Panel 1: John pours more of that everlasting tea (who is he, Arthur Dent?) and says "Elizabeth will be home soon." Wha? I thought she was so in love with Mtwhatsit, she'd only take a brief vacation, if that. Well, perhaps her housing is only subsidized during the school year. Or maybe she just has to come back to the Big Smoke for all the white man's amenities she claims she can do without.
Panel 2: Some backstory on the cars, I guess for those of us who follow along.
Panels 3-4: Well, yeah: the value of a car does depreciate the longer you own it, not to mention how much wear and tear you put on it. Still, John's sullen look gives the impression that he's not going to get his way.
Now, as far as the double whammy of dull visuals and dialogue, Bill Watterson has this to say in the C&H tenth anniversary book:
"The best comics have funny writing and funny drawings, but sometimes the strength of one can make up for the weakness of the other. Great writing will save boring artwork better than great drawings will save boring ideas, but comics are a visual medium, and a funny picture can pull more weight than most people think. Whenever deadlines force me to go with a mediocre idea, I go for broke on the illustration."
So I wonder what was preoccupying Lynn when she drew this sequence, that she couldn't produce a good story or good visuals.