“Mr Selfridge” recap (2.4): The Stalwarts of Selfridge’s

 
 

And speaking of getting closer to Harry, it seems Delphine’s joining in on the party. She and him converse rather warmly at the Belgian charity event, and while they are almost always talking about Rose and how swell they both think she is, there is a certain flash in their eyes. They both possess a certain type of business swagger that could easily unite them in unwanted ways.

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Generally, I judge shows on their comprehensive merit, and not just on their lesbian (or lack thereof) storylines. And as a whole unit, this is a very good show. But the reason I’m feeling irked with this confusing lack of Sapphic development was the build up and promises of it in the press prior to the start of this season. There were several articles and tips at the beginning of this year about the lesbianism that was about to rock Selfridge’s. And so as I’ve been watching, I just keep waiting. And this waiting in turn ruins some of my enjoyment of the rest of the show. So am I wrong? Will things turn around? Will the chemistry between Rose and Delphine suddenly turn from really close friends, as it pretty solidly appears now, to sizzling and sultry?

I really hope so. As this is all my own ponderings, I could be totally wrong. But if not, was it all just a marketing ploy, a trick to get more people to tune in to Season 2? Because let me just say this: we are really tired of being your media tricks, you guys. To wait hopefully for something and then never get it? I feel like it happens to lesbians in TV disproportionately. And it doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good at all.

At one point, though, while Rose and Lady Mae are having a short heart-to-heart after the event, Lady Mae remarks, “You know me, always up for new experiences.” You don’t say, Mae. She then somewhat mysteriously tells Rose that she can count on her always for anything. And while this presumably has to do with her husband’s continued sketchy dealings and its future ramifications, and not her heart—or perhaps it’s even a sleek warning against Delphine—if you’re not going to kiss Delphine, Rose, then dammit, give Lady Mae a shot! We wouldn’t mind!

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In other news, Thackeray in fashion continues to be a dick to Agnes Towler about absolutely everything, but unfortunately for him, Harry Selfridge has just convinced Henri Le Clair, unsurprisingly, to stay on full time as his “deputy,” meaning he can make pretty much any decision about the store he wants. So when he walks by Thackeray being a dick to Agnes Towler, he’s able to stop it. I like this, because someone needs to stand up to Thackeray, and I like Henri defending Agnes because I like the LeTowler ship.

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But at the same time, I want Agnes to start standing up straighter and owning her shit and being the badass she is. I know that she’s just been placed in an overwhelming job, but she even frets over which chocolate box design she should use for the charity event, when clearly she already knows that her original design is classy and effective and good. Henri tells her this. “I think you know exactly what you’re doing.”

While it’s perhaps not this black and white, this is how it seems: Agnes was drowning, but now Henri is back to swoop her up from the waters and help her stand again. From a romantic perspective, this is very lovely, but from a feminist one, not so much. While she’s always been a bit of a soft spoken butterfly, she was also able to speak up for her ideas when she was just working a shop counter, way before Henri Le Clair truly crashed into her life. I want that Agnes back.

She also has a lot going on in her life, though, and not just professionally, as the Belgian massacre of women and children has inspired true war fever throughout the country, and it’s charging ahead full throttle in the world of Selfridge’s. Harry makes a dramatic show of all the shop boys who have decided to enlist, and there just seem to be so. many. But first in line? Little George Towler.

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Everything about this is filled with sadness. George is one of the most pure-hearted people on the show, bright eyed and optimistic and compassionate. It’s hard not to get a little misty eyed when Agnes, who apparently is the only person on the show who doesn’t think this war is such a heroic and exciting thing, finally gives in and tells her brother through tears to come home to her. Because George Towler is clearly too sweet of a boy to live through a World War period drama. I don’t know if he is gonna come home to you, Agnes.

Harry has done a good thing, though, as he sometimes does, and promised all the boys that they’ll have a job when they return—those of them that do—which is a somewhat revolutionary idea. Crabb and Grove, who continue to be the best couple on the show, are obviously freaking out over how they’ll fill so many temporary positions. Older men who apply aren’t capable of the physicality needed for many of the jobs. And then Harry does another good thing, which bowls Mr. Crabb right over. He will be filling all of the positions, throughout the whole store, with women. Mr. Crabb repeats this in an increasingly befuddled and dumbstruck way. “Women? Women! Women?” Women wearing caps and pants in the loading bay? Women stocking up pallets? Women driving trucks? Oh boy oh boy. I mean, war is tragic, but yes, please, Mr. Crabb, bring on the women!

Victor is waiting in the recruiter’s line, as well, until the Italian woman who’s suddenly appeared this season—a family friend or something?—runs in to tells him of Uncle Joe’s collapse. Not only is this sad for Victor for obvious reasons, but he had previously manipulated Agnes into one of those lovely, “If I go to war, say you’ll be the lady I can come back to,” types of promises. Now that he’ll have to stay in England, this rouse has fallen through. Agnes, however, still drops by to share her condolences about Uncle Joe, and their undefined relationship limps on for another week.

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Finally, everyone seems to be buddying up together at home as well as in the store this episode: since George will be leaving, Miss Mardle invites Agnes to stay with her in her new ginormous and empty house. Agnes accepts. I want to be invited to those slumber parties, please. And when Harry offers Henri the full time position, he also insists that Henri move in with them, too. Things appear to be looking up for Henri, except for the fact that Thackeray just happens to see him exchange money with his mysterious money-demanding man at the cafe. That Thackeray is just going to continue to be a thorn in everyone’s side, isn’t he?

What are your thoughts about the Rose and Delphine situation? Do you think we’ll actually get to see some lady love in Selfridge’s London?

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