Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 4: A Life Earned Recap


Fitzzz!! He’s back, in disguise, the time traveling man with a plan! I feel safer already, even if he does want Daisy to fight to the death. His Boba Fett/Star Lord disguise is totally about pretending to be the coolest, richest guy in the quadrant so that Kasius will want to impress him, and Kasius loves a good death match. Fitz’s framework persona will come in handy for acting the part, if I’m right.

It’s a busy episode, with several important reveals before Fitz arrives at the last moment, and a distinct lack of Maya. Let’s get started.

Kasius steals Daisy’s blood as he tells us about his heroic rescue of the human race for fun and profit, spurred on by his messianic vision that he could make a killing in the inhuman trade, if he saved the human race used the remnants of earth as his own breeding program. Senara looks bored to tears. He probably pulls out this story every time he gets drunk.

Finally, thanks to Daisy, his vision has been vindicated, as long as he can keep the humans’ quaint old prophecy of Quake and SHIELD as their saviors from coming true. Instead, Quake, Destroyer of Worlds, will be his savior when she sells for a price high enough to get him off of the bombed out planet. He makes a bid for Daisy’s cooperation by threatening Jemma. Big mistake, since that will just increase Daisy’s motivation.

The rest of the gang is at work crushing rock and debris at the salvage shop, even May, since all Trawler runs have been cancelled. They’re concerned that Daisy is still missing, but Grill is pushing them hard. He shocks Mack for talking. Why Mack? Because it’s funniest to do it to the big guy. He’s a tyrant with a sense of humor. It’s hard not to have a soft spot for Pruitt Taylor Vince.

With Zev gone, Mack will be Grill’s new enforcer. His first job is to shake down and collect from Gunner, who is deep in debt to Grill, but also due to get a high tech, expensive package from the Kree-run floor 35. Mack is currently in a pacifist stage (at least if the enemy is human), so he’s conflicted.

Coulson has Elena go with Mack, deciding this seems like a good time and place to stick together. He and May will check out Floor 35, after they talk to Deke.

Daisy is taken to display her powers for Kasius. An inhuman telepath, Ben, is practicing with Tye when she arrives. He tells her that he can’t control the thoughts he hears from other people, and is relieved when his inhibiter is turned back on. Later, he confides that he understands how Kasius’ system works for inhumans, but he doesn’t want her to tell anyone about it because he doesn’t want to endanger his family.

When it’s her turn to perform, Daisy throws Tye across the room with a small quake from one hand. Lady Basha is there to watch, and quivers with excitement. Kasius revels in turning down her offer to buy Daisy, and sends her packing with some pointed insults.


Deke is watching them exchange barbs. He says, “She seems nice,” once Basha is gone, displaying both a level of familiarity and cheek that Kasius doesn’t usually allow anyone, and a lovely, dry sense of humor. Deke is there to collect payment for Quake, and Kasius rewards him extravagantly. The rest of the conversation seems so filled with innuendo that I’m including it for future reference. They stand closer and closer as the conversation continues, frequently looking at each others mouths, or up and down their bodies. Looks like some UST* to me.

Kasius: I want to thank you for bringing her to me . But Senara is concerned about the prophecy. That others might have come from the past as well.

Deke: Guess that means you are as well.

Kasius: Prophecies are hard to decipher. Could be two people, could be twenty.

Deke: Well, maybe the prophecy wouldn’t be such a mystery if you didn’t kill everyone that knew anything about it.

Kasius: Yes. Life is full of regrets. Still.

Deke: How can I help?

Kasius: Should you come across any additional time travelers, or anyone who helped them, I’d be grateful. And generous.

Deke: Let me see what I can find for you.

But there’s more than sexual tension under the surface. Deke talks back to Kasius, but only receives a veiled threat. Have we ever seen Kasius let disrespect go so easily? Deke backs off anyway, and at the end seems almost upset that he’s put in the middle between SHIELD and the Kree again. For his part, Kasius asks for help, rather than commanding it, and offers a reward rather than a punishment. These two treated each other as close to equals as we’ve seen from either of them. Is Deke the unspoken leader of the humans?

Coulson and May run into Deke as he’s searching for them. He feeds them a blend of truth and lies about Daisy’s whereabouts which they reluctantly accept, before asking about floor 35. Deke says floor 4, where he met them, is holding, floor 17 is engineering, but he’s never been to 35. It’s of limits.

Coulson explains that they’re looking for Kree tech that might help them explore the surface. They’ve discovered that Virgil was communicating with people living up there. He plays the recording. Deke looks like he’s seen a ghost.

Deke: (Stunned and intense) Those people were all dead. Kasius thinks they’re all dead. I need to go get a few things. (May: So now you’re interested.) Those people up there? If we can find them, that’s in everyone’s best interest.

More doublespeak, then he practically runs away.

Mack and Elena talk about her willingness to sacrifice Zev to save Mack. He’s afraid they’ll lose themselves like FrameworkFitz if they continue down that road. Elena replies that she grew up in a city that wasn’t very different from the Lighthouse, so she understands what needs to be done to survive. Sometimes you need to make hard decisions that a suburban boy like him doesn’t want to face.

Senara informs Kasius that Daisy and Jemma had a third person with them in the market. Kasius has Ben listen to their thoughts while he questions them. Ben telepathically relays Daisy’s answers to Jemma, so their answers match, a talent Kasius is unaware of. He tells Kasius that they were truthful. Kasius tells a suspicious Senara that he’s also not convinced, but she’s not the only one working on this. Does he mean Deke, or yet another spy?

Ben tells Daisy that this was the first chance he’s had to read Kasius’ mind. Kasius is planning to destroy the Lighthouse after he sells Daisy and leaves for good, killing everyone on it.

Deke brings Coulson and May to floor 35, where they discover an R&D lab used by the Kree to genetically engineer and grow human infants, including the “package” meant for Gunner. The Kree put something in the food to render the humans sterile, then fill “vacancies” this way, which allows them to keep the population under tight control and breed for inhumans.

Elena and Mack confront Gunner in his quarters, as he prepares to receive his package. They harass him and threaten the package, not realizing what it is. Just as Mack threatens to put the package in the crusher if Gunner doesn’t pay Grill, Elena realizes with horror that the package is a baby.

Mack is mortified by what he’s just said, and tries to take it back, but it’s too late. Gunner unloads all of his own rage against the system onto Mack, saying he’d make the worst father ever, along with other choice insults. Mack is even more devastated. This is the season of bringing Mack to his emotional limit. And we thought that was last season. 😭


Now it’s sweet, starry-eyed Coulson’s turn to realize just how bad things are. Deke explains that he was the last baby born the old-fashioned way. Then Kasius decided to control breeding in order to increase the chances that the child would be an inhuman. Newborns are a commodity, and inhumans are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Coulson’s mind is blown.

May interrupts them to show Coulson a data terminal with Daisy’s DNA displayed, ready to be used in breeding. Deke tries to explain his side of the story, but they aren’t interested. Then they’re interrupted by a Kree. Obligatory fight scene ensues.

Once the first round of Kree are taken care of, Coulson takes a wounded Deke to be interrogated, while May, with her bad leg and her newly acquired Kree axe, stay behind to fight Senara. Without her full capabilities, May can’t keep up, and soon reinjures her leg. Senara looms over her with the telepathically controlled killer balls as the camera cuts away.

Coulson treats Deke’s stab wound, then punches him in the face for betraying Daisy. Deke says that he took Daisy out of the mix because she was going to ruin everything with her reckless attitude. Coulson accuses Deke of selling Daisy out for profit. Deke says keeping the Lighthouse safe and making a profit aren’t mutually exclusive.

Coulson suspects that Deke is planning to betray the people on the surface as well. Deke yells that Coulson doesn’t know him. He was 9 years old when Kasius murdered all of the elders, including Deke mother. Deke’s father took up her cause, though Deke begged him not to, fearing it would get his father killed. Sure enough, his father was sent to the surface. That’s why it was such a shock to hear his father’s voice.

Deke needs to be with Coulson when they find the surface group. Coulson thinks it’s a moving story, but he still needs Deke to earn his trust back, starting with turning over Kasius’ payment for Daisy. Deke reluctantly hands it over.

Deke asks if the coin buys him some trust. Coulson says no, it buys him some time. For now they’re safer with Deke out of the mix. He seals Deke into the room, and has Mack weld the door shut. Yikes, is he sentencing Deke to death if anything happens to them? That seems extreme.

They give Kasius’ coin to Gunner so that he can pay off Grill. Mack can’t let Gunner’s harsh words go. He mourned real baby Hope less than he’s mourning FrameworkHope. He asks Elena what that says about him, and the kind of father he’d be in the future. 😭

Elena says, “Hope might not have been real, but your love for her was. And that makes you a great father, and a good man. We’ll get through this place intact. Together.” 🤰🏻 They’re such a great couple.

Grill spoils the moment by telling Mack that he fits right in as an enforcer. Maybe someone should send Mack to Deke’s speakeasy for a little R&R. He needs a break.

In the tag, Kasius presides over a gathering. Senara enters and Kasius asks her if she’s “dealt with” their newest guest (May). Senara smiles in response, which can’t be could.

Kasius welcomes his guests to an exhibition of unbridled powers, sure to excite the senses, all leading up to the main event, Quake, Destroyer of Worlds. Her power will become the buyer’s power. He drinks a toast, then asks if there are any requests.

One guest, in an electronic mask, approaches and says that they should “forget the exhibition. She’s the Destroyer of Worlds. She should fight to the death.”

He dramatically removes his helmet. It’s Fitz, in disguise!


We tend to forget that it wasn’t just Fitz who lost himself in the Framework. Mace and Mack were lost to their alternate personas as well. I like that they’re having Mack be off his game this season, and show more compassion, since he’s a father who’s just lost his child, plus he’s confused that the child was digital. He and Fitz formed deep parent-child bonds, which would be hard to leave behind.

The meat is “grown” in a lab (cloned?).

Like Abby, Ben has an inhibiter that only allows him to use his powers for brief periods of time. Consequently, they’ve only developed a minimal amount of control, and are likely more powerful than they realize. One of the first steps to saving the earthlings should be to destroy the inhibiters.

*UST= Unresolved Sexual Tension

Mack: Try to walk casual.   Elena: If you can see me, that’s me walking casual.

I wish people would stop finishing Deke’s sentences for him, or assaulting him, and just let him speak for an entire episode. He has useful knowledge and secrets that we aren’t getting because people let their emotions get in the way. Spies should know better than to constantly interrupt the enemy.

Where was Tess? Could she be part of the group that sneaks supplies up to the surface dwellers?

What will Fitz think of Jemma’s new look?