Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / You Have Outlived Your Usefulness

Go To

Basic Trope: A villain gets rid of minions when they're not useful anymore.

  • Straight: Emperor Evulz kills Lord Bad after Lord Bad finished carrying out an order from him.
  • Exaggerated: Every minion who works for Emperor Evulz will be killed when completing the order.
    • Emperor Evulz is a necromancer who kills his minions when he no longer has use for them, then brings them back to life or reanimated if he finds uses for them.
      • Not only that, but his subordinates are of the Hive Mind type who have no right to say, think and do whatever they wish, literally as their altered physiology by Emperor Evulz prevents them to oppose him; when they are finished, he kills them when he has no use for them, even if they carry out all of his orders flawlessly and without complaints, and brings them back to life or reanimated when he has any use for them, repeating the cycle.
  • Downplayed:
    • Emperor Evulz fires Lord Bad after doing an order for him.
    • Emperor Evulz reassigns Lord Bad to a menial position.
    • Emperor Evulz demotes Lord Bad.
    • Emperor Evulz respects permanent members of his organization, but gets rid of people working for him on short term contracts especially if they betrayed their previous loyalties.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
    • Can't Kill You, Still Need You
    • Every time Emperor Evulz needs a new minion for something, he arranges for one to be born and raised specifically to do that job.
    • Emperor Evulz kills a minion and binds his ghost because he needs him to remain useful post-mortem.
    • Emperor Evulz gives Lord Bad a legitimate and genuine reward for his success.
    • You Have Failed Me
    • Emperor Evulz dies, but the minion remains and must continue serving in some way
    • The minion turns on Emperor Evulz.
  • Subverted:
    • Emperor Evulz's advisor recommends Evulz to kill Lord Bad now that he is not useful; Evulz states that he will find use for him.
    • Advertisement:
    • Emperor Evulz kills Lord Bad, and one of the mooks asks if Lord Bad had lost his usefulness: turns out Evulz killed Lord Bad for either incompetence or treachery.
    • Emperor Evulz gives thought to killing Lord Bad once he has completed his task, but doesn't go through with it.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Except when Emperor Evulz comes back and kills Lord Bad.
    • Emperor Evulz sends Lord Bad on another mission; after that, he kills him.
    • Emperor Evulz sends his underling on another mission... One which he expects Lord Bad won't be coming back from.
    • Emperor Evulz was lying.
    • Emperor Evulz changes his mind and has Lord Bad killed.
  • Parodied:
    • Emperor Evulz fires Lord Bad after doing an order for him: the latter likes it because he never really liked working for the former; Lord Bad even gives Emperor Evulz a box of chocolates and some flowers.
    • Evulz orders his assistant to get him coffee; once he has it, he shoots the assistant.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Emperor Evulz fires Lord Bad after doing an order for him. Lord Bad comes back, however, and Emperor Evulz reluctantly hires him again. Then Emperor Evulz fires Lord Bad again after doing an order for him. Repeat over and over again.
    • Emperor Evulz sends Lord Bad on a suicide mission once he has no more use for him; once Lord Bad comes back from that, however, Evulz is genuinely impressed and decides to keep him around.
  • Averted: "You've done well. However, I have no further use for you. Here's the $1,000,000 we agreed upon; and your severance package. Pleasure doing business with you."
  • Enforced:
  • Lampshaded: "Why do you want to kill me? You just invited me to a top secret meeting yesterday!"
  • Invoked: Sergeant Worse hates Lord Bad, so he lies to Evulz and tells him that Bad is planning a betrayal, provoking Evulz to kill Bad after his current mission.
  • Exploited:
    • Sergeant Worse hears of Lord Bad's death and takes the opportunity to voluntarily promote himself to the empty spot Lord Bad left behind.
    • Emperor Pragmatically Villounous invades Emperor Evulz' domain knowing that none of Emperor Evulz' mooks are willing to fight for him.
  • Defied:
    • "You seriously thought I was going to kill Lord Bad? After he just completed that mission for me? I honestly don't know which offends me more, you thinking I'd be that ungrateful or you thinking I'd be that paranoid."
    • Lord Bad sees the betrayal coming and has a plan to either escape or kill Evulz first; it works splendidly.
  • Discussed: "Of course he's not gonna kill you. Why do you think he would do that after he invited you to that top secret meeting yesterday?"
  • Conversed: "So I heard Emperor Evulz was killing off some of his minions straight after their missions." "Oh, I always wondered where that extra life insurance money was coming from..."
  • Deconstructed:
    • Four words: Lonely at the Top.
    • Emperor Evulz does this a few times too many, and his minions begin to stop trusting him; some even begin to conspire against him and/or help the heroes defeat him.
    • Turns out Lord Bad is a bit too tough to merely dispose of. The Emperor either uses up valuable minions and resources in the process, or makes yet another enemy in the now-betrayed Lord Bad. He succeeded in his previous task(s) for a reason, after all.
    • It's rather short-sighted to kill your minions because you don't need them now: Lord Bad's skills were useful once and they may be useful again- but Evulz doesn't have that option now that Lord Bad is dead.
    • Everyone knows that Evulz likes to "downsize his organization" with people he deems not useful enough; this results in a lot of backstabbing and politicking as all his minions try to get themselves Vetinari Job Security. This weakens Evulz's side, since nobody will allow their personal methods/skills/whatever to be mass-produced in fear that they'll be killed, which limits supply and permanently makes everything Evulz does a Keystone Army; Alice is able to cripple Evulz by targeting these minions, who are easier to get to than Evulz and will take a large part of Evulz's warmaking capacity with them when they die.
  • Reconstructed: Emperor Evulz is not only willing to dispose of his minions as soon as they aren't useful, he's seems overly eager to do so; it's the only time we see him smile. It turns out the position of Evil Overlord is a matter of You Kill It, You Bought It, and he's rebelling against his appointment by killing off his minions as much as he can; Hence, having his minions rebel against him or be too weak to conquer the world is to his benefit.
  • Played For Drama: Emporer Evulz turns Bob into a Tortured Monster and forces him to kill his family and friends; Bob returns to Evulz asking if "he is done" and when Evulz points a weapon at him Bob sighs in relief glad that his miserable existence is finally over.

I am done with you, so go to You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, and don't ever call me again.

Example of: