The Paradise: Worth 1000 Words

5010454-high-the-paradise2Previously on The Paradise: Moray took his fake courtship of Catherine a little too far, severely endangering his relationship with Denise, and Lovett had a heart attack.

At Mount Glendenning, Catherine’s getting ready and telling Flora that her father has a surprise for them, so they have to look nice. They’re wearing their matching dresses. Flora, concerned, asks if Catherine’s feeling better and Catherine reassures her that she is.

The surprise is that they’re getting a family portrait done. Tom chats about photography with the photographer, who’s black, in case that becomes important. Tom’s fascinated by photography, because he thinks it conceals nothing. The ladies come in and Tom introduces the photographer as Mr Cartwright. Catherine welcomes him and they start arranging themselves. Flora asks ‘mama’ to stand next to her and Tom, in an unbelievably dick move, tells Flora not to call Catherine that, because she’s not really her mother. Wow, what a prick. He also makes Catherine stand behind him. Double prick. She obeys, galling though it is, and they get ready for their closeup.

Suzie’s reading some sort of ghost story out of a magazine. Oh, Jesus, who gave her that? Seriously, this girl should clearly not be reading anything more challenging or likely to fire the imagination than nursery rhymes. Sam makes fun of the story and tells Suzie and Myrtle that ghosts don’t really exist. Of course, Suzie refuses to believe that, insisting that she’s seen things. I’ll bet she has.

Denise takes a seat with Clara, who asks how her uncle is. Better, thankfully. And it seems Denise has been a way for a short while tending to him. Clara whispers that Moray missed her and asks if he’s ok, because he seemed a little off. Denise doesn’t want to talk about it.

After breakfast, she’s walking through the downstairs areas when she runs into Moray, who really does look like hell. He’s even stopped Brylcreeming his hair. He rushes to tell her that whatever she thinks happened totally didn’t. She angrily says that, when her uncle was ill and she really needed her fiancé at her side, he was with Catherine instead. Jonas comes in and tells Denise that Catherine is there, so off she goes. Jonas goes on to tell Moray that Tom’s there too, calling all the staff for a meeting.

Upstairs, Dudley tells Moray he looks like hell. Tom’s got Cartwright there, and he introduces the man to everyone. They clap politely and Suzie and Myrtle comment on how handsome the man is. He’s ok, I guess, but I find it a little hard to believe that, given the prejudices of the time (and while discrimination against black people was far less intense in Britain than it was in the US at this period, it did still exist) these two women would be intimating how happy they’d be to jump into bed with this guy. Tom reveals the family portrait and announces that everyone will be getting their own pictures taken by Cartwright, and have them hung up in the gallery. Catherine, who’s been listening to this, grabs Flora and stomps out angrily, for some reason. Denise follows her out, but then seems to rethink confronting her. Catherine puts Flora in the carriage and goes to have a heart-to-heart with Denise, explaining that she knows the look on her face, as it’s the same one she used to get after a fight with Moray. Denise bitchily asks if Catherine enjoyed her afternoon with him. Catherine tells Denise she’s won this war; that Moray only wants her, and the store. His relationship with Catherine, at all points, was only ever a means to an end. Wow, that was sad. Denise hurries into the delivery yard and tries not to burst into tears.

Dudley gets Moray into his office and hears about the kiss heard ‘round the garden. He reads him the riot act for screwing absolutely everything up, ever, which is fair enough. Seems like every time Moray gets entangled with this family he loses something else important. Dudley also complains about how this whole plan was Jonas’s idea, because Dudley loves blaming Jonas for things, and warns Dudley to start treating Denise the way she deserves.

Back downstairs, Cartwright explains his amazing camera to the workers (is the store not open today?) and calls out Clara, calling her beautiful, but notes a deep sadness in her eyes. He asks if she’ll be the first to have her photo taken but she refuses and moves away. Tom asks if she disapproves and she non-answers that she’s fine with looking at pictures of other people. He notes that she’s rather willful.

Pictures begin, Dudley first. Denise tries not to look stiff and awkward and fails. Moray steps forward, still looking like shit, and does no better than Denise.

Afterwards, Denise goes to see Tom in Moray’s office. Tom tells her he thinks they can use photography to increase sales, and he’d like to get some ideas from her. She starts to say Moray won’t like it, but Tom tells her Moray’s been holding her back. He wants to meet with her later to go over her plans.

Sam asks Cartwright how he learned so much. An apprenticeship, like most. Sam seems fascinated by the notion that the man just travels around from place to place, searching for inspiration. Cartwright says he may have found his muse right at The Paradise: Clara. He begs Sam for help getting her photographed. Sam’s not quite sure how to do that. He gets his picture taken and looks properly pompous.

Moray arrives in his office and Tom, watching Denise head over to her uncle’s shop through the window, muses that she really is something. Moray agrees. Tom reveals that he spoke with Fenton, and he thinks Moray overplayed his hand. He goes back to Denise and thinks she has a good chance of running The Paradise someday, and wouldn’t that be ironic?

Denise pulls bolts of fabric out of storage, getting dust all down her front that she can’t seem to brush off.

Moray sits down to write her a letter he’ll presumably pass her before study hall, telling her how very much he loves her and how he feels so far away from her now. No apology, mind. And notice that it’s still all about him and his feelings. Denise, run! You can do better! Jonas interrupts with news of Tom’s time in India, but Moray doesn’t want to hear it, because frankly all this nonsense has already given him enough trouble. He dismisses Jonas and tosses the letter. Good call, Moray.

Cartwright finds Clara all alone up in ladieswear and says he has something to ask her. She says that’s fine, as long as he’s not asking why she doesn’t want her portrait taken. He claims to already know the answer to that and apologises for his comments earlier. She still says she doesn’t want her picture taken, but he urges her to meet with him later so he can show her something.

Denise meets with Tom and pitches an idea for Paradise postcards so customers can have a souvenir of their visit. It’d be free advertising, and people can shop while they wait for the pictures to be developed. Ok, this is clearly showing a lack of understanding of how photography worked in the 1870s. Do they have a darkroom set up on site or something? This wasn’t some kind of Polaroid camera, it took a while to get pictures developed—you had to dip them in different baths and let them dry and everything. Writers, do your research!

Inside, Arthur unveils a large board with all the Paradise’s employees’ portraits on it. Everyone ooohs and ahhs and remark on how fantastic it is while they admire their pictures with such over the top fervor it’s actually unintentionally hilarious. Suzie claims there’s a ghost in hers (of course she does), but it just looks like a double exposure. Sam rolls his eyes, but Suzie’s starting to freak out, thinking the place is haunted. Myrtle chuckles and says she thinks Suzie’s a bit suggestible. A bit? Cartwright tells them there was an issue with the exposure on Suzie’s picture and says these ‘ghostly apparitions’ in pictures are all the rage in London. He offers to take her picture again, but she refuses, for some reason. From a slight distance, Dudley explains to Moray that it’s the stupid ghost story that’s doing this. That and the fact that Suzie’s a dimwit. Dudley notes how the supernatural seems to attract people and thinks this is a fantastic business opportunity.

The Paradise postcards booth is being set up in Lovett’s old shop, and Denise is bargaining with Cartwright over pricing. She plays hardball and gets him to accept only 30% of the payment. Moray comes in and asks for a moment with her, so Cartwright makes himself scarce. Moray tells her about his deal with Fenton and how he was supposed to drive a wedge between Catherine and her husband. He admits the whole thing was a mistake and says he only did it because he wanted the store back. Denise calls him a liar and says she knows all about the kiss.

Cartwright takes Clara for a walk to a nearby pond and talks about how the landscape is shaped by all these violent weather events, which give everything character. This is his way of telling her to embrace her past and stop trying to hide her pain. She thinks he’s trying to get her in the sack but he says he really only wants her portrait. He urges her to lean out over the pond and look at her reflection and live in the moment and see how beautiful she is.

The Paradise postcards are getting underway as Cartwright and Clara return. Cartwright congratulates him on the success and Tom says Cartwright made it all possible. Cartwright says he’s delighted to be of help.

Later that night, Tom finds Clara sitting, thinking in the kitchen and says he’s starting to understand Moray’s obsession with the place. She wonders what he’s doing wandering around the kitchen at night and he says there are so many delights to be found, it’s hard to resist. He pours her a drink and toasts to her health. He goes on to say that the two of them are kindred spirits, able to see each other’s scars. He strokes her cheek and asks if she’d like to be in safe hands, protected? Because he could offer that. He urges her to consider that and leaves.

Moray reaches his office and finds Jonas waiting for him. Jonas explains that he had hoped to serve Moray by honest means, but he can’t seem to help himself. Moray says Denise will hardly speak to him, so he’s got bigger issues than Jonas’s apologies. Jonas asks if Moray wants him to go and Moray says he doesn’t, because the sight of Jonas reminds him of what a screwup he is, and he needs to keep remembering that.

Clara pays a visit to Denise in her room and Denise confides in her about Catherine and Moray’s kiss. Clara says she’s sorry to hear that. Denise doesn’t know how she can manage to work there with this hanging over them, but she can’t bear the thought of being apart from Moray. Clara shrugs and tells her to forgive him, then. Denise refuses to be second prize, but Clara tells her Moray really wants her, not Catherine. She asks if Denise really believed Catherine would put up with being jilted and not take some kind of revenge? She urges Denise to let this go.

Dudley and Moray are at the pub, Moray bemoaning the fact that Denise doesn’t really need him anymore. He begs Dudley for advice and Dudley tells him the best thing he can do is his job. He shows Moray the magazine with the ghost story in it and tells him it’s got an immense circulation, and the old Moray would exploit that to its fullest degree. Moray has no ideas, because he’s come to rely too much on Denise’s. Dudley finishes his drink and tells him he’ll think of something, because he has to fix this. Moray finds the ghost story and begins reading.

Meanwhile, Myrtle and Suzie are reading the same story in bed and wondering what the outcome will be. Suzie’s dress, which was draped over a chair, suddenly flops off of its own accord, and then raises itself up and hovers in midair. Suzie, Myrtle, and Clara all begin to freak out. Of course, it’s Sam, just playing a prank, but the screaming wakes Denise, who comes out to see what’s going on. Suzie realizes what’s going on, and though Denise starts out laughing, she suddenly bursts into tears and Clara sweetly comes over and embraces her. Denise insists she’s fine, but Clara gently tells her she doesn’t need to pretend.

Over breakfast at Mount Glendenning, Tom suggests Catherine go abroad for a bit, for a rest and change of scenery. She robotically says that sounds great. When she mentions taking Flora, Tom tells her Flora will remain behind, so Catherine can have some time alone. Catherine protests, but Tom drops the nice guy façade and tells her all about how Fenton and Moray were duping her into thinking that Moray was still interested in her. Still a prick.

Denise is manning the postcard booth when Dudley comes over and tells her Moray needs to see her about an idea he’s had. Like a child, she whines and begs him not to make her go, but Dudley hardballs that, if she can’t do her job, she can damn well find another one.

Moray and Dudley arrive in ladieswear, and Suzie stresses that they’re going to fire her for neglecting her job. Moray shows her the magazine and says he hears she reads it more than anyone else there. She confesses it’s true, and Moray’s pleased, because the publishers have agreed to launch the final installment of the story from the store, and he needs help from someone with intimate knowledge of the series. She blurts out something about a poisoned plum pudding—apparently the heroine thinks she’s being poisoned. Also, her nightgown is really closely described, so they should work that in as well. Moray likes the sound of that and suggests he, Dudley, and Denise go discuss the launch.

In his office, Denise wonders what they need her for, since Suzie’s ideas sounded fine. Moray says her ideas were kind of ordinary, but they need to take it one step further, and for that, he needs Denise. She reluctantly agrees to help.

Flora and Catherine arrive for their daily retail therapy and immediately go to get their postcard portraits taken. Cartwright’s surprised to see them but invites them to take a seat. Flora asks if Tom will be joining them and Catherine says this is just for the two of them, and if they’re ever separated, they’ll both have a picture to make them feel close. Cartwright arranges them and Catherine tries very hard not to cry as the picture is taken.

Later, Clara arrives at the photobooth and takes a look at the photo plate, noting that she’s never seen Catherine looking like that. He says she’s suffering, like Clara. Clara asks him why he thinks he has the right to talk to her like that and he says it’s because he likes her. He presses for some details, asking if it was a man and she says it was, and the dalliance ruined her life. He was married, Clara had his child, and she had to give her away. He quietly says he wishes she could be kinder to herself.

Denise and Moray walk the floor and talk about how to keep customers in the shop once they’ve come through the door to buy their issue. Denise suggests recreating the feeling of the story, with fake fog and everything. Jonas watches them talk from a distance and looks pleased.

They head to the kitchen, where Myrtle is making the puddings, and tell her that she’s going to be playing the role of the cook in the story, so customers will be coming right to her kitchen to get their puddings. Up in ladieswear, Moray asks Cartwright if he can somehow manage to finagle a ghost. He thinks he can manage. He’ll also be on hand to capture a memento of the customers’ experiences.

Catherine checks out the picture of herself and Flora, but shoves it in a drawer when she hears Tom coming. He pokes his head in to say goodnight (though it’s still fully light out, so I guess he plans to turn in super early), and then notes that she’s very dressed up. She says it’s for the Paradise’s big event and he tells her that she’ll remain behind while he takes Flora. Again, she tries not to cry. And later, she watches through her bedroom window as Tom and Flora leave. Can she really not just order up a carriage and go anyway? I know that women back then were supposed to be obedient, but it is her carriage, after all. Is she still that terrified of this man?

The store has a big crowd out in front of it, and Denise and Moray wait anxiously for the publishers to arrive. Once they do, Sam, wearing a black cloak, greets the customers and welcomes them to the house on haunted hill, ushering them inside. He opens the doors to the great hall with a flourish and the place has been entirely transformed into a creepy haunted house. Fog, black feathers, branches and lanterns. Sam starts to tell the story, leading the crowd through the store, past a fake hanging man, which is creepy as hell, and invites the guests to partake of some of the maybe-poisoned food. Myrtle appears with the puddings. Tom eases up to Clara and says he was uncertain about this whole idea, but he’s rather enjoying it. He promises to send Flora home early, and when he’s finished his business with the publishers, he’ll send his carriage for Clara.

Up in ladieswear, Denise and Moray anxiously wait for the guests. Denise worries the place isn’t scary enough. It’s been set up like the heroine’s bedroom, and Suzie’s lying in the bed. Sam shows everyone a spot where the heroine scratched her initials into the wood, and an SFX ghost jumps out, startling everyone. Pleased at their success, Denise and Moray forget themselves and hold hands, for a moment. Sam invites everyone to buy the magazine and urges them to have their pictures taken with the ghost on the way out.

Later, customers flow through the door and Dudley tells Moray it’s not fair that he’s done all this great work and Tom gets to take the credit. Moray doesn’t care, because he thinks this has all gone a long way towards reminding Denise whom she fell in love with. Dudley says the store needs them both, because together, they’re nigh unstoppable.

That night, Tom waits in his carriage. Upstairs, Clara dresses to go out, smiles at herself in the mirror, and goes downstairs…

…to have her photograph taken. Fake out! Cartwright’s pleased and obliges her, of course.

Tom and his blue balls drive home.

Sam’s now reading the final installment, and as he finishes, he hears a door creak open. He goes to investigate, and Suzie manages to scare the hell out of him by sneaking up behind him. She cackles, having finally had her revenge.

Clara admits she feels a bit like royalty, sitting to have her portrait taken. He says she looks the part and she mockingly says she’s not about to hang a portrait of herself over her bed. He notes that she tends to joke about what’s important and she gets up and says he seems to think he knows every inch of her soul, but he doesn’t. He chuckles and says that’s a bit of a habit of his. She tells him he might be attractive if he just shut up for a few minutes, and then she kisses him, looks a little amazed at herself, and returns to her seat. He goes and kneels in front of her and says that the most beautiful thing about her is that she has no idea how beautiful she is. They kiss again

Downstairs, Moray and Denise dissect the evening’s success and agree that they still make a formidable team. Moray sincerely apologises to her and asks if she can ever forgive him. She says she can and kisses him. He says the kiss with Catherine was a terrible mistake and that he only went to such lengths in order to secure his and Denise’s future. She urges him not to hide these things from her and condescendingly tells her she shouldn’t bother herself with the messy business of men. He then outrageously refers to her as his most prized possession, even over the store, and she does the single greatest thing Denise has ever done on this show and slaps the hell out of him. I take a moment to stand up and applaud, because Jesus did this man ever deserve a slap. She angrily tells him that she’s not his possession and she won’t live in a box marked ‘My Little Champion.’ Yes! Thank you, Denise. She leaves him standing there. He tries not to cry. Lots of that going on this week.

Next week: Clémence is back!



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