Previously on Mr Selfridge: Doris got run over, not long after confessing her affair to Mardle; Harry sold shares in the store so he could fund the Selfridge Estate, unaware that Nancy is conning him.
Mardle is hosting Doris’s wake. Grove sits looking sadly at a photograph of his wife. Mardle is looking really awful. Like she’s aged at least a decade. Outside, Harry climbs out of his car and approaches the house. George, Victor, Kitty, and Edwards all talk about how sad this is. Mardle answers the door and is surprised to see Harry there, since she wasn’t expecting him to come. You weren’t? The deceased is a former store employee married to one of his top men. This seems like exactly the sort of event Harry would show up for. She directs him to Grove, and as he comes inside, she sees Doris’s lover, Billy, approach. Mardle firmly tells him to leave, because this is not the time. He asks where Doris is buried and she directs him to the spot. Grove watches their interaction through the window.
Harry and Crabb join him and Harry expresses his condolences. Grove asks Mardle who the young man outside was and she lies (poorly) that he was a delivery boy. A delivery boy with a bouquet of flowers? Come on, Mardle, you can do better. Harry asks Grove how he’s holding up and the man just barely manages not to burst into tears. Crabb asks how the kids are and Grove says he hasn’t told them yet. He’s just said their mother’s away visiting family. Harry says that his kids helped him get through Rose’s death, and that kids are stronger than you think. Yeah, but your kids were much older, Harry, and they had time to prepare themselves for the tragedy. The eldest of the Grove children can’t be much more than, what, eight or nine? This is going to be a serious blow.
Victor and George return to the club, where Michael’s hanging in. He tells them he has some ‘friends’ he wants to have welcomed. Victor readily agrees and goes to get his payout from the gambling. George shows Michael the setup they have in a back room. Michael asks if George has given it a try yet but George says he’s not a gambler. Michael quickly realizes that George does not approve of any of this, and George says he’s just concerned for Victor and their club. Michael points out that both are doing fairly well at the moment, so what’s the problem? He counts up his takings, hands a cut off to Victor, and suggests he get Violette to come around more, because she’s a draw. Michael leaves and the other two men look visibly relieved.
Grove returns home, pays the babysitter, and gathers his kids (and yes, they’re all quite young) for the big blow.
At the store, Crabb goes to see Harry, as he has an appointment, only to hear he’s not there.
Harry’s gone to see Nancy, who soothes him and lets him talk about how the wake brought up so many feelings. She agrees that life is fragile and nothing is guaranteed. He says that we have to work hard here and now, to get what we desire. He suggests they go out. She laughs, but as soon as he goes to get dressed, her face falls.
Harry’s idea of a hot date is to take Nancy for an after-hours shopping spree in the store he owns. He gives her some perfume and a dress and they end up in the Palm Court, where there just so happens to be a bottle of champagne chilling in a bucket. Why was that there? Did Harry somehow prearrange that? Or do they just have bottles of champagne sitting in buckets overnight? That can’t be, because it makes no sense, the ice would melt and the champagne would get warm. Anyway, Harry pops the cork and pours a couple of glasses and talks about how much he likes spending time with her like this. They kiss and he confesses he’s not the owner of the store any longer. Aghast, she tells him he shouldn’t have sold the shares, since the store means so much to him. He says the store will still be around in 100 years, what he cares about is what’s important today. Well, that’s a great way to run a business.
Mardle goes to have dinner at the Grove home, where the children can be heard wailing upstairs. He tells her that he shared the bad news, since you can’t keep something like that hidden. She agrees. He goes to fetch her something: a brooch that belonged to Doris, which he thinks she would have wanted Mardle to have. She tries to decline the gift but he asks her to accept it as a thank you. She goes to clear the plates and he admits he doesn’t have many friends, but she’s definitely one of them, and her support lately has been above and beyond the call of duty. She takes the brooch and promises to keep it as a memento of Doris. She bids him goodnight and leaves.
Victor works the room at the club. Two men arrive and introduce themselves as friends of Michael’s. Ahh, these are his ‘friends’.
Nancy and Violette meet up at the teashop near Selfridge’s so Violette can rather aggressively catalogue shop for furniture for the houses. For someone who moans and whines about how everyone wants her to be domestic and she hates that, she sure is acting fairly domestic. Nancy’s barely paying attention so Violette suggests Nancy head out. Nancy thanks her, explaining she has to attend the shareholder’s meeting that morning. She departs and Violette turns and notes Victor sitting in the corner, hiding behind a newspaper. He joins her at the table and they flirt a little before he takes her outside to show off his new car. She asks how he can afford it and he tells her the club’s doing fairly well. He invites her out for a drive.
Harry’s glancing over the accounts just ahead of the shareholders’ meeting. On his way to the meeting he runs into Rosalie, Sergei, and Marie just getting off the lift. Rosalie explains hat they’re back from Paris a little early and thought they’d collect Harry for tea. He apologises and says he has a shareholders’ meeting, but they’re welcome to go to tea without him.
Over tea, Sergei talks excitedly about new letterhead for the company he’s forming with someone he met and formed a partnership with in Paris. Sergei’s being quite charming to his wife, and as they leave, Lois guesses that something happened in Paris. ‘Doesn’t it always?’ Marie says, a little darkly.
Violette and Victor race along a country road and she urges him to go faster.
Harry admits to the shareholders that sales are a teensy bit flat, but they’re still number 1 on Oxford Street because they know what the customers want: hope and light. Everyone applauds. Crabb calls for questions, and in strolls Loxsley to ask how long Harry intends to take advantage of his board. He’s told that he has to be a shareholder to attend the meeting, and it turns out he is: he bought 5% for a song just two weeks ago.
Crabb tries to close the meeting but Harry won’t run from Loxsley. Loxsley tells everyone that Harry runs the store like it’s his piggy bank, using it to fund his lavish home, four cars, and allowances for his kids. Crabb claims that the children are ambassadors for the store. Oh, please. Loxsley and the others rightly chuckle at that. Loxsley says that Harry seems to have lost interest in his company. He’s thrown away his majority position. Harry explains that he sold the shares to fund the Estate. Loxsley calls that a vanity project, which makes Nancy indignant. Harry admits that share prices have dipped, but he promises that over the next few months, the prices will increase by no less than 10%. Holy crap, Harry, how’re you going to do that? Crabb asks just that and Harry says they’ll just find a way. Yeah, a miracle will come to pass!
Billy comes to see Mardle in the fashion department and demands to speak with her.
Harry bundles Nancy into a car, reassuring her he has this covered. Loxsley strolls out of the store and declares this the beginning of the end. Harry asks where he got his information from. Sergei, of course. Sergei also sold some of Rosalie’s shares the previous week, which Loxsley snapped up, giving him a large enough share to have a seat on the board. Well done, Sergei.
Mardle tells Billy that it won’t be possible for him to keep seeing Ernest, because Grove doesn’t know the kid isn’t his. Billy, being an asshole, apparently, tells her that Grove will have to be told. He then tells Mardle that she started this and will have to see it through. Poor Mardle. Talk about no good deed going unpunished.
Victor and Violette have a picnic in Dover. He asks why she wasn’t at Doris’s wake. Why should she be? She didn’t know Doris. Violette says she hates wakes, like anyone actually enjoys them, and that the whole time she was at her mother’s she wanted to scream or smash something. ‘That’s why I like you,’ says Victor. Huh? Because she acts like an out-of-control child? Yeah, that’s really attractive in a grown woman. They talk about these homes she’s furnishing and he suggests that what they really need are good tables, sturdy chairs, and a comfortable bed. That’s what everyone dreamt of in the trenches: kids around the table and a wife in the bed. He asks if she could live in one of these houses and she flirtily says it would depend on who she was with. They kiss. She notes that he opens in three hours and asks if she can drive back.
Harry returns home and tells Fraser that he wants to see Sergei as soon as he returns home.
Mardle heads out of the store at the end of the day, so deep in thought that she doesn’t even hear Kitty bidding her good night. Crabb approaches and says he knows it’s not his business, but she seems to be carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. She bursts into tears and tells him everything, adding that Billy is going to tell Grove if she doesn’t do something. Crabb quietly says that Grove has to know. She says she can’t tell him and Crabb gently asks if it’s because she doesn’t want Grove thinking badly of her. She’s silent. He repeats that he has to know and asks if she wants him to go with her. Aww, Crabb’s adorable! She says no, but thanks him for offering.
Sergei comes home, all cheery because things seem to be going right for him just now. He’s sent to face Harry in the drawing room and immediately gets his head bitten off for talking to Loxsley and selling Rosalie’s shares. Harry tells Sergei that now Loxsley will have a seat on their board because of that. Sergei’s ‘oh, shit’ face telegraphs pretty clearly that he didn’t do this maliciously. He explains that he needed to raise capital. Harry accuses him of selling out their family and orders him out.
Victor’s club is hoppin’. Violette’s sitting at the bar, telling George that they drove to the seaside and back. Victor eyes Michael’s two friends, who are clearly drug dealers. Violette asks him what’s bothering him and he says it’s nothing. He excuses himself and goes to confirm that there are now people doing coke in his club. Great.
Lois and Marie return home to find an ashen Sergei in the front hall. He tells his mother what happened and says he’s not welcome there anymore, that he’s ruined everything. Lois peels off to talk to her son while Marie deals with hers. But there’s nothing much to say.
George has noticed the dealing as well and throws one of the men out. However, Victor follows them and tells George it’s ok. The guy saunters back in, dragging his attitude with him.
In Victor’s office, George freaks out about this, wondering why anyone would want to do that stuff for fun. Victor says that people are willing to try just about anything because they know now that life is super short. Victor yells at George for being so uptight and George warns him that they’re going to have serious trouble on their hands if they let this continue. He reminds Victor that he walked out on a job at Selfridge’s for him. Victor and I both respond that nobody asked him to do that. George insists that Victor needed him. ‘I needed you?’ says Victor, a bit incredulously. Really, George. George tells Victor to tell Michael this is no longer acceptable. Victor agrees, but George quickly realizes he has no intention of seeing that through. Victor reminds him that they’re finally earning money. George hands his keys in and leaves.
Sergei pulls all the plans down off the wall of his office. Rosalie begs him to stop and offers to talk to her father. He starts down a shame spiral, telling her that she deserves better, because he sucks. She bluntly informs him that she’s pregnant. Awesome, now you’re tied to this guy for good. She takes his hand and firmly says that she won’t let this family fall apart without a fight. He pulls her in and kisses her.
She goes to her father and says that what Sergei did was foolish, but not malicious, and that none of this is Sergei’s fault. He’s just trying to establish a business, just like Harry once did. She tells her father that, if Sergei leaves, she and their child will too.
Marie comes downstairs with all her luggage, apparently ready to head out, but Harry and Rosalie emerge. Sergei promises Harry he’ll do everything he possibly can to make things right. Harry shakes his hand and whispers to Sergei that he’d better. He then orders up champagne and announces that the next generation is on its way. Marie embraces Rosalie excitedly and orders some vodka as well. Nothing like hitting the bottle to celebrate pregnancy, right?
Mardle goes to Grove’s and he notices she’s pretty preoccupied. She breaks the news to him of Doris’s affair and Ernest’s real parentage. Grove zeroes in on the fact that Mardle’s known about this for a while and accuses her of plotting and scheming and lying. She says she and Doris thought they were doing the right thing for everyone involved. He figures out that they were seeing Billy the day Doris died and Mardle confirms it. He then blames her for the accident, essentially, saying that if she hadn’t meddled where she didn’t belong he and Doris would be tucked up in bed right now. I’m going to give him some leeway because he’s grieving and has just received a shock, but geez, Grove. She tells him it was an accident but he snaps that there are no accidents (actually, Grove, there are) and that people meddle where they shouldn’t and then don’t accept consequences. Uh, whatever. Mardle cries and tells him that Doris was frightened and didn’t know what to do. She tells him how sorry she is. He looks away from her and says her recent actions were clearly driven by guilt. He then orders her to go fetch the child.
Victor smokes moodily at the bar of his club after hours and tells Violette she should really head home. She asks him what’s wrong, but before he can elaborate Elsa calls him to another room, where one of their customers has apparently od’d. Violette sidles up and sees what’s happened. Victor goes to fetch a doctor, but Elsa tells him that’ll involve the police, and that’ll just cause more problems. She goes to get Violette a brandy while Victor throws some ice water over the guy and manages to wake him up. He kicks him out while Violette listens in from the main room, looking tense.
Nancy tells her partner how remarkable Harry was at the shareholders’ meeting. Her partner finds the new dress and reminds her that they’re not here for dresses and perfume. He suggests she step back and remember what they’re gunning for here: a fresh start in America. He worries that she’s getting too involved with Harry.
Victor joins Violette and Elsa and tells them the guy was fine. He tells Violette it’s really time for her to go. She says she wants to stay. He tells her she can’t and shows her out. She asks him what’s wrong and he says her father’s right: his world is no place for her. This is no good. She says she loves him, and it looks like he wants to say it back, but he informs her that love doesn’t make a difference. He goes inside and she childishly yells at the closed door that he’s gutless.
Mardle brings little Ernest downstairs. Grove won’t even look at either one of them as he opens the front door and ushers them out. Woah, there. I was going to give him some leeway, but this is a bit much. I know you’re hurt, Grove, but how can you just suddenly turn your back on a child you’ve been fathering for, what, at least nine or ten months if not longer? You’ve bonded with that kid, this is heartless! And to toss him out of the house and dump him on a single woman with a full-time job who has no actual relationship with him is cruel to everyone involved and incredibly selfish.
Nancy looks at her dress and perfume and puts both in a hamper, slamming the lid.
Violette returns home and hears her family chattering in the sitting room. Isn’t it, like, the middle of the night? What time does the club close?