When watching Mr Selfridge I always wonder how close Andrew Davies’ script follows the source material he’s adapting namely Lindy Woodhead’s ‘Shopping, Seduction & Mr Selfridge.’ Every week I find it harder to believe that some of the events I see on screen actually happened to Harry Selfridge especially the fact that a famous person would show up at the store every week. In particular I found this week’s final episode to be incredibly far-fetched as Selfridges receives an incredibly important visitor in King Edward VII.
But firstly back to the end of last week’s episode as we saw a girl lay a hand on Harry’s shoulder after he’d had another fight with Rose. And indeed the first scene in this episode sees him leave the bed of a random woman to return to Rose only for his wife to wake up in disgust and leave their bedroom. Later we get the announcement that King Edward is indeed going to visit the store for a late night visit. Obviously this occupies Harry’s time so he cannot see that Rose his unhappy in London or that Leclair is planning on leaving for New York. Later Lady Mae gives Harry the news that King Edward also wants the Selfridge family to accompany him to see Tony Traver’s play starring Ellen Love. Obviously Rose outright refuses to see her husband’s former mistress in a play however he talks her round by explaining that it would be rude to turn down an invitation by King Edward. In the end the royal visit is a success with The King gleefully enjoying his shopping experience and insisting on paying for the items he buys. However the theatre trip is a disaster as Harry realises that he may have been set up for a fall by Tony, Ellen and Frank. Frank in particular seems to resent Harry for not giving him a job last week and has become terribly bitter telling his former friend that he reaps what he sows. The play itself is based on Tony’s experiences associating with the upper classes namely Lady Mae and Harry himself. In the play Harry is presented as a loud, pompous American who only attracts friends because of his money while Ellen and Tony are portrayed as innocent victims. Through the play Rosalie learns that her mother almost had an affair with Roddy which sours relations between the two. Ultimately the play has dire consequences for Harry as his family return to America while he also faces ridicule in the press.
Elsewhere in this episode there is a shock announcement in accessories when Miss Mardle finds out that Doris has got engaged to Mr Grove. While there was no doubt in most of our minds that the pair were about to start a relationship it was a shock to all of us that they have got engaged so quickly. It later becomes clear though that Grove has only got engaged to Doris in order to start a family something he could never do with his terminally ill first wife. However it appears as if Grove’s heart belongs to Miss Mardle as he describes her as the love of his life and wishes that they could have children. He then goes onto insult her by suggesting that they continue their Tuesday evening liaisons however Miss Mardle shoots him down saying that she could never do that to Doris. To me the continued heartbreak off Miss Mardle is one of the more compelling stories in Mr Selfridge due in part to the wonderful performance from Amanda Abbington. I personally really felt for Miss Mardle when she found out about the engagement and was also glad that she decided not to carry on with her affair. Credit must also go to Tom Goodman-Hill who portrays the slimy Grove with ease playing a man who constantly wants to have his cake and eat it too.
Finally we saw Agnes learn that Leclair planned to leave her behind as he jetted off to New York for a job with his former lover. Though Agnes wasn’t really in love with Leclair it appears as if she did care for him and that she will also miss the man who nurtured her talent. This episode also reintroduces the romance between Agnes and Victor both of whom have been on a hell of a journey since they first met. I did like the fact that they placed the two in the restaurant once again but this time Agnes is a lot more confidant. Though I’ve not really warmed to Victor in the past his experiences with Lady Mae have seen him grow up a little bit more and I do now feel that he and Agnes make a good match. I couldn’t help but smile as we saw them dance around the restaurant and I think it was a good idea to have at least one happy ending for our characters. Indeed I’ve found Agnes’ story the most compelling throughout Mr Selfridge and she’s definitely the character that’s grown the most over the course of these ten episodes. Aisling Loftus has been outstanding at portraying Agnes’ rise from a timid girl to a confidant young woman. I also hope that Loftus sticks around for series two as the show wouldn’t be as good without Agnes at the heart of it.
Like with most episodes of Mr Selfridge there were things to like about this finale but also elements that I found hard to stomach. The biggest problem I have is that we’re meant to sympathise with Harry after he was ridiculed in the play however I found it to be an accurate depiction of the character as a whole. I didn’t really feel sorry for a man who has constantly cheated on his wife and made his mistress try to kill herself. I also didn’t blame Rose for wanting to get back to Chicago after what had happened with roguish Roddy Temple. However the episode was once again saved by the performances of Loftus and Abbington who have been great throughout the show as Agnes and Miss Mardle. While Mr Selfridge hasn’t been the most original of programmes I have still found it to be enjoyable Sunday night entertainment. Even if Jeremy Piven’s performance was a little over-the-top at he was still backed up by a tremendous ensemble cast. Praise must also go to the production design team who succeeded in recreating the original Selfridges store which to me was one of the most convincing things about the programme. I just wonder where the programme can go in series two and if the team behind Mr Selfridge have given viewers enough reasons to return to the store.
Did you enjoy tonight’s final episode of Mr Selfridge? What have you thought of the series as a whole? Leave Your Comments Below.