Mr Selfridge: Swimming with Sharks

Who_were_the_Dolly_Sisters_Previously on Mr Selfridge: Kitty got a job offer in New York, Rosalie made friends with Lord Wynnstay, and Harry started gambling with the stores themselves.

Harry has gathered several members of the press at a swanky hotel in Biarritz to announce that Selfridge’s has collected some new stores. The press members are pretty much all like, ‘good for you, but why did we have to come all the way to France for this announcement?’

Harry: Because I love to spend money unnecessarily! Let the good times roll, everyone. They’ll never end, right?

A lady journalist asks where Gordon is and Harry really poorly deflects. Because she’s apparently terrible at her job, she doesn’t pursue the line of questioning.

Meanwhile, back in London, Grove returns to work.

Also in London, Crabbe meets with Gordon and also asks why he’s not in France. Gordon’s as terrible at coming up with excuses as his dad and stammers something about wanting to take his kid to see A.A. Milne read from Winnie the Pooh at the store the next day. Crabbe’s slightly better at this than an actual journalist and asks Gordon if he wanted to be in France. Gordon says he prefers to leave his mark through hard work, not useless PR stunts.

The lady journalist is apparently a gossip columnist. Since when do gossip columnists get invited to announcements of business acquisitions? That makes no sense. She gets on the telephone and dictates a fluff piece as Frank hands her a key to one of the hotel rooms. Apparently she and the others have been upgraded. After he wanders off, another journalist approaches her and asks if she’s got a good story about the Selfridges. She does, but she’s under orders not to run it. The other guy wonders when that’s ever stopped a gossip columnist. Uh, when those orders came from the man who owns the newspaper you work for? That’d stop most people, gossip columnist or no.

Crabbe finds Grove in his office and demands to know what he’s doing actually working. Grove isn’t interested in just sitting around and getting depressed, he wants to be useful. Reasonable enough. Still, Crabbe does not approve. When Grove leaves for his rounds. Crabbe gets on the telephone.

Poor Lyons has been tasked with doing set design for the Milne reading, and Rosalie does not approve of Eeyore’s house, because it’s insufficiently terrible.

Lyons: Why the hell do I still work for these people? It’s not supposed to be my job to build homes for fictional depressed animals that happen to fit exactly what image you have in your head!

Rosalie talks a little bit about the event with Connie. It’s that fundraiser for Wynnstay’s orphanage she mentioned last week. And apparently she was able to pull the whole thing together quickly, probably because she basically has nothing else to do.

In the stock room, Meryl tells Matilda that Connie said she’d be coming down later, so maybe she’s going to have a chance to actually serve customers again! Matilda, who I guess has nothing to do other than just hang around the stockroom during working hours, warns Meryl to watch her tongue and be respectful. Connie comes in, notes the stockroom’s in good order, and sees that Meryl seems sufficiently contrite. Meryl’s released from purgatory. When Connie’s gone, she and Matilda spin and spin, because they’re about eight years old, apparently.

Harry finds the Dolly morons in the casino at the hotel, along with those Whiteley jerks. Yay, it’s a table of horrible people. Rosie Dolly pouts and asks Harry to pony up some cash so she can continue losing, and he does, because he’s an idiot and a pushover.

Harry spots Jimmy coming in with Mae, who’s totally there to have a good time. They go to get some drinks.

Frank greets members of the press and is hit up for gossip by the gossip columnist, Felicity. He gives her nothing other than a drink. For now.

Harry, Jimmy and Mae are enjoying their drinks, so of course the Dollys have to come over and ruin things by sulking over having lost at the table. Rosie mentions the two of them have a movie audition the following day.

Felicity asks Frank what it’s like working for Harry and he admits it’s hard to see people who were cub reporters alongside him and now have books and are features editors and the like. And you’re running PR for a major company. What’s to be sad about here, Frank? You’ve accomplished just as much as they.

The Whiteleys start acting like jerks with Jimmy, because of course they do. Harry steers Jimmy away before things can get too heated.

Victor’s reading the paper in his office when he receives a visit from Mr D’Ancona, the guy who owns the casino where Harry was gambling last week. Apparently he’s some sort of a gangster, or something like that, because Victor’s clearly terrified of him. D’Ancona basically demands Victor collect Harry’s debt for him. I don’t understand why this scary guy can’t do this himself. Why would he need to involve Victor?

Harry moves on to the gaming tables with the Dollys. He wins, then presents each of them with an expensive piece of jewellery. Mae shakes her head in disgust. Jenny Dolly thanks Harry by getting up on the table and basically flashing her crotch to the entire room. Keep it classy, Dolly idiot. Her sister gets annoyed and busts Jenny’s new necklace. Jenny rushes out with Rosie in pursuit, and Harry following, promising to get them both new shiny things.

The Whiteleys move on to bugging Mae, telling her Loxsley was a member of their club.

Mae’s face: What kind of an idiot would actually admit to knowing that loser?

They begin getting super racist with Jimmy, asking him to fetch drinks and shine their shoes and suggesting he’s just an ‘exotic holiday’ for Mae. She and Jimmy get ready to leave, but the guys can’t resist one last asshole remark and Jimmy takes a swing at one of them. When Frank tries to intervene, he gets an elbow to the face. He wrestles Jimmy out of there and Felicity goes to tend to Frank.

In his hotel room, Jimmy grabs a chair and hurls it across the room. Mae screams at him to knock it off, probably cursing herself for once again getting involved with a jerk with impulse-control issues. He asks if he really is just an exotic holiday for her and she says that people say shitty things, but she doesn’t care about any of that. She does have a problem with his temper, though. He apologises and nuzzles up to her, but she’s had it for the night and leaves him to get some sleep.

Frank and Felicity, now seriously drunk, stumble into her room.

Harry spots Mae coming out into the hall and suggests they grab something to eat.

They enjoy an early breakfast at a little place by the shore. Mae admits that she came to Biarritz because she’s worried about him and this tension between him and Gordon is clearly becoming a problem. He starts getting annoyed and tells her not to judge him, because he’s got a family to take care of that. He calls for the cheque and then leaves. Mae chases him down the beach, because she’s just neck deep in man-children these days and can’t get herself out of the quagmire. He tells her he has to keep moving. She understands, since she’s the same way, but once all the distractions are gone, what will they be left with? She presses him to make it up with his only son, because family’s important. She apologises for having upset him and he promises to fix things.

The journalists are clearing out. Felicity hits Frank up for a ride home but he shortly informs her the party’s over and she just has to make her own arrangements. She’s taken aback and actually does the ‘didn’t last night mean anything?’ line. Lady, you’re old enough to know how these things go. Frank, clearly regretting just about everything that happened the night before, even the things that didn’t include her, says he was drunk. Oh, please, Frank. That excuses nothing.

Harry and Mae come in and Felicity pouts and angrily says she hopes Harry enjoys the column she’s going to write. Jimmy steams over and apologises for his behaviour. Harry tells him not to worry about it. And now here come the Dollys, all dolled up for their audition. Jenny sulks about her ruined necklace and says darkly that Rosie will pay.

Mae asks Jimmy if he’s feeling better and he nods.

Harry is handed the bill, which is the largest the hotel has ever issued. For some bizarre reason, someone takes a picture of him at that moment. Is any of this newsworthy? Come on!

Rosalie tells Wynnstay that she’s invited some rich people to bring their kids to this fundraiser, which is kind of the purpose of a fundraiser, no? I mean, to bring rich people in? She thinks the rich kids will make lasting friendships with the waifs from the orphanage during this one afternoon, and the parents will start pumping money into the place. That’s laughably naïve, to think that wealthy people of the time would encourage those sorts of relationships. Hell, wealthy people now don’t encourage their kids to go slumming like that.

Milne shows up, accompanied by his kid, who takes a look at the ridiculously ornate set that Lyons has managed to just throw together and declares it fit for purpose.

Crabbe catches Grove coming off the lift and steers him into his office, where—guess who’s waiting? Yes, it’s Mardle! Wait, did she teleport there? Crabbe only called her the day before! Was she already in London? Because that’s the only way it’s possible for her to be there. They didn’t have trans-Atlantic passenger flights at this time, you had to take a ship, which took a few days, even on the fastest liner. So, that’s one distracting thing. The other is that Mardle is wearing an aggressively hideous outfit. It looks like something that would be slapped on a member of the chorus in Thoroughly Modern Millie. That’s not a good thing. Isn’t she in fashion? The hell?

Grove accuses Crabbe of having brought her in and Crabbe says he had to do something. What do you mean? Why? Why is it so important to you that Grove just sit around atrophying and waiting to die? If he wants to stay busy, let him stay busy! This isn’t really your business, Crabbe! Who are you to decide how a man should spend the time left to him? Grove tells Crabbe that this is unforgiveable and for some bizarre reason Mardle still looks pleased. Lady, he basically just said that your presence is the worst thing just now.

Crabbe leaves the two of them alone and she asks if he’s seen other doctors. He tells her there’s really no point. She keeps pushing but he’s not interested in rushing around looking for a miracle. She guesses he hasn’t told the kids. To be fair to him, telling your kids they’re about to be orphans relying on their horrible, selfish, immature, idiot of an older sister for their survival is a tough conversation to have. Grove thanks her for her visit and gets back to work.

Mardle goes down to fashion and runs into Meryl. Mardle congratulates her on the job and asks how things are at home. Meryl says they’re all good, nice and close and affectionate. She asks if Mardle’s there on business and Mardle responds that she is, of a sort, which suggests that she did come to England expressly to see Grove. Whatever. The timeline of this show has always been a hopeless mess.

Orphans arrive for the Milne reading and run, as excited kids do. Rosalie seems surprised by this.

So, Jenny has apparently decided to take revenge on Rosie by just not showing up for the audition. So, she’s essentially shooting herself in the foot. Wow, she really is brainless, isn’t she? Rosie looks sort of panicked, but Harry reassures the director that whatever Rosie does in the act Jenny does, so a mirror’s a fine stand-in. He brings one over, wishes her luck, and she starts to dance. It’s terrible.

Mardle next runs into Kitty, who excitedly invites her out for a cup of tea and to pump her for information about New York. Mardle says that Kitty would love New York, a city full of shameless strivers. Well, yes, that’s true. Maybe that’s one reason I’ve never much liked it. Kitty sweetly tells her that she’s still a legend at the store. Mardle says that’s nice to hear, but she’s learning that work isn’t the be-all and end-all in life. Kitty offers that it’s never too late to change one’s priorities.

Milne reads. Poorly. Really poorly. No way would small children sit still for this monotone. Harry arrives just in time to catch the end and watches Gordon kiss the son sitting on his lap.

Afterwards, Harry greets Milne and says something nice, then asks Gordon how things are. Gordon has a chance to ram home the ‘family is everything!’ lesson, which Harry apparently misses, because when Grace invites him to join them for dinner, Harry excuses himself. Way to make things up with your son, Harry.

Over dinner, Kitty tells Frank that they have these things in New York called magazines, including one called the New Yorker, which he may want to check out. He agrees to give it a read the next day, then moans about his sore head. He says he missed her while he was away and didn’t enjoy it as much as he used to. He discovered that true joy lies in hearth and home and maybe they were a little hasty dismissing the idea of children. Yeah, that usually fixes things. Kitty looks alarmed.

Harry returns home and finds Victor waiting for him. He wastes no time telling Harry that he really needs to repay D’Ancona. Harry says he’s already stopped by the bank and gotten a cheque to cover the amount. He telephones D’Ancona and asks to meet him at his club that night.

No sooner is Grove through his front door than Mardle’s knocking on it. He takes her into the study and asks her just what she expects here. She says she wants to help but he tells her it’s too late, because she already left once. She promises not to leave him again. Well, now there’s an endpoint I guess that’s an easy promise to make. He tells her, as Meryl comes into the doorway, that he doesn’t want her to watch him diminish and die. Meryl asks what he’s talking about. Grove sees Mardle out, then goes to talk to his daughter, who collapses onto the floor, sobbing.

Wynnstay shows up at the Selfridge manse, asking to speak to Rosalie. He tells her that he tried to stop the story, but it was too late. He hands her a copy of the newspaper, which has a gossip piece about Sergei’s affair. Wynnstay promises he didn’t sanction this but she tells him to get lost. I find it hard to believe she didn’t suspect this. I mean, Sergei is never around. What does she think he’s up to? I guess it’s just that much more mortifying to see it in print.

Rosie (and, presumably, Jenny) got the part. Unfortunately, one of the film’s backers has pulled out, which means the picture won’t be happening. The director says it’s a shame, because they were even going to film some of it at Selfridge’s. Naturally, this prompts Harry to cough up the £50K needed to finance the rest of the film. Looks like D’Ancona won’t be getting paid after all.

Harry goes to answer a phone call. It’s Rosalie, freaking out about the newspaper story. Harry steams over to Frank’s and yells at him for not knowing this was going to happen. Frank reassures him this is just a gossip bit and will blow over. Harry orders him to cancel their ads in the paper. Frank urges him not to do anything rash. Harry hits below the belt and loudly says that Frank spent the night with the woman who wrote the story, asking if this is her revenge. Nice, Harry. How about you raise your voice just a little bit, I don’t think the neighbours across the street heard you, along with Frank’s wife. Let’s hope Kitty’s a really sound sleeper. Frank tells him to get lost and they’ll talk about it the next day.

D’Ancona shows up for his payment and only finds Harry’s half-drunk whisky. That wouldn’t have been cleared away immediately in a swanky club like this? I think not.



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