Synopsis: Harry Selfridge hears of Louis Bleriot’s attempt to fly across the English Channel and decides to persuade the aviator to exhibit his plane at Selfridges. He enlists Miss Love to play the aviatrix at the exhibition and begins an affair with her, while Rose Selfridge becomes acquainted with the painter, Roderick Temple. Meanwhile, the man Agnes and George Towler are trying to hide from arrives at Selfridges.
Episode Summary: The staff hastes to their posts as Mr. Selfridge makes his way to the floor. He finds that all are in order except that there are no customers in sight and Mr. Crabb notifies him of their need for sales. He instructs Mr. Grove to offer spot reductions on special lines for early birds, which he believes will bring in the sales Mr. Crabb necessitates aware that they have not been breaking even.
Mr. Leclair brings to Mr. Selfridge’s attention an issue with Ellen Love. The woman is at the store reviewing the photographs taken of her that are to be used in her endorsements. Ellen is unsatisfied with the photos and believes them to be dated and dreary. Mr. Leclair finds that the photographs convey the message he wants to communicate. To his consternation, Mr. Selfridge agrees with Miss Love and instructs Mr. Leclair to redo the work. There is more to Mr. Selfridge’s rejection of the photographs than his desire to please Miss Love. Mr. Selfridge would like to present Selfridges as a paradigm of modernity and is always looking for new ways to convey this message. His visionary outlook led Miss Love to compare him to the Frenchman attempting to fly across the English Channel. Her comparison brought inspiration to Mr. Selfridge causing him to hasten back to his office to speak with his staff and Frank Edwards. Mr. Edwards informs Mr. Selfridge that the daredevil has signed a deal with the Daily Mail. Fortunately, Mr. Edwards is friends with the owner of the Daily Mail long before he established the newspaper. Moreover, Mr. Selfridge explains that his plan will help the newspaper double its circulation.
Agnes Towler speaks with Mr. Grove about finding a position for her brother, George, at Selfridges. Mr. Grove maliciously finds the request as a favor in exchange for her discretion, aware that Miss Towler is cognizant of his affair with Miss Mardle. Although surprised and naive of the insinuation, Miss Towler accepts his request. Mr. Grove offers her brother a porter’s job in the loading bay. A man enters the store and catches the eyes of Kitty Hawkins and Doris Miller. Kitty attends to the man and he begins to charm her when Miss Towler catches sight of him and pulls him aside. The man is Agnes’ father, Reg Towler. She asks her father why he has come and he explains that he only wants to see her to make amends. Knowing him to be a troublemaker, Agnes begs him not to ruin the good life she is only beginning to make for herself. Agnes’ father acknowledges his faults and swears to have changed his ways. She agrees to speak with him at the teashop on Duke Street during her break only to learn that her father is in need of a place to stay. He has come to ask her to take him in, while he finds a place of his own. Agnes reminds him of the reason why she and her brother moved out and asserted not to live with him again. Her father, however, expresses his remorse for what he had done and vows having stayed away from alcohol in two months. Moreover, he has found job at a hotel and states that the manager will let him reside there at the end of the month. Her father gets on his knees to beg consequently embarrassing Agnes enough to allow him to stay with them until the end of the month. She, however, warns him against attacking her or George again. Meanwhile, Mr. Grove brings George Towler to the loading bay where he is to work as a porter unloading the vans coming in and loading the vans going out. He introduces him to the porters, Alf and Sam. Seeing that George is naïve, the two porters make fun of the young man and have him carry a heavy sack on his back, while Alf adds his own weight to it causing George to fall on the floor. George, however, is undeterred and gains favor with the two porters. The three unload four thousand silk scarves for an event that is happening the next day. The event remains a secret to everyone except for the department heads. Later, Alf apprises George of the special deliveries that he must load to the blue van instead of the usual green vans. The man explains that those goods going into the blue vans are for urgent express delivery probably consigned to the directors of the store. He adds that due to the nature of these deliveries, George is not to tell anyone about them.
Mr. Edwards drives Mr. Selfridge to the place where Monsieur Bleriot had just landed his plane. Mr. Selfridge congratulates the Frenchman for becoming the first man to fly the English Channel. Mr. Edwards introduces the American as Harry Gordon Selfridge, the owner of the greatest store in London, Selfridges. Moreover, he explains that Mr. Selfridge is going to give Monsieur Bleriot and his airplane pride of place at his store. Monsieur Bleriot, however, becomes annoyed with Mr. Selfridge for stealing the limelight from him, but Mr. Selfridge convinces the aviator to allow him to explain his proposal. He explains that Monsieur Bleriot’s achievement showed them the future, and because of his courage, many others will follow his steps. He asks him of Monsieur Bleriot’s experience and the man recounts his ordeal with pride telling him that he was flying blind. Mr. Selfridge avows that he too knows of the feeling of flying blind and with that, he strikes a deal with Monsieur Bleriot. Later, Mr. Leclair receives a call from Mr. Selfridge provoking anger from him so much so that he tenders his resignation to the Chief of Staff. Mr. Grove runs after Mr. Leclair in an attempt to dissuade him from leaving and learns that the man is livid at their employer for he has the gall to order him to build a great exhibition in such short notice after he humiliated him in front of his mistress. Mr. Leclair is upset with Mr. Selfridge for being ungrateful, but Mr. Grove argues that their employer, in fact, speaks highly of him and lauds him for his genius. Mr. Leclair is unaware of this and Mr. Grove promises that their employer will show his appreciation before the end of the day. Mr. Leclair, however, is ready to leave, but Mr. Grove manages to convince him to postpone his resignation until tomorrow.
Rose Selfridge is on her way out when she learns that Lady Mae had insisted to see her. Rose asks that her mother-in-law, Lois Selfridge, to join them. Lady Mae has come to speak to Rose with the pretense of ensuring that she and her children have settled quite nicely in London. She begins to insinuate that the demands of Mr. Selfridge’s work must have caused him to neglect his family. One of the demands seems to be the care of the seductive Ellen Love, who is to become the Spirit of Selfridges. Lady Mae suggests of Rose spending more time at the store and assumes that she was on her way there when she arrived. Rose, however, was going to the National Gallery. This surprised Lady Mae, who finds the National Gallery, filled with disreputable people on public days, but Rose could not care less for she is going there to admire the paintings. Lady Mae is shocked even more when Rose informs her that she will be taking the Underground to the National Gallery. Rose is admiring Peter Paul Rubens’ painting of Samson and Delilah when a handsome young man stands beside her and whispers in her ear his admiration of the painting for its beauty. Rose, however, admires it beyond its beauty as she finds it an unusual work of art depicting a man laid low by a woman. The young man introduces himself as Roderick Temple, a Romantic painter, and Rose as Rosalie Buckingham, an American on holiday. Mr. Temple informs her that he has found an extraordinary quality of stillness in her that prompted him to create a sketch of her. He explains that he aims to capture the inner beauty and the mystery of life through the human form. The pretentiousness of his goal made Rose snicker embarrassing Mr. Temple, but causing him to laugh with her. The young man learns that Rose dabbled in painting in college and he invites her to his studio across Charing Cross Road. Rose joins Mr. Temple in his studio and just as she is admiring his paintings, the young man steals a kiss from her. She breaks away, explains herself to be a married woman, and takes her leave. Mr. Temple apologizes and begs her to stay, but Rose has made up her mind.
Victor Colleano has an uncomfortable conversation with Mr. Perez and learns that his attractiveness is one of the reasons for his hiring. Mr. Perez believes that his appeal is a draw for their female patrons. He wants Victor to satisfy them including the unprepossessing ones. In fact, Victor has caught the eye of, Lillian Worthington, a matronly patron who tips him generously and requests his services for a private party she plans to hold for a small group of friends. He later receives a box of chocolates from Ms. Worthington causing him surprise. Mr. Perez, after reading the note that came with the box of chocolates, explains that the party will only be with Victor and Ms. Worthington. Victor asks Mr. Perez if he should go, and the headwaiter encourages him to do so. He, however, decides to ask Agnes out for tea, but the young woman has some family business to take care of that evening and politely turns him down. She, however, hints of accepting his invitation for another night. Victor then gives her the box of chocolates he received from Ms. Worthington causing her colleagues to tease her as they try one of the truffles.
Mr. Selfridge returns to his office and dictates the ad that is to run in the newspapers. It states that the Bleriot airplane that flew over the English Channel is on view, free of charge, on the ground floor of Selfridges. Mr. Selfridge sees Mr. Leclair and becomes forthcoming with his compliments to him. It becomes obvious that Mr. Grove has spoken to him of the creative director’s discontent, but Mr. Leclair remains upset with his employer despite his compliments and apologies. He believes that Mr. Selfridge will continue to maltreat him until one day he will push him too far. Mr. Selfridge leaves and rushes to Miss Love’s dressing room to ask her to play aviatrix at tomorrow’s exhibition of the Bleriot airplane at Selfridges. Miss Love’s allure becomes too much for Mr. Selfridge that he gives in to temptation and passionately kisses her. They are about to make love when one of Miss Love’s colleagues enters her dressing room embarrassing Mr. Selfridge. The interruption caused him to think twice about what he is to embark and eventually decides to leave. The rest of the staff of Selfridges returns home after a long day at work. Roger Grove spends the night at Josie Mardle’s place and assuages her concern about Miss Towler’s knowledge of their affair. He believes that Miss Towler is trustworthy and that the young woman will not betray them given that he had given her brother a job in the loading bay. Josie, however, fears that Miss Towler will one day follow Roger home and inform his wife of the affair. Roger becomes alarmed of Josie’s portentous thought, but remains confident that Miss Towler will do no such thing. In fact, Miss Towler has more pressing things in her mind as she and George return home to find their father already there waiting for them.
The following day, Selfridges is heaving with people wanting to see Monsieur Bleriot and his airplane. Moreover, they are purchasing the goods peddled in the store. Mr. Selfridge brings his family to see the exhibition and Rose finds Miss Love, the Spirit of Selfridges, sitting atop the Bleriot plane eyeing her husband seductively. Harry apologizes to his wife for being away most of the time, but their conversation is interrupted by Mr. Crabb, who has come to congratulate Mr. Selfridge for his achievement. Rose finds herself alone in the crowd as her husband introduces Monsieur Louis Bleriot to the public. Lady Mae later joins her to intimate an affair between Mr. Selfridge and Miss Love. Rose approaches her husband to congratulate him in an attempt to avoid hearing any more of Lady Mae’s insinuations, but Lady Mae speaks to Mr. Selfridge vaguely and ominously about how the man rows, while the lady holds the tiller. Having had enough of Lady Mae’s allusions, Rose excuses herself from the exhibition, but Harry convinces her to stay. There is truth to Lady Mae’s intimations as Mr. Selfridge had just secured Miss Love an apartment at the posh St. John’s Wood neighborhood. Mr. Edwards commends Mr. Selfridge for his accomplishment and asks him how it feels to make history. Mr. Selfridge confesses that the thrill of it is gone after the fact then speaks glumly about the thought of throwing everything away including ones life. Meanwhile, Victor finds Ms. Worthington waiting for him in her car. He, however, informs the woman apologetically that he cannot join her for the evening for it is against the company’s policy to do so. Agnes and George arrive home to find their father drunk and disapproving of Mr. Selfridge with claims of him working his employees like slaves. Agnes, however, argues that Selfridges is a place where employees can rise up from the ranks to have better lives. Their father turns to George and challenges him to a fight causing alarm on both siblings, but their father does not attack George but relishes in the fright he gave his children.
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