Lorraine puts her arm on Marty’s shoulder (familiar physical contact suggesting an easy relationship between these two characters! YES) and then says “Tonight’s the big night, isn’t it? Isn’t tonight your big date with Jennifer Parker? She’s such a nice girl. I really like her a lot.” Gipe lets us inside Marty’s head and then shoots down his own rhetorical questions:
Marty could hardly believe this was his mother talking, even taking the physical transformation into account. Could this be the same woman who continually bad-mouthed Jennifer? Obviously not.
In both the movie and the book, Marty says that he can’t go because the car’s wrecked. In the movie, everyone freaks out and is all “Wrecked? When did this happen? How come nobody told me?” and then they go outside and see the car is fine. In the book, nobody freaks out but instead they take this opportunity to awkwardly hit us over the head with what happened, in case we’re all as slow as Marty:
“Wrecked?” Dad said.
“He’s been like this all morning,” Dave explained. “It’s like he went to bed and woke up in a different house with strange people.”
Wait wait, it gets better:
That was indeed the case but Marty didn’t say so.
Wow, Brother Dave sure is speaking naturally, and just like who had no idea what just happened would speak! They all calmly go out to see Biff waxing the car:
There in the driveway was a sparkling new BMW. Next to it stood Biff Tannen, polishing diligently. His expression also seemed subtly altered, devoid of the usual arrogance and belligerence. As he worked, he whistled a happy tune.
Out loud, Marty says “Geez,” and then “to himself” (though how his family standing right beside him knows which is which is a mystery) he says “What a difference a belt in the chops can make”.
So! Altered Biff: the dude goes from manager (of at least George McFly) to owning his own car-detailing business which as a self-employed dude (reviewing this crappy book = TOTALLY MY JOB) I can see as a step up. And he’s given up on a lot of his anger too, which is great! And here in the book he’s whistling a happy tune, which shows he’s even happier. So, hooray! Happiness!
But, maybe things aren’t so great? It makes me think of those dystopian science fiction futures where people get their minds messed with. Is Biff really happy? Or is his business in trouble and he’s putting a brave face on his faltering life? It’s pure speculation, obviously, but it’s a troublesome part of the ending because if Biff’s life isn’t unarguably improved like the McFly’s lives have been unarguably improved, then Marty has kind of done an ultimate dick move on Biff: improved his own life at the expense Biff’s. He’s used Biff (intentionally or not) and there’s all sorts of consequences we don’t see: for example, if Biff had kids in 1985 Prime that he didn’t have in this new 1985, there used to be some alive kids running around that aren’t running around anymore because WHOOPS THEY NEVER GOT BORN, HOPE THOSE STRAWBERRIES WERE WORTH IT MARTY
Something to think about, I guess! I know that Crispin Glover (dude played George McFly) argued to have something be wrong in this ending, to show that maybe messing with time wasn’t the greatest idea and there were unintended consequences. He got overruled, but that would make this ending even (arguably) darker!
All that aside, YES the fact that George and Lorraine hire to wax their car the man who tore her dress and tried to rape her in high school seems INCREDIBLY WEIRD no matter how you slice it.