Before reaching home, Ree stops off at the Langans’ home; her best friend, Gail Lockrum, was “required by pregnancy” to marry Floyd Langan. Now the two live together in a single-wide trailer on Floyd’s parents’ property. Gail’s baby, Ned, is now four months old. Upon entering Gail and Floyd’s home, Ree notes how controlling Floyd is, and how “stunned” Gail seems by her sudden role as a wife and mother.
Though Gail is a mother and Ree is not, Gail seems less suited than Ree by far to the role of motherhood. Gail and Floyd’s unhappy, unwanted union seems to perpetuate the cycle of inherited despair and violence within these Ozark communities, and their rather childish arguments betray the ubiquity of a larger, festering epidemic.
Ree and Gail go into Gail’s bedroom, where Ree fills her in on all that’s been happening with her father’s disappearance. Ree asks Gail if she will drive them down to Reid’s Gap, where April lives. Gail tells Ree that she’ll have to check with Floyd, and she does; he refuses to let the girls borrow the car. Ree tells Gail that she is disappointed in her blind obedience to her husband. Gail tells Ree that she suddenly feels tired, and asks her to leave.
Ree’s best friend has come under the control of a verbally abusive, emotionally unavailable man. Ree is only slightly less shocked than Gail by her friend’s new role, and looks down on Gail’s dependence on and subservience to her husband. Ree clearly values her independence greatly.