Mr Selfridge: Out Cold

Suffragettes threaten the store in episode 6 of Mr SelfridgePreviously on Mr Selfridge: Agnes got her job back and hopefully saw the back of her dad for the last time. Lady Mae got her claws into Victor, Ellen attempted suicide, and Harry’s life started to crumble, sending him off into a drunk-driving accident.

On her way to work, Agnes sees newspapers with the news of Harry’s accident splashed all over the front page. Slow news day? There’s a suffragette outside the store handing out leaflets and Agnes distractedly takes one.

At the Selfridge manse, Ma Selfridge and the kids are rather depressed, as you can imagine.

At the store, everyone’s wondering what’s up. Crabb takes a deep breath and goes downstairs to address them. He informs them that Harry is unconscious, and Kitty, showing that sharp brain of hers, as always, asks if Harry’s dead. Crabb reiterates that he isn’t and she points out that he’s wearing a mourning band on one arm. He hastens to tell them that the band isn’t for Harry, it’s for Grove’s wife, who died the previous night. Did Crabb know the Groves personally or something? Why would he be wearing a mourning band because a coworker’s wife died? Nobody else is wearing one. Strange. In Grove’s absence, Mardle will be chief of staff and Irene will be in charge of both accessories and fashion. Doris, just as stupid as Kitty, complains about Irene, who’s standing right behind her. Crabb finishes up his little speech, managing to channel Harry just a bit with a touch of humour at the end and everyone applauds.

Edwards arrives at the Selfridge manse to find a gaggle of reporters all begging him for info. He tells them he has none. Inside, Lois Selfridge is with the kids at breakfast. The middle daughter reads in the paper that the suffragettes will be marching the next day and Rosalie warns her that, while their parents support the cause of suffrage, they don’t support making a spectacle of oneself.

Lois goes out to greet Edwards, who tells her he saw Harry at the club the night of his accident. She tries to shift blame to Edwards for introducing him to the club in the first place but Edwards won’t have it. He tells her everything—about Ellen, the drinking, everything—and advises her to develop a family line and stick to it. He promises to help out with the press, which is nice of him.

Upstairs, Harry’s in a coma, with Rose sitting at his bedside. Rosalie comes in and urges her to get some sleep, but Rose refuses. Rosalie reminds her that the doctors said Harry may come around in a very altered state and she’ll need her strength for that. Rose slowly gets up and says she’ll take some rest at the foot of the bed.

Blenkinsop shows Crabb Harry’s appointment book for the day. Crabb can’t believe he was able to fit in so many (apparently Harry only allotted 15 minutes per appointment) and tells her to cancel them, but not to alarm people.

Downstairs, Grove comes wandering in, looking a bit out of it. Mardle hurries over and asks what he’s doing there and he says that, with Harry out of commission, the ship needs a captain, and that captain is Grove. Mardle and the Catty Bitches look alarmed.

Victor, meanwhile, is…spatchcocking Lady Mae’s quail, if you know what I mean. He finishes up and immediately gets up to leave. Wow, what a romantic. She tries to get him to stay, but he shortly tells her he’s late for work.

Back at the store, Kitty teases Agnes about Henri, figuring Agnes has the hots for him. Agnes tells her to shut up. Kitty takes off to help Irene with some new stock and Agnes asks Doris why Kitty hates her. Doris says she doesn’t, she just resents the fact that Agnes got the job Kitty thought she’d have. Irene returns and finds the leaflet Agnes got from the suffragette. Agnes apologises for having it, but Irene quickly makes it clear she’s very sympathetic to the suffragette cause.

Giant bouquet in hand, Edwards arrives at Ellen’s to check on her. She looks like hell, but she’s awake and smiling and seems to be coming along. She admits she’s furious with Harry for having just dropped her and wonders why he hasn’t come to see her. Edwards tells her about Harry’s accident and she says she has to go see him. Edwards tells her Harry’s at home, so she can’t go see him. He advises her to lie low for a bit so this crap doesn’t get piled at his door. She doesn’t seem all that inclined to do that.

Victor seeks out Agnes at the store and asks if there’s any news. There isn’t. Before he goes, she tells him she doesn’t want to be angry with him and asks if they’re still friends. He says they are, so she asks him if he wants to do something after work. He makes his excuses and bolts.

Over comes Irene, who tells Agnes that she’s been called away to a staff meeting, so can Agnes oversee both fashion and accessories for a bit? Agnes throws her rival a bone by suggesting Kitty oversee accessories. Irene agrees, and Kitty’s face lights up.

Selfridge manse. The doctor examines Harry and tells Rose that Harry’s showing some hopeful signs, but all they can really do is wait. Rosalie comes in and tells Rose that Mr Musker is waiting to see her.

Rose goes down to meet him and he apologises for coming by and for bringing up a distressing matter, but he needs to know what plans are in place if Harry doesn’t pull through. He wants to know, as an investor. Rose says that their son, Gordon, will inherit everything. Musker points out that Gordon’s still a kid, so she clarifies that his shares will be placed in a trust overseen by Lois and Rose. Musker seems pleased by this and quickly excuses himself. As Rose sees him out, they pass by Gordon, hiding under the dining room table, from where he’s eavesdropped on the whole conversation.

Grove has all the department heads gathered in Harry’s office just so he can tell them he’s in charge. Henri mentions they now have an empty window, thanks to Harry’s reckless driving. Grove has no suggestions for what to put in it. Everyone starts to speak at once about their departments, but Mardle cuts in and tells them all to chill out and speak one at a time. Irene produces the leaflet and tells them the suffragettes will be coming by the next day. Grove is clearly not pro-suffrage, but Irene says they’ll need some kind of strategy. He won’t have them in the store. Victor’s boss reminds him that the next day is Tuesday, which is the day Mae has her weekly suffragette lunch. Grove tells him to cancel it.

Mae is, at the moment, up in the palm court with two other ladies, discussing plans for the next day. As they sit down, Victor’s boss pulls him aside and asks why he was late. He lies that he didn’t get any sleep the night before on account of being so worried about Harry. Boss tells him about the cancelled lunch and tells Victor to break the news to Mae, because god forbid anybody do their actual jobs themselves in this place.

The middle Selfridge daughter, Violette, makes her way into Harry’s and Rose’s bedroom and asks her mother for confirmation that her dad’s going to be ok. Rose can’t hide her distress from her daughter, and Violette sniffs that it’s not fair that Harry gets to go out and have fun and get into fun car wrecks when Rose isn’t.

Gordon, proving he didn’t quite get the brains in the family, makes his way to the store, looking around at the traffic in the street like he’s never seen such a thing before. He steps into the store and seems to see it with new eyes—the eyes of a proprietor. People stare ridiculously at him as they walk past, as if they’ve never seen a child before. Gordon starts to panic, crashes into someone carrying a stack of boxes, and tells the crowd that immediately gathers that his father owns the store. Henri confirms this and he and Agnes help the boy to his feet.

Victor delivers drinks to Mae’s table and she tells him she’ll have to book the private room for the next day. He breaks the very unwelcome news that there will be no lunch the next day because there are concerns about the demonstration. Mae’s two luncheon companions are aghast and get up to march off in a snit, saying they won’t remain in such a cowardly establishment.

Mae immediately goes to Grove’s office, as I rub my hands together in gleeful anticipation. He’s in with Mardle, who tells him he really should be at home, attending to things. He says the house is too quiet and she waaay oversteps by telling him he doesn’t have to be alone there now…or ever. Jesus, Mardle, the poor woman’s not even cold yet. Take a few days before you angle to take her place, ok? It’s just not seemly. Thankfully, Mae comes in, putting an end to this little scene. Mae tells Grove he mustn’t cancel the lunch, because to do so will cause a lot of aggravation. He thinks that letting the women into the building is what will cause the aggravation. He goes on to say that he doesn’t believe the fairer sex is equipped to take part in the rough world of politics. She calls bullshit on that and asks Mardle what she thinks. Mardle doesn’t agree with the violent methods the suffragettes employ. Mae asks again if Grove will reinstate the lunch, and when he says no, she sniffs that she can’t be responsible for the actions of the militants the following day. She sweeps out. I rather expected better from her. Once she’s gone, Grove blusters about her being an insufferable woman. Mardle reminds him that she’s a valuable client and Crabb has a What Would Harry Do moment, guessing that Harry would find some way to use this whole thing to the store’s advantage, instead of putting people’s backs up. Grove still refuses to reconsider and kicks them both out of his office. Apparently, grief has made him brainless.

Edwards strolls into the theatre and finds Ellen in her dressing room, getting ready for a performance. Wow, she got up and about quickly, didn’t she? He urges her to take some time off and get well but she seems to have finally made her peace with the way things are and says this is her bread and butter and she needs to get on with it. Unless, of course, she speaks to the papers about her and Harry. So, not making peace, then. Edwards tells her that would be a short-term gain and a long-term loss and suggests she try serious acting for a change. He offers to introduce her to some playwrights he knows, but they won’t be interested in her if she’s mired in scandal. So, it looks like Harry owes Edwards one, not for the first time.

Agnes entertains Gordon in Harry’s office while Crabb, Henri, and Blenkinsop talk about what to do with him. They can’t get through to the Selfridge house, so Henri offers to take the kid home and suggests bringing Agnes along, since she seems to have bonded with Gordon. Crabb agrees.

Once the threesome is on its way, Gordon asks what it’s like working for his dad. Agnes says it’s great, and Henri adds that Harry’s a genius. Gordon wonders what will happen if his father dies, and they tell him that a) that won’t happen, and b) he has lots of help and support from his mom, grandmother, and sisters. Gordon says they can’t help, because commerce is a man’s world, a Harry belief he overheard Rose sharing earlier. They arrive at the Selfridge manse, where Rose rushes over to embrace her son and ask him where he was. She thanks Henri for bringing him back and Agnes tells her that everyone at the store is praying for Harry to get better. She and Henri beat a hasty retreat and Rose tells Gordon he mustn’t ever run away again. He says he wasn’t, he just wanted to check to make sure the store is all right, since it’ll be his someday. Rosalie and Violette are upset to hear that, which upsets Rose, who sends them all off to the library. Once they’re gone, Lois slowly approaches and Rose admits that she and Harry were fighting before the accident, and she feels she should have gone after him, but she didn’t. Lois tries to comfort her, but she shakes her off and hurries back upstairs.

Henri and Agnes have settled down in a park for a chat. Henri observes that she’s good with kids and suggests she get married and have some babies. Presumptuous much? Agnes isn’t interested because she has too much to do. He asks if she has a boyfriend and she admits there’s someone, but she doesn’t like that he bosses her around. She asks him about the French girl and he says the French girl is in New York, so, no-go. But there is someone in England he likes very much. Oh, god. Is there no cliché avenue down which this show won’t wander? Now we’re shipping Agnes and Henri? Why? Because they both like window displays? I would have liked it so much better if these two had remained friends and mutually respectful colleagues. Just because two attractive people work together does not mean they need to date, show!

Oh, whatever. He puts out feelers and Agnes clearly knows who he’s talking about and counsels him to wait for her. I guess if we have to choose between him and Victor, at least we know that Henri cuddles after sex.

Ellen finishes her performance and returns to her dressing room, where she looks at herself in the mirror, wipes off her makeup and bids farewell to the Gaiety and all the men sitting in the dark wanting a piece of her. ‘Time to move on,’ she says…

…just as Harry wakes up. He looks up in confusion at the faces swirling over him, and then he thinks he sees his father standing in the room and screams over and over for him to get out, probably scaring the hell out of Rose and the kids, who are actually there and are not figments of his fevered imagination.

At the store, Crab grabs the heads of most of the departments for a secret meeting in the lift. After their super-secret meeting, he dispatches Mardle to intercept Grove and get him out of the store and safely back home so Operation: Don’t Trash the Store can get underway. As soon as Grove and Mardle are gone, Crabb gathers the workers and tells them that suffragettes and emancipated women are the future, something Harry obviously understood. Wow, what a very enlightened view. He thinks it would be disastrous for the store to be seen as anti-suffrage. He has a plan, but it’ll require everyone’s help and overtime. Everyone seems on board, except for Victor, who has to take off. Agnes catches him and he says he has a chance to get a backer for his own restaurant. She’s happy for him and off he goes.

The employees scurry about, cutting up bunting and arranging mannequins. Henri helps Agnes fold some purple material and the whole thing’s so loaded it’s kind of absurd. You’re just folding fabric, folks! This is not sexy!

Mardle and Grove arrive at the Grove home and Grove tells her he doesn’t feel quite right inviting her in. She says she understands but tells him that he cared for his wife for 12 years and this is his time, and he deserves it. Without looking at her, he goes inside and starts to cry.

It’s now quarter past ten and the work at the store is done. Crabb verbally pats everyone on the back, thanks them, and sends them on their way. Irene approaches him, tells him he was inspirational, and shakes his hand.

Selfridge home. Harry wakes the next morning and thinks he sees his father, but when he squeezes his eyes shut, he realizes the man is actually his doctor. He says hi to Lois, who’s sitting at his bedside, and Rose wakes from her quick snooze on the couch to come over and happily embrace him, closely followed by Rosalie. He doesn’t remember crashing his car, but he’s able to recognize everyone in the room and identify the prime minister and himself when the doctor asks, so I guess he’s got a clean bill of health. Beatrice and Gordon come in to see their father and Harry asks where Violette is. Rosalie says she’s sleeping. Harry decides he has to go to the store (of course he does) and although the doctor objects, Rose says they should let him.

Not only is he going to the store, he’s going to walk. Now, if my husband had been in a terrible car accident that left him out cold for more than a day and was insisting on walking to work, I think I’d send someone with him, just to make sure he got there in one piece, but apparently Rose and I don’t think the same way.

On his way, Harry’s handed a pamphlet by a suffragette and reassures her he’s a big supporter of women. That’s one way to put it. The suffragettes are out in full force in front of the store, marching and chanting while the bobbies look on. Irene gets the lay of the land and reports to the anxious employees inside that there’s a large group bearing down on the store, smashing windows. Because destroying private property is a great way to get what you want and convince people that you’re mature, thoughtful people who should be treated like adults. Crabb and Mardle are alarmed. Irene grabs Henri and tells him that the curtains are still closed on the window and they need to open them. He says they’re not ready, but she firmly tells him to just open them.

Harry approaches the store, looking confused by this demonstration. One woman—I think it’s one of the ladies who was at lunch with Mae the day before—gets up on a platform and tells the ladies the store closed its doors to them and they need to show the place that they mean business. They all grab rocks and things, as Henri raises the curtain to reveal a suffrage-themed window, naturally. So, wait, it took the entire staff five hours to decorate one window and it wasn’t even finished yet? What the hell were they doing? Did they have tea breaks every 10 minutes or something?

The ladies, who are apparently fickle as hell, cheer when they see the window, and Harry passes right out in their midst. Through the crowd comes Violette, who reaches his side as he comes to and asks if he’s ok. He seems strangely undisturbed by the fact that she was more interested in joining a demonstration bent on destroying his life’s work than in making sure her father would ever wake up. She tells the ladies who he is, and the one who was just telling her fellow ladies to trash his store calls for three cheers for him. Yes, Harry is so amazing he’s able to become a hero to the suffrage movement even while he’s in a coma. God.

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