mon 15/07/2024

The Paradise, Series 2 Finale, BBC One | reviews, news & interviews

The Paradise, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

The Paradise, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

Has the Victorian emporium drama flogged its final flounce?

Pistols at dawn? No, it's dice at midnight for Weston (Ben Daniels, centre) and Moray (Emun Elliott)

The sense of an ending is a hard thing to achieve. The Paradise has garnered a loyal following over two series, and no doubt there will be viewers sad to see it depart. But unless options are still being kept open – no announcement either way seems to have surfaced from the BBC – last night’s episode looked like a finale.

It certainly went out with a set-piece bang of a kind from which there would seem no way back. The marriage of Katherine (Elaine Cassidy) and Tom Weston (Ben Daniels) could hardly get any worse – it’s long strayed into the sinister territory of a Wilkie Collins novel, where’s he’s likely to lock her up any minute. By contrast, romance between Denise (Joanna Vanderham) and Moray (Emun Elliott) was floundering indecisively.

This made the return of the sprightly Clémence from Paris more than welcome. It’s the outsiders in episodic roles that have given The Paradise passing colour, and Clémence, as we recall from episode two, stands for la différence in every sense. Back then she was flirting with Denise – now that would have been an interesting direction for Bill Gallagher’s story to have taken – and here she was bonding les femmes again, bringing home the fact that the drama's female characters have come to dominate proceedings. What with Weston getting madder, and Moray wetter by the episode, there's increasingly been little competition.

Clémence (Branka Katić, pictured right) doesn’t let the story dawdle either. Where others in this cast would have taken hours to explain their plight, Clémence came straight out with it: she’d fled France pursued by a debt collector who’d managed to sell them to Weston before promptly expiring himself, overcome by the delights of the emporium (as last lines go, “the paradise, the paradise!” makes a nice change from “the horror, the horror!”). So now Weston, intent on making her his mistress, owned her in every sense. Until the latest craze sweeping Paris, hazard dice, came into play. The roll of le rouge et le noir, Clémence insisted, was how dress decisions were now being made in the French capital. It had you dreading the story would move from riffing on Zola to yet another classic novelist, in which case there really would be no end to proceedings.

It was rouge of a different sort that offered Denise a way out from her quandary, that of making her own way in the world and achieving the independence from Moray that would allow them to love each other. Specifically the powdered stuff that ladies across la Manche were beginning to wear, though it still seemed the height of scandal over here. With the help of mouthy cook Myrtle’s mum’s old beauty recipes, and supported by the quickest venture capital decision the world has ever seen (handy to have a stray millionaire floating around from earlier episodes), Denise looks set to found a cosmetics empire. But that, as they say (and we truly hope), is another story.

Katherine soon had other priorities on her mind

It was all getting a bit much, confusing even the redoubtable Jonas (David Hayman), who has come to double plot-fixing (“I serve the Paradise,” he was intoning as if the place was some sort of pagan god) with a bit of amateur psychoanalysis. There was no other way to explain his riverbank appearance, just in time to save Katherine from trying an Ophelia. She soon had other priorities on her mind, with the prospect of a new little Weston in the world presumably raising concerns on the gene pool front. Really, you’d have thought the only conjugation going on in that household was poor little Flora struggling with her (presumably French) grammar.

The Paradise could carry on dotting in new characters ad infinitum, as rather seems will be the case with ITV’s retail rival Mr Selfridge. Instead let’s hope it’s taken the wise way out, departing when the going is still (relatively) good. For last night's farewells, Maurizio Malagnini’s practically operatic score couldn't have been bettered. Time for this costume drama to head for the curtain department.

It’s the outsiders with the episodic roles that have given 'The Paradise' colour, and Clémence stands for 'la différence' in every sense


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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I could not disagree more. You must keep in mind the target audience for The Paradise. The series has a very close knit fandom, with many pages on Tumbler, Twitter and Face Book. I have not enjoyed a series since I can't remember when' While Julian Fellows is killing off beloved characters and piling on the scandal. the Paradise has remained an old fashioned love story. No filth, no bad language, just beautiful people in beautiful costumes and a lovely story. I understand your need to be pithy, but I believe you have missed the point.

I LOVE this show season 3 PLEASE

Keep paradise showing great story

After a promising start in the first series of The Paradise, I was looking forward to series two, however it turned out to be very disappointing, confusing and downright boring. I don't know what the writers were thinking, season two just didn't go anywhere. Moray is the sort of character you just can't warm to, but I was prepared to overlook this from season 1 as everyone else was so good. A sad end to a show that showed such promise.

I am really disappointed after reading that there will be no Season 3--I agree with Jennifer that this is one production one can watch without being embarrassed--more like those of the "olden" days, without graphic sex or bad language. I preferred this to Mr. Selfridge. I liked the idea that females were being appreciated for their brains and independence instead of just for their physical appearance and wealth.

and yet, the ending was splendid. and the series could easily end here. it's clear their romance can go one and flourish even, and she will be just across the street doing her own t hing, making money hand over fist, while he looks on from The Paradise with love and bemusement, Then when the time is right, enojugh money made and accolades achieved for both, they will one day turn to one another and say Now's the time and that will be that

I am a new viewer, on Netflix to this show. I like watching shows or movies from this time period for the costumes and jewelry, so beautiful. The costumes in this series not really extravagant, but I figure the focus is probably on the show or story. I liked the story but sad that it came to an abrupt end. I felt some loose ends. Denise and Moray should have left together and opened up the shop across the street. I felt for Katherine, she tried so hard to let Moray go and then to find out she's expecting for this horrible husband, there was going to be no immediate relief for her. Her saving grace is Flora's love i believe. No clear indication why he suffers from the scars on the back. It just leads into him becoming psychotic and controlling. And Katherine wanting to be there for him. Clara got a new beaux but in the last episode he's no longer there. What became of that young chipper girl from season 1. One thing's for certain Clamence escaped to America. Most annoying character was Jonas. All he did was stand around and spy on people. I guess he helped weave the stories together for viewers.

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