THE SHOW: Mr Selfridge
THE PAIRING: Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus ) and Henri Leclair (Grégory Fitoussi)
THE EPISODE: Episode 10 (no title) – (aired May 18, 2014)
THE MOMENT: Agnes tells Henri she loves him, after Victor lets her go. Henri tells Agnes he will come back to her from the war.
I have to admit that in the competition between The Paradise and Mr. Selfridge, I rooted for The Paradise wholeheartedly (still bummed about cancellation). I just loved the show’s romantic idealism. Something about the show just lifted my spirits. So, unsurprisingly considering my prior attachment, when I first watched the first season of Mr. Selfridge, it unfairly suffered in comparison. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. On second re-watch, however, I realized how biased my initial reaction to the show actually was the first time around. The writing and production were all put together wonderfully, and the characters were every bit as developed as The Paradise (though the idealistic tone is not comparable). While it may have taken me a little while to warm to the series, there was one aspect of the show that caught my attention from the start: Henri Leclair and Agnes Towler.
Henri and Agnes had a soul connection that didn’t take long to blossom into something romantic, these similar spirits coming together through creativity. I loved watching these two create displays, their chemistry likeable and captivating to watch. It seemed like love was certainly developing between the two of them. Then of course, the end of the season happened when Henri’s old French flame came back into town and enticed Henri to go to America with her. He accepted (without even seeming very conflicted about Agnes) and left Agnes (who seemed perfectly okay with him leaving) and Selfridge’s behind for what seemed like forever. “What kind of ending was that?” I thought when I first watched season one’s end. The whole setup just kind of irked me if I’m being honest. How could the writers rectify this terrible ending?
He loved Agnes even though she was engaged to another man, even though it seemed as if he had lost her for good.
Why, by making Henri and Agnes’ relationship more epically romantic in season 2. And that’s exactly what they did, particularly in the finale. Throughout the second season, Henri had been harboring a secret, a secret he even kept from Agnes. As it turned out, he had been searching for his past love to clear his name. He had been framed for stealing in America. Needless to say, when she is finally found, she does clear his name, but wants Henri back despite her own part in Henri’s dilemma. He turns her down (finally), now in love with the woman who believed in him. He loved Agnes even though she was engaged to another man, even though it seemed as if he had lost her for good.
In many love stories, there is a triangle, which means one of them will get an unhappy ending. In this tale thus far, that man is Victor, the other man vying for Agnes’ attention throughout both seasons. He even seems to have come out the “victor,” Agnes agreeing to marry him, leave the store (though it is clearly her dream), and run a restaurant with him. Agnes does love him in her own way after all, but was she in love with Victor? Did she have the same kind of soul connection that she had with Henri? The clear answer is no and even Victor can see it. Being a good man, he does the noble thing: he chooses to let Agnes go, to go be with Henri. In a way, Victor’s selflessness is almost more romantic than Agnes’ and Henri’s epic reunion. His heartfelt speech truly tugs at the heartstrings, revealing that she would lose herself if she stayed with him. He said:
Victor: “The you I fell in love with is the you I can’t have. Because a life with me would mean too many changes for you.”
Victor knows he “would never have all of her heart,” continuing: “We both know who does.”
Henri. And thus the tables turn, Victor letting Agnes go for good. “Tell him you love him,” Victor urges her, clearly his own heart broken in this act of true love.
He kisses her goodbye and then he leaves, leading us into the romantic moment of the week… As Henri walks alone in his and Agnes’ spot (the night before he heads off to join the war), Agnes puts her engagement ring away, pondering what to do next…She leaves to go find Henri, calling out his name when she arrives. He looks back at her:
“I thought I might find you here,” she tells him.
“I’m not marrying Victor,” Agnes tells Henri. “He told me to come to you. Was he right?” Henri’s face says it all:
“I love you,” he proclaims. “I love you Agnes.”
“I wanted to say those words for the longest time.” Then he grabs her and FINALLY kisses her (I’ve been waiting for this moment all season!!).
“I love you,” she tells Henri back:
Agnes: “You, you have to come back to me Henri.”
“I will,” he promises. “I will come back to you.”
Henri: “When I do, I will never leave you again.”
And then of course, they kiss once more, their future hopefully set in stone.
As the two say goodbye with an embrace, there is a touch of hope, but also a touch of uncertainty.
Here’s to hoping Henri comes back from the war in once piece, and that these two soulmates will be in each other’s arms once more….
What did you think of the finale? Heartbroken for Victor? Happy for Henri and Agnes’ reunion? Sound off in the comments…
Photo Credit: ITV
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1 thought on “Romantic Moment of the Week – Mr. Selfridge’s Henri and Agnes”
I too have most of the lines memorized from these final scenes in the Agnes/Victor/Henri triangle. The one thing I do not wish to see happen to this storyline is what happened in Ballykissangel where the leading lady in the story dies. We all would share in a great disappointment if neither Henri nor Victor ended up with Agnes.
I feel hugely sorry for Victor. Agnes could have been up front with him about her feelings; I often think she wanted to keep both men if she could. It seems the only times Agnes would pay much attention to Victor are the times he chose to be distant to her instead of the other way around!
You can tell by the way she was trembling when she approached Henri in those final scenes that she understood that Victor knew the whole truth about her feelings for Henri, and he just might now be out of her life for good; no more her going back to him to tell him her problems and he would be there like he always had offering his shoulder to cry on.
Actually, Henri admitted to Victor first that he was in love with Agnes after Victor so bluntly asked him. Victor knew ahead of time that if he broke up with Agnes she would have to either deny her love for Henri or be silent. Since she was silent, that confirmed it to Victor that she was in love with Henri.
Agnes also never divulged to Victor that Mr. Selfridge offered her the opportunity to stay on at the store after she was married; but she turned it down saying that she was not only marrying into a family, but a family business and that she knew that it would be what VIctor would want her to do; then “boom” right after that Harry Selfridge mentions that Henri is leaving also, and then we see Agnes’ sudden shift in her look when she asks where Henri is going. She returns to her fence-sitting mindset.
Is Henri truly completely over Valerie? WIll he come back ‘in one piece in all ways’ to Agnes? Maybe yes, and maybe no. We do need to learn what happened to Victor in the years that passed from 1914 to 1919 when series 3 resumes after WWI ends. If the show goes on to series 4, then we may not learn all of our answers until that finale arrives. And, maybe would Gabriella return, or someone new like her, who is so smitten with Victor who will be in his life every day and change it for him to the point he can move on past Agnes. I personally think he wasted his time with Agnes. If Agnes marries Henri in the end, then both of them would have to work for Mr. Selfridge or leave the program altogether.
The Paradise was cancelled after season 2 as you may know. I thought the lead actress in the Paradise is a much better fit for the program than the actress portraying Agnes Towler. I am not always able to understand her accent. In real life, the actress portraying Agnes is 14 years younger than the actor portraying Henri, and she is 9 years younger than the actor portraying Victor.
It is Harry Selfridge who is her father figure and that we can be sure of!
Thank you for allowing me to comment.