Headlong along the road to disaster we go; if this episode and last week’s opener are anything to go by, this season’s plan is to drag darling Henri and not-so-darling Mr S to their doom and not to waste any time about it.
After Mr Thackeray’s single-minded (and annoying, so ANNOYING) persecution of Henri last season, it’s something of a surprise to me to find he’s still running fashion at Selfridges “five years later”, but – hurrah! – it doesn’t last long. Sucking the life out of the proposed Lanvin display doesn’t help his cause, but it’s his insistence on very rudely telling Mr Selfridge a few home truths that gets him, er, discontinued in a scene where I might have had some sympathy for him had he not been a pain in the posterior since we met him. See ya wouldn’t wanna be ya, Mr T; don’t let Kitty’s sister hit you on the way out.
Handily, this leaves a nice new job open for the woefully under-used Miss Mardle – reduced this week to cooing over “Little Ernest” Grove, shudder – but what of the Lanvin display crisis? Fear not, gentle shoppers, the crack team of Leclair and Leclair (aw) are back from honeymoon in Scotland (sadly, they didn’t find time to pop in to Unpopcult HQ while they were up here), just in time to save the day! Problem solved, bien sur, as, thanks to an assist from bored socialite (and very much her mother’s daughter) Violette – doing the classic bored socialite/Selfridge woman thing of getting her bored socialite friends together to put on a fashion show – they rescue the Lanvin display and the reputation of Selfridges etc etc. It’s all very season 1 “let’s put the window display on right here!” Till the flash bulbs start going off and Henri starts freaking the hell out.
The pauvre fellow is so traumatised, he heads, of all places, to Victor’s bar – next time, maybe try a bar not run by your wife’s ex-boyfriend, eh, cheri? – to find solace in whisky and ragtime tunes. Victor helping him do it apparently stems from respect and understanding of a fellow soldier’s struggle, which is a trifle disconcerting seeing as it’s Victor we’re talking about, but since this is a club where George “hard as a tissue” Towler is now apparently employed as his enforcer, I guess anything’s possible. Violette certainly seems to think so; a couple of harsh words and she’s Mr Colleano’s, apparently. Or did I imagine that look between them? I was a little distracted in fairness – partly because I kept waiting for George to pull out his mobile phone and call Agnes, then having to remind myself it’s 1919, and partly because, y’know, Gregory Fitoussi 😉
As Henri drinks, Agnes worries and Victor glowers, then, Mr S looks for his own kind of oblivion in the charitable housing project, risking so much in the process that it puts even the stalwart Mr Crabb off his Victoria Sponge. Too far, Mr S, too far. I love Mr Crabb. In a very different way from Henri, but still. He’s adorable. And he’s also completely right this week, but Mr S is too preoccupied with Sergei, Loxley and the already tiresome Aeroplane Axis of Evil to pay any attention. Even the humiliating Board meeting doesn’t seem to dampen his passion for the Rose Selfridge Memorial Housing Estate, which only a person with a parasol for a brain would think is a good idea at this stage, but that’s Mr S. “I fear his heart is ruling his head these days,” says Mr Crabb. “Dude, what’s new?” says the entire viewing audience. And “Is there any more of that Victoria Sponge left?” Mmmm.