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'The Playboy Club': 'A Matter of Simple Duplicity' recap

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The Playboy Club S01E01

© NBC Universal

Warning: This article contains spoilers that some readers may prefer to avoid. Please click here if you wish to continue.

Season 1, episode 3 | Aired Thursday, Oct 4 2012 at 21:00 BST on

The Playboy Club's hanging in there despite struggling ratings and the ever-present threat of that terrifying organisation the Parents' Television Council, and it served up another slice of Bunny action last night. So what happened?

Well, we open with Carol-Lynne and Nick post-coitus. First off, boo Carol-Lynne for going back to Nick. Secondly, Eddie Cibrian waits less than 30 seconds before his first eyebrow-raise. Thirdly, there is no chemistry here, right? Although I suppose there's not supposed to be because of the Nick-Maureen fiasco. Hmm.

Anyway, Carol-Lynne has Bunny auditions and she ends up hiring a new girl called Doris despite the protestations from Billy. I do like this sparkier side of Carol-Lynne (especially when Billy says, "If I say no, that means..." and she cuts in with, "Very little"), but it seems to be getting diluted recently.

Elsewhere, Alice is stuttering over whether she had a serious boyfriend before Sean, her "husband", while Maureen says her last relationship was a mistake. And Janie's trying to apologise to Max after failing to tell him about being married, but he's having none of it. So she announces that he needs to figure out whether or not he wants to know her and stalks off. You go, girl.

But there are more pressing matters at hand - Carol-Lynne has to introduce Doris to her new colleagues. At first they all just stare at her but soon they're buzzing round introducing themselves and trying to help out. Aww. But when she hits the club with Maureen she's sure asking lots of questions. Why on Earth could that be?

Sean

© NBC Universal



Meanwhile, Nick's political rival Jimmy Wallace is having a chat with Carol-Lynne, who's being admirably loyal to her beau while still flirting away. Nick is less than impressed but he's got Sean to deal with, and he's still trying to run Nick's campaign. In fact, he's got a plan - Nick should pretend to date Frances Dunhill (hello Smallville's Cassidy Freeman) to appease the voters who would be shocked by a relationship with a Playboy bunny. Oh, and Frances's father is, like, really rich. Bring on the donations.

Of course, Nick excuses himself when he sees Maureen. Turns out she's got herself caught up with Johnny Bianchi again and he wants to know what Maureen knows about the disappearance of his father. Later, Jimmy comes over to Nick, who tells him to leave Maureen alone. Maureen doesn't exactly help his case when she comes over with cigarettes, though.

Nick and Maureen find a quiet spot for a bit of a tiff. Nick wants Maureen to stay away from Johnny, but she reckons she can handle him herself. This goes back and forth for quite a while (and Maureen slips in that Carol-Lynne is still suspicious of their relationship) until eventually Maureen insists that she's more persuasive than Nick knows and walks off. But wait, Doris has been listening! Oh no!

Meanwhile, Nick finds Carol-Lynne in the dressing room and explains that he's going to have to date Frances for a while - of course, it's all for show. Carol-Lynne insists it's all fine and she'll support him in whatever he needs to do to win. Of course, it's not fine. God, Carol-Lynne, just be rid of him already. You're so much better than him. Even when he says it's "all for show" and you reply with the ridiculous line: "Then the show must go on." Ugh.

Anyway, Frances and Nick get to know each other - turns out Frances is keen to get into the political game, but she's a woman and all, so this arrangement suits her fine. Actually, she's enjoying the Playboy Club - she calls it "wild". Yeah, looks like a really non-dull night out... Well, Lesley Gore takes to the stage (it's really Colbie Caillat) and Frances decides that it's time to dance.

Up until this point, I was disappointed with this episode of The Playboy Club. It's not a great show, but normally it has some so-bad-it's-good moments. This instalment had been slightly lacking... until I saw Eddie Cibrian dancing. I honestly can't find the words to describe it. Watching Eddie Cibrian's horrendous moves will carry the show a long way. Anyway, Carol-Lynne's annoyed by all this.

Doris

© NBC Universal



Doris is still making a nuisance of herself by asking a bunch of questions to Brenda, then slipping off to call her mother. Except, I don't think she's speaking to her mum when she says she's "in" and "no-one suspects a thing". Dum dum dum! Alice makes things even worse by revealing that Nick's romance with Carol-Lynne is fake. Nice work, Alice. Of course, Doris is straight back on the phone again, but Carol-Lynne catches her and tells her not to use it during her shift. Doris's ridiculously over-the-top: "Bye, mum", was not exactly subtle.

Later, Billy is in some kind of incomprehensible trouble - I think it's something to do with gambling - and he rushes off, leaving the door to his office open. Naturally, Doris sneaks in there and steals some files, including Maureen's. I knew she was up to no good, etc etc. And I think Carol-Lynne's getting suspicious too, or at least she is when she finds a piece of paper with "Carol-Lynne Cunningham - Nick Dalton - Frances Dunhill" written in a triangle. "What's this supposed to mean?" she asks, dumbfounded. As much as I think Carol-Lynne is the best character by a long shot, sometimes she can be stupid. It's pretty self-explanatory!

Elsewhere, Nick goes to a dinner at Arthur Dunhill's house with Frances, is his "charming self" (apparently), and impresses everyone, naturally. Outside, Frances announces that they make a good team and kisses him so her father can see them together. Job done.

Back at the club, with Nick out of the way, Maureen stupidly arranges to meet Johnny in the store room (yes, because it's an excellent idea to take the son of the man you stabbed in the neck with your stiletto to the scene of the crime). Anyway, she asks him what he wants to ask her, but for some reason he decides it's not a good idea to talk then and sets a date for tomorrow night. Where's your urgency gone, Johnny?

Doris is talking to a mysterious man outside the club (great place to hold your secret meetings, Doris) and Carol-Lynne soon realises it's the editor of the Chicago Daily News. Sure enough, she rifles through Doris' bag and discovers her press card (again, Doris, well hidden. You'd make an excellent spy). Doris appears, anyway, and says she's got plenty of juicy gossip (can we see some of that in the show then?) Carol-Lynne shouts that she's "not going to get away with this". Amazing.

Janie

© NBC Universal



Carol-Lynne is forced to hold an emergency Bunny meeting - minus Maureen, who's handily got the day off - and soon discovers that every single employee dished the dirt to Doris. As with Eddie Cibrian's horrendous dancing, Carol-Lynne's spectacular eye-rolls make this show worth watching. Anyway, Billy is very unimpressed with the whole situation (and Hef on the phone isn't very happy either) and decides to go and sort it all out himself.

Meanwhile, Carol-Lynne sees a photo of Frances and Nick in the paper, downs some scotch and complains to Pearl, who says she is every bit as upstanding as that "fancy little rich bitch" and Nick should know that. Carol-Lynne carefully says: "Yes. He should. Hmm," so that we know she's coming up with a plan.

That evening, Nick and Frances are sharing a romantic date (well, Nick's telling Frances that he's got a girlfriend and she's telling him that she's trying to please her father). Oh, and she hands over a cheque for $50,000 (Nick handily reads out the number in case we missed it). Carol-Lynne chooses that moment to show up on a date with Jimmy in an attempt to make Nick jealous. Oh dear, Carol-Lynne, you're better than that.

Elsewhere, Billy heads over to the newspaper offices and asks the editor not to run the story, because it's a "pile of crap". But Doris shows up and drops the bombshell - she's discovered that one of the Bunnies killed a man! And it's going to be on the front page! Oh my God!

Sure enough, the next day the paper comes out revealing that a murderer works at The Playboy Club, but of course the name of the accused isn't going to be revealed until the next day (how handy for plot purposes). All the Bunnies have become suspicious of each other, though.

Nick Dalton and John Bianchi

© NBC Universal



Maureen and Nick meet for a quick chat, considering what's in the papers and all, but they're not sure if Doris is referring to them in her article. Anyway, Nick attempts to be all manly and says he will handle it all. He goes to see Johnny Bianchi, who's quite interested in speaking to Doris himself in case she has leads on Bruno. But Nick points out that as counsel for the club he's more likely to get in to the newspaper headquarters. Done.

Nick heads over to the newspaper offices to make a half-hearted attempt at threatening Doris, adding that she'd better have proof of murder if she's going to make those kinds of allegations. Doris is adamant and hands over one of the files, and Nick does a shocked face when he reads it.

Over at the Playboy Mansion, Janie's hurriedly packing her cases. Hmm, why could that be? Oh come on, who really believed Maureen was the murderer Doris had found? Anyway, Maureen catches her packing and Janie admits that she did some "bad things" in her past. Like rob banks with her husband Wade and run over an old man - though it was an accident, honest.

She explains that she owned up to everything so the authorities let her off but punished Wade heavily. She came to the Playboy Club to forget all this but that's not going to happen so it's better if she just leaves. Maureen hugs her to comfort her. (Side note: Maureen's watch appeared to read 4 o'clock which didn't seem to make any sense at all, right?)

Janie

© NBC Universal



The next morning, though, surprise surprise. The killer hasn't been unveiled! Turns out that Nick managed to smooth the whole thing out because the supposed murder was an accident. Oh, and the Daily News will print a retraction. Back to normal, everyone.

That night, Carol-Lynne performs and then exchanges words with Nick about "Francesca" and how Jimmy means nothing to her like Maureen means nothing to Nick. You get the idea. However, she then catches Doris returning her Bunny costume to her office. Doris explains that her story wasn't personal, but this sets off Carol-Lynne on a spiel about the damage Doris did and how the Bunnies are just searching for a better life and how the Playboy Club is helping them start over and all that jazz (you've heard it in the previous two episodes, so you know how it goes).

Anyway, Doris is feeling bad about the whole situation because she's learnt that the Playboy Club is actually an awesome place where nothing bad happens, ever. This was so disappointing. Doris was a chance for the show to introduce an alternative view - instead, it was just more platitudes. As if that wasn't enough, we then get a scene where Janie says that most girls wouldn't want to be a Bunny and Brenda replies that they "don't want to be most girls". Yes, we get the point.

The episode then returns to the Mattachine Society (which is one of the most interesting aspects of the show, and not explored enough). Anyway, turns out Frances is a member, and that's why Sean introduced her to Nick (who has officially appointed him as his campaign manager now). Oh, and Sean also introduces Frances to Alice who seems very taken with her indeed. We see romance ahead.

But there's more! Maureen's left the Club when Johnny pulls up and asks if she needs a ride. And Maureen gets into the car, of course. But will she survive until next week?

What did you think of the episode? Let us know below!
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