‘Mr. Selfridge’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 5

Did anyone else completely forget Mae and Victor used to be a thing? (Photo: Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Did anyone else completely forget Mae and Victor used to be a thing? (Photo: Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: Miss Mardle and Mr. Grove have a heart to heart, get back together and then get engaged because Grove is dying and that’s what every couple on TV ever does when that’s happening. Kitty decides that it’s okay to give up on all her dreams to have kids she doesn’t really want with her husband, at least until she figures out that Frank cheated on her while he was in France. Harry ends up dumping the Dolly sisters after he catches the one he’s dating in bed with another man. Too bad he didn’t figure that out before he spent all his money making a movie for them, because his gangster gambling lender is real mad now, and breaks one of the store’s famous display windows to show Harry he means business about collecting on the debt he’s owned. Yikes. 

Want more details? Last week’s recap is right this way.

It’s a new episode. Let’s do this.

Everyone’s Shaken Up About the Window Situation.  Harry goes to see the mobbed up lender that attacked his store. Don Corleone says Harry’s a bad risk because he’s the kind of gambler that doesn’t know how to stop. So, he wants his money now, so if Selfridge doesn’t pay up in full plus half by Monday, there will be consequences. He doesn’t elaborate on what those consequences are, but Harry looks nervous.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the attack on the Selfridges window displays, everyone at the store is pretty upset. Harry’s nervous behavior is not helping, as he runs around trying to find the money to pay back D’Ancona (he can’t borrow from the store) and cover up the fact that the window incident was a targeted attack (he tries to blame it on hooligans). Gordon tries to talk to his father about what happened, but Harry just yells at him to focus more on the provincial stores that are struggling. Man, Harry is kind of a terrible dad.

Kitty is Just 3000% Done.  Kitty is stomping around the store fuming, still, because she’s still furious at her husband for being disgusting garbage. She finally tells Connie what happened, who is equally furious on her sister’s behalf. I keep hoping the two of them will join forces to beat Frank up but, alas, no.

Frank barges in on Kitty having coffee, ostensibly so that he can apologize some more and grovel until his wife forgives him for that whole cheating thing. Unfortunately, Frank is terrible at both groveling AND apologizing, and his grand explanation shakes out to roughly “Men do stupid things sometimes. Y’know?” No really, that’s pretty much it. I feel like he tried harder to talk Kitty into having a baby she didn’t want than he has in trying to save his marriage. Shut up, Frank!

Kitty, correctly, thinks this is a pretty terrible apology. She says that she gave up a career opportunity of a lifetime for him, just because he indulged in a cheap affair. She says that can’t deal with how little he thinks of her and how much he let their relationship down, so he basically needs to get out of the house ASAP. Yeah, Kitty! Tell him! 

The Gang Gets to Work on Harry’s Money Problems. Harry explains to Jimmy about his money problems, telling him that he’s deeply in the hole to his gambling agent and there’s no way he can pay what he owes. He also tries to hit him up for a loan, but Jimmy says he’s “just in the middle of a deal” (whatever), so he can’t help him out for another month.  Harry says he can’t wait that long, and Jimmy offers to “work the Jimmy magic” to find some money he can access in his businesses somewhere.

A little bit later, Jimmy flags Harry down to tell him he’s figured out the answer to his problems – all he has to do is sell off some of the provincial stores. He says the nonprofitable ones are still valuable because of the buildings they reside in and he could sell them to some of his acquaintances or whatever and get all the money that Harry needs to pay his debts. Harry’s not crazy about this idea because it “would break Gordon’s heart” and take away a huge chunk of the building that he’s spent years building up. Jimmy, who does not bother with messy things like unselfish emotions, tells Harry that it’s the easiest way to get the money he needs and it would let him pay what he owes immediately. Harry still looks conflicted.

Being Gordon Selfridge Seems Rough. An article runs in the paper speculating that the Selfridge store window attack was some kind of payback for Harry’s mounting gambling debts. Gordon takes it straight to his father, who tries to explain that he’s got everything under control, despite all available evidence to the contrary.  Gordon wants to know if the story is true, and says his father can’t shut him out like this over something that’s this important. Harry just looks frustrated and claims he can’t deal with this right now before stomping off like the adult that he is.

Poor Gordon just can’t catch a break about this though – he even gets random visits at home from some random guy that at my best guess seems to be some kind of board member. Mr. Keane wants to let Gordon know that his dad is getting a lot of bad publicity in the papers and that he needs to make sure that Harry puts a stop to it. He says that these sorts of stories – and Harry’s own behavior – reflect poorly on Selfridges, the company, and no one is here for that. Gordon looks anxious, and tells Grace he thinks is dad is in serious trouble.

Frank Tries to Apologize Again. Frank heads back to the Edwards house, ostensibly to pick up his belongings. Kitty refuses to see him, but has already packed him two suitcases and left them by the front door.  Frank looks around mournfully for a second, and then leaves, as Kitty watches from an upstairs window. The music swells, full of violins and sadness, as she looks down at one of Frank’s journals that he has left behind and cries over it. Okay, show, we get it – you want us to feel terrible about this breakup. Maybe spend a little more time making Frank into a character that isn’t complete selfish garbage and we’ll get with you on that.  Seriously – does anyone feel badly for Frank here? Anyone?

Anyway, Frank ends up crashing with George and Connie, because George is a nice person who apparently has a death wish. Connie, unsurprisingly, is furious, and basically spits in Frank’s direction every time she sees him. Connie is awesome. George looks like he wants to die, and really does deserve bonus points for being a much bigger person that I would be in this situation. 

Mae and Victor’s Sudden Friendship is Weird. Confession time: It took me two weeks to remember that Mae and Victor actually used to sleep together way back in Season 1. No, really, that did happen. (Maybe other people besides me completely blacked it out of their conscious memory, but I was almost surprised when I remembered, like I’d somehow gotten hit with one of those flashy pens from the Men in Black movies.) So, that said, it at least makes a certain level of sense that the two of them are being friendly again. A little bit. Either that or someone finally remembered that they’re still paying Trystan Gravelle to be on this show, even though he’s barely appeared this season. 

Anyway, Mae and Victor have been hanging out a lot more this episode, and are vaguely flirty together in various moments, which would probably be more irritating if any of the other relationships on the show felt anywhere near as organic as these two do, and they haven’t even really spoken in two years. Or, if the only other romantic option for Mae at the moment weren’t the dreadful Jimmy, who is smarmy and awful and especially overbearing this week.  So, yes, go Team Victor! Way to be the least terrible!

Anyway, Mae and Jimmy stop by Victor’s nightclub after an evening out at the opera, even though she’s clearly not that into it. Jimmy spends some time doing “business” or whatever, but then finds Mae and tells her its time to leave. He gets weirdly pushy about it in a way that suggest he’s a domestic abuser waiting to happen, so Mae happily lets him head home without her. She then finds Victor to say goodnight and the two of them lament the end of their relationship from a million years ago. Victor says maybe they don’t have to give up on themselves as a duo, and asks her out on a date. Mae says sure, because at least he’s better than Jimmy, and Victor smiles and it’s almost cute? This is how far my standards have fallen, y’all.

George Towler: Relationship Expert. After an awkward family breakfast where Connie basically tells Frank to drop dead, George tiredly asks if maybe this idiot has thought of apologizing to Kitty again for what he did. Frank mopily explains the “men are just dumb” line of reasoning he used with Kitty, and George just looks at him like he’s speaking another language. He says that Frank’s a writer and surely he has to be better at this than that. Frank sighs, and complains that he only did what he did because he was jealous, since Kitty got a big job offer while he was struggling. None of this is a good look for him.

Grove and Mardle Tie the Knot. Time for a bunch of overly saccharine scenes involving Grove and Mardle preparing for their wedding:  Grove telling Harry he’s dying and asking him to give Miss Mardle away, Meryl helping Miss Mardle pick out fabric and have a wedding dress made, Grove asking Crabbe to be Best Man, and the two of them basically telling each other how in love they are and how heartbroken they’ve been to be apart until now. This is rather sweet, I guess, depending on how much you think that they’d still be living separate lives completely happily if Grove hadn’t gotten sick. For me, the “sudden terminal illness” trope is the laziest sort of romantic writing, as it allows us to wipe the board clean of all the real-world reasons the two of them have chosen not to be together for the past nine years and change. 

Since he’s dying, they don’t have to do any of the real, hard work of building a new relationship and learning who the two of them are now or reconciling the fact that they broke up because they very obviously both wanted very different things – because Grove is dying, and most of that involves choices they’ll never have to make now. (For real, they’ve had all of one conversation about why they ended things all those years ago.) But, I’ve never been a huge fan of this pairing, if only because it has always seemed to involve Grove either taking advantage of Miss Mardle or her having to make herself smaller in some way to fit into a life with him. But, whatever, I guess there are probably some folks out there who think this is sweet. Right? Maybe? Ugh.

Anyway, the two of them get married in a small ceremony with all the kids, plus Harry and Crabbe attending. The ceremony is about what you’d expect, but Miss Mardle looks great, thanks to the dress that Meryl’s friend in the ready-to-wear department made, and a really, really great hat. All the kids cheer when the reverend pronounces them married, and they actually get reprimanded for being so loud, in case you missed the memo that the pack of Grove kids are unruly. Ain’t love grand?

Way to Go, Harry. Having exhausted all his other options, Harry waits until the last minute before he tries to talk to Don Corleone again about the money he owes him, but he’s already told his staff not to answer Selfridge’s calls. Turns out that once the clock he set on Harry’s debt ran out, Mr. D’Ancona and a bunch of his thug staff went straight over to the Selfridge house to start robbing him. No, really.

Rosalie, who is there, tries to call the police, but the Thug Patrol stops her and suggests she call her father instead. By the time Harry races home, Don Corleone and friends are gone, but the damage has already been done. They’ve taken a bunch of stuff – paintings and china and silver, and even the jewelry that Rose had left Rosalie when she died. Harry tries to apologize, but his daughter’s not hearing it. She wants to know how her dad has let things come to this, and says she doesn’t feel safe with him anymore.  Harry looks devastated.

Kitty Decides to Start Over.  Frank decides to listen to George’s advice, and heads home to really try and apologize to Kitty.  This is basically a useless maneuver though, as she won’t even let him through the front door. She says she already knows what he’s going to say and she doesn’t want to hear it, so he should just save it. Kitty’s crying, but still won’t open the door, and the music swells as they stand on opposite sides of it, and everything is very sad. (Unless you, like me, hope Kitty never talks to this guy again and think she could have always done better than Frank to begin with. But, I mean, everyone’s different. )

Kitty tells her husband to leave, and manages to keep her voice steady. Frank says that she should call Elizabeth Arden again and ask if the job she offered her is still available. If it is, he says Kitty should take it, and he hopes that New York will be kinder to her than he has been. 

Somehow, the act of Frank actually considering another person besides himself for a brief moment is enough to make Kitty open the door, but by the time she does, Frank’s already gone. Ugh, whatever. If you ask me - Here’s hoping Kitty gets on the next boat to New York ASAP.

This Ending is Kind of Crazy. Harry summons Gordon to the Selfridge house to confess that he’s flat broke.  He’s got to sell the provincial stores that Gordon manages, no matter how much he may not want to do so. He says that Jimmy’s handling everything, and it’s all basically done. Gordon is devastated about his father’s decision, but sucks it up and says that all he ever wanted was to work by his side, so they’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, Victor’s closed the club down to get everything set up for his big special dinner with Mae. It looks nice, there’s opera playing – Victor has clearly decided to really commit to this thing.  Of course, that’s when Jimmy shows up to get in Victor’s face about his relationship with Mae. He says that he and Mae are a couple now, and that Victor needs to stay away from her. Victor snorts and just says that Mae’s out of his league and Jimmy can’t own a woman like her.

They two of them end up fighting, because of course they do. And, despite the fact that Jimmy is half Victor’s size, he ends up managing to push him over the second floor balcony railing. Victor plummets down, crashes into the table he’s so painstakingly set up for his dinner with Mae, and….is pretty much dead. Yikes. Jimmy looks horrified, and I hate literally everything because Victor was one of a handful of characters left this season that I could actually still stand. Ugh. What is even happening to this show?

Thoughts on this week’s episode? Who else is hoping Jimmy goes to jail, like, immediately?