‘Mr. Selfridge’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 7

Grove and Miss Mardle, in happier times. (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 5 Shown from left to right: Tom Goodman-Hill as Mr. Grove and Amanda Abbington as Josie Mardle (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: Everyone’s sad that Victor is dead, maybe, but we don’t see his funeral either way. Jimmy, Harry and Gordon decided to purchase Whiteley’s, another legacy London department store, even though it takes all their available cash. Kitty leaves for NYC to take that job at Elizabeth Arden, but unfortunately decides to take her cheating husband along with her when Frank shows up at her leaving party and grovels some more.  Meryl tells her father about the crappy way the Selfridge Sewing Girls are treating machinist Tilly Brockless, but instead of helping the situation, all Grove does is manage to fire her for not being honest about the references from her previous job. Whoops?

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

Tilly’s Big Secret is Revealed. Meryl confronts Mean Head Sewing Girl about the fact that Tilly hasn’t been in to work in a few days. She’s shocked to find out that her friend has been let go from Selfridges and threatens MHSG with an attack of nepotism (“You just wait till my father finds out!”) as payback. Imagine how much more furious she is to discover that her father’s actually the one who fired Tilly in the first place, instead of helping her achieve better working conditions in the sewing shop the way he’d promised to.  She stomps off to confront her dad directly, and he explains that Tilly had to be let go due to her inappropriate and scandalous behavior at her previous employer, which she refused to explain when asked.

Meryl, really embracing her new Nancy Drew lifestyle, decides that her next stop should be to visit Tilly. Why? Does it matter? What does matter is that we find out what Tilly’s Big Secret is: She has an illegitimate child.  The existence of her daughter is the reason she lost her previous job, apparently, and she didn’t want to tell Grove about it because she was afraid he wouldn’t hire her.

The New Whiteley’s Account is a Mess. Harry and Jimmy are pretty excited about their deal to buy Whiteleys, and have been working around the clock on it, mostly because the pair of them have sunk all their money into it. So, you think they’d be more motivated to really go through the store’s financials with the Whiteleys accountants, right? You’d be wrong. They’re satisfied just to know that the store’s solvent and brush off all their concerns about the details. Smart business, right? Seriously, how has this man managed to be so successful for so long? What were they even doing “around the clock” on this deal if it wasn’t actually…investigating the thing they’re buying? So dumb.

Anyway, Crabbe also decides to pitch in to help with the new acquisition, and heads over to the Whiteleys offices to start going through the documentation and paperwork there. Since I guess neither Harry nor Jimmy did that during all this time they’re burning the midnight oil or whatever. (Morons!) It turns out that the accounting office is a disaster – there are files and papers and boxes everywhere, with no visible organizational systems in place. Because this is a large, legitimate, legacy business and of course that’s something that would actually be allowed to occur there. Duh! Crabbe looks distressed, but just asks for a cup of tea and settles in to start cleaning it up. #WhyILoveBritishPeople

Jimmy is a Suspect. Sort of? For continued, largely nonsensical reasons, there’s a reporter that’s still digging into Victor Colleano’s death. Sure, why not? It’s kind of hilarious that this reporter is so invested in this, when exactly one person on the show (Mae) even seems that interested in the actual fact that Victor died? Anyway, he’s curious about Jimmy for some reason, and corners him at the Whiteleys press conference to ask him some questions. He wants to know about Jimmy’s previous relationship with Victor (remember that dumb boxing match they promoted together back in the season’s first episode) and whether they’d done much business together.

Of course, once they start talking about Victor, Jimmy gets all kinds of aggressive and weird for no reason, accusing the reporting of insinuating terrible things about him. (Which, in a way, he sort of is, but that’s not the point.) Jimmy says everyone knows Victor consorted with gangsters and criminals and that’s clearly who killed him so the reporter should just STFU.

Jimmy, it should be noted, might as well be hanging a neon sign over his head that says I DID SOMETHING BAD, ASK ME ABOUT IT SOMETIME. Ugh.  Jimmy’s Nameless Mother is also there, for some reason and tells her son that he needs to check himself, or he’s “walking himself to the gallows”.  So, in case anyone was wondering where Jimmy gets his melodramatic streak from, there you go.

Mr. Grove Has a Busy Day. The next day, Grove family breakfast rolls around and Meryl’s still mad at her father.  She tells the family that Tilly’s been fired – by her mean dad – and also decides that now is great time to let them all know that the poor girl also had a baby out of wedlock, like that’s any of their business at all or something that is at all her place to tell them. Grove tries to cover, saying that he was really thinking of Selfridges and its reputation, but Meryl’s still angry. Mardle decides to weigh in at this point and says, well, the two of them can hardly judge, right? (Since, you know, the two of them had an affair for the better part of a decade.)  Grove looks offended, then stomps off and heads to work.

Anyway, after getting guilted by his daughter for firing her friend, Grove suddenly changes his mind and decides to do the right thing (why??). He confronts Mean Head Sewing Girl about her obvious prejudice (and probable racism) toward Tilly. It’s satisfying in a vague way, if only because he tricks Head Mean Girl into resigning, and gives Mae the OK to rehire Tilly if she can convince her to come back.  (Which, of course she does.) He also manages to come up with a new floor plan for the Whiteleys takeover, which will help the store make more money and tell Harry that he’s planning to retire, which is a pretty good day for him, in the end.

So, of course he ends up literally dropping dead at the end of it. Not once, but twice, actually – the first time is a fake out wherein he actually collapses in a Selfridge hallway. But, lest you think he’s safe, he ends up dying in a lounge chair in his backyard later.  Sorry, Mr. Grove. 

LOL at the Whiteleys Mess.  After Crabbe’s marathon bookkeeping session, he’s determined that there is, indeed, quite a bit of bad news to go around about the Whiteleys acquisition. It turns out that several of the store’s suppliers won’t do business with them because they still owe them money, and they won’t extend any more credit to them either.

This is what finally galvanizes Harry and Gordon to go actually take a physical look at the store they bought, which is hilarious only because they arrive to find it dark and completely empty. Yes, the big, glamorous new department store they all bought in on is actually completely devoid of stock, so they don’t even have any product to sell. Gordon and Jimmy are panicking, because they don’t have any money  and it’s sort of great, because none of us really care about what happens to some secondary store, when we’ve spent like fifteen minutes in the real Selfridges this week.  Whatever.

Poor Mr. Grove. (Sorry again about that, Victor!) After Mr. Grove’s sudden death in the backyard, Mardle has to call the store to let everyone know what happened. Crabbe has to break the news to everyone,  and he just looks devastated about it. Harry has to explain to Gordon and the rest of the Selfridges staff that Grove was sick and didn’t tell anyone, and then vows to honor his friend by….making sure all his business plans for Whiteleys are implemented. Which I guess is a nice gesture, but it also seems kind of weird to pay tribute to your dead friend by using his idea that was meant to make your business more money. Why not, like, donate a bench to a park or something?

Anyway, Harry also does a big speech to the Selfridges crew about how awesome Grove was, and how he was with the store from the very beginning. He says that his friend’s labors are in every brick and display of the building, and that he’ll be sorely missed.  He even cries. It’s actually kind of moving, even if Grove hasn’t exactly been a sympathetic – or even interesting – character in like two years.

Avert Your Eyes, Maybe? It appears that Mae is just a regular dinner guest at the Selfridge house now, for some reason.  After Grove dies she comes over again, along with Crabbe, Gordon and Grace, and the family swaps stories about Mr. Grove, how awesome he was, and what the store was like when it first opened. They toast his memory. (Sorry again that no one remembers you died, Victor!)

Harry arranges cars to get everyone home after dinner, except for Mae, who he wants to spend the night with him. Mae protests that if she stays any longer, people will start to talk, and Harry just looks sad and says he doesn’t want to be alone anymore. (Is this seriously like the least romantic proposition ever? Yes? No?) Mae looks torn for like two seconds, and then they end up kissing.

I feel like I was maybe pro-Harry and Mae being a thing before it actually happened, but now that it’s in front of me it feels sort of forced and gross? I don’t know. The show has been really great about maintaining a close friendship between the two of them over the years, and it’s obvious they care about and respect one another, but has anyone really gotten the vibe that either of them were necessarily interested in one another romantically? (I mean, poor Mae’s getting thrown together with her third man in seven episodes, surely Katherine Kelly deserves a better storyline than this?) Or maybe my dislike is more to do with the fact that it seems like they’re getting together because they’re both sad about Grove (and maybe Victor? IDK)than out of any real joy in being together? Ugh, show, how are you ruining the one thing that has been actually working this season?         

At Least There’s an Actual Funeral!  At least Grove gets a real funeral though! There’s a casket and a vicar reading the service and a big crowd of mourners crying. (Basically everything Victor didn’t get. Apparently I will never be over this.) The Grove kids cry and Miss Mardle does her best to comfort them. Harry looks sad and holds hands with Mae.

However, Mae bolts away as soon as the service is over. Harry chases after her, offering to walk her home or something, but apparently what’s really going on is that Mae’s having second thoughts about their decision to take their relationship to the next level. She says she’s employee, it’s not appropriate, and they both have reputations.  Harry, unsurprisingly, declares that he doesn’t give a crap about his reputation, he only cares about how he feels. Mae points out that maybe neither of them are really sure how they feel right now – the last few days having been an emotional whirlwind and all. Harry wants to talk things out, but Mae says it just isn’t the time. She takes the opportunity to go offer condolences to Miss Mardle and Meryl to get out of the conversation. So awkward!

Everyone’s Emotional About Everything. Mae takes the time to tell Meryl how proud her father was of her – and that basically his last act had been to get Tilly her job back, all because of her.  Meryl starts crying about what a spoiled brat she’d always been to her father, and Mardle comforts her, saying that yes she was stubborn and difficult, but always fought for the things she believed in, just like him. She says Meryl is her father’s daughter,  through and through, and the two hug it out and cry.

Harry, Gordon and Crabbe all end up in Mr. Grove’s office, to be sad. They vow again to make sure that they put all his ideas for Whiteleys into action, in memory of him. (Okaaay?) but they have to deal with the fact that the store literally has no stock. Harry’s brilliant idea is to take the warehouses full of stock that was meant to for the provincial stores that they sold to property developers and use THAT to at least get Whiteleys open and making some money to pay their creditors. Honestly, this seems like the most obvious idea in the world if Team Selfridge just has giant buildings full of stuff to sell that they are not, at the moment, selling, but maybe I just don’t understand business. Everyone’s psyched!  

Meanwhile, Mae gets accosted by that lone reporter investigating Victor’s death on her way home, and he asks her about Jimmy and his relationship with Victor. She’s shocked, and goes straight to Jimmy’s to confront him about the fact that he lied to her and his general shady behavior. She says Random Reporter told her that Jimmy acted suspiciously when he was asked about Victor’s death and she wants to know what’s up. Jimmy gets all defensive and wants to know how in the world could Mae ever think that, when he only totally murdered a guy that one time. (Okay, I made that last part up. Ugh.) Mae says she’s seen Jimmy’s temper before and that worries her. Jimmy really lays on the guilt, saying he knows he’s gone overboard once or twice, but he could never be capable of murder. He also says that since the reporter works for Lord Wynnstay this is all just part of some nefarious plot to get to Harry and Mae’s just helping them to stir up trouble for him. He says it could be really damaging for Harry. Mae gets emotional and eventually apologizes for even thinking such a thing, insisting that she never should have come to see him or brought it up at all.

Ugh, Jimmy is so gross! I guess it’s going to be pretty awesome when Mae does  find out that he’s completely guilty of killing her friend/possible boyfriend. Can we just jump straight to that? Because the rest of this is not fun.

Thoughts on this week’s ep, folks? I’m especially curious to see what people think of the prospect of Mae and Harry actually becoming a thing for real. 

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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