Ree arrives home and falls asleep. When she wakes, it is late afternoon, and her brothers are hungry. On the stove there is a pot full of “basketti,” a tomato soup-and-noodle concoction that her brothers cooked when she didn’t return home the day before. Ree decides to teach her Sonny and Harold how to cook potatoes, but before she can get started, Blond Milton flies into the house in a rage, telling Ree that “there’s people goin’ round sayin’ you best shut up…people you oughta listen to.” He beckons Ree outside, and tells her to get into his truck, saying that he has something to show her. Ree leaves her brothers, shouting instructions for cooking the potatoes.
In Ree’s absence, her brothers have attempted to provide for themselves and for Connie, but have shown that their skills in this department are still greatly lacking. Ree hustles to teach the boys a new skill—cooking potatoes, a hearty food that might sustain them in her absence, should she leave again. Blond Milton’s angry appearance startles Ree, but she humors him, as she’s aware that he might have answers to Jessup’s whereabouts.
Blond Milton drives Ree far out into the mountains. They eventually reach a burned-out house with a blown-open roof. Blond Milton tells Ree that the house is the last place “[he] or anybody” has seen Jessup. Ree protests, telling Blond Milton that her father was known for never blowing up labs or cooking bad batches of crank. Milton insists that accidents happen.
The devastated shell of the meth lab is the most striking visual we have, thus far, of the extreme violence and decay that can seize upon parts of this community quite suddenly. We are finally able to get a sense of the immediacy and omnipresence of such destruction.
Ree gets out of the car and goes up to the house to take a look, though Milton tries to discourage her, warning that the fumes and debris are toxic. Inside the wreckage of the house, Ree finds that there are weeds growing chin-high out of the holes in the floorboards. Ree walks back to the truck, and she and Blond Milton drive in silence back to Rathlin Valley.
Ree’s discovery of the weeds growing inside the meth lab signal to her—and to the reader—that this house has been abandoned for a while, and that Blond Milton is deliberately attempting to mislead and silence Ree.
When they arrive at the house, Blond Milton offers to take Sonny—his biological son—off of her hands, and raise him as his own. Ree refuses. She tells Blond Milton to “go to hell,” and that she would rather raise her brothers in a cave than send either of them to live with Blond Milton. Ree tells him that she knows the blown meth lab was a distraction, meant to shut her up and throw her off the trail of her father’s disappearance, and she goes inside the house.