‘Mr. Selfridge’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 8

Mr. Selfridge and Miss Plunkett are basically not happy with life. (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 8 Shown from left to right: Jeremy Piven as Harry Selfridge and Sadie Shimmin as Miss Plunkett (C) ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE

Previously, on Mr. Selfridge: Harry, Gordon and Jimmy are psyched about their purchase of Whiteleys department store, but their joy is tempered by the fact that the business’ accounts are a total mess and the store has no stock. Whoops! A reporter is still digging in to Jimmy’s relationship with the now dead Victor Colleano, basically because the script says he has to do so. (There’s no reason for this, but Jimmy’s a murderer and garbage, so bring it on!)  We learn that machinist Tilly Brockless had a child out of wedlock and that’s why she lost her previous job. Meryl guilts her father about firing the girl over it, and Grove eventually relents and hires her back, right before he drops dead in the back yard. Oh and Harry and Mae sleep together, which is actually much ickier than we all thought it would be. 

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

Everyone Is Feeling Great About Themselves. Harry takes Jimmy skeet shooting, so they can talk about how smart and successful they are. Harry’s especially psyched because the 20th anniversary of Selfridges is coming up, and he’s got big plans for a public spectacle to mark the occasion. He tells Jimmy he’ll have to handle their new Whiteleys business on his own for a bit, because Oxford Street’s not going to manage to properly celebrate Harry all by itself.

Jimmy says sure, because of course he does, but he looks really nervous. Which, as we all know, is because he is a murdering garbage person. Ugh.

Just Kidding, Jimmy is So Bad At Business. It would be sad that Jimmy is already running Whiteleys into the ground like five minutes after taking it over, if he weren’t such a jerk who deserved every kind of failure. Haha! Oh, well. It turns out that the “sell the stock our stores already have” plan to save Whiteleys last week wasn’t as successful as we’d all been led to believe. The excess stock has been selling faster than expected and isn’t enough to keep the store open without a fresh influx of goods from creditors, who still won’t sell to them because Team Selfridge owes them money. Jimmy pouts that he can’t possibly be expected to have known this, because he’s been way too busy and important to do anything like study the business and/or sales projections in any detail. Jimmy is so terrible.

The upshot of all this is that Whiteleys will have to close its doors in three days if Jimmy doesn’t find some more stock to sell. Boring Accountant tells Jimmy that he needs to give Harry a heads up about what’s happening, but of course Jimmy’s all determined that his business partner never actually discover how terrible he is at actually running a business.  This is surely going to go well.

Mae is Having Serious Second Thoughts. Mae ends up in a meeting with him to discuss the fact that their new Head of Fashion – the person meant to be replacing the very pregnant Connie Towler –  just never showed up for work. Harry, of course, doesn’t want to talk about these very pressing business issues; he wants to know why Mae has been avoiding him.

It turns out that, because she is a woman with sense, Mae is maybe regretting her decision to sleep with Harry last week. (We are possibly all regretting it, but that just may be me.) She suggests that maybe they should just act as though the night between them never happened and go on as they were before. Harry’s not into that idea, insisting that their night together meant a lot to him and he wants her to tell him what’s going on with her. Mae just runs away instead.

Mr. Awesome at Business Tries to Save Himself.  Since Jimmy doesn’t want to disappoint either Harry or Gordon, so he tries to bully the vendors into restoring the Whiteleys’ credit line. When this (predictably) doesn’t work, he heads to Selfridges where he learns that the store is positively bursting with stock, in anticipation of the upcoming 20th anniversary sale. This gives Jimmy a (predictably) terrible idea. 

Yes, he wants Crabbe to front him some of the excess Selfridges stock so he can keep Whiteleys open and Harry doesn’t have to find out what a screwup he really is.  (He explains that he “must have missed some of the finer details” when Crabbe was explaining how to run a store to him. Jerk.) Crabbe is horrified and wants to go to Harry immediately, but Jimmy’s says that Harry has to keep himself well out of it if he wants to make sure the local vendors restore their credit. (This bit makes no sense, but let’s just go with it.) He  says that he and Crabbe and George could sneak stock over to Whiteleys without anyone noticing and no one would ever be the wiser. Plus, it would be really embarrassing for Harry to have his second big store close down right in the middle of the anniversary celebrations for his first.

Crabbe, who is busy looking at Jimmy like he wants to shoot him with lasers from his eyes, finally agrees to help, but only to keep Harry from getting tarnished with Jimmy’s loser failure brush. 

When Did Rosalie Become Such a Harry/Mae Shipper? Out of nowhere, Rosalie decides that she needs to have A Talk with her father – about Mae of all things. She declares – seemingly out of nowhere – that she loves Mae and she just really needs to know what her dad’s intentions are, because she’s not going to be able to stand it if he ruins everything in that way he always does and drive her out of their lives forever. (Personally, I’m struggling to remember the last time Rosalie had a conversation with Mae, but I’ve blocked out a lot of this show apparently, so who knows. I just can’t believe they have wasted Rosealie on the absolute worst storylines this season. )

Harry says that it’s Mae who’s pushing him away, so clearly none of this awkwardness is his fault. Rosalie rolls her eyes and says that Mae’s clearly trying to protect herself, since her father has the world’s worst relationship history with women. Harry insists that he’s changed, although there’s pretty much zero evidence of that, and Rosalie advises him to give Mae some space and work harder to prove to that he’s the right man for her. [Eyeroll forever.]

The Gang Tries to Break the Law. Well, maybe not break the law, but at least bend the rules of retail. Crabbe enlists the help of George Towler to deal with Jimmy Dillon and his stock problem. He explains that he hates everything about this but a disaster at Whiteleys means a disaster for Selfridges too, so they have to do what they can to mitigate the damage of Jimmy’s utter idiocy.

They come up with a plan to smuggle the goods out from the loading dock that night, using unmarked vans and sneaking them into the Whiteleys loading bay as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, George gets caught by that random guy Mr. Keen – the dude who has been all up in the Selfridges business practices on behalf of the store’s board – and he has to come up with some elaborate lies about where the stock is being moved to and what it’s for and why he’s even involved in the first place. Of course he has to lie about something that’s easily verifiable too, when he tells him that the stock is being moved to a warehouse they don’t even have a lease on anymore. Poor George. This is all Jimmy’s fault.

The Gang Gets Caught. George tells Crabbe about the lies he had to tell Mr. Keen when he was caught sneaking the stock out, and Crabbe realizes that he’s figured out that they’re up to something. He says that they have to go to Harry right away, and tell him what they did, because they are about to be in so much trouble. They race to his office, only to find Mr. Keen already there and Harry furious.

They fetch Jimmy, who has to explain the situation, and argues that he recruited Crabbe and George because it was the only thing he could think to do to protect Harry’s interest.  Keen is basically purple with anger and lectures Harry about how awful he is at his job, with his staff out of control and his stock being basically stolen. He says he has to report what happened to his higher ups, and that Harry is an idiot for trusting Jimmy with anything.

Gordon tries to do some damage control with Keen, explaining that his father had nothing to do with any of this stock swapping business. Keen says that it was his business partner’s doing, which calls Harry’s judgment about everything into question, and says he’s been trying to protect them more than Gordon knows. [Cue ominous music.]

The Victor Story Will Not Go Away. The Random Reporter just won’t give up on the Jimmy Murdered Victor story, despite the fact that his own boss has told him to drop it. He knows Jimmy was seen leaving Colleano’s in a rage the day before he died, and he’s already proven that his alibi – that he was with his mother – isn’t true. He’s convinced there’s something there (probably because there is!) so Lord Wynnstay decides that he’s willing to publish his story.

Wynnstay does Harry the courtesy of coming by Selfridges to tell him in person that he’s going to be running an article accusing his business partner of murder. Awkward! Harry refuses to believe him and calls his newspaper trash, and says that Jimmy’s not a murderer. Wynnstay says this article will probably provoke a police inquiry at the least, so he should get ready for that. 

Harry heads straight to Jimmy’s to give him a heads up about the impending Whoops You’re a Murderer story and promise his support to fight this obvious slander in every way.  He says they can issue a press release and get ahead of everything and let the world know that Wynnstay just has a vendetta against Harry and people he works with. He’s really building up a righteous rant, right up until Jimmy interrupts him and tells him he can’t drop a press release because the story is true. SUPER awkward! Harry is shocked, and Jimmy tries to explain that it was an accident, that he and Victor argued over Mae, blah blah. Harry looks utterly horrified, and says that he trusted Jimmy and viewed him as a son but everything about him is a lie. He says he wants nothing to do with him anymore ever and leaves. It’s pretty great.

This Ending Is the Greatest Thing.  Harry goes straight to Mae to fill her in on the whole My Business Partner and Your Ex Totally Killed Your Other Ex situation. He looks devastated, even more so when he realizes that Mae actually kind of suspected Jimmy a little all along. She tells him about the reporter that asked her about Victor’s death and how she confronted Jimmy, and Harry actually gets upset that she didn’t tell him about any of this, because I guess Mae is obligated to tell him every thought she ever has throughout the course of the day, IDK. She says Jimmy denied everything and she had no reason to not believe him, so she thought it was sort of done with and Harry’d just gone into business with him to boot. Harry is hilariously upset – he says this could destroy him and his family and he can’t believe that he didn’t know Mae or Jimmy AT ALL, apparently, and he doesn’t know who to trust anymore. So much for how much he loves her I guess! Mae watches him leave with a shocked face, because basically he sounds like a crazy person.

While they’re talking, we keep seeing shots of Jimmy getting dressed in a good suit and staring at himself moodly in a mirror, because of course he is planning to commit suicide. So predictable! (And a bit disappointing, because honestly the thought of Mae confronting him about what happened to Victor was kind of exciting.) And for all that Jimmy cheesily throwing himself off of Westminster Bridge is super emotionally satisfying; it’s also incredibly frustrating, because why did we even have to suffer through his presence this season? He added nothing to the show, no one cared about him, and it seems likely that most viewers are happy he’s dead. So pointless!!!

UGH. Is this show over yet? Nope, we’ve got one more week to get through, so strap in folks. 

But first, tell me your thoughts about this one. How are there so many stories no one cares about

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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