Kicking things into high gear for this action packed finale, the episode launches us straight into the board meeting, postponed from last week’s episode, as Harry battles wits with Loxley and the Board.
It’s a brilliant sequence, tightly directed and well played by all involved as Loxley’s true motives and behaviour are exposed as he tries to have Harry ousted from the Selfridge’s Board under a vote of No Confidence. (“The vote is defeated. Seven votes to two.”)
I have always despised the character of Loxley (through no fault of actor Aidan McArdle), but without Lady Mae he just fell flat for me as a character this season. Katherine Kelly’s announced return for Season 4 should readjust that, but for now, Loxley’s angry outburst made the Board see him in his true light and restored their faith in Harry as a result. I also love the way they got the business issues out of the way early on, so they could focus on the romantic and emotional developments of the episode.
There are some lovely, happier moments for some. Gordon declares that, rather than end things with Grace, he will leave his position at Selfridges. Mr Grove finally succumbs to his feelings for Miss Mardle (a moment the fans have waited three seasons for) and they end things on a positive note. Even George shows a spark of romantic development with Connie (Sacha Parkinson), which is something I hope develops more in the future.
However, it does not end well for Harry as he is finally made aware of Nancy’s deception. It’s an incredibly sad scene, but one that proves just how good Harry’s Jeremy Piven and Nancy’s Kelly Adams have been this year.
“Was any of it real?” Harry begs of her. “Of course it was. I’ve broken all of my own rules. I’ve risked everything to come here. You’ve changed me. I can’t go back to the woman I was,” Nancy replies, seeming genuine. It’s that moment of open honesty that makes Harry’s cold refusal of her all the more upsetting.
“I don’t care about you anymore, do you understand? You’re not who I thought you were. You’re a cheat and a liar. You’re a stranger. I never want to see you again.” It’s a testament to Adams’ acting that we feel conflicted when he rejects her, especially since her parting words to him show that she really does know him: “You’re vulnerable to women. You always will be. You’re lucky it was me.”
Lawrence Till’s direction has been exemplary this season and none more so than here: whether it’s that lovely last goodbye between Victor and Violette or the tense way he constructed the opening board meeting sequences, I hope we see more of his creative magic next year.
My only qualm with the episode was that James Bond style end sequence which felt tonally and stylistically at odds with the rest of the episode. However, Kate Brooke’s script sparkles with emotion and given how many loose ends needed tied up here, she does a brilliant job.
At its end, the episode is one steeped with tragedy. Violette puts it best when she says: “We’re a pathetic bunch. We can’t get anyone to love us.”
A sentiment Harry obviously shares, having sent Nancy away and watched Violette resign herself to a loveless marriage with Jacques Di Sibor. That he then turns up at Colleano’s, emotionally beaten and ready to gamble, sparks a dark path that will no doubt be explored in next year’s fourth season.
Aired at 9pm on Sunday 29 March 2015 on ITV.
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