Previously on Mr Selfridge: Harry and Jimmy joined forces to buy Whiteley’s. Grove decided it was time to retire.
Harry and Jimmy are signing papers at Harry’s club. Harry proudly announces the Whiteley’s purchase to some guy who works at the club, and the guy does a good job of acting like he really cares. Jimmy marvels at the fact he can actually come into this club and then muses on the fact that he’s put everything he has into this purchase and has no more wiggle room. Harry’s all, ‘Me too, but I love living life on the edge! What could possibly go wrong?’
At the store, Harry invites Mae to the Whiteley’s launch he’s holding. She accepts.
Grove gets off the lift and runs into Crabb. He tells Crabb he’s planning on retiring and Crabb’s sad about that, but understanding.
Jimmy brings his two accountants in to see Harry and tells him that they’ve been over the accounts and everything looks a-ok, so they can sign immediately! Yay! One of the accountants is nervous about this tight turnaround, but Harry, being insane now, doesn’t care about things like due diligence. All he cares about is whether Whiteley’s is solvent. The accountants say it is.
Harry and Gordon leave the office and Crabb and Grove immediately begin sucking up and offering to help with Whiteley’s. Harry assures them everything is under control.
The accountants sit down with Jimmy (why isn’t Harry there as well?) and admit there are some things that make them hesitant. There are outstanding bills and issues with suppliers, for instance, which is kind of a big deal when you’re talking about a department store that needs to be stocked. Jimmy, being an idiot, tells them there’s no time to worry about that. Why not? What’s the big rush here? This is seeming unbelievably stupid, and while I believe that Jimmy would be enough of a risk-taker to do something like this, I feel like Harry’s at least a bit more savvy, having been at this game for a while.
Meryl goes to the sewing room looking for Matilda and is told by Sarah that Matilda was fired by Meryl’s dad. I should point out that Sarah has an incredibly bitchy attitude to everyone that makes me wonder how she’s remained employed herself this long.
Meryl goes right to her father’s office and demands an explanation. He tells her he really had no choice but to let Tilly go because we can’t have women with unsavoury histories working for Selfridge’s. Meryl pouts that Matilda was fair and decent, unlike Grove. She stomps out and Grove takes some of his drugs.
Harry announces the Whiteley’s purchase to the press and fields a few softball questions. Afterwards, Jimmy’s mum tells her boy how proud she is of him. And then that reporter from last week weasels over and starts asking some questions about Victor. Jimmy acts defensive enough to catch Mae’s attention and the reporter backs down. Jimmy’s mum tells him to chill out.
Grove catches Crabb sneaking a look at the accountants’ paperwork. The two men agree that they feel a bit left out of this endeavour. Crabb secrets some of the paperwork away (like no one will notice that’s missing?) and notices that Grove has the Whiteley’s floor plans laid out on his desk.
After work, Meryl goes to see Tilly in the really awful, dingy place she’s living in. Tilly tries to send her away, but Meryl muscles her way into the flat and sees that Tilly has an enormously adorable toddler daughter. Meryl correctly figures that this is what cost Tilly her last job.
Crabb goes to see Harry and confesses to having read the Whiteley’s documents. Crabb informs him that the accounts are a complete mess and offers to go to Bayswater and see if he can start putting things to rights.
Off to Whiteley’s he goes, and when he’s shown to the accounts department, he rightfully blanches. The place is a shambles, with papers just piled on every available surface. Yikes! The woman who showed him there asks if he needs anything. He requests a cup of tea. ‘A strong one.’ I’m going to assume that’s code for ‘put gin in it’.
Grove wanders around the store, pilfering little things here and there, and runs into George, who clearly realises something’s up but chooses not to call his boss out on it.
Crabb’s wife, Mildred, brings him some dinner at Whiteley’s, where he’s still buried in the accounts room. She starts setting out the food and accidentally knocks over a folder containing all sorts of past due bills. Crabb blanches anew.
Over a rather tense breakfast at the Grove household, Mardle asks Meryl what kept her late the day before. This gives Meryl an excellent opening to tell everyone that Tilly was fired for being an unwed mother. She had been all set to marry the father, but his family apparently disapproved and sent the man away, and only after that did Tilly discover he was pregnant. Grove tries to pull out the ‘preserving the reputation of the store’ line but Meryl points out that this really has nothing to do with Selfridge’s. Everyone kind of glares at Grove and Mardle points out that he can hardly judge, in this case. He gets snappish and gets up to leave. Mardle follows, patting her stepdaughter reassuringly on the shoulder. She apologises for having brought all this up and then mentions his plans to retire. He explains that he can’t just walk away in an instant, but he’s working on it. They kiss and he leaves.
Crabb reports to Harry, Gordon, and Jimmy that things are dire at Whiteley’s. Several suppliers haven’t been paid and refuse to sell any more inventory to the store until the debts are paid off. Seems reasonable. Crabb’s already tried to get the credit extended, but it’s no good. Crabb expresses some surprise that the accountants didn’t bring this to their attention. Well, maybe they would have if everyone wasn’t in such a bizarre rush to get this deal done. For heaven’s sake, if you’re putting every last cent into something, why wouldn’t you want to make sure that all the I’s were dotted twice?
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]For heaven’s sake, if you’re putting every last cent into something, why wouldn’t you want to make sure that all the I’s were dotted twice?[/cryout-pullquote]
Harry and the others go to Whiteley’s and discover the inventory room is almost completely bare of stock. Oh, come on! How could you not check that? You knew this place was in trouble before you bought it, that’s why it was available! Why didn’t you look? None of these men have any spare cash to fill the stockroom, but Harry’s sure they’ll figure something out. Yes, maybe the department store fairy will pay you a visit! Or Father Christmas!
Grove pays a visit to the sewing room to request Tilly’s address. He tells Sarah (who has an enormous attitude with him, just like with everyone else, which baffles me) that Tilly will be reinstated. Sarah accuses him of showing Tilly special treatment and he’s like, ‘right back at you, you gross racist.’ Sarah tells him that she’ll have to consider her position, if he insists on going over her head on this. Grove immediately accepts that as her resignation, and Mae’s only too happy to second that. Sarah insists she’s done nothing wrong. ‘Then you’ll know how it feels,’ Mae slings back. Yeah! Stunned, Sarah collects her things and leaves.
Grove tells Mae that his daughter was the one who flagged up this situation to him and he feels it’s his duty to put it right. She notices he’s not looking too great and offers to go talk to Matilda.
Grove staggers onto the lift, but when he gets off he’s hardly able to go more than a few steps before collapsing.
Mardle is summoned, and by the time she arrives he’s being tended by Plunkett. He tells his wife he just had a turn, but admits he’s been leaning a little too hard on his meds, because there’s work to be done, with this Whiteley’s acquisition. He tells her he’s been devising a business plan for the new store and shows her what he’s done. All that stuff he’s been pilfering? It was to build a lovely little diorama of what the store floor could look like. And here I thought his brain tumour was turning him into some sort of involuntary kleptomaniac.
Mardle immediately summons Harry, who tries to say he doesn’t have time for this (you don’t seem to have time for a lot of important things, Harry!) She asks him for just two minutes and takes him to Grove’s office. Grove shows him what he’s done and explains his proposed changes. Basically, he suggests turning the Whiteley’s ground floor into a mirror of Selfridge’s. Harry and Jimmy are delighted. Grove then takes the opportunity to tell Harry that ‘his wife’ is insisting he retire. Wait, what? Grove, you’ve come a long way to restore yourself in my estimation, but that right there was kind of shitty. Your wife was not the one insisting you retire—you said you wanted to retire. She was ready to support you no matter what you wanted. Don’t lay this all at her door, it makes her look like a shrew.
Harry asks Grove to act as an advisor to Whiteley’s and help implement some of these ideas. Grove happily agrees to do so for a couple of days a week.
Downstairs, Mae catches up with Jimmy and asks him if he’s ok, since he looked kind of tense with that reporter. Jimmy says the guy was just asking about business and, oh, look at the time! Must dash!
Grove and Mardle settle down in their lovely garden for a nice read in the afternoon sunshine. She’s got a book, he’s got the Whiteley’s business plan.
Tilly returns home and is met by Mae. Tilly refuses to return to Selfridge’s and be judged, but Mae says no one’s judging her, not even Mae, because Tilly’s definitely not the first girl she’s ever known to be left holding the baby. As a bonus, Sarah’s no longer at Selfridge’s. She gives Tilly until the morning to think it over.
Meryl returns home and finds the house empty. She goes out to the garden and Mardle looks up, hollow-eyed, having clearly been crying. Yes, it’s happened: Grove is gone. Mardle tearfully tells Meryl that it was quick and sudden. Meryl kneels beside him and mourns the fact that she wasn’t there. And, of course, the last thing they did was argue. Mardle reassures the girl that that doesn’t matter, because he loved her and knew she loved him back.
Someone telephones Crabb with the news. He sorrowfully hangs up the phone, then goes into Harry’s office and makes the announcement. Gordon’s all, ‘Whut? The guy just retired!’ but Harry gets an ‘ooooh, I see,’ look on his face. Crabb fills them in on the fact that Grove was actually quite ill.
Harry goes downstairs and tells the staff what happened. Quite a few of them cry, including Harry. Aww.
Afterwards, Harry goes to the Grove home to comfort Mardle, who’s sitting all alone in the dining room with an untouched cup of tea. She wonders how she can look after all these kids when she doesn’t know the first thing about being a mother. He tells her she just needs to be something for them to cling to just now. She weeps and he holds her and cries and it’s all really sad.
Harry has Mae and the Crabbs over for a family dinner so they can all reminisce about Grove and the old days, back when they first opened. Mae proposes a toast to Mr Grove and they all join in, of course.
After dinner, Harry offers the Crabbs his car so they can get home. Rosalie goes up to bed, and now it’s just Harry and Mae left. Mae gets ready to leave, but Harry asks her to stay. You know, stay. She tries to resist, but she clearly wants to stay, so she does.
Grove is buried, with all the cast members with speaking parts in attendance. Even Tilly’s there, which is nice. Mardle looks like she’s pretty much been crying nonstop since the death, but she holds it together enough to comfort Ernest.
Afterwards, Harry catches up to Mae, who tells him they really should put the brakes on, because they work together, and frankly, she can’t deal with this now. She turns away to offer her condolences to Mardle and Meryl. She tells Meryl about Grove reinstating Tilly because of Meryl, adding that it was very important to him and he must have thought a great deal of Meryl. Meryl bursts into tears and says she was a spoiled brat. Mardle counters that she stood up for what she believes in, just like her dad, and she’s really proud of her, just like he was. Aww.
At the reception, Harry eyes Mae for a bit, then turns his attention to Ernest, who’s being adorably distracted by George. Harry tells George he’s clearly going to be a good dad. George worries about it, because his own dad wasn’t much of a role model. And how. Harry says his wasn’t either, but if you’re smart, you learn from their mistakes.
On her way out of the house, Mae’s hassled by the reporter, who tells her about Jimmy overreacting to questions about Victor’s death. She’s surprised to hear that the questions were about Victor, not business, but she brushes the guy off without answering anything.
Mardle sees the last of the guests out, then goes out into the garden so she can have her well-deserved breakdown, far from the kids. Meryl follows her out there and Mardle tries to send her away, but Meryl tells her to just go right ahead and cry and they’ll just do this together. Aww, that was a really sweet moment. Meryl’s really come a long way in a short time, hasn’t she?
At the store, Harry finds Crabb sadly looking at the diorama in Grove’s office. Harry says the best thing to do to commemorate him is to put his plans into action. But there’s still the problem of merchandise. Harry to the rescue! He remembers that they sold a bunch of provincial stores, but not their merchandise, so they can just sell that merchandise to Whiteley’s and now you have a re-stocked store!
Selfridge’s vans begin delivering the merchandise to Whiteley’s. Jimmy raves about how amazing Harry is.
Later, Jimmy gets an unexpected visitor: Mae. She wants an explanation about his behaviour towards the journalist. Jimmy asks her if she really thinks he’s capable of killing someone, and although she’s seen his temper, she doesn’t, actually. She apologises and admits that Victor’s death has upset her a lot and she’s not sure what to think anymore. Jimmy reminds her that the reporter works for Wynnstay and wants to smear Harry in any way he can.