‘Mr. Selfridge’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 6

At least Harry's not ugly crying? (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 7 Shown: Jeremy Piven as Harry Selfridge (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE

At least Harry's not ugly crying? (Photo:Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
At least Harry's not ugly crying? (Photo: Courtesy of (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: Victor and Mae are suddenly close again. They decide that they should have dinner, because their breakup like twenty years was probably a big mistake. Harry tries to convince everyone that gangsters absolutely did not break his store windows as payback, and scrambles to find a way to get the money to pay off his debt.  Frank apologizes to Kitty by telling her that men cheat because they are idiots sometimes, but she kicks him out of the house. Grove and Miss Mardle get married, Harry decides to sell the provincial Selfridge stores to pay off his creditors after they show up at his home to rob him, and Jimmy accidentally murders Victor by shoving him off a balcony. Yes, that is a thing that happened. This show, y’all.

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

Sorry About Your Funeral, Victor. If you were waiting until this week to do your mourning for poor, dead Victor Colleano, it seems you’ve missed your moment. The show skips right past the aftermath of his death – How did they find the body? How did Jimmy get away? Who called the police? What was the funeral like? – and jumps straight to Mae putting flowers on his grave and looking despondent. There are other flowers strewn about, which suggests that perhaps other people at some point acknowledged Victor’s death, but I guess the show has decided we don’t need to see that. (Probably because up until about two weeks ago, the writers forgot that Victor was still on the show, too.)

 Anyway, Mae looks sad and kneels by Victor’s grave, while Harry goes on about what a good man he was. Did either of these two even go to the funeral? Was there even a funeral? Why even show us this part? Mae looks distant and says the two of them need to get back to work. 

Apparently, Being a Murderer is Nerve-Wracking. Meanwhile, Jimmy has fled to his mother’s, who is, by the way, a woman we have literally never met or heard of before this moment, but that’s fine because it’s convenient for the plot. Jimmy is hiding at her place because he’s afraid of going to jail for murdering Victor, and has apparently also told his mom about what he did, which feels like it should probably be a way more awkward situation than it is.  Anyway, his mom has been keeping an eye on the news for him, and she says that everything’s fine now, since the police seem to think Victor was taken out in some kind of mob hit, because he had all those sleazy underworld connections thanks to his business. (This may have actually been a true statement a season or two ago, but at least at the moment it seemed like his lame nightclub was on the up-and-up? Why is this storyline so lazy?)

Jimmy’s Nameless Mom says the gangland hit rumor is a positive development because it means that the police aren’t looking in his direction. She says this means it’s time for Jimmy to go back to London and face his life because if he doesn’t people will talk. He needs to focus on what really matters, which is being successful. Apparently Nameless Mom thinks that Jimmy’s just being way too sensitive about this whole murder business, because he… takes things like killing a man too seriously? I don’t know. This woman seems insane.

Gordon’s So Happy His Dad Has Noticed Him. Gordon’s back to working at the London Selfridges, now that his father has basically sold away his job in order to pay his own gambling debts. Dad of the year!

That turns out to be mostly okay though, since this appears to be the most substantial amount of time that Gordon has spent with his father, pretty much ever, and he’s just eating it up. They’re all excited because they’re launching a new summer series of displays featuring Mae’s collection of ready to wear, and Harry’s consulting Gordon on everything and everything seems pretty great. Or, at least it does until Gordon has to tell his father that Lord Wynnstay is suing them for breach of contract over the fact that Harry pulled all their advertising last week in a fit of pique.  But Gordon steps up and says he’ll call the lawyers and take care of it, because Gordon is a Guy That Handles Things now. 

Time To Wrap Up Kitty’s Story. Kitty’s decided to take the job at Elizabeth Arden in New York City, and Harry throws her a big leaving party, since she’s been with the store since forever. Kitty’s a little glum about her marital problems (and is basically lying to everybody that Frank will join her in NYC eventually, but she’s looking forward to the challenge of her new position.

Anyway, Kitty gives a nice speech about how much working at Selfridges has meant to her, and how knowing has Harry has changed her life.  She starts crying toward the end, and Harry gets up to tell her what a pleasure it’s been to work with her, and they hug. It’s all very sweet. Frank staggers in just in time to watch her from the back, looking disheveled and awful.  He is apparently growing a Sadness Beard. It is not a good look for him. 

Frank stares mournfully after his wife until Harry finally has to give him another pep talk. He tells him that absence won’t heal their marriage, and he knows from experience, she he lost years with Rose himself because of his own foolishness. He says life is short and this is Frank’s last chance to make it right. Kitty, meanwhile, has been saying her goodbyes to Connie and George. She’s got a cab waiting and is headed straight to a “boat train” from the middle of her party. She takes a minute to stare wistfully around her cosmetic department, while mournful music plays.

Frank comes crashing into the room to beg her not to leave. Kitty says she’s already decided what she wants, but Frank grovels some more, telling her that he wants their marriage back whatever it takes. He even offers to come to New York with her – Harry’s already said it’s okay – and give her the chance to chase her dreams. This is probably supposed to be a big romantic gesture, which it probably is in a way given that Frank has no luggage and none of his possessions, but since he also isn’t doing much in the way of actually apologizing and/or talking about why he cheated on Kitty for no reason other to make his own wounded pride feel better, it’s a bit hard to really get into it. Whatever.

He promises Kitty they can start a new life in New York, and Kitty starts crying again and they hug and the music swells. They run out into the street into a waiting car and literally drive off into an actual sunset. So, Kitty gets her happy ending after all, I guess, and that’s something a character that’s been on this show for the duration deserves, even though some of us (coughmecough) may wish she’d chosen a little bit differently.

Welcome to Mae’s Downward Spiral. To put it lightly, Mae’s not exactly handling Victor’s death well. She’s furious about the implication in the papers that he was mobbed up, she’s snapping at her employees, and she’s refusing to do press interviews for her new collection.  There’s even a moment where she declares how certain it is that she’s going to die alone. So, as you can see, Mae’s totally coping just fine. She finally agrees to talk to reporters, but all they want to ask her about is Harry’s decision to sell the provincial Selfridge stores and whether that means the flagship business is in trouble. He tells her to stop stressing about it, and just say no comment like a normal person.

Gordon has a different idea – he suggests they offer to restore all the advertising in Wynnstay’s papers so he’ll stop suing them and also maybe stop running these terrible stories about how near they are to financial ruin. Harry looks skeptical, since he and Wynnstay have been manfully hating the crap out of each other for several episodes now, but Gordon says that the guy doesn’t have any beef with him, so they should be able to work something out. Harry’s nervous that Wynnstay will take Gordon’s making such an offer as a sign of weakness, but Gordon says that might not be the worst thing ever. 

Remember Miss Brockless? Remember the black seamstress named Tilly who’s working in Mae’s new ready-to-wear sewing shop and is friends with Meryl? Maybe not, she hasn’t been that important to the Season 4 storyline as such. Anyway, she took time out of her work schedule to make Miss Mardle’s wedding dress as a favor to Meryl, and now she’s drowning in more sewing orders because the woman in charge of the sewing department hates her. It’s not entirely spelled out why, but Head Sewing Woman has been so super gross about how much she dislikes her, that it’s hard not to assume that her attitude has some kind of racial bent to it. 

Anyway, Meryl finds out that Tilly’s being worked around the clock, and is furious on her friends behalf. She says that it’s not right, what the Head Sewing Lady is doing to her and she should say something to someone. Tilly says that she just wants to get through this, she doesn’t want to give her bosses any excuse. “Excuse for what?” Meryl asks, in the tone of someone who’s only ever gotten a job through nepotism.

Anyway, Meryl decides to take the matter to her father, now freshly back from his honeymoon.  She tells him that Tilly is being unfairly singled out and loaded down with work, and he has to do something.  Grove says that Miss Brockless should come see him herself if she’s got a complaint about her work situation, but Meryl keeps pushing. She finally tells Grove that he’s morally obligated to help her friend because she got in this mess thanks to making Mardle’s dress. (LOL, Meryl is the worst.)

Gordon Gets a Win! Gordon goes to see Lord Wynnstay, either at his posh club or his posh house, but wherever it is they really like leather. He asks him to drop the lawsuit in exchange for the return of their advertising spend, and they’ll honor their contract in full. He stresses that passions have cooled, and cooler heads can prevail and can’t they all just get along, blah blah blah.

Wynnstay seems extremely uninterested in this  and says he’ll see them all in court. Gordon, however, displaying a level of awareness that virtually no one would have credited him with, says that he’s also talked to their lawyers and come prepared with a settlement offer to keep this whole business out of court. Wynnstay says that not everyone has a price, but Gordon says that he probably does, once his board finds out that he turned down that much money over a petty personal grudge. Wynnstay looks grudgingly impressed with Gordon and they shake hands and it appears that that is that.  Harry’s so pleased with Gordon that he gives him a promotion and a new made up title: Managing Director. 

Jimmy’s New Idea. Jimmy comes back to London, and tells everyone he’s been out of town taking care of his sick mother. He wants to get back on the action immediately, so he goes to that one gentleman’s club where apparently everyone in London goes (it is literally the same one Wynnstay and Gordon were at like five minutes ago), in order to hunt for new business opportunities.  He tells everyone he wants to do something big. (I still don’t know why anyone even talks to this guy, but [shrug emoji].)

The next day, Jimmy immediately goes to Harry and Gordon, claiming he has the opportunity of a lifetime. His big idea is that they should all buy Whiteley’s, another London landmark store that’s running out of money. Jimmy says it’s a family business like Selfridges, in a non-thriving neighborhood community that they can revive like Harry did Oxford Street way back when. He sucks up to them both by saying that there’s no one who could turn this business around like Harry, blah blah blah. And of course, both Selfridge men totally fall for it, since the heart of the transaction pretty much relies on them thinking about how awesome they are. 

Then Poor Tilly Gets Fired. Thanks to Meryl’s insistence, Grove asks Mean Head Sewing Girl about how she’s been treating Tilly. He says he’s heard that the girl’s been unfairly overworked, etc. etc.  Mean Head Sewing Girl is not going to admit to anything though, and says that Tilly’s a crap employee who doesn’t keep up with her duties.  She also says that she heard from one of the new girls who used to work at some other fashion house with Tilly that she never should have been able to get a job at Selfridges in the first place, and questions whether she gave Grove any references. She’s basically implying that Grove hired her improperly and dares him to call her out on her own terrible behavior. Grove just looks uncomfortable.

Later, he calls Tilly into his office and tells her about the rumors he’s been hearing from the girls who used to work at her former employer. He says he thinks she wasn’t entirely honest about her previous work experience, which would be a valid concern I guess if she’d tried to hide the fact that she didn’t have references in any way. Which she didn’t, and Mae decided to hire her anyway. Ugh.

Anyway, Tilly immediately gets uncomfortable, particularly when Grove says that  he spoke to her former boss, Mr. Sitch. She says he mustn’t believe a single thing “that man” says, which apparently was that Tilly left under some kind of cloud of scandal and accusations of dishonesty. Grove wants to know what happened, but Tilly doesn’t want to talk about it, because she’s sure that Grove won’t believe her. He says he’ll believe her if she’s honest with him, but Tilly clearly doesn’t trust that and says she can’t tell him. Her eyes fill with tears. (Oh, no, this has the distinct feeling that there’s some kind of sexual assault backstory waiting to happen here, and just can we not, show?)  

Grove looks regretful, but says he has no choice but to fire her. He gives her a reference and two weeks pay, but it’s unclear why he has to let her go in the first place, given that she’s been such a workhorse for Selfridges and a generally great employee (if  you ignore the catiness of horrible Head Sewing Girl.) Why does her previous employer even matter when she’s been at Selfridges for months? Here’s hoping Mae helps her get her job back.  

The Selfridges Get Their Groove Back. Harry, Gordon and Jimmy have a meeting with the Whiteley brothers, who appear to be those same two guys who made racist comments at/about Jimmy a few episodes ago? They’re already considering selling the family store to a housing developer, and Harry gets judgey because he thinks their dad would be rolling over in his grave about it.  Jimmy just wants to know how much money they want, which turns out to be about $300K more than Team Selfridge has. Gordon suggests they use the money left over from the sale of the provincial stores to cover the difference. Harry hesitates, since using those proceeds means cleaning out all their liquidity, and he looks nervous about having no margin for error in any of their business dealings. But Gordon is so into the idea of this deal and his enthusiasm helps convince his dad to go along with it.

Harry then rushes off to tell Mae all about it, and is very proud. He says he wants to fill it with her collections, and that she was the first person he wanted to tell, because she knows him the best out of anyone. They stand ridiculously close together for a long minute and dramatic music swells behind them, and Harry wonders why he ever let her go off to Paris last season in the first place. They look like they’re about to have some kind of “revelation” about their relationship, which, if last week is any indication, probably means one of them is going to die pretty soon.  Luckily, Gordon interrupts them before anyone can say anything nauseating, and then the gang heads over to look at the Whiteley’s space.  It’s very dramatic, in the way that old school department stores are, with a bit, sweeping staircase and a large balcony that Jimmy will probably end up throwing someone off of.

But, oh no, ominous things are brewing. The episode ends with a cut to Lord Wynnstay and some guy, who seems to be a reporter? They talk about Victor Colleano and he reiterates that the police think he died in a mob hit. However, Random Reporter does not think this, apparently, and pulls out three photos – of Harry, Jimmy and someone I think is supposed to be Mr. D’Ancona – as evidence that Victor spent a lot of time with “interesting people”. Since one of them actually is basically a known mobster and two of them are public figures, it’s not exactly clear how this revelation that Victor had friends and/or bar patrons changes the game surrounding his death or the official investigation into it. Lord Wynnstay is super interested and tells Random Reporter to keep digging. Why? What does he expect to find? Why does the fact that Victor – a man who owned a popular nightclub – knew three rich and fairly influential people is so extraordinary? How does this prove he was murdered in some other way than the police think? Clearly, for narrative purposes the truth about Jimmy’s involvement in Victor’s death has to come out. This just seems like the dumbest possible way in the world to have that happen.

So, we’re inching closer to the end of this show. How is this all going to wrap up? Do we even still like any of these people? What do you think is going to happen to Jimmy? Or Tilly? And what’s going on with Mae and Harry? 

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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