After a difficult week, things were buzzing along at a pace almost matching that of the days when Moray was truly in charge of The Paradise, but the changes taking shape made the former owner nervous rather than excited. As Tom Weston began to relish his stake in the store’s operation and success, he became increasingly interested in expanding its reach – something demonstrated by his idea for a food hall adjacent to the other departments. Though Myrtle was taken in by the new project, Moray saw it as a threat, and was right in his assumption.
Things were changing quickly in ladies wear as well, as Denise’s early success with the afternoon tea bolstered her confidence. But her ideas ran far deeper than just sales and promotions – she hoped to change the way that the department was structured in a more meaningful way. Under her authority, things were starting to look surprisingly democratic, and though there was some initial pushback, the other girls seemed happy enough with the new order.
Mr. Weston also took notice of Denise’s new way of doing things, and made a point of telling her that he approved. But though he encouraged her to spread her ideas throughout the store, it was clear that he had a motive for doing so that wasn’t entirely concerned with democratizing the store’s other departments. Fortunately, it had nothing to do with undermining Denise, and more to do with further entrenching his position at the store. The more Tom made the business of The Paradise his own, the more its staff saw him as one of their leaders, and that was a development that put Moray ill at ease.
Though Moray still felt uncertain about their ploy to undermine the Westons’ marriage, it looked as though his ambition would eventually win out over his misgivings. Both Jonas and Fenton were happy to remind him of Katherine’s role in driving him out of The Paradise, and applied enough pressure to spur him into action. In the meantime, Moray found himself once again butting heads with Tom, who was more than a little dismissive of his concept to sell watches with an intricate display in the store’s entrance.
As it turned out, the initiative that they disagreed on provided the perfect chance to make a move to ensnare Katherine, although it was clear that Moray wasn’t entirely comfortable doing so. When he went to ask her for permission to use her father’s watch as the centerpiece to his display, however, the reception he received wasn’t nearly as warm as he’d expected. Luckily for Moray, the next day brought with it a change of heart on Katherine’s part, and she agreed to let him use her father’s watch – something that predictably irked Tom.
Clever as ever, Jonas soon found a way to use Tom’s mistrust of Moray to his advantage, and further cemented his position as a confidante to the new owner by suggesting that he, too, grew tired of his predecessor’s presence at the store. As Moray and Katherine appeared to grow closer, Tom couldn’t help but notice that his wife seemed to be falling back into her old habits, and was in need of someone to listen to his concerns. Once Jonas had earned Tom’s trust, it wasn’t difficult to convince him that he was working on his behalf, rather than Moray’s. In fact, he played the part so well, that it was hard to tell where Jonas’s loyalties truly lay.
Meanwhile, it seemed as though Katherine’s decision to let Moray use her father’s watch for the store’s display wasn’t motivated entirely by good will. As she suggested in a quiet conversation with Clara, Katherine was well aware of the message that her renewed closeness with Moray (as signified by the watch) might send. And though she said that she wouldn’t want Denise to get the wrong idea, it was hard not to get the impression that she secretly hoped the presence of the watch would drive a wedge between Moray and his fiancée.
She was right to suspect that there was a growing divide between The Paradise’s resident lovebirds, but it wasn’t her presence that was causing the problem. The more authority and responsibility that Weston bestowed upon Denise, the more worried and insecure Moray became. Her ever-improving standing within the store made him uneasy, and one could easily make the assumption that it was as much because he feared her surpassing him, as because her rise could jeopardize his attempts to take back his business. Just as Moray tried to spur discord in the Westons’ marriage, so too did Tom seek to disrupt his rival’s relationship, and he was doing a very good job of it.
Between that, and Katherine’s sudden desire to spend more time with Moray, it looked as though everyone in The Paradise’s managing offices had some kind of plot in the works. But even as the Westons seemed embroiled in their own conspiracies, Moray started to have second thoughts about the strategy that his partners wanted him to enact against them. When Tom invited both Moray and Denise to dinner, however, he began to do some of that work for him. While he sang Denise’s praises in an effort to provoke Moray, Katherine’s displeasure was plain to see.
Tom’s jibes turned out to be the least of Moray’s worries, when the dinner revealed that he and Katherine had plans to allow Denise to spend a week in Paris to research fashions for the store. Though Denise was understandably delighted by the news, Moray was immediately suspicious – and perhaps even a little jealous – and when the two of them were alone, he convinced her to refuse the overture. Despite her agreement, however, Denise was well aware of the opportunity that he was asking her to give up, and some seeds of resentment looked to have been sown.
As the episode came to a close, that sentiment seemed to have overcome more characters than Denise alone. Angered by Tom’s move to promote Denise’s career even further, he finally allowed Jonas to reveal the secret behind Lord Glendenning’s watch – one which he believed would cause irreversible damage to the Westons’ marriage. When Tom learned that the watch had been meant for Katherine’s husband, but that she had kept it from him since his death, he was furious, both with his wife and with Moray. And, though quieter in her discontent, Denise looked ready to take her future into her own hands – with or without Moray’s approval.
– Kate Shepherd