The Paradise: A Kiss is (Not) Just a Kiss

Previously on The Paradise: Denise arrived in the big city, got a job at The Paradise, and proved to be brilliant.

Late at night, The Paradise is empty, pretty, and orderly. Moray’s in his office, sketching his dead wife, but the sketch is starting to look suspiciously like Denise. He crumples it up and tosses it in the wastebasket.

The next morning, the salespeople rib each other as they get ready. Sam takes his teasing of Pauline a little far for Pauline’s taste, and she gets pouty. Out on the sales floor, Audrey and Moray discuss Moray’s latest attention getter—giving all the ladies who come in a pink corsage.

Later, Catherine arrives with a pretty ginger friend (Jocelyn), who looks like she’s died and gone to heaven. Catherine urges her to spoil herself a little, and Jos takes that advice and starts running. Sam turns his sales skills on full blast and shows her some gloves. She immediately starts buying up every glove she can lay her eyes on, alarming Catherine, who gently warns her to reign it in. She calls over Moray for introductions and Moray charmingly welcomes her to the store. Jos tells him she’d love to spend her whole visit in The Paradise, and then she gets distracted by the arrival of the corsages. Moray calls Sam over to pin on Jos’s flower while he takes care of Catherine. Catherine quietly thanks him for being so kind to Jos and tells him Jos is a bit unhappy, though she doesn’t show it.

Denise stands at the foot of the stairs, staring off into nothing. Instead of thinking she’s simpleminded or just wasting time, Moray senses she’s got another Brilliant Idea, and of course she does: Miss Paradise Pink. Create a competition amongst the female customers to be named the loveliest woman wearing one of their corsages. He loves it, and it is a pretty good idea, though you’d think at least a few of the losers will end up rather bitter. Denise asks him not to tell Miss A that this was her idea and he promises.

Catherine and Jos finally make it to ladieswear, where Catherine asks particularly for Denise. Jos says she could buy everything she lays her eyes on—a saleswoman’s dream—and rushes over to one dress.

Miss A rushes to Moray and Dudley and tells them Jos is buying up a storm but has no cash on her. Moray tells her to open an account, but Dudley says that’s not how they do business. It’s not? Wasn’t it fairly common practice for high-end stores at the time to run accounts for rich customers? It’s not like they could pull out an AmEx, you know. The gentlemen reach ladieswear, where they watch Jos grabbing everything in her radius and tossing it on her “to buy” pile. Moray tells Dudley Jos’s husband will settle the bill, and this is just the class of customer they want to nab. Miss A pulls Jos aside and invites her to set up an account for future settlement.

On his way to the pub, Sam notes Lovett having problems with his front door. When he goes to check it out, he offers to fix it. Apparently he learned to do so from his father. He sees Moray come out of The Paradise and turns his back, asking Lovett to keep this on the down-low.

Moray goes to Catherine’s, where there’s a party underway. Cate’s trying to get him to embrace a position in the upper classes, but Moray’s reluctant to leave his working man background behind. Jos observes them and tells Glendenning that they’re a lovely couple. He says it’s a shame her husband, Teddy, couldn’t accompany her, but she says he’s busy with some railroad business. Moray comes over and notices she’s wearing her Paradise flower. When he leaves, Jos and Cate gossip a bit about Cate’s and Moray’s relationship. Jos tells Cate he’s clearly besotted, and either she’s not a good judge of relationships or she’s lying for her friend’s sake, because he doesn’t seem to be besotted at all. He barely even seems interested.

Presumably after having fixed the door, Sam’s playing the card version of the Shell Game with Lovett, who loses, of course. Sam tells him that’s 20 guineas he owes now. Jesus, 20 guineas! No wonder this guy’s having business problems, he’s an idiot with money! Denise thankfully comes in and is invited to stay by Lovett, who goes to pour them all drinks. Later, she and Sam walk back to The Par and Sam tells her the gossip from the other girls isn’t true. She doesn’t care. He shrugs that he just wants her to like him. She laughs him off and wishes him a good night. He wheels off towards the pub.

Denise shows Jos a pretty hat, and Jos says she’ll have it in three different colours. Denise is thrown, because it’s unusual for a customer to buy the same hat three times. Nonetheless, she goes to write up the order.

Downstairs, Moray pitches the Miss Paradise Pink idea to Miss A and asks her to run the promotion. She looks a bit terrified.

Cate, meanwhile, is in Moray’s office, crumpling up the note she’s writing him. She sees the picture of Denise beside the wastebasket and goes to look more closely at it, but Jonas comes in and quickly sends her away before pocketing the picture himself.

Dudley calls Moray over and points out Jos, who’s still on her spending spree, now out of ladieswear and in the main hall. They both fail to see her stagger and gasp for air, but Sam sees and rushes over to her, helping her to a chair. She begs him not to let anyone see her like this, so he tells her they can lie that she twisted her ankle and then she can cry all she likes and have an excuse. She agrees, so he snaps the heel off one of her shoes. Those are some terribly made shoes if he can snap a heel off that easily.

Up in ladieswear, Miss A is telling the girls about the contest, but she has no idea what to do beyond ordering the flowers. Pauline suggests Moray judge the contest. Slightly inspired by that, Miss A pitches a pink dress as the prize. She then calls on Denise for ideas, and of course, Denise has tons: to win, the lady must have purchased something in the store that day, and she’ll be presented with a garland of flowers, and she’ll have her photograph in the paper and hung in The Paradise wearing her prize dress. And they can hang up the empty picture frame ahead of time, so every lady can imagine herself in it! Audrey likes the ideas. I see only one problem: from what I understand from The Age of Innocence (the novel, not the movie), no lady worthy of the title would ever have her picture in the newspaper at that time. It was considered abominably vulgar. In the book there’s this whole uproar over putting up a tent in front of a church during a wedding specifically to shield the bride from photographers. Her mother basically passes out in horror at the idea of her daughter’s picture being in the paper. So, that would be a non-starter. The rest of it’s good, though.

That night, Pauline’s doing Denise’s hair and harping on about Sam’s jibe from earlier that week. Denise tells her to just let it go, but Clara eggs her on, of course. Pauline says that Sam’s a ladies’ man, a flirt, and a rogue.

That flirt is visiting  Jos at the Glendennings’, at her invitation. And suddenly it’s still daytime, even though it looked pretty dark in the previous scene, so I think we’ve got a continuity oops here. She’s got her foot wrapped up, still pretending to have twisted her ankle. Sam’s clearly uncomfortable in these grand surroundings, but she tries to put him at ease, inviting him to pour some wine and presenting him with a gift to thank him for his “heroics.” She also invites him to call her Joscelyn, but he’s not comfortable with such familiarity. He downs his wine and likes it, so she pours him some more. As she hands it over, she admits that she’s unhappy asm unnoticed by them both, Glendenning and Catherine return from wherever they were and head up the front walk. Jos starts to cry and get upset, telling Sam suddenly that she’s left her husband, but she hasn’t been brave enough to tell anyone else. She throws herself into his arms, knocking over a small table, and then kisses him, just as Cate and Glendenning come in. They ask what’s going on and she panics, slapping Sam and rushing out of the room. Sam looks completely confused and scared as Glendenning turns on him.

Sam returns to The Paradise dorms and runs into Denise, who asks what’s bothering him. He tells her he went to visit Jos and that she kissed him. Denise is shocked and tells him he has to tell somebody what really happened.

Glendenning summons Moray and Dudley to his house to demand Sam be fired. They promise to have a word with Sam, which isn’t enough for Glen, who says they’re lucky they aren’t pressing charges. Moray asks what Sam was doing there and Glen takes offense, thinking they’re intimating Jos was in some way improper. Dudley asks how she’s doing and is told she’s resting. Glen once more demands Sam be dismissed.

As the men go to leave, they meet Catherine on the stairs. Dudley asks her how Jos is doing and she says they’re both rather upset. Dudley asks to send some flowers and she says that would be appreciated. Dudley promises to make sure the story doesn’t get around. Catherine thanks him but notices Moray’s not too talkative. He says he’s upset about this, of course, but he needs to look into the matter more carefully. That pisses Catherine off, so Dudley steps in and explains that he once faced dismissal because of a bogus theft charge, but Moray stood by him until he was cleared. He’s a man determined to find justice at all costs. That calms Catherine down and the two men depart.

Glendenning goes up to Jos’s room and tells her they’ll arrange for her to go home as soon as possible. She says she’ll need a few days to calm her nerves enough for travel, and then she turns down offers of a doctor and sending for her husband. Catherine comes in and her father leaves the two girls alone.

Sam emerges from his dorm the next morning and all the girls note he’s rather subdued. Denise quietly advises him to tell Moray the truth, but he’s already given up and figures he’ll be fired.

He goes immediately to Moray’s office, where he finds Dudley and Jonas with the boss. He tells them Jos kissed him, which Dudley finds rather difficult to believe, as she’s a respectable married woman. Jonas steps in and asks about the ‘incident’ the day before. Sam mentions the snapped heel and Jonas immediately accuses him of going to the house because he thought Jos would be vulnerable to his advances, which seems like quite a leap. Sam vehemently denies this, but he figures his word will lose out against hers in a he-said-she-said situation. Moray tells him his word counts as much as that of a rich person, but for now, he has to work in the delivery yard, until they can get this matter cleared up. Sam thinks that’s as good as an admission of guilt, but he has no choice.

Glendenning shows Catherine the gift and card Jos was going to give Sam. Glendenning thinks it’s suspicious, because it’s a really nice gift for someone who allegedly just helped her after a twisted ankle. Catherine doesn’t think it’s any big deal because Jos is the generous type. She urges her father not to doubt poor Jos and to forget about the gift and card he found. Jos overhears them and looks a bit freaked out. Note to the actress playing Jos: you’re quite lovely, but never wear the particular pastels they have you in right now again. They’re terrible with your colouring.

At the store, Jonas pulls Sam off the floor while everyone stares. They couldn’t have made that a bit less public? Denise watches him go, then goes up to ladieswear to tell Miss A she has the note to send Jos, inviting her to come to the store and try on the hats she ordered. But now she’s not sure she should send it. Miss A says she most certainly will, as they must act as though Jos has done no wrong. Denise tells Miss A that Jos seemed “troubled” when she was serving her. Miss A tells her to forget about that, and furthermore she’s forbidden to speak further on this matter. She also warns Denise to steer clear of Sam for a while, though she realizes Denise has no intention of complying.

Ok, let’s back up for a second here: we, the viewing audience, know that Jos is troubled, but why does Denise think that? Jos seemed rather perky when she was in ladieswear buying her hats. The only thing that seemed odd (to Denise) was that Jos liked one hat enough to have it in more than one colour. Is that really such a big deal? I’m not a Victorian-era rich lady, but I’ve bought things I’ve liked in more than one colour. This is pretty weak sauce and seems like either Denise is reaching in order to save her friend, or we’re getting some sloppy plotting shoved in here to make Denise the Savior of Sam.

Downstairs, Jonas pulls Moray aside and tells him he thinks Sam’s hiding something. Apparently, he’s a human lie detector. Moray doesn’t believe him, but Jonas assures him he’s completely on the side of Moray and the store and only wants what’s best for both. As proof, he shows him the drawing, which he concealed from Catherine. Moray stuffs it into his pocket and, when he sees Denise coming, asks her why she seems so forlorn. She says the place isn’t the same without Sam. He tells her that sometimes they need to bend to the will of others in order to avoid being broken or losing high-rolling customers. He gets right in her personal space and whispers that it’s best not to let customers know what they’re thinking or what they think of the customers.

Catherine, her father, and Jos are having breakfast outside. Glendenning tells them Sam’s been dismissed, so they can all put this behind them. Jos’s face darkens just a bit, as Catherine watches her, but Catherine seems to put it down to her being upset about what happened. Catherine asks Jos if she minds if Cate slips away to visit Moray for a bit. Jos is fine with that and says she’s sure the two lovebirds long to see each other every day. That’s actually a bit sad, knowing what we do about her marriage.

Sam’s hard at work unloading deliveries as Denise and the other girls get their lunch. The other girls have no sympathy for Sam, though of course Denise does. Pauline tells Denise that Sam left a girl crying a couple of months back, as if that proves anything. Denise asks why she was crying and Pauline implies that it was because Sam jerked her around a bit. Clara mentions that she heard he and Denise were walking out together the other night, but Denise sets her straight. Pauline warns her to be careful. Jonas hears all.

Lovett finds Sam in the delivery yard and asks what he’s doing away from his counter. Sam says everything’s fine, he’s just helping with a promotion. Lovett lets it drop and invites him over later. Sam accepts. Lovett mentions Denise might be there and says he saw the way she and Sam were looking at each other. This prompts Sam to confide in Lovett about the Big Kiss. Jonas comes out and Lovett makes himself scarce. Once he’s gone, Jonas approaches Sam and tells him he’s heard some things, and if something like this has happened before, Sam should really speak up to Moray about it. Sam has no idea what the hell he’s talking about and insists once more that he’s innocent.

Miss A takes a meeting with Dudley and Moray and wants to know what to do with the massive bills Jos has racked up. Wouldn’t it be tactless, under the circumstances, to send her a bill? Moray doesn’t seem to think so, but Dudley sees a dilemma here: send the bill and be viewed as tactless, or don’t send it and be seen to accept her version of the events with Sam. What to do?

Miss A decides to go ahead and tell them that “one of her girls” thinks Jos was behaving rather erratically. She won’t say which of the girls spoke up, but she will vouch for the integrity of the teller. Plus, she adds, Sam is “one of them”.

Catherine visits the store in an awful dress, and I just have to wonder what is up with the costumes for this actress? Almost every single one looks terrible, cheap, and downright tawdry. Extras in the background have better gowns than she does, and she’s supposed to be the pinnacle of local society. What gives?

Anyway, Moray tells her that it’s proving difficult to prove who’s telling the truth in this whole Jos/Sam affair, and she can’t believe he’s not just taking Jos’s word for it. He tries to get her to confide in him about Jos’s mood but she yields no ground.

That evening, Sam and Denise play cards and Sam says he’s sure he’s going to lose his job over this, because he did, after all, fuss over the woman and admire her, etc. Don’t you do that with every customer, though? He mentions that the whole thing with the shoe was a lie and, when Denise presses, he tells her the whole story and also tells her Jos has left her husband. She urges him to tell Moray, but Sam promised not to tell (although, he’s already broken that promise and these are pretty extreme circumstances, so maybe just let that go, Sam?). Denise quietly asks him why he’s keeping his word to a woman who’ll ruin his life. He naively thinks she’ll come forward at some point and clear him, but she gently tells him that, because Jos is a lady, she can’t come forward.

Sam’s called before Moray and Jonas and admits that, yes, he did, at some point, make a girl cry. Moray acts all betrayed and starts to yell at him, but then Arthur pokes his head in and fetches Moray to speak to one of the girls, who’s crying. Jonas follows him out.

The crying girl is Pauline, who weeps that she was slandering Sam because he made fun of her a few days ago. Jesus, Pauline, LET IT GO! Well, ok, I guess she is now. Though why she’s experienced this sudden change of heart we have no idea. This episode feels very disjointed to me. She tells them she was the one who blabbed about the crying girl, but the girl was crying because Sam wouldn’t date her. Well, that was much ado about nothing.

Moray heads to his office, where he finds Glendenning sitting at his desk and ready to scold him for failing to sack Sam. Moray tells the man that this is his store and he’ll run it as he sees fit. Frankly, he thinks Glendenning is wrong in this whole matter. Glendenning knows, but he’s in a tight spot, because there’s a distressed woman in his home, and she’s dear to him, so if Glendenning’s wrong, Moray needs to get on with proving it before things get out of hand.

Sam, who’s apparently crazy desperate at this point, actually goes to the Glendennings’ house and finds Jos in the garden. She freaks and tells him to get lost, threatening to scream. He tells her she’s the only one who can save him from ruin and she needs to speak up. He reminds her how chummy she tried to be with him, but she offers to scream again, and he realises that she’s not going to help him out. The frustration and bitterness on his face speak volumes. Well done, actor who plays Sam.

Dudley goes to ladieswear and asks Miss A to tell him who it was who spoke up about Jos’s odd behavior. Behind his back, Denise signals her willingness to speak for herself, so Miss A gives her over. Dudley asks what she saw, but instead of talking about that, she spills the secrets Sam told her the night before.

Moray takes the story to Catherine, who can’t believe it, because she’s sure Jos would have told her if her marriage was in trouble. Heavens, Catherine, you knew your friend was upset about something before the whole kiss thing happened—didn’t you ask her? Or guess? Moray points out that this puts a whole new spin on what’s been happening and Catherine gets a bit upset with Moray for defending Sam all along, when she wants him to be on her side always, but then she unbends and admits she didn’t want to believe Jos was in the wrong because she’s Catherine’s oldest friend. Plus, Catherine didn’t want her friend’s false accusations interfering with her relationship with Moray. She pulls the note and gift Jos was going to give Sam out of her purse and shows them to Moray.

Later, she confronts Jos with them. Jos says they were just a simple gift, but when Catherine mentions Jos’s husband, Jos flies off the handle and says her husband doesn’t care about anything besides his guns and his trains, and that all she wants is to have a bit of fun and feel attractive, and what’s wrong with that? I have to hand it to this actress—this could be a really hateful character, but I actually feel for her. She’s trapped and acting out in all sorts of crazy ways. And with Sam, she clearly acted in the moment, in a blind panic, and the whole thing just got too big too fast and she didn’t know how to control it. Catherine tells her there’s nothing wrong with that and apologises for having been so distracted when Jos needed her. Jos tearfully says she’s doomed to loneliness, but Catherine steels her spine and tells her she needs to speak to Glendenning and Moray. Jos won’t do it and urges Catherine to stand by her. Catherine produces the invitation to the Paradise and tells her they have to go.

It’s Miss Paradise Pink Day, of course. Miss A sends Moray out to mill amongst the ladies, just as Catherine and Jos stroll in, Jos looking pale and scared, like she’s going to an execution. I’m not really sure what she’s so scared of, since she wasn’t actually assaulted. Arm-in-arm, they make their way to ladieswear, smiling at Moray on the way. He and Miss A exchange an approving glance.

Jos weeps as she tries on her hats, but she’s not so distracted she doesn’t notice Denise’s attitude. It’s not that Denise is rude, she’s just not terribly friendly. Jos tells her she’s going home soon and will miss The Paradise. Denise’s clipped response catches her attention and Denise admits she’s worried about Sam, like everyone else, and that he can’t help being the way he is, it’s just that he likes people. Jos asks Denise to set up a private meeting with Moray.

Some time later, Jos leaves Moray’s office and departs The Paradise. Denise tracks Sam down to her uncle’s place, where she happily tells him he’s got his counter back.

At the store, Moray finds Glendenning at the clerk’s desk paying Jos’s bill. Glendenning said he thought it was only courteous, since she was his guest. He thanks them for not sending a bill and invites both Moray and Dudley for dinner. After he’s gone, Dudley wonders if they should give all their most lavishly spending customers accounts. The answer is yes, Dudley.

As she and Catherine leave, Jos turns and looks forlornly back at The Paradise, like she’s never ever going to get to return. Though I guess, considering the circumstances, she would probably give the place a wide berth from here on out. At the same time, Sam returns to his counter, grinning like a jackal.

Moray appoints his Miss Paradise Pink, and I’m guessing he just arbitrarily picked the nearest woman to him, because I’m sorry, but no way is she the loveliest woman to have wandered into the store that day. Nevertheless, everyone applauds and he and Denise exchange a significant look.