Mr. Selfridge Recap: Season 4, Episode 3

Harry doing his best pensive thinking in some gorgeous scenery. (Photo: Courtesy of © ITV Studios Limited 2016 for MASTERPIECE)
Harry doing his best pensive thinking in some gorgeous scenery. (Photo: Courtesy of © ITV Studios Limited 2016 for MASTERPIECE)
Harry doing his best pensive thinking in some gorgeous scenery. (Photo: Courtesy of © ITV Studios Limited 2016 for MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: Harry continues to make poor life decisions, whether they’re about his romantic partners, his children or his businesses.  He’s busy staying out all night drinking and doing other gross things with the Dolly sisters, and setting up new, only vaguely legal investment schemes with smarmy Jimmy Dillon.

Elizabeth Arden visits the store and Kitty is completely starstruck – even more so when Elizabeth offers her a job in New York. Rosalie decides to put on a charity event to benefit the orphanage of the newspaperman who’s out to ruin her family. Jeremy Piven remains the world’s worst ugly crier.  And Mr. Grove is suddenly diagnosed with a deadly form of cancer, because that’s literally the only way the show can make anyone have anything close to sympathy for him at this point. 

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

On with the show, shall we?

Everyone Goes to France Because Why Not. Harry, Jimmy, Frank and several dozen reporters head to France for what amounts to a very fancy press junket. Ostensibly the reason is to announce that Selfridges has bought up a bunch of local stores on the Continent and will operate them under the famous department store’s banner, but it really seems to be that Harry wanted to throw a big party in France, get a bunch of reporters drunk, and convince them all to write fluff pieces about the store, particularly the (semi-illegal) Selfridge Trust and how wildly successful it is. Harry just loves to spend money I guess. Woo hoo.

To help the, um, news flow, Frank has been authorized to pay for posh hotels for all the reporters and provide them with as much free booze as they can handle. Journalism, man. What a noble profession. Furthermore, Harry tells Frank to schmooze with the reporters all night and find out whatever he can about the stories they’re filing.

Man, this Afterparty is Terrible. There are drinks and gambling in the hotel bar that night after the big Selfridges presentation. Harry ends up bankrolling the Dolly sisters at the card table, because of course he does – and of course they’re there in France with him, and of course gambling is the only thing any of them do for fun anymore. The Dollys get drunk (duh) and are generally inappropriate – one of them ends up “dancing”/half-stripping on a card table at one point – but then they stomp off in a huff after one breaks the other’s necklace for flirting with Harry. (Spoiler alert: No one cares.)

Mae shows up because Jimmy is there, though why Jimmy is there I don’t even know. Oh, wait, it’s just so he can get in a bar fight with these random dudes make a bunch of racist comments toward him. To his credit, Jimmy does try to walk away, but once it’s clear that their vile racist remarks aren’t stopping any time soon, he punches one of them in the face. Yikes.

Meanwhile, Frank’s busy corralling and getting drunk with the pool of reporters, including the apparent lone female one, whose name is Felicity. They banter about gossip and flirt, and, if it’s been a couple of seasons since you watched Frank “flirt”, you may have forgotten that watching him do so is pretty gross. Yuck. Felicity tries to pump him for information about what it’s like to work for Harry, but Frank gets turns into a maudlin drunk and starts whining about how hard it is watching reporters he knew when they started out growing up to be features writers or book authors or whatever while he’s stuck doing store PR. Shut up, Frank. It’s not like it’s the most successful store in the world or anything. Ugh. 

Mae and Harry Have a Heart to Heart. Mae and Jimmy get in an argument after his row with the racist guys from the bar. Jimmy is all mad and literally throwing things around their room, which in turn upsets Mae, because his temper makes her uncomfortable. This, in its way, makes sense – after all, Mae has already been married to an abuser, so it’s natural this behavior raises some red flags for her. (Also: Possibly the fact that Jimmy is utterly obsessed with himself, but maybe that’s just me.)

Anyway, Mae ditches Jimmy and runs into Harry in the hall, and since they’ve both had something of a rough night with their respective poor romantic choices, they decide to just stay up and go out for breakfast. They head out to...a café on the beach or something, but wherever it is, it’s beautiful. Mae waxes rhapsodic about how peaceful everything is for a minute before she launches into a lecture about the current status of Harry’s relationship with Gordon. She says people can tell that things are strained between them, and it’s because of Harry’s controlling nature or something like that. Harry takes it personally, and stomps off. Mae has to literally chase him down to an actual beach and run through sand in her fancy dress outfit. When she finally catches up to him, Harry is perilously close to ugly crying again (NOOOOO) and tells her that he has to keep moving, because it’s all he knows how to do. Mae says she understands, because they’re the same – and that noise and sex and color and life are all things that he’s just  using to drown out everything that’s wrong in his life. She says it all goes eventually and he’ll be left with nothing, except his family. So he needs to make things right with Gordon, ASAP, because that’s his son and that’s what matters.

They stare at each other awkwardly for a second and Mae cups Harry’s cheek in her hand. He says he’s thankful she’s his friend. Are we supposed to be hoping these two get together? I mean, I know it’s not at all historically accurate, but Harry is legit only tolerable in scenes with Mae anymore, and if it means we get away from the Dolly sisters sooner rather than later, I’m 100% in favor of some inaccuracy.

Mr. Grove Gets a Surprise Visitor. Meanwhile, back in England, Mr. Grove is suffering in stoic silence with his new cancer diagnosis. He hasn’t told anyone besides Mr. Crabbe – not Harry or any of his kids – and he’s basically wandering around in a fog looking at all the people busy not dying of cancer. He tells Crabbe he doesn’t want any sympathy, but Crabbe insists that he can’t ignore what’s happening to him.


So of course Crabbe decides that the best thing he can do to help is to call Miss Mardle in New York and tell her about Grove’s condition. She basically teleports back to London she gets there so quickly. Grove is at first sort of put out that Crabb interfered and called his ex, but Miss Mardle just wants to know why he didn’t contact her himself. She also wants to know whether he’s gotten any second opinions or if he’s seen specialists and what his treatment plan is. Grove says he appreciates her visit, but his condition is no concern of hers and she should just leave blah blah blah we all know this is a complete lie and is a situation that will last between them for roughly like twenty minutes.

Miss Mardle runs into Meryl on the shop floor, who gives her an update on the general status of the Grove family. Miss Mardle doesn’t say anything about Grove’s condition, and looks pretty conflicted about it. 

The Dollys Have a Movie Audition. In case you’ve forgotten, in addition to being Harry’s “girlfriends”, terrible gamblers and generally too inappropriate to be let out in public on their own, the Dolly sisters are also “actresses”, and have scored an audition for a big deal director named Oliver Stone. Not THAT Oliver Stone, if that’s what you’re thinking. (Ha!)

Anyway, after the Dollys fly or teleport or whatever back from their Selfridge-sponsored bender in France, they’re supposed to go audition for this guy, though once you see their outfits it’s sort of impossible to imagine what kind of movie this is going to turn out to be. (It’s a giant blob of red feathers, basically, complete with a wild headdress and a giant fan that doesn’t match the dress. It’s…colorful, I guess?) Anyway, only one of the Dolly sisters actually shows up for this audition – the one that’s dating Harry, NOT the one that’s pouting over her broken necklace – which seems kind of pointlesslessly stupid. The Absent Dolly is really only shooting herself and her burgeoning movie career in the foot by standing up a director. But, again, these girls are clearly not in demand for their intelligence, I guess.

The Actually Present Dolly is stressed out at her sister’s absence, but Harry swoops in to save the day by telling the director that the girls are basically interchangeable anyway and that whatever one does the other will do, so he can get a sense of their routine just by seeing the one that showed up dance next to a mirror. Stop helping, Harry! Ugh!

Miss Mardle and Kitty Catch Up. Next up on her “Why Not, I’m Here?” tour around the store, Mardle runs into Kitty, who actually looks genuinely happy to see her. They end up catching up over a cup of tea, and Kitty pumps Mardle for information about what life is like in New York since she’s still considering that job offer from Elizabeth Arden. Miss Mardle spouts of a long speech about how NYC is totally perfect for a woman like Kitty, because everyone there is basically utterly shameless about their careers. She says Americans respect ambition, and call it “moxie”. 

Kitty looks enraptured, and tells Mardle that she’s still a legend at Selfridges. She then asks about Mr. Grove, and whether he’s still sore that Mardle left him to go chase her Big Apple dreams. Miss Mardle looks wistful and says that she’s learned work isn’t the be all and end all of everything, because now that her ex has a terminal illness, I guess that she’s wishing she’d given up all her dreams to marry him or something, IDK. Whatever. Kitty just says that it’s never too late to rearrange your priorities and hopefully this means she’s decided she wants to take this new job. Fingers crossed!

A.A. Milne Comes By to Read Winnie the PoohRosalie’s charity event for Lord Wynnstay’s orphan children turns out to be amazing – she gets Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne to come do a reading at the store, complete with its own custom-built Thousand Acre Woods set and an appearance by Milne’s son Christopher, on whom Christopher Robin is based. Rosalie’s clearly very proud of the event, and has even coordinated to have prominent families come and bring their kids so that the kids from the orphanage can make friends with the rich kids, which should help the orphanage secure more support. Lord Wynnstay – who let’s not forget has been a massive jerk for the past two episodes – looks impressed by Rosalie’s organization and kind heart, so maybe he’s not complete garbage.

The orphanage kids are all super excited about the Pooh reading, even if they all are basically dressed like they’re straight of Madeline. A.A. Milne reads very slowly, but Lord Wynnstay looks over the moon that the kids are getting to have this experience. I think he’s even like clutching Rosalie’s hand, which is sort of amazing, considering he was openly contemplating ruining her life an episode ago. Harry shows up just as Milne is wrapping the story up, but arrives in time to be somewhat overcome by Pooh’s message of friendship and family as he looks longingly at his own son in the crowd. Afterward, Grace invites Harry to dinner with them, but he says no because I guess he just enjoys his own suffering or something. Whatever

Frank is the Worst! In other news, it turns out that Frank totally cheated on Kitty with Felicity, the World’s Most Annoying Reporter, while he was in France. He regrets his behavior bitterly – or so he tells Felicity – but it’s still super gross and Frank is disgusting. Kitty doesn’t notice anything different in his behavior, because she’s busy plying him with copies of The New Yorker and trying to convince him that there a million places in NYC that he could work as a writer if they moved there.  Frank says he’ll read it later, and then starts complaining about how rough his France trip was, what with all the adultery he engaged in.

No, Frank didn’t actually admit he cheated on his wife. But he does moan on for a bit about how empty and unfulfilling this trip felt, and how he doesn’t like getting away for work so much anymore. Kitty totally thinks this means he’s decided it’s time that they chased her dreams as family for a while, but oh no, that is not what’s happening at all. Instead, Frank has decided that the true meaning of happiness lies in home and family, and that means he now thinks they were maybe being hasty in their decision to not have children. Kitty looks obviously not into this idea, but Frank clearly doesn’t care.

Yes, this is a grown man attempting to deal with his guilt over his affair by trying to convince her to have kids instead of being honest with her, as though liberal application of a baby that his wife has said repeatedly she doesn’t really want is enough to make up for what he did. Somehow. Frank is super gross! Ugh! 

Harry’s Kind of in a Lot of Debt.  Victor Colleano is, despite all evidence thus far to the contrary, still on this show. Surprise! He’s busy running his new, larger boring bar and gambling establishment, but he also appears to be friends with a very large, very mobbed up guy named D’Ancona. (Or maybe works with? It’s unclear.)  Now it turns out that Mr. D’Ancona is the guy who runs the casino that Harry is always gambling at – which, since I thought he was always gambling at Victor’s, is news to me. Anyway, D’Ancona is super mad because Harry owes him money, and Victor is terrified of him because reasons, I guess. I assume because he’s mobbed up. (Though no one ever actually says that? Just go with it.) Mr. D’Ancona demands that Victor deal with the fact that Harry owes him money and collect the debt for him. Why he is asking Victor, or why Victor says yes to this at all, is a plot hole that the show just assumes no one will care enough to address. They’re probably right. 

Anyway, for whatever reason, Victor goes to see Harry and tell him about the fact that this angry mob boss or whoever he is wants his money back and it’s kind of important. Harry’s nonplussed and says he’s already stopped by the bank and gotten some money out to cover what he owes. Victor still seems really nervous for some reason, but Harry just reiterates that he is really rich, so everything will be fine. He calls D’Ancona and tells him to meet him at the club the next day and he’ll clear all that up.

Mrs. Mardle Doesn’t Take No For an Answer. Miss Mardle is clearly a super-dedicated person, as she basically follows Mr. Grove home from the office to talk to him some more about his condition and their status and whatever. Miss Mardle insists that all she wants to do is help, but Grove says there’s nothing she can do, and besides she already made her decision to leave him before anyway. (Just in case you were wondering if Mr. Grove is still a completely petty jerk: Surprise, impending death has not changed the basic tenants of his personality.)

Grove also says he doesn’t want Miss Mardle to see him become “diminished” in his illness. She argues that could NEVER happen, etc. etc.  Tinkly piano music starts up in the background, so we all know this is an Emotional Moment. And, of course, this is right when Meryl walks in, so this is how she’s finding out that her dad’s dying.  Miss Mardle leaves so as to get out of the way of this family moment, Grove tells his daughter he has cancer and Meryl starts screaming and ugly crying.

The Selfridges Have the Worst Luck. Lord Wynnstay shows up at the Selfridge house in the middle of the night to see Rosalie. He looks crushed and upset, which in some way at least does convey that he’s come to care about her, at least a bit. He confesses that a very damaging story about Sergei is going to run the next day in one of his papers, and it’s going to be all about him having an affair and being a deadbeat. He insists that he did everything he possibly could to stop it, and that he’d never sanction anything like this being written about her (now is what is implied but not said, I guess). Rosalie is upset and mortified and kicks him out of her house.

In tears, Rosalie calls her father and fills him in on the Sergei situation. Harry, for his part, does his best Angry Dad routine and stomps over to the Edwards residence immediately to yell at Frank for failing to suss out that someone was working on this story when they were all drunk in France.  Frank tries to brush it all off as pointless  gossip, but Harry’s not having it. He even says that reflects especially poorly on Frank’s ability to do his job, since he spent the whole night and next morning with the woman  that wrote the piece while they were there. Harry is literally hollering about this in the Edwards living room, so fingers crossed Kitty is a light sleeper, if you ask me.

In other news, it turns out that the Dolly sisters have somehow been cast in this movie that only one of the auditioned for, ostensibly because the director is an idiot or on drugs or something. Anyway, the One That is Dating Harry is psyched about being inmmortalized on film forever, and Harry’s proud of her, and everything is great for everyone.  Or…at least it is until we learn that one of the film’s financial backers has pulled out unexpectedly, and now it won’t be getting made at all. The director explains that that’s really a shame, especially since they were going to film part of it at Selfridges too. This of course prompts Harry to offer to pony up an additional £50K to finance the rest of the movie and give his girlfriend her dream job, because Harry is an idiot. Oh, and he also uses the money that was meant to pay off his gambling debt to finance this cinematic masterpiece, so of course the Random Mobbed Up Casino Boss is not going to take that well. Tune in next week when someone is inevitably going to get beat up over this, probably. Ugh. 

Thoughts on this week? I can’t wait to hear them! Hit the comments! 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

More to Love from Telly Visions