Mr Selfridge: Passing the Idiot Ball

261363F100000578-3006756-image-a-18_1427053787879Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry got engaged to Nancy, Grace dumped Gordon, Victor reopened his club as a gambling club, and Grove took little Ernest back into his home.

Harry has gathered the only people who work at this store with speaking roles at a massive warehouse, which he has stuffed with merchandise ahead of a huge upcoming sale he has planned. Kitty looks around and asks how much of it they need to sell. What a stupid question. Oh, you know, just a little of it. The rest is just for show. All of it, of course, Kitty. Harry says this’ll be the sale of the century.

Nancy’s brother, Gus, shows up at her place and notes that she’s working evenings now. He’s come to stay with her, because he’s run out of cash. She quickly hides her engagement ring and hands him some cash, telling him to look into some lodgings. She can’t get him out of there fast enough.

A man from the Russian embassy has delivered a battered box to the Selfridge home. Marie hears where it’s from, opens it, and starts tearing through the clothes inside until she gets to the fake bottom. Serge passes by and wonders what she’s doing, as she tears out the bottom and retrieves a jewel case. Holy crap, that maid actually delivered that stuff? That’s one seriously loyal servant. And where is that woman now? You’d think she’d accompany this particular delivery and expect a handsome payout.

Marie practically weeps with joy and tells Serge that now he can build his plane. He’s moved on and accepted that now he’ll be doing business with Jacques, but she says he can do both. She wants to sell some of the jewels and fund his dreams, because that’s all she’s wanted to do all these years.

Harry goes to Nancy’s and they act all cute and flirty and happy. He notices she’s not wearing her ring and she covers that some of the tradesmen will be harder to deal with if she’s seen wearing a ring like that. He suggests they go ahead and announce their engagement, rather nonsensically saying that it might improve her buying power, if it’s known she’s his fiancée. Harry, were you not listening? She just said that if people know she’s rich, she’ll have a tougher time. She asks him to keep this just between them for the time being so she can get used to the idea and get the project underway. He agrees and decides she needs an office.

Elsa helps Victor get ready for opening night. They go out to the main room, where there’s a gaming table with just a few guys sitting there. Michael is not pleased. Victor promises word will spread, but Michael’s impatient.

The sale begins, and people flood the store. Harry and Crabb are at the door greeting customers, merchandise is flying out the door. One of the girls on cosmetics asks Kitty how long they have to keep this up for. What, doing your job? Until your day is over, lady. God. Longchamps brings some boxes to Grace’s area, complaining about people touching his display, and she snaps at him to just suck it up. He seems surprised by her cheek. Gordon asks if he can help in any way and Grace says that everything’s fine.

Crabb tells Harry that footfall is up five times over the previous week. Harry orders up a till report from every department by noon. He then goes upstairs and sees a fellow store owner, Sir Robert of Swan and Edgar, in his office, complaining about Harry’s advertising campaign. He calls the ads unashamed huckstering for calling on people to ‘buy now while goods are still in stock.’ Wait, what’s wrong with that wording? Seems like common sense to me. Buy before you can’t buy anymore, right? Harry accuses him of having planted some unfavourable editorials in the morning newspapers. Slow news day, I guess. Robert steams that Harry’s adverts are aggressive and scare-mongering. Man, he’d be apoplectic if he saw ads today. Harry reminds him that this is business, and sometimes they need to get their hands dirty. Robert pouts on out the door.

Loxsley pages through the newspaper and comes across a small piece announcing Mae’s upcoming remarriage. He does not rush out to buy a tea service from their registry, to say the least.

Mardle gets ready to leave for work the next day, remarking on an article calling the sale unpatriotic and calling for people to pinch pennies. Oh, please. Mardle asks George if he wants a job and offers to ask Grove if there’s one available.

Loxsley has the two board members with lines over for lunch and plants the seeds of doubt over Harry in both of their minds, telling them about all the merchandise in the warehouse. He suggests they visit the store and look into things.

Mardle goes to Grove’s office with a toy Ernest left behind and asks if there’s anything in the store they can offer to George. Grove promises to give a think. Things are still a bit chilly between these two, but a little less so than last week.

Harry goes to the building site and finds Nancy dealing with a tradesman, who has upped his price over the estimate he gave her the week before. She doesn’t even really put up a fight over it, so Harry steps in and tells the man he’s already paid for the timber, so he has no excuse to go dicking around on the price. The guy’s surprised to find that Nancy’s working with Harry (you moron, this is a project called the SELFRIDGE ESTATE) and tells Harry that the prices aren’t the same for everyone. What a complete idiot this guy is. Harry insists the guy do the work for 20 shillings, five less than what he originally quoted Nancy and the guy rolls his eyes but agrees.

Afterwards, Nancy thanks Harry for stepping in when her weak little girl self couldn’t get the job done. They go to the store, where there’s an actual crowd of protesters outside, hurling eggs. All this because of a sale? And some ads? I don’t get it, what’s the big problem here? Who protests cut prices? Apparently in this version of the universe Londoners are completely stupid and have loads of time on their hands. And eggs they don’t mind wasting.

Harry and Nancy make their way inside and Harry tells Gordon to take the posters down. They will not, however, pull the ads. Harry tells Grove they need to hire a new head of security. Grove thinks he knows just the man. Convenient timing!

Mardle and Connie are fetching more stock from a storeroom. Grove comes in and asks for a word, so Mardle tells Connie to take her break. Once she’s gone, Grove tells Mardle he thinks George would make a good head of security. He would? What are his qualifications? Oh, apparently knowledge of the store and military service are all you need. Mardle promises to send George his way first thing the following morning and smiles, pleased, as he leaves.

Victor starts sending out personal invitations to all the big names in London. Elsa thinks this’ll please Michael. Only if they show up,

Marie goes to the store and tells Harry that her jewels have finally arrived, so she’s prepared to repay her debt to him. Harry is pleased for her and says that’s not at all necessary. She doesn’t even have to move out of the house! She’s family, so she belongs with them. He says it means a lot, though, that she offered and she counters that it means a lot to her that he refused. He mentions Nancy and Marie asks if she’s part of their family’s bright future. Harry confesses to the secret engagement and Marie congratulates him. He suggests she pay Nancy a visit at her new office at the store.

Gus is there just now, looking around while Nancy works. He comments that the houses won’t get built and her face kind of says, ‘I’ll just let you continue to think that for now.’ He tells her that the money she gave him isn’t quite enough, so she makes him earn it by sending him on an errand, delivering estimates. He gets all huffy and stomps out, crashing into Marie and rudely glaring at her as he goes. Marie goes into the office and congratulates Nancy. She promises to keep their secret for them and hopes she and Nancy will be friends. Nancy’s cool with that.

Loxsley goes into Crabb’s office, rudely dismisses Plunkett, and demands to see the trading figures at the end of each day, because the board is very concerned. Loxsley, you and two other guys are not the entire board. Plunkett runs to Harry, who bursts in and demands to know what Loxsley’s doing there. Loxsley repeats his problems with what’s going on and demands answers. Harry doesn’t care what he wants and, just to piss him off, doubles the advertising and slashes prices an extra 10% before ordering Loxsley out.

Gordon catches up with Grace on her way out. She tells him this won’t work out, because she’s a shopgirl and he’s the boss’s son and they’re from different worlds (that’s her actual, cringeworthy line). She reminds him that he doesn’t have to worry about the things she does and asks him to leave her alone, because he knows his father wouldn’t approve. He says they don’t know that, but she points out that he never told Harry they were dating, so… Can’t really argue with that.

Crabb goes to Harry’s office and says he wants them to stick it to Loxsley and the others. Harry is pleasantly surprised.

Mardle pours some wine and tells George about the job offer. He wonders if it’s the right thing and she says that, for her, it felt like going back to family, for better and for worse. He asks if things are thawing between her and Grove and she says they’re getting better.

Well, they were. Here’s Doris’s babydaddy coming to Grove’s house to ask to see his kid. Grove turns him away at the door, telling Billy that, as far as Ernest is concerned, Grove is his father, and Mardle should have stayed the hell out of it. He slams the door in the man’s face.

There are a few more players at the club, but Michael’s still not please because the house is currently not winning. He gives Victor a week to make the place turn a serious profit.

Nancy’s in the office late. Harry comes in and asks how she likes it. Quite a lot, because she can go see him whenever she wants. He says they’ll do good things together, and that she’s given his life back to him.

Meanwhile, Gus goes through her things, looking for money, and finds the ring. Oh, great.

Grove summons Mardle to his office the next day to yell at her for Billy’s unexpected drop-in the night before. He wonders what the man expects, that Grove’s going to raise his son to call Billy dad? She gently says that the man just wants to see his child. Grove tells her to tell this man that he won’t be part of Ernest’s life. She accuses him of seeing everything in black and white, right and wrong, and furthermore calls him a hypocrite, for being so hurt about Doris’s affair when he and Mardle were sleeping together behind his first wife’s back. I’d argue that that situation was kind of different, since that wife was bedridden, not awayfighting World War I. And he’s not objecting to the affair right now, but to the disruption this man’s causing in his life and, potentially, in the life of one of his children. Ernest is young, but this is a potentially confusing situation for him. Grove outrageously accuses Mardle of shadowing him at work and in his private life and demands to know how she could know his feelings for Ernest when she has no children of her own. Mardle, go ahead and punch him for that. Totally uncalled for, Grove. That’s your Big Asshole moment of this season, I guess. Mardle refuses to be cowed and agrees that she’s not a mother, but she is a human, and once upon a time she thought he was one too. Ooooh, nice, Mardle.

Marie, strolling through the Burlington Arcade, sees Gus coming out of one of the jewelers’ shops, having clearly just pawned Nancy’s ring for the princely sum of £25.

She heads over to Nancy’s office with an engagement gift (a crystal paperweight) and mentions having seen someone who looked a lot like the architect, but was addressed by the jeweler by a different name. She keeps the tone light and pretends like she thinks it was all a mistake. She heads out, and Nancy gives her about five seconds before grabbing her hat and coat and running out herself. Once the office is vacant, Marie goes back in and takes the architect’s card off of a pinboard. Harry comes upon her there and she pretends she just left a glove.

Nancy returns home and finds her ring gone. She doesn’t seem to know what to do.

Serge’s partner, Jacques, has taken Violette on a date…to Victor’s. Violette asks why he brought her there and he says it’ll help her move on. She insists she doesn’t want to, but he doesn’t believe her. They go in and she and Victor kind of awkwardly greet each other before she introduces Jacques. She tells Victor the place looks great. He thanks her and leaves her to enjoy herself. Jacques invites her to have a seat and she does, reluctantly, admitting she feels uncomfortable. Jacques says that her former relationship with Victor doesn’t bother him, because he’s a man of the world. He concludes that they’re a good match, on the basis of absolutely nothing whatsoever, as far as we the audience know. She comments that that sounds quite cold, shouldn’t love be part of it? He remarks that she’s had love, and where has it gotten her? Geez, man, you can have love and a relationship of equals. Those two things aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

Harry tries phoning Nancy, but she’s not picking up, so he goes home and meets Violette, slumping in after her night out with Jacques. He asks if she’s ok and, sounding totally depressed, she says she thinks the guy wants to marry her. He asks how she feels about that and she rather tearfully says he’s probably the right kind of man for her, since she can be a handful and not everyone can cope. Harry says that ‘coping’ shouldn’t be the word you use with regard to anyone you love.

Loxsley sits down with the two board members and reports that Crabb refused to hand over the figures they want. He lies that he went to the office to offer his support and that Harry reacted angrily to that. How can they believe this, knowing Loxsley’s and Harry’s history? They’re idiots too. Loxsley makes it sounds like Harry’s basically unstable and the others decide to convene an emergency board meeting.

The sale continues. Kitty tells her girl that they don’t have time to soft sell people, they need to close, close, close! But she notes that the girl seems tired and sends her for her tea break.

Grove crosses the floor with George and tells Harry and Crabb that he’s appointed George head of security. They’re happy to hear that and welcome him back.

Nancy confronts Gus, who admits he sold the ring. She rightly calls him stupid and asks how she’s supposed to explain that. He doesn’t care, accusing her of trying to cut him out of this plan and she insists that’s not the case, but she agreed to marry Harry because she loves him. He reminds her that it’s a grifter’s rule not to fall in love with the target. She swears she was just waiting for the right time to tell Gus and promises she’ll always look out for him. They could have a nice, proper life. He can even go to America, if he wants. She says she wants to stay clean and build those houses and marry Harry.

Connie runs into George on the way out and acts a little awkwardly spazzy as she crashes into a nearby display. She hustles out and Kitty sidles up, nicely welcomes George back, and suggests he go ahead and ask her sister out.

Crabb reports to Harry that the board is convening that evening. Harry says they’re nowhere near having finalized figures (but you have rough figures, right? You were asking for till reports from all the departments yesterday, surely that told you something? And you know what the footfall was, so you have something to report to them). Harry doubts they’re really interested in figures, they’re more interested in ousting him. But he’s going to stay one step ahead of them. He tells Gordon that you have to fight for what you hold dear. Thanks for the super obvious teachable moment, dad!

Gordon takes that advice all the way to Grace’s crappy little flat, which she shares with another Selfridge’s girl. Man, Grace is head of department, can’t she afford more than this one bedroom? Oh, well, this is London we’re talking about. Gordon and Grace sit down and he says she was right, that he’s been a coward and he wants to fight for her and tell the whole world how awesome she is and how much he loves her. She loves him too, but they can only be together if he comes clean with his dad. He promises. So, they’re back together now.

Billy goes to Grove’s house, having been asked there by Grove. Grove invites him in and tells him the arrangement: Billy may visit Ernest every second Sunday afternoon and will be known as a friend of the family. Grove will make himself scarce. Billy thanks him and asks what made him change his mind. Grove offers that he realizes not everything is black and white. They shake hands and Billy leaves.

Mardle’s putting her house up for sale, for some reason.

Nancy runs into Harry on the lift and lies that she lost the ring. She’s super sorry, but Harry doesn’t care and says they’ll just get her another one. She thanks him, relieved.

Marie goes to the address listed on the architect’s card, but it’s clearly not an office. She seems perplexed.

The board convenes. I don’t think this is how actual businesses and boards work, but when has this show ever been accurate about anything? Instead of Harry appearing at the meeting, Crabb arrives and announces that the chairman has invoked his right to a two-week postponement. None of them are happy about this and decide Harry’s completely out of control. Loxsley declares that Harry has to go.



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