World War I begins with Germany’s invasion of neutral Belgium and a series of atrocities that shocks the British public. At Selfridges the younger male staff is clamoring to enlist, including George and even Victor, who is under pressure from his Uncle Gio to stay at home and help run the family restaurant.
Getting into the war spirit, Rose, Delphine, and Lady Mae plan a Belgian chocolate festival at the store to benefit Belgian refugees. They are bringing in Monsieur Neuhaus, a master chocolatier, who will create confections for sale in all departments. The project is a test of the brittle friendship between the three women, with Delphine immediately taking charge in her self-assertive way.
Meanwhile, Henri has a secretive meeting with a man who wants money. Henri promises to get it, which seems a dubious prospect until Harry unexpectedly offers him a bonus to stay on at the store as his deputy. Henri agrees to stay for six months. Later, when he delivers the cash to the man at a café, the transaction is observed by Mr. Thackeray, who is passing by. Thackeray bitterly resents Henri’s new position and intends to follow up this discovery.
Back at the store, the chocolate festival is a sweet success, climaxed when Delphine auctions off the chocolate center piece, which Harry gamely buys for 25 pounds, equivalent to thousands of dollars in today’s money. Another success: Monsieur Neuhaus convinces Josie to take in a Belgian refugee, which appeals to her generous spirit and the loneliness she is feeling in her big new house. The festival ends with the entrance of the Selfridge Brigade, the store’s army-bound employees, who march smartly to a table set up by a recruitment sergeant. George is first in line.
Also in the queue is Victor, who is suddenly called away by Gabriella, bearing news that Uncle Gio has suffered a heart attack. Before he dies, the bistro boss extracts Victor’s promise that he will stay and take care of the family. When Agnes comes to console Victor, she grasps his hand in affection. Gabriella notices this—as she has also noticed Victor’s increasing coolness toward her. After Agnes leaves, she confronts him: “You love her!” And she walks out.
In other action, Mr. Grove shocks Mr. Crabb by drawing up plans to replace the departing Selfridge workers with women. And to fulfill his procurement duties, Lord Loxley begins interviewing shoe manufacturers, searching for one who understands his not-so-subtle hints that he wants a big bribe.
Over brandy with Frank and Henri, Harry touts his promise that every member of the Selfridge Brigade will have his job waiting when he gets back. Frank notes that the war has already taken a bad turn, something he is not allowed to report in his newspaper column, implying that many might not be coming back.
The episode ends with Agnes saying goodbye to her brother. For what it’s worth, George promises Agnes that he will return from the front. Agnes, who will be moving in with Josie, hopes it’s a promise he can keep.