I've been of two minds about Tom Yates, the self-styled Hemingway-esque writer and lover of Claire Underwood on House of Cards. Initially hired by President Frank Underwood during Season 4 to write the story of his life and somehow humanize him to voters (a tall order indeed), Tom and Claire eventually fell in a sort of love. Well, House of Cards kind of love, which is it's own intense facsimile, I suppose. Alas, the story of Tom and Claire has not ended up all sunshine and roses. Because the Underwoods don't have time for love, and what happened to Tom Yates on House of Cards is a perfect example of where their priorities lie. Warning: spoilers from Episode 12 ahead!
Throughout Season 5, Tom Yates has become at once increasingly close to Claire and more petulant by the day. After Frank realized how close Tom and Claire have become, he invited Tom to live in the White House residence because, as he pointed out, Tom can give Claire things that Frank simply can't anymore. He ate breakfast with them, slept in Claire's room; it's all very modern of them. He wrote Claire's speeches, yes, but his relationship with the newly minted vice president was always clearly a pretty open secret. He was her fella, and she seemed to draw comfort from him, even when he was rambling on in his monotone voice about some boring story from his youth (bit of advice here, Tom; every anecdote is not a gem).
As the season progressed, things started to go south for Frank Underwood. It seemed as if his years of Machiavellian manipulation had finally caught up to him. There was a mole inside the White House leaking stories of Frank's scheming to unseat President Walker, rumors of manipulating the election process... and a Senate judiciary committee leaning towards possible impeachment. On the flip side of that coin, things were looking up for Claire. The people love her, and if Frank is indeed impeached, she could finally become president. Unfortunately, that means letting go of Tom. And like the petulant man-child he is, he refused to go gently into that good night. After he left his cushy digs at the White House, he let Claire know he finished the book he was writing about the Underwoods. And he knows... far more than he should.
Obviously, she has to kill him.
Once Claire saw the manuscript for Tom's next book, she met him at White House adviser (and former friend to the would-be president, Will Conway) Mark Usher's house. The two shared a drink, Tom shared another mundane anecdote about playing hide-and-seek, and he asked Claire for a little money to disappear for awhile. She agreed, and the two of them ended up having sex on the floor. As Claire was astride Mr. Yates, she watched him die from the poison she put in his whiskey.
And so ends Mr. Yates. Because Claire figured it out... she could be the president, or she could hang out with Tom. Hail to the Chieftess.