And the person who said that that arc replaced Elly and the kids musing that without John, they weren't a family is right; that's because we're at the airport.
Panel 1: As Elly wipes a reluctant Mike's face with what I hope is a moist towelette and not her preferred old-tissue-and-spit, she tells him "Daddy's plane has landed so let's clean up and look our best."
Panel 2: She turns her attention to Lizzie next; as she wipes her struggling toddler's face with what I hope is a different moist towelette, she says "We can tell him how much we miss him, how much we love him and how glad we are to have him home."
Panel 3: As John greets his family, the most enthusiastic of the welcoming committee is Mike, who yells DADDY! DADDY!
Panel 4: Mike "proves" that he neither misses, loves nor is glad to see John by yelling "WHAT DID YOU BRING ME?!"
Summary: This means that the new-ruins we saw don't mean a bloody thing; all they were were goofy hijinks that replaced something that was positive and affirmed that the Pattersons cared about each other and were grateful for what little they had. Congratulations, Lynn; you wasted a perfectly good chance to make people care.