In my review of last week’s episode of Mr Selfridge I claimed that the absence of Jeremy Piven let some of the other cast members shine however his return to the store means once again that he eclipses a lot of the other characters. Having said that some of the supporting characters get an opportunity in the spotlight most notably accessories counter girls Kitty and Doris both of whom have their own stories as they compete for Agnes’ position after she becomes a member of the fashion team.
But first to the return of Mr Selfridge to his store as he criticises all the little details that have changed during his absence, including the lack of fresh flowers on the accessories counter. Harry is very busy this week as he attempts to renovate his store by expanding into the building next door while at the same time organises a book signing involving one of his wife’s favourite authors. That author is Sherlock Holmes scribe Arthur Conan Doyle, here played by John Sessions who’s hamming it up no end, whose love of all things Gothic has seen him befriend an American spiritualist who believe he can contact the dead. It appears as if Rose Selfridge is interested in what Doyle’s friend Crenell has to say and Harry soon agrees to let him perform an after-hours séance at the store. For some apparent reason all of the staff members are forced to attend and when Mr Grove’s wife Hettie is seemingly contacted, and tells her husband to remarry, the still grieving chief-of-staff exits the room. On the other hand Miss Mardle is overjoyed with this news and begs Mr Grove to take their relationship public especially as, in her own words, she has given him her child bearing years. However it seems as if Miss Mardle will have to remain heartbroken for the time being as Grove once again decides to keep their relationship a secret. The séance also has negative connotations for Harry after Crenell also contacts a man who is supposedly Harry’s father who we recently learnt wasn’t the war hero that he was made out to be. The subject of Harry’s father finally gives Lois the opportunity to come clean to her son however he reveals that he already knew the truth about his swine of a father and was happy that she raised him single-handedly. Meanwhile the banks are unhappy with the séance which adds to their fears of Selfridge’s recklessness however Lady Mae is on hand once again to curb their worries and in the end they give their blessing to Harry’s renovation plans.
Elsewhere this week we saw Miss Ravillous stealing Agnes from Miss Mardle which means that there is now a vacancy on the accessories counter for a senior assistant. While Kitty and Doris both want the job they are also involved in their own separate storylines as both are allowed to let their characters develop a little more. Kitty’s story is a romantic plot in which she flirts with Frank Edwards, who is seemingly attracted to her, and when she receives some sweets from a secret admirer she believes they are from him. However as we soon find out the sweets are actually from George Towler who has been encouraged by his sister to find himself a girl. Although Kitty is initially displeased that her admirer isn’t a gentleman but rather someone who she’d previously turned her nose up at she is eventually charmed by his innocent nature and the two go off for tea together. Doris’ kind nature is also revealed as she comes across former head of fashion Miss Bunting who is now incredibly poor and lonely after being sacked from the store without a reference. Doris looks kindly on the unfortunate Miss Bunting and attempts to give her money however her former colleague soon wises up to her game and tells her she isn’t a charity case. Instead Doris goes to visit Mr Grove, who is in a surprisingly charitable mood, who agrees to give Miss Bunting the reference she needs and tells Doris she has a kind heart. While at the moment we don’t quite know which one of the girls will get the job my money is on Doris especially after her kind words about Miss Bunting. With her brother attempting to win the heart of Kitty it seems both the Towler siblings might be lucky in love after Agnes spends even more time with Leclair. Even though last week he declared his love for her he still hasn’t done anything about it however this week she takes it up on herself to make the first move and the two soon share their first kiss.
After a couple of enjoyable episodes I felt that this week’s episode of Mr Selfridge didn’t have a lot to offer and instead was a little bit of a filler instalment that only advanced several elements of the plot. With the exception of the progress in the relationship between Agnes and Leclair and the possibility of a romance between George and Kitty there wasn’t a lot that actually happened in this week’s episode that had an impact on any of the stories. It also appears as if Harry’s car accident has helped to rebuild his relationship with Rose as the two are now completely loved up but I have a feeling this won’t last especially after continued mentions of roguish painter Roddy Temple who I’m guessing will return in a future instalment. Personally I didn’t really care for the story involving the séance and Conan Doyle with John Sessions seemingly trying to compete with Piven in the dramatic stakes as he gave a bombastic performance as the Sherlock Holmes author. However despite my feelings about the episode there were still some things to like mainly the return of Pippa Haywood as Miss Bunting which saw this talented actress actually get to do something as she portrayed a woman who was really down on her luck. I also thought Amanda Abbington excelled in this episode as she confronted Mr Grove about their affair and where their relationship would lead now that his wife had passed away.
Ultimately this episode of Mr Selfridge was one that you could probably skip as nothing monumental happened and most of the events were to bridge between Harry’s car crash and the drama that is set to unfold in the final few instalments. There were a few things to like namely the focus on the previous under-utilised Kitty and Doris and the performances from Pippa Haywood and Amanda Abbington but overall I felt this one of the most under-whelming episodes of Mr Selfridge thus far.
What did you think of tonight’s Mr Selfridge? Did you enjoy it more than I did? Leave Your Comments Below.