The Paradise Recap: S1/Episode 2. “No ideas, no questions, no what-ifs.”


On tap today: My recap of Season One, Episode 2 of [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Bill Gallagher’s (Lark Rise to Candleford) stirring Masterpiece Theater drama, The Paradise, based on Émile Zola’s beloved classic novel, Au Bonheur des Dames[/inlinetweet], airing on PBS in the States October 6-November 17, 2013, produced by Simon Lewis, directed by David Drury.

* Spoiler Alert! * Spoiler Alert! * Spoiler Alert! *

This is an episode recap, folks. Don’t read further if you’re afraid I’ll give something away – because I probably will. But I will try to be a bit cryptic because I’m sure you’ll want to watch this episode for yourself.

babbbby#TheParadise Episode 2 opens with shop girl Denise finding an abandoned baby boy in ladieswear. The finding of this baby, this “foundling” as he is called, is the inciting incident that ushers in a new character, the charming philanthropist Peter Adler, as a new love interest for Lady Katherine Glendenning. The baby also unlocks the backstory of not one, not two, but three characters: young Arthur, shop girl Clara, and Miss Audrey. Even the distant, business-minded Moray is touched by the baby and receives important advice from Dudley, his trusted advisor. Before Episode 2 draws to a close, we have a tender moment between Moray, Denise and the sleeping baby.

foundlingsparadiseEver the opportunist, Moray immediately capitalizes on the finding of the baby boy through advertising and a collection for the “Foundling Fund”. Soon Peter Adler and Lady Katherine Glendenning grow closer as they escort a group of children from the “Foundling Home” through the Paradise. Before long, Denise gets an idea, which Miss Audrey quickly tries to squash, but this idea makes its way to Moray via Katherine Glendenning. This idea? A children’s wear department for the Paradise. Brilliant!

The Paradise, BBC1's new department-store drama. Publicity shotWhat I enjoyed most about this episode were the storylines of shop girl Clara and young Arthur. The devastating circumstances behind Clara’s situation grows more desperate and dire as the episode unfolds, which left me quite teary-eyed when the credits rolled because the episode closed with Clara sobbing in her bed.

arthurholdingbabyArthur, the young boy found as an infant in the loading docks “will always live at the Paradise” because Moray has given him lifetime employment. Arthur serves a vital role in this episode as a character within the store who is actually a foundling living and working among the characters. While Arthur provides viewers with a living example of the plight of orphaned children during this time, Clara provides viewers with a sample of what an unwed mother endured.

missaudreyyyyyyIn a surprising twist, we learn Miss Audrey has a love connection to Denise’s uncle across the street. Hhmmm… should create interesting developments in the storyline in coming episodes.

But the most delightfully nasty moments of the episode came during a dinner conversation in which Lady Katherine Glendenning slams Moray with polite conversation after he politely insults and degrades her as being froth and frivolous. She wisely snaps back with the suggestion that Denise gave her – that a children’s wear department would be perfect for the Paradise. Through her stealth exchange of pleasantries, she implies in front of business associates seated at the dinner table, that he is lacking in business skills for not realizing the potential goldmine a children’s department would offer. The subtext she closes with that refers to his eventually catching up with the shop girl, Denise, SCREAMS underlying tension between this love triangle that is only just beginning to develop.

I also loved an exchange between Katherine Glendenning and Peter Adler in the courtyard after dinner in which she reveals her feelings of fashion and its power to transform a woman. From this exchange, we learn she’s tried on a new dress while with Peter and she very much likes the woman she is while wearing it. A nice exchange that is clearly suited to the setting of the Paradise and the early developments of retailing and ready-made fashion.

missaudreyyyMy vote for best exchange of dialogue this episode?
An exchange between Miss Audrey and Denise held in Miss Audrey’s living quarters in which we learn a little bit more about Miss Audrey’s life and the choices that have brought her to the Paradise. This sample dialogue demonstrates just how threatened Miss Audrey is of Denise and her enterprising ideas.

Miss Audrey: [inlinetweet prefix=”#TheParadise” tweeter=”” suffix=””]”We shall be as a meadow, you and I … So. I have decided. There will be no more ideas. No more thoughts.”[/inlinetweet]
Denise: “Am I to stop thinking?”
Miss Audrey: “If you wish to remain at The Paradise.”

. . . and a few moments later . . .

Miss Audrey: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]”No more thoughts, Denise. No ideas, no questions, no what-ifs. Just willing hands and an empty mind.”[/inlinetweet]

Center Stage this Episode
Actors taking center stage this episode starting with the ladies and then moving on to the gentlemen:

DeniseDenise Lovett – played by Joanna Vanderham (What Maisie Knew, The Runaway, Dancing on the Edge) is the central female character in the series, this country girl is simple but bright, with a natural tendency toward merchandising and business. She not only finds “the Paradise baby” this episode but conjures up the idea of a children’s wear department.

Miss Audrey

Miss Audrey – played by Sarah Lancashire (Upstairs Downstairs, Lark Rise To Candleford, Five Daughters) is the snotty, easily threatened, head of ladieswear. She develops as a character this episode with advances in her backstory as well as the revelation of a love connection with Denise’s uncle, the merchant across the street.

KatherineLady Katherine Glendenning – played by Elaine Cassidy (A Room with a View, Harper’s Island, Fingersmith) is the daughter of powerful banker, Lord Glendenning, and is in love with Moray, owner of the Paradise, until Mr. Peter Adler arrives in the storyline to show her a different side of herself – one that is kind, caring, and moved by the “foundlings” that visit the Paradise.

ClaraClara – played by Sonya Cassidy (The Fifth Estate with Benedict Cumberbatch, The Tudors), a shop girl in ladieswear with a secret that walks into the Paradise during episode two and causes her great pain. Her snarky comments to Arthur hide the pain she feels about a little girl named Grace.

adlerMr. Peter Adler – a very wealthy man, full-time philanthropist, patron of the “Foundling Home”, and new suitor for Miss Katherine Glendenning.

MorayMoray – played by Emun Elliot (Game of Thrones, Lip Service), owner of The Paradise, a complex character, viewers are unsure of whether to love him or be suspicious of him. His weaknesses are exposed when holding the baby and during a conversation with Dudley about Moray’s late wife, Helene.

ArthurArthur – played by Finn Burridge (Joe Maddison’s War, Nelson’s Navy and George Gently) was born at the Paradise in the loading bays, the whereabouts and circumstances of his birth mother is in dispute and the subject of rumors until Arthur finds his way to the truth. Arthur represents the future of the Paradise and is given trust and privilege during the daily operations of the store.

JonasJonas Frank – played by David Hayman (Trial And Retribution) is a bitter man with power over the shopgirls because of his ability to fire employees at will. He is a shady character, always lurking in the background or around the corner, but essential to Moray for the running of the business. He’s lost an arm, the cause of which is the subject of rumors, but this loss allows him to comfort and advise young Arthur as he seeks the truth behind the circumstances of his birth. I suspect tidbits about Jonas sprinkled throughout early episodes will build into something larger before the season closes November 17.

Thanks for joining me for my recap of Season 1 / Episode 2 of Masterpiece Theater/PBS’s “The Paradise”! 

ParadiseShopping“Shopping at The Paradise” Giveaway
Don’t forget to check out our “Shopping at the Paradise” Giveaway. Click here for complete details.

Blogger Episode Listing
If you’ve read my earlier post about the fun Paradise project I’m participating in, you may remember that each blogger in the project will post their recap on Monday, after watching the Sunday night episode. In the States, the program will air on PBS @ 9/8 Central every Sunday beginning October 6 – November 17, 2013. You’ll need to do a little research to find local channel listings for your particular area and cable service provider. But if you miss an episode, here’s the recap schedule:

Episode 1: Sunday, Oct. 6th at 9 pm (2 hour season première)
First hour – Elizabeth Marx; Second hour – Martha Reynolds
Episode 2: Sunday, Oct. 13th at 9 pm: Julie Valerie (that’s this post)
Episode 3: Sunday, Oct. 20th at 9 pm: Laura Chapman
Episode 4: Sunday, Oct. 27th at 9 pm: Sara Palacios
Episode 5: Sunday, Nov. 3rd at 9 pm: Tracie Banister
Episode 6: Sunday, Nov. 10th at 9 pm: Tracey Livesay
Episode 7: Sunday, Nov. 17th at 9 pm: Lauren Clark

book Emile Zola

Check-out the book that inspired the Paradise
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The Ladies’ Paradise (Au Bonheur des Dames) by Emile Zola on Amazon.[/inlinetweet]
I’m reading it now and it’s WONDERFUL!

10 thoughts on “The Paradise Recap: S1/Episode 2. “No ideas, no questions, no what-ifs.”

  1. Excellent, excellent post, Julie. Loved it. That was my favorite bit of dialogue as well. “No more thoughts!” Let’s be meadows. 😉

    • “No more thoughts, Denise. We shall be as a meadow. Our minds are not organized the same way, this I have come to know…” Not the PRECISE dialogue – but darn close. Empty your mind, girl. Don’t think. Noooooo thinking. You may put my job at risk. Oh joy. What a great boss, that one!

  2. Great recap, Julie! I’m loving this show. So many fun new developments, especially the surprising connection between Natalie’s uncle and Miss Audrey. I suspect Moray may be the father of the “foundling” –and maybe Arthur’s as well. He seems to be the symbol of the kind of capitalism emerging in this period: amoral, ruthless, and often unkind, but clever, not burdened by adherence to class, and an engine of much-needed change.

    • Anne – great call on the emerging capitalism of the time. The book by Emile Zola explores this in great detail. I have a background in marketing and I love watching concepts in marketing and retailing practices emerge for the first time. A very historical look at the development of consumerism and the movement of goods and services. I wonder if we’ll see Jocelyn from episode one again – her husband is a railroad tycoon and could put inventory at risk at the Paradise if the railroad shuts down or shuts Moray out.

  3. What a great recap, Julie! I loved it, especially your character breakdown. It’s amazing how much happened in this episode

    I will confess that even though I loathe Clara and had already seen the scene before, I found myself bawling when Denise crawled into bed to comfort a sobbing Clara. Denise is such a good person who always tries to help everybody. She really is a heroine to root for!

    How I wish that Katherine would marry Peter Adler and leave the show! That woman drives me bonkers! I think she enjoys playing these games of one-upsmanship with Moray. They give her some sort of thrill.

    This episode was when I started to like Moray. I appreciated that he apologized to Denise and let her know that he did value her and her wonderful ideas. And that scene the two of them shared late at the night with the baby? That was some serious chemistry, yo. 😉

    Reading your recap was as much fun as watching the show, Julie. Great work! 🙂

    • Tracie! Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment – your insights are so valuable – how far into the season have you seen? I think viewers two episodes into the program have mixed feelings about Moray at this point in the storyline – but I’m going to trust you that I will warm to him. And Katherine doesn’t seem THAT bad just yet – although, I can see where her character may be headed (scorned woman syndrome) so I can see why you feel the way you do about her. This is a great program and I’m soooooo happy to be a part of the blogging about it. Thanks again for inviting me, Tracie!

  4. Love the recap. I can’t wait to see how Denise learns to turn off her thoughts. LOL. I’m really trying to like Moray, but I don’t, I think he’s a opportunist and always does what’s in his best interest. The strangest thing to me was that no one asked the question, to whom does the baby belong? Really? Why is everyone afraid to find out the answer?

    • I’m with you – Elizabeth. Everyone went straight to the issue that the baby was a “foundling” but made no effort to find its mother or father. Moray said he “slipped” with Clara 18 months ago … could he have his math wrong? Well … maybe not because we’d all have to know that Clara had just had a baby … I wondered for a while during the program if Jonas might be the Arthur’s father. Oh, who knows!

  5. Pingback: The Paradise – Recap & Shopping

  6. Julie, have you only seen the PBS Masterpiece version of The Paradise? If so, you’ll want to check out the UK version. Sadly, PBS really butchered this series (there are 2 ‘seasons’ or series of this show) and I could not believe how much was edited by PBS in order to fit the episodes into their Sunday night timeslot. Complaining about this to PBS is useless. I tried it (along with other viewers) when we discovered that episodes of Downton Abbey being shown on PBS had also been edited to fit the timeslot. Now there is no longer a board on the PBS site where viewers can discuss programs and raise what PBS seems to feel are annoying questions.

    If you do have a chance, I think you’ll really enjoy the full version of The Paradise. More character development and longer scenes make a big difference.

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