The camera pans past cages filled with paired lovebirds, which are all currently sitting in the delivery yard, being admired by Dudley and Denise. Sam comes strolling out and teases Denise for being in love with them. He looks at them and sees delicious pastry and gravy. I like how Sam thinks. Denise admonishes him, reminding him that these birds have come a long way. So? I’ll bet they’re still delicious. Moray joins them and tells Dudley they’ll price the birds super high, so they only sell a few. That’s the crack business mind we’re used to seeing! His idea is to use them as a way to draw people in, rather than actually expecting them to fly out the doors. Dudley gets right on board and suggests the birds have their own counter. Denise heads back inside and Moray checks her out really obviously as she passes. Subtle, Moray. And this from the guy who’s paranoid about being found out making a slip up and cheating on the memory of his dead wife.
Inside, Denise tells Pauline the birds are going to have their own counter and mulls the possibility of running it herself. Pauline gets uncharacteristically spiteful about that and suggests Denise just take over the whole damn store already. Denise realises that Pauline wants the counter and suggests she ask Moray for it. Pauline’s terrified of him but Denise says she has to grab the bull by the horns if she wants to get anywhere. She notices Moray nearby and asks Pauline if he looks different to her. Pauline teases Denise about her feelings, though they seem to have sprouted up very suddenly and out of nowhere, and Denise swishes off.
Arthur wanders down the street, eyeing Burroughs’s shop, and when he spots Jonas coming his way he panics and flees. Jonas looks a little sad, but he’s soon distracted by Lovett taunting him, asking if he thinks he can do to the whole street what he did to Burroughs. How about we just start with you, Lovett? Because despite any gains you made last week, you’re still getting on my last nerve. Lovett declares it will take more than money to root him out. How about the complete lack of it? Because if you don’t get more business soon, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to pay your rent, or your suppliers, or anything else you need to keep yourself in that space.
At The Par, Dudley’s excitedly talking plans for the bird display, while Moray, who was all chipper just one scene ago, which was, what, maybe half an hour earlier in these characters’ timelines?—is all mopey and distracted. Look, show, I could get on board with something sprouting between these two characters if they acted like real people, but real people don’t just wake up one morning all, I’m in love! And start suddenly getting all morose when it really isn’t in their nature. I feel like, if anything, Denise would view Moray as more of a fellow good ideas person who she might have a teensy bit of a crush on, but her head has been so business focused this whole time, I don’t buy that she’d suddenly be acting all gooey around him. She’d be working hard to button that right up and putting all her energy into her work. And Moray’s just like her. I find it difficult to believe, really, that he’d view her as any sort of romantic partner at this point. She’s his ideas girl—his little champion. An awesome employee. All his talk about his late wife and his entanglements with Katherine make it unlikely, to me, that he’d be casting a loving eye elsewhere, unless, as I earlier wondered, his talk about his wife is mostly BS and he’s just using that as an excuse to fob off Katherine. Except the narrative doesn’t really hold to that, so I don’t think so. My point is: I don’t buy this. They aren’t acting like people would. He should be getting as excited about the bird display as Dudley is, since this is his latest big idea and those always get him excited. Sorry </tangent>.
Dudley notices that Moray’s a hundred miles away and asks what’s up. Moray says it’s Katherine. They’ve made up, but he’s afraid that they’re just going to go back to their same old cat-and-mouse games. Dudley speaks for me by telling Moray to just not play that same old game. Settle down, stop being a dick. Katherine loves him, so why not let himself be loved? Pauline chooses this moment to very awkwardly ask for the bird counter, and even though her self-salesmanship is terrible, they give it to her without question. That was easy.
Outside, Sam helps direct the placement of bird cages in the windows. Lovett, of course, comes over and grouses that there was a time when birds flew freely. And that time still exists, Edmond, look around you, birds everywhere! Also, keeping birds in cages is not an invention you can heap on The Paradise—people have been doing that for centuries, probably millennia. I’m willing to bet the ancient Greeks and Romans kept pet birds in cages. Sam tells him to just cheer the hell up already.
Moray and Katherine are having a rather tense walk along the same path where she and Peter got their flat tyre that one time. She apologises for her relationship with Peter but Moray tells her not to worry about it. She admits that she was foolish and thought Moray would put up more of a fight. Moray realised he couldn’t possibly compete. That’s true. Kate stops and tells him that she now sees that all the stupid things she did to convince him she was wife material really just did the opposite: showed him she was flippant and couldn’t be relied on. Not something you want in a life partner. She promises to show him she can be trusted. Moray actually meets her halfway and promises it’ll be different between them. He admits that he longs for peace and she kisses him gently on the cheek. He does not seem all that happy about that.
In his shop, Lovett fingers a bit of chalk.
Outside, Clara comes across Arthur, skulking in a doorway. Arthur asks her if she likes the others at the store, including Jonas. She says it’s not easy to like a shadow and then departs for her evening drink. It bears saying: she’s actually rather warm and cute with him.
Katherine’s in bed, all weepy and depressed. Her father comes to see her and she promises she’ll be back to her cheery self by morning. He doubts it, because he’s seen her suffering these past weeks and months and wants to know what they’re going to do about this matter. She tells him Moray’s only shy of marriage because he feels he needs to be true to his wife’s memory, but she can’t give him up because she loves him. Glendenning suggests Moray might be ready sooner than she thinks and urges her to dry her tears and get some sleep.
Pauline’s having a restless night, so she figures no one else should get to sleep either. She asks Denise if she’s awake, waking Clara in the process, and then she babbles about how nervous she is about taking on the bird counter. Denise lies there, wide awake, silent, and miserable.
Katherine comes downstairs in the morning and sees her father meeting with a group of men in suits. He glances her way before following them into his study.
Denise is miles away as she folds shawls in ladieswear. Miss A notices and asks Clara to take over for a bit. She ushers Denise into the empty staff dining room, sits her down, and tells her she knows she’s in love. She asks who the man is and Denise starts to crumble and says she doesn’t really want to be in love. Miss A immediately realises the man in question is Moray—wow, is she psychic? It could have just as easily been anyone else in the store—Sam, Dudley, even. Denise tells her how hard she’s working to try to tamp these feelings down, but they will not be tamped. Miss A tells her she’ll just have to do some tamping, because if she takes it any further she’ll be lost. She lays it out straight: as long as she’s a good employee, she can be Moray’s pet, his little champion, but all it takes is one kiss to make her a woman to him, and then she’ll find herself as the new Clara: permitted to stay but never to advance. This is actually some really good advice and it’s nice to see Miss A being a good boss/mentor, though it does seem a bit odd considering how threatened she’s been by Denise this whole time. This would be the perfect opportunity to get rid of her, what caused this change of heart? She was throwing her under the bus over Gentlemen’s Afternoon in just the last episode!
Anyway, Miss A gently advises Denise to focus on work.
Dudley’s visiting the new bird section and seems taken with one pair that Pauline has named Sally and Bertie. Miss A comes in and pulls him away for a chat. After they go, Pauline asks Sam to pretend to be a customer so she can practise her sales pitch. Her pitch is awful and Sam clearly thinks so and shuts her down quickly.
Miss A asks Dudley what he thinks of Denise. He thinks of her purely as a good worker. She gently asks him what he thinks of her as a girl. He says she’s fairly pleasing, which confirms what Miss A had suspected.
Moray shows up in ladieswear to pitch an idea to Denise: use the lovebirds as a cue and decorate the whole store in a way to evoke love. Put some gentlemen’s things in ladieswear so couples can shop together, etc. Denise is so busy half orgasming right there, just listening to him talk, that she can’t even focus. Fortunately, Miss A comes in just then, assesses the situation in a second, and distracts Moray with a discussion of feathers before grabbing Denise and getting her out of there.
Lovett draws a hopscotch board on the street outside his shop so he can show Arthur how to play. I honestly never played hopscotch. I almost feel like I missed some kind of childhood ritual. Jonas watches this from the window of his office across the street. Lovett notices Arthur seems a bit down and asks him what’s up. Arthur asks Lovett what he’d do if he sold, would he just leave and never come back? It’s clear that’s what the kid wants, for Lovett’s own safety, but Lovett doesn’t know what’s going on and just keeps telling him he has no intention of selling.
Sam catches up with Denise inside the store and tries to ask her out, but Pauline interrupts to brag about how she finally managed to sell a bird. Dudley overhears and freaks out a bit, asking for her reassurance she hasn’t sold Sally and Bertie. Man, everyone’s strangely hung up on someone or something this episode. Pauline tells him they’re still around and he’s so relieved it’s almost ridiculous.
Glendenning is meeting with Moray to give him some grave news: some investor named Jessop is buying up the leases of every place up and down the street, which means Moray will have to go through him for any more expansions. Furthermore, Jessop intends to buy the lease on The Paradise, which would make him Moray’s landlord. Glendenning figures Jessop will end up squeezing Moray by putting him on short leases and jacking up the rent. Why would he do that? Why ruin the most prosperous business on the street? What landlord wants to force a place to close? Moray thanks him for the warning but knows there’s more to this. Glendenning says he could purchase the leases himself or he could increase Moray’s loan and enable him to purchase the fee simple himself, making Moray the street’s landlord. Oh, man, Lovett’s going to die when he hears this. If Moray wants to expand, all he has to do is refuse to renew the leases. Moray seems slightly reluctant to get into bed this thoroughly with Glendenning, but he sees no other choice and they shake on it.
Jonas presents Arthur with a new pair of shoes and Arthur asks him why he’s being so nice to him. Jonas suggests he sees Arthur as a sort of protégé and asks Arthur if he thinks he can do Jonas’s job once Jonas is gone. Even though he has, of late, been terrified of this man and his methods, Arthur says that would be awesome. Jonas promises to tell Arthur things he notices and asks Arthur to do the same. He also asks Arthur if he has anything on his mind and Arthur lies that he doesn’t. Jonas, of course, knows he’s lying. He calls him out on it and Arthur blurts out that he saw Burroughs get into a carriage with Jonas the night he disappeared. Jonas thanks him and warns the boy not to spend so much time with Lovett. He goes inside and looks a bit freaked out.
As Moray’s showing him out, Glendenning apologises for standing in his way with Katherine. He gives Moray his full blessing and urges him to speak with her. Dudley arrives and asks what Glendenning wanted. Moray hollowly says he gave his blessing, which Dudley thinks is great. Moray looks like he’s facing execution.
Pauline tends to her birds and Sam observes that he’s never seen her looking so happy. She rather foolishly says she’ll be on this counter until she marries. He quickly changes the subject to stories he’s heard of birds standing on people’s hands and heads. Yeah, trained birds, Sam. In small, fairly enclosed spaces. Pauline thinks that would be a great attraction, and because she’s completely and utterly brainless, she opens Bertie’s and Sally’s cage to pull one of them out and Sally flies off, straight through the open front door. Well done, Pauline. She and Sam run out to try and track her, but, you know, it’s a bird and it flies off. Sam tries to calm Pauline down, but she’s freaked.
Dudley notices Arthur’s new boots and Arthur says they’re from Jonas. Dudley’s surprised, because he’s never known Jonas to favour anyone. He notices that Arthur seems nervous and asks him what’s wrong. Arthur stays buttoned up so Dudley reassures him he can come speak with him any time he wants.
Sam and Pauline talk about the bird. She thinks she’s going to be fired for this and Sam says she probably will, so they need to find the bird and get her back. He agrees to help her cover up the fact that the bird is lost until they get her back.
Moray proposes to Katherine and she promises to spoil him with love. She’s all happy and glowy, but he still looks dead inside.
Dudley waits for Moray at The Paradise, wanting to talk about Arthur’s fear of Jonas. Moray says they’re all afraid of him. Dudley says he just feels funny about all this and Moray asks him to leave Jonas to Moray, since he and Dudley have never really gotten on.
Moray asks Jonas what’s going on and Jonas tells him what Arthur saw. Jonas goes on to say that Burroughs threatened to tell everyone that he heard Moray’s wife scream as she fell and ran into the store in time to hear Moray say ‘What have I done?’ Moray insists Helene fell and it was an accident. Jonas believes him, and I do too. Jonas tells him that Burroughs never would have stopped—he’d have just kept asking for more and more and ruining Moray’s life and Helene’s memory. Jonas doesn’t think Arthur will talk to anyone else and is sure this will all pass.
Except early the next morning, a chalk message appears in front of The Paradise, saying that Helene Moray died there. Jonas fingers a bit of chalk and goes to hammer on Lovett’s door and accuse him of writing the message. Lovett blusters but he’s clearly worried, especially when Jonas mentions calling a constable. Jonas finds a similar piece of chalk to the one he was handling a bit earlier and starts to taunt him, reminding him he’s a failure who couldn’t even provide work for his niece. Lovett loses his temper and punches Jonas in the face. Jonas smiles, satisfied, and leaves.
He whips up some crocodile tears and goes to see Miss A, asking her to help him. She’s shocked but lets him into her room. There, she washes his wound and asks who did this. Jonas says it was Lovett and says he’s a man crazed with anger. He asks her to speak with him and encourage him to move away for his own sake.
Arthur scrubs away at the chalk message as Lovett watches and stresses out. Miss A and Denise come out and Lovett freaks out at them for a bit. Denise offers to speak to Moray on her uncle’s behalf but Lovett won’t hear of it. Miss A says she’ll be by later for a chat.
Denise goes to Jonas and apologises for her uncle and says he swears he didn’t write the message. Jonas says that no one will ever cast a shadow on that lady’s grave. He tells her how, many years ago, he came to the shop for work after having exhausted all other possibilities. But he was turned away because he only has one arm. As he was leaving, he saw Mrs. Moray, and out of kindness, she asked him for help with some packages. She persuaded Moray to give him a job and that was that. Denise quietly says she understands why he’d be upset by the message.
Dudley makes his way over to the bird counter, but he’s intercepted by Sam, who distracts him with some blue satin. Dudley sees Jonas and his busted cheek and asks him what happened. Jonas refuses to say anything, which upsets Dudley, because he’s Jonas’s manager and sees his refusal to speak as disrespecting Dudley’s authority. Jonas finally spits that he was attacked by Lovett.
Denise’s next stop is Moray’s office, where she immediately notices how depressed he is. He says he wishes he could live in a world where he feels nothing. She kneels beside him and he asks her to call him John. Oh, Moray, don’t feed the bears. She does and suddenly it all comes pouring out: how in love with him she is and how she can’t seem to sleep or think. And then she leans in and kisses him and he wraps his arms around her. But then Arthur shows up to tell Moray that Jonas has been attacked, and Sam follows to say that Dudley’s shouting at Jonas and Moray grabs his jacket, gives Denise one last look, and departs.
Denise returns to ladieswear, and when Miss A catches sight of her, she gently takes her away for a chat. Denise starts to break down in tears before she’s even out of the department.
Moray’s pulled Dudley aside, and it seems Dudley is rather Team Lovett, asking what Jonas was even doing in the shop at that hour. He knows something fishy is going on. Fortunately, Katherine shows up, saving Moray from having to say anything, and she immediately sticks her engagement ring right in Dudley’s face. Dudley sincerely congratulates them both and departs.
Denise has told Miss A everything, and Miss A sweetly says she’s sure Denise and her job will be fine—after all Clara’s still employed there. The important thing now is to show Moray that she knows her place. Denise is sure Moray feels the same about her as she does about him and Miss A tells her this is a turning point in her life: she can either put her feelings aside and get on with things or continue down a path that’s sure to bring only suffering and heartbreak. Good talk!
Dudley goes searching for Jonas, but Arthur says he’s nowhere to be found. Denise and Arthur catch each other’s eye, but she can’t even look at him. She turns to flee from the shop floor, only to find Moray and Katherine coming in the other door. Dudley asks for permission to announce Moray’s news and stops everyone to tell them—customers and employees both—about the engagement. Everyone applauds, Clara flees, and Denise looks sick.
Moray hurries up to ladieswear, looking for Denise, but she’s not there. He instead finds Clara, who steps way outside her bounds and weepily asks Moray if he really loves Katherine, because she really doubts it. He tells her she has no right to ask such a thing. How in God’s name does Clara still have a job here? How does this place still have customers, considering how frequently the employees air their personal business right out on the shop floor? Then again, maybe that’s why they have customers. This is before daytime television, after all.
Denise comes in and Clara hysterically tells her to congratulate Moray on his happy day. In a rather subdued tone, she does. Luckily, again, Miss A comes in and kicks Moray out, then gives Denise a sharpish look.
Dudley has summoned Clara to discuss these issues between her and Moray. He doesn’t want to lose her from the store. Why not? She’s a pain. He tells her Moray does not love her. It clearly pains her, but she knows. Dudley tells her she’s not to seek out Moray any more, or she’ll be fired. About time someone put a stop to her nonsense.
Miss A and Lovett are taking a stroll through some park and having a talk. She asks him what is wrong with him these days and he childishly says it’s all The Paradise’s and Moray’s fault. She tells him no one else is behaving the way he is and advises him to accept the way things are and retreat before he ruins himself. He promises not to let himself get so riled and admits he knows he’s beaten, but there’s nothing he can do. He’d sell, but there are no buyers. She tells him his bitterness is holding him back and he needs to let it go.
Denise is meeting with Dudley to resign. He thinks it’s about the matter between her uncle and Jonas and she pretends it is and says that every day she’s at The Paradise she’ll be wondering when ‘the situation will inflame again.’ Nice doublespeak there, Denise. She tells him this is final.
And then she’s upstairs packing while Clara watches and Pauline tries to talk her out of leaving. Denise intends to go work in her uncle’s shop, even though the place can’t even support him. Clara observes that this makes no sense, because this is between her uncle and Jonas and doesn’t involve Denise. Instead of responding, Denise asks if she and Clara can be friends now, because for some reason she desperately wants that. They hug, and Pauline joins in. Group hug! So much love in this episode.
Denise arrives at Lovett’s and tells him she’ll be staying there now, and they’ll make it work somehow. He hugs her and she starts to cry.
Dudley approaches the lovebirds again and when Sam tries to intercept him, Pauline tells him to let Dudley come. Time to own up to her mistake, I guess. Dudley immediately notices that Sally’s gone and Pauline confesses her idiocy. Dudley’s annoyed but says it took courage for Pauline to admit that. Sam chimes in that he’s spoken to a bird expert and has an idea for how to get Sally back.
Lovett asks Denise if he’s the reason she left and she tells him he isn’t.
Sam and Pauline take Bertie in his cage out to the sidewalk in an attempt to tempt Sally back. Lovett watches before going back into his shop. There, Denise reassures him they’ll find a niche The Paradise hasn’t exploited yet.
Amazingly, the bird bait has worked. Sally approaches.
Denise suggests she and Lovett start selling smaller items, like neckties, which Lovett can stitch up. He gets all indignant, saying he’s a dressmaker, but she reminds him he hasn’t sold a dress in ages. He gets on board quickly, though he’s not terribly keen on the idea of having them out on the street to tempt buyers, because that feels like a market stall. Too bad, Denise is in charge now.
Pauline brings the recovered birds back into the store and asks Dudley to get someone else to take over the bird counter. He agrees, wisely.
Miss A and Dudley report Denise’s resignation to Moray, who’s not pleased. Miss A asks for leave to hire someone else and Moray suggests they wait for just a bit. Jonas comes in and Moray takes him out to the delivery yard to accuse him of provoking Lovett. Jonas says his duty is to protect Moray, which is what Helene would have wanted. Moray tells him to lay off.
In the dining room, Sam’s learning of Denise’s departure and he’s about as happy about it as Moray was. Moray tells Miss A he tried to persuade her to stay and observes that they’ll all miss her. “We will,” Miss A says, sadly.
Moray finds Denise hanging out the neckties and tells her it’s a good idea, though he only knows of one man—himself—who prefers to wear them. Denise lies badly that she’s seen others wearing them. He says he’s sure it’ll catch on and buys one. While she wraps it up, he tells her she didn’t have to leave and asks her to come back to him. She tells him he let her make a fool of herself when he was engaged to be married. He says he has his reasons for his relationship with Katherine, but it’s clear he really wants Denise. She shuts him down, because he’s going to marry Katherine. Lovett comes out and Moray apologises for Jonas’s behaviour. Lovett accepts that with good grace and says he’s grateful there’s no charge against him. The two men shake hands and Denise hands him his necktie. Lovett pats her comfortingly on the arm as she watches Moray return to The Paradise.