“Mr Selfridge” recap (2.2): A Tango Before a War

While we don’t get to see as much of Rose and Delphine being buddy buddy this episode, Rose is still certainly busy, first helping Delphine out by arranging for the staff dance party to be held at her club instead of at the store. She also asks Delphine for information about someone she saw at Delphine’s club last week: Henri Leclair, the French former head of design at Selfridge’s and former lover of Agnes, who left at the end of last season for bigger fishes in New York. Alas, it appears the fish slipped out of his grasp in the Big Apple, because he’s back in London, and looking rather rough at that. Rose finds him in the bad part of town and asks him to be Harry’s friend again, because Harry could use a friend. Henri replies: “Nope.” And while it might be hard to tell from this picture, let me just say, you can put a big beard on him and dress him in pauper’s clothes, but Henri Leclair is still the most handsome.

selfridge2screencap9New York City effin’ sucks.

Searching Henri out for Harry’s sake seems like a rather thoughtful thing for Rose to do, but she spends the rest of the episode continuing to distance herself from her husband. They sleep in different rooms, and as they part one night, Harry says something about how he misses her and loves her, yadda yadda yadda. Rose looks at him with pity and says, “I know you’re lonely sometimes. But that’s for you to deal with.” But Rose, he even closed the store accounts of all the women he’s been sleeping with! Come on, throw a guy a bone!

Harry also heads to Delphine’s to make sure the party arrangements will be respectable. The atmosphere between the two of them is icy, to say the least. He wants to make sure that his name won’t be thrown into “disrepute.” Delphine squints at him and asks, “Are you talking about your store or your wife now?” He responds, “Both.” He condescendingly refers to Rose as being a little “restless at the moment.” If that’s how you want to put it, Harry.

Delphine is not intimidated. She says, “Let me give you a little advice. If you love her, trust her.” Harry is starting to get downright testy at being given advice from this woman, and responds, “I know my wife a lot better than you do.” He then walks out. Harry, 1) this is a super weak parting line, and 2) do you really, though?

selfridge2screencap10Challenge accepted.

But if there’s anyone who’s really, really having a bad day/life, it’s Lady Mae, whose husband continues to be the absolute worst. In one extremely disturbing scene, he smears egg yolk all over her face. What’s with this guy?

selfridge2screencap11Just call me Captain McCreepy.

He wants her to arrange for a meeting with Selfridge, because he is one of those awful human beings who thinks he can make a lot of money from war, and he wants Selfridge to be his supply man. Mae refuses, but when she’s invited to the Selfridge dance party, he invites himself along too. Luckily, this is one of those times when we’re really grateful for Harry, because he, in not quite so many words, tells Lord Loxley to go screw himself. Mae doesn’t disagree. Being out and about has revived Lady Mae’s moxy, and when they return home, she asks her husband how it feels to be publicly humiliated. But oh, Lady Mae, men like your husband won’t acquiesce until they’re dead. He smacks her so hard she falls to the floor. I can’t wait to see him burn.

Back at the party, however, things are going well for many—except for Agnes, who leaves rather quickly after a short and curt conversation with Victor. Some of the newer Selfridge’s employees, though, are enjoying themselves by flirting and dancing, an obvious final hurrah of happiness before the hammer of war falls on them all. One of these employees is Franco, Victor’s cousin, who’s played by Sean Teale, otherwise known as Nick Levan from Skins.

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Mr. Grove also proceeds to get profoundly drunk because he hates his life, but this does allow a sweet moment where he rests his hand on top of Crabb’s hand and calls him a gentleman and thanks him for being a friend, down the road and back again. Oh, Grove.

selfridge2screencap13Crabb and Grove > Crabbe and Goyle

Delphine and Rose get set to leave the party together, giggling like schoolgirls, because Delphine has a “surprise” she wants to show Rose. Yes, please! This episode just got way better!

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But wait, Delphine then turns back and invites Harry along, too. What? Why, Delphine, why? Rose says, yeah, come on, it’s a lovely evening! Rose! Get your head in the game, woman!

The “surprise” ends up being eating some type of fried eel out of paper cones from a street vendor, living it up like commoners, I guess. Harry says that Delphine certainly is full of surprises. She responds: “Oh, you have no idea.” Wink wink, nudge nudge, Delphine.

As they’re sitting on a park bench eating the gross food and chatting, Delphine asks how it went with the mysterious Frenchman Rose had been searching for earlier. Rose clearly hadn’t told Harry about searching out Henri, and even though she was doing it for Harry’s own good, the secrecy of it makes Harry storm off. Rose looks over at Delphine, disappointed.

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Okay, so maybe this is what Delphine was thinking: she’d bring Harry out to help build trust in her, which he clearly doesn’t have now, and then as he’s sinking into her grasp, she’ll help tear him and Rose apart! Except I don’t actually think Delphine is that conniving. And I also don’t think Harry and Rose need any help being torn apart. Later at home, when Harry asks Rose why she didn’t tell him about Henri sooner, Rose stands her ground. “You don’t involve me in every part of your life. I’m not going to apologize again.” And when Harry presses her on what a marriage should be like, she responds, “I am not the one who made a mess of this marriage; you are. So you live with the consequences. God knows I’ve had to.” Meet Rose Selfridge, Series 2: She ain’t taking none of your shit. End scene.

Next week brings lots of welcome news: Henri returning to the store, Miss Mardle returning, and we can only hope, more of Delphine.

Mr Selfridge airs on Sunday nights on ITV in the UK, but the first season has also aired in America on PBS, where you can hopefully find some reruns. The second series should begin airing on PBS later this year.

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