That sounds childish, and it is, but there's another, more sensible reason for a cartoonish Underwood death: This is the only form of justice that Kevin Spacey is going to feel. We can spout platitudes about how his career and reputation are trash, but he's fucking rich and the criminal justice system doesn't care. It's also hard to make a case that reputation damage is a fitting punishment when Donald Trump bragged about molesting women, was accused by his ex-wife of beating and forcing himself on her, and admitted to watching underage beauty pageant contestants getting dressed, and we responded by ostracizing that guy to, umm ... the White House.
So the only thing we have is Spacey's legacy -- which includes, to a large extent, Frank Underwood. If Underwood dies from an assassin's bullet, that's fitting, artistically speaking. He dies as a consequence of his dickhead actions, and thus always to tyrants, etc. etc. It has a certain Shakespearean quality to it, and if we're honest, this is how the show was always going to end. As a closer, it's neat, and therefore the most likely option. But it's too neat and too ... nice. Spacey still gets a grand ending and his artistic legacy remains intact, while unwitting viewers will think his absence from the show was, like, for budget reasons or retirement, not because the actor was an abusive dickhat.
If Underwood dies by slipping on a banana peel and falling out of a window into a truck full of mouse traps, however, he becomes a farcical character. That kind of death isn't poetic or tragic or fitting -- it's just dumb, and you wouldn't be able to rewatch the show without smiling at the fact that the scheming, Machiavellian, posturing prick you're watching isn't destined for greatness. He's destined to die in the stupidest way imaginable, like all posturing pricks. It's Shakespearean, but like, one of the not-boring ones.
We could go further and say that this should be the de facto punishment for anyone who has to drop out of the limelight because they get outed for sex crimes. Think of it like damnatio memoriae, but with Maura Pfefferman getting eaten by an escalator. It's the small penis rule, but with Louie getting his pecker caught in an industrial milking machine. It's unpersoning, but with James Woods fading angrily into obscurity on Twitter.
If recent events have shown anything, it's that the criminal justice system is woefully under-equipped to deal with #MeToo and systemic sexual harassment, and how burden of proof is wonky when a crime happens in a shady hotel room or a locked office. Popular culture doesn't have these issues, however. There's no burden of proof or legalities to obey when it comes to wrecking the shit of the industry's vilest creatures, just a countless array of opportunities to turn their artistic legacy into poison. It's fitting, too, because you know who else would do something like this?
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