Mr Selfridge: Harry Selfridge, Secret Agent

mr-selfridge-ep-6-2Previously on Mr Selfridge: Victor inherited his uncle’s restaurant and started dating Agnes; Thackeray started to suspect there’s something seriously fishy about Henri; Harry tried to do more for the war effort, only to be screwed over by Loxsley; and Mardle got an adorable Belgian refugee.

All the German goods are being taken off the store shelves. Farewell nutcrackers and copies of Heidi. Which was written by a Swiss woman, so I’m not sure why that’s getting the axe, but whatever. Miss C, the blonde who’s been working tea with Gordon, thinks it’s a shame to pack away all those lovely toys, because her sister would love some of those. Franco comes down, because he always has massive amounts of free time, and asks out Kitty’s minion, who turns him down because she’s not allowed to date foreign boys. He looks more enraged than disappointed.

Thackeray suspiciously watches Henri arrive at the store from across the street.

At the Selfridge Manse, Harry’s giving Frank an interview in which he calls out the American government for profiting from the war by trading with both Britain and Germany. Well, that kind of is what neutral countries do, Harry. Frank leaves and Rose comes in and tells Harry that all their American friends are fleeing the country. No big surprise there.

Harry arrives at the store and proudly tells his son he’s doing really well. Miss C giggles that sometimes she forgets who Gordon is and thinks he’s just a normal guy. He insists that he is but she says he’s Gordon Selfridge, so not quite so normal. Hmm. The real Gordon Selfridge actually did marry one of the Selfridge’s shop girls. I wonder if that’s where this is going. It was kind of sad, though, because his father, apparently forgetting from whence he himself came, refused to acknowledge the marriage or have anything to do with the wife or any of the children.

Up to the office goes Harry, to meet with the heads of department and remind them that all the German goods are gone and British goods are in. He especially compliments Kitty for doing a great job pushing the British stuff in the beauty department. He also asks about a patriotic concert they’re throwing and Crabb reassures him it’s all good. Harry dismisses them, asking only Mardle to remain behind. He tells her she’s getting Miss C back so they can see how Gordon does standing on his own two feet. He also mentions her recent inheritance and tells her to go right ahead and enjoy that sweet, sweet windfall.

Loxsley lets himself into his wife’s bedroom and gets pissy with her for entertaining lovers. He makes it clear that this will now stop and also produces the key to her bedroom, telling her he’s the only guy who’ll be coming into her room. Can’t she just get the locks changed again? Or do what she promised to and spread the word around that her husband’s pretty much broke? I might have guessed she wouldn’t have the guts to go through with that.

Bill Summertime, the government something-or-other who was at the card game last week, lets himself into Harry’s office and, with little preamble, asks Harry to help gather intelligence on what the Germans are up to. He can travel there because he’s an American, which is convenient. Harry’s worried about how this will look to customers, but Bill reassures him nobody would know.

Frank hurries into the store and pedeflirts with Kitty on his way through the sales floor and up to Harry’s office. Once he’s gone, Mardle takes it upon herself to warn Kitty that Edwards has a certain reputation and may try to take advantage of her. Kitty pulls out the catty bitchery we all remember so well and coolly tells Mardle that she can take care of herself, and furthermore, unlike Mardle, she enjoys a gentleman’s company. Burn, Kitty!

Crabb and his wife come down to the main floor, she chattering away about shortages and things. Sounds like she’s stockpiling like a champ, though she’s going for some strange things. She orders up 12 dozen hatpins from Mardle.

Henri shows a fashion display of suits made from British cloth to Harry, who’s pleased by what he sees. Frank pulls Harry away and Thackeray starts giving Henri shit for wearing a homburg hat in to work that morning (Henri reminds him it’s been renamed the Biarritz, presumably making it the Freedom Fries of its day) and also sporting some shoes that were handmade in Munich. How the hell would he know that? Do they have Made in Munich stamped on the sides of them or something? German flags on the heels? Henri tells Thackeray the shoes are super comfy and stomps off.

Harry’s pleased with Frank’s latest article, and Frank uses the opportunity to ask if Harry can help him with an article about the procurement committee. Harry says he’s done with the lot of them, because Loxsley’s a dick, and he’s found other ways to help the war effort.

Delphine’s gotten a surprise: a large delivery of wine from Selfridge’s. Her… boyfriend? Partner? Advisor? Whatever he is, Jim, warns her not to take it, but she’s totally accepting, because she could use the help, and it pleases her to get attention from Harry. Jim reminds her that Harry’s married to her friend, but Delphine doesn’t really care, telling him that Harry makes Rose unhappy, whereas Delphine understands him. Hmmm.

She takes a trip to the store to thank Harry in person for the gift. She pretends to refuse it, but he tells her it’s a thank you for the nice game of cards. He tells her about Bill coming to see him and asks her if the guy’s kosher. She says he is and asks what he wanted with Harry. Harry zips his lips. She warns him not to be rash and says that retail therapy is good for national morale, so Selfridge’s, by its very existence, is helping the war effort. He asks how her club is doing and she admits there are some supply issues. He offers to help in any way he can.

As she’s sweeping out of the store, she runs into Rose and stops for a little chat. Rose tells her how she’s helping Harry with the ladies in the store and tells Delphine Harry really enjoyed cards the other night. Delphine thanks her and hurries away.

Thackeray goes to see Grove and says he suspects Henri is up to no good. Starting to sound a little paranoid, he starts talking about spies and Grove cuts him off, promising to look into it but telling him to otherwise keep this to himself.

Henri runs into Agnes outside the store after closing, where she’s waiting for Victor. When he hears that Victor’s taking her to a variety show he makes a face and she immediately catches it, snappishly asking him what his problem is. He tells her she could do better, but she tells him that Victor’s a good, honest man, which may be more than can be said for Henri these days. She tells Henri that there are rumours going around about him and asks him what he’s hiding. He won’t confide in her, and then Victor comes out and he and Agnes get on a nearby tram to go to their show.

Agnes and Victor are apparently on a double date with Mardle and Florian. At the music hall, the man on stage is singing some patriotic song that gets the whole crowd enthusiastically waving Union Jacks. I wonder if the theatre provided those or if everyone just carries one around with them now.

After his set, the singer goes down to his dressing room and finds Mae waiting for him. Small world, this. He gets a name—Richard—and apparently he’s a friend of Mae’s from her own performing days. She asks him, for old time’s sake, to sing at the Selfridge’s charity concert and he readily agrees, then playfully breaks into a love song. She smiles girlishly and they start to talk about her life with Loxsley. She admits that she made a mistake there, because Loxsley only married her because everyone wanted her that first theatrical season and he likes to get what other people want. Richard advises her to leave him, but Mae’s gotten too used to the finer things to do that. He says she deserves to be happy and she starts to cry a little.

Later, she returns home and finds Loxsley waiting for her. He asks where she was and all she’ll say is ‘out.’ He ushers her into her room and she walks in like a prisoner going to a cell.

Mardle’s adjusting displays, humming Tchaikovsky’s The Garland Waltz (best known to many of us as ‘Once Upon a Dream’ from the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty). Kitty notes that she seems to be in a very good mood and Mardle clearly relishes the chance to tell her she was out on a date the night before. Mardle corrects the way Miss C is folding handkerchiefs, as Gordon comes along with a gift for Miss C, or, rather, her sister: a British-made doll. She thanks him sincerely and he practically glows. Awww.

Crabb and Grove come downstairs and Crabb complains that his wife’s gone a little nuts with the stockpiling. Crabb says Doris barely notices they’re at war, she’s so busy with the kids. Well, doesn’t she have something like 20 of them now? Mardle wishes them both a good morning and Crabb sweetly tells her she’s looking fantastic these days. Grove notes that she’s wearing a new perfume. She asks about the concert and Crabb says they’ve got a nice tenor lined up. She offers up Florian as an accompanist and they’re pleased with the idea. They also still think Mardle’s refugee is a woman.

Grove calls Henri to his office and informs him that there are some silly rumours going about, and he wants to just dispel them by getting some more info. He begins by asking Henri where he’s been the past four years and Henri reminds him that he was in America. And yes, he made some trips back to Europe. To Germany, which was not in a state of war with Britain back then. Grove says he doesn’t want to pry into Henri’s private life, but Harry’s put a lot of trust in Henri and if he has anything to say, he should really say so now. Henri informs him that he’s handing in his notice and joining the French army.

Also handing in his notice is Victor, apparently, because the bank has approved a loan that’ll allow him to get the restaurant up and running again. When he tells her, Agnes is pleased for him, so he pushes his luck by asking her to run the restaurant with him, as his wife. Woah, Victor, moving a bit fast there, aren’t you? He babbles about how sad she’s been since George left and how they can make something of the restaurant and make it a real family place. She keeps trying to interrupt and finally gets him to stop talking long enough for her to say yes.

Over dinner, Mardle tells Florian that Grove has agreed to have him play at the concert, which could be good for him, because there’ll be some ladies there who arrange entertainments at the military camps, and they may be able to get him some work. He smiles and observes that she’s always thinking about him. She tells him it’s nice to have someone to think about, as she rather maternally unfolds his napkin and drapes it over his lap. Agnes comes in, and after a little hemming and hawing, tells them both that she’s engaged. Mardle is really sweetly happy for her.

Loxsley gets off the lift at Selfridge’s, smoking a cigar in the most douchy way possible, and goes to Harry’s office to ask for contacts for felt. Is this guy for real? How can he not know that he’s thoroughly and stupidly burned this particular bridge? Harry, sensibly, tells him to piss right off and find his felt on his own. Loxsley decides to get petty and insult Harry by calling him a tradesman who just built a shop and got rich and did nothing for the country. As opposed to you, Loxsley, who squandered a fortune, sat on your ass, and are now cheating your country while it’s at war by taking kickbacks from suppliers of inferior merchandise. You must be so proud of yourself. Actually, I’ll bet he is.

Harry arrives home that night to find Bill waiting for him. Bill needs to have a definite yea or nay regarding this spying thing. Harry agrees to do it and is given the names of some manufacturers the government wants him to meet with. The man at the top of the list is due in Berlin soon, so they may need to have Harry go at the drop of a hat.

That night, Harry tells Rose he may need to go to the Continent for a little while to tie up some business. He promises he’ll only be in Paris, like France was such a safe place to be hanging out in 1914.

Harry’s ready to go to the concert. Henri tries to grab him for a chat, but Harry says he has no time, and Rose comes floating down the stairs just then. They head out.

Mardle helps Florian get ready, buttoning up his waistcoat. Agnes joins them and offers up some of George’s cufflinks for Florian to wear.

A small, well turned out crowd is gathering for the concert. Mardle introduces Florian to Grove, who does a bit of a double take. Mardle sends Florian off to find Richard and Grove sniffs that he can’t believe Mardle has a young man living in her house. Where the hell does he get off, judging her like that? She reminds him that these are extraordinary circumstances and that special times call for special measures. He can’t really argue with that.

The Selfridges arrive and Crabb pulls Harry aside for a quick word. There’s someone waiting to see him in his office. As everyone heads into the concert (including the Loxsleys), Harry makes his way to his office. Rose tries to hold the concert for a little while so Harry can get there, but it’s taking too long.

Bill’s in Harry’s office, of course, and also of course, Harry has to leave this very minute for Germany. Bill directs him to write a letter to his wife and staff explaining that he’s had to go away unexpectedly. The letter is immediately delivered to Rose, who tells Henri about it and asks him to find out what’s up. Henri immediately agrees and after Richard’s finished his first song, he gets up and leaves. For his next song, Richard asks for an audience assistant. Mae immediately volunteers and she and Richard duet on It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Mae urging the audience to join in, which they mostly do, enthusiastically. Loxsley and Grove are a little too busy glowering and being uptight.

Henri gets to Harry’s office and finds it empty. Harry’s about to get into a car out front with Bill. Delphine comes running up, apologizing for being late to the concert, and recognizes Bill. She tells him she hopes he’s not involving Harry in anything dangerous and he shortly informs her this is none of her business. Harry fibs that he’s off on a business trip and asks her not to worry Rose. She wishes him luck and kisses him on the cheek. They have a brief, loaded moment, and then Bill pulls him away and they drive off.

Richard launches into Danny Boy, a song that’s basically calculated to make anyone listening to it start sobbing. Henri returns to the concert and tells Rose he wasn’t able to find Harry. As the song continues, a man we’ve never met arrives, asking for Henri. Henri introduces himself, and the guy pulls him aside to where a pair of constables are waiting to cart him off to jail on suspicion of spying. Several other audience members get involved, most vocally Agnes, who wants to know what the hell is going on. Nobody provides any answers. He’s bundled into a police van, while Harry, oblivious to all this, travels into the night with Bill and is put on a train.



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