Mr Selfridge: On a Break

selfridge episode 8Previously on Mr Selfridge: Doris got killed in an accident that Grove blamed on Mardle after he found out that Ernest isn’t really his kid. He dumped said child on Mardle. Also dumped: Violette, because Victor’s too busy dealing with Michael’s gambling and drug dealing at the club to also deal with her bratty bullshit. Rosalie’s pregnant, Serge’s finally starting to fall in line, Loxsley’s joining the board, and Nancy’s starting to feel a teensy bit guilty about taking Harry for a ride.

Edwards greets Harry at the door of the store first thing in the morning. Everyone’s super happy because apparently the Treaty of Versailles has finally been signed and they have peace at last. Hurrah! Harry wants to do something to capture the jubilant spirit of the nation and asks Frank, his new head of print and public relations (wow, that job offer came out of nowhere, didn’t it? And so long after Frank came looking for a job in the first place.) Frank reminds Harry that this is the first proper public holiday in years. Britain at Play it is. They steam into Harry’s office and Harry tells Edwards to spend whatever he needs to get all eyes on Selfridge’s.

George is now playing nanny to little Ernest, adorably showing him how to crack a boiled egg. Mardle asks if he minds looking after the tot and George reminds her he has no job to go to these days, so no big deal, really. She thanks him for doing this and he asks how Grove is doing. She hasn’t seen him. George figures it’s tough on him, with all the kids having been scattered to various relatives. He offers to take Ernest to see him to cheer both of them up, so Mardle decides it’s time to fully come clean with George.

Crabb visits Grove in his office, where Grove is kind of brooding, and hands over a toy for one of the boys and some knitwear Mrs Crabb’s made for Ernest. He asks after the kids and shows off the adorable knitwear, then goes to give it to Mardle.

Gordon and Edwards gather some of the ladies in cosmetics and accessories together to hear their ideas for the Britain at Play promotion. The ideas are kind of lame. Portable boxes of cosmetics, smaller hats.

Crabb pulls Mardle aside and asks if she’s spoken to Grove since he returned to work. She has not. He hands over the little jumper, which is cute as hell and I want the pattern so I can make it for my son. She admires it and thanks him.

While she sorts through some boxes in a storeroom, Grace complains about Kitty monopolising Frank’s time. Gordon, hanging around as always, like nobody would have found that suspicious up to this point, suggests she make an appointment to speak to Frank about her ideas when Kitty’s not around. He starts kissing her, and then, of course, Crabb walks in. Grace looks mortified. Crabb hastens out of there.

Nancy shows up for a meeting with Harry, goes into his office, and announces she’s had a letter from the housing department offering full funding once they’ve worked out their budget. He’s ecstatic, she less so. She points out that this will mean she’ll be quite busy and says she wants to take a step back from their relationship, so she can focus. Harry tries to talk her around, but she says she needs to stop thinking about him all the time. They just need a little break. He agrees, if that’s what she wants. Before she goes, he tells her they should start seeing about securing workers, even as they wait for the funding to come through. That takes money, so he hands her a cheque for £1000.

Things are swinging at Victor’s. Michael’s men show up and Elsa goes to fetch Victor, who’s very unprofessionally drinking at his own bar. He shows the men to the room at the back where the gambling’s going on. Once they’re disposed of, Victor returns to the main room.

Vicomte de Sibour, Serge’s new business partner, is having dinner at the Selfridge manse. He’s a pilot, and a decorated one at that. He could be Henri’s brother, appearance-wise. Violette is totally zoned out. Sibour’s going to be piloting planes between cities while Serge drums up press interest on the ground. Sibour asks Violette if she’s ever flown. She has, and she loved it.

At Victor’s, a fight spills over from the gaming room into the main room, kind of killing the party vibe. Victor tries to break it up and gets an elbow in the face. He orders Michael’s men out and they remind him that this is Regan’s place before they go. Elsa takes command, sending Victor to his office to take care of his bloody nose, getting the band playing again and setting someone to clean up the mess.

In Victor’s office, Elsa tells him Regan needs to sort this out. She reminds him that he wanted to be his own boss, but he’s been doing a crap job running this place. She suggests he turn the whole club into a sort of mini-casino before turning and heading out. I kind of like this chick.

Lois joins her son at breakfast and asks why Nancy wasn’t at dinner the night before. Harry tells her about the break. Lois thinks that might be prudent and says that if Nancy has time to work on the estate, it’ll get finished faster and then she and Harry will have all the time in the world together.

Mardle and Connie take a new shipment in fashion and check out a magazine photo of a tennis player at Wimbledon. Grove comes through and gives them a bunch of attitude. Mardle follows him upstairs and whispers that she’s had his not-son for three weeks now, but he can’t stay with her forever. He shortly tells her this isn’t the time or place, but as he steps off the lift, she shouts, ‘when are we to discuss this, Mr Grove?’ Plunkett and Crabb both look up and stare, so Grove takes Mardle into his office. She tells him Ernest deserves better than this, and if Grove is determined to reject him, she’ll have to go to his real dad. He gets angry with her for not being a good enough friend to him and orders her to leave his office.

Gordon brings Serge and Sibour to the store and introduces them to Longchamps, who is surprised to hear that there’s an aviation display on his plate now. Sibour peels off to tour the store with Rosalie while Gordon tells Longchamps that they’re raffling off a flight with Sibour, so they’ll need a display for that in the fashion department. Longchamps doesn’t get what planes have to do with fashion. They meet Crabb coming off the lift, and Crabb takes the opportunity to ask Gordon for a word later.

Sibour asks Rosalie about Violette and hears that she’s just not herself these days, having lately had her heart broken. Sibour knows about Violette having been arrested at the club, thanks to Marie’s insatiable gossip mongering. It doesn’t seem to bother him.

Upstairs, Crabb freaks out to Grove that they’re apparently now giving away 100 hampers, which will cost a pretty penny. Grove basically shrugs. Since he’s got him there, Crabb hands over ads for nannies that Mrs Crabb has been digging up. Grove tells him he doesn’t want his personal life discussed and Mrs Crabb can just lay off.

Two other Selfridge’s board members meet Loxsley at his club and talk about this latest promotion. Loxsley suggests they pay a visit to the store and look at things from a business perspective. They agree.

Connie swings by Mardle’s house to borrow some magazines and finds George, apparently in the middle of some sort of cowboys and Indians game. They’re both surprised to see each other. I’m actually surprised that George is still living there: since Agnes and Henri left, it’ll just be him and Mardle, which would have been fairly scandalous. Remember the fuss Grove made about Florian moving in, and that was with Agnes there and he was a war refugee. Anyway, George and Connie quickly catch up and George introduces Ernest. She seems to think it’s kind of cute and funny, him taking care of a kid. There’s a brief moment between them, and then she heads out so he can get Ernest his tea.

Nancy’s partner—most likely the brother that Harry mentioned earlier—returns home and finds her lying in bed, all depressed. She tells him she took a step back from her relationship with Harry and he freaks out, worrying that now pushing Harry away will ruin everything. She shows him the cheque Harry wrote and her brother calls her a clever girl and observes that Harry’s really fallen for her. He urges her to hold onto their dream of going to America and having the life they’ve always wanted.

Harry welcomes the press to their preview of Britain at Play. Camera’s flash and Frank goes to lead the tour, explaining the raffle with Sibour. Harry adds that all the money raised will go to the Selfridge Estate. Mardle shows off some of the new clothes for leisure and travel while Grove glares at her.

Billy’s come by to collect Ernest for a picnic. George makes sure he’s got all of Ernest’s favourite toys. Billy thanks George for looking out for the kid and asks him to tell Mardle that he hopes to have a place of his own someday, so he can take the kid back.

Gordon goes to face the music with Crabb, who asks if he’s romantically involved with Grace. Gordon says it’s a private matter, but he has a great deal of respect for Grace and would never compromise her. Crabb reminds him that Grace has few chances for advances in life and needs to be careful.

Victor goes to see Michael and tells him they could all be making a lot more money, if they turn the club into a full-on gambling club, featuring baccarat and pulling in high rollers. But Victor needs a bit more money to make this happen. Michael agrees, but says he wants to see results fast, or they’ll shut him down. They shake on it.

Customers flood the store on the first day of the promotion. Sibour finds Violette admiring a coat and suggests she go for green, since red’s not her colour. She wanders off and he follows, observing that she seems a little lost. He offers to buy her a drink sometime and tell her about his adventures, which he hopes will make her feel a little less lost. He takes off and Rosalie replaces him, telling Violette he was asking about her. Violette bitchily says she hopes Rosalie told him all about her shameful history. Rosalie says he knew already and didn’t care. Violette tells her sister to stop matchmaking and Rosalie sighs that she just wants her to be happy.

Grace asks Gordon what Crabb said and Gordon says he just wanted to warn him, but Gordon told the man it was none of his business. He suggests they have a night out soon.

George stops by the store and runs into Kitty, who tells him Connie mentioned having seen him. She nicely adds that the place hasn’t been the same without him. George is barely listening, because he’s caught sight of Grove and goes over to insist they have a word about Ernest.

On the way home, Kitty catches up with Mardle and thanks her for helping out with Connie and looking out for her. She brings up Ernest and Mardle admits that George is doing most of the parenting there. She tried it one weekend and couldn’t wait to go back to work. She thinks that means she has no maternal instincts, but as a mother of a one-year-old myself, I can assure her it’s not that at all. Sometimes, taking care of young children day in and day out can be mind-numbing and you just need a bit of a break. Doesn’t mean you don’t love them enough. Kitty totally agrees with me and tells Mardle that she’s been a sort of den mother to so many girls. Aww.

Grove and George sit down in a cafe and George tells him what a good kid Ernest is and how sad it is to see the boy missing his family. It’s actually really heartbreaking to hear George talk about taking the boy from room to room while he points and looks for his brothers and sisters and parents.

Harry goes through some paperwork with Nancy and suggests they start over with their relationship once the estate’s finished. She almost bursts into tears right then and grabs all her papers and rushes out.

Lois and Marie admire some hats at Grace’s counter as some young deb calls Gordon away. Lois and Marie gossip about the girl, talking about how she’s from a good family, and Gordon escorts her over to the counter so the girl can try on a hat. She loves it and tells Gordon to have ‘the girl’ wrap it up. Now it’s Grace’s turn to nearly cry. As Gordon and the deb wander off, Kitty awesomely swoops in, starts wrapping up the hat, and tells Grace to take five minutes, splash some water on her face, and gather herself. How much do I love Kitty? Grace gives her a grateful look and heads off.

In come Loxsley and the two other shareholders, Barrett and Lowe. They meet Harry and Crabb coming off the lift. Loxsley asks about all the expenditure, including the flight, which Crabb says is being donated. Loxsley confirms that all the profits are going towards the estate. Harry says all of this is just step one, and step two will come soon. The shareholders hope that means profits will be coming their way, then. They move off and Crabb asks Harry what step two is. Harry won’t say, but he does say it’s bold and aggressive and he’ll need Crabb’s advice. They get out on the executive floor and Grove pokes his head out and asks if Crabb still has the nanny adverts.

Time for the raffle. Sibour gets to pull the lucky name, but he palms one ticket so the name he chooses is…Violette Selfridge. Dear God, Frank’s head should explode, because that’s a PR disaster moment right there. A member of the Selfridge family wins the Selfridge’s raffle? Come on. Violette doesn’t seem all that excited either, and apparently she’s got some sense, because she goes and tells Sibour very firmly that she can’t accept. He says ok, but he’s still going to take her flying, as a gift. Probably mostly to get him off her back, she accepts and draws another winning ticket.

Gordon catches Grace in the storeroom and reassures her that the airhead deb is totally nice. Grace believes it but has decided that Gordon’s world and hers don’t go together, so it’s best they call it a day. He desperately tries to convince her that he’s sincere, inviting her to dinner with his family and everything, but she tells him it’s over.

Grove goes to Mardle’s and asks to speak to George. She ushers him in and calls George down. Grove tells George that he’s made arrangements for his kids to return home, and he wants Ernest with them as well. I think Mardle deserves to be in on this conversation as well. After all, she did put a roof over this kid’s head. Whatever. George goes to get Ernest ready, exchanging a smile with Mardle, who’s sitting on the stairs, listening in.

Victor and Elsa start transitioning the club, he wondering at the fact he was about to give up on all this. He thanks her for sticking by him and asks what they should play (she’s messing about with some cards). She puts the deck down and tells him to pick the game.

Harry returns home and finds Violette there, reading a magazine. He asks why she isn’t out with Rosalie and Serge and she says she doesn’t want to be set up with Sibour, who’s with them. Harry asks if it would be so bad to go to the theatre with a handsome Frenchman and she brattily says, ‘I forgot, I’m the damaged goods that no one else wants.’ Oh, please. Apparently she’s in a terrible mood because Nancy sent her a note telling her her services would no longer be needed with the estate. ‘Not that it was a real job, working for my father’s mistress.’ Christ. Wasn’t she asking daddy for a job not so long ago? Was that somehow better? Harry tiredly tells his horrible child that Nancy’s not his mistress, that she means a lot more than that. He adds that he knows she’s been hurt by Victor, not that that excuses her behaviour, but she’ll get over it. She disagrees, since she loves him and you don’t give up on people you love. Unless they dump you, Violette, in which case not giving up on them quickly becomes stalking.

Grove and Ernest return home and are greeted by the other Grove tots. I know he and Doris had a pretty big family, but I’d think even they would have noticed that they appear to have lost at least one daughter. Grove gathers all the remaining children for a play.

Harry goes to Nancy’s and tells her their relationship hasn’t been some sort of casual thing for him. And he wants to make it official: he proposes. She accepts. I don’t think she’s thought this through.

4 thoughts on “Mr Selfridge: On a Break

  1. I adore Kitty! She was being so sensitive and sweet this entire episode…it’s funny to think I didn’t like her in the first series. Also, Miss Mardle has definitely had some amazing character development since the first series, she’s become very caring and thoughtful. I’m excited to see what will happen to her character in the fourth series.

    I believe that Grove will come around in the end and apologize to her (in the second series, we did see him acknowledge that he was in the wrong during the whole Florian debacle). I think that’s why I like him, despite his douchey behavior… he can always admit when he’s wrong.

    George makes an adorable father. I also wondered why it doesn’t seem scandalous that he’s living with Mardle…but I suppose Mardle doesn’t care anymore what people say about her private life, so even if people are talking about it, she probably doesn’t care & George doesn’t seem like the type to care too much about rumors either.

    These recaps make me laugh, so keep up the good work!

  2. I love Kitty-she was so sweet and sensitive this episode. It’s funny to think I hated her in the first series. Miss Mardle has come far since the first series-she’s so much more kinder and sensitive than she used to be & yes, I agree with you, she would make a fantastic mother (I doubt she would take any shit from Violette, if Violette was her daughter).

    I liked seeing this new, fatherly side of George-it suits him. I believe Mr.Grove will eventually apologize to Miss Mardle about his behavior- he did it before in series 2 (despite his douchey behavior, I still like him because he does own up to his mistakes in the end) A part of me wonders if the Doris’s infidelity is karma for cheating on his 1st wife .

    Also, I read that this show is coming back for a 4th series- I’m looking forward to your hilarious recaps (I really didn’t notice that 1 Grove child was missing until you pointed it out!)

  3. I’m binge watching these several years after they first aired and reading your great commentaries as “dessert”. 🙂

    A major faux pas we noticed in this episode that made us sit up and go “wait a second!”

    You said “It’s actually really heartbreaking to hear George talk about taking the boy from room to room while he points and looks for his brothers and sisters and parents”. But wasn’t a big deal made when Earnest was born that he was Grove’s first son…rating a cigar from Harry? And then, in the first episode of season 4, there is Grove’s family of all girls plus Earnest.

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