harry reformed, just before his wife got a terminal diagnosis. Mardle hooked up with a cute Belgian, and Agnes got back together with Henriiiiizzzzzzzzzzz…

The family Selfridge buries Rose. Harry sadly bids her farewell and wonders how he’ll live without her.

Nine months later, he flies back from a trip to Ireland that involved buying another store. Newspapermen on the ground immediately descend, shouting questions about the acquisition and about alleged plans Harry has to buy some land to build an aerodrome. He says that’s just a rumour, though he thinks aviation is the future. He hops into a car driven by his now-all-grown-up son, Gordon, and the reporters ask Gordon how he feels about the business expansion. Gordon softballs that he’s proud of his dad and everything he does.

In London, Crabb is losing his damn mind because the store is actually closing for the day and customers are being turned away. Grove basically tells him to just chill the eff out. Up on the store’s roof garden, preparations are underway for a wedding reception. Crabb is still whining. Down in the loading bay, some peacocks arrive (terrible idea, folks. They look pretty, but I hear they’re nasty as hell. You really want something ill tempered that bites stuck in an enclosed space with a bunch of people who have been drinking?) One of the loading bay workers refuses to touch it, despite George ordering him to. One of the female workers rolls up her sleeves and gets ready to show the man how it’s done.

Crabb? Still complaining. Now it’s all the acquisitions he’s stressing about. Geez, Crabb, shut up. Grove is kind of hilariously just ignoring him.

A telegram is delivered to Mardle’s house for Agnes. Mardle answers the door dressed in black. Oh no. No, come on.

Kitty finishes putting on her makeup. Edwards comes up behind her, kisses her neck, calls her Mrs Edwards (!!) and tells her she looks great. Their moment is interrupted by the arrival of her sister, who’s obnoxious and evidently living with them. She’s also employed at the store, in the loading bay. She complains about George not being able to control the workers and the fact that the male workers coming back from war aren’t getting along with the ladies who took over the jobs. Edwards tells her to chill and Kitty seconds that (sister’s name is Connie, by the way), warning her that she won’t get anywhere if people don’t like her. ‘You seem to have done all right,’ Connie snots. Oh, she’s going to be delightful. Edwards wonders when Connie will be moving out.

Harry gets home, where everyone’s scurrying around getting ready for the wedding. Lois appears and asks how the acquisition went. Harry tells her they got the store, asks about Rosalie (the bride), and is shooed off to get ready.

Mardle goes to the store, where she gets to exposit that she’s been on a leave of absence. She goes to deliver the telegram to Agnes.

In the loading bay, things get a little tense between a vet and one of the ladies. George tells everyone to relax and Grove appears, asking what’s happening. George explains that the men and women don’t get on and it’s becoming a real drag for him.

Vodka is delivered to the roof garden for the reception. Mardle comes in and is nicely greeted by Grove. She asks him how his war wound is doing and he says he’s fine. He was lucky, unlike poor Florian. Aw, come on and give this poor woman a break, show! She’s totally the Edith of Mr Selfridge. Grove says how sorry he is and she thanks him before delivering the telegram to Agnes. Agnes opens it and joyfully learns that Henri is on his way back to London, after having been discharged from hospital. ‘Why’s he been in hospital?’ she wonders, like Mardle would know.[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”leftright” width=”33%”]Grove says he’s sorry about Florian. Oh, come on! Mardle is totally the Edith of Mr Selfridge.[/cryout-pullquote]

Harry gets ready for the wedding. Rosalie comes into his room, resplendent in her wedding dress, but damn she needs to soften up that makeup just a skosh, because it’s way harsh. Harry warmly tells her she looks wonderful and he adores her. She tries to hold back tears as she says she knows the day’s going to be hard without her mother there. Harry says that Rose would have been proud. Rosalie confesses she’s nervous and Harry reassures her that’s normal, because this is kinda sorta a big deal and she hasn’t even had the benefit of a ‘sketching trip’ to test the waters. He seriously asks if she loves this guy and she firmly says that she does. Harry apologises for having been so caught up with business lately. Rosalie repeats that she loves the groom, because he reminds her of Harry. She takes his arm and they head downstairs.

Guests arrive at the church, as a large crowd of onlookers takes it all in and photographers snap away. Inside, Grove and Crabb greet their wives. Mardle and Agnes take seats behind the Groves and Mrs G greets them sweetly.

Lois comes in with a very brightly dressed woman played by Zoe Wanamaker. She’s the groom’s mother, Princess Marie, a Russian aristocrat (thanks for the info, Doris!) Marie’s greeting people left and right, which seems to make Lois uncomfortable. Midwesterners don’t greet their friends, I guess. The groom’s name is Sergei, and thanks to Doris, we learn he’s a famous aviator. And a playboy. This exposition dump has apparently been brought to you by Doris’s love of gossip mags. I’m surprised she has time to read them, what with the three dozen or so kids she’s got.

The bridesmaids arrive, followed by the bride. Some ladies in the crowd comment on the dress, which was designed by Lady Mae’s fashion house in Paris. Please tell me this doesn’t mean we’re not going to see Mae this season! Ooooh!

Harry tells Rosalie this is a whole new beginning, and they head down the aisle, trailed by her bridesmaids, her two younger sisters. Harry tells Sergei to look after his daughter and Sergei promises to do so. And by ‘her’ I’m willing to bet he means ‘her money’. As the ceremony begins, Henri, resplendent in uniform, suddenly materializes beside Agnes, and much as I don’t care about this relationship or her, they both get so cutely happy I actually buy into all of it for a little.

Meanwhile, Lord Loxley and his metric ton of luggage get off a train to ‘villain music’ and he sucks some lemons while he reads a newspaper article about the Selfridge wedding taking place that day. Oh, great, so we lose Mae and get stuck with this loser again? Sigh.

After the ceremony, guests head to the store for the reception. Agnes asks Henri why he was in hospital. He only says that they ‘wanted to make sure he was right’ but that it doesn’t matter. Yeah, you should totally conceal your mental health issues from the one you love, that’s a great plan! And Agnes, of course, doesn’t push it.

Victor apparently has a nightclub now and, perhaps, a female partner. They’re auditioning a Dixieland band. Victor likes them, saying people like a bit of edge, so they’ll attract a new crowd. The band finishes and Victor bargains with them, striking a deal. A man who should be creepier than he is sidles up to the female partner (Miss Simmons) and she greets him as ‘Inspector’. He reminds her it’s the first of the month, and he’s there for his payoff.

The reception is underway. Harry introduces Marie to Kitty, who’s a bit overwhelmed to be meeting a princess. Marie compliments Edwards’s latest book and suggests he write about her apparently crazy life. He rather likes the idea. Meanwhile, Sergei affectionately greets two sisters—Pauline and Polly Maxwell-Taylor—and introduces them to his wife. The girls compliment Rosalie on her bravery for marrying someone like Sergei (it’s all jokey, but you know they actually mean it). Moving down the receiving line, they find Marie, who knows them well and quickly introduces Gordon. Violette, clearly incapable of not being the centre of attention for a second, immediately inserts herself into the introduction before anyone even has the chance to get to her, which is really obnoxious. Simmer down, Violette. The Maxwell-Taylor girls ask Gordon if he plans to hit up some parties soon, since there are so few men about. Harry sends Gordon to get the girls some refreshments, and Marie tells Harry they should get that boy married. She offers to hold some parties for him so he can meet some girls, but Harry’s in no rush to go to another wedding.

Agnes and Henri enter and Harry joyfully greets his old friend.

Loxley gets on the phone with someone named Edgerton, darkly announcing ‘I’m back’ and telling Edgerton to meet him at their club.

Harry and Henri catch up briefly before the others come over to say hi. As Henri is drawn away, Harry’s attention is caught by his new son-in-law, who loudly thanks him for putting on such a generous show. Sergei goes on to say that he’s been telling his best man (presumably) about their new business venture: producing planes at the Selfridge Aerodrome. Crabb overhears that and nearly vomits up his spleen. Harry says this is a discussion for another time and asks where Rosalie is.

Sergei: The hell should I know? She’s about, I guess. Big white dress, hard to miss her. Oh, hey, vodka! Because despite my 100% British accent, I’m totally Russian!

Just in case we weren’t clear, this guy’s a golddigging jackass. Violette peels off to find her sister. Crabb downs a shot of vodka.

Violette finds Rosalie taking a moment on a bench off to the side. Rosalie admits this is all a bit much, having her wedding party in her father’s world. Violette says that she should have said something if she wanted the party elsewhere. Rosalie says that her father wanted it at the store and Violette firmly tells her she needs to stand up for what she wants. They overhear Sergei and some of the guests loudly laughing and Violette goes on to warn Rosalie not to let Sergei play her the way their father played their mother. Rosalie sharply tells her to keep her advice to herself, because she doesn’t know anything.

Henri cuddles Agnes and promises her a big wedding once he can pull the money together. She says she doesn’t care about any of this, she just wants to be his wife. They sure are taking their sweet time about this, aren’t they? Apparently the banns have already been read, so they could get married anytime.

Loxley meets with Edgerton at his club and hears that Selfridge floated shares in 1916, so he doesn’t actually own the whole story anymore. Edgerton doesn’t know anything about Harry’s personal finances, though. He asks Loxley why he’s so obsessed with Selfridge and Loxley angrily replies that Harry took something from him. Edgerton takes this as confirmation that Harry covered Mae’s fees in the divorce. Oh, good for her. And hold up: isn’t Edgerton the guy Loxley basically blackmailed last season? Why the hell is he willing to still have anything to do with this jerk? Especially after having lost everything in that scandal (something he admits in this very scene).

George goes to Victor’s club and hears about the new band. Victor urges him to come around and see them.

Harry finds Edwards and asks where this rumour about him buying land in Acton to build an aerodrome on has come from. Edwards indicates Sergei and Harry sighs that he was afraid of that. Edwards wonders if maybe Sergei was just spirited and excited. Harry darkly says he should have done some digging on this guy, that this all happened so quickly, when Rosalie was still really upset about her mother. He asks Edwards if he knows anything else about the groom. ‘He’s out and about,’ Edwards whitewashes. ‘Like we were at his age.’ Red flag, people!

Sergei calls everyone to attention for speeches, but his quickly devolves into a self-centred embarrassment. Thankfully, his mother, who’s a bit less drunk, realizes what’s happening and steps in, saving the whole thing. Still, Harry looks concerned.

In Victor’s office, George learns about the arrangement with the ‘Inspector.’ He has to hand over a chunk of the month’s takings so the inspector will turn a blind eye to their serving booze after 9. George asks if he can really afford this and the new band. ‘Don’t need to pay them until the end of the week,’ says Victor. George and I both don’t like the sound of that. Victor says that, in France, they all promised that, if they got back alive, they’d grab every opportunity they could.

Marie, Sergei, and some of the others are downing vodka while Harry glares at them from a distance. Henri rolls up with a cigar and asks Harry if Agnes can have the next day off so they can get married. Of course she can! Harry goes to shake his hand, but some drunk guests bump into them. ‘Great party, huh?’ says Henri. ‘Yeah, great,’ Harry darkly agrees, once again glaring at Marie and her offspring.

The next day, the store reopens as usual. I have to hand to Agnes: the windows look pretty great. She’s finally figured out her job!

[cryout-pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]I have to hand it to Agnes: the store’s windows look pretty great. She’s finally figured out her job![/cryout-pullquote]In the loading bay, one of the girls reports to George that more stock has come through. He’s completely zoned out, and finally gets up, tells her to sort it out, and heads topside.

Grove and Gordon watch people stream through the doors and hope that things are back on track (the war hit department stores, including Selfridge’s, a bit hard). George comes over and asks for a word.

Sergei heads to the front desk of the hotel where he and Rosalie are staying to arrange a taxi that evening. The concierge indicates Loxley and says he’s been waiting for Sergei. Loxley exposits that he’s spent the last four years in the States investing in tobacco. He’s heard about Sergei’s plan to build a passenger plane to fly from an aerodrome in West London and thinks that’s just inspired. He offers to have a chat about this and other projects. Sergei explains that he’s kind of on his honeymoon just now. Loxley says it’s now or never, so Sergei goes to write Rosalie a note. Nice.

In Harry’s office, Crabb learns of Henri’s and Agnes’s wedding plans (Harry’s giving her some extra time off for a honeymoon) and hesitantly asks about the expansion plans.

Harry: More expansion! I need distraction! And massively growing a slightly shaky business in a terrible economy seems like a great idea!

Crabb also asks about the aerodrome, and Harry seems interested in at least looking into the idea. Grove and Gordon are announced and shown in.

Downstairs, Rosalie comes floating in and is nicely greeted by Kitty, who asks where the newlyweds will be living. Apparently Harry has rented them a mews house. What? No. Nobody who wasn’t a servant was living in a mews house in 1919. They weren’t the yuppie havens they are now; in many cases, they were still housing horses. Kitty asks where the groom is and Rosalie, who has clearly learned the fine art of covering up, claims she’s there to look at chinaware, which isn’t really his thing.

Upstairs, Grove and Gordon tell Harry that George has handed in his notice, claiming he’s finding it too difficult to readjust to civilian life. He wouldn’t have been the first. Grove is worried about all the strife between the men and women in the loading bay and regretfully says it may be time to let the women go. Crabb adds that staff bills are really high, so it makes fiscal sense to do so. Harry, however, is determined to keep all the women on in some capacity—elsewhere in the store, if not the loading bay—because Rose brought them on and designed their uniforms and now this is some sort of homage to her. Grove is shortly dismissed to tell the women the good news. Gordon clearly thinks this is a terrible idea and tells his dad as much, telling his father that he’s distracted and the store and his family both need him. Harry agrees that he’s been away a lot, but he’s back now and ready to do battle. Plunkett knocks and announces Rosalie’s in the Palm Court, hoping for a coffee with her dad.

Harry goes to her immediately and she tells him that, instead of having breakfast with his bride, Sergei left her with a note and went off. ‘Maybe that’s normal, I don’t know,’ the poor girl says, as Harry unfolds the note. Instead of yelling, ‘Jesus, no, it’s NOT NORMAL for your husband to take off to do his own thing LESS THAN 24 HOURS AFTER GETTING MARRIED!’ Harry just makes a sympathetic face. Rosalie’s own face collapses and she admits she misses her mom and doesn’t know what to do without her. Harry looks sad but tells her not to worry.

Harry returns to his office and tells Plunkett, clearly barely suppressing his rage, to send a message to his whole family summoning them to the store. And definitely get in touch with Sergei. He passes into his office as a woman introducing herself as Nancy Webb comes up to Plunkett’s desk and demands to see Mr Selfridge. Because she’s just a random coming off the street as far as Plunkett knows, she’s told she’ll have to make an appointment. Webb sniffs about Harry being another powerful man hiding behind his secretary, which prompts Harry to come out of his office, introduce himself, and inform her that he hides behind no one. Nice.

Webb wastes no time begging him not to buy the land in Acton for the aerodrome because she wants to nab it to build affordable housing for veterans. She has her own company specializing in social welfare projects. She shows him elevations of the cottages and explains that she had a backer for the project, but he’s showing signs of pulling out because he doesn’t want to get into a bidding war with Harry over the land. Harry remembers how Rose used to build cottages like these for artists, back in Chicago, in their pre-marital days. That’s actually true: Rose Selfridge was an heiress who became a businesswoman before marrying Harry Selfridge. She then gave up business altogether to devote herself to her family, which may have been a bit of a loss to the world, because she was quite good at what she did.

Harry checks out the ring he got for Agnes. Mardle comes downstairs and tells him Agnes is almost ready. He observes that Mardle’s not wearing black and she says she thought it was time to move away from mourning, and this seemed like a good opportunity. Aww. He tells her how sorry he is about Florian and then proceeds to make it all about him by wondering why he had to live while others didn’t. She graciously does not slap him and instead reassures him that he mustn’t feel guilty for not ending up on the wrong end of a bullet. She tells him that he and Agnes deserve to be happy. Agnes comes in, all smiles.

All the Selfridges, minus Beatrice, who’s apparently on her way back to school (wow, they wasted no time with that, did they?) have gathered at the store. Marie comes in and Violette loudly and obnoxiously wonders what she’s doing there, going on to say that Marie was at the house all morning, driving everyone so crazy that Lois finally took refuge in the linen closet. Really? There was nowhere else in that massive house she could have hung around until the woman left? Or she couldn’t have faked a previous engagement or something? Marie swans in on Sergei’s arm and orders a martini to help out with her hangover, which gets a serious side-eye from Harry. She greets Rosalie with a kiss and once they’re all settled, Harry announces that he wants Rosalie and Sergei to live with him. Violette’s like: ‘hey, thanks for asking the rest of us who live in that house!’ but Rosalie, who presumably already knew about this plan, says that now Violette won’t have to concern herself with annoying household-y things like menus and running the servants. Sergei says that his mother was going to come live with them, and Rosalie’s smile gets seriously fake as she says, ‘she was?’ Oh no. Was he really going to just spring that on her after their honeymoon or something? What an idiot. Marie insists it would have just been while they were getting used to married life. Hilariously, Lois asks, aghast, if she was thinking of staying with them indefinitely. Keep in mind, Lois has, [cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Lois asks, aghast, if Marie was thinking of staying with the newlyweds indefinitely. Ha ha, Lois. You’re a bypocrite, but I still like you.[/cryout-pullquote]apparently, been living with her own son and his wife for their entire marriage. Ha ha, you’re a total hypocrite, Lois. But I still like you anyway. Marie says she’ll just repair to her lovely little flat on Eton Square. She then mentions the aerodrome plans.

Harry: Yeah, about that…

Agnes and Henri get married. It’s fine, I guess. I still don’t care about these two, though. George hands a slightly teary Mardle a hanky at one point, which is sweet. After the ceremony, Henri and Agnes have a picnic in a park somewhere and Henri surprises her with a mystery honeymoon destination. And then he starts up some afternoon delight.

Apparently, Harry has passed on this aerodrome idea, and Sergei is not happy. They’re now alone in Harry’s office, where Harry is telling him to just get the plane built first, and then they’ll discuss a giant airfield. And no, Harry is not going to fund the building of this plane, because he is not the Bank of Selfridge, as Sergei was hoping. Sergei pouts and does that childish thing where he says he has other investors and Harry’s like, ‘good. Fine. Go with them.’ But he says it in a really slow voice, like he realizes he’s dealing with kind of an idiot here. Sergei then tries another tactic, saying, essentially, that Rosalie will be hurt by her dad’s behavior, and Harry gets really serious and sternly tells this little tick not to use his daughter against him and to behave himself with her, or Harry will make him seriously miserable. Sergei smirks and says he’d like to see Harry try. I kind of want to see that too, but mostly because I want to see Sergei squashed like a bug.

George goes to Victor’s place, where he overhears Victor being shaken down by the inspector, who’s now insisting on a bigger payout. When Victor refuses, the inspector says he ‘knows certain gentlemen’ who would like to do some business through the club. Since Victor’s not interested in running a drug den, he refuses, and George bursts in and offers up whatever’s in his pocket to get rid of the inspector. The guy takes it and tells Victor the price of going business is going up. Once he’s gone, Victor asks George what the hell he’s about. George, always rather eager, clueless, and kind of like a bumbling puppy who’s adorable but always seems to be more in the way than anything else, says he’s getting Victor out of a spot of trouble. Victor just lets it go. George announces he’s ready to come back, now that Agnes has gotten married. The momentary look that crosses Victor’s face at that offhand announcement is pretty great. A combination of, ‘woah, the hell now?’ and resignation. He asks George where he got that money from and George says it’s his savings. Victor doesn’t want George in the business, telling him it’s too risky (though I think this is half motivated by a desire to protect George and half out of a desire not to have him around messing things up and, you know, being a bumbling puppy all the time) but George insists, because Victor needs someone watching his back. He doesn’t, actually, he seems to be pretty tough and handling things fairly well (as well as they can be handled, that is). I fail to see how George would be useful here.

Marie processes into the same posh hotel where Sergei and Rosalie were saying and checks into their finest suite for an indefinite stay, charged to the Selfridge account. Uh, does she really think nobody’s going to notice that? Crabb is going to be all over that shit, and if he’s not, I’m going to call total bullshit.

Henri and Agnes arrive back at Mardle’s to find that a fuse has blown. Mardle asks Henri to go downstairs and fix it, and down he goes, to a narrow passageway that clearly starts to remind him of the trenches. And then the PTSD starts really kicking in and he sees dead soldiers all around them and has a full-blown panic attack. He stumbles into the kitchen and splashes some water on his face as Agnes comes down to check on him. He insists he’s fine, because lord knows your spouse shouldn’t know about your mental health issues and trauma. That won’t be affecting her life at all.

Harry goes home and lets himself into Rose’s studio, which has been left as a sort of shrine to her. He takes a scroll out of a drawer, unrolls it, and looks at her watercolour of the cottages she built. He then goes to visit the land in Acton, striding into the empty field and looking around. He unrolls Rose’s watercolour, and of course the land is almost a mirror image of where she built her cottages.



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