Vincent dies because he shits where he eats. He first comes close to doing so when he is tempted by Mia (his bosses wife) and then he seals his fate when he takes a bathroom break in Butch's apartment (the place he was working)
I didn't like the non-linear narrative in Pulp Fiction. Until some time later when I realized that the proper dramatic climax of the film was Jules's conversion and talking down the two thieves in the diner (rather than simply killing them). And just because the climax occurred around the chronological middle of the story, that didn't mean it shouldn't have its usual placement near the end of the film. — Devil's Advocate
Think about the basic characters' storylines: Marsellus and Butch both learn to appreciate honor and respect over personal gain or desires (to kill Butch and get his money/ to leave Marsellus to die) and both end up just fine (minus the rape). Jules realizes that crime isn't the path he wants to go by, and chooses religion instead. Only Vincent chooses his criminal ways over learning anything, only holding his moral of loyalty to said crime. That said, he is not only the only one of these characters to die, but he dies in a fashion completely devoid of romance, a rare feat for the crime genre, seeing that he's a protagonist. This shows the whole point Tarantino was trying to make about the closet morality in crime, and how you must choose the angel on your shoulder in order to truly understand the way you should live your life. That's why Vincent died! Oh my God! It's an even better movie! - Hitchcock
Vincent monologuing that "being loyal is very important," convincing himself not to sleep with his boss's wife. It's actually an important maxim for him: Vincent's brother served four years in prison by refusing to give the cops his boss's (or rather, business partner's) name.
The reason Vincent is such an incompetent Load throughout the movie? He's, probably unknown to his colleagues and boss, a drug addict. Drug addicts aren't exactly known for their competence and reliability.
Bordering on Fridge Horror; when he is shooting up at the drug dealer's house, there are visible air bubbles in the syringe. He is risking an embolism because he can't even wait to shoot up correctly.
And heroin in particular makes people sluggish and not as sharp as they used to be, which, coupled with the fact Vincent has only just returned from running a club in Amsterdam for three years, means he's rusty and his addiction is likely far worse than when he left
Butch's choice of weapon for going back to rescue Marsellus. He discards the hammer, chainsaw, and bat, and picks the katana. Now, in-universe, the logic could be that Butch likes the sword better, or thinks it's the most effective. However, story-wise, it also is the weapon of a samurai, and Butch has just made a decision to do the honorable thing. He made a transition personally from self-serving and willing to betray someone's trust for money, to sparing an enemy from almost certain death by torture. He chooses a weapon more fitting of his new found honor.
Also, more Fridge Brilliance: the hammer doesn't have enough range to dispatch both Zed and Maynard, the chainsaw is too loud, and the bat would most likely take several strikes to kill with. Plus the katana looks so much more badass.
First time I saw the film, I wondered how they wound up at the only pawn shop in L.A. that didn't have any guns. Then, watching Pawn Stars, I was reminded that not all pawn shops carry the Federal firearms dealer license necessary to buy and sell guns. Further, even those that do rarely carry ammunition.
Jules on Marsellus Wallace, "Does he look like a bitch?" "No." "Then, why did you try to fuck him like a bitch?"
Later on, Marsellus Wallace gets raped and fucked in the ass like a bitch.
Zed and Maynard find out the hard way that Marsellus Wallace does not like to be fucked by anyone but Missus Wallace
Koons's words to Butch: "Hopefully, you'll never have to experience this yourself, but... When two men are in a situation like me and your dad were, for as long as we were, you take on certain responsibilities of the other." This is probably one of the reasons Butch chose to return and come to Marsellus's aid.
Had Jules never had his religious epiphany, Vincent may have lived. Since they worked as a team, Jules would have had Vincent's back when Vincent was on the toilet and prevented his death at the hands of Butch. -Exthe Uber One
But if he hadn't, then Pumpkin, Honey Bunny, and Butch would all be dead, while Zed and Maynard would still be alive. The three redemptive characters, who are really not such bad people, would have died, while two rapists and a drug-addled hitman would survive. Jules' religious epiphany caused everything to work out in the best possible way.
Little recuring theme here that I caught on the drive home after watching it: take note of bathrooms. Every time a character (Particularly Vincent - I can think of three times off the top of my head, plus one with another character) goes to the bathroom, shit goes down. I'm not sure if this was obvious to people or a unique revelation.
Well, nothing bad happens when Mia goes to the bathroom in Jack Rabbit Slim's to, ahem, powder her nose.
This could be amended to times when Vincent goes to the bathroom, since whenever he does, bad things end up happening. Although one could argue that Mia's 'bad thing' was merely postponed longer than the others; her bathroom trip foreshadows her accidental overdose by revealing her addiction to cocaine.
Actually, her cocaine addiction was revealed when she was introduced. Right after talking to Vincent over the intercom, she is shown cutting and snorting three lines of cocaine.
Following on from the above, if we're going with the pun the OP made, IIRC pretty much every time Vincent goes to the bathroom it (at least partly) involves him taking a dump, during which trouble happens in his absence; hence, 'shit goes down'. Mia, on the other hand, just goes to the bathroom to snort up some cocaine, not to actually use the facilities. Hence, no 'shit goes down' (at least, as noted above, not immediately). It's a StealthVisual Pun.
A while ago, I was listening to a podcast in which Jason Mewes was describing his time as a heroin addict and he mentioned that he and the dope fiends he knew all suffered from constipation. Vincent Vega, heroin addict, sits on the toilet so damn much and for so long on each visit that he carries a book to read even when he's on the job. Huh.
Also why Vincent would take a moment to shit while on a stakeout for Butch - people suffering chronic constipation feel an almost constant urge to crap, and typically try to defecate frequently to relieve the sensation.
Judging from how casually they go about it, just how many people have Zed and Maynard raped and murdered under the pawn shop?
Related to the first point on this page, in a way: In his first appearances in "Vincent Vega and Marcellus Wallace's Wife" and the beginning of "The Gold Watch", we only ever see Marcellus Wallace from behind. This distances us from him, and dehumanizes him; he's an unknowable, almost inhumanly threatening presence, in constant command and control. Pretty much the first time we see his face is when Butch runs him over, and then during his experiences in the pawn shop. This 'humanizes' him, brings him down from his pedestal of all-powerful crime lord to vulnerable human being. Fittingly, when we see him in "The Bonnie Situation", although the segment is set before these experiences we see him from the front, demonstrating the humanity he developed in the earlier segment. Character Development — it doesn't have to happen in linear order.
Jules' habit of sarcastically calling Pumpkin "Ringo" in the final scene can be taken as a subtle clue that he's a fan of The Beatles...referencing Mia's earlier claim that "You're either a Beatles man or an Elvis man", and her correct assumption that Vincent is "an Elvis man". So much of Jule's and Vincent's character dynamic is centered around the fact that they're polar opposites of each other (one's black, the other's white; one's religious, the other's a skeptic; one's a stone-cold professional, the other's a careless druggie; one goes straight, the other dies violently; etc.), and the fact that they're "a Beatles man" and "an Elvis man", respectively, is meant to tie into this.
Related to the above, you could also argue that Jules' and Vincent's respective fates in the movie have parallels with the fates of their respective favorite artists: Elvis Presley made music more-or-less consistently until he died at age 42 as a direct result of his irresponsible drug use, while The Beatles intentionally ended their eight-year run with a break up. Similarly, Vincent is a heroin addict who is unexpectedly killed because of his carelessness, while Jules intentionally breaks up his partnership with Vincent and decides to go straight.
And of course, how did Elvis (somewhat infamously) die? He died while on the toilet.
Honey Bunny saying something slightly different when heard the second time. In almost any given event with multiple witnesses, everyone will come out with a different perspective, so the first time we hear it, we hear it from Honey Bunny and Pumpkin's perspective, but the second time, we hear it from Vincent and Jules' perspective.
Seems like a long shot at first, but the events of the film are shown in a perfect mirror, with the gold watch scene (which, if you think about it, started it all, and indirectly led to every character's final fate except for Jules) in the middle:
The diner scene
Jules and Vincent's journey go to Brett's place
the scene where Jules kills Brett
Marcellus and Butch make a deal
Vincent and Butch have a nasty encounter
the first romantic story, ending in disaster
the gold watch
the second romantic story, ending in disaster
Vincent and Butch have a nasty encounter
Marcellus and Butch (ending up with them making another deal)
the scene where Jules kills Brett
Jules and Vincent's journey from Brett's place
The diner scene
During the first Ezekiel 25:17 scene, Jules slowly turns around, surveying the room. When he gets to "the finder of lost children", who's he looking at? Marvin, who's later revealed to be their informant.
Would Marsellus still be forgiving of Butch once he finds Vincent's body?
Butch tells Esmeralda he doesn't know what it feels like to kill a man because he had no idea he'd killed the other boxer. A few hours later he certainly does know that he’s killed Vincent and Maynard.
Butch still saved his life, and by that point is going to be well out of the city with no intention of ever returning anyway, so it probably doesn't matter that much. Besides which, Vincent's a professional hitman who knew the score but got sloppy. Butch killed him in a kill-or-be-killed situation, which Marcellus, although he might not be very happy, would probably understand.
One thing I noticed recently: in the opening scene, Vincent tells Jules that he doesn't really watch much television. In virtually every subsequent scene he's in, he makes a reference to a TV show.
I feel like I'm the last person to realize this, but Butch gets a good amount of timing-related luck when he has his watch. The Christopher Walken flashback scene seems less like a big-lipped aligator moment now.
More than one troper has mentioned that Vince and Mia's dance at Jackrabbit Slim's was so cheesy and over-the-top that they shouldn't have won, but that's precisely why they DID win. The restaurant theme is all about 50's nostalgia, so it makes sense that the couple who did a dance straight out of an Archie comic would win: because they kept to the spirit of the competition.
There's one brief moment in the first sequence where Marvin tries to tell Jules where the briefcase is, and Jules shuts him up with an angry "I don't remember asking you a goddamn thing!" Of course, we learn much later that Marvin was really Vincent and Jules' informant, so it makes sense that he would want to prove his worth by telling them the Macguffin's location (even if neither of them asked him), since he knew that he wasn't actually in danger from them. Jules' choice of words is also oddly fitting, since he probably did ask Marvin quite a few questions before that scene—since he's their informant, they likely got all their tip-offs about Brett's gang from him—and it makes sense that they would want to shut him up so that Brett wouldn't suspect that he was helping them.
Even if Marvin had made it obvious, it wouldn't have mattered - none of Brett's gang were gonna be around for more than a couple of minutes anyway.
Yes, but the point still stands: he refused to acknowledge Marvin as his informant in front of the rest of the gangsters, and refused to let his informant do his job by giving him the briefcase's location.
One thing I noticed was the name of Zed's chopper that Butch gets away on - Grace. Grace can be defined as "a favor rendered by one who need not do so" or as "a temporary immunity; a reprieve," which is exactly what Marcellus had given Butch after the incident at the pawn shop.
More like what Butch gave Marcellus - the man trying to kill him - by having a change of heart and risking his own life by coming to his would-be murderer's rescue. Butch could have easily walked away, and Marcellus would have been screwed. Marcellus was honoring what some would call a life debt - Butch saved his life, so Marcellus felt obligated to repay him life for life, and called off the hit.