Last week on the Series 2 premiere of Mr Selfridge, London’s finest store celebrated its five year anniversary, Agnes Towler returned as head designer after a stay in Paris, Rose Selfridge returned to London for a visit and promptly fell in with one Delphine Day, and Miss Mardle was sad sad sad and left to attend to her dying brother. Oh, and, you know, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated.
This week begins with rumors of war swirling through every air current, bringing different types of hysteria with it. If war comes to England, will Mr. Selfridge abandon ship and return to America? If war comes to England, will everyone’s jobs be secured? The union boys are out and in a recruiting rage, but like every good boss, Mr. Selfridge says, “Union? Pssh, we don’t need no stinkin’ union. We take care of our own.” Mr. Crabb, a delightfully neurotic man who’s the head financial guy at Selfridge’s, tells everyone to calm the hell down and get to work, so they do.
Agnes, meanwhile, is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It seems being head designer at the moment is a tad overwhelming, and she runs around for most of the episode with an uncertain look on her face, internally sighing on repeat. She also shows up late to a staff meeting, and uncharacteristically blanks when asked for ideas on how to assure the staff that life is jolly and we don’t need no stinkin’ unions. Selfridge seems disappointed in her, for perhaps the first time ever. She stands next to Mr. Grove, who now has a thousand little children and apparently never sleeps and is showing up late to work and also disappointing Mr. Selfridge. He spends most of this episode clearly questioning his life choices.
Man, I hate Mondays.
I hate every day.
Kitty takes the opportunity to step in, suggesting a dance for the staff to boost morale. A tango demonstration, to be exact. Selfridge loves it!
My life is awesome!
Selfridge wants something to reassure the public, as well, so they plan a “British Empire, Yay!” display for the restaurant in the store. While Agnes is clearly already stressed with the regular store displays and these new restaurant decorations, Mr. Thackeray, who really, really has it in for her, later brings up the idea to Mr. Selfridge of decorating the whole STORE in the “British Empire, Yay!” theme. Agnes clearly wants to die. She smiles, barely. You are a cranky and mean little man, Thackeray.
Kitty, meanwhile, continues to fire on all cylinders this episode. Mr. Edwards, a journalist and former close advisor of Mr. Selfridge, put the moves on her last episode, much to Kitty’s disapproval. Just because she’s a shop girl doesn’t mean she’ll give it up that easy, thank you very much. Edwards comes to her department at the beginning of this week’s episode to attempt to make it up to her, asking what gift would be appropriate for a beautiful and refined young woman. As one of the new girls shows him a lovely perfume, Kitty shoves her over and pulls out a deluxe box of creams and fancy, expensive things, saying, “Not so easy, kind sir.” Later at the staff party, Edwards shows up with the box, which Kitty gladly accepts—for a second, until she’s asked to tango by the professional dancer. At which she shoves the box back into Edwards’ chest and jumps onto the dance floor. Kitty is a national treasure.
“Mr Selfridge” recap (2.2): A Tango Before a War