Under the light of a full moon, something starts to bubble up from under the water of a river as Jonas’s face creepily fades in. In the light of day, Jonas is keeping an eye on Arthur, hard at work in the delivery yard.
Jonas goes back inside and passes Moray and Dudley, who stroll through the store while Dudley excitedly chatters about all the arrangements he’s made, as best man. He also mentions that Moray needs another groomsman to make up even numbers with the bridesmaids. Moray proposes Arthur and Dudley’s aghast at the idea of a foundling being part of an aristocratic wedding. Like Moray cares about those social niceties. Moray insists so Dudley bows and reassures him the day will be marvellous. They pause at the window and watch Denise across the street, directing her uncle as he arranges things in the window of his shop. Dudley thinks she’d come back if they asked nicely but Moray doubts it. Denise turns and looks their way and Dudley gets a hmmmm look on his face.
Later, Sam and Pauline are playing cards with Denise at Lovett’s and trying to get her to come back to The Paradise. Pauline tries briefly flirting with Sam (a bit better than the last time, I notice) before telling Denise that Moray likes her. Sam chimes in that everyone’s in such a good mood with all the wedding cheer they’ll surely give her a job. Denise tells them it’s a no go.
Moray lets Dudley in on his plan to purchase the Tollgate Street freehold with Glendenning’s money. Dudley seems uncertain, but Moray’s too excited by business opportunities to see all the flashing red lights right in front of his face. Dudley carefully says that, if the man Moray owes money to is his father-in-law, this shouldn’t be too bad, although I disagree, because owing money to family is hell. Of course, the flip side of that is that if Moray doesn’t go through with this or botches up the marriage, he’s in serious trouble.
Over at Lovett’s, Denise is puttering about. Her uncle watches her for a moment, then tells her he wants her to go back to The Paradise, because that’s where she really belongs. She tries to protest, but he won’t listen. And to his credit, he admits that he really mucked things up for her and couldn’t get past his own issues to make her ideas work. Is this actual growth? God, I hope so. I find myself wanting to like that character but he makes it so damn hard.
After closing time, Denise goes over to The Paradise and runs into Jonas. She notes that he’s still working, even at that late hour, and asks if he ever wanted a different sort of life, like one with time for friends and fishing. Isn’t fishing a tad difficult with only one hand and arm? Jonas doesn’t even hesitate before saying no, and the two workaholics share a laugh. But then Jonas gets serious and seems to hear something. Concerned, Denise asks him what’s up but he says it’s nothing and Miss Audrey is upstairs.
In the river, a body floats to the surface.
Miss A pours Denise some sherry and rather nicely says she wondered when Denise would come back. She reminds Denise that Moray will soon be married and she needs to make it clear that she has no wish to be more than an employee.
Arthur excitedly tells Clara, Pauline, and Sam all about his groomsman duties. Clara teases him about finding some rich girl to hook up with, and Sam jokingly warns him that girls will suck the life out of you. Pauline chimes in to say that boys just kiss you and then betray you. Way to give this kid complexes, folks.
Audrey takes her newest idea to Jonas and Dudley: decorate ladieswear with wedding veils. It’ll be romantic! Jonas says he always heard the veil was traditionally to hide the bride from evil spirits. To Miss A, though, the veil symbolises all that is pure and modest. Sorry, Miss A, but Jonas has it right on this one. It’s also why there were bridesmaids, who used to dress identically to the bride, to further confuse those spirits. The bride dresses differently now, but those matching bridesmaids remain. Trivia!
Denise arrives and Dudley seems relieved to have an excuse to wriggle out of a Jonas/Audrey confrontation over wedding veils. He hires Denise back in a second, with Miss A’s approval.
Dudley rushes to find Moray and tell him Denise is back. Moray doesn’t exactly do cartwheels, but he suggests she start the following week. Dudley says she’s starting immediately, actually, and it’s not like Moray can give a good excuse to keep her away for a while, so he agrees.
Clara arrives in ladieswear to find Denise back. She’s followed by Miss A who commends Denise on being on time and presentable, which is better than her first day. Pauline rushes in, squealing excitedly about Denise being back. Miss A tells her to get lost and Pauline giggles and trips off. Denise starts uncovering displays and tells Clara she’s glad to be back working with her. Clearly testing the waters, here. Clara sniffs that Denise never said why she left. Denise tries to pass off the “my uncle needed me” excuse but Clara doesn’t believe her at all. Denise says she wants to still be friends but Clara darkly says she feels there’s something about Denise that suggests this isn’t over yet. Before things can get much more ominous, Miss A calls everyone to the hall for a quick meeting with Moray.
Everyone gathers in the hall, which is festooned with white bunting and flowers. In comes Moray, who says he’s sorry he can’t invite everyone to the wedding, but they’ll be represented by Miss A, Dudley, and Arthur. Plus, they’ll have a party of their own after closing time. Yay! Throughout this little speech, he keeps catching sight of Denise and hesitating as he speaks. He then stares right at her as he says he hopes everyone will toast to his future. Several people clearly notice that.
Miss A follows Moray out and tells him this is a very generous gesture. She rambles a bit before finally congratulating him and telling him seeing a man married is a good thing and that regret shakes the soul. Is Miss A trying to sink this wedding? Because otherwise that was a really odd thing to say. Moray tells her that her words are most welcome and as he moves away she gets an oh, crap look on her face.
Mount Glendenning. Kate’s trying to get Moray to tell her where their surprise honeymoon destination is. He jokes that he’s taking her to Pontefract. She observes that the house seems different already, knowing he’s going to live there soon. He doesn’t look overjoyed.
Denise is lacing up Pauline’s corset while Pauline bewails her single status. Like any good girlfriend, Denise reassures her the right boy will come along. Arthur comes in and hands Denise a note, which interests the other two. Denise reads it and lies that it’s from her uncle. Clara knows she’s lying and has clearly got everything figured out. Pauline wonders if it’s a boy who sent the note but Clara says sadly that it’s not a boy.
It’s Moray, of course, who’s asked Denise to meet him on some bridge. He thanks her for coming and says he thought it would be best for them to meet somewhere away from the store. He admits that he can’t marry Katherine, and Denise looks horrified, but when he tells her that this is all because he’s so, so in love with her, her face melts into a happy smile. They kiss and he tells her this is all going to be a terrible mess, but it’ll be worse if he goes ahead with the marriage he’ll regret it forever, and he can’t endure that. He promises to tell Katherine, and while there’ll be a huge scandal, it’ll all go away. Uh, no, Moray, it won’t. Not quickly. You’ve seen the effect Katherine can have on your customer base. Imagine that going against you. You’ll have nothing left. And he also seems to have completely forgotten about how deeply indebted to her father he’s going to be. The father who promised to ruin Moray if he broke his daughter’s heart. This is not going to go well at all.
Katherine sorts the mail, blissfully unaware her fiancé is cheating on her, and then goes to give her father a kiss. He thinks this is a preamble to some troubling conversation, as kisses from her usually are, but no, she’s so happy it’s just a kiss for her dear papa. She says that all her friends say that the days before a wedding are usually so frantic, but things have been so smooth for her she feels this marriage must be blessed. Her father cynically (though correctly) observes that money does help but she laughs it off.
The body in the river is found and brought to shore.
News of the body reaches The Paradise, where Pauline shrugs that this sort of thing happens all the time, drunks falling into the river and drowning. Jonas overhears and seems mighty interested in the conversation. How did Pauline hear about the body before Jonas? He seems like the kind of man who hears and knows everything. Actually, that’s pretty much been one of his defining characteristics.
Pauline’s chatting with Denise, who’s practically glowing so brightly even Pauline notices. Sam comes over and quietly tells the girls that the body in the river is Burroughs, like we didn’t already know that. Both Jonas and Arthur overhear that and look nervous.
Jonas finds Arthur somewhere in the back later on and congratulates him on being made a groomsman. He moves on to say that it’s a terrible shock about Burroughs, but the man was a drinker and must have fallen into the river. He goes on to say that Arthur must know that what he saw—Burroughs getting into Jonas’s carriage—means nothing. And then he starts to stagger bizarrely, like his conscience manifests itself in leg cramps or something. He tells Arthur to keep what he knows to himself, because this information could bring Moray down, and what would happen to Arthur then?
The staff sit down for lunch and Clara muses the possibility of sending a note to the constable, telling him Jonas is rather suspicious. The man himself comes in and tells everyone he spoke to the constable that day and told him about Burroughs’s time at The Paradise. The constable knew the man well, having found him drunk on the street a few times. Well, isn’t that lucky? Clara asks if it’s true they found stones in Burroughs’s pockets? Jonas says the constable mentioned no such thing.
Moray has finally gone to Mount Glendenning to try and break up with Katherine. Unfortunately, she’s gone out shopping. Glendenning comes down instead and talks about how boring he finds marriage ceremonies, but he loves the wedding breakfast! Oh, and by the way, he bought the fee simple for Tollgate Street. That gets Moray’s attention, because Moray thought Glendenning was going to lend him the money so he could get the property. Glendenning says it doesn’t really matter which one of them owns it, does it? After all, they’re going to be family. Damn, Glendenning, that was deviously cunning of you. And why Moray didn’t see that coming is a bit of a mystery. I think he’s just really distracted.
In ladieswear, Pauline, Denise, and Clara play with the veils, trying them on in front of the mirror. Pauline goes first and says she feels completely different with the veil on. Then she gets serious and sadly wishes Sam would love her. Clara observes that they always go for the ones who don’t love back. The girls joke, and then put the veil on Denise, who agrees that things do feel different with the veil on. And then, of course, Katherine shows up and does not seem happy to see that Denise is back. She’s wearing a dress that looks like a circus tent. Kate stomps out.
She waits outside for Moray to show up, and when he does she shortly asks him to tell him about Denise, who seems to have suddenly returned to The Paradise, despite having made herself his competition for a while. Moray asks her to free him from their engagement, but of course Katherine’s going to do no such thing. And for anyone who’s wondering why he can’t just dump her, at the time, a woman could sue a man who proposed and then backed out of the marriage for breach of promise, because even a verbal engagement was considered to be a legally binding contract. Because it’s sort of hard to prove that you never proposed to someone, the woman usually won, and it could be quite damaging both socially and financially. Katherine gets scary and tells Moray that he’s hers and she wants her wedding and he can’t take that away from her to dabble with some shopgirl. She absolutely refuses to let him go, tells him they’ll be getting married, and gets into the carriage. Moray tells her this is done and there can be no wedding.
Inside, Clara asks Denise what the heck is going on. Denise zips her lips and Miss A asks them what’s going on before telling them to get back to work.
Downstairs, Jonas chooses the worst time to tell Moray that Burroughs’s body has been found. Moray asks who else knows and Jonas says everyone does, and he’s sure there’ll be talk, but none of it will come to Moray’s door if Jonas can do anything about it.
Dudley finds Arthur and sits down to have a chat, because Arthur’s been pretty quiet lately. He gently urges Arthur to tell him anything he might know about Burroughs and Jonas, because staying silent puts The Paradise and Moray at risk. Man, this poor kid, being pressured from all sides. With a bit more urging, Arthur starts talking.
Clara comes home late, a bit drunk, and finds Lovett warming his hands at a brazier outside his shop. He observes that she seems upset and she starts getting morose, saying it might be a relief to be away from this world forever. He tells her not to talk like that and she changes the subject, telling Lovett she’s surprised he let Denise go back to The Paradise when she’s in love with Moray. Of course that’s news to Lovett. Oh, Clara, bitchy as ever. She goes on to say that she tried to warn Denise, having learned herself the hard way, and Lovett turns and slowly goes back into his shop.
Dudley has taken Arthur to Moray, who listens to what Arthur has to say and thanks him, reassuring him he’s done the right thing. Arthur departs and Dudley wonders what they’re going to do. Moray hollowly says he knew what Jonas did, because Jonas told him. Dudley’s horrified and says they can’t inform the constable now, because Moray’s complicit. Dudley yells that they could destroy everything for one man, whom they don’t even know and don’t know why he even came there. Didn’t Jonas tell Dudley about Helene hiring him when nobody else would? Moray says Dudley needed somewhere to belong and Dudley correctly says he’s done a crap job of rewarding them for that. Yeah, murder for your employer is a bit much, unless you’re in the mob or something. Dudley calms down a bit and says that they need to get rid of Jonas, because he’ll just drag them all down. Dudley promises to do it himself before the wedding.
Miss A goes to Lovett’s shop and gives him a pretty jar of barley sugars to thank him for sending Denise back. He’s seriously pissed off, though, and says she’s a devious woman who’s betrayed him by failing to mention what was between Denise and Moray. She reassures him nothing will come of it, and that the feelings will pass. He’s worried Moray will prey on her weakness, like Miss A isn’t going to keep a hawk eye on that girl. Miss A tells Lovett that, if he’s going to always look for betrayal, he’ll find it. Oh, and he has, Miss A. She quietly and sadly tells him that, for years, he thought the reason they didn’t marry was out there, but it’s not, it’s right in that room, and it’s still there. She turns and leaves.
Dudley fetches Jonas, tells him he knows everything, and fires him. Jonas is shocked and tries to argue his way back into his job by saying Helene gave him a place to belong and it’s not up to Dudley to take that away from him. Well, yes, it is, Jonas, because Dudley’s his boss. Jonas says he won’t go unless he’s fired by Moray himself, but Dudley stands his ground and tells him to hit the road soon, and quietly.
Lovett has summoned Denise to the shipping yard for a chat. You couldn’t do this somewhere more private, Lovett? Like, maybe, away from her super gossipy coworkers? He asks her if it’s true about her and Moray and she admits it readily. He accuses her of having done this to hurt him. Man, what a self-centred dick. She reminds him that he was in love once. He asks her to swear that nothing has happened between her and Moray, but she can’t really promise that. She tells him that what she feels for John she can’t deny or overlook. He hugs her tightly and almost cries.
Glendenning finds Katherine in her room, looking rather pissed off but wearing an outfit marginally better than her usual. He asks what’s bothering her and she says Denise is back in the store. He carefully asks why that should bother her and she tells him Denise was wearing a wedding veil, as if to mock Kate, and Kate could see that Denise wants to take Moray away from her. Glendenning tells her that none of this would bother her so much if she really believed Moray loved her. Kate insists that he does, because she’s seen and felt it. Were you seeing and feeling it when he was constantly blowing you off? Berating you? Calling you frivolous and useless? Glendenning asks if she’s spoken to Moray about this, but Kate gets super-creepy and says that, if there’s anything of Denise in Moray’s heart, she’ll be sure to dig it out. I’m not sure she doesn’t mean that literally.
Denise gets yet another note, but this time it’s from Katherine, because it’s time for Betty and Veronica to have a serious talk in Kate’s carriage, where Kate’s dressed in royal purple. Kate tries intimidating Denise first, by calling her a child, but Denise will not have it. Kate tells her she won’t let Denise take Moray away from her, and Denise says this is really something she needs to discuss with him. It’s notable that Denise calls him John, like an actual loved-one would, while Katherine still calls him Moray. Calling him John is clearly unnatural to her; she can barely choke the name out. Kate can see how someone like Denise could bewitch someone. She tells Denise that Kate’s daddy owns the whole street, including Lovett’s shop and The Paradise, and Denise would be the reason for all their destruction if she doesn’t lay off. Kate reminds Denise that The Paradise is Moray’s life, and if she takes it away, she’ll watch him wither and die and she’ll feel guilty every day of her life. Denise, looking sick, asks Kate why she wants to marry a man who doesn’t love her? Kate tells her she’s taught him to love her once, and she can do it again. Man, she’s kind of scary. Good work from both actresses here. Nice, tense scene. Afterwards, Denise stumbles back toward the shop, looking like she wants to throw up.
Pauline has another one of her ‘comic’ moments, dropping a whole bunch of boxes. A previously nameless extra smilingly helps her pick them up…and it looks like Sam has a new replacement in Pauline’s affections.
Speaking of Sam, he finds Denise and asks her if he should pay the landlord at the pub what he owes or go dancing? Eh, dancing goes better with a few drinks, which you won’t get if you don’t pay the landlord. Denise ignores him and he decides on dancing.
Miss A’s alone in ladieswear, so she tries one of the veils herself. Unseen by her, Denise shows up and watches for a moment before withdrawing.
Downstairs, Pauline finds her and tells her she’s in love. Of course she is.
Moray’s got Jonas in his office and asks the man what he wants. Jonas tells him there’s talk and suspicion, but if he leaves, he’ll take the talk with him, so he’ll go. Almost broken, Moray thanks him. Jonas apologises, saying he thought he was acting with Moray’s permission, but clearly he was wrong. Uh, yeah, Jonas. Nobody told you to kill the guy.
Jonas goes to the same bridge where Moray met Denise (which I’m pretty sure is the same place where Kate got the flat tyre and later walked with Moray, so they must use this one location a lot). He tosses his little black book in the water and walks off.
Denise, meanwhile, is trying to persuade Moray to go through with this wedding, reminding him that he must have found something to love about Kate once upon a time. He says that all that was before he met Denise. Yes, but the proposal wasn’t, Moray. But he’s sure he’ll never feel the same about Kate. Denise tells him Kate can give him a life that Denise can’t, and that she knows Kate can take The Paradise away. He admits he has large debts he owes Kate’s dad, and furthermore Glendenning now owns the freehold to The Paradise. But if he took it away, Moray could start again. Smiling sadly, Denise says she knows he’d do that for her, but she can’t do that to him. Almost desperately, he says Dudley will just be put in charge, but she says that would destroy Dudley. Defeated, Moray repeats that he can’t marry Kate, but Denise says he can, he just needs to remember that Denise loves him. Like that’ll make it easier.
Wedding day! Bells are pealing all over the city, and Arthur’s looking mighty spiffy in his new suit. Moray’s in his office, looking dejected.
Miss A, dressed in sunshiny yellow, goes to Lovett’s shop and tells him she doesn’t want to go to the wedding, because she hates weddings. They terrify her, as does love. She asks him why he went and chose a woman so afraid of love and asks him to forgive her. Of course he does. Seems he never blamed her, and I don’t either. I mean, Denise could barely make it a few weeks with this guy, could you imagine how frustrated Miss A would have been with him over the course of a lifetime? Nevertheless, they kiss and embrace and it’s rather sweet.
Kate’s just finishing getting dressed. Her father comes in and tells her she looks beautiful.
Dudley comes to fetch Moray from his office.
Kate lowers the veil slowly over her face.
Dudley tries to hurry Moray along.
Denise fingers a wedding veil and looks at her watch.
Moray finally rouses himself and stalks out of his office.
Glendenning escorts Katherine down the stairs and toward their waiting carriage.
Moray rushes to ladieswear, where Denise is suddenly absent. Clara watches him and looks devastated. He hurries through the store, looking for Denise, and finally finds her out in the delivery yard. He calls to her, she smiles, and they kiss. And that’s the end of series one.
Well, that resolved nothing, but it did set up some interesting issues for series two (and yes, there will be one). Whither Jonas? And what will become of The Paradise? How massive will the explosion be when Kate finds out she’s been dumped?
Not the best crafted show, certainly. Characters were a bit thin and frustrating more often than not, but I went into it not expecting much more than a bit of fluff on a Tuesday evening, and that’s what I got. There were some good moments, and some good acting that gives me hope that people will settle into their roles a bit better and step it up. I hope the writing improves to help them out—even the best actor can do little with a terrible script. And aside from Kate, the costumes were some glorious eye candy. We’ll just have to see what happens next!
Thanks for reading!