Lovett eyes his shop and tells his passing niece that it’s a great thing to have one’s name above a shop. Not a failing shop, Edmund. Sorry, but it has to be said.
In The Paradise’s yard, Dudley reminds Moray that it’s the store’s five-year anniversary. Moray stares at the sign and looks a little sad.
Catherine’s playing hide and seek with Flora in the garden, along with Tom, who’s suddenly become a rather playful father and joins in, catching Flora and helping her hide. Catherine starts to look a little concerned.
Denise goes to Moray’s office, looking for him, and finding it empty, decides to try out the big chair for a bit. As soon as Moray comes in she springs back up and apologises, laughing that she always wanted to see what it was like. He suggests she try on his trousers next time. I don’t think he’s being entirely playful here.
Catherine comes out of the garden to find Flora and Tom sitting at the tea table. Tom whispers to his daughter to join in a little game of Silent Treatment against Catherine. Way to use your kid as a weapon against your wife, you douchebag. Flora obeys and Catherine starts to seem distressed, though she does at least seem to realize that Tom’s the one behind this. As the two walk away, hand-in-hand, she yells at them to talk to her, reminding Tom that he’s been like this for days, and won’t he just tell her what his problem is? He won’t. Because he’s apparently nine years old.
Dudley and Moray stand by the door, greeting customers, and Dudley wonders how they should mark the big anniversary. Moray’s not interested in doing anything, but Dudley says this is a great chance to rub Tom’s nose in all their achievements. Which are now his achievements, in a sense, as he owns the store, so really all you’ll be doing is reminding him what an awesome deal he made, Dudley. Nonetheless, Moray agrees.
Up in ladieswear, Suzie and Clara urge a woman to buy the dress she’s trying on. She seems game and then asks the girls to choose some shoes for her. She seems pretty indecisive. And judging from her accent, she’s also pretty nouveau riche. She asks for the shoes to be wrapped up, saying her husband will come in and pick them up. She goes on to tell them how much he spoils her. Don’t ask me why, but there’s something about this woman that strikes me as not being quite on the up-and-up. She wonders if it’s unladylike to buy so much. Clara reassures her it isn’t. The customer, Mrs B, gabbles that she was a nurse in the past and could hardly afford a pair of boots of her own. She’s gotten mighty attached to Suzie and Clara and seems sad to find out they won’t be delivering her parcels. Denise strolls over and offers her a home fitting, which Mrs B is very excited about, because then she can have a tea party too!
Denise and the girls head out for some time off and find Edmund having a drink with Sam and Myrtle. Denise asks what Edmund’s doing away from home so much. Lovett thinks he can sell the shop if he fixes it up a bit more, which is why he’s sticking around. The others laugh at him, because he’s hapless.
Later, as they leave, Clara reflects that Mrs B has what they all want: a rich husband. Suzie just wants to be loved, of course. Clara calls BS and says they all long for what their customers have. Denise says she doesn’t, because as we know she just wants to be an independent woman who can run a place like The Paradise herself.
That night, Tom surprises Catherine in bed, but without saying a word to her, crosses the room and leaves. Little creepy, Tom.
Moray comes to visit Catherine and tells her Tom’s been acting a little funny, taking that watch all of a sudden and all. Catherine’s super paranoid and jumps up, nervously asking Moray to come back tomorrow. He says fine, and she freaks a little bit and tells him Tom’s capable of such cruelty and she’s scared of him and thinks he hates her and wants to punish her. I think she’s being sincere, because she seems really upset. Moray, distressed, embraces her comfortingly, and she rather heartbreakingly thanks him. He tells her she can’t go on living like this, but she reminds him she has no choice. He asks her to come to him when she needs someone. She hugs him again, and of course Tom sees them.
Mrs B returns with her husband, who seems nice, and is also a few years older than her, for those keeping score. He hands some cash over to Suzie, to show his appreciation for how well they’ve treated his wife, and Denise takes him away to settle the account. On their way downstairs, he jokes that Denise is probably looking at him and basically seeing walking pound signs. Denise doesn’t deny it, but takes the opportunity to introduce Moray, who recognizes Mr B and welcomes him to The Paradise before taking off. Mr B admires the store and Denise explains some of the store’s talking points and adds that they’re always looking to expand. He tells her he has a brewery, and even though it’s big and he’s rich now, he still goes into work every day and knows every employee’s name. Denise guesses he wants them to supply his ales in their new food hall. Hey, he scratches your back, you may as well scratch his, right?
Upstairs, Clara is showing Mrs B how to walk in her new dresses, even though she seems to have managed to get to the store without a problem. I think we may have found someone who can give Suzie a run for her money in the stupidity stakes, if we’re being brutally honest, though she is also quite sweet. She talks about how great her husband is and then invites the girls to her house for a party sometime and says how glad she is to have met the girls, because most other ladies look down on her. Clara accepts on everyone’s behalf.
Jonas finds Tom out in the yard, looking fierce. Tom tells Jonas he needs to get rid of Moray as soon as possible. Jonas warns him not to dismiss Moray right away, or he’ll be working to Moray’s advantage. He refuses to elaborate on that statement, just asks Tom to give him a little time to lay out a proposal that’ll finish Moray off once and for all.
Dudley’s got decorations and a bird-of-paradise favour for every customer to celebrate the anniversary. Moray still seems unimpressed. Probably because everyone knows the fifth anniversary is wood, not paper bird.
Lovett borrows a ladder, with Sam’s help, and then gets a little maudlin about leaving the street, when he’s got the oldest shop there. He thinks Denise is happily shoving him down the road, but Sam protests that she just wants to see her uncle happy. Sam offers to give Lovett a hand with the painting on Sunday, then gets back to work.
At Mount Glendenning, Catherine gets ready to go to bed, locking her door, and then barricading it with a chair. She looks terrified, the poor woman.
At the store, Moray confesses to Jonas and Fenton that he’s concerned about Catherine’s safety. Fenton thinks this just means Moray’s deception is doing its work, but Moray worries that this is going too far. Jonas tells him he can back off now, and Fenton agrees, saying they can put their proposal to Tom soon.
Denise interrupts, and Moray has just enough time to hustle his guests out before letting her in. They go out for a walk and he slags off Mr B for spending so much money on a wife half his age. Well, aren’t we harshly judgmental for someone who’s profiting off this guy! Man, Moray’s a dick. Denise tells him the man’s mind is perfectly sharp, and if I’m going to put my two cents in, if he wants to spend his money spoiling his giddy wife, fine, whatever makes him happy! And they do seem pretty happy together, he and Mrs B, so how about you shove it, Moray? Denise suggests they approach this man and ask him to become an investor in the store but Moray pooh poohs the idea. Denise accuses him of rejecting it just because it came from her, even though it hasn’t really been his habit to reject her ideas much in the past. She calls him out on being so irritable and asks if this is because of Catherine, somehow. He admits that she seems unhappy in her marriage and Denise pouts a bit that he went to see her. He says it was just to ask her to reign Tom in and Denise gets childishly teary that he didn’t tell her he was going to see Catherine. She pulls herself together and warns him not to trust Catherine, because she’ll never forget what Moray did to her.
Fenton goes to see Tom at Mount Glendenning, where Jonas is already hovering. Fenton threatens to build a rival store in town, with Moray as manager, unless Tom agrees to sell him The Paradise. He promises to cast Moray out as soon as he gets the place, if Tom sells. He gives Tom a week to think it over, but Tom says that, if he gives in to this demand, it would be because he’s a coward.
Arthur and Sam help Lovett scrape paint while Lovett sweats about what to paint where the sign goes. Oh, for heaven’s sake, why do we even care?
Mrs B is having the girls for a fancy champagne tea. Even Myrtle’s there. Mrs B blunders a little, accidentally referring to pheasant as peasant, and though they laugh it off, she suddenly says that she’s basically a peasant herself, and they must all be wondering how she got a husband like Mr B. Clara says it’s really none of their business, but Suzie admits she was curious. Mr B was sick and Mrs B was his nurse. Classic story. She knows what everyone must think of her, and starts to get upset, but Clara, who has this superhuman ability to say the right thing all the time these days, tells Mrs B that, unlike the rest of them, she actually went after a good man, and she found a husband who only wants to make her happy. They’re not going to judge her for that. Mrs B looks relieved and takes Clara’s hand and thanks her. Denise looks a tiny bit uncomfortable.
Catherine and Moray are taking a walk through the wilderness, presumably far from the house. Moray tells her that Tom’s upset because they’re seeing so much of each other. She tells Moray that she brought him back to England to punish him and put him back in the store so she could somehow contrive to punish Denise by having her lose Moray, just as Catherine did. But now all thoughts of revenge are past and she really just wants to be friends with Moray. Moray tells her that Tom will destroy her, and she counters by telling him that Denise will destroy him, with her talent and ambition. He knows it, and she strokes his face, offering to comfort him.
Mr B takes Denise for a walk around his gardens and she asks him why he doesn’t retire, now he’s got everything anyone could possibly want. He tells her he’s had many chances, but work keeps him sharp. And conveniently enough, he’s getting a little bored with beer and wants a new challenge. He brings up Moray’s quest to find investors to buy back The Paradise and asks how he came to lose the store in the first place. Denise only says that he fell in love and gave it all up to be with his girl. Mr B understands, having become something of a romantic in recent months. Denise asks him to meet with Moray and put forth his proposal to invest in The Paradise. She hard sells the store, like it really needs it, because it seems like this guy’s on the hook already. But he listens, seeming impressed with her and asks her to put together a full proposal and he’ll consider it.
Sam and Myrtle joke a bit about Lovett’s shop, like that’s really what he needs right now.
Denise, meanwhile, has filled Moray in on Mr B’s interest in the store, but Moray’s reluctant to bring anyone else on because, as we know, he’s already secretly working with Fenton. But he lies and says this isn’t the right time, because even with an investor, they won’t have enough money to buy Tom out for ages. Dudley doesn’t see the harm in having at least one investor on board. Arthur delivers the messages and Dudley makes himself scarce and Denise kind of gives Moray a, ‘something you want to tell me?’ look. He sighs that he wishes they could go back to the innocent days of just chatting in the dark, and she tells him that time was never innocent: he was engaged to another woman and she was his employee back then. Glad to see at least one of you has a decent working memory.
Denise goes to Dudley and suggests they go behind Moray’s back and get the funds in place, because Tom and Catherine are crushing him. He’s not sure that going about this secretly is the best way, but she tells him that sometimes secrecy adds a bit of spice. Or something like that. Myrtle calls to Denise (they’re having lunch) that her uncle seems to be in a mood, and Denise sighs that she really needs to go see him, and that she’s been neglecting him because she’s been so busy.
Clara meets with Mrs B at the pub, who weeps a bit that she can’t stand to have people staring at her when she’s with her husband. She thinks she’s made some kind of mistake and suggests leaving him because he’s..so kind to her? I don’t really understand this woman’s logic. Clara practically rolls her eyes and says that’s cruel to do to a man who loves her. Mrs B nonsensically thinks it’s crueller to stay.
Tom tries the door to Catherine’s room that night, only to find it once again locked and barricaded. She looks panicked.
At the store, Dudley coaches Denise on how to present her business proposal to Mr B. She suggests Dudley come along with her, but he refuses, saying that she found Mr B and she should be the one to make the presentation. Also, her astonishing charisma will work wonders. Denise can’t wait to see Moray’s face when she tells him they have their funding. I can’t either, Denise.
She climbs into a carriage and takes off, while Lovett looks on, a little sadly. Dudley also sees her leave, but he’s soon distracted by the arrival of Jonas, who tells Moray that there’s something odd in Tom’s past, related to his military service. Moray asks him where Denise is off to, and Jonas advises him to speak to Dudley about that.
Mrs B shows up in ladieswear and tells Clara she can’t imagine what possessed her to say such things. She’s changed her mind, and then she gets distracted by some new shawls and says that she and Clara must both have one. Clara tells her there’s no need for that, but Mrs B says she just wants to show Clara what she means to her. She almost can’t believe she has a real friend, and then she tries to give Clara a ring. Clara protests, telling her she can’t accept gifts from customers because she could lose her job. She then accuses this strange and rather sad woman of trying to buy her sympathy and silence and friendship. She harshly tells Mrs B that she’s just a customer, no more. Mrs B’s face crumples and she rushes out.
Flora spots her father while he’s dressing and catches sight of the scars on his back. He sees her, but doesn’t really know what to say. She runs.
Denise presents the paperwork to Mr B, who notes that the projected sales figures seem a little low. She says she was being conservative, but they reach for much more. He asks why Moray’s not making this proposal, and she non-explains that Moray means no offense, and that he’ll undoubtedly make the store an even greater success than it was before. Her proposal passes muster, but Mr B will have to take some other things into account. He promises not to keep her waiting too long for an answer, then says Moray’s a lucky man, and he hopes he’s aware of that. He’s not.
Back at the store, Moray’s bitching to Dudley about finding Denise sitting in his chair. Oh, for heaven’s sake, Moray, you big baby! Dudley says that he and Arthur have done the same, so maybe Moray should just chill out. Moray goes on to complain about Mr B, whom he doesn’t want to have as an investor because Denise found and wooed him. Excuse me? What the hell is Moray’s problem? Other than the fact that he apparently hates women? Who cares who found the guy, if it means you’ll get your precious store back? Because we all know that’s the only thing you care about. Dudley, exasperated, tells Moray that she brought him a gift, because she loves him and he seems to have completely lost sight of what matters.
Catherine dresses, her hands shaking so badly she can barely get her earrings in. At the sound of a gunshot going off on the grounds, she hurries outside, where she finds Tom engaging in some target practice while Flora sits nearby. He tells his wife that he didn’t go to her room to frighten her, he just wanted to look at her. Okaaaay. He tells her about Fenton’s offer and says he thinks it’s for the best. Catherine protests, but he uses the Male Prerogative and tells her to fall in line. He looks up at her, wounded, and says he tried to come to her room the night before to tell her that he doesn’t want to lose her. They need to stop with all this punishing nonsense and just settle down to make a happy life together, the three of them. Fair enough. But Catherine only really knows relationships of mutual punishment and misery. Catherine goes over to Flora and promises her she’ll always be there, then embraces her tightly.
That night, Catherine writes to Moray and asks him to meet with her, urgently. Moray goes, meeting Denise as he goes out to the carriage, and lies to her that he’s going to see Mr B. What an idiot. Like she’s not going to find out in no time at all that that isn’t true.
Inside, Mr B finds Clara and asks her for a word, just as Mrs B arrives at the bottom of the stairs and stands, watching the two of them talk. Their brief chat seems congenial, and Clara heads down the stairs while he goes the other way. Mrs B rushes over and asks Clara if she told Mr B about Mrs B’s idea of leaving him. Clara tells her she wouldn’t do such a thing. Seriously, why would she? All he was doing was inviting Clara and the other girls to his birthday party, purely because he thinks Mrs B will like it. Mrs B, who’s either stupider than a rock or really unstable, swings in the opposite direction and says she’s just got to leave this guy, because he’s just too nice, and he’ll be so disappointed when he finds out…actually, I’m not really sure what she’s afraid he’ll find out. She tells Clara she bewitched him into marrying her by kissing him one night when he was ill and sleeping. Ok, she really is just stupid. Clara tells her that’s nonsense and tells Mrs B to just go on loving Mr B, because that’s all he wants, and if she leaves him, she’ll regret it forever. She’s really lucky to have found this guy and should just accept her luck. Mrs B embraces her.
Mr B hits ladieswear, and Denise is understandably confused. See, Moray? He comments that Moray hasn’t even had the grace to send him a note, but that hasn’t deterred him. He tells Denise he could invest, or he could just buy the place, and if he did that, he’d need someone to manage it. Someone he can trust. Someone with vision and ambition. Denise begs him to meet with Moray before he makes any decision and he agrees. She’s so relieved she actually kisses him on the cheek. Very professional, Denise. Oh, all right, baby steps.
Dudley goes out to watch Lovett scrape paint and jokes that he’s found a new calling. Lovett gets all maudlin again and says he knows he can’t stay, because he has a new life, but it still makes him sad that his old life’s been taken away from him, and he’s having trouble letting it go. And then he goes and has a heart attack. Denise and Dudley both rush to his side and Jonas pulls Arthur away so he doesn’t have to see.
He’s taken to Mrs B, who nurses him and says he’ll recover, but he needs rest. Like, for the rest of his life. Denise tearfully remembers that the last time she spoke to him, she was chiding him. To be fair, Denise, he probably deserved it. Mrs B tells her to make him laugh the next time she speaks to him. Dudley comes to the door and Mrs B rustles out. Denise asks him where Moray is, and Dudley only says that he’s sure he’d want to be at her side, if he knew what was happening. She calls him out for the non-answer, but she knows where Moray is, and she looks devastated.
Moray meets with a much happier looking Catherine, who thanks him for coming, sits down with him, and tells him that, now she’s responsible for a child, she has to think of her first. So, Catherine can’t see Moray alone ever again. He understands and goes to leave, but she asks him to stay just a few more moments, in their last time together. She reflects that she’s a pretty reasonable thinker when she’s alone, but when she’s with him, she’s governed by something else. He reassures her that his concern for her has been entirely genuine, and is about to admit that his flirting with her of late has been a game, but she refuses to hear it, just leans forward and kisses him once more. He gets up and tells her that he loves Denise and Catherine, crying, tries to go, only to collapse back onto the bench. He goes to help her, but she tells him she’s fine to stand on her own, then gets up and rushes back to the house.
Tom searches the garden for her and finds her in a crumpled heap, weeping on the lawn. He kneels beside her and asks if Moray did this to her. She tells him she can’t help herself.
Moray finally makes it to Lovett’s bedside, and Denise is about as welcoming as an ice sculpture. She calls him out on being with Catherine and he confesses. He swears he didn’t betray Denise, but she just asks to be alone with her uncle. Moray obligingly leaves and Denise cries and cries.
In the store, the staff and customers celebrate the anniversary. Mr B asks Mrs B if all is well and she tells him it is. Wow, that was a really abrupt tonal shift. Moray walks through the store he built, crying.
Upstairs, Lovett wakes up and tells his now-smiling niece that it may be about time for him to retire. She promises not to chide him, and he tells her he just wants some tea, then doles out a little lesson by way of his own love life, telling Denise that he waited decades for Audrey, and now he has her, but he’s spending all this time away from her in order to hold onto a bit of pride. I don’t think your situations are really all that parallel here, Edmund. He says he’s done fighting that fight now.
Dudley finds Denise loitering outside her uncle’s shop later and urges her not to think of leaving. She reassures him she has no intention of leaving, because she belongs here. She does not say that she may very well just go ahead and steal this store out from under Moray’s feet, which I think he’d kind of deserve at this point.