Revisiting ‘The Paradise’: Series 1, Episode 4

Miss Audrey's worst nightmare is this episode (Photo: Courtesy of (C) Nick Briggs/BBC 2012 for MASTERPIECE)
Miss Audrey's worst nightmare is this episode (Photo: Courtesy of (C) Nick Briggs/BBC 2012 for MASTERPIECE)
Welcome to the next installment in our recap series that takes us back through the first season of The Paradise before Series 2 begins this Fall!

Previously, on The Paradise: The gang legitimately finds a baby in The Paradise and I hope you didn’t want to find out who it belonged to at any point in this episode because you won’t. Moray uses the abandoned child for advertising purposes, because of course he does, while Arthur has an identity crisis about not being the only Paradise-born kid anymore and Clara has several rage-related meltdowns because it turns out that she had a daughter that’s being kept on board at the local orphanage. Katherine and Peter Adler, the guy who runs the orphanage hit it off, because he is perfect and dreamy. Denise has another brilliant entrepreneurial idea which she pitches to Moray via Katherine, because she has to hide her light under a bushel since Miss Audrey’s forbidden her from having ideas. Moray is angry she went behind his back because I don’t know, it sort of makes no sense. And Clara finally, tearfully decides to let her daughter be adopted out of the orphanage because she can’t give her a good life as an unmarried shopgirl I guess.

So, what can we expect this week? Who even knows. Let’s see, shall we? 

Miss Audrey’s Having a Crisis. Our episode begins with Pauline and Sam discussing their Saturday night plans. (Can the two of them just figure out they’d be adorable together already, thanks.) Sam is considering going out, and Clara takes the opportunity to make fun of his dancing ability. Same decides to demonstrate his dancing ability on a counter, while everyone starts clapping and having fun, whilst Miss Audrey looks on disapprovingly and makes snotty comments about how young people don’t realize their lives won’t be fun forever, blah.

It should be fairly obvious to anyone who has watched TV ever that Miss Audrey is having a mid-life crisis of some sort. She’s also clearly feels awful and is getting ill, staggering around ladies’ wear, sweating and gripping her forehead dramatically and coughing. She stares dolefully at Denise, clearly becoming increasingly jealous that she’s clearly Moray’s new favorite. But of course Audrey’s going to pretend that’s not happening because I guess it’s the most drama we can get this episode. Yawn.

Moray and Katherine’s Non-Relationship Gets Talked About a Lot. Moray gets invited out on a hunt with Lord Glendening and a bunch of nameless rich people and servants. Glendening mentions that while they didn’t see Katherine’s involvement with Dreamy Mr. Adler coming, they should probably all just admit it’s for the best. Lord G says he’s never seen his daughter so at ease with herself and warns Moray not to interfere. Whatever, I’m so on Lord Glendening’s side here. Moray says he told Katherine that he couldn’t marry her at this time, and if she’s got a suitor now it’s his own fault. Glendening repeats that Moray must make no attempt to tempt Katherine back into any sort of relationship with him.

They reach the Glendening house and Katherine comes out to greet them. She and Moray have an awkward conversation where he asks how she feels about being a charity patroness, before saying he hopes that she and Adler will be happy together. Katherine says she has to know whether Moray’s dead wife is the reason he’s just standing there wishing her well when she’s about to embark on a relationship with someone else. Moray looks sad and says yes. Katherine doesn’t understand how he can be so emotionally entwined with a woman who’s been dead for three years. Moray responds that he thinks they ought to be thankful for Peter Adler, who has saved Katherine from becoming similarly entwined. This is actually a much more graceful moment than I would have previously expected Moray capable of, and it’s a nice scene. 

The Staff Also Loves to Gossip About That Topic. To prove turnabout is indeed fair play, The Paradise staff is also heavily interested in gossiping about their employers love life. Pauline reports that she’s seen Katherine and Adler out and about looking all swoony together, and everyone wants to know whether this means Moray’s not to marry her anymore.  Dudley says that whether Moray gets married or not shouldn’t affect their work at the store, and he won’t participate in gossip about it (though they’re obviously free to do so.) Pauline wants to know if Moray’s heartbroken. Clara thinks that Moray’s still heartbroken over his wife and smugly declares that she never thought he’d marry Katherine Glendening (or anyone ever) at all.  Denise says nothing during this scene, only increasingly looks as though she’s about to need an airsick bag, which I guess is our physical acting cue that she’s having a lot of emotions about Moray being a free man again.

Katherine and Adler Go on a Date. Katherine and Dreamy Mr. Adler are out in a picturesque nature setting, doing something that appears to involve putting rocks in the road. Katherine is testing Adler’s knowledge of random flowers, and he’s impressing her with his botany skills. She’s curious as to how he knows all this stuff, and Adler says that he’s insatiably hungry for knowledge and has always wanted to find out everything about everything, basically. Katherine looks impressed and is even willing to hold hands with him now that he’s all dirty. They’re kind of adorable, which of course means this is never going to last. Sigh.

Miss Audrey’s Great Trial. Miss Audrey goes to visit Denise’s uncle Edmund since, as we learned last week, the two of them have a rather significant history together. He actually asked her to marry him at one point and Miss Audrey turned him down. She’s apparently come over to talk to him about the fact that she’s losing her voice, because I guess that’s what happened to her when she said no? Anyway, she tells him that it’s a very delicate time at work at the moment, and she can’t lose her voice again. Edmund wants to know what Moray has done, and Miss Audrey goes off on another rant about how some things (like the passing of time waaaah) just can’t be stopped no matter how hard we try. Edmund says he doesn’t really understand what she’s talking about, probably because this entire scene makes no sense, but says he still is happy to see her. Miss Audrey abruptly leaves. Wow, aren’t we glad we watched that?

To the surprise of utterly no one on earth, Miss Audrey wakes up the next morning, super sick and with no voice. Oh, no, what will become of the store. Will Denise have to take over? The suspense! She actually gets dressed and goes downstairs to try and work even though she can’t talk and it’s kind of hysterical watching her attempt to convey instructions using just her hands. Of course she ends up fainting on the shop floor, the  doctor comes and she’s told to stay in bed for a week, so welcome to her worst nightmare. Of course Moray and Dudley, being the sensitive dudes they are, discuss how they’ve never known Audrey to be ill and just assumed she would be around forever. Clara volunteers to take over ladies’ wear for the time being, but the guys say they have to discuss the situation first. If you think they’re going to pick anyone not named Denise I have a bridge in New York to sell you.

Time for Some Daddy Daughter Bonding. Lord Glendening finds Katherine arranging flowers and expresses shock at her activity – and the fact that these are flowers she’d picked herself. Katherine dislikes being mocked, but her father just looks pleased. He says she seems 17 again and it just makes him happy. He admits that he feared her entanglement with Moray – despite the fact that he likes the man as a businessman – and is happy that she has seemed to have moved on. He says he’s sorry for not recognizing that she had the strength of character to realize that the path to true happiness likes with a man like Adler, which is really the worst compliment ever, but okay. Katherine looks offended, a bit, as she should, but they laugh about it anyway. Awwww. Please don’t take this away from me show. 

Of Course Denise is Going to Run Ladies’ Wear. Despite Clara’s persuasive argument that she’s the senior employee in ladies’ wear and has the most experience, Moray wants to give Denise a chance to run things because some important person is coming in who may buy a lot of outfits and he knows that she could charm him. Dudley clearly believes Moray wants to let Denise run the show because he likes her best, and Moray doesn’t deny it, claiming that there’s just something about Denise that sets her apart from the other girls. Well done on that good staffing decision, boys. It’s clearly fair and unbiased.

Anyway, Moray apparently isn’t man enough to face the girls himself, he makes Dudley give them a speech about how they all have to deal with this temporary staffing difficulty together and support each other in these times of stress. Then he announces that duh, Denise is going to be in charge till Miss Audrey gets back, but he helpfully leaves out the bit where Moray went on forever about how special she was. Denise pipes up that there are girls who’ve been around longer than she has, but Dudley ignores it and tells them about the big deal customer coming at the end of the week. Clara looks furious, as per usual, the only slight difference this time being that she actually has kind of a point. 

Time for Our Weekly Moray and Denise Awkwardness. Denise runs off to find Moray to talk about her sudden elevation in employment status. She says she hasn’t been at The Paradise that long and doesn’t deserve this advancement over others. Moray shrugs and asks her what happens if he says she does deserve it? He tells her she has to learn to live with the fact that some of the other girls are going to object to her advancement because they clearly recognize that she’s the best. Um, okay. Then he goes on a long boring reminiscence for some reason about how when he was a young boy working at the draper counter and how he’s now got everything he ever dreamed he’d want then. Denise then decides to tell him about how men get over losing their sweethearts in Her Country Hometown, which of course involves drinking and fighting and then finding another girl. He asks if people are talking about him and Katherine – because I guess we’ve decided to just skip past the part about Denise’s new job sure – and Denise delicately says that they’re just saying the two of them have parted ways. Suddenly they’re standing very close together again and Moray admits that he forgot why they started this conversation. Denise reminds him and Moray says he just really wants Denise to take care of the ladies’ wear department for him an she says okay.

Why Am I Never Allowed To Have Nice Things. Katherine and Adler are playing some form of board game and she’s letting him win for some reason that’s probably sexist. She then suggests that they go on a nature hike the next day and he’s curious as to why since she’s to this point found such outings tiresome. He asks if she wants to go to please herself or to please him and she says that well it pleases her to please him. Adler looks unhappy. He says that he can feel trying her best, but she doesn’t have to. He says he that feelings between them will grow naturally or they won’t, and it’ll be okay either way.  He asks about her feelings about Moray and she admits she still thinks about him all the time. Adler says maybe he should peace out for a bit until Katherine figures out her feelings for everybody. OF course this is what’s going to happen because this is the only way I’ve found Katherine tolerable at all on this show – not to mention I have exactly zero idea why she even likes Moray in the first place – and obviously the television powers that be have to take it away from me.

The next morning, Lord Glendening is all sorts of annoyed at breakfast because he eavesdropped on his daughter and knows she’s about to break up with the dreamiest guy on the show. He spends the entire day pouting, basically, but whether he’s angry at Moray or Adler or his daughter or all of the avobe is unclear. He actually even ends up shooting a dude while he’s out on a hunt because he’s so distracted. He then complains to Katherine that the fact that she’s in love with Moray is like a curse or something, I don’t even know why. Katherine denies that she loves him and insists that she’s fond of Adler and will prove it. Surely this is going to go well. (And wow this family is dysfunctional.)

Denise’s Time to Shine. Denise arrives in ladies’ wear, decked out in her best Miss Audrey outfight, right down to the fingerless gloves. She gathers the other shopgirls around her to give them a pep talk on how to sell to this big important customer – Fabian Eberhart, who is looking to buy what basically comes down to semi-racy costumes  - by telling them that, as women, they know better than men what women look best wearing. She encourages them that they have to lead this male shopper around by the nose and offer him not a range of choices, but one specific vision, thus removing the actual burden of choice from him whilst letting him maintain the fiction that he’s the one who decides. She decides black lace and red silk is the way to go, because keeping it classy. This show’s grasp of feminism is baffling to me, but whatever.

Of course, however, because this show is predictable, Clara takes this opportunity to attempt to sabotage Denise’s success by ordering the wrong thing. At least Clara’s plan is almost immediately discovered because Denise doesn’t trust her at all, which is one of the first bits of sense we’ve seen her display in this episode.  Mr. Eberhart shows up and Denise does her best half-intelligent, half-sultry sales pitch about how the silk is full of secrets and of course Mr. Eberhart eats it up with a spoon. Point to Denise (sorry, Clara).        

Look at Your Life, Look at Your Choices, People. Clara sneaks into Moray’s office to see him. Moray tries to tell her that just because they hooked up the one time doesn’t mean she can just barge in whenever. Clara waxes rhapsodic about how, during their one night together, Moray was so depressed and sad about his wife dying that she thought he might die of it. He looks constipated, but confirms that that’s how it feels sometimes still. Clara reminds him that she can soothe those sorrows for him, if he’ll let her. She says she knows he’ll never love her, but it’s okay if he needs her sometimes since  she understands what it’s like to lose someone. This is really sort of gross and sad, for all concerned, but of course Moray has another moment of weakness and the two of them end up making out on his desk.

Of course, because why wouldn’t this happen, Denise shows up at Moray’s office at just that moment to knock on the door. For some reason – probably because of the loud making out sounds she hears – she turns away instead of opening the door as Clara and Moray stare at each other in terror. Moray then dramatically declares that Clara has to leave, right now, and if she doesn’t he’ll never forgive her, and she should go before she loses everything. Why in the world the apparent entire burden of agency and responsibility has to rest on Clara in this situation I am at a loss to explain, but his behavior certainly doesn’t make Moray look chivalrous, it makes him look kind of like an out of control jerk. Your mileage may vary on that point of course, but for me it’s ew.

Edmund Visits Audrey’s Sickroom. In a display of incredible impropriety Denise’s uncle Edmund comes to visit the ailing Miss Audrey. They chitchat for a bit about boring things, and then Audrey goes on again about how much it sucks to be getting older and that at The Paradise it’s dangerous to get old. The point of all this is so that afterward, Edmund can finally put two and two together and realize that Audrey’s ridiculous obsession with suddenly getting older is due to the fact that it’s about to be her birthday and everyone’s forgotten about it.

Denise takes this news to Moray, and it’s like a light suddenly goes on his head as he understands why she’s acting like a psycho. Denise says that she’s heard – from a source she is unwilling to name cough cough her uncle – that Audrey tends to have nervous illness conditions like this as a result of anxiety and stress. Moray scoffs at this, but Denise says that she thinks Moray’s favoritism toward her has made her feel obsolete and on the way out. Moray agrees and promises to speak with her.

The next morning, Moray pops up to see Audrey and apologizes for making her ill. Audrey tries to deny it, but Moray says he’s neglected her and failed to cherish her. He says he’s made sure to shower praise on the younger girls to encourage them but he’s forgotten to appreciate his leading lady or whatever. He pours it on really thick, taking her hand and telling her that he needs her, that ladies’ wear is lost without her and her experience, and that he depends on her. Audrey legit starts crying at the attention. It’s kind of embarrassing. Audrey bucks up and says she’ll be back in ladies’ wear the next day.  Moray convinces her to come down to the store that evening, to check up on some things or some obvious lie, and it’s because he’s managed to get everyone to throw her a birthday party, including a heretofore unseen quartet of girls in shopgirl outfits who play the violin. It’s kind of amazing.

Katherine’s Sudden Change of Heart Will Surprise No One. Nosey first assistant Dudley who is apparently just obsessed with his boss’s life goes to see Katherine to tell her that Moray has been acting very unlike himself of late and is sad and mopey and blah blah. He says he thinks Moray is pining for her and can’t admit it to himself and he can’t stand to see him suffering. He encourages her to go to him, as he thinks Moray would be more receptive and maybe not treat her quite so much like dirt this time. Why does he ships them so much I have no idea, and it’s kind of creepy when you think about it. Yuck.

Katherine tells him she can’t do that, because she’s already made a promise elsewhere. Dudley leaves and of course Katherine rushes out in the garden to brood and look conflicted and if you’ve ever watched television before you can guess what’s coming next. I hate you, Dudley. So much. You are now my mortal enemy for ruining the Katherine/Adler thing, you are the worst.

Anyway, after Katherine’s broodfest, she goes to tell her father that she’s tried her best with Adler, that she likes him and everything, but she’s in love with Moray and wants to be happy. She says she knows that is she just goes to Moray and tells him that then everything will be fine. Why she thinks this when he’s basically rejected her every time she’s brought up their relationship I don’t know, but we’re going with it. Katherine says she loves Moray and begs her father not to make her sorry for it. Lord Glendening looks at her, vaguely disgusted, and says she’s going to be the ruin of them all, but he can’t stop her. He also in a moment of awesome parenting, tells her that she’s not getting out of breaking up with Adler herself. (Hilariously, she seemed to expect her father to do it for her.)  Lord Glendening insists that Katherine has to do it, and face up to the kind of person she is and what she does to people that love her. It’s kind of amazing. Then Adler comes in and gets this sad puppy dog look and totally knows what she’s going to say before she starts. Ugh, stupid show, whyyyy.

So that’s this installment. Thoughts? This Katherine/Moray thing is exhausting, isn’t it? Come chat in the comments. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Twitter at @LacyMB