Previously on Mr Selfridge: Miss Bunting got fired for stealing and was taken under the wings of both Doris and Grove. Grove asked Mardle for a break, which made her an enemy, Kitty was promoted, and Rose got stalked by that horrible artist. Also, Agnes started having regular sexy time with Henri.
Agnes is trying to get ready for work, but Henri just wants to get laid again. She reminds him that nobody cares when he shows up, but she has to actually be on time, so he helps fix her hair and sends her on her way.
As she’s heading into the store (past a really cool window display of sporting equipment, I must say), Victor catches up with her and says that Harry loved his idea for the snacks during the sale, so he’s using his new momentum to try and get a backer for his restaurant. She’s encouraging and certain he’ll manage. He helps fix her hair and they head inside.
Bunting gets ready to go out, pinning a hat into place, straightening her jacket, collecting a letter addressed to Harry, and blowing out a candle.
Harry, meanwhile, is getting ready to leave the Selfridge manse and trying to persuade Gordon to come to the store with him. Gordon wants to go riding, but once he hears that the celeb o’the week is none other than his hero, Sir Ernest Shackleton, he’s ready to toss the ponies and go to work with dad.
While father and son are bonding, Fraser the butler is delivering a large bouquet of roses to Rosalie. Three guesses who they’re from. Roddy, of course, the little shit. Rose takes the flowers and card back, hand both to Fraser, and tells him to refuse any further gifts from Roddy. Poor Rosalie is bewildered, but Rose isn’t about to explain what’s really going on here. She only tells Rosalie that it’s inappropriate for a grown man to be sending a teenage girl flowers. Lois backs her, so Rosalie stomps out, passing her father on the way. He asks what’s up, which forces Rose to spill the whole story. He is, as you can imagine, mighty pissed off to hear that Roddy’s been in his house, using his daughter to get closer to his wife. He’s also pretty upset that Rose waited so long to tell him this and comments that he seems pretty persistent for a guy who just painted a portrait. She tells him again that nothing happened between them, and Harry just has to accept that for now.
At the store, Grove looks at his watch, and then looks around, confused, wondering where the staff is. Harry, trailing Gordon, comes in and demands to know why there are so few staffers about. Grove admits he has no idea. Harry goes over to Mardle and asks where everyone is, like she has some sort of psychic connection to them all. She’s as clueless as Grove, but fortunately Kitty comes rushing in at just that moment to tell them all she got stuck at an underground station and there were huge train delays. She’s sure the others will be along shortly. In the meantime, Harry, Crabb, Grove, and even Gordon roll their sleeves up and pitch in. Young Gordon’s a natural, by the way.
Henri is working on a new window for Shackleton, assisted by Agnes, of course, though this seems like rather a poor time to be pulling yet another person off the shop floor. Irene doesn’t mind, because the window is vitally important, but she really must dash and go take care of customers. She’s assisted by Crabb, which goes fine for all of five minutes, until a customer appears needing some lingerie and is too embarrassed to say anything in front of Crabb. Irene sends him over to accessories and asks him to have Mardle help fashion. That doesn’t seem to go too well either, as Mardle tries to sell a reluctant woman on a plaid, while Irene presents her with some plain wool. The woman gets scared off and Irene tells Mardle she has to listen to what the customer wants. Mardle counters that they adhere to the power of suggestion in accessories. Thankfully, the rest of the staff finally shows up, bringing the cattiness to an end.
Everyone apologises to Harry as they pass and he tells them not to sweat it, telling Gordon that it’s important to support the people who work for him. Grove rolls up and quietly tells Harry that the stationmaster got in touch. Turns out, the delay was due to a body on the tracks: Miss Bunting. Wow. That was a sobering moment on an otherwise frivolous show. She left a note, which Grove hands over to Harry. Geez, they got that delivered fast. Doris, overhearing nearby, looks like she’s struggling not to burst into tears. Harry visibly pales and his son asks who Miss Bunting is.
In his office, Harry reads the note. Gordon figures Harry had to sack her, because she stole from him, and Harry says the straight answer is yes, he did, but life is a bit complicated sometimes. Miss Bunting stole because she needed to care for her sick mother, and, according to Harry, he didn’t let her explain that. Except she did explain that when he was sacking her, so his guilt trip isn’t really justified here. Blenkinsop pokes her head in and announces Edwards, so Harry sends Gordon off to the soda fountain. On his way out, Edwards gives us a history dump by reminding Gordon that Shackleton turned back with less than 100 miles to go in order to save the lives of his men. That’s leadership! Once Gordon’s gone, Edwards announces that he’s been given the sack from the newspaper, so he’s ready to take a job with Harry. Harry, obviously distracted, says he’ll think about it. Edwards, not reading the room very well at all, keeps pushing, because apparently he owes quite a bit of money to some loan sharks. When Harry still doesn’t give him a job right then and there, he gets pretty stroppy and stomps out.
Doris has found a quiet corner of the store to have a good cry, but Grove still manages to find her. He gently tells her she did everything she could do for Bunting and there wasn’t any more she could do. He admits to feeling guilty about it and says he should have written her a reference himself, since he knows what it’s like to be tending an invalid at home. Doris remembers his late wife and starts apologizing for crying when this must have brought it all back for him. Jesus, could this girl get any nicer? I feel like such a cow for having lumped her together with Kitty during the early Catty Bitch days. Kitty’s still a Catty Bitch, though. Grove tells Doris she’s a very kind and caring person and suggests they get together at the tearoom where she met up with Bunting and share a cup in her honour. Oooooh, dear, I can think of a few ways that can go wrong.
Rose finds Rosalie sitting on the stairs at home, reading, and says she knows Rosalie thinks she’s being unfair. Yes, Rosalie does, and honestly, I think this is about the time Rose should come clean, at least partially. I think Rosalie’s old enough to handle it. All Rose explains is that Rosalie is a young lady and she needs to guard her reputation. They hug and Rosalie admits she’s got quite the crush on Roddy. Rose says that the right man at the right time will make her forget that.
Grove walks the floor, gently sending distressed workers back to their stations. Doris fumbles a glove stretcher and Kitty observes that’s the second one she’s dropped. Doris apologises and says she can’t get Bunting out of her head. Kitty tells her to get over it, because she has to know she can rely on junior staff. Oh, here we go. She goes on to say that, now she’s senior assistant, she wants Doris to call her Miss Hawkins. Didn’t take long for this to go to her head, did it?
Mardle and Irene are organizing some accessories. Irene shares her condolences on the loss of Bunting and Mardle says she considered Bunting a friend, and she wishes she’d been a better friend to her.
Harry prepares for Shackleton’s arrival, clearly on the verge of tears. He pulls himself together and goes into the outer office to tell Blenkinsop to make arrangements for Bunting’s funeral, which he’ll pay for himself. Grove offers to attend on Harry’s behalf, but Harry intends to go in person. Blenkinsop reminds him that Shackleton will be arriving in five minutes.
Henri and Agnes are sitting around, being sad about Bunting instead of doing the window. He muses about the many paths one’s life takes and whether we ever know what we really want. She agrees that complicates things, and he leans forward and strokes her cheek, just as Irene comes in. She asks Agnes for a few moments back in fashion. Agnes agrees and she and Henri exchange rather alarmed looks.
Agnes reports back to fashion and Irene says she knows that there’s something up between her and Henri, and that’s against the rules, although that rule seems pretty pointless now, seeing how many people in this shop have had it off or at least flirted around with each other. Irene says she might look the other way, if this was a true love situation, but Agnes admits that it’s not, so Irene urges her to think about her career.
Harry greets Shackleton at the front of the store and we quickly learn that Shackleton met Harry over a poker table, during a game Harry apparently won handidly, so I’m going to go ahead and guess that this appearance was part of the winnings. Inside, many, many photographs are taken and reporters shout questions. Shackleton calls on Gordon and asks if he has a question. Awed, Gordon manages to ask him what he thinks would make a good leader. Shackleton says he’ll have to think about that, because when you’re immersed in being one, you can’t really think about it. Harry takes him off to show off the outerwear and sporting departments.
Edwards, meanwhile, has taken himself to Ellen’s to lick his wounds. And I was right, her hair is truly atrocious now. Pity. She’s got quite a crowd at her place, because they’re rehearsing Tony’s new play. Edwards tells her about his morning disappointment at Harry’s hands and she hands him a drink and asks him to have a look at the script and give his opinion of it. He leafs through a few pages and observes that this is pretty hot stuff. She agrees, hoping that this’ll turn her career around. He gets to reading in earnest.
Harry and Shackleton arrive in sporting and Harry presents the recreation of the vehicle Shackleton took on his expedition. Gordon pokes around and Shackleton fills him in on some facts and anecdotes in a really sweet way. Shackleton admires the display, and while he’s looking at it, Harry takes Grove aside and asks how the staff’s holding up. Grove says they’re ok, they just wish Bunting had come to them for help. Harry returns to Shackleton, who’s telling Gordon where he should go for fur if he’s ever planning on exploring. Gordon says his dad wants him to take over the store, so he doubts he’ll have much time for exploring. Harry tells the kid that all the stuff has to come from somewhere, so there’s plenty of exploring to be had. Shackleton chimes in that the staff is quite the task for a leader. Hmm, I’m sensing a theme here…
Kitty comes swanning into accessories and immediately yells at George for being on the shop floor. She threatens to report him and snaps at him to get back to the loading bay. He says he was made store porter for the day and might get a promotion out of it. Having now made an ass out of herself, Kitty tries to backpedal and finally congratulates him before scooting back behind the counter. She admits to Doris that she let a little bit of power go to her head. Well, at least she’s somewhat self-aware. They’re besties again. Kitty asks Doris if she wants to go out that night and Doris says she’s busy and instead suggests the following night.
Victor goes to his boss and offers to check out the afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason. Perez is reluctant to let him go, but Victor says that Harry would almost certainly appreciate any information, so Perez lets him go.
Henri and Agnes put the finishing touches on the window and contemplate one last detail, when who should show up but Valerie. Yay, Henri’s interesting girlfriend! It gets pretty awkward really quickly, but then Agnes offers to finish up the window so Henri can go spend some time with Valerie. Off he goes.
Instead of going to Fortnum and Mason, Victor goes to Lady Mae’s to try and sell her on investing in the restaurant he found. She boredly says that she won’t be rushed on this and if she’s going to help it’ll be on her terms. As always. She goes on to say that finding a backer for a young, unproven restauranteur will be more difficult than finding one for someone like Harry. Victor tells her she shouldn’t have offered to help him if she had no intention of doing so. She says she might be able to help, but it could take some time. He’s tired of her bullshit, though, and tells her this is goodbye. She can’t believe he’s actually breaking up with her over this and, as he goes, she tells him he’ll regret this.
Back at the store, the palm court’s been requisitioned for Shackleton’s slideshow and presentation. Rose and Lois are in attendance, as is Rosalie, whom they spot chatting with Roddy across the room. Of course. Steam practically comes out of Harry’s ears and he stomps across the room to take care of this.
He takes Roddy out into the hallway and tells him in no uncertain terms that he’s to leave and never return to the store and to never contact a member of Harry’s family ever again. Roddy tests his limits by saying that the lecture is open to the public, so anyone’s allowed in (not if the proprietor of the store explicitly tells you to get lost, Roddy), and that Harry’s wife had plenty to say to him. She did? When has she spoken to you, Roddy? Since that time she told you to get the hell out of her house, that is? Harry warns him to stop talking now and Roddy says he doesn’t know why Rose stays with him, when Harry publicly humiliates her with the likes of Ellen. He goes on to say that Harry thinks he can control everything and that Rose is in love with Roddy. Harry threatens to destroy Roddy, and Roddy sneers for a bit, until Harry says he can make it so no gallery will ever exhibit his work, and no newspaper will praise him. Roddy’s face falls as he finally realizes that he’s pretty powerless right now. Harry calls him a silly boy and tells him to get out before he’s thrown out. A porter appears and Harry tells him to take Roddy out the back exit.
Back in the restaurant, Agnes asks Victor how his meeting with his backer went. He says she said no, and laughs. She admires his spirit and he admires hers right back, going on to say that the two of them can make their own way; they don’t need anyone else. Right on cue, Lady Mae approaches, sends Agnes away, and tells Victor that she’s going to ask her husband for the money to back the restaurant. She completely messes up by telling him that this will mean he’s in her debt, and Victor is not ok with that at all. He tells her thanks, but no thanks. Wow, I admire the balls on this kid.
Irene muses to Mardle that Antarctica must be a very lonely place. Mardle sighs that you don’t need to go that far to be lonely. Irene agrees and talk turns to how unfair life is for women: you either don’t find a man and work forever, or you find a man and can’t work, which is absurd, considering how capable they are. This is why she’s joined the suffragettes, a group that’s given her a sort of sisterhood. Mardle likes the sound of that and Irene offers to take her to an upcoming meeting.
Shackleton starts his lecture, showing pictures and relaying the story of how he wound up having to turn back. He calls it an epic failure, but says he was still rewarded for it because a man’s worth seems to be measured in how hard he tries. He finishes up by talking about home and Harry leads the standing ovation. Afterwards, Shackleton signs autographs and Harry thanks him for coming to the store. Shackleton tells Gordon he’s thought about his question and decided that his job as leader was to bring his men in from the cold every day. If he remembers that, he’ll be a good leader himself. Harry asks Crabb to gather up all the heads of the departments. Poor Crabb doesn’t get to get his autograph.
Agnes finishes the window, while Henri has a glass of wine with Valerie, who’s still trying to persuade him to move to New York. She tells him she misses him and begs him to consider the offer, for her sake.
Harry reads Bunting’s letter aloud to the department heads, which is rather sad, especially as she goes on to say that she’s going to be joining the person she loves most, her mother. Harry admits he let one of their own out into the cold and this can’t happen again. And with that, he dismisses them. Ok, good talk. He tucks the letter into his jacket and looks at Rose’s dreadful portrait for a bit.
Grove meets Doris at the teashop and they clink teacups, toasting to Bunting. Aww. Later, they stroll past the new window, which is rather neat looking—it’s designed to look like the interior of a tent, looking out into the snow and the full moon. Well done, Agnes.
Chez Selfridge, Harry tells Rose he wants to commission another portrait of her. Rose tiredly says she doesn’t care for another portrait. Harry suddenly says that Roddy claimed she was in love with him and she just tells Harry to believe what he wants to. Seriously, Rose? I completely understand you have some bitter feelings towards your husband, but how can you have any feelings at all for Temple at this point? I think that, if some guy was not only stalking me, but was actually using my daughter to get close to me, toying with her in such a completely thoughtless, selfish way, I’d be so disgusted I couldn’t ever respect him, let alone love him. That’s appalling, and I’m pretty sure most mothers would agree with me. Blood is thicker than water(colour), Rose! Harry sadly collects his hat from Fraser and goes out.
Upstairs, later, Rose pulls the sketch of Roddy out of her dressing table drawer and tears it up. Thank God.
…While Harry passes the evening at the poker tables, smiling up at some lady.