Sunday, November 30, 2014

Episode 7 Season 1 – Mr. Selfridge Episode Summary 1.7

Seance at Selfridges
Synopsis:  Mr. Selfridge returns to work after a long absence and expresses his desire to make Selfridges an even greater success.  The accident that nearly cut his life short made greater his want to accomplish things in a short time.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who has agreed to hold a book signing at Selfridges and has been a supporter of the Spiritualist movement, successfully persuades Mr. Selfridge to agree to host a séance at Selfridges.  The séance brought about the ghosts of people’s past including that of Mr. Selfridge.

Episode Summary: Employees of Selfridges fret over the return of their employer, Mr. Selfridge, eager to please the leader absent for a time due to his accident.  Harry Gordon Selfridge returns to his department store, business as usual, but revitalized due to his near fatal accident.  The presence of the famous writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who is at Selfridges to promote his new book, The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard, graces his return.Continue reading...

Mr. Selfridge works even harder for the success of his department store and exacts the same from his department heads.  He sets them on to the task of improving their departments and warns them against stagnation.  His narrow escape with death invigorated his belief to seize the day.  The department heads are to think of new product lines and fresh and exciting suppliers.  His demands are not a criticism of his employees’ current performance, but simply a fulfillment of his desire for innovation.  Despite his insatiable attitude, Mr. Selfridge remains appreciative of his employees and he exhibits this with his expression of gratitude to Miss Ravillious.  Mr. Selfridge did not let her work in managing the Suffragette crisis go unnoticed.  Miss Ravillious asks Mr. Selfridge to have Miss Towler join her department for her reward.  Miss Mardle learns of the request and regretfully informs Miss Towler about it for she would very much want to keep her most capable senior assistant.  She leaves the decision to Miss Towler and offers to argue for her if she decides to stay in the Accessories department.  Miss Towler, although grateful for working for Miss Mardle, would like to move to the Fashion department believing that her future is in fashion.  Miss Mardle could not help but become disappointed, but she acquiesces with Miss Towler’s decision nonetheless.  She must now choose between Kitty and Doris for the senior accessories assistant position and she is unhappy with neither of the two who happen to be sucking sweets while on duty.  Miss Ravillious, on the other hand, holds Miss Towler in high regard that she allows the young woman to dress the new mannequins.  Her new task puts her in an enclosed quarter and in close proximity with Mr. Leclair fanning the fire that burns inside her.  Unable to contain her desire, Miss Towler makes her advance and kisses Mr. Leclair.  The ingénue’s forthright action catches the man by surprise, but he enjoyed it nonetheless.  Mr. Leclair and Miss Towler passionately kiss.

Frank Edwards initiates a flirtation with the strawberry blonde shop girl, Kitty Hawkins.  Soon after, Kitty receives a box of heart-shaped chocolates with an unsigned card and suspects Mr. Edwards as its giver.  Later, she and Doris grab something to eat at the Tea Room near Selfridges and find the disgraced Miss Bunting unkempt.  Doris Miller decides to fraternize with Miss Bunting and learns of her hardship given her termination and absence of a reference.  Doris shrewdly gathers that the woman is too embarrassed to ask for money that she instead pretends to have found Miss Bunting’s coin on the floor and gives it to the immensely grateful woman.  Doris finds Miss Bunting at the Tea Room once again and learns that her mother whom she had stolen for passed away.  Sympathetic of the ruined woman, Doris offers to treat her to supper.  More than that, Doris speaks with Mr. Grove to speak in behalf of Miss Bunting.  She apprises him of the woman’s financial hardship and asks him for a reference for her.  Moved by Doris’ plea, Mr. Grove hands her money to give to Miss Bunting and agrees to speak to Mr. Selfridge about giving the woman reference.  Kitty, on the other hand, receives another note from her secret admirer.  The note asks her to meet with him at the tea hut on Duke Street.  Kitty arrives at the tea hut on the specified time expecting to meet Mr. Edwards only to learn that her secret admirer is George Towler.  Although annoyed at the truth, Kitty commiserates for George, who confessed that she is out of his league.  His humility and genuine admiration won him Kitty’s approval.

Mr. John Musker meets with Mr. Selfridge to check on the entrepreneur.  They discuss about expanding the department store and their desire to purchase the buildings adjacent to Selfridges.  Mr. Musker, however, warns him about competition from developers, but assures the entrepreneur of their upper hand given their impending stock issue.  He expects the city and the bank to recommend issue in about two months, but Mr. Selfridge finds the duration too long and insists that the bank make the recommendation sooner.  Mr. Selfridge’s impatience worries Mr. Musker, who knows that his importunateness will do them a disservice.  He argues that banks dislike being hurried especially by an American.  Mr. Selfridge is adamant with his desire to persuade the bank to issue the stocks such that he recommends that Mr. Crabb bring the bank to them.  This troubles Mr. Musker enough that he enlists the help of Lady Loxley.  His concern is not without foundation given that the chairman of the bank and his deputy has agreed to meet with Mr. Selfridge at the shop floor of Selfridges.  Mr. Selfridge receives the esteemed bank executives and already creates uneasiness with his choice of words.  He becomes candid with the bankers’ concerns regarding his reckless personality.  He confesses that his recent accident did put Selfridges in a precarious position, but assured them that his near death experience proved that the company that carried his name would survive without him.  His words seem to have put the bankers at ease and Lady Mae’s show of support appeased their concerns.  The bankers schedule a meeting with Mr. Selfridge to discuss the stock offer.  Mr. Selfridge is grateful and indebted to Lady Mae for using her influence to gain favor of the bankers.  She, however, warns him of the consequences of his business going public.  The issue of stock will put his family in the public eye.  In fact, his eldest child will soon be attracting attention.  Rosalie Selfridge has convinced herself that she must take part in the London Season to gain the acceptance of the British elite.  She, however, loses confidence the night of the soiree that she is to attend in the company of Lady Mae and not her parents.  Rosalie later finds confidence in her mother and Lady Mae’s encouragement.

Rose Selfridge learns from her mother-in-law, Lois Selfridge, that Roderick Temple had a huge success in his exhibition in Paris.  Although the news was conveyed without malice, Rose could not help but feel a pang of guilt at hearing the young man’s name.  She makes her way to her husband’s office to have lunch with him as per his request that morning.  Moreover, she has come to have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sign her books.  The famous writer most willingly signs her books and introduces them to his American friend, Mr. Rex Crenell, a highly regarded medium.  It pleases Sir Arthur that Rose is familiar with the Spiritualist movement that he and Mr. Crenell join her and Mr. Selfridge for lunch.  Rose piques Sir Arthur’s interest even more with her observation of Harry during his coma, calling it otherworldly.  Her statement leads Sir Arthur to tell the story of Mrs. Haskins, a woman whose heart stopped for over twenty minutes causing the nurse to call her death only to find the woman resurrected moments later.  Sir Arthur believes that Mr. Selfridge could have been partly dead and partly alive just like Mrs. Haskins.  Although Rose seems amenable to believe unexplained phenomena, she brings up the issue of some mediums exploiting vulnerable people.  Sir Arthur confirms Rose’s suspicion, but vouches for Mr. Crenell.  The medium offers to hold a séance at Selfridges for the staff that they may bear witness of his gift.  Rose and Sir Arthur urge Mr. Selfridge to accept the offer.  Mr. Selfridge invites his employees to the séance causing fear on some such as Miss Mardle and Miss Blenkinsopp, who finds the event unwise especially with the recent death of Mr. Grove’s wife.  They, nonetheless, attend the séance.

Although skeptical of the séance, Mr. Selfridge presents his agreement to hold it at Selfridges as a display of openness for progress and discovery that allows for expansion of knowledge and experiences.  Mr. Crenell assuages the audience’s fear by drawing out laughter from the audience and by explaining the various items for the séance.  The staff’s fear remain nonetheless even with Mr. Perez, who drops a glass in fright.  Sir Arthur joins the circle of spiritualists conducting the séance and with their help, Mr. Crenell, brings forth his first spirit.  He identifies an elderly man as a twin of someone who lived in Somerset, but no one recognizes him.  Mr. Crenell moves on to another spirit, a woman he claims who has recently died.  The woman wants to send a message to her husband and with the help of the spiritualists identifies her as one whose name starts with the letter H.  Miss Mardle believes her to be the recently deceased, Hettie Grove.  Mr. Crenell conveys the woman’s message to her husband.  She wants him to know that she is out of pain and that she is grateful for all the years of his care.  Moreover, she gives her husband her blessing to marry again.  This message delights Josie Mardle, but upsets Roger Grove enough for him to walk out of the room.  Josie speaks with Roger about the message from the supposed spirit of his late wife hopeful that the message has lifted Roger’s burden of guilt.  She learns soon enough that it has not and that Roger asks her to wait for him still.  Josie, who has waited for Roger for such a long time during her childbearing years, could no longer do so.  

Another spirit, one so forceful that the light from the candle is extinguished, confronts Mr. Crenell with a hostile message.  The forceful spirit of a man causes Mr. Crenell to end the séance abruptly.  Mr. Selfridge and Lois seem to think that the spirit is of his late father, but both refuse Mr. Crenell’s offer for a private session knowing that the malign male force is associated with Mr. Selfridge.  The séance made Lois realize that the past most especially the lie he told her son haunts her and her son.  She believes that his son’s nightmares stem from the lie she made him live.  Lois soon learns that her son had long known of her husband’s shameful desertion of his family.  Harry does not find his mother at fault for making people believe that her husband was a war hero in order to hide the shame of her husband’s choice to walk out on his family at the time they need him most.  In fact, Harry credits all the good he has done in his life to his mother.  They agree to put the past behind them.

Next Mr. Selfridge Episode Summary: Episode 8 of Season 1
Previous Mr. Selfridge Episode Summary: Episode 6 of Season 1
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