Recapping ‘Mr. Selfridge’: Series 3, Episode 6

Harry and Crabb host the worst meeting in the world. (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Harry and Crabb host the worst meeting in the world. (Photo: Courtesy of John Rogers/ITV Studios for MASTERPIECE)
Previously on Mr. Selfridge: Selfridges hires a new Art Director, who turns out to be that weird French guy from the season’s first episode and he is pretty annoying. Gordon is the store’s new Deputy Manager and is really excited about it; Grove is jealous. Victor tries to reopen his club but thanks to police blackmail has to agree to make part of it a gambling establishment to raise the money to stay open. Kitty and George Towler to team up and convince the garbage friend of the guy who attacked her to admit that his BFF is a would-be rapist and help send him to jail. Harry sold some of his shares in Selfridges to fund his homes for veterans scheme and now isn’t a majority owner of the store anymore. Oh and Doris Grove was run over by a truck and killed while out having a secret meeting with her babydaddy arranged by Miss Mardle. IDEK with this show anymore, y’all.

(If you need more, last week’s recap is right here.)

Bye Doris, We Hardly Knew Ye. Our episode opens with the wake for Doris Grove, another sad entrant in the apparently eternal line of women who get fridged to further a male character’s development. At least we can hope that Miss Mardle will benefit from an increased focus thanks to her knowledge of Doris’ unfortunate child paternity secret, but since every cell in my body that’s ever watched TV before says that of course Miss Mardle and Mr. Grove will rekindle their long ago love affair, I remain skeptical about how successful that will be. Ugh. (I’m not a fan of this storyline so if you are maybe just skip on to the next bit.)  

Anyway, it turns out that Miss Mardle has taken point on organizing Doris’ wake, and everyone’s praising her loyalty and general awesomeness, while she looks stricken about her involvement in the secret meeting business. Selfridge arrives to pay his respects and everyone acts like he is literally Moses bringing tablets down from the mountain for this, even though it is clearly what anyone should do. The longtime characters reminisce about how Doris was “one of them” from the store’s early days and everyone is sad. Which is kind of funny given that the only one of these people that ever talked to Doris once she left the store was Miss Mardle, but whatever. Everyone is sad, but Harry manages to provide a pseudo-pep talk about spouse death, because he is literally amazing.

Oh and Billy the Babydaddy, because he has no concept of the word “appropriate” shows up at the wake with flowers, but Miss Mardle chases him off. Dun dun dunnnn....

Welcome to Victor’s Gambling Hall. Or Something. Michael Reegan, the random guy who is the reason the club now has a secret back room, is hanging out at Colleano’s and asking all sorts of questions about how the secret gambling area works. Turns out George isn’t a big fan of gambling, so he and Reegan don’t get along. In addition to the secret gambling area, it turns out that Reegan also has some posh friends that he wants to make sure are taken care of during their time at the club, so just remember that plot point for later. 

Selfridge Keeps on Making Poor Choices. After Doris’ wake, instead of going back to work Harry decides to go see Nancy Webb, which results in an unfortunate shirtless Jeremy Piven scene and an awkward confession about how death just made him want to see her more because he was upset. She recites some platitudes about nothing being guaranteed in life and Harry decides that he wants to take her out and do something fun. Serious question time: Are there people out there that like this relationship or are genuinely emotionally invested in it now that Nancy’s big secret is in play? I would love to hear some arguments in favor of caring about this pairing at all, because it’s awfully hard to tell how the show is intending me to feel about this. Am I supposed to be disgusted by Nancy? Feel sorry for Harry? Because mostly? I’m just bored.

Anyway, Harry and Nancy decide to spend their big night out….at the store that he owns. They sneak in after hours and wander around in the low lighting and he basically steals some goods from the cosmetics counter for her. (Kitty is not going to be pleased about her stock?) Um, this is a terrible date, the store is the one place they go all the time! Negative ten romantic points, Harry. He then dresses her up in an outfit from the Fashion Department and they go to the restaurant in the store for champagne. Harry decides that this is the perfect time to tell her that he sold 5% of his shares to fund her project, so he doesn’t technically own the store outright anymore. She protests that he shouldn’t have done that, and then clearly feels guilty when he tells her that he cares about what’s important now, which is her and this housing business.  Nancy clearly feels all kinds of guilty, because there is nothing about this storyline that is not predictable. 

Grove and Miss Mardle Have a Moment. Grove breaks the news to his children that Doris has passed away, which seems very strange to me as it means the kids missed their mom’s funeral, but okay. Anyway, Miss Mardle is there as well, since she’s apparently just never leaving, and she and Grove have dinner while the kids cry upstairs. (That’s not a joke. Parenting, FTW!) Miss Mardle fills him in on what’s happening at the store and he gives her a pin or some sort of piece of jewelry that used to belong to Doris. She initially insists she can’t accept it, but does, though that only happens after he gives her a speech about how this has made him realize he doesn’t have any friends and she’s gone above and beyond for him blah blah blah, rather than just have Miss Mardle recognize she and Doris were friends and leave it at that.

Victor and Violette Are Still Happening, Why. Victor, who appears to have stalked Violette to one of her meetings with Nancy, wants to show off the new car he’s bought with some of his ill-gotten gambling earnings. She’s suitably impressed and says that he ought to take her to his club tonight and she’ll come up with some lie to placate her father since they’ve decided to keep seeing each other in spite of his objections and warnings. He says sure, but wants to take her for a drive first, and I don’t know if I’m supposed to think they’re cute together or not, mostly because I’m distracted by Violette’s amazing scarf in this scene and my subsequent googling to see if anything like it exists in the real world. 

They go for a drive out into the country and snuggle in a field, because Violette definitely seems to be the kind of girl who would lie on the ground, and she asks for help figuring out what sort of furniture to buy for the veterans’ housing project. He says all the men wanted when they were at the front was a comfortable bed and a sturdy table to raise kids around. Then Victor decides to make it weird by asking if Violette thinks she could ever live in one of those houses (LOL, no) and she smiles and says it’d depend on who was in it with her. Then the music swells and they kiss, before Violette jumps up and says she wants to drive on the way back to the club so they can drink. Soooo romantic, right? 

Vile Loxley Makes His Move. Harry hosts a board meeting, where he’s busily explaining Selfridges’ recent successes to the shareholders. He admits that sales have been a bit flat, but that the store is still Number 1 on all of Oxford Street, and most people look satisfied, particularly when he launches into a Patented Pep Talk about Looking Toward the Future or some vague nonsense. Or, at least they do until Lord Loxley walks in and demands to know why Selfridge is taking advantage of his shareholders. Why is he here, you may wonder? Oh no, guess who bought up that 5% of stock that Harry sold last week? Yeah, of course it was Vile Loxley. This show is so predictable, y’all. Crabb and Harry looks shocked and distraught, like nobody at all thought about the fact that selling shares meant that anybody could buy their way into the business, such as perhaps Harry’s mortal enemy. Ugggh.

Loxley goes on a rant to the board – he says that he’s learned Harry runs the store as though it’s his personal piggy bank and that he runs all his expenses, including those for his house, kids and cars go through the “Chairman’s Account” at the store. He also asks what kind of man would sell his own shares whilst their at record low prices – it all just looks like he doesn’t care about the store at all. This is all, on the fact of it true, though the correct answer appears to be that Harry is just terrible at business, not that he’s uninterested in it, but Loxley carries on, even managing to insult Nancy and imply that the only reason Harry’s so interested in his vanity charity housing project is because she’s pretty. Vile Loxley is so gross. 

Harry rises to the bait like always though, and is so mad at Loxley that he not only admits share prices are low right now, but crazily promises they’ll rise by 10% in the next 3 months. This is insane, as any person can doubtless guess. Loxley perks right up at this, and basically laughs at him. This is going to go well. Crabb is having a seizure about it, but Harry just insists that the two of them will find a way like always.

The Billy Situation Worsens. Billy the Babydaddy, who is really digging in to his new career as a stalker, shows up at Selfridges to see Miss Mardle. He wants to see his son, but she insists that now Doris is gone that arrangement just isn’t possible anymore. He argues that the child is his, and someone will just have to tell Grove the truth. Miss Mardle says that can’t happen and Billy – who apparently kind of sucks? – says that she started all of this, so she needs to fix it. 

Later that night, Crabb discovers her practically in tears at one of the store counters. He asks what’s wrong, so she starts to cry, and then tells him all about Doris’s illegitimate child. Crabb is clearly 100% sorry he asked her about it now, and Miss Mardle goes on and on about how she just shouldn’t have interfered in any of it. Crabb is very convinced that someone has to tell Grove the truth, but Miss Mardle is adamant that they can’t say anything to him. Why? Apparently because she doesn’t want Mr. Grove thinking badly of her for keeping Doris’ secret. Oookay. Crabb says that they have to tell him, and offers to go with her, but she says no. 

Oh, No, Drugs. George Towler catches a bunch of guys in the club doing what appears to be cocaine. I’m assuming it’s cocaine anyway – it’s kind of irrelevant but they’re definitely snorting something. He throws the ringleader out in the name of justice and not getting into any more trouble with the law, but of course it turns out that guy is one of Reegan’s special friends and basically has permission to snort coke all over the place in the club if he wants to. It turns out Victor knew about it from the start, that drugs might show up in the club now and George is furious and doesn’t understand why anybody would even want to do that gross stuff in the first place.

Victor tries to make excuses about it, insisting that after the War the world changed – people want to try things now, because life is short. Um, okay. George isn’t buy this either and basically says it’s all BS. And then Victor gets all angry at George for just being a basically good person, but he’s really just projecting because he knows his friend is right. George insists that there will be trouble if they let this continue. Victor says he’ll talk to Reegan but I think that we can all guess that is a complete lie, right? 

Sergei Continues to Be Terrible. Sergei and Rosalie are back from their romantic getaway to Paris and things in their marriage seem to be going better at last. Or they are until we learn that Sergei sold some of Rosalie’s Selfridges shares to get money for some business venture or other, and that Vile Loxley bought those as well, so now he owns 7% of the company and gets a seat on the board. Harry is furious and says that Sergei and Princess Marie are not welcome in his house anymore because of this betrayal. Womp Womp.

Harry, obviously, did not think this banishment through, as his daughter is married to Sergei, even if he is worthless. And, to his credit, at least in this particular instance, Sergei just seems like an idiot, not like he was out for revenge. He needed money, he sold some shares, since all Rosalie’s property is his to dispose of as he likes since we haven’t embraced feminism that much yet. He didn’t think about how Loxley could or would buy them. And Rosalie insists that if Sergei is forced to leave she’s going to go with him, and that would be extra terrible since she’s pregnant. That’s of course what sways Harry to letting the Russian contingent stay, despite his better judgment, and I’m sort of sad that this is what Rosalie’s storyline has apparently ended up being this season. Sigh. Anyway, Sergei apologizes again and says he’s going to do everything he can to fix things. I’m sure that will go well.

Miss Mardle Drops Truth Bombs. Miss Mardle goes to Mr. Groves to tell him the truth about Doris’ affair and the paternity of little Earnest (which, really, yikes, that name).  Josie, who looks wrecked, does the best she can to both break the news gently and not paint Doris as a horrible person. She’s trying so hard to be a good person, but I think we all know she just should not have said anything at all ever.

To the surprise of no one, Grove does not take this well – neither the news itself or the fact that Miss Mardle technically new several weeks ago and didn’t think to tell him about it then. He accuses her of scheming against him, and basically says that if she hadn’t meddled and interfered in the situation Doris wouldn’t have even been at her secret meeting with Billy, so she wouldn’t have gotten run over by a truck. Miss Mardle, you can tell, has already thought of this, and has already torn herself up about it a lot. She tries, again to apologize, and just starts crying harder. 

BUT THEN! Oh, but then Grove guilts her about how upset and scared his daughter was last night when he had to sit with her all night, which would be super moving if he hadn’t let all his kids cry alone through dinner like twenty minutes ago, SHUT UP. Grove says that he can see now that what he thought was Josie being his true friend through all this was just her acting out of guilt, and he seems super offended about it. Miss Mardle’s still crying, which is unfortunate not just from a character perspective but also because Amanda Abbington is an EPIC ugly crier (she's slaying this scene but STILL), and Grove tells her to go fetch him/the child because he has literally decided to kick the baby out of the house. He forces Miss Mardle to take him, because this plot is terrible. Then he sits down, all emotionally devastated, which might have been more sympathetic had he not just kicked a toddler out of his house.  But, whatever. Ugh. 

Victor is Also Trash Now. Things have seemingly calmed down a bit after the drugs business at Victor’s club. Or at least it seems like they have until Victor and the bartender gal whose name I can never remember discover a guy passed out – clearly OD-ed – in their back room. Victor tries to wake him up, and then moves to call the a doctor when he doesn’t respond. Bartender Whose Name I Can Never Remember stops him, and points out that he bought drugs from one of Reegan’s loser friends that Victor specifically did not kick out of the club. She says that if a doctor comes, he’ll report it to the police and they’ll be in even more trouble than they were with the liquor business.

Victor is visibly torn, but ultimately decides she is right. He ends up doing some sort of weird CPR in the middle of the club dance floor – which isn’t so much CPR as him shouting WAKE UP into the unconscious man’s face really aggressively for a couple minutes. This is – somehow effective. I don’t even know. He then kicks him out of the club and threatens him and…that’s the end of that.

I think the point of this is that we’re supposed to assume that Victor would have let that guy die without a doctor if his clearly professional life saving skills failed? He also kicks Violette – who saw all of this – out of the club and says he can’t see her anymore, because her father is right about her world being no place for him. Violette protests this banishment and insists that she loves Victor. He says things like love don’t make a difference in the real world, which whatever, because I’m having a hard time understanding when Violette actually fell in love with him since he’s been the physical manifestation of her rebellion for weeks now? Ugh, this storyline is very terrible.

So, lots to talk about this week, huh? Got thoughts? Need to debate which character was actively stupider this week? 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