There were some difficult decisions to be made at The Paradise this week, and as usual, it wasn’t just the men who occupied its offices that would be making them. Though it was clear that both Denise and Moray missed one another, it was hard to blame the ambitious head of ladies wear for her decision to put their romance aside in light of his somewhat backwards attitudes. As if to provide a bright, bold underline to her thoughts, the return of Clemence to the store’s halls was a further reminder of all Denise could achieve on her own.
We hope you enjoyed our premiere broadcast of The Paradise Season 2, which wrapped up April 1, 2015. Watch for our network premiere of Downton Abbey Season 5, April 8 through June 3, 2015 at 9pm ET/6 PT. Plus, our encore presentation of the fascinating exploration of Britain’s Secret Homes runs from Wednesday, April 15 through Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 10pm ET.
But of course, it wasn’t just Denise who took notice of the captivating Clemence’s presence at The Paradise. As she swept into the store, she piqued the interest of customers, and stirred Moray’s curiosity. Though she was there ostensibly to escape the whisperings of a scorned lover back in Paris, she also brought with her a game of chance, hazard dice, that she believed would catch on quickly in England. And, although she didn’t reveal as much to Moray, she came bearing a product so challenging to sell, she knew that only Denise could take it on – ladies’ rouge.
Downstairs, Sam had his hands full with a gentleman whose health took a turn for the worse on the sales floor. Though clearly of means and visiting from a foreign land, there was no way for Sam, or his superiors, to identify him, and when he died, they were forced to take unusual measures to find out who he was. Sam suggested that since he was French, perhaps Clemence could help, but she didn’t know any more than they did. One man who did know something was Tom Weston, who understood that the Frenchwoman was fleeing debt, rather than ill will, in her home country, and used that knowledge to broker the dinner she’d refused on her last visit.
Not everyone was as thrilled as Denise to learn of Clemence’s unannounced visit from France, however. When Tom brought up the news with Katherine, it was clear that she, already threatened by the thought of being sent away from her home, was made even more vexed by the perceived competition. She confessed to Jonas, of all people, how much she felt she had lost since her marriage to Tom, and their conversation helped to put her mind at ease. The realization that she might soon have a child complicated things though, as Katherine wondered what kind of marriage it would be born into.
Her fears were hardly put to rest when she attempted to regain some of the closeness she’d once shared with Tom, and was thoroughly rebuffed. Based on his words, the union seemed to be nothing more than a façade. That suspicion was soon confirmed when Clemence informed her female friends at The Paradise that Tom Weston had resolved to use her debts – which a collector had sold to him – as leverage. With the prospect of prison back in France looming, she agreed to be his mistress, sealing both her own fate, and apparently Katherine’s as well.
In the meantime, Clemence couldn’t help but be impressed by Denise’s ingenious way of selling the rouge to women who feared colouring their faces would raise their husbands’ ire. With Myrtle’s help, she and Clara concocted a skin cream, tinted with the rouge pigment, something that women couldn’t help but line up for, and Clemence was blown away by the concept. Even as she marveled at the final product, however, Clemence couldn’t help but wonder why two people as vibrant as Denise and Moray couldn’t work out their differences. But while Denise was still hesitant to take him back, Dudley was able to convince Moray to fight for both his relationship, and the store.
For her part, Denise was determined to help Clemence avoid entering into an arrangement with Tom Weston, and though she went to discuss the matter with him alone, it wasn’t before learning his darkest secrets from Jonas. Unfortunately, that knowledge only served to antagonize Weston even further, and Denise found herself in a dangerous position when he reacted with anger rather than reason. Where she was unsuccessful, however, Jonas had more luck, and when he revealed that it was he who had pieced together the dark story of Tom’s military service, The Paradise’s owner became unhinged.
When he returned to The Paradise looking to find only Clemence, he was met not only by her, but also Denise and Moray – all of whom were there in an attempt to defend her from his plot. Finally seeing why all his talk of ownership before had riled Denise, Moray despised Weston’s attempts to buy Clemence’s companionship, and challenged him with the only thing he knew might sway the former soldier. With all of their fates resting on a game of hazard, Moray agreed that if he lost, he would leave the country forever – just as Tom wished – under the condition that he would forgive Clemence’s debts should he win.
While Denise watched as the man she loved tossed dice in a game that would determine all of their futures, Katherine and her beloved stepdaughter stole away into the night, hoping to stop Tom once and for all. Though Moray won the throw for Clemence’s debts, he couldn’t resist the chance to win back The Paradise in a second game. Despite Denise’s worries, he agreed to play, but Katherine’s sudden arrival at the store caught both Moray and Tom off guard.
In the end, it was Katherine’s words that finally convinced Tom to step away from the table, and The Paradise, as the two of them thought once more about the happiness of their family. And as they reconciled, Denise and Moray did the same, finally able to see one another as equals in pursuit of the same goal, rather than competitors. That epiphany came with the knowledge that Denise would have to leave to make her own way in the world before she could be truly happy – or so Moray thought.
If there’s one thing he should’ve realized, however, it was that Denise was talented and intelligent enough to have her own enterprise, and the life she desired with him. With the financial backing of Mr. Ballentine, she proposed to reopen her uncle’s shop as a beauty emporium, starting with the lotion that she and Myrtle had developed. With a new venture of her own on the horizon, and the love of her life once again at The Paradise’s helm, it was hard to imagine a limit to Denise’s potential, a happier ending to the program’s second and final season, or a more promising beginning for both her and Moray.
– Kate Shepherd