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Matador, explained | Know your station in life
The following is intended as an aide for those interested in watching the Matador series, but whose Danish level prevents them from following along.
Episode 3 – Skfitedag
As Mads Andersen-Skjern continues to successfully run his clothing business, Tøjhuset – no longer just a store, but also a tailor, investment house and, it turns out, a bank – the faded glory of Korsbæk’s established families becomes ever more apparent.
Particularly the competition between Tøjhuset and Damernes Magasin underscores that the commercial – if not also the social – balance of the town is about to tip. As customers flock to Tøjhuset, with its contemporary approach to business, Damernes Magasin, we find, has used up its credit with Korsbæk Bank.
In an exchange with the young apprentice Arnold, Damernes Magasin head clerk hr. Schwann proclaims that during his own apprenticeship in the same store 42 years prior, he learned that one was to ‘blive ved sin plads’, meaning in this case ‘to do one’s job’, but which could also be interpreted as ‘know one’s station in life’.
The same thinking appears to be held by many of the others in Korsbæk, as we witness how the town’s establishment closes ranks and continues to see Andersen-Skjern as an outsider, not least because he is rumoured to be living ‘på polsk’ (living together in an unmarried relationship) with Ingeborg. Ingeborg, it was revealed in the previous episode, has moved back to her parents' farm together with daughter Ellen to escape an alcoholic husband.
When rumours of the of the scandalous relationship prevent Ellen from being enrolled in Korsbæk's private school – despite Andersen-Skjern's offer to supply uniforms at much lower price than Damernes Magasin currently does – he tells the headmistress of his intention to marry Ingeborg, something Ineborg herself finds out later.
The episode’s title, ‘Skiftedag’, refers to the ‘seasonal clearance sale’ held by Tøjhuset at the start of the episode, but which could just as easily refer to the foreshadowed changing of the guard.