The Paradise: The French Lady’s Visit

Previously on The Paradise: Moray returned from Paris, only to find that The Paradise is apparently now owned by Katherine and her new husband, Tom. Miss Audrey decides to finally marry Lovett, and Denise tells Moray they have to wait to get married themselves.

A carriage pulls up at The Paradise and Moray comes out to greet its occupant: a woman named Clémence who apparently worked with him at the Bon Marché in Paris. Tom notes her arrival as well, and so does Lovett, as he puts a For Sale sign up outside his shop.

Moray and Clémence walk through the store, chattering in French and getting stared at by everyone. Moray gestures for Dudley to join the in his office and Denise looks put out.

In Moray’s office, Clémence gets really up close and personal with Dudley, who looks like a deer in the headlights. We eventually learn that she’s peddling fireworks and wants The Paradise to sell them. She offers up a demonstration that evening.

The workers gossip over lunch about both Clémence and Miss Audrey’s impending departure. Myrtle wonders who’s going to take over her job and comments that this engagement seems rather sudden. Miss Audrey reminds her that this has been going on for 23 years, so there’s nothing sudden about it. Sam asks her about all the wedding plans, but she doesn’t seem in a rush to plan anything. Susie, too, wonders who’ll head ladieswear now, and Denise and Clara exchange significant looks. It’s a testament to how far they’ve come that Clara doesn’t try to kill Denise with a fork right then and there.

Back in ladieswear, Clara and Denise ask Miss Audrey when she plans to get married and she tells them she’ll have to do it quickly, before she has a chance to think herself out of it. Clémence listens in for a bit, then makes her presence known. Soon, she’s being fitted for a new dress and talking about how much she loves sexy dresses and how the ornaments on them draw men’s attention. She informs the ladies that she’s driven by sexual passion, and Miss Audrey doesn’t even know where to look at this point. She distracts her by suggesting a hat and Clémence flatters her by telling her she can’t imagine The Paradise without her.

That evening, the street in front of the store is set alight by sparklers and Catherine wheels while a small crowd claps appreciatively. Susie and Denise watch Moray and Clémence sort of canoodling together and Susan chatters on about how open Frenchwomen are. Yes, yes, all Frenchwomen are highly oversexed, and all the Englishwomen are uptight by comparison. Thanks for the subtle characterisations, as always, show.

Tom arrives and makes a beeline for Moray, who introduces Clémence . Tom welcomes her to England and invites her out to dinner with him. She accepts. Moray leaves the two of them together so he can go join Denise, who looks like she’s been drinking vinegar. Lovett suggests to Miss Audrey they have fireworks at their wedding, but she’s of the mind they need to keep things understated. Denise quizzes Moray on his relationship with Clémence, and he doesn’t really help himself by telling her that he and Clémence were very chummy and had dinner together and everything. Finally realizing what’s bothering his girlfriend, he reassures her that Clémence is not his type, and he’s definitely not hers. Across the street, Lovett admits that he hasn’t had any inquiries about the shop. Audrey reminds him that they’re planning on moving to a cottage her brother left her, so presumably they need to unload this other property. He tells her they can go up on weekends and get it ready while they’re waiting to sell the shop. Audrey suggests they not wait to get married.

Clémence has shaken free of Tom and cleverly goes to Clara for the goods on him. Clara tells her that he’s married to Katherine, who’s not a woman to be crossed. Clémence knows.

Tom’s with Moray and Dudley, and Moray informs him that he’s planning on stocking the fireworks in the store. Tom tells him not to let Clémence think they’ve made up their minds about it just yet. Dudley protests, thinking there’s no benefit in delaying, but Tom thinks that if they seem too eager, she’ll be able to play them.

Clémence, meanwhile, tells Clara exactly what the men are saying, even though she clearly can’t overhear them. She’s been in business with men like this before.

As the demonstration ends, a cart drives up to the store, and inside is none other than Jonas, unconscious in the back. Arthur looks freaked out, but Moray tells the others to get him inside.

Upstairs, Myrtle actually acts like a competent human being by taking charge of the situation and sending Denise for hot water to clean the man up and ordering everyone else out of the room. Jonas is placed on the bed, apparently with a high fever. Clara helps to get him undressed and Sam is sent for a nightshirt.

Downstairs, Dudley and Moray discuss Jonas’s return. Dudley wonders why the constable never came after Jonas for possibly murdering that guy last season, and he thinks the man will just bring trouble to the place. Moray tells him they’ll just keep him there until he’s well, and then they’ll send him on his way.

Back upstairs, Jonas is babbling, but nobody can make out what he’s saying. Denise bathes his face and hushes him, reassuring him he’s safe now.

The next day, Clémence is back in ladieswear, shopping. She asks about Miss Audrey’s impending marriage and says it’s ridiculous that married women can’t keep their jobs when married men can. She calls upon Denise and comments that she can see why she was all Moray talked about in Paris. She asks what Denise thinks of Miss A’s predicament and Denise just says she’s pleased she’s going to marry and be with the man she loves. Clémence pushes her to actually answer the question and Denise admits it’s wrong for her to lose her job. Clémence asks Clara where everyone goes for fun in the evening and Clara mentions the Three Crowns. Clémence invites herself along, insisting Miss A come along as well, and saying she’ll just write to Tom and tell him she can’t have dinner with him. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled.

Jonas is now sufficiently lucid for Dudley to head upstairs and tell him how unwelcome he is. Nice, Dudley. I know the guy’s not exactly a saint, but he’s also a sick old man, so maybe show some compassion? Jonas is aware he’s not wanted. Dudley asks about Burroughs’s death and accuses him of having murdered him. Jonas refuses to admit that, only saying he paid the man off. Myrtle shows up with some food and sympathetically asks Jonas how he came to be in such a state, and on the delivery wagon. He claims not to know, and seems honest about it. Dudley shortly tells him he’ll be on his way as soon as he can walk.

Denise shares a sales plan for the fireworks with Moray, who takes the opportunity to reassure her he does not have the hots for Clémence because it’s all Denise, all the time.

At Mount Glendenning, Flora and Kate are practicing walking up and down the garden with books on their heads while Tom tells his wife about Clémence and informs her he’s having dinner with her that night. He also mentions that Miss Audrey is leaving to marry. Katherine guesses that one of the girls will be promoted. Tom receives Clémence ’s rejection note and gets annoyed.

At the pub, Clémence smokes and tells the girls how she got started in business. The others are rather jealous, but Miss Audrey thinks it’s a bit uncivilized to be a woman in business. Sam comes in and asks if this is a hen party (did they have those back then? I bet not). Myrtle jokes that he can join them, since he’s practically one of the girls. Heh. She’s bugging me a lot less this week. Clémence proposes a toast to women following their own calling and determining their own lives. They all drink to that.

Later, everyone hurries home. Clémence walks with Denise, who’s all giggly drunk. Clémence asks Denise what she really wants to be in life and Denise admits she wants to be a Moray, running a place like The Paradise. Clémence tells her that, when we admit to our passions, we’re free. And then she leans forward and kisses Denise, who’s shocked and tells her she really doesn’t swing that way. She rushes inside. Jonas, of course, sees all from a hideaway nearby.

Moray and Dudley are still trying to talk Tom around to ordering the fireworks, but he insists on holding out. He also tells them he really wants to bang Clem, and Moray warns him that he might be barking up the wrong tree. Tom doesn’t get it entirely, because at the time, lesbianism didn’t officially exist. It existed in practice, of course, but the vast majority of men (and probably most straight women) didn’t believe women could actually have a sexual relationship with other women because, unlike men, they didn’t have an organ capable of penetrating anything. And they didn’t have very good imaginations, either, it seems. Tom leaves and Dudley wonders how they should deal with this. Moray tells him they won’t; Clémence will.

He goes up to ladieswear, where she’s being fitted for yet another dress, and tells her the predicament. She’s not about to let the guy bed her just because he’s some spoiled jerk. She’s going to take him on. She writes him a note telling him she once again can’t meet him for dinner.

The note is received by Katherine, who delivers it to her husband, clearly able to tell it’s from a woman (presumably from the handwriting). Tom crumples it up angrily.

Back at The Paradise, Denise tells Clara about the kiss, which shocks Clara. She recovers quickly and asks if she’s told Moray. She hasn’t, because she really wants her to have the contract and respects her. They’re interrupted by Miss A, who sends them back out to work.

That evening, Miss A and Lovett hang out at his place, she sewing, already like the perfect housewife. She says that Moray’s going to start interviewing for her position, and like everyone else, Lovett expects Denise to get it. Audrey’s reluctant to hand things over so readily and pouts about how women are ruled by men. Lovett reminds her that this whole marriage and their future living conditions are all her decisions, so that’s not 100% true. She dismisses these things as trifles, which is kind of bitchy, especially when he reminds her that he just put his shop up for sale because she asked him to.

Back at The Paradise, Denise hesitantly tells Moray about Clémence’s Sapphic leanings, and he laughs, because he knows, of course. Denise asks why he didn’t mention it and he says it’s not really his place to do so.

Sam strolls over to Lovett’s the next day and Lovett tells him that Audrey seems to be having second thoughts. Sam tells him that’s Clémence’s doing, and Lovett’s shocked to learn that Miss A was in The Three Crowns. He tells Sam they’re going out to the pub that night.

Jonas skulks about, listening as Clémence and Dudley talk about how Tom and Moray are butting heads. She starts coming on to Dudley big time, excusing her over the top flattery as being because she’s French. She basically tells him to invite her out to dinner, and he reminds her that he’s married and it might not be appropriate. He doesn’t exactly run in the opposite direction, though, and she presses her advantage, telling him he’s a very attractive man and she’s pretty hot under the petticoats for him. Dudley heads inside, passing Tom, who’s seen him talking to Clémence and looks enraged.

Jonas emerges from his hiding place and wanders off, followed by Arthur. He walks to that bridge everyone keeps meeting up on, and it must be miles away from the store, because he left in full daylight and now it’s pitch black out. He climbs onto the rail, but Arthur yanks him back before he can jump.

Jonas is returned to The Paradise, where Sam asks him what he was doing there and Myrtle pours him a drink. Again, Jonas claims to have no idea how he came to be where he was.

Tom has summoned Dudley to the office and observes that it’s touching to see how he and Moray rose to such stature, having started out as poor boys. It’d be a shame to lose all that, right? He orders Dudley to stop talking to Clémence , or he’ll be fired. Chastened, Dudley leaves. Dick move, Tom.

Moray rushes to complain to Katherine and tells her he can’t restore The Paradise if Tom keeps interfering. She focuses on Tom’s issue with Dudley and Moray admits he sees Dudley as some kind of rival for Clémence . Naturally, she gets her back up at the mention of this other woman and sharply tells Moray that she’ll deal with this. She also suddenly asks when he’ll appoint a new head of ladieswear and tells him Denise would be an excellent choice. He says they’re going to conduct interviews and she asks why he would hold her back, unless he’s worried about looking bad for championing his lover? He asks why she cares about Denise and she claims she’s come to appreciate the value of justice.

Inside, Katherine finds Clémence ’s notes in the trash and sits down to pen one of her own.

Clémence and Dudley eye each other at the store, which Denise notices. She pulls Clémence aside and asks her not to mess around with Dudley. Clémence claims not to have a choice. She left Paris under a cloud and now needs the contract with The Paradise to build a new life in England. And she has to use the womanly weapons at her disposal to do so. She warns Denise that whatever men have given her could be taken away. She asks Denise if she wants Miss A’s job and if she doesn’t get it, will she speak up or just take the decision like a good girl? Denise goes back inside without answering and Clémence receives Katherine’s letter.

The letter has apparently summoned her to Mount Glendenning for a conference with Kate.

Jonas is back in bed, being woken by Moray and Dudley. Dudley still fiercely tells the man there’s no sympathy for him there, but Moray merely asks what Jonas has been up to for the past year. Jonas says he’s been working, and it hasn’t been easy. He promises to leave the following day, probably because he’s sick of Dudley constantly jumping down his throat. Moray gently invites him to stay until he’s fully recovered and Jonas thanks him.

Out in the hall, Moray scolds Dudley for being a jerk and Dudley says the man gets under his skin. This all comes around to the fact that Dudley’s frustrated about this Clémence situation, and Moray tells him he’s not the kind of man to go chasing after her. A little bitterly, Dudley says he’s the kind of man who married young and never kissed another woman in his life. He’s been a goody two-shoes too long. Moray leaves him, and Dudley finds a note in his pocket.

Kate and Clémence emerge from their meeting and Katherine informs her husband she’s invited Clémence to stay with them. Wow, she’s one super accommodating wife. Tom can’t believe his luck.

After hours at The Paradise, Audrey tells Denise that she’s told Lovett she’s reconsidering. Clara curses Clémence for spreading these ideas, and Denise gently reminds her that she’s loved Lovett for so many years, and now she’s doing this just to spite men. Miss A accuses them of trying to get rid of her and swirls out.

At Mount Glendenning, Tom gets dressed for dinner and Katherine comments that she can see why he might fall for Clémence, who’s quite charming. Tom guesses Moray told her about the flirtation, and Katherine drops the façade and tells him that, if he’s going to pursue this woman, he’ll do it at Mount Glendenning, out of the public eye. Apparently being let off the fidelity leash gets him kind of hot, because he gets closer and flirtier with his wife than we’ve ever seen. Katherine tells him she doesn’t want Moray getting the upper hand, but she doesn’t want him crushed either. And she’s brought Clémence into their home because she knows these flings never last. And when it’s over and he’s all ashamed of himself, she’ll comfort him and be a good little wifey. And in exchange, he’s never again to ask what happened between her and Moray.

Denise goes to see Jonas, who’s lying awake, and admits she has a dilemma. She tells him Clémence seems intent on seducing Dudley, and she’s afraid of hurting Dudley’s feelings and offending him if she tells him what Clémence’s real motives are. Jonas observes that Dudley’s been pretty tense lately and that he knows the man had a card in his pocket. He guesses Dudley’s going to meet with Clémence that night.

Audrey goes to visit Lovett, only to find his shop locked up and him at the bar instead. She asks for a word and he invites her to say her piece right there. She says he seems to have taken her decision rather personally. Uh, didn’t you dump him? How can you not take that personally, Audrey? She claims she’s doing this because it’s just unjust for a woman to lose her job for getting married. He fiercely reminds her of how hard he fought to keep his shop open, but he was willing to give it up right away when she asked, and he thought she might be prepared to make similar sacrifices. But, obviously he was wrong about that. He orders another drink and Audrey leaves.

Back at Mount Glendenning, Clémence amuses Flora at dinner with a magic trick while Tom watches and engages in some sexy fruit eating. Clémence thanks them for dinner and excuses herself to attend another engagement. Tom looks rather perturbed at this news. He follows her out into the hall and asks where she’s going. She answers that she’s arranged a rendezvous. He asks if it’s with a man, but she won’t tell him.

She returns to The Paradise, followed quickly by Tom. There, she plies Dudley with champagne, and he’s either a total lightweight or he got a head start on the drinking before she arrived. Also, I’m not sure I find it entirely credible that upright family man Dudley would fall this easily just because some woman bats her eyelashes at him. Clémence begins kissing his fingers, but before things heat up, they hear a noise at the door.

Tom arrives, as the music gets insanely frantic. He finds the store quiet and closed up, but he hears a noise on the first floor, and when he goes to investigate, he find Jonas waiting for him in the room formerly occupied by Clémence and Dudley. Jonas introduces himself and, when asked, says he hasn’t seen Clémence . Furthermore, he’s fairly certain Clémence likes women. Tom can’t believe it, but Jonas says he’s pretty good at figuring people out and advises him to ask Moray if he wants a second opinion.

Denise and Clara find Clémence downstairs, kind of stumbling around and looking a little out of it. She tells them Jonas interrupted and kind of creeped her out, since he seemed to know all about her, even though she’d never met him. Clara reassures her that’s just Jonas’s superpower and Denise asks why she’s so determined to screw around with Dudley. Clémence confesses that she was in love with a woman when she was younger, but the woman wouldn’t leave her husband. Denise guesses that the woman was married to a man like Dudley. So, wait—Clémence was trying to ruin Dudley’s life because he reminded her of her ex-lover’s husband? Who, as far as we can tell, was blameless in the breakup? This woman’s frigging nuts. Oh, right: French. Which means, overly emotional.

Audrey goes to Lovett’s and pounds frantically on the door. When he finally opens it and lets her in, she tells him she realizes she’s been a jerk and a fool. So, I guess the wedding’s back on.

Jonas wakes Dudley, who’s been sleeping off his champagne headache in Jonas’s bed. He tells Dudley there’s a carriage waiting to take him home, and that Jonas thoughtfully sent a note to Dudley’s wife, telling her he’d been detained by Moray overnight. Nice moves, Jonas.

Tom’s making his daily visit, and Moray tells him there’s going to be another demonstration of the fireworks that night. It’s bound to attract attention, and people will want to know where to buy said fireworks. Tom tells him to just give Clémence the contract, so they can be rid of her. I’m surprised he doesn’t see her as even more of a challenge now, but fine, I’ll take it.

Miss Audrey, now in civvies, hands over the order books to Denise, as she’s sure Denise will be taking over the job. Audrey looks briefly sick at the idea of giving up the job she’s loved for so long and sacrificed so much for. She looks around and says Clémence is correct in what she says (presumably about it being wrong that women can’t keep their jobs, not about trying to get completely misguided revenge on someone who doesn’t even know they’ve wronged you.)

While the fireworks demo begins, Denise bids Audrey and Lovett farewell as they get on the road to the cottage. Audrey seems to have made her peace with the decision and all the employees cheer them as they drive off. During the demo, Tom starts to look uncomfortable and stumbles down a nearby alleyway to have an episode out of the public eye. Jonas, meanwhile, takes a moment to warn Moray to keep an eye on Tom, because he’s the type to destroy himself if it’ll bring someone else down as well. Dudley joins them and he and Moray invite Jonas to stay on at The Paradise. Aww. Clémence kisses Clara and Denise and bids them farewell. Denise goes to join Moray, and Clara notes Tom having some sort of freakout.