Agents of SHIELD: A Life Earned review S5 E4

Well, that didn’t take long. After the weakest episode of the season, A Life Earned fully renewed my faith that this year could start becoming must-see TV again. Even with this dead zone Friday night timeslot.

For the first time, it felt like the season had a direction instead of the characters wandering around aimlessly. And everyone had very engaging subplots too.

Let’s start with Mack. Initially, he was enjoying the view from his high horse as he got on Elena for saving his life i.e. the dumbest reason for an argument.  Grill being the not so subtle space racist, said he needed a ‘beast’ to settle accounts and sent Mack off to collect a debt. Mack reluctantly played the role, but legit got heated when the deadbeat says Mack doesn’t deserve to be a father.

First off, I love that AOS isn’t just blowing off the events from last season … unlike other shows (cough Arrow cough). Mack was emotionally shaken after losing Framework Hope and it made sense that he’s still coping. This was a strong episode from Henry Simmons and Natalia Cordova-Buckley as they both had several great moments.

I also appreciated the writers not trying to drag out the Deke redemption arc. Admittedly, I still hadn’t disagreed with his decisions since SHIELD was dramatically disrupting the status quo. A Life Earned quickly explained his me first attitude as he lost both his parents when they tried to stand up to the Kree. Correction: lost one of them. Turns out his father is on that voice message to Virgil. If he survived then there might be an entire resistance force of exiles on the remnants of Earth. Now there’s a purpose for getting to the surface again.

It still seems kinda funny that this great prophecy focuses on SHIELD saving the day instead of say Black Panther, Captain Marvel or…The Avengers. I like the notion of these future folk hearing about Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, etc. and have to ‘settle’ for Coulson, Daisy and company. It felt kinda weird that Tess was absent this week as she’s been such a significant presence and ally for the team.

agents of shield a life earned review - kasius and basha

Kasius has gotten a lot of screen time so far and this was finally the first episode that validated it. The Kree are artificially creating babies in the hopes that they will become Inhumans. Are they feeding them fish vitamins? Kasius wants to get out of this sector and he’s not leaving an encore as he plans to blow up everything in his wake. So says Daisy’s new mind-reading Inhumans pal, Ben (Myko Olivier).

Once again, a SHIELD member tried to lay a guilt trip as Daisy couldn’t believe Ben just willingly goes along with the established system. This righteous indignation feels so forced as SHIELD just acts like everyone will join the revolution just because they arrived.

In the episode’s tensest moment, Ben had to vouch for Daisy and Simmons’ story of them being the only time travelers. Ben keeping his mind sharing abilities a secret was a nice twist to wrap up a great scene.


The episode’s big fight scene of May vs. Sinara ended somewhat inconclusively. It appeared like May lost thanks to her bum leg, but we never saw what Sinara did after getting the upper hand. Could May somehow masquerade as Sinara?

Kasius is full on to his spiel as he auctions off Daisy, but gets interrupted by a masked man who turns out to be Fitz. That was a genuine surprise and I can’t wait to find out how he got here.

A Life Earned felt like the first episode since the season premiere to have a sense of urgency. Not surprisingly, it was one of the strongest episodes yet hinting at the potential excitement to come.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: ABC

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