'Mr. Selfridge' Recap: Season 4, Episode 4

Harry as a director is kind of hilarious, yeah? (Photo: Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)

Mr. Selfridge, The Final Season Sundays, March 27 - May 22, 2016 at 10pm ETon MASTERPIECE on PBS Episode 4 Shown: Jeremy Piven as Harry Selfridge (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE

Harry as a director is kind of hilarious, yeah? (Photo: Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Harry as a director is kind of hilarious, yeah? (Photo: Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: The gang goes to France for a press junket because why not.  While they’re there, Harry spends a ton of money on this trip, including free booze and accommodations for the reporters, a big party and jewelry for the dreadful Dolly girls. Frank gets wasted because he’s having an existential crisis about his life, and sleeps with a gossip columnist. Miss Mardle returns from New York to see Grove because Crabbe told her about his terminal illness. Full of guilt about his adultery, Frank tells Kitty they should maybe reconsider having a child together. The Dollys somehow get a movie audition, which one of them doesn’t show up for, because they’re terrible. And when the film producers can’t afford to keep the project afloat, Harry offers to bankroll it so the girls can have their dream job. Too bad he was supposed to give that extra cash to the large, cartoonish looking mob guy he owes money to. Oh, well.

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

Let’s get to it, I guess. 

Harry Selfridge: Filmmaker. Thanks to his poor decision making last week, Harry’s now busy making a movie at Selfridges, starring his mostly trashy girlfriend(s?). It’s called “Double Trouble,” because this show hates me, and is also incapable of any sort of subtlety where the Dolly sisters are concerned. The plot of the film seems to involve the girls running about the store making exaggerated flirty faces and shoplifting jewelry from a total idiot, so it’s not that far off base from real life. The girls also spend a lot of time complaining that they don’t like the script or their outfits, and they’ve caused so many delays that the production is now losing money because of them. (Surprise!)

In the midst of all this, the Large Cartoonish Mobbed Up Guy from last week shows up, ostensibly to remind Harry that he owes him buckets of money that he’s now wasting on this dumb movie. Harry tries to smooth things over with Don Corleone, by offering to pay him an installment of what he owes, Mr. D’Ancona is not happy with this, and demands payment in full. Harry takes this slight kind of personally, considering that he owns one of the biggest stores in the world, but Don Corleone just says that he wants his money ASAP.

Frank Is a Hot Mess. Frank tracks Harry down to urge him not to pull all his advertising from Lord Wynnstay’s papers in retaliation for him printing a story about Sergei cheating on Rosalie. This story would probably be a lot more interesting if it at all seemed to still be about Rosalie in any capacity, rather than shifting to center on a bunch of guys fighting about her honor and reputation, but whatever. Why am I surprised? Anyway, Frank says this situation is all his fault anyway, because he slept with that reporter in France (???) so he should be the one to fix it. Harry says he wants a front page retraction and a promise from Wynnstay that the Selfridge family is off limits from news coverage, or he’s yanking all his money.  

Lord Wynnstay doesn’t actually have a problem with printing a big retraction, for Rosalie’s sake, but he’s definitely got an issue with the whole “no Selfridge family stories” thing, because he’s still running a business, after all. He says that if Harry wants to fight him about this, he can come face him like a man about it and not send “his flunky” Frank to do his dirty work. (Womp womp.)

Later that night, Kitty asks Frank about why he’s been acting so weird ever since he got back from France. He says he’s fine and they end up talking about the baby conundrum again. Frank says he has been wondering if there’s more to life then the two of them simply chasing their own ambitions. Kitty says it’s a harder decision for her – she’s the one who’d have to leave her career behind, and they never even properly discussed the Elizabeth Arden job offer in the first place. Frank sneers at the Arden offer, and basically says that Kitty’s so wrapped up in herself she hasn’t noticed their marriage is in trouble. (Which is definitely a bit rich, coming from a cheater.)  She looks shocked and rushes off.

Hey, Miss Mardle is Still Here. Despite Grove’ insistence that he’s handling his terminal illness just fine on his own, thank you, Miss Mardle is still in London. For his part, Grove is still adamant about not telling anyone else about his cancer just yet, and Meryl is still pretty angry with Mardle because…she knew about her father’s illness before she did? I’m not sure. Miss Mardle feels very guilty about how Meryl found out, for what it’s worth.

Grove tells her he appreciates that she wants to help him, but they’ve been apart for like seven years now, so maybe she should just chill. He says he doesn’t want to revist everything that happened between them, but that’s exactly what they end up doing, because ugh. The two of them go on a long walk, as Grove wonders out loud why they couldn’t make it work when they loved each other so much. Miss Mardle says that love was never the problem between them, it was everything else. She claims that she ran away from him, because…apparently his big pack of unruly children was too overwhelming for her. (I mean, I feel that, at the time the fact that Mardle basically said I’m not into having a bunch of kids was pretty clear, but whatever.)

She laments that she just left them all the way she did, and asks for his forgiveness. Ugh, I hate this storyline so much. Why can’t we just acknowledge that Mardle wanted different things than Grove did, and that’s okay. There are other people in the world that both of them could have met and been happy with, people who shared their goals in life. But, oh, no, now that Grove is dying, Mardle has to feel all guilty about choosing to live the life she wanted, rather than try and fit herself into the space next to him. [fire emojis x 10000].

Kitty Has a Crisis of Spirit. Or Something. Kitty gets a telegram from Elizabeth Arden, reminding her that she still hasn’t given her an answer about the New York job, and that she won’t wait forever. Kitty looks conflicted as sad piano music tinkles in the background. She ends up having lunch with George Towler, which is great as it reminds me how adorable they always were together, and gives George something to do.

Anyway, she ends up telling him all about Elizabeth Arden and the job offer in America and how Frank is suddenly obsessed with the idea of a child. She asks George about it, and he says he thinks it means Frank loves her, that he wants to have a family. Kitty does not look convinced, but she admits that maybe she’s been selfish to always put work like she has. She says she loves him more than anything in the world, and George advises her to talk to her husband.

Next up on her “Should I have a baby or not” tour, Kitty goes to talk to her sister, who, as luck would have it, is just starting to look pregnant. Kitty seems amazed by this, as though she’s never actually seen a real life pregnant woman before. She also asks whether Connie will miss working at Selfridges when she has to give it all up to parent. She says no, not at all, because she’s always dreamed of being a mother. Connie looks super happy about the general state of her life, and Kitty just looks at her for a long minute.

Time for Another Big Party. Maybe Harry would have better financial prospects if he wasn’t throwing enormous parties all the time? Just a thought. Because he’s having another one – for some reason – and it involves Victor Colleano bringing his club to the store, and throwing a “Night with the Stars” private event.

For some reason, Harry also decides that he is the perfect person to give Frank some marriage advice. He says he wants him to bring Kitty to the big splashy party, because they need to make their relationship strong again. I mean, given that Harry spent two-thirds of his time cheating on his wife when he was married, I’m not sure where he’s acquired this high horse he’s riding about this issue, but whatever.

Anyway, this party is a big deal – there’s a red carpet in the middle of the store, George and Victor are working together to set everything up, and Lord Wynnstay is sending Felicity the Awful Reporter to dig for dirt on Harry, his girlfriends and family members at this event (because he’s still mad about the whole advertising threat thing that no one cares about).

This Plot Twist Seems Unlikely, But Okay. Frank asks Kitty to be his date to the big Selfridge Hollywood shindig, and she’s pretty pleased about it. She says it feels like it did back when they first started going out all those years ago. She then asks Frank if he’d still love her if she gave up her job to have a child. He says of course he would, since this whole surprise baby plan has been his idea from start to finish, and he’s not the one who’ll have to be changing the entire trajectory of his life. Duh! Anyway, he tells Kitty he loves her more than anything in the world, and Kitty smiles and says they should go for it, and have a child, because the prospect of a family with Frank is a way better offer than anything she’ll find in New York.

It’s hard to tell whether this storyline is so gross because we, the audience, know that Frank’s a disgusting cheater and liar, or because it completely goes against every moment of Kitty’s character development we’ve seen in four years. Either way, it pretty much seems as though Kitty’s been turned into a strange pod person through the magic of Frank’s whining at her. Yay? Frank grins and picks her up and spins her around, and there’s probably a universe out there somewhere where this is cute and adorable, but it’s certainly not this one, where we all know that Frank’s basically talked his wife into having a child to make himself feel better about his own poor choices. What a lovely story.

Is This The End of the Dolly Sisters? Please? Miss Blakensop brings Harry a letter about the Dollys’ latest gambling bill. It’s for a startling amount of money, ten thousand pounds, and even Harry looks utterly shocked at their excess. (So you know it’s bad.) He goes to see the sister he’s “dating” to talk about their outrageous behavior and to tell her that they need to take their big film break more seriously. She promises to do so, and to help him reign her sister in too, and then distracts Harry with sex. Ugh, gross. 

And somehow they do manage to get through filming on the Dollys’ movie, though not without a few more delays, stolen outfits from fashion and general misbehaving. Everyone seems happy with everything generally – until Harry shows up to pick Dolly #1 up for the big Film Star Party he’s throwing. He wanted to surprise her, but oh no, it turns out that she’s been busy sleeping with some other random dude, and Harry basically catches them in the act. How awkward.

Anyway, after this Harry basically decides he is dunzo with the Dolly girls – finally! He spends a long time whining to Mae about how stupid he’s been, letting these two terrible girls bleed him dry. Mae laughs and mostly agrees, but promises to go to the party with him, and help him get through it. Mae’s complete hatred of the Dolly sisters has been the only saving grace of this storyline, if you ask me.

But, of course, the girls don’t exactly go quietly. They pop up on stage during the party, dressed in feathers to do an impromptu dance routine for Harry, in the hopes that he’ll “forgive them for being so naughty”. The band plays and the girls dance together provocatively, gyrating  and make crude gestures at one another. It’s basically the least entertaining thing ever. The crowd is shocked, gasping and shouting things like OUTRAGEOUS at various moments. Harry looks horrified, and Mae is basically still laughing, because honestly why is anyone surprised at this point that these girls are trashy? Harry gets George Towler to kick them out, and hopefully this is the last time we’ll ever have to see them. Fingers crossed. 

So Basically Grove and Mardle Are Back Together. Meryl and Mardle have a heart to heart about her father, wherein the both apologize to each other for past slights, Mardle calls herself a coward for living them seven years ago, and Meryl makes her promise to stay in London even if Grove says he wants her to leave. She agrees and this all seems like very healthy behavior, I guess. Meryl invites Mardle for dinner the next day.

When Miss Mardle arrives, all the kids are dressed up like they work in a fancy restaurant and on their best behavior and it’s basically like watching a period drama version of The Parent Trap. Question for the audience: I doubt anybody is surprised that Mardle and Grove are getting back together, but was anyone like dying for this to happen? Does this pairing have some sort of swoony romantic appeal that I’m just not getting? Because, to me, they just seem like two people who care about each other very much, but who want different things – and shoving them together again just because one of them is dying seems…well, awful. But, maybe I’m wrong?

Anyway, as probably everyone guessed it would, their family-style date ends with a proposal. The two go for a walk in the garden and Grove says that now that she’s back and they’ve hashed out all their previous relationship problems and the issues they broke up over in one conversation, he can finally start to look forward. He wants to make the most of the time he has left, so of course that means they should get married. He even gets down on one knee and everything. Mardle says yes, while all the kids look on from a window in the house and cheer. Whatever.

Kitty Figures It Out.  Felicity the World’s Worst Reporter approaches Kitty at the party. They make small talk for a minute and Felicity goes on at length about how she works with Frank and how much fun they all had while they were in France. She also bitchily mentions that she didn’t think Kitty would be so pretty, which is basically somehow code for “I totally slept with your husband”. She confronts Frank about this basically immediately, and asks why this random woman would have any expectation about her in any way at all. She then proceeds to grill him about the France trip, and why he so suddenly wanted to start having children as soon as he got home from that junket. Frank says that he thought having a baby could repair things between then, but then Kitty just wants to know what he thought needed to be repaired in the first place. Frank finally just starts crying and apologizing and finally admits that, yes, he slept with Felicity.

Kitty is devastated and furious. She’s angry about the cheating, but also that Frank was willing to crush her dreams of New York and working for Elizabeth Arden to assuage his own guilt.  She says that Frank’s definitely stuck in the guest room until she figures out what she wants to do about all this, but they’re going to have to pretend like everything is fine around her boss and coworkers. She says that she’s not going to damage everything she’s built over the last 12 years because he is a terrible husband so he is just going to have to suck it up and pretend to not be an actual piece of garbage. Frank looks like he is going to cry again and he deserves EVERY SECOND of this. Kitty starts crying herself, and all I want is for her to go pack a bag and get on the next boat to America, like, right now.

Oh, Look, the Mob is Back. The big party continues, even though I can’t really remember anymore why they’re having it. Jimmy arrives, because Jimmy was…somewhere not London, but it doesn’t matter really because none of us actually care about Jimmy or his storyline. Anyway, for some reason, Victor decides that he and Mae should sing a song together, despite the fact that I’m not sure it’s ever been hinted at on this show before that Victor was any kind of performer. Whatever, let’s go with it! The two of them sing some kind of entertaining-ish song about relationships and it’s not horrible, and I guess it’s supposed to remind us that Mae was a showgirl once. Or something.

Meanwhile, Don Corleone the Mobbed Up Money Lender arrives with a gang of thugs outside and proceeds to smash up one of Selfridge’s famous display windows. The alarm goes off and everyone rushes outside but the mob guys have totally disappeared already because they are magic or something. Everyone seems disturbed and uncomfortable.Since this guy wants money from Harry it seems sort of not smart for him to base his threats on breaking things that the man who owes him money will have to find other money to repair. But, what do I know.  Harry looks like he’s about to ugly cry for the third week in a row, but alas he just shakes his head in sorrow. Womp womp.

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. 

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