Revisiting ‘The Paradise’: Series 1, Episode 5

These three should probably discuss how weird all their relationships are. (Photo: Courtesy of (C) Jonathan Ford/BBC 2012)
These three should probably discuss how weird all their relationships are. (Photo: Courtesy of (C) Jonathan Ford/BBC 2012)
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: Miss Audrey has a midlife crisis because she’s getting older and everyone can see that Moray has a thing for Denise and her constant promotional ideas. She actually makes herself ill about it and, as a result, Denise gets to run ladies’ wear for a bit and show off all her sales talents. (Of course she does a great job, because hello, have you seen this show.) Katherine and Dreamy Peter Adler go on dates and are adorable together, but since everyone on the show can’t shut up about her thing with Moray – including Dudley, who shows up at her house specifically to tell her that his boss might stoop to get with her if she tried again because he has the sads – they break up by the end of the episode. I hate everything. Clara tries to sleep with Moray again, we learn more about Edmund’s past with Miss Audrey, and this is probably the only episode where you actually legitimately thought Lord Glendening was awesome.

So, onward, then, I guess. Let’s see what happens next. 

The Paradise Expansion is Still Happening. Lord Glendening arrives outside The Paradise to quiz Moray on how the store expansion is going.  In case you’ve forgotten this random plot point from the first episode – which was actually our introduction to Lord Glendening in the first placed IIRC – Moray is busy trying to expand the size of The Paradise on our Main Unnamed Street. He’s currently attempting to buy out the shops that neighbor the store, but some shopowners are being resistant, despite Moray’s allegendly “generous” payout offer. Lord Glendening reminds Moray that he’s got plenty of money – since he’s the one giving it to him – so he should make sure not to be seen as weak by hesitating. Just go pay the little shops off before they look like they’re ruling the city, is basically his advice.

Moray (stupidly) takes this time to completely change topics and reassure Lord G that he’s upheld his word about leaving Katherine and Dreamy Peter Adler alone. He stresses that he hasn’t approached her or anything. Glendening says that’s fine and all but his daughter broke up with the obvious better choice already, since Moray can apparently win her affection even by leaving her alone. He says his daughter will probably be contacting him any day now, but he’ll leave it to Moray to decide how to respond.

Oh Look Its Rory From “Doctor Who”! It turns out that none other than Rory Pond owns the barbershop next door to The Paradise. Not really of course, but the barber – whose name is actually Bradley Burrows, but get ready for us to ignore that because duh, it’s Rory – is played by the wonderful Arthur Darvill, well known to Whovians around the world. There really are only ten actors in Britain, apparently. Anyway, it turns out the barbershop is one of the few places on the Singular Main Street that is The Only Place People Go Apparently that’s actually turning a profit, so Moray will have to throw a lot of money at Barber Rory to make him give it up. 

Dudley gets sent over to get a shave while Moray and Barber Rory have a chat. Barber Rory declares that he wants to be a man of means and influence like Moray and the folks that shop at The Paradise. He wants to be a person people respect, who gets to wear a suit every day, and this is his great opportunity to get there. Barber Rory agrees that he’ll sell his shop if Moray makes him a junior partner in The Paradise itself. Moray is not into this idea at all, because the shop is his baby, though it’s obvious that Burrows has him a bit over a barrel – he doesn’t have to sell and Moray will lose his funding from Glendening if he doesn’t make progress soon. Luckily Creepy Jonas is here to save the day, and advises Moray to give Barber Rory what he wants for right now, but insert a clause in his contract that says he can be paid off and removed if he does anything stupid.  

Moray Decides to Write to Katherine, with Predictably Poor Results.  Moray – using the keen judgment we’ve seen displayed so frequently throughout this show – decides his best course of action is to write Katherine a letter. Whatever he said in this letter must have been particularly awesome, given the state of Katherine’s face as she reads it. …And the fact that she immediately rushes to go shop in every other establishment on the Singular Main Street that is The Only Place People Go in This Major City I Guess except The Paradise.

She even stops in to Denise’s Uncle Edmund’s shop, which is remarkable if only because we’ve never actually seen a customer there before now. (There is a word for stores like this in modern times and that is drug front, if you get my drift. That’s how not successful this place is.) Katherine pretends the shop is charming instead of drab and horrifying, and orders several dresses made. Uncle Edmund – deploying the sharp business sense that has kept his store utterly empty of commerce for five episodes – says he’s flattered but wants to know why she’s not shopping somewhere else. Katherine says she thinks it’s her civic duty to support local craftsman and also to make sure Moray doesn’t think he owns the world. Oh, Uncle Edmund. 

Denise Displays The Full Range of Her Brainpower For Good and Ill. Denise shows up to see her uncle and finds him giddy with excitement about making a dress for Katherine. He goes on at some length about what a game changer this is for him and the shop, and how he always knew business would return because people appreciate quality. He says if Katherine’s a customer it could bring great fortune to him in the future. Denise looks sort of awkward through this, and it’s unclear if she realizes her uncle is crazy or if she’s just dying to get away from his boring chatter.

Denise runs straight into Moray on her way back to The Paradise and, standing much too close together all the while, she manages to blurt out that she’s been visiting her uncle and he’s just in a great mood because Katherine’s ordered a dress from him in fact she’s been ordering things from every shop on the street and isn’t that interesting, sorry, no one actually knew if someone had bothered to tell Moray that yet ha ha whoops. So so awkward, y’all. Moray looks confused and stares off into the distance.

Later, Denise drops her latest entrepreneurial scheme on Miss Audrey. She suggests that on the slowest afternoon of the week, they close off ladies’ wear to actual ladies, and invite men inside. She imagines that they could then help the men in choosing gifts for their wives or girlfriends or whatever. Miss Audrey thinks this idea is totally vulgar, but that doesn’t stop her from stealing Denise’s notion as her own, as soon as Moray’s complaining about how they’re not selling enough expensive lingerie. Denise is staring daggers at her this whole time, which is sort of hilarious when you remember how many versions of this story we’ve already been through where Denise was begging virtual strangers on the street to take credit for her ideas if it meant they got used in the store. How the times they are a changin’.

Clara Whines and Plots. Yawn. Because everyone on this show has to be obsessed with Moray to some degree or other, it’s time to spend some time on Clara’s weird obsession with him. Why this even exists when he treats her horribly except for that one time they made out, I don’t know, but nevertheless. Anyhow, Clara tells Moray that she thinks gentleman’s afternoon is just the saddest thing ever because men should be allowed to have pleasures like anyone else and blah blah blah a lot of innuendo. Moray shoots down her less than covert pass at him for what must be the fifth time, and says that sometimes men deny themselves things because the consequences are the devil to pay.

Clara retires to her room to mope and whine at Pauline about how Moray won’t even look at her now that he’s so obsessed with Denise. Pauline – sagely, for once – points out that he wasn’t exactly looking at her to start with, and all they had was one night together. Clara insists that it has to mean something that he cried all over her about his wife, and she’s not going to let a country girl like Denise steal him from her. She then makes plans to steal Creepy Jonas’s book of notes about everyone, to see if she has any deep dark secrets that she could exploit.

Barber Rory’s First Day. Bradley Burrows, new junior partner at The Paradise, shows up for his first day at work. Pauline and Sam are designated to keep an eye on him, and both get terribly snooty about him being a barber who has suddenly graduated to wearing a suit. (Though, to be fair, his suit is wretched.) Barber Rory is told to learn the shop floor, but he wonders when he gets to hang out with Moray. Dudley puts his request off, then dumps him on Sam and flees.

Sam takes Barber Rory around the floor, and he spends most of his time not listening, critiquing Sam’s shaving habits and aggressively hitting on Pauline (yikes).  He even tries to get her to go out with him, but she shoots him down. To the shock of no one, Barber Rory turns out to be a terrible business person, getting all up in customers’ faces and arguing repeatedly with Dudley about how he’s a partner and can do what he likes. It’s not even fun to watch – the character has no redeeming qualities and clearly isn’t going to stick around past this episode, so why are we being forced to suffer through this.

The First Gentleman’s Afternoon in Ladies Wear is a Disaster. Denise is still mad bitter about Miss Audrey stealing her idea and presenting it as her own. Miss Audrey tries to smooth things over and says that the important thing is that ladies’ wear is seen to best effect and shines in Mr. Moray’s eyes. Denise wonders what changed her mind when Miss Audrey’d previously thought  the whole idea of having men in their department was vulgar. She sniffs and says it was vulgar as Denise presented it. Okaay. Anyway, their conversation gets tabled because the first gentleman’s afternoon kicks off.

It turns out though, that gentleman’s afternoon is kind of vulgar actually. All the shop girls lay on the innuendo and lingerie jokes super tick, and Miss Audrey spends the entire time quietly freaking out in a corner at how scandalous everything is. Things, naturally, get more scandalous when the supershocked wives of the gentlemen who are shopping show up to drag their husbands out of the store and upbraid Miss Audrey for allowing her department to become a palace of sin. They’re all furious, and several insist they’re going to have to reconsider whether to shop there anymore. It’s sort of hilarious, and a wonderful bit of payback for Miss Audrey, who acted so horribly. Clara snottily asks Denise how she thinks Moray will feel when he finds out what a hot mess this whole thing was and smirks.

A bit later, Clara goes running to Dudley to tell him that Nightmare Gentlemen’s Hour was really Denise’s idea, and Miss Audrey shouldn’t be blamed for the whole city laughing at them. She complains that Denise always acts as though she owns the place, and says that even though she acts like a simple country girl everyone can tell she’s got her eye on Moray. Dudley tells Clara to get back to work, but she insists that he should check Creepy Jonas’s book of all knowledgefulness if he doesn’t believe her.

This Dressmaking Story is So Not Going To End Well Edmund has been working furiously on Katherine’s dress commission, and Denise is impressed at his progress. He’s all sorts of happy, going on  at some (interminable) length about how real dressmakers are artists who have to really understand people to make customers happy. He asks Denise to come round and help him with Katherine’s dress fitting, since he’s the only one who works in his shop, he really needs a woman for something like that. Denise says she really can’t because The Paradise forbids its staff from taking on work elsewhere. Edmund totally guilts her into it, saying they’re family and he’s going to lose everything he has if she doesn’t help him. Denise tries to argue that she might get sacked, but she’s clearly going to help him anyway. Oh, Denise.

Katherine shows up for her fitting, full of praise for Uncle Edmund’s dressmaking skills and the quality of his material. She then randomly asks Denise whether the staff at The Paradise has been talking about her decision to shop elsewhere, clearly hoping that she’s caused come sort of stir. Denise says nothing, and Katherine comes up with the idea that the dress should be displayed in the shop window to show it off.  

Miss Audrey Tries to Save Face. Moray comes up to ladies’ wear to chat about the disaster of Gentlemen’s Afternoon. Miss Audrey starts backtracking furiously, insisting that some part of her always thought that the idea lacked decorum and knew it shouldn’t have happened. She says that now that she’s reflected upon it, she thinks that the idea may have originally come from one of the girls actually, and she’ll do her best to figure out who’s to blame for the mess.

Moray insists that what they need to do is learn from their mistakes, and that they’ve forgotten they’re meant to be serving the ladies’ desires in the store. They need to make a gesture to the women of the city, to come up with some special treat for them to show that The Paradise caters to their dreams. Miss Audrey promises the group will think on it and, of course, two seconds later Moray pulls Denise aside to ask if she has any ideas. Denise brightens but then catches Miss Audrey staring at her and says no. Does it feel to anyone else like we go through this plot every week? It feels like we’re constantly asked to validate Denise’s entrepreneurial brilliance for some reason, because oh no, she’s not allowed to express her amazing ideas at work, even though she’s repeatedly been rewarded within the world of the store already for doing just that? I don’t know. It’s tiresome, and I wish we could move on to basically any other plotline.

Creepy Jonas Handles Business. Sort of. To the shock of no one, Creepy Jonas catches Denise coming back from her uncle’s dress shop and reminds her that seeking outside sewing work is forbidden to Paradise employees. Denise sputters something about helping her uncle, but Jonas says it’s cool, he’s not going to see her dismissed this one time she broke the rules (the fact that it’s because she’s Denise and apparently gets away with everything because she’s an extra special snowflake and Moray is into her I guess is just all implied). He gives her a creepy lecture about the necessity of total loyalty for good measure before she runs off though.

The next morning, he pulls Barber Rory aside for a chat and advises him that since it’s obvious he’s not great Paradise management material he should probably seriously consider taking Moray’s buyout cash and leaving. Burrows insists that he knows what his rights are, and he knows what a partner does and he’s a partner so everyone’s just going to have to get used to it. He also reminds Jonas that he’s been next door to The Paradise for a long time, and has a seen a lot of stuff go down, including way back when Moray’s wife died in that “tragic accident” or whatever. Barber Rory declares he’s part of The Paradise for good. Jonas storms off and goes straight to Moray – who wants to know how soon they can get rid of Burrows per the contract they drew up – but Creepy McCreeperson says they shouldn’t be too hasty on the legal front and asks for permission to deal with Barber Rory himself. Moray says that’s cool. This sure sounds like a burgeoning murder plot whether it’s meant to or not, right?

Moray Finally Remembers Katherine’s Alive.  While talking to Jonas, Moray catches sight of Katherine’s new dress proudly displayed in the window of Denise’s uncle’s shop. When she’s actually supposed to get the chance to wear this dress is unclear, but I guess that’s a plot point we just aren’t addressing. Anyway, Moray is predictably mad about it and goes to confront Katherine at a party. She’s all happy and bubbly and glad to see hm, but Moray, being kind of a jerk, starts getting angry at her in the middle of the group about the dress.

Katherine sniffs that he takes everything so personally but he says she can’t just waltz up and down the street going to other businesses – Like she’s her own person or something! How novel! – and claims the whole city’s talking. Moray tells her that she’s cruel to toy with all those other shopkeepers and give the businesses hope that they might survive when she knows it’s hopeless, just to have a chance to tease him. He then calls her a spoiled child, if that’s your idea of romance. Which I guess it is for them, because they end up kissing passionately. This relationship is so gross you guys. I miss you, dreamy Peter Adler!

Sometimes This Show is SO Predictable. Since Moray has suddenly decided he likes Katherine agan, and Katherine’s decided she likes being treated horribly again, this next bit isn’t shocking. Katherine goes to Edmund’s dress shop to regretfully inform him that she’s changed her mind about the dress – that she no longer likes the cut or color or anything at all really, but says she’s going to pay for it anyway. Edmund sadly looks at her and says she never really wanted a dress from him in the first place did she. He says that clearly his pride, his whole life, means nothing to her. He says he’s going to finish her dress anyway, because he’s promised to do so and needs to be able to look himself in the eye. Katherine’s all, whatever, and flounces out.

Meanwhile, Moray’s busy having a meeting with Denise. He says he knows she was behind the whole Gentleman’s Afternoon idea, and that he also knows that she has some sort of scheme in mind as to how to make it up to the women of the town as well. Moray insists that Denise has to tell him all about it because he understands that her loyalty is to him, not to Miss Audrey (because I guess he is psychic now IDK.) Whatever. Anyway, Denise’s grand idea is to take the slinky lingerie that Moray got from Paris and have a “Ladies After Dark” event, where women can shop for the naughty clothes they really want without having to feel uncomfortable about it. They start weirdly walking circles around each other as they both discuss the fact that all women really want to be desired and adored and having an exclusive event so they can try on fancy Parisian lingerie by candlelight will make them feel that way. (Honestly, this show’s opinion of women, you guys. I don’t get how they can have such individual forward thinking female characters and still espouse this mess. Ugh.) Moray is, predictably, impressed, and displays this by standing even closer to Denise than normal.

Time to Deal with Barber Rory. After nearly sexually assaulting Pauline and throwing young Arthur down the stairs, the gang finally agrees it’s time to ditch Barber Rory. Creepy Jonas is still concerned about what sort of secrets he might reveal if they sack him, but says that he can probably get a handle on this business if Moray and Dudley just give him two or three days to convince Barber Rory its in his best interest to vacate his position. It’s unclear whether this is meant to mean something like an Edwardian trip to Guantanamo, but it sure does seem to imply torture if you ask me. Yikes. Can we please get to the backstory ep where we learn why Jonas is such a terrifying psycho?

Anyway, Jonas tells Barber Rory that Moray wants to take him out to a special night of entertainment with the boys that’s super secret. Jonas promises to pick him up and escort him himself, but he shouldn’t mention that he’s going to anyone. Barber Rory, not knowing the depths of Jonas’s crazy, gets all excited about this and happily heads off in a strange carriage that night. He doesn’t come back. After he’s missing from work for three days, people start asking questions, and Jonas is forced to tell Moray that Burrows had tried to blackmail him with his alleged knowledge of what when down the night Mrs. Moray died. “Had an accident”. Whatever. Jonas tells Moray he’s taken care of it, and that Barber Rory and whatever he may or may not have seen won’t be a problem for them anymore. Moray looks shocked and wants to know what Jonas did. The Master Creeper says that he’d really rather prefer if Moray didn’t ask him that, claiming that he only did his duty and his loyalty to the store is assured. Moray dismisses him and somehow looks shocked that he’s employing a murderer, even though Jonas might as well be walking around carrying a sign that says “I Love To Kill People, Ask Me How”.  Ugh, gross.

Ladies After Dark is a Big Hit. A ton of ladies show up for the super exclusive Ladies After Dark event, and ladies’ wear is decked out in candles, soft lighting and soft fabrics. Pauline, Clara and Denise are all models sporting various corsets and undergarments for the assembled ladies, who gasp appreciatively several times. Miss Audrey promises them all the utmost discretion should they want to purchase anything, which it seems clear they all will. Clara snottily asks Denise if she’s sad that Moray can’t be in the room to see her success. Denise smiles and says that at least Clara can see it, and that’s enough for her for the moment. So, Denise triumphs as a businesswoman yet again!

Katherine Has a Change of Heart. Again. Katherine gets a big box in the mail and it’s her completed dress from Denise’s uncle. It looks pretty and she looks sad. She sends an urgent not to Moray, asking him to come see her. She tells him that she wants to stop doing this, wants to stop hurting people, wants to stop hurting Moray. She says she just wants to devote herself and her life to loving him and asks if he can let her do that. She kisses his cheek while Moray stares into the distance over her shoulder like a man facing down the gallows. This relationship is really sad, actually – it actually makes both people involved in it the worst versions of themselves. Yuck.

So…that was kind of a weird episode yeah? To be honest, it’s really getting hard to root for a lot of these people – except Denise, but she’s so good and talented and successful, it’s hard to really like her! Why is no one well balanced, why?

Anyway. If you have thoughts, hit 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