Elaine's vague reference to "what Bud did" can only mean something adulterous and his response -- "Well, that was a pack of lies!" -- only confirms it. She agrees to let the "crazy old bastard" with whom Bud lies he's now on "excellent terms," but only if Doug goes along. He's the only one she can trust, you see. The only one that can actually carry the burdens she barely realizes she's handing him. And pretty soon, it's become a fishing trip, so nobody knows why they're really up there. The boys struggle and whine, carping about their responsibilities, but he's got her on the hook and knows they'll follow. Bud takes T.J. away.
Doug: "I thought we were leaving him out of this?"
Elaine: "You can at least admit that Jubal's... under the radar. Besides, you owe me after what you did."
Susan, he thinks for just a second. The war in the man. But she's just talking about T.J. -- the money, for an addict; much less a nightclub he can go to anytime.
"I thought... I don't know, that maybe if he had something in his life -- something that he was proud of -- that he could stay clean this time."
He's talking about T.J., right? Not Douglas Hammond. Not Elaine Barrish. Not Georgia or Susan. Not Bud Hammond. The future starts slow; it can be hard to stay clean that long. You want to be clean when it does.
ANNE FLIPS OUT
On Doug, big time, considering how clean they've had to stay. How long has he known about this, when was he going to tell her. In the back of her head it's just a whole new way to fuck with their wedding. Mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law. That's a war between women that we use to stave off the implicit facts of heterosexuality, our children having sex. It's just like dads on the porch with their guns; a way to make sex safe and funny and natural. (This is why gay people freak you out: there's not a blur in front of it yet, like there is with straight people. But if you think about life without that blur? Weddings and dating and romance and diamonds and chocolates and babies and Spanx and P90X and condoms... sex is all you people ever talk about.)
"None of it means anything, okay. Dad is convinced that his redneck savant is going to pull some jackrabbit out of a hat. It's not gonna happen. No one has run against their incumbent and won. Not Reagan against Ford, not Kennedy against Carter. And worse? This country is just going to hate her all over again. They'll only see her ambition, not how much she cares."