Maureen and Nick try damage control while the Bunnies run for cover. The cover of 'Playboy,' that is!

By Shaunna Murphy
Updated September 27, 2011 at 09:31 AM EDT
Matt Dinerstein/NBC

I hope I’m not alone in thinking that this week’s installment of The Playboy Club improved upon the last. No one was stabbed in the jugular by a stiletto, but the election plot moved along nicely and we learned a good deal about the mysterious ladies with the puffy tails. I’m filling in for Mandi Bierly this week, and she left us in good hands with this thought: “…It isn’t just trying to sell sex. It’s a story about secrets, and how even women wearing next to nothing can be hiding something.”

This week the Bunnies and their patrons struggled to keep their secrets secret, because that’s what secrets are for. Secrecy — it’s the tie that binds at The Playboy Club. Whether they were buried in rivers, disguised with wedding rings, or hidden in chests under the bed, all of the individual Bunny Problems were given ample airtime last night. With all of their diverse but equally soapy personal dramas, these women are like younger, hipper, and less clothed versions of the Desperate Housewives.

Let’s take a look at each lovely lady (plus one dashing debonair!) and the problems they dealt with last night.

BUNNY PROBLEM 1 — Maureen accidentally killed a ruthless mobster. Also, she has daddy issues.

Last week Maureen killed the infamous Chicago mob figure Bruno Bianchi in self defense, and threw his body in a river with the assistance of her handsome new friend Nick Dalton. Two men named Joe and Schmo found his Playboy Club key near the river, and decided to infiltrate the high society hangout for kicks. They dressed up in their Sunday best and were really sweet and nervous when they had to wait in line, so I honestly felt bad when Maureen told them she knew whose key they had and that she wouldn’t tell management if they left quietly.

So Maureen robbed these poor never-to-be-seen-agains of their night of escapism, but it’s a good thing she did. Bruno’s son John was in the house to see both Nick and Maureen, and he surely would have noticed his father’s name on the visitor’s board. John questioned Maureen and she nervously tried to cover her tracks with her “I went home with Nick” semi-lie, but he didn’t buy it.

Carol-Lynne was buying it before she found Maureen’s blood-soaked costume hiding under her bed. Maureen quickly made up a story about a homeless man attacking her in the alley, which Carol-Lynne hesitantly accepted. “Costumes are never to go home with bunnies, and bunnies are never to go home with keyholders,” she said. Nick was upset that Maureen didn’t tell him about their latest lie, but ultimately pretty happy that it got Carol-Lynne off their backs and onto his lap.

Carol-Lynne did warn her that bad things happen in Chicago, and by the end it looked like Maureen is going to learn that pretty quickly. The episode ended with John saying that he was going to “get to know” Maureen, and a TV “get to know” with a mobster often results in a broken face. And a broken face Maureen cannot have, because she just booked the elusive Chicago cover of Playboy! She felt bad for a whole second about winning the cover over her friend Brenda, but she needed to be a Playmate so her dad would see it and know she was somebody. Yes, you read that right. I can’t even go into the whole daddy issues and Playboy thing because I just want to blindly enjoy this show, but Maureen definitely seems to be set up as the show’s resident beautiful-yet-hopelessly-flawed Marilyn Monroe.

NEXT: Carol-Lynne gets her man back while Brenda flips through Better Homes and Gardens

BUNNY PROBLEM 2 — Carol-Lynne was in love with a womanizer. Or was she?

Carol-Lynne was newly single and seriously miffed, but she wasn’t about to let emotions get in the way of her amazing stage routines and her new role as the Bunny den mother. She let the latter distract her from Nick’s supposed betrayal, and regained her focus as she organized the cover contest and instated advanced mandatory Bunny training. She forgave Maureen and chose to believe her cover-up, but she made it perfectly clear that she had her eye on her.

After she dyed Maureen’s costume a bombshell red to cover the blood and called her the Scarlett Bunny, Nick swooped in with roses and re-sealed the deal. The couple passionately kissed and reconciled… for now.

BUNNY PROBLEM 3 — Brenda wanted something of her own.

The only one who wanted the Chicago Playboy cover more than Maureen was Brenda, who planned to use the $2,000 payday to buy a house. Brenda had been saving and hiding her earnings in a chest under her bed so that she could someday purchase her own property. “Most Negro girls don’t own anything, Maureen,” she said.

She placed in the top five along with Maureen, Janie, what’s-her-face, and a girl who would use the money to pay for medical school at Northwestern, but ultimately lost. Maureen sweetly slid half of her earnings into Brenda’s savings box, but I’m still holding on to hope that she’ll get a bank account lest someone steals her cash during one of the mansion’s seemingly nightly wild parties.

BUNNY PROBLEM 4 — Alice covered up a sham marriage.

Alice had to face the biggest problem of them all — her in-laws were in town. Also, her in-laws were completely unaware of the fact that her marriage to their son, Sean, was a big fat mutually agreed upon lie. The conservative oldsters had no clue that their secret lesbian daughter-in-law worked at The Playboy Club, so she had to use her PTO and stay home to cook them dinner.

Unfortunately, Sean’s father had a Playboy Club key and he heard great things about it on Yelp. She endured teasing from her co-workers as she suffered through their embarrassing outing, but her biggest secret was revealed earlier in the night via a passionate look of longing. You see, it seems that Alice has a bit of a crush on Maureen. Maureen utilized Alice’s photography skills to impress Hef and land the cover, and Alice was very much into Maureen’s seductive poses.

BUNNY PROBLEM 5 — Janie’s (husband) probably got a gun.

Janie got the least screen time last night, but it was enough to shed some light on her painful secret. Janie is clearly gorgeous, and was Hef’s first choice for the cover even though she never actually planned to go for it. Her boyfriend Max, who unsuccessfully proposed to her last week, dug himself in even deeper when he submitted some bikini photos from their recent beach vacation against her wishes.

She turned down the cover for the same reason she turned down Max’s marriage proposal — because she was already married to a violent maniac. “He has no idea where I am, but he has a subscription to Playboy,” she explained.

PATRON PROBLEM — Nick covered up the murder of his former father figure.

Nick had quite a few messes to clean after last week’s murder, many of them complicated by his unwavering desire to run for State Attorney. John Bianchi insisted that Nick help him search for his father, who apparently took Nick under his wing in the past. He initially refused in lieu of the race, but later said he would help if he could get John’s flashy new car as a thank you present. This car ulimately went to an influential judge who refused to publicly back Nick’s campaign without a serious reward. Oh, politics!

Nick may have won Carol-Lynne back and he is definitely inching his way to the State Attorney’s office, but his close ties with both John and Maureen are bound to cause a serious conflict of interest in coming weeks. Will you stick around to see it?

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