Recapping ‘Mr. Selfridge’: Series 3, Episode 3

Harry and Nancy, or, this sort of seems like a huge mistake to me. (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Harry and Nancy, or, this sort of seems like a huge mistake to me. (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Previously on Mr. Selfridge: Because for some reason that makes no sense, Selfridge is just allowing a lot of belligerent, unemployed, possibly homeless IDK dudes to hang out across the street from the store and harass his employees and customers. Mr. Edwards gets two of them drunk to interview for his new book and they end up attacking his wife Kitty on her way home. Henri has another extended PTSD episode which ends with him and Agnes having a shouting fight and tears in a Selfridges’ display window. Harry takes out a personal loan to buy the land for his housing project, but Vile Loxley manipulates the auction (i.e. antagonizes Harry into a bidding war) and Selfridge ends up paying double his intended price. Harry’s mom starts investigating Princess Marie in secret because she keeps lying about her living situation. Violette Selfridge randomly shows up at Victor’s jazz bar and flirts aggressively with him, even though I’m not sure they’ve ever actually met before. Look out. (If you need more, last week’s recap is right here.)

Onward to this week! 

The Fallout From Kitty’s Attack. Harry and Nancy Webb rush Kitty to the hospital. She’s badly shaken up and her face is bleeding and she’s crying about how much she wants her (IMO, sort of worthless) husband to be with her. Frank comes barreling in, and it’s almost sweet how he pretty much immediately starts crying about how strong she is and how he basically like shoves nuns to the ground to get to her. It would probably be sweeter if we all didn’t know that he’s at least partly to blame for what happened to his wife, but well. What sort of drama show would this be otherwise.

Anyway, Kitty ends up with a rather sizeable gash on the side of her face that’s going to scar, and she’s crying and demanding justice against the two men that attacked her. (Weirdly, while it’s obviously awful what happened to her, the prospect of Kitty having to figure out who she is if the thing she relies most heavily on – being attractive – to determine her worth is taken away from her could be so interesting.

The next day, she sits down with the police to tell them what happened to her and describe her attackers. She’s crying, but clearly trying so hard to be brave and isn’t it sort of wondrous that Amy Beth Hayes has finally been given something meaningful to do on this show and is just killing it. Anyway, Kitty keeps crying, but powers through, and explains she’s seen the ringleader of her attack before because he frequently sold cigarettes outside Selfridge’s. Edwards looks horrified, because this is the exact moment where he realizes what we already know, that he basically hyped those guys up to attack somebody. The detective says that the guys must have got the booze they’d been drinking from somewhere local – probably illegally – and that’s where they’ll start looking. 

So Violette and Victor is Definitely Happening. Since the show can’t figure out what to do with Victor now that his love triangle with Agnes seems pretty much permanently shelved, they are totally pushing this Violette and Victor thing super hard.  Violette’s back at the at least partially shady nightclub, and she and Victor are dancing and flirting and just looking like a hot mess waiting to happen. Victor tells Violette that he’d like to kiss her, but basically runs away when she challenges him to follow through on that. She stalks him back to his office and refuses to leave. Violette tells him she’s not looking for love, it’s too much trouble, but she’s okay with some excitement. This sort of no strings attached deal that seems to suit Victor just fine and the two end up aggressively making out in his office.

Thankfully, they’re interrupted by George Towler, and Violette leaves, but not before promising to come back the next day. George tries to play the voice of reason by reminding Victor that messing around with Harry Selfridge’s daughter is probably something that will have consequences, but Victor doesn’t care, since he’s now a weird pod person or whatever. 

Nancy and Harry Go on a Sort of Date? Thing? After depositing Kitty at the hospital, Nancy and Harry decide to go and get dinner, since he’s now missing the play he was supposed to attend that night. They head to a local pub and Harry tells Nancy how amazing she was with Kitty and how he’s pretty convinced she can do anything. Harry is not subtle, y’all.  The two of them make a lot of boring small talk, mostly about Nancy’s nondescript Sad Childhood and how she doesn’t want to compromise on the subject of a romantic partner. Harry’s all moony over her, since he’s basically projecting Rose onto this woman, so this is going to be the most boring storyline of the season for sure.

Although, maybe not – does anyone else get a slightly “too good to be true” vibe off this woman? I mean, honestly, she’s crusading around being such a relentless beacon of goodness and light it automatically makes me want to not trust her, in a way. This may mean that I watch too much television that is predominantly populated by dark and or untrustworthy people, but in some ways it’s like she’s working off some sort of “How to Be Rose Selfridge Checklist” around Harry and it comes off as kind of fake. Hmm. 

Henri’s Not Exactly Improving. Henri is still missing, so it looks like he turned around and snuck back out of the house after eavesdropping on his wife last week. Agnes is all sorts of torn up about not being able to find him, and Henri’s steadily becoming increasingly more disheveled looking as he wanders around…wherever he’s going. (Is he just like walking the earth 24/7? Sleeping on the street? Crashing in Victor’s bar? This all seems very unclear.)

Some unspecified of time passes, but Henri eventually turns up looking all sorts of homeless chic and somehow super attractive on Harry Selfridge’s doorstep. Harry’s super relieved to see his BFF and suggests they take a walk, instead of getting Henri some food, or clothes that aren’t derelict, or you know, inside a building even. Despite having been awake or at least living rough for an unspecified number of days, Henri is cool with this plan, and the boys head to the park. Henri decides to tell Harry all about his terrible experience at Verdun and how only eight of his troops made it out alive. Selfridge does better this time at being a supportive friend, though, even when Henri says he can’t work for at Selfridges anymore because Agnes is afraid of him and wouldn’t want to anyways. Harry tells him there’s no way that’s true and that he just has to talk to Agnes and make her understand what he’s been going through.

So Frank Edwards is Sort of the Worst. After the police leave, Kitty tells her husband that she’s so grateful that he was with her while she had to go through all that questioning, and that she couldn’t have survived it without him. Edwards, who is the worst, ignores this to plow ahead and ask his wife if she’s sure her attackers were those guys who sold cigarettes outside Selfridges, like, really 100% sure. Kitty says she’s positive, so Edwards, who is a trash garbage person, basically, tells her that maybe she ought to be careful about what she says, as the press has been getting all worked up lately about how ex-servicemen have been getting a raw deal since coming home from the war.

Kitty, who really is so much smarter than this show gives her credit for, immediately gets upset at the thought that Edwards is just suggesting she let the whole thing drop. He says, no, no, he just wants to make sure she’s aware that things could get very unpleasant. But Kitty’s not having any of that, and declares firmly that these men hurt her and they’re going to pay for it. (Spoiler alert: This is the most I have ever liked Kitty in this show ever, this moment. Go, girl.) 

The Selfridge Security Brigade is Formed. The police show up to round up the gang of loitering aggressive men across the street from the store, and everyone is talking. Many of the shopgirls are nervous and feel like these men are just unstable, while other employees insist that they’re just a couple of bad seeds.  The management meeting has a long, involved discussion about this, with Miss Mardle insisting that there needs to be more concern for security inside the store. She mentions that Doris Grove got accosted by some stranger while she was shopping on her birthday (a bit of news that comes as a total shock to her husband) and Selfridge agrees that they have to make sure the staff feels safe. Miss Mardle suggests that what they really need is a team of guys who look like customers but who are really meant to patrol the store. Harry loves this idea, and thus the Selfridge security team is born.

Grove hires about six random dudes to pretend to be customers around the store throughout the day. They all seem to be a lot more, like, professional creepers than security professionals but, okay. Crabb and Grove even make a bet about how successful this program will be, because it’s obviously the worst idea in the world. Which it is. Over the course of the day, one “security” guy gets driven out of the Fashion department because Connie thinks he’s actually a pervert for hanging around ladies undergarments, another guy that’s assigned to monitor the Accessories department stares at the customers so creepily that he actually manages to thwart several sales. It’s sort of a disaster. 

Harry Tries to Fix Things For His BFF. After his chat in the park with Henri, Harry asks Agnes to hang back after a staff meeting so that he can tell her all about it and provide her with some unsolicited advice. Agnes is super relieved to hear that he’s okay, but understandably wants to know why her husband’s been avoiding her and roaming the streets on his own for days. Harry says Henri feels ashamed – that he blew up at Agnes in the store window, that he made it home when so many didn’t, that he survived a battle when so many of his men died. Harry then gets all Oprah about it, asking if she’s tried to get him to talk about his feelings or anything. Agnes starts crying and Selfridge helpfully insists that she’s got to make her husband talk, whether he wants to or not. He reassures her that Henri’s still the same man, underneath all this new emotional angst, and insists that he needs her more than ever now. So, you know, no pressure, Agnes. 

The Mysterious Russian Situation Remains Mysterious. Vile Loxley, having achieved his goal of goading Harry last week, decides he’s had quite enough of irritating Sergei this week and pretty much just breaks up with him. He tells him that without the land the aerodome project is no good anymore, and he’s just really not that interested in it anyway. He says Sergei’s just a playboy living off his father-in-law’s expense account anyway. For some reason, this seems to hit Sergei pretty hard, as he immediately starts moping and drinking and being horrible to Rosalie.

It gets bad enough that, once again, Princess Marie, is motivated to try to smooth things over between her son and his wife. Sergei is still pouting about the things Loxley said to him, and confesses that he needs eighty pounds to cover some debts from his gambling the night before. Marie, who is still lying about her living situation to the rest of the Selfridge clan, snorts and tells him she doesn’t have any money either and had been planning to hit him up for a loan. So, surprise, it turns out they’re both broke, though the specifics behind this situation remain vague. Interestingly enough, Princess Marie is a pragmatist about the situation, urging her son to just borrow from his wife, and insisting that they don’t have enough money to worry about things like pride. Sergei, on the other hand, stubbornly refuses to ask Rosalie for anything else. Marie sighs and says she’ll take care of it for him, because she’s an interesting person but, frankly, the worst sort of parent. Which means, she’s going to con/browbeat/guilt Rosalie into taking care of her husband’s debts, because Rosalie apparently is hopeless for this man and his strange family. Wouldn’t I just love to figure out the backstory there…

Agnes and Henri Have a Heart to Heart. Agnes tracks Henri down in the park because I guess that’s where he just is all the time now and says it’s time for them to talk out their issues. Henri insists there’s nothing to say – he argues that he could have done anything to her when he was so angry during their earlier fight, and it’s just not safe for her to stay with him. He’s being that irritating martyr guy from every TV show you’ve ever seen, but at least portraying homelessness really seems to agree with Gregory Fitoussi because he is literally becoming more attractive in every scene as this episode goes on. Woo! Agnes says that she knows what happened in Verdun and they need to discuss it.  She’s crying now, in that way that television characters have of crying and still looking gorgeous, and wants to know why Henri’s so convinced that what happened was his fault. He says he should have done something, he was their leader and Agnes basically wants to know if he thinks he should have magically conjured water and supplies were there weren’t any. Henri sighs and says he sees his dead men everywhere, they feel more real to him than she does, and no one can help him because he is a special snowflake with unique and unconquerable emotional issues. Agnes begs him to let her try, and kisses him, and I’m mocking it, but it’s sweet. They’re lucky this pairing is so adorable. 

Edwards Gets Busted. Victor shows up at the Edwards residence to talk to Frank about the servicemen he brought to his bar and got drunk outside of regular business hours. This is all news to Kitty, of course, because her husband has told her nothing about his own involvement in and/or knowledge of her attack. Kitty’s pretty upset about this and Edwards protests that he had no idea that these dudes might turn out to be dangerous, he was just trying to “loosen their tongues” so they’d talk to him more freely. Victor pipes up that he’s not 100% positive that these Charlie and Silas guys (who may or may not be friends with Victor, it’s unclear) are the ones who attacked Kitty, but once she describes her attackers for him, he has to admit that it probably was after all. Dun dun dun.  Kitty looks crushed and tells Victor he has to go to the police if he thinks he might know where they’re hiding.

Edwards, who is just the worst, walks Victor out and starts pushing him to anonymously tip off the cops – after all the both of them could get in a lot of trouble for what they did and his club could be closed down. He’s real worried about the fact that he could maybe go to prison because he bought these guys booze during the day, so he’s working pretty hard to avoid that. Kitty is lurking in the hallway just in time to overhear all of this, because this is a period drama and anyone who’s ever seen a single episode of Downton Abbey knows that eavesdroppers often hear highly instructive things. She looks hurt and upset, and accuses her husband of being more interested in saving his own skin before hers. (Which, frankly, seems pretty true.) She rushes into the bedroom and slams the door before Frank can defend himself, and we see a shot of her breaking down in tears. Poor Kitty. 

The Security Solution. The new all-male security squad has run into a few hangups throughout their inaugural day – including freaking out Crabb’s wife, who had to be told the truth if only to convince her that she wasn’t being stalked by a random stranger with sinister intentions. Crabb, Grove and Miss Mardle ponder the problem and realize that the real issue is that having random men loitering around the women’s departments is straight up sketchy. In a flash of rather progressive brilliance, Crabb realizes that the answer is to add female members to their store security team, who won’t look so weird hanging out by undergarments and cosmetics. He also says that the ladies who used to work in the Selfridges loading bay were strong and knew the store, plus being able to re-hire them means that everyone wins. Plus, Harry will be happy about it. (That was a lot of workers though, how many security folks does this store even need?) Miss Mardle and Mr. Grove think this is a great idea. 

Henri and Agnes Are Leaving This is So Unfair. After her meeting with Henri, Agnes goes back to the store to fill Harry in about what’s happened between them. She also informs him that she doesn’t think that Henri can come back to work at Selfridges and, consequently, she’s decided to hand in her notice as well. She explains that her husband means more to her than anything, and that she doesn’t think that he can stay in London, so the two of them are going to have to go somewhere else and try and make a fresh start. Harry looks sadly resigned, and takes a minute to reminisce in his very Selfridge-ish way about how long he’s known Agnes and how far she’s come. She says it’s all due to him giving her a chance all those years ago, and they hug and it’s cute as anything, but it’s also sort of weird that Harry doesn’t actually send along any message to Henri or promise to come see him or something, given that they’re such BFFs. Anyway, Agnes takes a lap around the Accessories counter on her way out, reminiscing while dramatic music swells, and it’s oddly touching. It’s going to be weird imagining this show without Agnes Towler. Maybe the Leclairs can come back and visit for a while at some point? This seems such a bittersweet ending for the two of them. 

Is Anyone Into This Harry and Nancy Thing? Selfridge has another meeting with Nancy Webb to go over some more specifics for the Homes for Heroes project. He spends most of it moping and not paying attention until Nancy finally asks what’s wrong and he tells her about how the Leclairs are leaving, and how Henri’s his BFF and Agnes is like a daughter to him and all that. Nancy makes appropriate sympathetic noises about how rough it must be for him to lose both of them at once, and apparently this is like handing Harry the Dead Sea Scrolls or something. He starts going on about how happy he is to have Nancy to talk to, and how he’s hardly had anybody he felt he could do that with since Rose died, and he’s so lonely blah blah.

Nancy is looking increasingly panicked during all this, and finally just straight up tells Harry to stop. She says she knows he doesn’t want to be alone and all but he can’t just look to the closest person to fill the void his dead wife left. Harry tries to protest that she has everything all wrong about him, but she shoots him down again and says they need to just pretend this conversation never happened. Whoa.

Given how abnormal this scene is for this show – someone is not throwing themselves at Harry! – it should be something that I’m like 100% over the moon about. (Yes, it’s okay for women to like but not want Harry; yes, men and women don’t have to get into romantic relationships just because they interact sometimes). And yet, I don’t trust it at all. They’ve done way too thorough a job establishing these weird Rose parallels and setting up Harry’s interest in this woman to just drop it like that.

Kitty Gets Some Justice. Victor and Edwards go down to the police station to fill the authorities in on their suspicions about Silas and Charlie. The lead detective is actually pretty annoyed that Edwards didn’t mention any of this at all during their earlier interview and when he tries to protest that he just didn’t put two and two together until Victor came to him, it’s incredibly clear that he doesn’t believe a word of it. Awesome Cop says the important thing is that the track down the men who attacked Kitty, and then they’ll decide what to do with Edwards and/or Victor.

Kitty ends up accompanying the cops on their search – which I am having a hard time feeling like anyone would be okay with as an investigative tactic, but okay – and they look all around the strange shantytown area Victor told them about. The cops wake up every man sleeping rough and Kitty has to attempt to find her attacker among them. She clearly looks terrified and it’s hard to not feel really bad for her in this moment. Happily, they do discover Charlie and Silas, and Kitty is able to positively ID him, on the verge of hyperventilating the whole time. Awesome Cop comforts her. It’s difficult to watch and it just makes me hope that this is a real turning point for Kitty as a character – I’ll be so mad if they push her back to shallow stories about the cosmetics counter after this.

Kitty goes home afterward, looking shaken and tired. She tells Edwards that the men will be charged the next day. Her husband tries to comfort her, but Kitty’s not having it. She says she needs to be alone right now, and pretty much informs Edwards that he’s going to be sleeping on the couch. Or in the guest room. However angry couples negotiated these things back in the day. Edwards tries to apologize again for not telling her the truth, but Kitty just jerks back when he tries to touch her and says she’s going to bed. Poor thing.

Bye Henri and Agnes.  Agnes breaks the news to Henri that she’s resigned at Selfridges and that she wants to move away with him, someplace where he can try to get better. Henri tries to protest, insisting that he can’t let Agnes leave everything she’s built in London. She says it’s not worth anything without him, and that she’s 100% sure about what they have to do. They decide to go to France, back to the town by the sea that Henri grew up in. Henri’s scared he won’t get better, but Agnes says they have all the time in the world to wait. It’s so cute and sad. (I’m going to miss them so much!)

Harry, George Towler and Miss Mardle accompany the Leclairs to the train station to see them off. Everyone hugs and promises to write. Harry tells Henri that whatever happens, he’s going to be alright and that he’s happy he and Agnes have each other. They hug it out and it’s so sweet. (Seriously, he and Henri hold eye contact until the train pulls away. Their bromance is pretty epic.)

Ugh, now I’m all sad that Harry has like zero friends. Poor thing. Maybe Henri will write often? Their friendship was the only other relationship that actually made Harry likeable!

Guess What Doesn’t Make Harry Likeable? This Nancy Webb Obsession. After saying goodbye to Henri and Agnes, he decides the best thing to do is to go visit Nancy Webb. Ughhhh. He barges into her flat and asks her if this is the way she treats every man that makes a pass at her, because it’s no wonder she’s still single. Seriously. Ugh, Henri has been gone for like two minutes and suddenly every single unlikeable aspect of Harry Selfridge’s character has come roaring back with a vengeance. SHUT UP, HARRY.

Nancy Webb is a little bit taken aback (and offended, duh) by this. Harry says he doesn’t want any woman by his side, he wants her. He says she’s clever and funny and brave, and he loves it when she smiles or frowns or basically breathes or anything. For some reason that I can’t identify, this particular verbal assault seems to be super effective. Nancy’s expression is softening and becoming fond, and seriously ladies, is this the sort of behavior in prospective suitors we want to be encouraging? She said no. Uggh. So what happens next is of course Harry kisses her, and of course Nancy allows it even though she’s protesting that they shouldn’t, and of course the dramatic music swells and of course they kiss some more. Mmmph. Is this just me not getting the romance of this? Are people into it? (It’s very possible I’m just a bitter Rose fan, IDK, but something about this relationship is just so strange to me.) I’ll be interested to hear what people think.

Another week, another episode down. Got thoughts to share? 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 Twitter at @LacyMB