Revisiting ‘The Paradise’: Series 1, Episode 6

Dudley's psyched about Moray and Katherine's big news. (Photo: Courtesy of (C) Des Willie/BBC 2012 for MASTERPIECE)
Dudley's psyched about Moray and Katherine's big news. (Photo: Courtesy of (C) Des Willie/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: Moray is considering how best to handle his planned expansion of The Paradise when one of the neighboring shop owners won’t sell. He manages to convince him by making him a junior partner in the shop, but everyone ends up hating him and wants him out. But everything’s okay because it turns out that Creepy Jonas probably just murdered him anyway. Katherine and Moray get back together sort of I guess after she makes a spectacle of herself shopping at a bunch of other stores. (No really, that happened – oh no, not store adultery!) Denise has a failed entrepreneurial idea, which she then redeems thanks to her standard creative brilliance, and Moray remains impressed with her.

What can we expect in Episode 6? Well, since we have already had murder, it would seem anything at all is fair game. Let’s see what happens, shall we?

Birds Are The Next Big Thing. A bunch of cages filled with small, cute lovebirds arrive at The Paradise. This is part of Moray’s next big scheme to tempt passersby into the store to look at the birds and admire them – he plans to price them quite high so not many will actually sell and they won’t become “common”. Denise is enraptured with the birds, Sam thinks they look like tasty food, and Dudley suggests the new arrivals get their own counter. Pauline wants to be put in charge of the bird area, and Denise encourages her to talk to Moray about it.

Pauline gathers all her strength to go request the position she wants from Moray, but it’s a good job he happens to have Dudley with him, because someone has to translate. Poor Pauline is so nervous and stammery that she can’t get her request out without some help, and we’ll have to just all hope that she’s better at selling things to strangers than she is at talking to actual people she knows, because otherwise the store certainly won’t be moving any birds.

Moray is Moping Again. Because this has to happen at least once in every episode, Moray is wandering about the store looking depressed until the every faithful Dudley asks him what’s wrong. He asks if it’s about the Burrows situation – you know, that guy that they probably let get murdered – but Moray says no, his issue is Katherine. He says that they seem to have some kind of reconciliation between them, though they’re back to playing cat and mouse again. Dudley, because he would be busily running if this show were set in 2014 says that Moray can totally handle that problem just be settling down, since Katherine didn’t say yes to Dreamy Peter Adler when she had the opportunity. (Seriously, why does he ship them so hard? No sense!) He argues that Katherine loves Moray, and that ought to be enough. Moray looks at him with a sneering expression, and yet again, I’m left wondering how we’re meant to see this entire relationship. Clearly the two aren’t right for one another, but their relationship is handled so poorly that it’s hard to see any meaning in it at all, other than making both parties come off as selfish, inconsiderate jerks.

Anyway, a bit later Katherine and Moray go out for a stroll together, and she apologies for the whole Dreamy Peter Adler incident. She says that the whole thing must have been very embarrassing for Moray, and she’d thought he would have put up more of a fight for her. Moray says he couldn’t ever hope to compete with a guy who established an orphanage after all.

Katherine suddenly stops and says that she’s realized that everything she’s done to prove she loves him has ony shown him that she can’t be trusted. She wants Moray to undersand that she is, and can be, constant and knows how to take care of a man since she spent her whole life without a mother. (Um. Ick. What on earth, show?!!) Anyway, Katherine again stresses that she just wants to prove to him that she can be his haven. Moray looks at her for a long minute and asks if things could be different between them, saying that he longs for peace and to settle his soul. Katherine kisses his cheek. This is just the world’s strangest relationship, IMO. They’re so messed up together, I almost wish the show were able to dedicate more time to them, so it might at least have a chance of making this particular storyline make sense. As it stands, even six episodes in we know so little about these two that understanding why the behave the way they do together is difficult.

Lord Glendening Takes the Situation in Hand. Later that night, Lord Glendening discovers Katherine crying in her room. She insists that she’ll be fine in the morning, but her dad’s not having it. He says she’s been getting worse for days now, and wants to know what they’re going to do. Katherine says she tried her best with Peter she really did, and Moray is only shy of marriage because he is honorable and wants to be true to his dead wife. (I can’t decide if Katherine’s willful blindness on this issue is to be pitied or mocked, to be quite honest?). She says she loves that part of him, but says that the situation is unbearable for her. She says she knows Moray loves her, but has no idea when he might be able to manage marrying her. Lord G ominously says that it might all happen for her sooner than she could ever imagine, which definitely sounds like someone’s about to get blackmailed.

Miss Audrey Drops Some Truth Bombs. Miss Audrey notices that Denise is staring off into space while folding things in ladies’ wear and drags her off for a chat. She sits her down and says that Denise must tell her everything that’s going on right now, because she knows the look of love when she sees it. Um, okaaaay? She says that she recognizes the look of pain Denise is sporting and asks who the man is. Denise suddenly starts tearing up and Miss Audrey swiftly guesses that the man in question is Moray. For some inexplicable reason, this makes Denise want to tell her everything and she starts crying for real, saying that she’s tried to push away the feelings she’s having but they refuse to be quieted.

Miss Audrey makes an amazing face, and frankly tells Denise she is doomed. She says Denise wouldn’t be the first girl who found herself overcome by Moray’s charms, but that she’s only allowed to be his pet and champion entrepreneurial mind while she is just his employee. Miss Audrey explains that the minute they kiss, she’ll become a woman to him, like Clara is, and all further advancement will be forbidden to her. She says she knows Denise has ambition and her feelings for Moray could destroy that. Miss Audrey counsels that Denise must devote herself entirely to self-denial from here on out.

So… this is actually a great scene, and it’s always nice to see Miss Audrey get to be both smart and savvy – since she is also a woman who knows what it’s like to choose career ambitions over love – but this exchange is so random and out of nowhere that it’s hard not to gawk at it a little bit. Sure, we’ve seen something bubbling under the surface between Denise and Moray since the first episode, but unfortunately the show has substituted a lot of close talking for actual development of a relationship between the two of them. Why does Denise like Moray so much? How and why have her feelings escalated to the point where they’re obvious to others? When did this become not just a crush for her? It’s an awful lot of telling instead of showing, story-wise, and it’s kind of annoying. But, on the plus side, at least this means something might actually happen.

Denise is Not Doing So Great at Denial. Moray tracks down Denise in ladies’ wear to discuss ideas for the bird counter, he thinks it might be nice to feature pairs of gendered  items on the counter to encourage sales to couples shopping together. Denise agrees with all this, all the while staring at Moray’s face to intently it looks as though she’s about to start drooling. (Again, where did this intensity come from? Where?) She asks why Moray sought out her opinion and he smiles and says it’s because she’s his little champion (aka the somehow simultaneously celebratory and derogative nickname that’s meant to denote her success at sales). Denise starts breathing heavily, particularly when Moray suggests decorating the store in the theme of love and he asks what’s wrong with her. She’s saved from answering when Miss Audrey swoops in to change the subject, but so far her scheme of denial seems to be going fairly poorly.

Time for Some More Boring Chatter About The Paradise Expansion. Lord Glendening comes to see Moray with some bad news about their expansion plans. Turns out this one dude Conrad Jessup, a customer at Lord G’s bank, is buying the lease of every other shop on the street and is aiming to get The Paradise’s too. He’s apparently planning to become Moray’s landlord and then can refuse to sell him any of the other properties and just extort more money from him in rent as the years go by and the shop becomes more and more successful. Lord Glendening looks concerned and says that, well, he could purchase all those leases himself if he were so inclined. He also says that maybe he could increase the size of Moray’s existing loans, so that he could buy them out and then refuse to renew them, thus securing more space for his store expansion as he goes. Moray asks if he’d really be willing to do that, and Glendening holds out his hand. They shake. (Yup, I’m guessing here that someone is definitely getting blackmailed eventually.)

TO the surprise of no one, Glendening suddenly changes the subject and says he knows he’s talked a lot about how he objects to Moray’s relationship with his daughter. He says he knows that he’s stood in their way, and he’d like to now give the two of them his blessing, should Moray want to speak with Katherine. He says that since he and Moray are going to be partners as soon as he buys those leases, it’s all fine really. Dun dunnn.

Sam and Pauline Are Cute, But Man They’re Kind of Dumb. Sam stops by to visit with Pauline at the bird counter. The two of them are sweetly cute together, I have to admit. They chat for a bit about how excited Pauline is to have this new position and how she plans to stay on right at that counter until she’s married. Sam starts regaling her with stories of all the tricks the birds can do, like stand on people’s hands or heads. Pauline loves this instantly and wonders how big of an attraction she’d be in the store if she could get birds to sit on her for customers to see. She opens one of the cages to try this out – dumb, dumb Pauline – and of course the bird escapes. Plus, since the bird cage is right by the front door, the escaped bird manages to fly out into the street and disappear. Pauline panics, but Sam tries to calm her down, insisting that they’ll find the missing bird.

The Most Anticlimactic Engagement in History. To the delight of probably no one, Moray finally proposes to Katherine. She’s overjoyed, of course, and promises to spoil him with love for the rest of their lives and make sure he never regrets marrying her. Moray looks mildly pleased at best, before they kiss and he stares off into space behind her like his dog just died. Oh, well, least Dudley’s probably going to have a heart attack from joy when he hears his OTP has made it official.

The Myth of Mrs. Moray Lives On. Jonas, having already committed what appears to be murder to help further Moray’s interests, goes to visit Denise’s Uncle Edmund in the shop across the street. He’s scrawled some comments about the street being where Helen Moray died in the middle of the road with chalk, since he’d earlier seen Edmund use chalk to draw a hopscotch board with Arthur ealier. He tells Edmund that no one will believe he didn’t do it, that Moray will surely call the constable over his slander, and won’t it all be so shameful for him and for Denise, his poor niece that he couldn’t even provide work for. Edmund loses his temper and punches Jonas in the face and it’s awesome – even if a bit less than realistic as Lovett would have had to have been wearing a ring the size of the Godfather’s to leave a mark like that on Jonas’s face, but whatever. Jonas sneers, having gotten what he wanted – Edmund to assault him. He leaves, sneering that clearly Edmund’s a dangerous man.

Edmund is clearly distraught afterward and laments to Audrey and Denise that he’s surely going to be arrested and ruined now. In response, Denise runs straight to Jonas to tell him how upset her uncle’s been lately and how he swears he didn’t make those markings. Jonas, as he does, gets freakishly defensive about Mrs. Moray and Denise decides that now is the perfect time to ask why Moray’s grief is still so fresh over his dead wife. (Denise might be smart about business but OMG she is dumb as a post about people.) Anyway, Jonas launches into a long story about how Mrs. Moray was kind to him when he first arrived in Unnamed City with the Lone Main Street way back in the day after he’d run out of options everywhere else. She treated him kindly despite his one arm and helped him get a job at The Paradise. She died three weeks after he met her. Jonas is getting real intense in this recollection now, so I think we can probably take bets about whether he was in love with Mrs. Moray, or just has some kind of cultish shrine built to her in his bedroom. (Maybe both?). So, since she was kind to him and all, Jonas refuses to hear anything negative said against her, and Denise says she understands and leaves.

Moray and Denise Have Their Big Moment and It Makes a Big Mess. Denise, wisely fleeing from Jonas’s creepy dead boss lady obsession, instead stupidly chooses to go and see Moray, and offer to try and explain about her Uncle Edmund’s apparent crackpot behavior. Moray, however, is moping aggressively in his office, and when Denise asks what’s wrong he goes off on a monologue about how he tried to live in a world without feeling. He says he’s spent three years refusing love, and now finds that he can only pretend at it. Denise puts a hand on his knee and says he has to stop punishing himself like this. Moray emotes some more, and asks Denise to call him John, because he longs to be called by his name again. Denise starts slightly, but agrees, and takes his hand.

They stare at each other for a moment, and Denise decides that this is definitely the perfect moment to tell Moray that she’s in love with him. She says she never meant to say anything at all, but she’s so in love with him that she can’t sleep or think or do anything. Then she leans forward and kisses him and the music swells and they pull each other close and then of course they get interrupted by Arthur and Sam, who bring news that Jonas and Dudley are shouting at each other downstairs over the Edmund Lovett situation.

Denise returns to ladies’ wear and starts crying, only to be dragged off by Miss Audrey and given yet more relationship advice. She urges Denise to prove to Moray that she still respects him as her employer so that she doesn’t lose her place in the store, but Denise insists that she thinks John feels the same as she, since he looked at her in a certain way. Miss Audrey clearly thinks she’s crazy, and says that this is the moment that will decide the rest of her life.

Meanwhile, downstairs, Dudley’s busy ranting about how much he thinks Jonas is a creeper, when Katherine arrives, beaming with the joy of her good news and engaged status. She shoves her hand in Dudley’s face so he can see her engagement ring and he lights up, exclaiming that he wants to be the first to congratulate the two of them. You remember that feeling you had the first time Mary and Matthew kissed on Downton Abbey? Yeah, this is that moment for Dudley. His OTP, y’all!  Of course, it’s the flipside for Denise, who of course has returned downstairs from her cryfest just in time to see Dudley announce to the whole store that Moray and Katherine are engaged to be married. Moray and Denise lock eyes at this moment and stare aggressively at each other, and really it’s hilarious that Clara is the only person who notices it. Denise looks devastated, but Moray doesn’t say anything.

Surprise: Denise Quits Over a Boy. Denise manages to wish Moray well when they share an awkward moment in ladies’ wear, and then goes straight to Dudley to resign. She says that she simply can’t continue on at The Paradise due to her current situation, which Dudley assumes means the business with her uncle, and he does his best to convince her that she’s not responsible for whatever’s going on there, and it may even prove that her uncle’s not guilty. Denise says that she’s sure other instances would inevitably flame up over time, and Dudley still thinks she’s talking about her uncle and it’s almost sad. She says the situation is just too difficult, and that she’s truly sorry to leave.

Denise returns to her uncle’s shop across the way and they hug and she cries. Womp womp.  A bit later, Dudley and Miss Audrey break the news to Moray that Denise has quit. He doesn’t react much outwardly, and Miss Audrey asks if that means they’re to take on a new girl. Moray says that perhaps they could wait on that a couple of days.

Sam and Pauline’s Bird Quest. Pauline finally admits to Dudley that she let one of the expensive lovebirds get away. Dudley, instead of firing her because they’re worth more than half the store, commends her courage in confessing to her big screw up. Pauline’s excited she’s not going to get sacked, and Sam says he has a plan to find the missing bird.

They put the cage with the lone bird still in it outside, in the hopes that the birds are pining for one another, and love will make the missing bird come back. Of course, this is actually what happens - the bird returns, they catch her safely, Pauline decides she would much rather work in haberdashery after all and all is right with the world. At least Sam and Pauline are cute together I guess?

Denise’s New Entrepreneurial Project. The next day, Denise wakes up at her uncle’s full of ambition and determination that the two of them are going to make a go of it and eke out some kind of living from his shop. She has tons of ideas actually – she knows he’s the best dressmaker around but he’s not getting any orders for that kind of thing at the moment and they have to figure out other things that they can sell. She declares that between the two of them, they’re going to find ways to be different from The Paradise and that’s what will keep the business going.

Denise suggests that they turn their attention to making small items – things like neckties, since they’re becoming fashionable now, fancy pillowcases and other decorative objects – things that don’t cost that much so people can purchase them when the desire strikes with the cash they have on them. She says they can set up a table outside the shop, as if it were a market stall, to catch passersby. Edmund looks skeptical about all this, but Denise asks him to trust her with the steering of the shop for the time being. He says of course and Denise looks pleased.

The two Lovetts are apparently the fastest sewers on the planet as in what seems mere moments later Denise is already outside the store hanging up their new display of neckties for sale. Moray is in the street while this is going on and wanders over to chat with her. He tells her that neckties are a very good idea. He also points out that he doesn’t actually know any men who wear neckties and, in fact, he’s pretty sure that he, himself, is the only gentleman he can think of who prefers them. Denise looks awkward because, let’s face it, this is the tiniest bit Fatal Attraction, but Moray just smiles. He then offers to buy one from her, and tells her that she didn’t have to leave and asks if she’ll come back to him. Denise says no (good girl!), and angrily points out that he let her make a fool of herself, and kiss him and say all that stuff she said, when he knew he was engaged to be married to someone else. Moray’s response to this is that he has his reasons for Katherine and that everything happened so suddenly between them. Denise says that he’s going to marry Katherine and that’s all that matters. Moray says that he’s sorry, if that matters at all. They’re interrupted by Edmund, of course, and the two men apologies to each other for the whole Jonas incident. Then there are some MORE STARES between Denise and Moray before he heads back to The Paradise and our episode ends.

Dun dun dunnnn! Finally, an episode where things really happen! Hit the comments with your thoughts – do you believe in Denise and Moray’s relationship? Why is he marrying Katherine again? And isn’t it nice when Denise is allowed to be awesome on her own without the Moray factor? 

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