This penultimate episode of Mr Selfridge’s second series shows an understandable ‘tying up’ of certain plot threads as others continue into next week’s finale.
However, the news this week that Mr Selfridge has been given the green light for a third series means that aspects of the stories set up here may be the seeds of stories that carry us over into next year’s run. Jam-packed, this episode deals with many of these issues, and does so with aplomb.
Miss Mardle and Mr Grove’s relationship is one put to bed, for now at least, it seems. Mardle appears genuinely happy with Florian, developing her in a positive direction, and with the arrival of Mr Grove’s first son, it would seem he is best to refocus on his family.
The decision to make Miss Mardle an independent woman paved a very specific path for her, and it’s nice to see her developed as a character of self-reliance and confidence. That said, I do enjoy watching Amanda Abbington and Tim Goodman-Hill’s scenes, so I hope we still get those next series.
One person we have seen the last of is the unscrupulous Delphine. Polly Walker’s performance has been a breath of life this series, but given her character arc, and much like Zoe Tapper’s Ellen Love in Series 1, it is best used to reinforce the strength in the Selfridges’ relationship.
Walker does get a great send-off. Her exchanges with Lady Mae were suitably icy, but it was Harry’s speech to her that was the topper. Describing Rose as the reason behind his success and the life he has created for everyone at Selfridges is a moment the fans have been desperate to see.
And so, to the elements that continue. Frank’s resignation in support of Harry will obviously have repercussions for the character, but this could easily expand into the next series. As could his relationship with Kitty.
Samuel West and Amy Beth Hayes have a winning chemistry – one of the high points of this series – and it was evident here that there is much more to be explored in this relationship. Rose’s congestion diagnosis is hopefully not a fatal move, especially with the arrival of the Selfridge children at the end of the episode. At best it could be yet another plot device to test the strength of the couple’s relationship, as I would hate to see Frances O’Connor’s Rose killed off.
The biggest continuing element is the ongoing Victor/Agnes/Henri love triangle. Agnes’ decision to give up her career for love was very telling, as was Agnes’ hesitation when Victor suggested pushing the wedding forward. Henri and Victor’s altercation speaks of both men’s desire for her, but at this point it’s anyone’s guess. I do hope we don’t have a wedding cliff-hanger of Henri declaring his love for Agnes moments before she weds Victor: it’s a tad too cliché for this classy drama.
This episode sets things up beautifully for next week’s finale, continuing the four star quality that has become this year’s standard. With certain characters and plot threads now wrapped up, next week’s focus should be very interesting.
Aired at 9pm on Sunday 16 March 2014 on ITV.
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