Mr Selfridge: Public Relations

mr_selfridge_episode-5_4Previously on Mr Selfridge: Agnes took Henri back to France to help him get over the PTSD he acquired in France, Harry started dating Nancy, Kitty got attacked, and Victor decided it was time to start going straight.

Harry gets dressed and leaves Nancy’s place first thing in the morning. After some cute talk and kissing, he manages to get out the door and off to work. At the door to Selfridge’s, he’s greeted by a reporter asking about the attack in Kitty. Harry dismisses him and hurries inside. The reporter sees Kitty and Connie approaching.

Harry gathers Crabb, Grove, Kitty, Mardle, Grace, and Gordon in his office to announce that he wants to fill Henri’s position of store deputy from amongst the current employees. Why is he only announcing that to this bunch? There are way more heads of department than just this. I know it’s probably because the show doesn’t want to go introducing a bunch of new characters who’ll have no purpose to the story, but this is kind of what extras are for, right? This just seems silly and like blatant favouritism.

Harry invites everyone to throw their hat into the ring if they’re interested. He also welcomes Kitty back before dismissing everyone, save Gordon. He tells his son that, though he probably feels entitled to the deputy position, Harry thought it would only be fair if Gordon applied alongside the others. Gordon confesses he doesn’t really feel ready for the job. He says he’s still learning and that’s a really important job, so maybe in a few years? Harry seems disappointed.

Kitty returns to the cosmetics department and gets back to work.

In fashion, Connie urges Mardle to go for the store deputy position. Strangely, Mardle doesn’t seem to have even considered it, but when Connie reminds Mardle she’s led three departments, she starts to look thoughtful.

Later, when she goes to drop off some paperwork with Grove, Mardle finds out that he’s intending to go for the deputy post. He tells her the role requires someone with knowledge of finance, with backbone, stamina, and natural leadership abilities. She gets a bit miffed and reminds him she’s been the head of multiple departments. She talks herself into going for it. Grove looks pissed off.

She goes right to Harry’s office to put her name in the hat. Harry seems pleased.

The reporter makes his way to fashion and asks Connie where he might find Kitty. She asks who he is and he introduces himself. She sniffs that her sister married a journalist, and all the guy does is sit around the house, typing. The reporter, not being stupid, guesses who she’s talking about and says he just wants to get Kitty’s real story out there, before any pro-soldier, anti-women sentiment can muddy the waters.

The Groves have Crabb and his wife over for dinner. Crabb thinks Grove would be great for the deputy job but wonders if Gordon might step up. Grove seems disturbed by the idea. Doris comes in with the baby, which Grove takes and dandles affectionately on his lap. Doris dashes off to get his teether and takes a moment in the baby’s room to cry.

Violette prepares to go out, meeting Gordon on the way. He warns her that their father would hate it if he knew about Victor. She asks why he doesn’t tattle and he replies that he wanted to speak to her first. She calls BS on that and says he’s staying quiet because he’s afraid she’ll tell Harry that Gordon’s dating Grace. Gordon insists Grace is just a friend. Violette blathers on, but honestly, she never says anything worth listening to, and I’m distracted by the unbearable hideousness of the cloak she’s wearing. Is this girl colourblind? Or blind-blind? Because her sense of fashion is abysmal.

At the club, the band’s hopping and the patrons are proving that, even in the 1920s, white people couldn’t dance. Elsa announces the bar is closing, so naturally everyone crowds the bar. Violette elbows her way to the front and demands a glass of champagne. Elsa points out that she’s not the only one wanting a drink, and she’s not as special as she thinks she is. Victor tells everyone that there will no longer be any alcohol after hours. George cleverly tells the band to start playing again, to distract the patrons. It works. Purkiss the crooked inspector looks on, pissily. Victor stares him down, then takes Violette onto the dance floor. Elsa is not pleased, watching them dirty dance.

The reporter’s story is in the newspaper the next day, and it’s not complimentary at all. At all. It even blames her for her own assault, since she was working late and all. It’s horrible that we can’t even roll our eyes at this and think of how quaint things were back then, because this is still the message women are being fed today.

Kitty, of course, is one of the last people to see the story, which is accompanied by a huge picture of her from series 1. She immediately grabs Connie to yell at her, and Connie defensively explains that she was only trying to help. Kitty shrieks that she just wanted to come back to work and do her job and put all of this behind her, but so much for that! Connie clearly feels terrible.

Lois arrives at the information bureau to find out what Blenkinsopp has uncovered about Marie. She’s found out quite a lot. Lois takes a look, nods, and thanks Blenkinsopp.

Kitty apologises to Harry for the article and says it was her sister who talked. He tells her not to worry, because he knows how the press can be, and this is not her fault at all. And neither was her assault. He offers to write a letter singing her praises. Kitty thanks him and leaves to go burst into tears. Poor woman.

Gordon tells Grace and another woman on the shop floor to just ignore this article. Grace asks about the deputy job and, when he says he’s not going for it, starts trying to talk him into it. He snaps at her and she returns to her work, abashed.

Edgerton arrives at Loxsley’s home with replies from members of the former procurement committee whom Loxsley has invited to his home for a chat. Most of them are along the lines of F-you, but a few have answered in the affirmative. Why is Edgerton still working with Loxsley? What does he have to gain from this association? I’d think he’d want to stay as far away from this toxic man as possible. The two men talk about Harry’s letter to the newspaper. Uh, how much time has passed? Is it the following morning now? Because Loxsley appears to be having breakfast and the story about Kitty just appeared in the morning edition. Sudden jump, that.

And no, it’s not the next day, because Lois is just now getting to Marie’s, wearing the same clothes she had on in the store. Lois lays it out: she knows Marie has no flat and nowhere to live other than the hotel, which she’s only in because Harry’s footing the bill. Lois shows Marie the file she has on her.

Mardle goes to Grove with a request for an afternoon off. He grants it but tells her the deputy can expect very little time off.

Mardle: I’m aware. Tootles!

Marie explains that she and Sergei had nothing after fleeing Russia. They lived off the generosity of friends. Marie hopes to pay them back once she recovers her jewels from her former maid. Uh, Marie, haven’t you been out of Russia for at least a couple of years now? Do you really think that maid’s just going to appear and hand over thousands of pounds worth of jewels? Those are gone, lady. Lois asks if Sergei married Rosalie for her money but Marie insists that isn’t the case. Lois tells Marie she needs to think about what to do here.

Harry meets with Nancy in the Palm Court and she expresses sympathy for Kitty’s situation. She then introduces an architect, Mr Gerrard, who shows Harry some plans he’s drawn up for the houses. Harry requests a model of the homes and Nancy and Gerrard agree.

The former committee members gather at Loxsley’s for the meeting. Loxsley stands at the head of the table, thanks them for coming, and apologises for the war profiteering. He swears he’s now a changed man. They all find themselves in a new world, where the old values and traditions are gone, where the servants demand living wages and refuse to bow and scrape (the two maids positioned at the back of the room hilariously exchange a WTF look with each other at that one), where former soldiers beg on the streets, where women want to vote and work, the brazen hussies! He’s decided to found the Loxsley Charitable Foundation for Former Servicemen to help them regain their place in society. The men burst into applause. Edgerton has an ‘I can’t believe you actually pulled that off’ look on his face.

Kitty has already started receiving hate mail at the store. Lots of it. Harry and Grove show her the envelope to one letter and asks if the handwriting’s familiar. It is not. They promise to pass it along to the police. She realises the newspaper article revealed who she is and where she works, details that were unknown previously. Grove tries to reassure her, saying that the type of coward who writes this kind of letter almost never reveals himself in person. Yes, but another person who doesn’t write these letters may very well prove dangerous now he has a target. Harry adds that store security will make sure she’s safe. She thanks him, in a small, sad voice. Harry sees her out and Grove shows him all the letters that have come in, saying horrible things about Kitty.

Gordon follows Grace into a storeroom and apologises for yelling at her. He finally screws up his courage and kisses her too and confesses he’s wanted to do that for ages. She invites him to do it again. Aww, these two are kinda cute.

Mardle goes around to the Groves’ with some biscuits, which she offers Doris as a peace offering. They sit down for a visit and Mardle grins at the baby, who is awfully cute. Mardle apologises for having upset Doris and Doris apologises for having been rude. Mardle turns her attention to the baby, wondering if he’ll look like Grove as he grows, and Doris bursts into tears and confesses that the man in the store was her childhood sweetheart, whom she reconnected with close to the end of the war. And by reconnected I mean reconnected. As I thought, little Ernest is not a Grove.

Marie goes to see Lois and starts in on an extravagant apology. Lois cuts her off and invites her to move into the Selfridge Manse. I bet Violette will be thrilled. She also tells Marie to reign in the spending and have a word with Sergei, who’s not been a good husband of late.

Harry shows Frank the hate mail. Harry worries that the letter he wrote may have stirred up even more problems. Frank tells him about Loxsley’s new charitable endeavour, which is clearly an attempt to curry favour with the old guard and get back into the fold. Harry can’t believe everyone would just forget the guy was a war profiteer. Frank says he’s tapping into everyone’s sense of nostalgia for the good old days, when ladies knew their place.

Gordon helps Grace carry something into the storeroom so they can make out for a bit. She brings up the deputy job again, telling Gordon he probably knows the store better than Harry at this point, since he’s worked in all sorts of departments. She knows Harry is a lot to live up to, but thinks Gordon’s selling himself short. He looks thoughtful.

Harry goes to Nancy’s and tells her he wants to call a press conference to announce the building of the estate, because he could really use the good PR just now. She tells him she’s not a huge fan of the limelight, but he tells her he needs her there, so she readily agrees,

The next day, she and Gerrard join Harry at the press conference that’s been pulled together very quickly indeed. Good thing none of these reporters had anything else to do. Nancy looks tense. Harry reassures her that he couldn’t have done this without her. They take the stage and Harry introduces the plans for the estate. He and Nancy uncover the model (which was also done in record time). In the audience, Crabb worries about the money it’ll cost and says he’s glad the store’s not paying for it. The reporters love it.

Inspector Johnson summons Edwards to his office purely to scare him by saying he could receive a fine and prison sentence for buying those servicemen booze out of hours. But he’s  not getting either of those things, because Johnson’s not pressing charges. Got you, Edwards! Also, that’s kind of douchy, Johnson. You could have done this over the phone. Frank thanks him and gets out of there.

Gordon goes to his father’s office and makes the case for being named deputy. He reminds Harry he’s worked in nearly every department, which has given him unique experience. He also really understands Harry and how important the store is to him. Harry gives him the job right then and there. Seriously, Harry? First, you should at least give the others the opportunity to make their own cases before you make a decision. Second, this is going to seem like blatant favouritism.

Connie returns home late after work and Kitty calls her into the sitting room so they can make up. Connie apologises tearfully and Kitty accepts it. They hug. And then Frank comes in and announces his book’s been cancelled thanks to all this bad publicity. He complains about how dumb it was buying those guys alcohol. Yeah, Frank, it really was. You could have probably just given the guys a couple of quid to get them talking. Let them buy their own drinks, if they’re of a mind. Kitty reminds him that it’s just a book and he turns to look at her, aghast. Frank, don’t say anything.

Lois and the other Selfridges admire the model, which is now on the dining room table. Harry tells them that, when it counts, they all pull together and support each other. He invites Gordon to share his news and everyone congratulates him. Lois sidles up to Harry and kinda asks about Nancy. Harry just says she’s smart and has a big heart. She tells him that there’s something she needs to tell him, but before she can get a word in, there’s a ruckus in the front hall. Marie has arrived with approximately a metric ton of luggage. Woah, Lois didn’t tell Harry about this beforehand? Apparently not. Harry slaps on a smile, because that’s what he does, while Violette pouts, because that’s what she does. She lies to Harry about meeting some schoolfriends for a trip to the theatre and he gives her permission to go.

Of course, she goes to Victor’s. Again, Elsa announces the bar’s closing. Violette drags Victor off to his office so they can have sex.

George notes that Elsa seems a bit glum and invites her to dance. She agrees.

Victor and Violette are getting hot and heavy in the office.

The police arrive and order everyone to line up against the bar. George insists that they stopped serving booze. The police go to Victor’s office and collect him and Violette, dragging them out half-dressed onto the dance floor. Purkiss strolls into the club, extravagantly telling Victor that he warned him. Nice of you to basically announce that this is a shakedown, you idiot. He drags a woman over to the bar, pours her a drink, and tells her to drink it. She does. Doesn’t that mean she could be arrested? Purkiss says this constitutes serving alcohol after hours in front of witnesses. Yeah, witnesses who can all say that you served the alcohol and compelled the woman to drink. This is a dumb plotline. Violette insists that he leave Victor alone. Purkiss orders everyone in the club arrested.

Gerrard arrives at Nancy’s and tells her she did a good job at the launch. He asks if she’s sleeping with Harry, reminding her that that wasn’t part of the plan. She reassures him she knows what she’s doing, adding that the money to build the estate is as good as theirs. Man, Harry really knows how to pick ‘em, doesn’t he?

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