The Paradise: Competition

Previously on The Paradise: Denise decided she was in love with Moray and quit her job. Moray responded by proposing to Katherine.

Kate’s getting ready to do a little shopping. Her dad, in a resigned tone, tells her to enjoy herself.

The owner of the shop next to Lovett’s watches Denise wait on some customers. Once they’re gone, he hisses at her and calls her over. Instead of ignoring his completely rude behavior, she obliges, greeting him as “Mr Chisholm.” He observes that business is brisk and sneeringly refers to her as ‘a girl’. He wonders what their secret is and Denise tells him they’re selling neckties, and he’s welcome to do the same if he wants. He sneers some more and informs her that he is a milliner, an artiste! And he will not lower himself to necktie making. What is it with these guys thinking that everything’s beneath them? Denise tells him they’re adapting to changing times and using the Paradise as a source of traffic and trade rather than blaming it for all their business ills. Lovett comes out and calls Denise back. It’s clear he’s no fan of Chisholm. I doubt anyone is.

At The Paradise, Pauline sighs that the place isn’t the same without Denise. Clara tells her to just leave it already, because it’s not like Denise was perfect. Well, the show seems to disagree with you, Clara. Sam kind of makes fun of Pauline, and after he’s gone, Clara reminds her that, with Denise gone, Sam’s all hers.

Moray comes across Katherine and her friends shopping up a storm in glassware. Katherine admires the butter dishes and orders some up. She spots Moray and tells him she’s getting everything they need for their wedding breakfast and asks for Denise’s help. Moray regretfully tells her Denise is gone. Katherine moves along to introducing him to one of her friends and asks for all her purchases to be wrapped up. Moray draws her aside and reminds her that she hardly bought anything from the store before they were engaged, and now she’s going crazy with all her friends. He thinks this is a new game, while I think it’s that she now has a very serious vested interest in this store’s success. She says as much and promises to help him make the place a success. She spots Pauline and asks for her help. Pauline hops to like a puppy.

Denise comes out of Lovett’s shop and tells him she has another idea. She goes over the businesses up the street: milliner, dressmaker, shoemaker, so forth. She suggests they all gather together as a cooperative and offer complete outfits at a discount. He scoffs at the idea of cooperation between small businessmen and tells her it’s too much change too fast. Denise tells him it’s too late, because she’s already invited all the businessmen to a meeting about it, and she needs Lovett to talk because she’s sure they won’t listen to a woman. Well, Chisholm sure won’t.

At The Paradise, Pauline is proving that she’s about the worst salesperson on earth. Katherine asks for her opinion on a perfume’s smell and she volunteers that it smells like a baby’s head, but after it’s bathed, otherwise, babies smell terrible, like wet wool and cheesy milk. Even Kate’s friends are giving her a girl, shut up! look. How does she still have a job at this place? Pauline continues to babble that the only thing Moray loves more than the store is his dead wife. She tries to backpedal, but it’s definitely too late.

Lovett is trying to give his speech, using notes Denise has prepared for him, but he’s as bad at selling these ideas as Pauline is at selling anything at all. The other shopkeepers clearly think he’s an idiot, and he finally gives up and tells them he can’t sell an idea he doesn’t believe in. Nice job, Lovett. Way to suck. Denise steps up and tells them this was her idea and she quickly goes over it. Though Chisholm is not on board the others seem interested. She’s even got a name: Tollgate Street Traders. Chisholm tells her they’re not out to create a department store in miniature, and furthermore, she’s going to have a hard time selling them on a scheme even her uncle doesn’t believe in. Again, way to go, Lovett. Sorry, but you kind of deserve to go out of business, as backward and childish as you are. Everyone leaves and Denise glares briefly at her uncle before going to her room.

Katherine sits in Moray’s office, staring up at Helene’s painting. She gets up and starts trying to get it off the wall, but then Jonas comes in and asks if she needs a hand. She explains that she was looking to freshen up the office a bit. He reminds her that the painting is very dear to Moray and he doesn’t think it’s a good idea for her to go pulling it off the wall, even if she is the future missus. Proving that she’s Helene’s complete opposite, Katherine tells him sharply that there are ten men out in the street who could do his job in an instant and he’d do well to remember that when he speaks to her. Charming. He gives her a twisted little smile and leaves.

Lovett halfheartedly tries to sell neckties to some of the passing people but has no luck. He sees Chisholm puttering around in his shop’s window and goes to speak to him.

Katherine finds Dudley and demands to know why Jonas still has a job. She tells Dudley Jonas frightens her and he must scare the customers as well. Jonas arrives just in time to hear that last bit. He skirts the pair and makes a beeline for Moray, telling him that he caught Katherine trying to move the portrait and that he dealt with it as swiftly and firmly as he felt he could. Instead of being thankful, Moray tears him a new one, telling him he can’t seem to stop overstepping the line and he’d better stay out of Moray’s way. Jonas looks a little scared.

Moray strolls over to Katherine and tells her she’s managed to turn the store upside down. She smiles and heads home.

Denise comes outside and notices the other shopkeepers dressing up their storefronts. Lovett tells her he’s on board with her idea now and he’s gotten all of them behind it as well. Yeah, sometimes you just need a man to say it, you know?

Glendenning watches, with alarm, as endless packages are carried out of The Paradise to his carriage. He’s even more alarmed to hear that there’s more to come. Katherine turns away and spots Denise across the street. She tells Moray he should really try to get Denise back, because Pauline’s completely hopeless and they need to up their game if they’re going to cater to a better class of customer. She kisses him on the cheek and climbs into the carriage. Glendenning notes Moray’s longing looks in Denise’s direction and tells him his daughter won’t be happy with a husband whose attentions are divided.

Denise is demonstrating her idea for the shopkeepers: a mannequin will be placed in front of each store, wearing a different ensemble. Chisholm is aghast at the thought of his precious hats being exposed to the elements, but Denise reminds him that’s exactly what happens when people wear them. That done, she goes back to painting little signs for everyone. Moray comes over and observes that she’s renovating. She tells him they’re adapting to survive. He praises her for her enterprising idea and tells her they miss her over at The Paradise. After he leaves, Chisholm oozes out of his store and accuses her of fraternizing with the enemy. He calls her girl again too, and Denise snaps that he’s to refer to her as Denise or Miss Lovett. Go Denise! You put that man in his place!

Moray meets up with Miss A in the store and asks her how ladieswear is coping without Denise. She reassures him that things are just fine and that losing an assistant is really no big deal. She adds that everyone’s just delighted by his engagement. He tries to accept that with some good grace.

In the dining room, Pauline quickly proves that she sucks at life in general, because she can’t flirt any better than she can sell. She praises Sam on his teeth, if you can believe it, and he has no idea how to react to that. Even Arthur cracks up. Pauline excuses herself and Sam asks Clara what the hell that was all about. Clara tells him that Pauline likes him, you know, as more than a friend.

It’s late at night and Dudley, on his locking-up rounds, finds Jonas at his desk, drinking and already about halfway through a bottle of something brown. That’s not good. Dudley’s surprised, because he was under the impression that Jonas was a teetotaler. Jonas bitterly says it doesn’t matter, because all he has in this life is his job and even that’s going to be taken from him. He calls Katherine a viper who’s poisoned Moray against him. He says she sees him as a monster, but she doesn’t know the real story: he used to be a safety miner, and one day there was an explosion. Eight men were trapped and he went back to try and rescue them, but the shaft collapsed and crushed his arm and the eight men. He got a certificate for bravery and got fired. Damn, that’s harsh. But he also says he was only 12 years old at the time, and I’m not sure that jives with the timeline, because he’s also said he couldn’t find work because of his arm until he came to The Paradise and Helene persuaded Moray to take him on. That was just a few months before she died, and she’s only been dead three years, and clearly Jonas isn’t 15, so I’m not sure what’s going on here. Either he’s lying or the writers screwed up royally. Anyway, he thinks Katherine will attempt to usurp Helene’s memory by getting rid of Jonas. Dudley quietly tells him he’s sorry and leaves him to his sorrows drowning.

Glendenning pours drinks for himself and Moray and sits down for a chat about Kate. He tells Moray that Kate has a tendency towards obsession and blames himself for that, as he was an overly indulgent father. And the result has been a girl who’s willful and stubborn. But soon it’ll be Moray’s job to reign her in. Fun!

Lovett calls Denise away from some work and shows her an early birthday present: a beautiful dress in peacock blue that he says befits the businesswoman she’s become. Aww. Denise laces her corset tighter and puts it on, drawing Moray’s attention as she emerges in it for the first time. And no wonder: that’s an awesome colour on her. He and Dudley watch her at work setting up stalls in front of all the shops across the street. Moray thinks what she’s doing is remarkable and Dudley says this is a sore reminder of what they lost. Moray says this is all Jonas’s fault and he’s starting to think Dudley was right about the man all along. Moray doesn’t feel he can trust him anymore. Dudley admits that Jonas is rather overeager, but they mustn’t judge him too harshly. He urges Moray to give him another chance.

The Tollgate Street Traders are ready for business. Denise walks up the row, examining the displays, and soon they’re all doing a brisk business.

Meanwhile, over at The Paradise they’re putting out their finest fabrics because Kate’s coming by to pick out fabric for her wedding dress. Miss A runs around in a tizzy and Pauline and Clara gossip. In the midst of it, Clara admits that she went to Moray’s rooms just before he got engaged. I can’t believe she’d be going around telling people that. Pauline’s shocked.

Glendenning’s surprised to find his daughter’s engagement announcement in the paper, and so is Denise, who only spots it because it’s on the page just opposite the ad for the Tollgate Street Traders she put in.

Moray doesn’t seem all that excited about the announcement, which was not his doing. He thinks it’s embarrassing.

Kate pulls up at The Paradise, wearing her umpteenth hideous outfit. It’s got more tassels than a Vegas revue. All the people shopping at the Tollgate Street Traders immediately follow her into The Paradise, like metal filings after a magnet. Moray greets her and correctly identifies that she was the one who put the announcement in the paper. She insultingly says she understands the appeal now of playing shops and Moray tells her they’re not playing, this is an actual business. She flippantly says she feels like she could sell anything that day and urges him to choose something. He picks some awful navy blue satin called Midnight Ink and Katherine announces that it’ll be the perfect thing for her wedding dress.

Across the street, the Traders sit around, dejected.  Really? They haven’t gotten a single other customer all day? I find that hard to believe. Tempers flare and bickering starts to break out.

Kate arrives in ladieswear and orders up her gown. Clara invites her into the back to be measured, despite Miss A suggesting that maybe Clara’s not the best person to do that. Moray arrives and Miss A tells him he has to leave because a bride must have her privacy. Moray obliges.

Jonas stands in Moray’s office, looking up at the portrait. Dudley strides in and tells him he’s thought a lot about their conversation and thinks he may have misjudged Jonas. He asks for permission to talk to Moray and explain how important the Paradise is to Jonas. He’s being a nice guy, and Jonas throws it back in his face by suggesting he was lying and Dudley needs to learn not to trust anyone or presume to know them. Damn, Jonas, that was harsh.

Clara measures Kate, who says she’s trying to get to know the staff, for Moray’s sake. Clara suggestively says that Moray really makes an effort to get to know all his staff personally. She finishes up and gives Miss A the measurements. Miss A tries to talk Kate out of the gross satin but Kate stands by it, saying the colour is appropriate for mourning, which is supposed to be a tribute to Moray’s late wife. Pretty morbid to turn an entire wedding funereal for a woman who’s been dead several years, isn’t it? All the other women ooh and ahh over the idea, because women are totally sheep who’ll do anything someone rich does. Katherine lowers her voice and tells Audrey this is all meaningless anyway—her dressmaker’s making her wedding dress from French silk and this is just a game. Miss A is not amused.

After that, everyone starts hard selling Midnight Ink, making up all kinds of crazy things, like the fact the silkworms are fed on ground sapphires. The stuff sells out almost immediately and Denise looks sad as the chattering ladies wander out of The Paradise, clutching their parcels.

Later, Pauline comes to see Denise for a visit and tells her all about Kate’s spending spree and how everyone’s buying Midnight Ink just because she wants it. Pauline also tells Denise that Clara hooked up with Moray when Miss A was sick. Denise turns away, stone faced.

Kate finds Moray in his office and tells him the sales for the day were extraordinary. He doesn’t respond and she looks up and sees the portrait still on the wall. She asks him to take it down, reminding him of all she’s done for him. She wants to be the only Mrs Moray. “Not yet,” he says quietly. Helene is there to remind Moray of who he is. Katherine bids him goodnight.

The Traders meet up so they can complain about how things went. Chisholm whines about not having made back his decorating investment and Lovett tells him he can hardly expect to recoup all in just a single day. Denise, of course, speaks up and tells them about Midnight Ink, advising them to buy it up. Chisholm scoffs that The Paradise would just order more and sell it more cheaply. Ahh, but Denise has encyclopaedic knowledge of fabric manufacturers and remembers that Midnight Ink was made by one place that folded some months back. This seems like something Lovett would have known and it would have been nice to see someone besides Denise have something to contribute, but too late now, I guess. She suggests they buy the whole lot and Chisholm agrees and offers to put up his savings in return for 50% of the profits.

Katherine drives up to The Paradise and is surprised to see Denise peddling the fabric.

Meanwhile, word reaches The Paradise that the suppliers have run out of Midnight Ink. Katherine comes swirling in in a snit and sputters that it’s outrageous that Denise is selling her fabric. Moray is amused and tells her to chill out. Katherine calls this plagiarism and theft, which just proves she has no idea what either of those words mean. Moray tells her she can’t have everything her way all the time. She stomps off to her carriage. Miss A catches Denise’s eye and gives her an approving look. Dudley sees Katherine to her carriage and asks her not to be too upset, because Moray can lose himself a bit when it comes to matters related to The Paradise. Oh, we’ll see how well she copes with that, I’m sure.

Now its ladieswear’s turn to be quiet. So quiet that Clara just flops down on a sofa. Miss A tells her to go refold something. Moray comes in and observes that it’s pretty empty up there. Miss A says she’s tempted to tell customers how lousy Midnight Ink actually is, but they can’t go exposing Katherine like that. Moray muses that it’s admirable how Denise played this and Miss A says she did always exhibit quite a lot of promise. Moray asks Miss A how she would describe him, as a person. Is he honest? Of course, she agrees with that. He asks her if he’s changed in any way and she says that power changes anyone but the hearts of honourable people remain true to their dreams. She urges him to have confidence. He departs.

The Traders drink a toast to a successful day and eye the total profits. Chisholm is a little too effusive in his praise for the idea, and Lovett, of course, takes offense and thinks Chisholm is saying he doesn’t know how to run his business. Jesus, Lovett, SHUT UP! No, actually, you don’t know how to run a business, which is why yours was failing until Denise showed up! Denise tries to calm everyone down, but things quickly escalate and Chisholm claims most of the profits, unless Lovett thanks him for his original investment. Because Lovett is as pigheaded as he is stupid, he refuses, and Chisholm digs his heels in. Denise gets desperate, reminding him that withdrawing his investment would fold the cooperative. She urges them to work together and Chisholm seems ready to back down, at least until he goes to reach for the bottle of wine for another little glass. Lovett grabs it instead and drains it into his own glass. Asshole! Christ, Denise, get the hell out, this man will destroy you. Let him ruin himself, it’s clearly what he wants. Chisholm’s fed up, takes his investment, and leaves. The others, probably none too keen to deal with Lovett anymore now he’s proven himself to be a liability and a giant baby, follow suit. The cooperative is at an end. Denise begs them to stay, but it’s over. Lovett tells her he’s sorry, but has the audacity to go on to say that he tried to warn her that this would never work out. You stupid, stupid creature, it only didn’t work because of you! Because of your childish and idiotic and stubborn behavior! Grow the hell up already!

Denise angrily packs up the booths as Moray wanders over and observes that she’s run out of silk. She tells him the silk and the Traders are both a thing of the past. He kindly lends her a hand and they have a nice moment before heading out for a nice walk together in the park, where they chat rather comfortably like equals, which is nice to see. Denise bemoans the fact that she tries to persuade the others, but they won’t listen. Denise, the problem wasn’t the others, it was actually your uncle. They all listened, he didn’t. Moray says the others aren’t starting from her position of logic and admits he wasn’t surprised to see that particular group fall apart. He advises her to learn from her mistakes and to not shy away from grasping future opportunities.

Out of nowhere, he starts to talk about his wife and how much she loved him, while he was mostly distracted by the store. She wanted them to go away for two months and start a family but he refused. They argued, and she ran off and died and he’ll never know if she fell or jumped. As they stand there talking, Glendenning, out for his ride, spots them from afar. Moray wonders why he’s admitting all this to Denise and she tells him gently that they all need to learn from their mistakes. He earnestly tells her that she is his inspiration and they continue their walk.

At breakfast, Glendenning notices that Katherine’s in a right snit and considering returning all the stuff she bought at The Paradise. He asks her to tell him what happened and she tells him it was just a little argument. She can’t understand, after all she’s done, why Moray would chastise her and choose to defend some dressmaker’s niece. Glendenning’s face goes, oh, really? but he tells her not to worry and that all lovers have occasional squabbles. He proposes a trip for the two of them (her and Moray, not her and her father) after the wedding so they can focus on each other for a while. She doesn’t look all that excited by the prospect.

Lovett is still not shutting up and brightsiding that they still have their business and their orders, but Denise reminds him that those orders were placed with the cooperative at a discount they can no longer afford. Thanks to him, she doesn’t say, but I do. He apologises again, sincerely this time, realizing that she’s done a lot and he’s ruined it. She cheers up and says they just need to keep moving forward.

Katherine finds Moray in his office, looking up at Helene’s portrait again. She tells him they need to simplify their wedding arrangements and bring the date forward. She also tells him about her father’s gift of a trip and he pretends to be pleased but is clearly horrified. She thinks this will be a perfect start to a perfect marriage.

Later, Moray finds Denise outside The Paradise, looking at the window display. He joins her and says he knows there are some things she would have changed. He sighs that they suffer from the lack of perfection. He gets serious and starts to apologise but she cuts him off and says that’s not necessary. She’s now determined to make her own mark on the world, as he has. Moray realises he’s lost his champion, as she’s grown rather too great for him.

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