(Beware, spoilers below!)
As always during the long episodes that are Mr Selfridge, the episode recap’s a tad lengthy, so scroll to the bottom paragraph if you want to skip it. Let’s begin! It’s a new day in the Selfridge store and the Lanvin display is being put up as part of Selfridge’s large fashion event. However, the boss isn’t in, and that’s all because he’s willing to buy the field for Miss Webb’s housing project and also wants to set up another new company in order to finance it, getting a loan from the Selfrdiges company. Harry also asks for Henri and Agnes to return to the store as soon as possible in order to hopefully secure another great deal from Madame Lanvin. The new deal is important to just the top dogs, as Kitty and her sister Connie have their eye on bigger things if they perform well too.
In the store, the current Lanvin exhibition set up by Thackeray isn’t making Lanvin’s representative happy and when Mr Selfridge comes to give his two cents on the situation Thackeray ends up criticising the boss to max, voicing all the concerns that Grove and Crabb have been to scared to say thus far. Harry sacks Thackeray and the gossip spreads around the shop floor like wildfire. In Colleano’s, Victor’s finding it harder and harder to keep his establishment clean but he’s tougher than he might look. Rose’s new husband shows Lord Loxley around his plane ambitions and whilst the young man admits he might have pushed his new father-in-law so soon Loxley immediately pushes in, saying he will fund the young man.
In the house, Sergei’s mother seems to be pushing her way in with Rosalie but Lois’ sussing it out, choosing to keep her findings her out for herself for now. Crabb is worried about the way things are going at Selfridge’s and tells his wife he can’t endorse the new venture with a clear conscience. Gordon too is feeling a little pushed aside, desperately trying to help at every turn. Violette is furious over the suggestion that her mother’s old studio be converted for Sergei and gets even more furious when her dad refuses to help more. Taking matters into her own hands, she tries to help the floundering Lanvin exhibition. She decides to charm the Lanvin representative Mr Longchamp.
Miss Mardle is enjoying time with Doris and her children whilst Sergei decides to give him another chance to Harry but Mr Selfridge flips out when he realises the competing man is Lord Loxley. His warnings fall on deaf ears, however, only provoking Sergei further. At the event, Henri is being quizzed about Verdun, setting him off ever more nervously and Agnes doesn’t understand why the topic was even brought up. This isn’t helped when he refuses to talk about it as well.
In the board meeting, Mr Crabb shows all the figures in terms of the risk with the housing project. He gets no support, other than from his son and his ignoring Mr Crabb has obviously not paid off. Downstairs the Lanvin exhibition is going beautifully, with Violette taking centre stage in the fashion exhibition and stealing the show. In Colleano’s Henri shows up to see Victor and to have a drink, but Victor knows that it’s more than a simple hang-out.
Mr Crabb sees Mr Selfridge afterwards intending to resign but Mr Selfridge doesn’t have it. Crabb might still have his job, but the relationship between the two old friends is forever changed. Long gone are the days when the store was starting out. However, Harry promises that he will raise the money one way or another. Though Miss Mardell attempts to resign Mr Grove instead employs her into the fashion department. In the club Henri starts drinking more and more whilst Longchamp shows up with Violette and tries to order Victor around.
This episode of Mr Selfridge was more of a drawing out of current storylines than anything else, but it’s fair enough that the show needs to go down this venture. However, as the show tries to juggle more and more storylines (some less successfully than others) we still managed to feel the manic and disaster that surrounded just twenty-four hours in the department store. With so much to have to deal with you almost admire the man for attempting to take it all on. As per last week the most grabbing characters were both Princess Marie and Crabbe, more complex than just I-want-it-my-way-Sergei or ooooh-snarl-Loxley or even the delightfully charming but cooped up Violette. Many props for Hannah Tointon making a character that might be unrelateable to many fun enough to sympathise with. Jeremy Piven plays well the man still stuck in the past and occupied, expanding on the themes of last week, but as per some of the other stories I get the impression they’ll really hit their stride next week with more time focused on them as opposed to just reminding us they exist. Both Henri and Victor’s respective storylines come to mind. I also think we’ve lost touch of the more feisty Agnes from Season 1 and whilst of course she’ll grow and change she seems to just be a vocaliser for worries the audience should be feeling. Compare this with Miss Mardle, who so far hasn’t had much to do but still feels like she’s making true decisions to herself in her own time. Despite ally my comments, Mr Selfridge still remains enjoyable, not as much of a party as its season opener but still dazzling enough to keep you interested.