Mr Selfridge: Splitting Shares

MR_SELFRIDGE_EPIOODE3_14Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry bumped his head and started acting a little crazy, creating a department to sell things that don’t exist, yelling at Gordon for no reason, and ruining Mae’s fashion show with the horrible Dolly sisters. And then his mother died, which is sure to help balance him back out again.

Harry wakes up in bed with one of the Dollys (Rosie, the slightly less stupid one). She acts all sulky because he has to go to work, so he invites her to come along. Bring your girlfriend to work day? Really professional, Harry.

He finally crawls home and gets a faceful of Violette’s attitude. To be fair, she’s kind of right to be annoyed with her father for acting like a 20-something who can’t even be bothered to decide what to put on his own mother’s gravestone.


Grove pokes fun at his daughter for sucking so badly at her job. She asks him to have a word with Connie, but he refuses to step in, so she whines about his failure to show her some favouritism. He then trips on the stairs and she laughs, because she’s still a child, and an asshole.

Kitty’s stressed out because Elizabeth Arden’s coming to the store and she invented astringent and that’s super important.

At the store, she hovers outside Harry’s office and clocks Grove arriving with a limp and a cane, thanks to his run-in with the staircase.

Kitty is finally brought into Harry’s office to be introduced to Elizabeth, who appears to be the original Pink Lady. She and Kitty head off to set up the Elizabeth Arden concession at the store. Once they’re gone, Plunkett comes in to say that Violette wants a lunch. Harry tells her to lie and say he’s busy. I wouldn’t want to have lunch with her either.

Downstairs, Elizabeth complains about the display, which she declares the wrong colour, despite the fact it’s the exact shade she specified and, at the time, Lyons told her it would look terrible. Elizabeth says it has to change, but Lyons points out they only have 20 minutes before the store opens, which means they can’t change it. Elizabeth coos that he’s wasting time, then collects Kitty to go to breakfast while Lyons freaks out.

Crabbe has overstepped and brought in a nurse for Grove, which is beyond ridiculous.The man’s not bleeding from his ears, he just tripped and fell. She nevertheless carries out an exam and notes he has a nasty bruise and will need an X-ray. An X-ray? Really? He insists he has no time, but she insists he make the time.

Elizabeth makes a presentation to some lady journalists, telling them that her products are something one can slip on at 6 to greet her husband as he comes home. One of them points out that it’s 6 now (it is? I thought she and Kitty were just going to breakfast) and rudely asks why Elizabeth’s not off greeting her husband. Retro Journo points out that Elizabeth talks a big game about how women’s lives should be: doting on her husband and having kids, but Elizabeth has left her husband in America and has no kid. Elizabeth responds by making fun of the woman’s publication (some Christian magazine) and then talks about how she wanted kids but didn’t get to have them. That wins everyone over.

Afterwards, she scolds Frank for letting the ‘bible basher’ in and Kitty reassures her the woman had no right to ask those questions. Elizabeth admits she never wanted kids, because she had other things to do. Kitty knows the feeling well.

Gordon is trying to catch his father up on the business doings, but all Harry cares about is going to Jimmy’s party. He arrives at the party and finds Mae on Dillon’s arm, and is himself quickly claimed by Rosie.

Once everyone is gathered, Jimmy welcomes them, calling them ‘shareholders’, because apparently they’re all investing in some theatre of Jimmy’s. Fatcat sidles up to Harry and says these money-men are the future and the salesmen are the past. Yes, nobody will ever need to buy anything again, right, Fatcat?

After his speech, Jimmy joins Mae, Gordon and Grace and explains how he’s minting money off this theatre by splitting the shares. Harry wanders over and thinks that’s brilliant, though Grace looks doubtful. Harry thinks he and Dillon should do the same with the provincial Selfridge’s stores. Gordon is aghast, saying he’s spent years building up those stores, but Harry couldn’t care less what he thinks.

Jimmy goes over the numbers with Crabbe, who says this is a very unorthodox proposal and just barely legal. Harry thinks that’s awesome; Gordon, not so much. He worries that, if things don’t go perfectly, they could lose control of their stores and a lot of people will lose their jobs. Harry’s too concerned with making money here to care about that. He insists Gordon get on board with this.

Afterwards, Gordon tries to talk Jimmy out of pursuing the scheme, especially while Harry’s still grieving the death of his mother. Jimmy refuses to do so, because there’s too much money to be made here.

Crabbe goes to visit Grove, who’s now convalescing at home, suffering terribly from his bruised leg. What a baby. He admits he’s bored out of his skull and has just endured a day of X-rays and tests at the hospital. Crabbe’s brought something that might cheer him: a build-your-own radio receiver, which is technically for Grove’s youngest kid, but it’s obviously one of those gifts that’s more for the parent than anyone else.

Rosalie goes to church to light a candle and sees Fatcat there. She joins him and he expresses condolences for the loss of her grandmother. She admits they’re all still grieving. He watches a children’s choir rehearse and seems rather affected.

After the rehearsal, one of the girls brings him a thank-you painting and a nun explains that Fatcat’s the patron of the orphans. He seems embarrassed and goes to leave, but stops and explains to Rosalie that his son died in the war, so he makes himself feel better by giving orphans a home. Ok, now he’s got at least a little bit of dimension I guess I have to call him by his name, Wynnstay. Rosalie promises not to spread the story around, as long as he lets her do something for the children. She proposes a charity event at the store.

Grove and Ernest are trying to put the wireless together, but it’s not working. Grove finds a loose wire and fixes it, and the’re able to tune in to a song Doris used to love. Grove fondly remembers dancing to it with her and Meryl asks Grove to show her. He twirls his daughter around the room and then other kids join in as something a bit more Roaring 20’s comes on.

The Selfridge kids go through some old family photos. Harry comes in and asks them to leave their grandmother’s things alone. Violette mildly scolds him for refusing to do what needs to be done or allow anyone else to do it. Harry still dances out of any responsibility here and goes to gamble heavily with the Dollys and Jimmy. He loses big. Really big. Rosie pouts that she’s all out of money, so Harry hands some over. Jimmy observes that Harry seems to lose whether the Dollys win or not. He warns Harry that they’re an expensive hobby.

Harry gets up from the table for a breather and is almost immediately accosted by the owner of this place, who tells Harry that payment is owing.

Frank returns home to a ringing telephone. It’s Elizabeth, telephoning for Kitty in the middle of the night and summoning her to Elizabeth’s hotel room. Kitty goes, because she’s a pushover, and finds Elizabeth in full Scarlett O’Hara mode, all drama and drunkenness and insisting she’s fine—just fine!—even as she shows Kitty pictures she’s been sent of Elizabeth’s husband with his mistress. Jesus, lady, you just met Kitty today. What are you doing involving her in this? Have some self-respect! Kitty, of course, has no idea what to say to any of this. Elizabeth drinks and cries and says the guy won’t get a dime from her. Kitty tries to comfort her, but Elizabeth starts freaking out that she needs her pills. Kitty finds a bottle of barbiturates and hesitantly says they won’t do the woman any good. Elizabeth insists on having them. Kitty doles out one but Elizabeth insists she needs two to sleep. She takes them with a whole lotta booze and tells Kitty to stay there until she falls asleep. Kitty is clearly alarmed.

She finally gets home, where Frank’s waiting up, and tells him the woman’s lonely, despite all her money and success. He reassures her she’ll always have him and she hugs him tightly. Aww, I’ve always liked these two.

Elizabeth materialises at the store the next morning (for some strange reason, both she and Kitty are in the same outfits as the previous day) and acts like absolutely nothing happened.

Ernest and Grove put the finishing touches on a model car and talk about real cars. Meryl comes in and asks about the car parked outside. Surprise! They got a family car! Meryl wants to learn how to drive. Yeah, not happening.

Harry is getting ready for the launch of…the share sale, I guess? Frank, hovering in the background, seems a bit subdued about this whole thing. Gordon strides in and announces he needs to speak with Harry about Jimmy Dillon. Frank makes himself scarce. Gordon has been doing some digging and found that Dillon has a certain reputation in the City, and it’s not a great one. Harry knows and doesn’t care. Gordon reminds him that this isn’t just about Harry’s reputation, but Gordon’s as well. Harry insists he needs Gordon beside him at the launch and hopes he can rely on his son to do the right thing.

In the sewing room, the girls are dismissed to attend this launch. Matilda goes to follow them, but the head of the sewing room sends her to the stock room with some things she insists need to be sent off. She’s already missed the last dispatch, though and will now miss the party because…it’s not clear, actually. Does she now need to hand-deliver this stuff? If the last dispatch is already gone, what more can she do?

Gordon has evidently decided to go ahead and support his dad, because that’s what Gordon does. He gets up on stage at the launch and pauses for a very long time, then gives a decent speech promoting the scheme, even as he gives Grace an, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound, eh?’ look.

At the afterparty, George wonders if he should buy in. Connie warns him not to dabble in rich men’s hobbies, then nabs a canapé. Meryl approaches and asks when she might be allowed back on the shop floor. Connie tells her it won’t be before both of them are good and ready. Read: never. Meryl goes to eat her feelings, helping herself to several of the canapés.

Dancing commences, with the Dollys acting particularly embarrassing, of course. The stupider one, Jenny, steals someone’s drink and twirls over to Violette, telling the young woman she knows Violette’s father. Violette is aware. She’s also totally not interested in being friends with this woman. Jenny gets belligerent, asking who Violette thinks she is, to judge Jenny. Well, she’s sober for one, Jenny, which is more than can be said of you, as you now slop your drink all over poor Crabbe, who’s just standing there. Rosie comes over and tries to get her sister out of there, but Jenny just makes more of a scene, finally attracting Harry’s attention. Violette’s like, ‘nice friends, Dad. What would Grandma think of them?’

Dillon joins Gordon at the bar and accuses him of being a racist for having the audacity to dig into his previous business dealings. Jimmy, you’d better get used to that, since you’re in business and all. Surely this has happened to you before?

Violette comes over and wonders what their father sees in those Dollys. Gordon says they’re an infatuation and she says Dillon is as well. She announces she’s going back to Paris and Gordon can just deal with their father from here on out.

Meryl brings the canapés down to the stockroom for Matilda, which is sweet. But then Matilda’s bitch boss comes in and starts throwing attitude around, asking Meryl if Grove knows what she’s up to. She informs the woman it’s none of her business who Meryl speaks to. The woman shoves some boxes at her and stomps out, and now Matilda starts bitching at Meryl, because now her boss will have a reason to dislike her. Geez, I’m no Meryl fan, but let’s not pile on. What was she supposed to do?

Harry finds Jenny downstairs near the Elizabeth Arden display. She tearfully says that she ruins everything but Harry doesn’t agree. Jenny seems to be trying to yank her sister’s man, but Rosie comes sweeping in at just the right moment to shoo her away.

Elizabeth and Kitty have lunch, or maybe this is that breakfast they were supposed to be having, I have no idea, the timeline’s a mess this episode. They talk about Kitty’s career. Looks like she’s gone pretty much as far as she can at Selfridge’s, and she’s only just now realising it. Elizabeth asks Kitty to run all of her department store concessions, in return for a doubled salary and a nice apartment in New York. Yes, that means she’ll have to move. Which doesn’t appear to be any sort of issue. Elizabeth tells Kitty that women can be in business in New York without being ostracised. Oh, please, New York was no more progressive for women in business than most other major cities of the 1920s. She’d have better luck in Paris, honestly. Kitty says she’ll have to discuss this with Frank.

Grove goes to his doctor and finds out, it seems, that he has cancer. Woah. Ok, now I feel really terrible for calling him a baby earlier. He staggers out of the office and a concerned nurse asks if there’s anyone she can call.

Frank reads the newspapers over breakfast the next morning. Stories about the launch are not complimentary, most seeming to be about how Harry just keeps pushing the boundaries of good taste. Kitty chooses that moment to tell him about the job offer. She tries to sell it by saying she could support both of them, so he could focus on his writing. She makes a misstep by kind of insulting his job, so he insults hers right back. She tells him this is the next step in her career and he points out it would be at the expense of his. Well, not necessarily, Frank. They do have newspapers and things in New York.

Crabbe comes to the hospital to collect Grove. Grove tells him he has a brain tumour, and it’s metasticised and is everywhere now. He doesn’t have much time left. Crabbe struggles to absorb this, then steps right the hell up and tells Grove he doesn’t have to face this alone. Awww! I love Crabbe!

Grove arrives home to the busy chatter of his soon-to-be-orphaned children. Grove suggests they put the squabbles aside and go for a drive. They head out to the countryside, singing.

Harry’s at the stock exchange with Frank, Gordon and the Dollys, and again everyone’s in the same outfits as the day before. Though in the case of the Dollys, I think we’re just supposed to assume they never made it home. Gordon notes that his father loves the high he gets from gambling. Apparently that’s not Gordon’s thing, thank god. Jimmy arrive sand trading commences. Jimmy directs Harry’s attention to the proper blackboard, which is showing the price of the shares going up and up. Harry pops champagne and accidentally kisses the wrong Dolly.

Harry summons Gordon to his office so they can discuss what to do with their fresh dividends. Gordon, defeated, just tells Harry to do what he wants and tell Gordon where to sign. He goes on to say that Harry has gambled with everything Gordon has tried to build. Harry tells him they won and Gordon wonders if that’s all that matters to Harry. He says that Violette’s gone, something that apparently escaped Harry’s notice, and warns Harry he’s in danger of losing everything and everyone that’s meant something to him.

Harry visits his mother’s grave, which now has a marker on it. I’m assuming the kids just went ahead and did it. He drapes himself over the grave, weeping.



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